About the Book

Book Protagonist: Frodo Baggins
Publication Date: 1954
Genre: Classic, Fantasy, Teen and Young Adult


The Fellowship of the Ring

By J.R.R. Tolkien

'The Fellowship of the Ring' holds a wealth of quotes that expand the reader's understanding of the story and touches deeply on the themes of the book, including friendship, compassion, and the allure of power.

The Fellowship of the Ring‘ by J.R.R Tolkien has become one of the most important books in history. It tackles different elements and topics and poses lessons to its readers through its strong narrative of wisdom, compassion, and valor. It makes the argument that even the smallest and most overlooked people can grow past themselves, and come to hold the faith of the world in their hands.


He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom

Gandalf said this to Saruman after Saruman displayed his new coat that changed colors as he moved, proclaiming that he is no longer Saruman the White but Saruman of Many Colors. This is the first outward sign of the unbecoming of the great wizard and his changing into a corrupt creature of the Dark Lord Sauron.

Saruman sought knowledge above all else, especially knowledge about the Ring of Power. He also sought to use the knowledge he gains to dominate other people. In the end, his hunger for knowledge without the wisdom to understand that there are things best left alone made him vulnerable to Sauron, who broke him and became master over him.

Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you?

This was said to Frodo by the Elf Gildor in the forest outside Woodhall. The Black Riders had been after Frodo and his companions Samwise Gamgee and Peregrin Took, and they had gotten off the road to hide. The Rider, however, sensed that the Ring was nearby and was getting close to their position when the clear voices of Elvish singing filled the air, and it fled. Among the Elves was Gildor, of the House of Finrod, who recognized Frodo and greeted him. He and his companions then joined Gildor at their campsite. As they ate and drank, Frodo asked him questions about the nature of the Black Riders who are pursuing him and also asked for advice about how to go forward on his increasingly perilous journey to Rivendell.


Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved tougher than even one of the Wise would have guessed – as a Hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came through it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past, it was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up such memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things.

Gandalf was explaining to Frodo the sad history of the creature Gollum after he declared his hatred for it. He encouraged Frodo to look upon Gollum with compassion upon the creature because it was originally hobbit-like like Frodo, even though its life took a bad turn after it came into possession of the One Ring. He noted that Gollum had also proved tougher in resisting the Ring than any of the Wise could have guessed. Gollum is an intriguingly ambiguous character. Most of the evil in this book is all evil – there’s no ambiguity. The Orcs are hideous, and the Ringwraiths are terrifying. The fact that Gollum is mostly evil but still has a sliver of his mind that retains the memory of light and fair things, and craves for them. This differentiates him from nearly every other villain in the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ series.

Pity? It was Pity that stayed [Bilbo’s] 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.

As the Fellowship traveled within the mines of Moria, the Hobbits noticed they were being followed by the creature Gollum. Frodo insists that his uncle Bilbo should have killed it when he had the chance under the Misty Mountains, but Gandalf quickly corrected him. He told Frodo about the importance of compassion and how it can protect the heart against evil. This was the most important difference between Bilbo and Sméagol/Gollum. Sméagol began his ownership of the Ring with greed and the murder of his friend. He became a strange, wasted, miserable, crawling creature as a result. Bilbo started his possession of the Ring by refusing to murder Gollum, even though Gollum was a threat to him. And Bilbo goes on to live a long, mostly happy life. This elevates compassion as one of the great virtues in The Fellowship of the Ring.’

Just this, my dear old Frodo: you are miserable because you don’t know how to say goodbye. You meant to leave the Shire, of course. But danger has come on you sooner than you expected, and now you are making up your mind to go at once. And you don’t want to. We are very sorry for you.” Frodo opened his mouth and shut it again. His look of surprise was so comical that they laughed. “Dear old Frodo!” said Pippin. “Did you really think you had thrown dust in all our eyes?

During their conversation at the campsite outside Woodhall, the High Elf Gildor Inglorion advised Frodo not to go alone, but only to take companions who are trustworthy and want to go. In this quote, Merry and Pippin proved that they were aware that something was wrong with Frodo because they knew him so well to be able to tell. They also proved that they are trustworthy enough to keep their suspicions and speculations to themselves since they know he’s worried, and that they are willing to help him in any way they can. Merry and Pippin’s compassion for their friend Frodo provides the foundation for their decision to accompany him on his journey, thus changing both of their fates forever. Compassion plays a huge role in the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ series in determining what will happen to the protagonists – it’s one of the main motivators of the books.

Strength and Power

The Men of Gondor are valiant, and will never submit, but they may be beaten down. Valor needs first strength, and then a weapon. Let the Ring be your weapon, if it has such a power as you say. Take it and go forth to victory!

This quote was made by Boromir at the Council of Elrond in Rivendell. He was sent to the House of Elrond by his father, the Steward Denethor, after he and his brother Faramir had a dream, and a voice in the dream told them to go to Rivendell to seek answers about the shadow rising in the east. When the One Ring was unveiled, and its story told, he demanded that the Ring be used by the Wise against the Dark Lord Sauron. But alas, the Wise knew too well about the influence of the Ring upon even the Wisest and the strongest will. He was told that sooner or later, the Ring will come to dominate the bearer, and not even the purest heart can stand against its corrupting influence.

No! 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. 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.

After Gandalf and Frodo had thrown Bilbo’s ring into the fire and confirmed that it was the One Ring in truth, Frodo frantically thrust the Ring upon Gandalf, demanding that he take it, but Gandalf was alarmed and deathly scared of the Ring and its influences. Gandalf was originally a Maia, just like Sauron, and was, therefore, a very powerful being clothed in a human’s body. He was scared of the powers the Ring would unleash within him, and he knew that though he may seek to do good with the Ring, he would eventually be corrupted, and he would become as much a terrible being as the Dark Lord himself.


How did Saruman become corrupted?

Saruman deeply studied Ringlore, and slowly he began to be consumed by a desire for the One Ring. He then gained access to Isengard and the Tower of Orthanc so he could spy on Sauron to learn his secrets. Saruman had also grown prideful and sought to control others, bending them to his will. As he spied on Sauron, his presence was noted, and Sauron showed him deceptive visions of his power and majesty, making him lose all hope in Sauron’s defeat.

Why did Bilbo leave the Shire for Rivendell?

Above all else, Bilbo missed days of adventure and wanted to experience it once again. the Ring was also another factor. Sauron was rising in the East, and the Ring was desperate to return to its master, and since Bilbo seldom used it there was little chance of its location ever being discovered by the servants of Sauron. It fanned Bilbo’s desire for adventure, intending to betray him at the best opportunity like it betrayed Isildur at the Gladden Fields.

Why did the Black Rider run away at the sound of Elvish singing?

The approaching Elves sang to Elbereth, who was Valda, the most powerful of the female Valar. The song invokes the power of Valda and calls her attention to the devotee who uttered the prayer. It was inimical against the forces of evil. The Black Rider would have also sensed the presence of Gildor Inglorion and other High Elves who had once lived in Valinor and were, therefore, too powerful for him to withstand alone.

How did Bilbo discover the One Ring?

During his adventures outlined in The Hobbit,’ Bilbo Baggins had gotten separated from Gandalf and the rest of his Dwarf companions in the goblin mines under the Misty Mountains. As he groped about in the dark tunnels close to the dwelling of the creature Gollum, his hand brushed on the Ring. It was warm and shone in the dark, so the Hobbit put it in his pocket.

About Michael Chude
Michael Chude graduated with a BSc in Parasitology and Entomology. He has years of experience writing flash fiction and dissecting books with his book club members. He is also an avid reader who loves great stories and breathtaking world-building.
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