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The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

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The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy saga by the British author J. R. R. Tolkien, his most popular work and a sequel to his popular fantasy novel, The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings was written during World War II and originally published in three volumes in 1954 and 1955. It is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of twentieth-century literature.

Although a major work in itself, The Lord of the Rings is merely the last movement of a larger mythological cycle which Tolkien called his legendarium. The action is mainly set in what is conceived to be the lands of the real Earth inhabited by humanity but placed in a fictional time. Tolkien called this setting by a modern English rendering of the Old English Middangeard: Middle-earth.

Despite its popularity, Tolkien did not consider The Lord of the Rings his magnum opus; he bestowed that honour upon The Silmarillion. Whereas The Lord of the Rings is a story and literary venture, The Silmarillion is the basis of an entire legendarium, which provides the historical and linguistic context for the more popular work and his constructed languages.

Three film adaptations have been made of the story told by the books: the first, by animator Ralph Bakshi, was released in 1978 (as the first part of what was originally intended to be a two-part adaptation of the story); the second, a 1980 television special; and the third, director Peter Jackson's film trilogy, released in three installments in 2001, 2002, and 2003. There are also two Collectible Card Games and multiple video games that take place in the Middle-earth.

Back story

The back story begins thousands of years before the action in the trilogy, with the rise of the eponymous Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord Sauron, a malevolent incarnated spiritual being who possesses great supernatural powers and is the ruler of the dreaded realm of Mordor.

At the end of the First Age of Middle-earth, Sauron survives the catastrophic defeat and exile of his master, the diabolos figure, Morgoth. During the Second Age, Sauron schemes to gain dominion over Middle-earth. In disguise as "Annatar", or Lord of Gifts, he aids Celebrimbor and the other Elven-smiths of Eregion in the forging of the Rings of Power, but then secretly forges the One Ring by which he could enslave their wearers. This plan fails when the Elves become aware of him and take off their rings. Sauron then launches a military campaign during which he captures the Seven Rings and the Nine Rings and distributes them to lords of the Dwarves and Men respectively. The Dwarves prove too tough to enslave, but the Men who possess the Nine are slowly corrupted over time and eventually become the Nazgыl, his most feared servants. The Three, he fails to capture, and they remain in the possession of the Elves.

The king of Nъmenor, Ar-Pharazфn, arrives with overwhelming force. Sauron yields to the Nъmenуreans, and is taken to Nъmenor as a prisoner. The Valar, Lords of Valinor, want Sauron turned over to them, but Sauron had already started to poison the minds of the Nъmenуreans against them. Thus, Sauron sets into motion the events that bring about Nъmenor's destruction, by corrupting the king's mind, leading to an attempted invasion of Valinor and unleashing the wrath of Ilъvatar upon the Nъmenуreans, their land and Sauron. This nearly destroys him but he returns in spirit to Mordor, assumes a new form, and launches an attack against the Nъmenуrean exiles (the faithful), that have escaped to Middle-earth. However, the exiles (led by Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anбrion) have time to prepare, and forming the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with the king of the Eldar Gil-galad they march against Mordor and besiege Barad-dыr, at which time Anбrion is slain. Sauron himself is ultimately forced to engage in single combat with the leaders. Gil-galad and Elendil perish as they combat Sauron, and Elendil's sword Narsil breaks beneath him. Isildur cuts the One Ring from Sauron's hand with the hilt-shard of Narsil, and at this Sauron's spirit flees and does not reappear for many centuries.

So begins the Third Age of Middle-earth. Two years later while journeying to Rivendell, Isildur is ambushed by a band of Orcs and killed at the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. The Ring slips from his finger into the Great River Anduin and is lost for millennia.

In The Hobbit, the prologue to the saga, Tolkien relates the story of the seemingly accidental finding of the Ring by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. However, the tale related in The Hobbit is myopic in scope, and neither Bilbo nor the wizard Gandalf (nor the reader) are aware at this point that the magic ring is actually the evil One Ring forged by the Dark Lord.

Synopsis

The Lord of the Rings takes up the story about 60 years after the end of The Hobbit. The story begins when the hobbit Frodo Baggins comes into possession of a magic ring found by his uncle Bilbo. Bilbo's friend, the wizard Gandalf, discovers that this is in fact the Ring of Power, the instrument of Sauron's power and the object for which the Dark Lord has been searching since the end of the Second Age.

Evading Sauron's servants, the sinister Ringwraiths, Frodo, on Gandalf's request and with the help of his loyal friend Samwise Gamgee, smuggles the Ring to a high council attended by representatives of the major races of Middle-Earth. In Rivendell, the location of the council, it is decided that the only course of action that can save Middle-Earth is to destroy the Ring by taking it to Mordor and casting into the fires of the volcano Mount Doom, where it was forged.

Frodo volunteers for the task, and a "Fellowship of the Ring" is formed to aid him on his task. However, by the end of the first volume it has been scattered, leaving Frodo and Sam to make the trip to Mordor on their own, assisted only by the dangerous creature Gollum, formerly of a race Gandalf describes as "not unlike hobbits". Gollum had possessed the Ring before it passed to Bilbo. A slave to the Ring's evil power, Gollum ostensibly helps the hobbits, but secretly he plots to destroy them and regain his "Precious".

At the same time the man the hobbits know as "Strider" is revealed to be Aragorn, the heir to the kingship of the realms of Men. It is also revealed to the Hobbits that Sauron's forces can only be resisted if Aragorn takes up his inheritance and fulfills an ancient prophecy by wielding the sword Anduril, which has been forged anew from the shards of Narsil, the sword that cut the Ring from Sauron's finger

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