Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 9, 2023
December 2, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
See discount terms and conditions.
The Fellowship of the Ring is
the first of three volumes in The Lord of the Rings, an
epic set in the fictional world of Middle-earth. The Lord of the
Rings is an entity named Sauron, the Dark Lord, who long ago lost
the One Ring that contains much of his power. His overriding desire
is to reclaim the Ring and use it to enslave all of Middle-earth.
The story of The Lord of the Rings begins
with several events that take place in The Hobbit. While
wandering lost in a deep cave, Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit—one of a
small, kindly race about half the size of Men—stumbles upon a ring
and takes it back with him to the Shire, the part of Middle-earth
that is the Hobbits’ home. All Bilbo knows of his ring is that wearing
it causes him to become invisible. He is unaware that it is the
One Ring, and is therefore oblivious to its significance and to
the fact that Sauron has been searching for it.
The Fellowship of the Ring opens with
a party for Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Bilbo
gives his ring to his heir, his cousin Frodo Baggins. When the time
comes to part with the ring, however, Bilbo becomes strangely reluctant
to do so. He gives up the ring only at the determined urging of
his friend, Gandalf the Grey, a great Wizard. Gandalf suspects that
the ring is indeed the One Ring of legend. After confirming his
suspicions, he tells Frodo that the Ring must be taken away from
the Shire, as Sauron’s power is growing once again.
Frodo sets out from the Shire with three of his Hobbit
friends—Sam, Merry, and Pippin. Along the way, they are pursued
by the nine Ringwraiths, servants of Sauron who take the form of
terrifying Black Riders. The hobbits spend a night in the company
of wandering Elves, who promise to send word ahead to friends who
will protect the hobbits. Barely out of the Shire, the hobbits get
lost in the Old Forest, where they have to be rescued from a malevolent
willow tree, which swallows up Merry and Pippin, and then from an
evil tomb ghost. The hobbits’ rescuer is Tom Bombadil, a strange,
jovial entity with great powers who is the oldest creature in Middle-earth.
The hobbits make it to the town of Bree, where they meet
Aragorn, a Ranger who roams the wilderness and who is the heir of
the Kings of the ancient Men of Westernesse. Those who do not know Aragorn’s
true name call him Strider. Frodo tries to keep a low profile at
the inn in Bree, but he ends up causing a scene when while taking
part in a rollicking rendition of a song he falls, accidentally
slips the Ring onto his finger, and vanishes.
That night, Aragorn advises the hobbits not to sleep in
their rooms at the inn. In doing so, he saves their lives—for the
first of many times. A letter Gandalf left at the inn months before
advises the group to head for Rivendell, a realm of the Elves. Aragorn
sets out with the hobbits the next day, and with his help they avoid
the Black Riders for some time. However, at the top of the hill
Weathertop, the Company is forced to defend itself against the attacking Riders.
Frodo is wounded during the skirmish.
Frodo’s wound, made by a weapon of a servant of Sauron, plagues
the hobbit as the Company makes its way eastward. Aragorn is greatly
concerned about the power the wound might exert over Frodo. Near
Rivendell they meet the Elf-lord Glorfindel, who has been out looking
for them. At the last ford before Rivendell, Frodo, riding Glorfindel’s
horse, outruns the ambushing Black Riders, who are swept away in
a flood created by Elrond, the master of Rivendell.
Elrond heals Frodo and then holds a meeting to discuss
what to do about the Ring. During this Council, Frodo learns the
full history of the Ring. Frodo accepts the burden of taking the
Ring to the only place it can be destroyed—the place where it was
forged. It promises to be a long, nearly impossible journey, as
the Ring was forged in the Cracks of Doom, part of the fiery mountain
Orodruin in the very heart of Sauron’s realm of Mordor.
At the end of the meeting, the Council creates a group
to help Frodo in his quest. In addition to Frodo, the Fellowship
of the Ring includes Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, an Elf
named Legolas, a Dwarf named Gimli, and a Man from the south named Boromir.
The Fellowship heads south and attempts to pass over the
Misty Mountains via the pass of Caradhras. Their way is blocked
by snow and rock slides, and they are forced to divert their path
through the Mines of Moria—the ancient, underground realm of the
Dwarves. During the journey through Moria, Gandalf falls into the
chasm of Khazad-dûm while protecting the Company from a Balrog,
a terrible demon.
The rest of the party continues on to Lórien, the forest
of the Galadrim Elves, where the Lady Galadriel tests their hearts
and gives them gifts to help them on the quest. Frodo, spellbound
by Galadriel’s power and wisdom, offers her the Ring. She refuses,
however, saying that, despite her intentions, the Ring would corrupt
her; ultimately, she would only replace Sauron.
Leaving Lórien, the Fellowship travels by boat down the
Great River, Anduin. At night, they spot Gollum—a deformed creature that
had once owned the Ring but then lost it to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit—following
them. When they reach the Falls of Rauros, the Fellowship must decide
whether to head toward Mordor on the east or toward the safety of
the city of Minas Tirith to the west.
Boromir, overcome by the Ring’s power and desiring the
Ring for himself, confronts Frodo. Frodo fends off Boromir and decides
that he must go on to Mordor rather than to the safety of Minas
Tirith. However, Frodo cannot bear the thought of imperiling his
friends on the dangerous journey or allowing the Ring to corrupt
them, so he attempts to leave secretly and continue the quest alone.
Frodo does not, however, manage to elude Sam, so the two of them
set out together for Mordor.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Fellowship of the Ring!