Prologue: A Ring's Tale

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The name Prologue refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Prologue (disambiguation).
Prologue: A Ring's Tale
Scene from
The Lord of the Rings (1978 film)
Scene number2
Duration 3:41
Event forging of the Rings,
War of the Last Alliance
Bilbo's Farewell

Prologue: A Ring's Tale is the second scene of the 1978 film The Lord of the Rings.


Long ago, in the early years of the Second Age, the Elven-smiths forged the Rings of Power. The made nine for Men, seven for the Dwarves, and three for the tall Elf Kings. Then, the Dark Lord Sauron learned the craft of Ring-making, and created the One Ring.

With the Ring, Sauron conquered most of Middle-earth. But as he crushed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, Prince Isildur lept from the shadows and took the Ring. But he did not destroy it. As he sat admiring the Ring on the banks of Anduin, Orc archers shot him, and the Ring was lost in the river.

Sauron recaptured the Nine, and turned their wearers into Ringwraiths. He sent them out to seek the One Ring. The Ring was found, but not by Sauron: Déagol and Sméagol were fishing when a fish pulled Deagol out of the water. On the bottom on the river, he found the Ring. Back at shore, Sméagol wished to have it - it was his birthday after all - and killed Deagol. With the Ring, he started thieving and spying. Under the torture of the Ring, he fled into the Mountains, and became the creature Gollum. The Ring passed out of sight until Bilbo Baggins stumbled across it one day one his journey with the dwarves. Bilbo Baggins took the Ring back to the Shire, his home.


Role Actor
Narrator (Gandalf) William Squire
Bilbo Baggins Billy Barty
Sméagol Peter Woodthorpe (voice)
Isildur Uncredited
Sauron Uncredited
Déagol Uncredited

Differences from source material

  • The forging of the Rings is said to have taken place in the "early years of the Second Age"; it took place around halfway through the Second Age.
  • Sauron is said to have learned the lore of Ringmaking after the Elves had made the other rings, rather than aid Celebrimbor in the process.
  • Elendil and Gil-galad did not slay Sauron; rather, Isildur came in from the shadows and surprised him.
  • Sauron captured the Nine Rings and turned their wearers into Ringwraiths, while in the books, it was the rings that did so. Also, the Nine were "created" explicitly to seek the One Ring.
  • Isildur is killed as he sits by the river fingering the One Ring, and throws it away as he falls from Orc arrows, rather than it betraying him when he tries to flee.