Tolkien 101 - Premiere Magazine
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which a band of nine heroes—an elf, a dwarf, a wizard, two humans, and four hobbits—sets out with the ring, pursued by the Dark Lord. The next two books are The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
The Ring itself is a plain gold band, but slip it on and you disappear. It has evil powers, and in the hands of the wrong person, the ring can rule the world.
The Ringwraiths are the worst of the Dark Lord’s minions. These nine black riders chase the nine-member fellowship all over Middle-earth.
The Ringwraiths are aided by such fellow evil beings as wolves, trolls, and an apelike race called Orcs.
Hobbits are the heroes of the fellowship. They look like short humans with furry feet, and they live in a peaceful corner of Middle-earth called the Shire.
Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) is the wise and good wizard who looks out for the hobbits and the fellowship in general. He possesses magical powers but is too humble to use them most of the time.