• The Hobbit-1937

A fantasy novel and children’s book, The Hobbit is the predecessor to the much darker LOTR trilogy.  The story follows Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who is tricked by the wizard Gandalf, in accompanying him and twelve dwarfs on a quest.  It is Bilbo’s role to act as the “burglar” as they attempt to steal treasure from the dragon, Smaug, at the Lonely Mountain.

During the quest however, they are captured by Goblins in the Misty Mountains.  While Gandalf saves them, Bilbo becomes lost in the mountain, where he comes across Sauron’s ring and the peculiar creature, Gollum.

The Hobbit includes the entry of the black forest Mirkwood, stealing an ancient artifact and the Battle of Five Armies, but Bilbo succeeds in his role as burglar.

  • The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring-1954

The Fellowship of The Ring is the first of the three LOTR novels and is the successor to The Hobbit.

The story follows Frodo Baggins, after he inherits Sauron’s ring from his uncle, Bilbo, and learns from the wizard Gandalf that he has to travel to Mordor to destroy it.

Frodo, along with fellow hobbits Sam, Merry and Pippin travel to Rivendell where a fellowship is created, including the elf Legolas, dwarf Gimli and Aragorn.  However, the power of the ring starts to affect Frodo and he sets off alone with Sam, breaking the fellowship.

  • The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers-1954

The second book in the trilogy begins with the death of Boromir, who tells Aragorn that Frodo and Sam left because he tried to take the ring off them, and that Merry and Pippin have been taken captive by the Orcs.

Merry and Pippin have escaped from the Orcs and end up in the Fangorn Forest where they become allies with the massive talking, walking trees, the Ents.

Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn come across Gandalf The White, who they had previously thought had died in the subterranean lakes under Moria.  They also find Merry and Pippin who are working with the Ents.

Meanwhile, Sam and Frodo capture the creature Gollum who has been stalking them.  Gollum pretends to be good and volunteers to be their guide, instead leading them willingly into the giant spider Shelob’s lair.  The spider bites Frodo, and when Sam appears to see him lifeless he takes the ring from him and decides to finish the quest himself.

  • The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King-1955

The last book of the trilogy begins with Frodo surviving the bite from Shelob, but being captured by the Orcs.  Meanwhile, Merry and Pippin deliver the news to Minas Tirith, where they watch the war unfold.

Aragon, Gimli, Legolas and Gandalf begin a fight on the Black Gate to distract the eye of Sauron from seeing Frodo and Sam as they try to destroy the ring.

At the same time, Sam, who now is the holder of the ring, rescues Frodo from the Orcs and they escape, disguised by orcish armour.  The distraction by Gandalf appears to be successful as almost all the Orcs are fighting at the Black Gate and Mordor is left almost empty.

Sam and Frodo finally reach the Crack of Doom, where Frodo succumbs to the Ring’s power and puts it on.   However, at that moment, Gollum returns where he bites off Frodo’s finger, ending up with the ring himself.  At this moment he trips and falls into the fires of Mordor, killing himself and destroying the ring.

three books, black covers The Lord of The Rings-(image taken from http://www.3.bp.blogspot.com)