Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

[The Misty Mountains fade from view as a map appears, moving slowly across the landscape to reveal the length and breadth of Middle-Earth.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "Ahrrmm… The twenty-second day of September in the year fourteen-hundred, by Shire-reckoning. Bag End, Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, Westfarthing, the Shire, Middle-Earth. The Third Age of this world."

[The interior of Bag End appears. Organic, rounded and compact in nature, it is the home of a well-to-do, settled but rather untidy person. Books and maps are piled up in every room, spilling over shelves, on the floor, anywhere they can find a spare space, alongside firewood and assorted homely utensils.]

[Bilbo is seated at his desk in the study at Bag End. His clothes are well-made but carelessly worn. He has his back to view and is writing something in a large book.]

Bilbo: "There and Back Again. A Hobbit's Tale, by Bilbo Baggins."

[Bilbo turns the title page over to start on a new page. He pauses and takes a puff from his pipe.]

Bilbo: "Now… where to begin? Ah, yes."

[He dips his pen and resumes his writing.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "Concerning Hobbits."

[Images of the Shire and its inhabitants appear as Bilbo speaks. In the market square, Hobbits gather to look over the latest wares, present their stock, and share a drink. In the fields, cows are being milked, pathways swept clean, and animals grazed.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "Hobbits have been living and farming in the four Farthings of the Shire for many hundreds of years. Quite content to ignore and be ignored by the world of the Big Folk — Middle-Earth being, after all, full of strange creatures beyond count. Hobbits must seem of little importance, being neither renowned as great warriors, nor counted among the very wise."

[One of the Hobbits seems intent on removing a parasite from his ear. Bilbo pauses and chuckles to himself at the image.]

[A knock sounds at his door.]

Bilbo: "Frodo! Someone at the door!"

[Bilbo resumes writing.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "In fact, it has been remarked by some that the Hobbits' only real passion is for food."

[A hobbit, making eyes at and preparing to kiss a lady, is distracted by a tray of passing food. He grabs a large cake, stuffing it into his mouth. The lady does not get her kiss.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "A rather unfair observation, as we have also developed a keen interest in the brewing of ales, and the smoking of pipe-weed. But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of things that grow."

Bilbo (voiceover): "And yes, no doubt, to others our ways seem quaint."

[Images of a party preparation in a field begin are shown.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "But today, of all days, it is brought home to me, it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."

[A party banner is erected in the field, to much applause and cheers.]

[More knocking is heard at the door.]

Bilbo: "Frodo! The door!"

[The knocks become louder and more insistent.]

Bilbo: "Sticklebacks! Where is that boy? Frodo!"

[A young hobbit is sitting beneath a tree in the woods, reading a book. He hears a male voice singing.]

Gandalf: [humming] "Down from the door where it began. And I must follow if I can."

[The hobbit closes his book and stands, listening. Recognising the voice, he smiles then runs to the road. An old man, wearing a gray cloak and a pointy hat, is driving a horse-drawn cart filled with fireworks and such.]

Gandalf (singing):

"The road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow if I can…"

Frodo: [folding his arms] "You're late!"

[The old man does not look at the hobbit at first, and then turns slowly, with an annoyed expression on his face that begins to twitch.]

Gandalf: "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to."

[Both he and Frodo slowly begin to grin and crack up into laughter.]

Frodo: [leaps onto cart and hugs the old man] "It's wonderful to see you Gandalf!"

Gandalf: [laughs] "Ooh! You didn't think I'd miss your Uncle Bilbo's birthday?"

[Gandalf resumes his drive towards Hobbiton.]

Gandalf: "So, how is the old rascal? I hear it's going to be a party of special magnificence."

Frodo: "You know Bilbo. He's got the whole place in an uproar."

Gandalf: "Well, that should please him!" (chuckles)

Frodo: "Half the Shire's been invited. And the rest of them are turning up anyway."

[They laugh. The cart makes its way past the fields of bright crops, over the bridge by an old mill, and past the market square.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "And so, life in the Shire goes on, very much as it has this past Age… full of its own comings and goings, with change coming slowly, if it comes at all."

[The cart begins to climb up a gradual slope towards Gandalf's destination. The hillside and the surrounds are lush and verdant.]

Bilbo (voiceover): "For things are made to endure in the Shire, passing from one generation to the next. There's always been a Baggins, living here under the Hill… in Bag End. And there always will be."

Frodo: "To tell you the truth, Bilbo's been a bit odd lately. I mean, more than usual. He's taken to locking himself in his study. He spends hours and hours poring over old maps when he thinks I'm not looking."

[Bilbo tosses aside the maps he's been studying and sighs. He puts his hands in his pockets. Suddenly an expression of alarm comes over his face, as he digs urgently into his pockets and turns them out, becoming more frantic.]

Bilbo: "Where's it gone?"

[He starts to turn the house over, desperately searching. Finally he digs deeper into his waistcoat pocket, and with a huge sigh, pulls out the object and closes his palm over it, closing his eyes in relief.]

Frodo (back in the cart): "He's up to something."

[Frodo glances at Gandalf, but the wizard is non-committal and just stares deliberately at the scenery.]

Frodo: "All right then keep your secrets."

Gandalf: "Hrrrmmph."

Frodo: "But I know you have something to do with it."

Gandalf: "Good gracious me!"

Frodo: "Before you came along we Bagginses were very well thought of."

Gandalf: "Indeed?"

Frodo: "Never had any adventures or did anything unexpected."

Gandalf: "If you're referring to the incident with the dragon, I was barely involved. All I did was give your uncle a little nudge out of the door."

Frodo: "Whatever you did, you've been officially labeled a disturber of the peace."

Gandalf: "Oh really?"

[As the cart drives past, Hobbit children are drawn to the sight of the old wizard and his cart. They run behind the cart, shouting.]

Hobbit children: "Gandalf! Gandalf! Fireworks? Gandalf?"

[A grumpy old hobbit with a grim look is raking his yard.]

[His wife comes out. She looks on in disapproval.]

[Gandalf pretends to ignore the children. They come to a halt as the cart keeps on going away.]

Hobbit children: "Awwww."

[Fireworks go off from the cart. The hobbit children cheer and Gandalf laughs.]

[The grumpy hobbit chuckles, but the grumpy old hobbitwife gives a nagging look to the grumpy hobbit. The grumpy hobbit restores his grumpy look.]

Frodo: "Gandalf, I'm glad you're back."

Gandalf: "So am I, dear boy! So am I."