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Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All...

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Last Alliance.jpg

Prologue: One Ring to Rule Them All... is the first scene of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring narrated by Galadriel. An extended edition of this scene was released in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition).

The prologue was renewed when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey came out.[source?] Until then, Ian Holm had played the young Bilbo Baggins and the older one as well. But in the film series, the young Bilbo was portrayed by Martin Freeman and in the renewed prologue you can see him picking up the Ring from inside Gollum's cave.


[edit] Summary

This scene shows the forging of the Rings of Power, forging of the One Ring, Battle of the Last Alliance when Isildur cuts Sauron's finger with the Ring on it, Isildur's corruption and his death. Then the scene jumps to events from The Hobbit, showing Bilbo Baggins finding the Ring in Gollum's Cave.

[edit] Differences from Tolkien's writings

  • Place: In the movie the battle takes place on the slopes of Mount Doom, while in the books it happens near Barad-dur[1].
  • Fight with Sauron: In the movie Elendil is immediately killed by Sauron, and Gil-galad isn't even shown to fight with him. In the books Elendil and Gil-galad fight with Sauron and die after a long fight.[2]

[edit] Transcript (Extended Edition)

Galadriel (voiceover):

I amar prestar aen…
The world is changed.
Han mathon ne nen…
I feel it in the water.
Han mathon ne chae…
I feel it in the Earth.
A han noston ned gwilith…
I smell it in the air.

Galadriel: Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.
It began with the forging of the great rings. Three were given to the Elves, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the Dwarf lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine, nine rings were gifted to the race of Men — who above all else, desire power. For within these rings was bound the strength and will to govern each race.

Galadriel: But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made... In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret a master ring, to control all others. And into this Ring, he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to dominate all life. One Ring to rule them all.
One by one, the free lands of Middle-Earth fell to the power of the Ring. But there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Men and Elves marched against the armies of Mordor, and on the slopes of Mount Doom they fought for the freedom of Middle-Earth.

Elrond: Tangado haid! Leithio i philinn! (Hold positions! Fire arrows!)
The Elves raise their bows and release arrows at the oncoming Orcs, knocking down the first line of Orcs. As the wave of the Orc infantry reaches the first line of the Elven troops, the Elves swing their swords up, slicing the Orcs, one after the other down the line.

Galadriel: Victory was near. But the power of the Ring could not be undone.
Sauron strides onto the battlefield, towering over both Elves and Men. Sauron wields a mace, hitting a group of warriors and sending them flying across the field. He repeats it with another fell swoop. The leader of Men raises his sword to strike Sauron, but Sauron parries the blow and flings him against the rock, crushing him to death. Horrified, one of the Men rushes to the fallen warrior.

Galadriel: It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Isildur, son of the King, took up his father's sword."
Isildur grasps the hilt of the sword, but Sauron stomps it down, shattering it. Sauron, with the Ring on his finger, reaches down towards Isildur. Isildur lets out a battle cry and strikes Sauron's hand with the shard of the sword, slicing the finger that bears the One Ring. Sauron lets out a cry as the Ring is separated from him. Sauron implodes, sending a shock wave throughout the battlefield, knocking the warring troops off their feet. His armor falls unto the ground, his body vaporized.
Galadriel: "Sauron, the enemy of the free-peoples of Middle-Earth, was defeated."

Galadriel: The Ring passed to Isildur, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever. But the hearts of Men are easily corrupted. And the Ring of Power has a will of its own.
Isildur, proudly wearing the Ring of Power on a chain round his neck, returns from the battle. On the way, his troop is attacked by a band of Orcs. In the fighting, Isildur grabs the chain and snaps it, putting the Ring on his finger, and immediately vanishes. Isildur dives into the river. But the Ring slips off his finger and falls down to the river bottom.
Galadriel: It betrayed Isildur…
Isildur, visible again, is spotted by Orcs and shot by arrows.
Galadriel: …to his death. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth, and for two and a half thousand years, the Ring passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it ensnared a new bearer.
A small hand, scrabbling on the river-bed, comes across a round metal object, and closes its fingers around it.
Gollum: My Precious.
A hand, gnarled, twisted and filthy, opens its palm to reveal the Ring.
Galadriel: The Ring came to the creature Gollum, who took it deep into the tunnels of the Misty Mountains. And there, it consumed him.

The Misty Mountains come into view. The scene changes to reveal a midden of decayed fish flesh and bones. Beyond them, Gollum crouches with his treasure.

Gollum: It came to me, my own, my love, my own, my precious! Gollum!
Galadriel: The Ring brought to Gollum unnatural long life. For five hundred years it poisoned his mind. And in the gloom of Gollum's cave, it waited. Darkness crept back into the forest of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in the east, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Ring of Power perceived its time had now come. It abandoned Gollum.

Galadriel: But something happened then the Ring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable.
A human-like creature, scrabbling amongst the bones and scree in the cave, comes across the ring.
Bilbo: What's this?
Galadriel: A Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins of the Shire.
Bilbo: A ring!

Bilbo gazes in delight and wonder at his new find.
Gollum: Lost! My precious is lost!
Bilbo hears Gollum's shrieks, and gets to his feet. He puts the Ring in his pocket.

Galadriel: For the time will soon come when Hobbits will shape the fortunes of all.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past"