After the group council, the hobbits hold one of their own. Merry and Pippin are indignant that Sam has been chosen to accompany Frodo and not them. Gandalf informs them that scouts have been sent out to gather information about the Black Riders and that Frodo cannot leave unless they come back with news. Gandalf tells Frodo that he might accompany him, but for now Frodo must remain at Rivendell and help Bilbo with a book of records he is completing.
The hobbits remain a Rivendell for two months, by which time the scouts begin to return. No news is to be had of the Riders from any direction. It is decided that Frodo must leave at once, accompanied by Sam and Gandalf. Elrond also decides that they should fortify their numbers to nine, in order to match the Black Riders. Legolas will represent the elves; Gimli, son of Gloin, will represent dwarves and Aragorn (the Strider) will represent men. Boromir will go to represent the Gondors. And Pippin and Merry are allowed to go.
The broken sword is reforged and named Anduril, the Flame of the West. Bilbo gives Frodo a small knife and a shirt of mail armor to be worn under his clothes. Each traveler is given a personal weapon and Sam takes the pony, Bill. They set out with the understanding that, except for Frodo, each man is free to leave the party whenever he chooses.
They reach Hollin and the first stage of their journey is complete. Strider notices a feeling of watchfulness and black crows flying low over the land. The group decides to leave, and at one point even see a dark shadow pass over the land.
A snowstorm impedes their journey. Both Aragorn and Gandalf wonder if Sauron is governing the snowstorm. It gets worse and they decide to stop. The next day they begin their journey again but are forced to stop. Eventually they realize that Canadhras, the mountain itself, hates the elves and dwarves and has set the snowstorm down to stop them from crossing him. They realize they cannot go over the mountain, so they must travel under it.
Gandalf tells the group that the only way under the mountain is through the mines of Moria, underground tunnels in which a group of dwarves led by Balin disappeared many years ago.
When the reach Moria, the river has been dammed and the entrance is flooded. Gandalf sets the pony free and sends it back to Rivendell. Gandalf uses a secret password to gain them entrance, and they proceed into the mines. Once they enter, there is no choice but to make their way through the mountain and emerge on the other side.
Fissures and chasms make their path treacherous and at one point they enter a stone door and find a deep well inside it. Pippin throws a stone into it and they hear tapping, as if someone is using a hammer. They walk on for as long as they can endure, coming to many paths and crossroads, resting little and eating even less. The mines of Moria are famous for silver (mithril) and it was in search of this that Balin and his dwarves came to Moria. Gandalf tells them that Bilbo had a coat of mail armor made of mithril and Frodo staggers when he realizes that Bilbo has gifted him with a suit of armor whose value can buy the whole Shire.
When they continue on their journey the next day, they come upon a tomb and Gandalf reads what is written on it. They realize that the tomb belongs to Balin and the elves. Frodo is downcast as he realizes that Bilbo's friend is dead.
In a series of ups and downs, Frodo and his friends continue to their destination. As a testament to the mastery of Tolkien, the narrative is constantly varied with villains of the known and unknown variety.
Frodo and his companions are clever and creative, coming up with ways to proceed each time they are stopped.