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Course Hero. "The Lord of the Rings Study Guide." December 2, 2016. Accessed November 13, 2018.


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The Lord of the Rings | Quotes


The Road goes ever on and on/Down from the door where it began.

Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1, Chapter 1)

This is part of a song Bilbo sings as he bids farewell to his home after giving up the Ring to Frodo. It suggests that the "Road"—a journey, an adventure, a story—once begun, does not end. In addition, one small step may set a person on the Road—one choice or event. The Road in Tolkien mythology is also known as the East Road, a road leading the traveler from the familiar and comfortable into the strange and dangerous (Mordor always lies to the east). As Frodo recalls Bilbo saying, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door ... You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."—"The Fellowship of the Ring" (Book 1, Chapter 3)


One Ring to rule them all .../... and in the darkness bind them.

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1, Chapter 2)

This is part of a longer poem pertaining to the magic rings. The words are inscribed on the One Ring—the ruling ring. The other rings are the three held by elves, seven given to Dwarves, and the nine given to the Men who became the Nazgûl. The One Ring was forged secretly to take command of all the others.


All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1, Chapter 2)

Speaking to one of the core moral ideas expressed in Tolkien's work, Gandalf replies with these words to Frodo's complaint about the reemergence of the Ring and the growing power of Sauron: "I wish it need not have happened in my time."


Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1, Chapter 2)

Gandalf tells Frodo it was Bilbo's showing pity and mercy to Gollum that allowed Bilbo to resist the corrupting effects of the Ring's power. Later, Gandalf's words come back to Frodo when he, too, must choose between pity and violence.


Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?

Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1, Chapter 2)

Gandalf reprimands Frodo for wishing Bilbo had killed Gollum. This foreshadows how Gollum will be instrumental in the success of Frodo's quest, a development which could not even be foreseen by the wise.


"It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish," as my old gaffer used to say.

Sam, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 2, Chapter 7)

The Fellowship rests in Lothlórien after losing Gandalf, but as time passes Sam feels the urgency of the quest. He recalls advice from his father—the "old gaffer"—about the importance of beginning tasks rather than putting them off. Simple, yet wise advice from a simple, yet wise old man.


I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy.

Gimli, The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 2, Chapter 8)

Gimli feels he was unprepared for the bitterness of leaving behind the beauty of Lothlórien, and especially the Lady Galadriel.


No, they never end as tales ... But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended.

Frodo, The Two Towers (Book 4, Chapter 8)

This is Frodo's reply to Sam's question, "Why, to think of it, we're in the same tale still! It's going on. Don't the great tales never end?" This exchange encapsulates the idea that Frodo's quest is just one small segment of a larger, grander story that began long before, and will continue on after people play their part in the tale. It is part of the view that history is one long story.


But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter.

Éowyn, The Return of the King (Book 5, Chapter 6)

Éowyn speaks these words in response to the Lord of the Nazgûl's challenge: "Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!" They show the determination and courage of Éowyn, and the way assumptions about who is powerful, and who is not, cause Sauron and his followers to overlook the real threats to their power, which come from unexpected sources.


I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me.

Frodo, The Return of the King (Book 6, Chapter 9)

After completing his quest, purging the Shire of corruption, and returning to a peaceful life, Frodo realizes he personally will never be completely healed, but instead will bear the scars of war as long as he remains in Middle-earth. Although he believes his sacrifice was worth it, he decides to depart with Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Elves across the sea, leaving Middle-earth forever.

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