The Lord of the Rings Questions and Answers
by J. R. R. Tolkien

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How does the story of the Lord of the Rings start?

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The Lord of the Rings is an epic of the fate of the world of Middle Earth, a classic tale of good vs. evil.  Middle Earth is populated by four main races: Elves, Dwarves, Men, and an evil race of orcs, goblins, and wraiths.

The story begins with the creation of the Rings of Power.  The most powerful of each race (including the evil races) created magic rings which held the power to govern its members.  The Lord of the evil races, Sauron, created a "master" ring that held power over each of the others and, as a result, all races of Middle Earth.

Sauron proceeds to establish and expand an empire marked by war, fire, and darkness.  The races of elves and men unite to defeat the armies of Sauron and cut off the hand upon which he wore the One Ring....

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beden7 | Student

The story begins with Bilbo preparing for his 111th birthday party, a good deal of time later than his return from his adventure in _The Hobbit_. At this time, the reader is introduced to his nephew Frodo, who also tends to have some unhobbit-like characteristics along with his friends Merry and Pippin. Gandalf's return to The Shire to liven up Bilbo's party brings unexpected consequences, including Gandalf's revelation that the ring which Bilbo found during his adventure is actually a Ring of Power. After Bilbo's unexpected disappearance in front of a large audience of birthday gatherers, he prepares to leave The Shire with Gandalf and follow's Gandalf's mandate that he leave the Ring to his nephew Frodo. And so Frodo's adventures begin.