J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy is by far one of the most popular and influential stories of modern culture. While it started with a hopeful Fellowship, it ended in anguish, heartbreak, but ultimately, victory. The epic saga thrilled fantasy fans and only became more widespread with the 2000's movies.
In the first film, the Fellowship of The Ring's formation and bonding takes center stage. Throughout the next two films, they break apart and succeed in becoming the heroes that save their world. But, without that early, loyal Fellowship they never could have gotten to where they ended up.
However, the Fellowship wasn't always bro-talks over campfires or bonding over kill counts. Along the way, it took a lot of effort and a lot of rigid (and sometimes unsettling) rules to get them to their goal. Here are some weird rules the Fellowship Of The Ring had to follow.
10 AT LEAST ONE REPRESENTATIVE FROM EACH RACE
Though Elrond never intended to include Hobbits in the Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien always did. When creating his band of great men, he planned to have a member from each race included. That's how, despite some old grudges, they all ended up together.
At least one elf, one hobbit, one man, one dwarf, and one wizard. In theory, the plot could have stuck to just Gandalf, Aragorn, and the four Hobbits, but he made it a rule to include everyone. Why? Because Sauron's return affected all of Middle Earth, so they all needed to be involved.
9 FRODO MUST BE THE ONLY ONE TO BEAR THE RING
Throughout Tolkien's novels, the One Ring's corruption is a constant fear. After all, anyone who has ever worn it has eventually been turned towards its evil. That is, everyone except Bilbo Baggins. Though it did warp his mind, the ring didn't have the same hold on him as it did others.
Because of this, a hobbit ended up the logical choice for ring-bearer. However, only Frodo, the chosen hobbit, could wear it. After all, if the ring had any sway on the others, it could turn them against each other and the band would devolve into chaos and blood. When Frodo offered to bear it, he sealed the ring around his neck for the rest of their journey.
8 THE FELLOWSHIP IS A GOAL, NOT A GROUP
While the Fellowship began as a group of nine people, the people in the group didn't matter. Of course, over time they began to see one another as trusted friends and comrades. However, that wasn't the point. They were put together to destroy the One Ring. In theory, the route they took to this goal was irrelevant, as well as how many fell along the way.
They all could have lost their lives but, if the One Ring was destroyed, the company would have succeeded. The same goes for if completely different people took up their goal; they would now be the Fellowship, despite not being there when it was created.
7 THE FELLOWSHIP MUST DISSOLVE AFTER THE RING IS DESTROYED
In the Lord of The Rings trilogy, the main conflict is the imbalance of power and the rising threat of evil across Middle Earth. To combat that, The Fellowship of The Ring was created to destroy Sauron's most important and powerful possession. Along the way, the group faced many hardships and grew very close to each other, becoming loyal comrades.
However, the second the One Ring was destroyed, the Fellowship was instructed to dissolve. One, because they fulfilled their purpose. The second, though, likely had to do with Middle Earth not needing new, corruptible leagues of loyal comrades. That didn't go so well with the Ring Wraiths.
6 THE ONE RING'S DESTRUCTION IS THEIR ONLY GOAL
Though they saved the world, the Fellowship of the Ring technically broke the most important rule they had. No matter the circumstances, ensuring the One Ring's destruction was their only goal. Not starting wars, saving kings, or finding Hobbits. Ergo, when Frodo and Sam leave everyone at the end of the first film, everyone else is breaking their promise.
Sure, destroying armies and saving good people helps their cause. However, for all Aragorn and the others knew, Frodo and Sam could have lost their lives days after leaving them. They had no right to be so certain in the two Hobbits' success. While he ended up a hero, Frodo had just as much chance to turn into a creature like Gollum.
5 THE GROUP CAN BE KNOWN UNDER MULTIPLE NAMES
During The Fellowship of The Ring, that title and name are the clear, definitive moniker for the nine people journeying to Mordor. However, despite its serious weight, the group were allowed to take liberties when it came to describing themselves. This was a good call considering they were being hunted by Saruman's Uruk-hai and the wraiths.
Throughout the series, they are also called The Company of The Ring, The Company, or the Nine Walkers. Having a few, more vague titles was a flexible rule that kept them safer. With how much trouble they still got in, a little help goes a long way.
4 ELROND MUST TRUST ALL MEMBERS
Ultimately, the Fellowship of The Rings was created by Lord Elrond of Rivendell. Though representatives from all peoples came together to discuss a plan, he was the host and the authority on the One Ring. This meant that Elrond had to trust and approve of every member before they could join the company.
Gunning for nine members, Elrond initially planned for the open spots to be taken by two of his elves. However, Merry and Pippin eagerly wanted to stay by Frodo's side. He eventually approved of Merry, but it took Gandalf's personal vouching for Pippin to join. If they hadn't gotten on Elrond's good side, the Fellowship of The Ring could have been very different.
3 IF FRODO SUCCUMBS TO THE RING, HIS LIFE IS FORFEIT
As the goal of the Fellowship is to destroy the One Ring, a lot of its strength goes towards protecting the ring-bearer, Frodo. With a higher tolerance to its corruption and a sense of heroism, he was a perfect candidate. However, though, being the ring-bearer comes with its own perils. After all, if he succumbs to its callings, he would likely turn on his comrades.
If Frodo turned on the Company, all that protection immediately becomes null and void. When the ring's destruction is the priority, if Frodo deviates, he suddenly becomes a threat. If it comes down between Frodo or the ring, the rule would be to cut the young Hobbit down or abandon him. That would have been the verdict with Boromir, had he lived.
2 THE FELLOWSHIP MUST HAVE EQUAL NUMBERS TO THE RINGWRAITHS
Sauron's most trusted and dangerous extension, the Ringwraiths, started following Frodo the second the ring started calling to them again. Corrupted kings, they now follow their dark lord's bidding obediently. By the time the Hobbits reached Rivendell, all nine were on their tails.
When the Fellowship formed, the rule was to match the group to the Ringwraiths: nine heroes for nine villains. This way, not only would The Company have betters odds in a fight but they also became the anti-thesis for the dark riders. Though it seemed like an arbitrary rule, having a diverse party served the Fellowship well.
1 ONLY FRODO'S LIFE MATTERS (AS LONG AS HE'S SANE)
While the Fellowship consisted of nine members, one member remained the lynch-pin: the ring-bearer. Young Frodo Baggins never wanted this responsibility, but he bravely wore the burden. That's even despite all the dangers behind it, including losing friends or his own mind.
As long as Frodo remained uncorrupted and sane, the rule of the Fellowship is that his life is the only one that matters. After all, as long as he bears the ring, there is someone strong able to toss it into Mordor. Despite just being a homebody Hobbit, Frodo quickly became the most important person in the world. If his sanity fell apart faster than it did, the Fellowship may never have succeeded.