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The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring


by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring Book 2, Chapter 1 Summary

Many Meetings

  • Frodo wakes up in a bed.
  • He asks, "Where am I, and what is the time?" (2.1.2)
  • The voice of Gandalf answers: "In the House of Elrond, and it is ten o'clock in the morning" (2.1.3).
  • Gandalf!
  • It is October 24th.
  • Frodo asks if all the others are all right – they are.
  • Gandalf explains that Frodo was beginning to fade at the Ford of Bruinen.
  • He reached Rivendell just in time for Elrond's medicine to save him.
  • Gandalf scolds Frodo a bit for some of his choices on the road.
  • But on the whole, he thinks Frodo did very well "to have come so far, and through such dangers, still bearing the Ring" (2.1.12).
  • Gandalf promises that Frodo will hear all the news of Gandalf's delay, but not until he is a bit better.
  • Frodo admits that, without Aragorn, they never would have made it to Rivendell.
  • Gandalf confirms that Aragorn is something special – in fact, he's one of the few who still has the blood of the old Kings from over the Sea.
  • Frodo is amazed that Strider is a descendant of the Men of Westernesse, but Gandalf confirms that that is what the Rangers are: "the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West" (2.1.28).
  • Gandalf also tells Frodo that he has been sleeping for four days; he arrived at Rivendell on October 20th.
  • Frodo wonders why they can see the Ringwraiths' horses when the Ringwraiths themselves only become visible when he is wearing the Ring.
  • Gandalf answers that the horses are real animals, bred and raised in Sauron's service. He has all kinds of servants – it's not just Ringwraiths and Orcs.
  • Frodo also mentions a white figure he saw across the river; Gandalf confirms that it was Glorfindel as he appears in the other world.
  • After all, Glorfindel is a prince among Elves.
  • To Gandalf's eyes, Frodo is quickly recovering.
  • But Gandalf also sees that Frodo has changed, with "just a hint as it were of transparency" (2.1.51).
  • Gandalf explains to Frodo that Glorfindel knew the River Bruinen would flood when the Ringwraiths tried to cross, so he lit a fire and prepared for battle on that side of the river.
  • Faced with Aragorn and an Elf-lord, the Ringwraiths lost courage and their horses went crazy with fear.
  • So three Ringwraiths were carried away in the first river flood and the rest followed when their horses plunged into the river out of madness.
  • Their horses drowned, but the Ringwraiths will be back as soon as they can find new steeds.
  • Sam, Pippin, Merry, Aragorn, and Glorfindel crossed the Bruinen after the Ringwraiths were swept away.
  • They found Frodo lying pale and cold on his face with a broken sword under him, so they brought him to Rivendell and Elrond's healing.
  • The plan is to have a feast tonight to celebrate the events of the Ford of Bruinen.
  • Frodo falls asleep content.
  • He wakes up in the evening and dresses for the feast.
  • Sam comes in and takes his left hand; he is relieved to feel that it is warm.
  • He leads Frodo to Elrond's garden, where the other Hobbits and Gandalf are waiting.
  • Merry and Pippin are delighted to see Frodo up and about.
  • They go to the hall of Elrond's house: there are lots of Elves, of course, but also other guests.
  • Frodo sees Arwen, Elrond's lovely daughter, for the first time.
  • A Dwarf of great importance sits next to Frodo: Glóin, one of the original thirteen Dwarves who hired Bilbo to help them fight the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit.
  • He tells Frodo all about what has become of Bilbo's original companions.
  • Most of them – Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and Glóin himself – are fine, living with Dáin, the King Under the Mountain.
  • But three of them have met an unknown fate: Balin, Ori, and Óin. It's because of those three that Glóin has come to the Council of Elrond.
  • Frodo exclaims, "How surprised Bilbo would have been to see all the changes in the Desolation of Smaug" (2.1.105).
  • Glóin sees how fond Frodo is of Bilbo.
  • The feast ends, and Frodo walks a bit with Gandalf. They go to the Hall of Fire, where there will be singing late into the night.
  • There is a small dark figure leaning against a pillar; Elrond goes to him and wakes this figure and then beckons Frodo. The figure is Bilbo! Bilbo!
  • Frodo is amazed and delighted that Bilbo is in Rivendell.
  • Bilbo tells Frodo that he had been watching over him while he was unconscious.
  • Bilbo has thinking up a song, but he wants his friend "the Dúnadan" to help him with it. Frodo and Bilbo sit together, and Sam soon joins them.
  • It turns out that Bilbo never got much further than Rivendell once he left the Shire.
  • It's peaceful and happy in Rivendell: "Time doesn't seem to pass here: it just is. A remarkable place altogether" (2.1.121).
  • Bilbo has heard about the Ring, and is surprised that an old bauble of his has been such trouble. He asks if Frodo has the Ring here.
  • Frodo brings the Ring out reluctantly; it's hanging on a chain around his neck.
  • Bilbo puts out his hand to touch it, but Frodo pulls it away.
  • He sees Bilbo as "a little wrinkled creature with a hungry face and bony groping hands" (2.1.127).
  • Bilbo tells Frodo, "I understand now [...] Put it away! I am sorry: sorry you have come in for this burden: sorry about everything" (2.1.128).
  • While catching Bilbo up on all of the news of the Shire, Frodo is interrupted by the appearance of Aragorn.
  • Aragorn is the Dúnadan (from the Elvish dún-adan, Man of the West, Númenorean).
  • Bilbo wants Aragorn to help him polish the song he's working on for performance that night.
  • Frodo begins to doze as he listens to the music and Bilbo's verses.
  • Bilbo sings of Eärendil, the ancestor of the Men of Westernesse, who became the Morning and Evening Stars.
  • Frodo wakes up and sees that Bilbo is surrounded by a ring of listeners.
  • They ask Bilbo to sing the song a second time so they can answer his question: he had asked which verses were Bilbo's and which were Aragorn's.
  • Bilbo pretends to be offended that they can't tell the difference.
  • The Elves tease him: "To sheep other sheep no doubt appear different [...] But Mortals have not been our study" (2.1.149).
  • Bilbo is pleased; the verses were all Bilbo's, and he doesn't often get asked for an encore.
  • In fact, Aragorn seemed to think it was a bit cheeky of Bilbo to be singing about Eärendil at all.
  • Frodo is getting tired, and Bilbo says it's fine if they slip off to bed.
  • As they leave the Hall of Fire, Frodo hears the Elves singing, "A Elbereth Golthoniel,/ silivren penna miriel" (2.1.154).
  • Frodo looks over and sees Elrond and Arwen sitting near one another, with Aragorn standing next to Arwen.
  • The light of Arwen's eyes "[fall] on [Frodo] from afar and [pierce] his heart" (2.1.158).
  • But Bilbo pulls Frodo away; they will go on singing late into the night.
  • They chat more about "the small news of the Shire far away" (2.1.160).
  • Sam knocks on the door and asks if Frodo needs anything. What Sam really means is that it is time for Frodo to go to bed; there will be a Council early the next morning, and Frodo needs his rest.

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