During my three-week or longer recovery time, I’m going to be leaving Frodo’s journey to look at a few other things that I have missed along the way thus far. Today, I’ll start a bit more easily and try to figure out just how Elrond threw together the Fellowship. It all seemed a bit slap-dash, but maybe there’s something more to it than that.
To do that, let’s start by taking a quick account of who was at the Council of Elrond. Since the Council was held in Rivendell, it’s not really surprising that Rivendell was well represented. There was, of course, Elrond, as well as Erestor and Glorfindel, both Elf-lords. There were also two other Elves present – Legolas, send by the Elves of Mirkwood, as well as Galdor, who was sent by Cirdan the Shipwright, on of the oldest Elves in Middle-earth.
To represent Men, there was Aragorn, but he was also mostly from Rivendell, and Boromir, who had come the farthest, from Minas Tirith, to attend the meeting. For the Dwarves, there was Gloin from The Hobbit, and his son, Gimli. We also have Bilbo and Frodo representing the hobbits (Sam, Merry and Pippin were not invited, though Sam makes a bit of an appearance). And lastly, Gandalf.
After deciding that the One Ring must be taken to Mordor, the first person to volunteer to do it is Bilbo. After that was shot down for obvious reasons, Frodo volunteered to continue his journey. Elrond agreed that everything seemed to be pointing to this conclusion, but he also refused to directly tell Frodo to do it. According to Gandalf, nobody at the meeting (except Gandalf) expected either Bilbo or Frodo to come forward and offer to take the ring.
Sam spoke up next, and Elrond pretty flippantly allowed him to tag along: “It is hardly possible to separate you form him, even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not.” After the meeting, the hobbits got together and Merry and Pippin insisted upon going along to Mordor.
Still, at this point nothing was decided apart from Frodo and Sam, and nothing would be decided for quite a long while. Elrond sent out scouts and Rangers, including Aragnorn and Elrond’s sons, to various places (I think I might look into that a bit more – seems like a fun way to brush up on geography), and they were waiting until their return to settle. They were searching for some word of the Nine Riders, which were not destroyed in the flood.
The Council was held on October 25th, and nearly two months would elapse before all the scouts returned. So on December 18th, Elrond revisits the idea of Frodo going to Mordor. He determines that the number in the company should be Nine, just as the number of Black Riders. By this point, Gandalf had agreed to go, which brought the total to three.
Elrond wanted to rest to represent the “Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men.” For Elves, he didn’t choose either of his sons or Glorfindel or even Galdor from the Grey Havens, but Legolas, an Elf from Mirkwood. His dealings with Legolas prior to the Council had probably been minimal at most, but yet, there he was. To represent Dwarves, the choice was simple – Gloin was too old, and his son Gimli was just the right age (and the only other Dwarf around).
For Men, it was a sort of sticky situation. Aragorn had already told Boromir that he would go with him to Minas Tirith, so when Elrond announced that Aragorn would be accompanying the Fellowship, he added sort of as an afterthought: “Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company.” The rub was that both Aragorn and Boromir would only be with the Fellowship until the turnoff at Minas Tirith (though, granted, that was over two-thirds of the way there).
That left two vacant spaces and Elrond figured that he’d fill them with two Elves from Rivendell. That makes sense, really. Good idea. But Merry and Pippin spoke up and insisted they be allowed to go. Gandalf spoke up in their defense. Elrond was apprehensive, but (seemingly) only because it would leave The Shire unguarded – something he was pretty dead on about.
And that was the Fellowship. While it was obviously under the command of Gandalf, it featured four hobbits, of which only one made any sense to make the journey. There was a Dwarf and Elf who were basically unknown to Elrond, and two Men who would definitely not be with the party to the end. And so the best-case-scenario was that there would be a wizard who was fond of leaving (remember The Hobbit?), an unknown Dwarf and Elf, and a bunch of hobbits at the cracks of Mount Doom. This was an incredibly bad idea.
True, Gandalf says that even Glorfindel “could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the fire by the power that is in him,” but he’d probably stand a better chance than this lot. Even Elrond agrees that even his armies from the Last Alliance wouldn’t make a difference.
It really comes down to something Elrond said after Frodo had spoken up at the Council. Elrond had understood that Frodo had been chosen. At that point, the hobbit could have gone on alone, except for Sam. And so the rest of the Fellowship wasn’t there to just defend Frodo, but to report back when he failed. That is, except for the hobbits. Gandalf: “I think, Elrond, in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom.”
A Few Notes
- Hopefully, I can keep up with this blog a bit. Anything more than lying down is a bit painful, but that will get better – quickly, I’m told.
- The 60th Anniversary Edition of Lord of the Rings has been released, but only in the UK. This is definitive proof that the USA is not the greatest country in the world. You’ve been had.
About the Photo
This is another shot of the Diablo Dam bridge. It reminded me of Rivendell, though not as much as the other shot that I used.