The following is a very brief summary taken from BookRags Notes. They also have a more complete chapter-by-chapter summary.

The Fellowship of the Ring

Bilbo Baggins has a splendid birthday party for his nephew, Frodo, and himself. He disappears without warning, using a magic ring he found many years ago. His friend, the wizard Gandalf, convinces him to leave the ring behind with his nephew before he leaves. Years later, Bilbo has not returned and Gandalf calls on Frodo to tell him what he has learned about the ring: the wielder is given ultimate power and Sauron, the harbinger of destruction, is searching for it endlessly. The ring is ancient and was ripped from Sauron many generations before, only to be lost by the victors. It was found by a wretched being named Gollum, from whom Bilbo acquired it. Frodo accepts the task of bearing the ring to a council in the east. His friend Sam, and his nephews, Merry and Pippin, elect to accompany him.

The group travels out of their homeland and into a dangerous forest. Here they are captured by a rogue willow tree and freed by a kind spirit, Tom Bombadil. They leave the house of Tom and enter the forest again. They fall into the trap of a ghostly creature and Tom helps them again. Their journey comes to a brief pause at the city of Bree. In an inn there, they meet with Gandalf’s friend Strider, who is to help them on their way. Frodo makes a fool of himself in the common room of the inn and during the night their ponies are stolen. They head back on the road, on foot. The journey is hard and they must stick to the forest. Black riders, emissaries of Sauron, wound Frodo with a terrible sword and he must be carried. An elf joins their group and they come to a river where all nine of the black riders oppose them. Frodo is sent across the river on the elf’s horse and a flood sweeps the riders away.

They arrive at Rivendell and hold a council on what is to be done with the ring. After much discussion, it is decided that the ring should be destroyed. To do this, it must be taken to a mountain in the evil land of Mordor, home of Sauron. Frodo volunteers to bear the ring there and a company is chosen to go with him. After two months, a company of nine (to match the nine black riders) is assembled. They toil through the winter weather for many days and try to ascend a mountain. It becomes apparent that their only recourse will be to travel forty miles underground. Giant wolves (wargs) pursue them until they find the entrance into ancient mines. Once inside, they travel for a couple days until creatures of Sauron pursue them. Gandalf falls into a pit of darkness while battling an evil creature; he succeeds in making the way safe for the others. They exit the mines.

Now without Gandalf, they wander into Lothlorien, an elf forest where its leader Galadriel helps them. She speaks to them and tells them how to get to Mordor. She also provides them with gifts and supplies. They continue down the river for many days. Eventually they are pushed into rapids as the armies of Sauron gather on one side of the river. They come to a point where they need to make a crucial decision: are they to travel straight into Mordor or go to Gondor, Boromir’s home, first? Frodo is torn by the question and the burden of the decision falls on him. Boromir tries to convince him otherwise, but when he doesn’t agree, he tries to take the ring by force. Frodo uses it to become invisible and he decides to go to Mordor alone. Sam finds him first and the two hobbits set off without the others.

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