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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Gandalf, Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli enlist the men of
Rohan, whose country is threatened by Saruman's growing
power, to join the fight against the wizard. With the help of
the Ents, Saruman is overthrown.

Frodo and Sam, meanwhile, begin their long journey
toward Mordor. They are followed by Gollum, the
miserable creature who owned the Ring before Bilbo found
it. Frodo and Sam capture him and make him promise to
help them. Gollum guides them to a secret passage into
Mordor. But in doing so, he also treacherously leads them
into a trap. The secret passage he takes them through is the
lair of a giant spider named Shelob, who he hopes will kill
them so he can recover the Ring.

Shelob attacks Frodo, paralyzing him with her sting.
Thinking that Frodo is dead, Sam charges the spider and
succeeds in driving her off. Then he takes the Ring,
intending to carry on the quest. Before he can leave,
however, some orcs find Frodo's body and carry it into their
fortress. Sam overhears them say that Frodo isn't dead, but
only poisoned. Then the gates of the tower close behind the
orcs, and Sam finds himself locked out.

Meanwhile, the others fight desperately to save Minas
Tirith, the capital of Gondor, from Sauron's army. Against
great odds, they win. Aragorn proves his claim to kingship
by his great healing power: it is said that the hands of a
king are the hands of a healer. But he doesn't yet claim the
throne. First he leads what remains of the army to the gates
of Mordor. Against Sauron's might they seem pitifully
weak. Their only hope is to distract Sauron while Frodo
and Sam travel through Mordor and destroy the Ring. If
Frodo succeeds, Sauron will fall. If Frodo fails, they will all
die or be enslaved.

Inside Mordor, Sam has managed to rescue Frodo from
Sauron's orcs. The two hobbits creep through the desolate
landscape of Mordor. Frodo grows so weak from resisting
the power of the Ring that he can barely crawl, and Sam
carries him for a while. When they at last reach the Crack
of Doom where the Ring is to be destroyed, Frodo's will
snaps, and he claims the Ring as his own. But Gollum
appears and fights him for the Ring, biting it off Frodo's
hand. Still gloating, Gollum falls into the flames and is
destroyed along with the Ring. With the Ring destroyed,
Sauron is vanquished forever. Frodo and Sam are rescued
from the ruins of Mordor by eagles, and together with
Aragorn's army, they return to Minas Tirith in triumph.

There is much feasting and rejoicing as Aragorn is declared
king and marries Arwen, the daughter of Elrond. The
hobbits have all become heroes. But now they are ready to
go home, and they head for the Shire. When they get back,
however, they find that things have changed. Saruman has
gained control, along with his ruffians, and is bullying the
hobbits and destroying the beautiful countryside of the
Shire. But Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin have learned
much from their adventures and quickly set things right.

All seems well, until Frodo falls sick. He has been
wounded too many times-by the Black Rider's knife, by
the Ring, and by Gollum. It is ironical that even though he
saved the Shire, he cannot enjoy it anymore. One autumn
day he sets sail with Bilbo and Gandalf across the sea to the
Blessed Realm, where he may at last find peace.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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