The Fellowship of the Ring
1954 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien
- For quotes from the movie adaptations, see The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
A Long-expected PartyEdit
- When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
- First sentence
- I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
- Bilbo's farewell speech
- The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
- 'It was a compliment,' said Merry Brandybuck, 'and so, of course, not true.'
The Shadow of the PastEdit
- Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
- In the story this is a translation of a verse in the Black Speech.
- 'You say the ring is dangerous, far more dangerous than I guess. In what way?'
'In many ways,' answered the wizard. 'It is far more powerful than I ever dared to think at first, so powerful that in the end it would utterly overcome anyone of mortal race who possessed it. It would possess him.'
- 'Sooner or later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last. Sooner or later the Dark Power will devour him.'
- He thought the ring was very beautiful, and very useful at need; and if anything was wrong or queer, it was himself. He said that it was "growing on his mind", and he was always worrying about it; but he did not suspect that the ring itself was to blame.
- 'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'
- 'What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!'
'Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.'
- Frodo and Gandalf
- Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it. And he is bound up with the fate of the Ring. My heart tells me that he has some part to play yet, for good or ill, before the end; and when that comes, the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many – yours not least.
- 'You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?’
'No!' cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. 'With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.' His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. 'Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.'
Three is CompanyEdit
- He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- I don't know, and I would rather not guess.
- Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
- But it is not your own Shire. Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.
- Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
- Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.
- ...Seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.
- 'But where shall I find courage?' asked Frodo. 'Courage is found in unlikely places,' said Gildor. 'Be of good hope! Sleep now!'
- Frodo and Gildor
A Short Cut to MushroomsEdit
- 'They seem a bit above my likes and dislikes, so to speak,' answered Sam slowly. 'It don't seem to matter what I think about them. They are quite different from what I expected – so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.'
- Sam speaking of the Elves.
- 'Short cuts make delays, but inns make longer ones.'
- Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go,
But under a tall tree I will lie,
And let the clouds go sailing by.
- Sam and Pippin
A Conspiracy UnmaskedEdit
- 'Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon's throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet.'
- Said by Pippin
In the House of Tom BombadilEdit
- 'Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?'
- Tom Bombadil to Frodo.
- 'Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless – before the Dark Lord came from Outside.'
- Tom Bombadil
- There were fortresses on the heights. Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. There was victory and defeat; and towers fell, fortresses were burned, and flames went up into the sky. Gold was piled on the biers of dead kings and queens; and mounds covered them, and the stone doors were shut; and the grass grew over all.
- There's earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers; wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open.
- Tom Bombadil, speaking of Farmer Maggot
- Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadilo!
By water, wood and hill, by reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!
- Then Tom put the Ring round the end of his little finger and held it up to the candlelight. For a moment the hobbits noticed nothing strange about this. Then they gasped. There was no sign of Tom disappearing!
Fog on the Barrow-DownsEdit
- That night they heard no noises. But either in his dreams or out of them, he could not tell which, Frodo heard a sweet singing running in his mind: a song that seemed to come like a pale light behind a grey rain-curtain, and growing stronger to turn the veil all to glass and silver, until at last it was rolled back, and a far green country opened before him under a swift sunrise.
- Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed.
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
In the black wind the stars shall die,
and till on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lofts his hand
over dead sea and withered land.
- There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow.
- Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master:
His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.
- All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
A Knife in the DarkEdit
- Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Of him the harpers sadly sing:
the last whose realm was fair and free
between the Mountains and the Sea.
His sword was long, his lance was keen,
his shining helm afar was seen;
the countless stars of heaven's field
were mirrored in his silver shield.
But long ago he rode away,
and where he dwelleth none can say;
for into darkness fell his star
in Mordor where the shadows are.
- He is not half through yet, and to what he will come in the end not even Elrond can foretell. Not to evil, I think. He may become like a glass filled with a clear light for eyes to see that can.
- But all such places will soon become islands under siege, if things go on as they are going. The Dark Lord is putting forth all his strength.
- Gandalf to Frodo
- I am sorry: sorry you have come in for this burden; sorry about everything. Don't adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.
- Bilbo to Frodo
- Time doesn't seem to pass here: it just is.
- Bilbo to Frodo, of Rivendell
The Council of ElrondEdit
- ...in the wearing of the swift years of Middle-earth the line of Meneldil son of Anárion failed, and the Tree withered, and the blood of the Númenoreans became mingled with that of lesser men. Then the watch upon the walls of Mordor slept, and dark things crept back to Gorgoroth. And on a time evil things came forth, and they took Minas Ithil and abode in it, and they made it into a place of dread; and it is called Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery.
- Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur's Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.
- Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us.
- And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names. 'Strider' I am to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet we would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so.
- It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill. But such falls and betrayals, alas, have happened before.
- Elrond, of Saruman
- I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First; and then Night will come.
- It is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.
- We must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril – to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.
- We cannot use the Ruling Ring. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil. Its strength, Boromir, is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have already a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier peril. The very desire of it corrupts the heart.
- If any of the Wise should with this Ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear. And that is another reason why the Ring should be destroyed: as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so. I fear to take the Ring to hide it. I will not take the Ring to wield it.
- Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.
- Let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.
- This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
- I had thought of putting: and he lived happily ever afterwards to the end of his days. It is a good ending, and none the worse for having been used before. Now I shall have to alter that: it does not look like coming true.
- 'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way.'
- This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it? Or, if they are wise, why should they expect to know it, until the hour has struck?
The Ring Goes SouthEdit
- 'Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,' said Gimli.
'Maybe,' said Elrond, 'but let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.'
'Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,' said Gimli.
'Or break it,' said Elrond.
A Journey in the DarkEdit
- At last Frodo spoke. 'I do not wish to go,' he said; 'but neither do I wish to refuse the advice of Gandalf. I beg that there should be no vote, until we have slept on it. Gandalf will get votes easier in the light of the morning than in this cold gloom. How the wind howls!'
At these words all fell into silent thought. They heard the wind hissing among the rocks and trees, and there was a howling and wailing round them in the empty spaces of the night.
Suddenly Aragorn leapt to his feet. 'How the wind howls!' he cried. 'It is howling with wolf-voices. The Wargs have come west of the Mountains!'
The Bridge of Khazad-dûmEdit
- Well, well! That's over! I have done all that I could. But I have met my match, and have nearly been destroyed. But don't stand here! Go on!
- 'You cannot pass,' he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.'
- With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone.
- Gandalf falling into the chasm above which the Bridge of Khazad-dûm had stood
- In nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.
- The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.
- Haldir to the Fellowship
- I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.
- As Frodo prepared to follow him, he laid his hand upon the tree beside the ladder: never before had he been so suddenly and so keenly aware of the feel and texture of a tree's skin and of the life within it. He felt a delight in wood and the touch of it, neither as forester nor as carpenter; it was the delight of the living tree itself.
The Mirror of GaladrielEdit
- 'Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!' said Aragorn sternly. 'You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself.'
- It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.
- Attributed by Sam to his "old gaffer"
- I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be.
- You may learn something, and whether what you see be fair or evil, that may be profitable, and yet it may not. Seeing is both good and perilous.
- Galadriel to Frodo
- 'And what do you wish?' he said at last.
'That what should be shall be,' she answered.
- Frodo and Galadriel
- I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?
'And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!'
She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
'I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.'
- Did not Gandalf tell you that the rings give power according to the measure of each possessor? Before you could use that power you would need to become far stronger, and to train your will to the domination of others.
Farewell to LórienEdit
- Oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.
- It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues, yet that is not true of Gimli. For none have ever made to me a request so bold and yet so courteous...I do not foretell, for all foretelling is now vain: on the one hand lies darkness, and on the other only hope. But if hope should not fail, then I say to you, Gimli son of Glóin, that your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion.
- 'Tell me, Legolas, why did I come on this Quest? Little did I know where the chief peril lay! Truly Elrond spoke, saying that we could not foresee what we might meet upon our road. Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy.'
- 'Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror, be it clear as Kheled-zâram. Or so says the heart of Gimli the Dwarf. Elves may see things otherwise. Indeed I have heard that for them memory is more like to the waking world than to a dream. Not so for Dwarves.'
The Great RiverEdit
- 'Time does not tarry ever,' he said; 'but change and growth is not in all things and places alike. For the Elves the world moves, and it moves both very swift and very slow. Swift, because they themselves change little, and all else fleets by: it is a grief to them. Slow, because they do not count the running years, not for themselves. Yet beneath the Sun all things must wear to an end at last.'
The Breaking of the FellowshipEdit
- 'Whoa, Sam Gamgee!' he said aloud. 'Your legs are too short, so use your head!'
- It is no good trying to escape you. But I'm glad, Sam. I cannot tell you how glad. Come along! It is plain that we were meant to go together. We will go, and may the others find a safe road!