Messengers of different races

Last time the question was discussed why it was so important for the company to "represent the other Free Peoples of the World". Corey and live participants couldn't come up with a satisfactory answer, in particular on the question who is the audience for this symbolism. Well, this reminded me of a similar situation in a session on a passage of the "Council of Elrond" where the company was called "the messengers who are sent with the Ring". It is not explicitly explained in the text why Gandalf calls them "messengers". In my opinion those two riddles are strongly connected to each other and have the same answer.
They both closely relate to the voyage of Earendil. Earendil was a representative of the different races being a descendant of Elf and Man (and Maia). And Earendil was a messenger as well. I believe in both cases in The Lord of the Rings, the addressee of the message and the addressee of the symbolism are Eru and the Valar as in the voyage of Earendil.

Firstly, I want to allude on Earendil's message paralleling the company's message. Earendil is a messenger ("he thought to find perhaps the last shore, and bring ere he died the message of Elves and Men to the Valar in the West, that should move their hearts to pity for the sorrows of Middle-earth." "one only may bring the message that it is my fate to bear").
Elrond never asks Frodo to destroy the Ring. He should only take it to the Cracks of Doom. Elrond calls him the "Ringbearer", not the Ringdestroyer. Elrond knows that Frodo will fail in destroying the Ring. Only divine intervention can do that. Therefore the Valar need to be asked for direct help again, as Elrond's father did long ago. Destroying the Ring needs an act of self-sacrifice, is "a fool's hope" and a forlorn task doomed to fail, but it is the only shot they have. It can only succeed by divine intervention (in ex. remember ahead the wind, the eagles, and Gollum's lapse). The company is on a mission impossible but by trying they take a message to the Valar (or Illuvatar himself) who observe everything: the free people of middle-earth are willing to give all they have and contribute their part to a victory over Death and destruction but ask for God's help to make their sacrifice meaningful. This message is very similar to Earendil's message. Frodo is an Earendilfigure who by self-sacrifice and holding on to Estel pleads to divine power to help in overcoming Evil. The function of the company is not only to hide and fight their way to Mordor but also by doing so sending a SOS signal to the Gods. Hence Gandalf calls the fellowship "messengers".
This concept of messaging to divine power via journeying reminds me of pilgrimages which are usually combined with a request for a specific grace. Mount Doom paralleling Hill of Calvary.

And the second part of the question (the one from last week): Why is it important for the success of the quest that the company should consist of the different Free Peoples? I guess for the same reasons why Earendil was the only one who could succeed in reaching the last shore and change the Valar's mind: "only one speaking in person for the cause of both Elves and Men [...], might move the counsels of the Powers". More important than the content of the message seems to be the messenger. The content of the plea, of the prayer if you want, the Gods already know by observation of the geopolitical situation. What they need to know is the disposition of the addresser. The company of the fellowship proofs that the disposition of the addresser is self-sacrifice, he is also willing to be the messenger. If the messengers are all Free People, then also the addressers must be all Free People. For practical reasons only one representative can be sent. As there is not one descendant of Elves, Men and Dwarves (thank God), three messengers must be chosen (Frodo, Legolas, Gimli). Frodo represents Men as they are basically the same race, as discussed elsewhere. A question which comes to my mind is why did Earendil not have to represent Dwarves. But this is a question which is about the Silmarillion and not The Lord of the Rings.

Summary: Elrond knows from family history that the Ring will only be distroyed if the Valar play along, and knows that they will only do so if they receive self-sacrificial pleads from all Free Peoples.

What do you think? Maybe you can raise this quickly in class next time, as I can't join live.
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Well-Known Member
Summary: Elrond knows from family history that the Ring will only be distroyed if the Valar play along, and knows that they will only do so if they receive self-sacrificial pleads from all Free Peoples.

What do you think? Maybe you can raise this quickly in class next time, as I can't join live.
I can follow most of of your argument, but there is one element which speaks against it - there are not the representants of all free people there at Mount Doom, but only three hobbits. But it is noticed in the text that there are the representants of all the free peoples with Aragorn at the Black Gates, where the Half-elves seem to be counted as a distinct category but on par with the others.

I do think it is important for all the free races themselves to be aware that they have to work together in this endevour which transpasses normal politics - and this has to be noted down for posterity - even if at the moment of departure from Rivendell the Fellowship itself is kept secret from the wider audience it is understood that - were it to succede in its mission - it would be sung about for ages everywhere and then the audience for this message would become quite large quite fast.

Aspen Convallin

New Member
Messengers to who, is maybe what should be considered? Merry and Pippin got the Ents involved and Merry to Rohan and Pippin to Gondor as messages of unity. Aragorn got The Dead to help out. Gimli softened the heart of Galadriel towards dwarfdom. Legolas, as a last stand with men. Sam and Frodo messengers to the Valar. Boromir a messengers to Faramir warning of the dangers of the ring?

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
I think all of them, to the Free People to come after them.
This is in much the same way that soldiers holding a desperate position with no hopes of relief can be messengers to us, even if none of them survive. The message being that standing against evil is always the right thing to do, even if it costs your life.