Members of the Fellowship of the Ring:
J. R. R. Tolkien's first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring details the start of a quest to save Middle Earth from the clutches of Sauron, a power of evil who is rising again.

The tale of the Ring began in the prequel The Hobbit, wherein Bilbo Baggins, a fairly middle-aged hobbit from the Shire, embarks on a journey when 12 mysterious guests show up on his doorstep along with his friend, the wizard Gandalf. Along the way, he finds a magical Ring, which he passes on to his nephew and chosen heir Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring.

The Ring becomes the key to the survival of Middle Earth, and with it Frodo must defend himself against the evil Sauron's Nine Riders, or Ringwraiths. To do this, he must cross the entirety of Middle Earth to Sauron's land of Mordor to Mount Doom; with him go eight others to form a company of nine, the Fellowship of the Ring, formed to help and protect Frodo in his quest.


The story of the quest is continued in the second and third books of the trilogy, the Two Towers and the Return of the King.

THIS WRITEUP CONTAINS NO SPOILERS TO SPEAK OF

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three films, directed by Peter Jackson, and based on J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, the central work of Tolkien's monumental literary legacy, and arguably one of the most significant works of literature of the 20th century.

The film stars Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit cast into perilous adventures, in an effort to deny the One Ring, artifact of ancient evil, to its creator, the foul Sauron.

Fresh from the premiere of the film (I've only had a few hours sleep since I got home, and I rushed to node this for you, as soon as possible, to preserve my first impressions), I'd have to say that this is a very faithful film version of the first book of the LOTR trilogy.

In particular, the visual imagery of the film is very true to the descriptions in Tolkien's tale. Hobbiton is as Hobbiton should be, Rivendell is Rivendell, and Moria is astounding. The characters, too, are very faithfully painted, in terms of appearance and costume.

The "maker's mark" of Tolkien's writing was the linguistic depth of his creation - every race of peoples in Middle Earth had its own unique and detailed language. This aspect, too, is partially captured in the film. We hear snatches of Sindarin, and of the Dark Tongue. With the exception of proper names, however, the language of the Dwarves is notably absent. I would have liked to hear Gimli utter the battle cry of the Dwarves, Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd aimênu! - but alas, that was not in the film. This is a definite blemish.1

"Blemish" is the right word for it, however. Though the film abounds with small omissions and slight alterations (generally justified, in terms of the storytelling flow of the film), these do not notably detract from the high standard of the film. The story has been compressed, and some scenes have been edited down to a bare-bones sketch of the much longer version in the book (notably, the events at Galadriel's Mirror). If this had not been done, however, The Fellowship of the Ring would be at least five hours long - and doomed to flop. For the long version (and we know that many scenes have been edited down - so the footage exists), we'll have to wait for the inevitable Director's Cut.

The Fellowship of the Ring is, quite simply, an amazing film. I would have to say that I cannot imagine it being done better than this. It is not perfect, but the few imperfections have the character of beauty marks. I would not hesitate to call it one of the best films I've ever seen - a true work of art, well worthy of Tolkien.


1 Of course, purists will say that it shouldn't appear until the second film, because it doesn't appear until the second book - but this is film, not book - an entirely different medium. Adding the linguistic flourish would have been easy.

I know The Lord of the Rings intimately -- writing a thesis on a book does that for you. I also live in New Zealand, so have been subject to hype lasting years regarding Peter Jackson's film version.

I'd seen trailers, and stills from the movie, and was disturbed by the fact that certainly the hobbits seemed to me to be way too young. Even so, I wanted to see the film because I was eager to see how it would translate to the screen.

This next paragraph will probably alienate all those who truly believe that Tolkien's trilogy is the best thing in the history of literature, but nonetheless, it must be said. I wanted to see the story with the turgid prose excised. I wanted to see the characters made flesh, because the book never succeeded in doing that for me, I wanted the adventure, without the fluff.

I got it -- somewhat to my surprise.

I'll look first at what was missing or added. Most of the missing scenes are from the early part of the book -- the hobbits' final feast with Farmer Maggot, the scene where they acquire the pony, Bill, the encounter with Tom Bombadil. Of these, the loss of Tom Bombadil has been most discussed and many people have lamented the decision, but I applaud it. Why? Because there is no way the part could be included without being a comic turn, and Bombadil's depth couldn't ever be captured on screen without the benefit of the book's omnipotent narrator giving us clues. Also missing is the scene in which Galadriel presents her gifts to the members of the fellowship. This to me is a more serious lack, since it foreshadows much of what is to come, and makes Gimli, the anti-elf dwarf, considerably more sympathetic towards the elven race.

Several scenes were added: a prologue to give the back-story, a battle between Gandalf and Saruman, the leader of the Istari order who has given his allegiance to the dark lord Sauron, and several scenes involving the elf Arwen, daughter of Elrond Half-Elven. I felt that these scenes added immeasurably to the film, the first, because it would have been impossible to fully understand the movie without it if one hadn't read the book, the second because it was great drama, pure and simple.(If I found it a little reminiscent of the battle between the two sorceresses Bavmorda and Finn-Razel in the last epic adventure movie filmed here, Willow, I must be forgiven: my daughter was addicted to that as a toddler). The build-up of Arwen's character was the item that gave me most concern before I saw the movie, but in fact it overcomes two of the biggest issues I had with the book -- the total unreality of the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen, and the lack of decent female characters for huge chunks of the action.

The performances were, in general, very good. Ian McKellen as Gandalf brought a humour to the character that was totally lacking in the books, without losing the sense of power and mystery; the only place this masterful portrait went wrong for me was when he recited "One ring to rule them all..." I'd have liked that to be more sonorous. Christopher Lee, as Saruman played evil with no overstatement, and Viggo Mortensen was appropriately mysterious and brooding as Aragorn. Liv Tyler's portrayal of Arwen was the biggest surprise to me; it had a delicacy and fragility I hadn't encountered in any of her roles before. Elrond, as played by Hugo Weaving has been described as wooden; I disagree. The character is ancient, distant and dignified, and if there is little humanity in Weaving's portrayal, that's because there is little in Elrond. Sean Bean's Boromir is more sympathetic here than in the books, because he is allowed to unbend a little, and at no point is the tortured nobility of the character compromised. Newcomer Orlando Bloom is a suitably swoon-worthy Legolas for younger girls, and John Rhys-Davies makes a solid Gimli. Ian Holm is a positive delight in the cameo part of Bilbo Baggins. As Frodo and Sam, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin capture the relationship, although this film is not the one where their skills are fully called on, The Two Towers will prove them in their roles much more. Less good, in my opinion are Billy Boyd as Pippin and Dominic Monaghan as Merry. These two are played too much for laughs, and Merry's dignity never comes through. Cate Blanchett as Galadriel too is excessively awesome, losing the elf-queen's lighter side. The elves, overall, are shown as a humourless bunch.

The effects, by NZ company Weta Productions, are spectacular. The almost seamless merging of real locations with digital scenery is amazingly well done: Rivendell, in particular, is marvellous, and the battle scenes are breathtaking. The Nazgul are terrifying, the orcs elfin enough to show their derivation, but still frightening, the Uruk-Hai, the eye of Sauron and the Balrog, perfect. Frodo's removal into a nighmarish world of evil whenever he uses the One Ring is extremely effective, too. My only criticism here is that in occasional places I found there was just too much; Lothlorien, specifically, felt overdone to me.

The score is never intrusive; it supports the action admirably.

I leave the best till last. Peter Jackson's triumph in this movie comes from love. He clearly loves the source material, and he is equally besotted with the scenery of New Zealand. These two passions are evident in every word and every shot, and visually the film is stunning for the whole 178 minutes. The scenery is as big a star of The Fellowship of the Ring as any of the actors, and this is right and proper. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a world as much as he wrote the people and events on it, and Peter Jackson has given as much attention to his recreation of that world as he has to plot or performance.

I was expecting to be disappointed by this movie, it says a lot for it that I wasn't.

P.S. However, if I ever get my hands on the group behind me who carried on a running commentary throughout, I plan to flay them alive, and boil them in harsh words.

OK, I'll admit when it comes to Lord of the Rings I am a geek, I bloody love it. I started to read the book about 2 and a half years ago, and since then I have read it about 30 times. During the summer I learned that the film was coming out, and since December 19th I have seen it 3 times, and it’s bloody marvelous. I owe a hearty and sincere thanks to Peter Jackson (The Director) and to all of the actors and actresses than have come together to make this wonderful film.

However there were one or two things wrong or missed out from it, I'm not complaining, I know that it was a 3 hour film, but some were just little things.

Tom Bombadil- Left him, his wife, Goldberry (daughter of the River)and Old Man Willow out completely, which is a shame as he is quite a colorful character. They also left out the Barrow Wight, which is when the Hobbits first have to cope with an evil being.

Gandalf's Staff- When Gandalf and Saruman had their Wizard's duel in Orthanc, Saruman captured Gandalf's staff, after he escaped he seemed to have it back again.

Cave Troll- Great Graphics, but we saw in the chamber a shaft of sunlight, so the troll should have turned to stone, of course it could have been moonlight. Or it is possible that the Troll was of the Olog-Hai, meaning he could not be turned to stone by sunlight(in the book the troll didn't even come into the room).

Glorfindel-Or the complete lack of him, the great elf lord seems to have been replaced by Arwen, apparently this is to add a bit of romance to the film and so women are included more.

LothLorien- In the book they stay there for a month, in the film, about one day. And as they leave 'pop' they have elven cloaks all of a sudden, and the fellowship were all given gifts in the book. Come on that could only have added say one minute to the film. The different gifts were as follows: Frodo- The phial of Galadriel,
Sam- A box of Earth from Galadriel's garden and a Mallorn nut,
Legolas- A new bow, stronger and longer than those of Mirkwood,
Aragorn- new sheath for his sword, Anduril, and Elessar, a great stone of a clear green that was wrought in the likeness of an eagle with outspread wings,
Merry and Pippin- Silver belts with gold buckles in the shape of golden flowers,
Boromir- A belt of Gold,
Gimli- She offered him any gift he wanted, and he chose a single strand of her hair, so he may set it in a crystal and keep it as an heirloom. (I believe she gave him three of her hairs instead of one).

Bree-lots was missed out here, but I suppose it wasn't essential, e.g. Bill Ferney.

The Birthday Party- Bilbo was meant to have vanished in a flash of light that Gandalf set up, in the film he just vanished.

Athelas- or Kingsfoil, was supposed to have large, flat, broad leaves nearly the length of a palm, here it was a small bunch of leaves which looked like they belonged in a small flower box.

The Ring- In the film when Frodo puts it on he seems confused and doesn't know where he is going, in the book he hearing is meant to be more precise and everything should be more clear.

Rivendell- In the film when Frodo wakes up in Rivendell the balcony is about the height of his waist, just above knee height for an elf, and it wasn't a room especially for hobbits, the bed was too big.

I'm going to go again soon, so I'll probably add a bit more, but thats all for now. And thank-you everyone for the help.

While many of the errors I saw in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring were simply examples of dramatic license, there were some full-fledged, blasphemous errors.

In Galadriel's words at the beginning of the movie (in the book, these words were spoken by Treebeard, but that's not important): the word 'gwilith' (air as a region) was spoken as 'wilith'.

Arwen, in the phrase “Frodo, im Arwen.” addresses Frodo as ‘Frodo’. However, in Sindarin, his name would be Iorhael (or Taur). Even if she were addressing him with the name he would be most familiar with, she should use ‘Maura’ – Frodo’s name in Westron. (Remember that supposedly Lord of the Rings is a translation by Professor Tolkien of the Red Book of Westmarch, written in Westron. Frodo was a native speaker of Westron.

Bilbo’s book of his adventures (what we know as ‘The Hobbit’) was written in English!

Gandalf and Saruman address each other with their Mannish names. However, since they are both Maiar. They would address each other by their names before they came to Middle EarthOlórin and Curumo respectively.

At the gates of Moria, Gandalf, instead of chanting the spell (the one that begins with “Anon edhellen, edro hi ammen…) completely in Sindarin, switches to Quenya in the middle. Perhaps the fact that his Sindarin counterspell was broken by Saruman’s Quenya avalanche spell previously at Caradhras prompted him to make the decision that Quenya would be more effective.

(No, I didn't remember all the dialogues from memory. I consulted Gwaith-i-Phethdain at http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/)


A minor correction to the above (otherwise excellent)writeup:

In the book Frodo vanished in a flash of light. In the film, he just disappeared.


OK, so they're rather pedantic. And nitpicky. I'm not attacking the movie here; as a matter of fact I'll be the first to tell you that it was very well done. I just tried compiling as many errors as possible for fun.)
This writeup concerns only the book by J.R.R. Tolkien and not the film (which I have not seen). Reading this node may ruin the book for you, as I make no attempt to keep any secrets.

The Fellowship of the Ring continues the story that Tolkien began in The Hobbit. It seems that the ring that Bilbo Baggins took from Gollum was far more important than he had ever imagined. The story begins in the shire many years after the events of The Hobbit.

The first part of the book concerns itself with the events surrounding a birthday party that Bilbo was throwing for both himself and his nephew Frodo. Bilbo has this grand plan of vanishing at the high point of the festivities, and then going off and leaving the shire for good. Bilbo plans his party (and vanishing act) for a long time in advance, and his party proves to be one of the grandest the shire has ever seen. Bilbo goes through with his plans to vanish at the end of his birthday speech, but Gandalf throws in a little bit of magic to make the disappearance seem a bit more like trickery than magic.

Bilbo leaves his ring behind with his nephew Frodo, along with many of his other belongings. Many years pass by and Bilbo still has not returned from his journey (don't worry hobbit friends, he is safe). But Gandalf makes an appearance to let Frodo know that the ring is far more dangerous than they had thought, and that the evil Sauron is searching the whole of Middle Earth looking for it. So Frodo sells Bag End (his hobbit hole, that once belonged to Bilbo) and sets out with Sam Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck, and Pippin Took in hopes of reaching Rivendell. There they hope to find out what they should do from there.

Hobbits being hobbits they quickly get themselves into all kinds of trouble. While traveling through the woods they encounter a dangerous willow tree that attempts to trap them. They are nearly defeated by the tree before Tom Bombadil comes along and frees them. The group stays at Tom's house in the forest and then sets off again.

Our intrepid hobbits soon make their way to the city of Bree. While in Bree they stay at an Inn where they meet Strider who is both a friend of Gandalf and a ranger. They also receive a letter from Gandalf from the innkeeper. The letter warns them that they should leave on their journey immediately, and was dated several months prior. Before leaving the inn Frodo manages to use the ring's power in full view of everyone, and the next morning they find that all their ponies have been stolen (revealed themselves to the enemy it appears).

They soon set out again, this time with Strider leading the way. Black riders who are looking for the ring pursue them constantly. Eventually one of these riders manages to wound Frodo with his sword, injuring him gravely with a wound that isn't just physical. With the help of some elves they manage to temporarily defeat the black riders while crossing a river. The riders are all swept away by a mighty current, and Frodo passes out from his wounds.

Frodo awakens in Rivendell where he learns that Bilbo is indeed still alive and has been living there for quite some time. It is here that Gandalf finally shows himself again. A great council is convened, and they decide that the ring must be destroyed. But doing that will require carrying the ring into Mordor, where the dreaded enemy Sauron has power over the land. They assemble a group of nine (The Fellowship of the Ring) to carry the ring to Mordor. In addition to the hobbits already mentioned the group includes Gandalf, Aragorn (who was known earlier as Strider), Gimli, Legolas, and Boromir. Before they leave Bilbo gives Frodo some of his old adventuring gear, including his mithril coat and his magical sword "Sting" (which glows in the presence of humanoids).

It is winter before the group finally leaves. They make an attempt to pass through the mountains, but it quickly becomes apparent that they will be unable to take that path. So instead they decide (after much debate) to go underneath the mountains, and through the mines of Moria. They travel the fourty mile distance through the mines mostly in the dark. Eventually they end up being pursued by minions of Sauron. They manage to escape, but only because Gandalf sacrifices himself for their safety. Gandalf falls into a pit, so it is still possible that he may be alive, but this book does not let the reader know one way or the other. But all the characters that where with him assume that he perished.

From Moria they go onto Lothlorien, which is an ancient elven forest. They meet up with Galadriel, who is a great elvish leader. She provides them with much information, many magical gifts, and supplies of a more mundane nature as well. She even gives everyone elven cloaks to help them blend into the forest more easily. It is here that they great rift between elves and dwarves begins to mend, as the elves accept Gimli, despite the long standing rules against dwarves in Lothlorien.

The fellowship leaves Lothlorien in several small boats (which I believe were canoes, but the book only seems to describe the wood they were made out of, and not the boats themselves). After a while they learn that they are being pursued by Gollum and that the armies of Sauron are not far behind. After a narrow escape from the enemy, Frodo goes off alone to decide what to do from that point on. Boromir appears and betrays him, attempting to take the ring for himself. Frodo decides that it would be best to finish the journey alone, and he attempts to do just that. But Sam catches him at the last second and convinces Frodo to let him come along.

This is where the book ends. This tale is continued in The Two Towers.


I really enjoyed this novel. I have but one bit of advice for prospective readers. Don't try to read this book all in one sitting like I did. Tolkien loves describing landscapes so much that you will end up not seeing the hobbits for the trees (so to speak). I suggest reading only a single chapter a day, it will be much more enjoyable that way.

The Fellowship of the Ring - 2001 - Directed by Peter Jackson

This review covers the 4 disc extended edition

Running time: 208 minutes. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

Special Features

  • 4 discs (!)
      Discs 1 and 2
    • The movie, along with 4 commentary tracks, including the director, the writers, the cast, and the production/design teams. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh demonstrate their encylopedic knowledge of the books, catching points that only a hard-core Tolkien fan would know.
    • Deleted scenes. Not jumbled together in a separate section of the disc, but all integrated seamlessly into the movie.
  • Disc 3
    • 6 documentaries covering the transition from the book to the idea for the film. Includes documentaries on J.R.R. Tolkien, screenplay adaptation, planning the film, designs of Middle-Earth, and a close look at the effects workshop.
    • Interactive map of Middle-Earth, tracking the path of the Fellowship of the Ring.
    • Gallery of art from the movie, with commentary by the artists.
    • Storyboards with parallel comparisons to the film.
  • Disc 4
    • 11 (!) original documentaries, covering all aspects of the actual production.
    • Photographs from behind the scenes.

Technical stuff

Wow. This is without a doubt the best DVD package I've ever seen, truly worthy of this great film. The deleted scenes deserve special note. Each one is perfectly woven back into the film, with top-notch production values and new music by Howard Shore. They are so seamlessly integrated that it's hard to spot where they begin and end unless one is intimately familiar with every second of the film, but the most noteworthy new scene is the extended departure from Lothlórien. Any fan of the film should get this edition ASAP.

NotBridgetJones sez: re The Fellowship of the Ring: easter egg in the DVD: disc 1 go to chapter selection, put pointer on concil of elrond, move one down (to "Chapters"), and run that link. MTV movie awards spoof is there.

Walter sez: 2nd easter egg: if you do the same on disc 2 (last chapter then keep going down) you get a little icon of The Two Towers. Clicking it will give you a trailer for the 2nd film.

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