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Gandalf the Grey Timeline and Summary

  • Gandalf arrives at the Shire to help Bilbo finish off his lavish birthday party.
  • When Bilbo prepares to leave the Shire without giving the Ring to Frodo, Gandalf strongly encourages Bilbo to let the Ring go.
  • Once Gandalf sees how strangely Bilbo is behaving around the Ring, he starts to suspect that something is off.
  • Gandalf travels to Gondor to find out what he can about the Ring.
  • He finds a manuscript from the hand of Isildur himself, in which Isildur describes the fiery letters that appear on the band of the One Ring if it is heated.
  • Gandalf rushes back to the Shire to find Frodo and test the Ring.
  • The Ring does show the fiery letters. Gandalf recognizes the Ring and warns Frodo never to use it.
  • Gandalf tells Frodo he must leave the Shire, and that he should bring a companion: Sam, Frodo's gardener.
  • As Frodo is making preparations to take off, Gandalf rides to Isengard to consult with the leader of the Council of the Wise, Saruman the White.
  • This turns out to be a bad idea: Saruman has betrayed the Council and Gandalf, and has gone over to Sauron's side.
  • Saruman is certain that Gandalf knows something about where the One Ring is.
  • Saruman imprisons Gandalf at the top of his tower, Orthanc, to force him to confess.
  • If Gandalf does not speak to Saruman, he will have to talk to Sauron himself, Saruman warns.
  • But Gandalf gets rescued by Gwaihir the Windlord, the eagle.
  • Gwaihir takes Gandalf to Rohan, where Gandalf takes Shadowfax, the horse, and rides as quickly as possible to the Shire.
  • He wants to see if he can catch up with Frodo.
  • At Bree, Gandalf finds out that Butterbur the innkeeper did not send the letter Gandalf had left for Frodo, telling Frodo to hurry up and leave the Shire.
  • Butterbur informs Gandalf that the Hobbits have fallen in with Strider. Gandalf is delighted to hear it.
  • Gandalf travels to Rivendell, where he arrives only a day before Frodo himself does.
  • At the Council of Elrond, Gandalf recounts everything he knows about Saruman's betrayal and the history of the Ring. He advises that they must destroy it.
  • Gandalf leads the Fellowship to the mountain of Caradhras.
  • But when the weather proves too dire to cross the mountain, Gandalf takes the Fellowship down into the Mines of Moria.
  • There, Gandalf battles the Balrog of Morgoth, a demon of the Elder Days.
  • Gandalf throws the Balrog off the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, but the Balrog's whip snakes up as the Balrog falls.
  • The whip catches Gandalf and brings him down into the pit with the Balrog.
  • Gandalf is gone.
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