Introducing Tolkien's universe

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Before you watch the new Hobbit film, ‘The Desolation of Smaug’, you might need to brush up on your knowledge of Tolkien’s fantasy universe, starting with the Lord of the Rings series. Caution: spoilers plenty!

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

The One Ring, a ring with corrupting influence, is forged by Sauron, a Dark Lord, who then loses it in battle. The ring passes through several owners until it is possessed by Frodo Baggins. Frodo and some friends, calling themselves the Fellowship of the Ring, decide to destroy the ring which can be done only in the fires of Mount Doon in Mordor. On the way to Mordor, they are attacked by Sauron’s men. The Fellowship then breaks into two parties – one to release its captive men and the other (consisting of Frodo and his best friend Sam) who continue to Mordor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Frodo and Sam are attacked by Gollum, one of the previous owners of the ring. Gollum is overpowered, but Frodo is sympathetic to him as he understands the overwhelming power of the ring. Gollum becomes their guide to Mordor, but Sam is distrustful of him. When Frodo and Sam are captured by a group of warriors, Frodo reveals Gollum’s presence to save his life. Gollum feels betrayed. He pledges to repossess the ring after having Frodo and Sam killed.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Sauron’s attacks on Middle Earth, the setting of this epic, intensify. He is desperate for the ring’s survival as its destruction would kill him too. Gollum betrays Frodo and Sam by turning them against each other, throwing away their food supply and disappearing. Frodo and Sam do make it to Mordor, when Gollum appears and bites off Frodo’s finger with the ring, but falls into the fires of Doon, destroying the ring and killing Suaron.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The first in the trilogy prequels to The Lord of the Rings, this film tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, Frodo’s uncle, who gave Frodo the One Ring in the first LoTR film. A wizard called Gandalf convinces Bilbo to go on a quest with him and his dwarf friends to Lonely Mountain to reclaim it, the erstwhile home of the dwarves until a dragon called Smaug invaded it.

The Hobbit: Desolation of the Smaug (2013)

Bilbo Baggins’ journey continues in this new, upcoming film.

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