The Ring Goes South

From Tolkien Gateway
The Ring Goes South
Chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring
EventThe Fellowship of the Ring is formed; Frodo Baggins sets out for Mordor.
Date25 October 3018-12 January 3019
<  The Council of Elrond
A Journey in the Dark  >

The Ring Goes South is the third chapter of the second book in The Fellowship of the Ring.


After the council meeting, the Hobbits held a meeting of their own. Merry and Pippin were offended that Sam had been chosen to accompany Frodo, and not them. Gandalf told them that scouts had been sent out to gather information about the Black Riders and that Frodo could not leave unless they come back with news. Gandalf told Frodo that he might accompany him, but for now Frodo had to remain at Rivendell and help Bilbo with a book of records he was completing.

The Hobbits remained at Rivendell for two months, by which time the scouts began to return. No news was to be had of the Black Riders, from any direction, except a few lost horses and torn cloaks. It was decided that Frodo must leave at once, accompanied by Sam and Gandalf. Elrond also decided that they should increase their numbers to nine, in order to match the Black Riders. Legolas would represent the Elves; Gimli, son of Glóin, would represent Dwarves and Aragorn (Strider) would represent Men. Since Aragorn's path to Minas Tirith would lead with them, Boromir would also go along. Reluctantly, Pippin and Merry were allowed to go.

Aragorn's broken sword was re-forged and named Andúril, the Flame of the West. Bilbo gave Frodo a small knife, named Sting, and a shirt of mithril armour to be worn under his clothes. Each traveller brought their personal weapon and Sam took the pony Bill. They set out with the understanding that, except for Frodo, each was free to leave the party whenever he chose.

They reached the ruins in Hollin and the first stage of their journey was complete. Strider felt like they were being observed by someone and noticed black crebain out of Dunland and Fangorn flying low over the land. The group decided to leave, and at one point even saw a dark shadow pass over the land.

Later, the Company reached Caradhras, one of the three Mountains of Moria. They attempted to reach the Redhorn Gate and thus descend the mountain near Mirrormere. The snow was very deep at the Pass, however, and soon their escape was barred by a large drift. Aragorn and Boromir forced a path through it and carried the Hobbits back to safety while the rest walked or rode Bill the pony through their path.


Tolkien probably composed this chapter in 1939. After reaching Balin's Tomb (in the next chapter) and some hiatus, in 1940 Tolkien revised the portion from Rivendell as far as Balin's tomb, writing a fresh manuscript of The Ring Goes South.[1]