Episode 177 Summary

Tony Meade

Active Member

They who dwell beyond the Sea would not receive it:
  • Gandalf hadn’t revealed that they can’t destroy the Ring during the Council, but rather with Frodo in Bag End. It’s possible that either Frodo or Gandalf recalled that during the untold parts.
  • Note: Tolkien is clearly having the characters speak to the readers as much as each other, in order to remind us what we need to remember from earlier conversations in the book.
  • Elrond’s objection would have to be based either on an intentional attempt to fool the Council, a direct communication from the Valar, or his own intuition based on the evidence he has seen.
  • For Elrond to attempt to deceive the Council would parallel Saruman’s own lies about the Valar. Even if the manipulation were for a good purpose, the ends still don’t justify the means.
  • The Valar would also be unlikely to send a direct message to Elrond that he is relaying. While the Valar do still intervene in Middle-earth, those interventions usually require interpretation.
  • The sending of the Istari, and even Glorfindel, are themselves direct interventions by the Valar.
  • Boromir did actually receive a direct message from Valinor, which the Council has interpreted.
  • While it could be said that Elrond is simply intuiting the will of the Valar here, it seems to be more certain, as if Elrond is interpreting their will based on the evidence that he has perceived.
  • Similarly, Gandalf had an intuition that Bilbo’s ring was the One Ring, but he needed to gather evidence and observe events in order to be sure before he could assert his claims.
That what should be shall be:
  • While the Enemies are shown to be proactive in their planning in achieving their vision, those on the side of the Good are able to intuit what should be done based on observing the patterns.
  • Though it’s possible that Elrond is using his Ring to assist him in his interpretations, the Rings themselves were a bad idea as they were intended to preserve things against natural change.
  • In using devices to cause the World to be like one’s personal vision, it is a step down towards corruption, even if that vision is benevolent, as it asserts one’s will over the flow of the Music.
  • Though the secret of the Elven Rings is more or less and open secret, the Elves still do not want to speak of them, in part because they understand that the Ring project was misguided.
  • Note: Gandalf’s ring seems different, in part because Tolkien only decided that he had one of the Rings much later. When he does reveal it, he wishes to distinguish it from the other two. It’s possible that giving the Ring to someone who isn’t an elf, and isn’t interested in stasis, makes a difference, and probably played into Círdan’s decision to give Gandalf the Ring to begin with.
For good or ill it belongs to Middle-earth:
  • It’s possible that Elrond is following a pattern of delegation that goes all the way back to Ilúvatar and the Ainur’s creation, in that he allowed their free will, even with malice, to enter the Music.
  • However, this doesn’t mean that Eru doesn’t care what the result is or doesn’t take a hand, but rather that it is Eru’s will that all that they do will lead to the end that Eru originally desired.
  • The Valar have not only hidden Valinor during the First Age, but Eru has taken it out of Arda during the Second Age. But likewise, this doesn’t mean that the Valar are uninvolved.
  • Just as Ilúvatar didn’t smite Melkor directly for his rebellion, the Valar have also allowed Sauron to do his will in Middle-earth, though they still assist those who resist Sauron in other ways.
  • Note: A direct, personal, and bodily intervention by the Valar would be a deus ex machina, which would go against the worldview of Tolkien, especially his concept of eucatastrophe. This is parallel to the Christian theological views on why evil is allowed to exist in the universe.
  • Therefore, to approach the Valar with the One Ring would be an attempt to force their intervention against their will. They must be allowed to deal with Sauron in their own ways.
  • Those ways have included the sending of the Istari, the dream, the serendipitous bringing together of the Council, and even going as back to the miraculous finding of the Ring by Hobbits.
It is for us that dwell here to deal with it:
  • Elrond has concluded from all of the evidence that they have been given all the tools to do the task, which is now set before them, and to turn away from that would be an abdication of duty.
  • He is still being gentle in his assertion, and even in his steering away from other options than Frodo carrying the Ring to Mordor, which Gandalf has foreseen since the parlor in Bag End.
  • Note: There is a great distinction between Eärendil taking the Silmaril to Valinor, and the idea of taking the Ring there. The Silmaril was not only responsible for Eärendil getting to Valinor in the first place, but also a hallowed object that belonged to Valinor in its creation. The Ring is not only evil in itself, but is the key to the destruction of Sauron, unlike the Silmarils to Morgoth.
  • Gandalf had perceived the delay in getting Frodo to Rivendell as a disaster, but all of those delays and dangers have contributed to the convening of the Council at the correct time.
  • Even the loss of the Ring by Isildur and his death was Providential, preventing a worse fate.
Let us cast it into the deeps:
  • It’s possible that Glorfindel is deliberately articulating the alternate suggestions and options, even though he may know Elrond’s final objective, but voicing those in front of the Council.
  • Does Glorfindel understand that Sauron will still win, even without the Ring? From Glorfindel’s point of view, he may be less concerned than others with the power of Sauron’s servants.
  • Glorfindel’s experience with the defeat of the Balrog and the previous defeat of Sauron with the Ring makes it so that it is not a foregone conclusion that Sauron can’t be defeated again.
  • Elrond may rebut that Sauron’s defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance was not permanent, only allowing them a long respite before his inevitable return, but they have done this before.
  • Elrond will turn out to be correct in his seeming pessimism that they don’t have the power to confront Sauron militarily, as Gandalf will also assert later in Gondor, but they don’t know it yet.
  • The strike of the Last Alliance was also preemptive, but that is not possible now, as it’s too late. The White Council attempted to do this again at Dol Guldur, but it was counterproductive.
  • While the defeat of Sauron militarily would make destroying of the Ring logistically easier, history has shown that it doesn’t make it an easier deed, and there is a question of who could.
  • Throwing the Ring in the Sea would at least make it reasonably sure that Sauron couldn’t get it.
In the Sea it would be safe:
  • Would the Valar see the Ring as making Valinor unsafe? We have seen that the Ainur are corruptible, even though some of them, like Aulë and Ossë, have repented and been restored.
  • However, the Ring specifically may present little or no danger to the Valar, as it could not tempt them with anything that they could not achieve themselves and is of a lesser degree of stature.
  • It’s probable that Aulë would have the ability to destroy the Ring himself, though the Elves and Maiar may be in some danger of corruption from the Ring if it wasn’t destroyed.
  • Meanwhile, Glorfindel seems sincere in his reference to the words of Saruman, in that he is echoing Elrond’s assertions of Providence in turning lies and malicious attempts to the good.
  • While this suggestion is not the best course of action, he seems to be thinking it through.
  • Note: While Fëanor believed that only he could unlock the Silmarils, it seems more that the Valar were asking his permission to do it, since they didn’t want to do this against his will. Likewise, while Mount Doom may be the only place that the people of Middle-earth can destroy the Ring, that doesn’t mean that the Valar would not be capable of destroying it a different way.