The Lord of the Rings
The Fellowship of the Ring
Narrator: Long ages ago, in the lands of Middle-earth, many rings were forged. Three were given to the Elves, immortal, wisest. Seven to the Dwarf-lords, great miners, and craftsmen of the mountain-halls. And nine, nine rings were given to the race of Men, proud and great.
But the Dark Lord Sauron forged for himself a master-ring, to control all others. And he slowly took control of Middle-earth. (If you would like to read some depressing material about that, start on The Silmarillion)
Anyway, Sauron was finally defeated by a last alliance of Men and Elves. The Ring wound up in the hands of Isildur, who refused to listen to the council of Elrond, and took it for his own. But he was later shot by Orcs, and the Ring fell into a river.
Many years later it was found by Gollum, who took in deep into the tunnels beneath the Misty Mountains. But it dumped him, and was found by the most unlikely person imaginable: A fat, unkempt, nicotine-addicted Hobbit, who was only there because of the remarkable persuasion of his ‘friend’ Gandalf the Wizard. After many adventures this Hobbit, Bilbo, returned home, and lived there for 61 happy years, until finally on a brisk day in September, the 22nd to be exact, a horse-drawn cart pulled over the Water and through the Shire.
Driving this cart was a old man who would be hideously grotesque if we followed certain descriptive texts, (with eyebrows the size of broom whisks), but just picture him as an old man with long grey hair, a long grey beard. He was, in fact, a wizard.
Frodo: Hi, Gandalf!
Gandalf: Happy Birthday, Bilbo. (firework explodes) Okay, let’s dispense with the pleasantries. Bilbo, give Frodo your ring and get out of here.
Bilbo: Okay. Au revoir, mon ami! (leaves)
Gandalf: Listen carefully, Frodo. This ring is altogether evil. It will waste you away to nothing. It will draw undead Ringwraiths to you from afar. As you get closer to Mt. Doom, it will become a horrible weight. And no, I won’t take it! I’d try to use it to do good, but it would turn it to evil. Now pay attention. You need to leave this beautiful hobbit-hole Bilbo just gave you and set out. You can’t tell anyone where you’re going. You can’t take roads, so you’ll have to cut across country. These Ringwraiths, disguised as Black Riders, will be tracking you every step of the way. And keep in mind you can’t use your only weapon, the Ring, to become invisible, because that will attrack the wraiths to you. They all have these horrible knives, if they stab you the point breaks off and works inward toward the heart. If it reaches the heart, as it inevitably will, you’ll become a wraith like them, except weaker and under their dominion. And they’ll drag you off to Barad-dûr where Sauron will torture you for the rest of your life for keeping his Ring from him, using the most ingenius methods. And I’d love to come with you to protect you, but I need to jot off to a place called Orthanc and get some advice from a fellow wizard who’s been blatantly lying to me for years. You’re on your own. Oh, by the way, head for Rivendell.
Frodo: Okay, thanks for your help, Gandalf.
Gandalf: Just doing my job and trying to help.
Frodo: Should I take anybody with me?
Gandalf: Someone to carry the luggage wouldn’t hurt. Know any Hobbits who’d love to go off on a journey that the chances are astronomically low of ever returning, carry a hundred pounds of food, and probably slowly starve anyway?
to be continued…..