Assembling the Fellowship: It’s So Crazy, It Just Might Work!

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.”

 Camera: Mamiya C3 (1962ish) Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 10/94 -- xpro as C-41)

Camera: Mamiya C3 (1962ish)
Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 10/94 — xpro as C-41)

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.


25 thoughts on “Assembling the Fellowship: It’s So Crazy, It Just Might Work!

  1. That’s a gorgeous bridge. Get well soon!

    I wonder, though, how much Merry & Pippin could have accomplished against Sharky, if they had returned to the Shire. They still had a lot to learn on this little trip.

        • Hmm.. I watched one yesterday about a KKK guy and a Freedom Rider “reconciling.” It was good, but made me sad and angry. I need something happier, but I’ve watched all the docs about video games and geeky things. πŸ™‚

          I’ve started Orphan Black, though. It’s not great, but I think I like it anyway. I like where it could go, but we’ll see if it ever gets there. It does make me a little wistful thinking what Joss Whedon could have done with it.

          Speaking of, I guess I could watch whatever he’s doing these days. Something about super heroes, I think.

          • Mmmm. Never a bad time to re-watch Firefly, though.

            Did you see Cosmos? I’ve been slowly working through it, and it’s engrossing. Also, relatively speaking, cheery.

            • Well, I guess the real “problem” is that Sarah and I watch most things together. She’s going away for a week to visit family and I’ll have to find things that a) I like and b) she doesn’t like. It’s a bit of a task, but Orphan Black fills that criteria. Cosmos is something we’re watching together, though we’re really behind.

              I should watch Firefly, but I think I’ll wait until after the current comic book series concludes.

            • You haven’t seen it?!?! It’s wonderful. Gone from tv all too soon.

              Ben and I are re-watching Buffy and then we’re debating between re-watching Battlestar Galactica or re-starting Breaking Bad. Loved the first three episodes but it’s so intense that we think it will sort of take over our lives once we really start watching.

    • Thanks so much! It sure is.

      But I want to get back to writing, too. I was hoping to do a post today, but that’s looking like it won’t happen (I do three blogs and have done two posts so far on each of those, save for this one) so hopefully tomorrow.

  2. Wonder what Legolas’s dad said when he found out his son was going with the Company to take the Ring to Mordor? After all, none of the others (except Boromir) answer to anyone… Being Thranduil’s son, Legolas would’ve had responsibilities. Or was Legolas just taking his “vacation” this way? πŸ˜› Or can it be that Merida is secretly a rip-off by Disney of what they IMAGINE Legolas to be? Gah. If that’s so, Disney has ruined my childhood yet again. Ewww. Unlike Merida, Legolas is not defined by being “royalty”, nor does he appear to think himself limited by it. Though that might have something to do with the fact that it’s unlikely that there will be any power change any time soon. Or ever. But it’s probably a small influence if it even exists…
    What a confusing comment I just posted. -_-

    • Confusing, yes, but I like it too. Legolas seemed to be his own person. Was he the only or eldest son? I can’t remember. But they seemed to give him an extended leave to figure out the Rivendell business.

      Also, there were two months between the CofE and the Fellowship’s departure. During that time, messages had to have passes between Mirkwood and Rivendell. I’d think so anyway

      • I’ve always thought that Legolas was in the middle, or youngest and had lots of siblings. I don’t know. And now I’m wondering if any of his duties were clerical???
        Yeah. But when they first sent Thranduil the message, I wonder what he was thinking? πŸ˜›

        • Just doing a bit of poking around, I think Legolas was an only child. He was the prince of Mirkwood, so he was at least the oldest. So your original question is actually a really good one. What did Thranduil think about all of this?

          Is it possible that he understood that it really didn’t matter? I mean, if Sauron was killed, the Elves would return and Mirkwood wouldn’t need a ruler. And if Sauron won, it just wouldn’t matter for obvious reasons. So maybe it was sort of a “what have we got to lose” sort of venture.

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