The Council of Elrond - The Minutes

Timdalf

Active Member
The Council of Elrond. . .
General Review and Summary

OK, Hobbitious Elf-fans, we began this merely 30 page chapter at Exploring Session 125 on Dec. 10, 2019 - In other words, 66 sessions extending (and I DO mean extending!) over 19 months. . . or approx.. 570 days. . . Now, if you can remember what that covered please enter the Elvish Memory Hall of Perfect Recall.
SO, let me begin what I think all that deserves: a survey, review, wrap up of just what the C of E (not to be confused with the Church of England, also known for overly extended sessions!) accomplished.

If my dementia-ridden memory serves, the CofE breaks into three major parts, accomplishments, tasks: 1) Ascertaining that the Bilbo-Frodo Ring is indeed The One Ring, 2) Proving this to all present, and 3) Deciding what is to be done with it.

In other words, lying before His Half-Elfness Elrond is a parchment agenda consisting of the above, a copy to one Grey Wizard.

Sitting to one side is some secretarial Elf-Scribe well versed in Westron short hand. These would be minutes of this meeting would be consulted by chroniclers subsequently, including one Bilbo-Frodo team. With not a few helpful interjections by one Sam G.. “Oh, Mr. Frodo, sir, don’t be forgettin’ how you spoke up about Mr, Elrond rememberin’ rememberin’, sir, them way way back long ago Elder Days. . ..” and the like.

But let’s reconsider this process (and it should be clearly understood, this meeting is a process – not fixed and finalized program or schema. . .) as follows:

There us a quick run down of those attending as Elrond introduces Frodo to those assembled.

Reports are given on events in the world outside especially the South and East of the Mountains, among them was:

Gloin’s Narrative – the Messenger from Mordor seeking intelligence about hobbits, Bagginses and Ring “trifles”

Elrond’s Narrative – The full Tale of the Ring begins – The Forging, Sauron’s loss of it, Isildur’s claiming of it, his death and its loss (not without a few tangential digressions into the history of Arnor and Gondor)
[This tells the Council of the first, most ancient, part of the History of the Ring.]

Boromir’s Interjection in defense of Gondor despite its decline in the face of Mordorian onslaughts and his tale of the dream words about a Broken Sword and Isidur’s Bane.

Aragorn’s Answer of presenting the Shards of Narsil.

Frodo’s exclamation that Aragorn owns the Ring. Aragorn’s denial.

Elrond calls forth Frodo with the Ring, Isildur’s Bane.

Tension between Aragorn and Boromir.

Bilbo’s interjection of his poetic defense of Aragorn against doubters.
Tension between Aragorn and Boromir over Gondor.

Boromir defends Gondor and has doubts that the Bilbo-Frodo ring is The One Ring.

Bilbo’s Tale of the finding and the Riddles Game with Gollum. Summarized and not quoted verbatim.
[This begins the telling of the recent (Bilbo-Frodo portion) History of the Ring to the Council]

Frodo’s Narration – His dealings with their ring from his inheriting it to the Ford of Bruinen – not quoted, but summarized.
[This completes the telling of the recent History of the Ring.]

Galdor seeks proof that the B-F ring is the Great Ring.

Gandalf begins his Narrative – and turns to Bilbo for his time of finding and owning his ring. This is in response to another doubt by Boromir.

Gandalf notes the pursuit of Frodo by the Nine as one proof.. Saruman’s first diversion. Gandalf’s long delay connecting the dots. He tells of his researches into the account of Isildur in the archives of Minas Tirith.
[This tells of the middle section of the History of the Ring to the Council.]

Aragorn’s digression on his capture of Gollum.

Gandalf proofs the Ring in the hearth fire of Bag End and pronounces the Black Speech verse.

End of Part One - The Bilbo-Frodo ring is proven to be The One Ring

Boromir asks about Gollum.

Aragorn believes he is held by the Wood Elves.

Legolas disabuses him of that belief.

Gandalf resumes his Narrative to answer Galdor’s inquiry about Saruman.

Gandalf tells of meeting Radagast and his meeting with Saruman. Saruman’s fall becomes evident in his attempt to tempt Gandalf and conspire with him. Gandalf’s escape on Gwaihir.

Digression concerning the horses of the Rohirrim.

Gandalf rides to the Shire. Learns of Frodo’s departure. His arrival after Frodo in Bree. His news from Butterbur that the hobbit party met and went off with Aragorn.

Gandalf’s battle with Wraiths on Weathertop.

Gandalf poses the Question: What shall we do with The One Ring?

Elrond digresses (to give them all time to ponder the question?) on the Barrow Wights and Tom Bombadil.

Erestor proposes Bombadil as Ring Keeper. Gandalf and Glorfindel explain why that is not an effective alternative.

Elrond notes the assembled councilors cannot destroy the Ring themselves.

Glorfindel suggests sending it to Valinor.

Elrond notes they would not receive it.

Galdor notes that Sauron would anticipate that and ambush them.

Glorfindel suggests sending it into the deeps of the sea.

Gandalf notes that this is not a safe alternative.

Elrond declares they must not take half-measures, but put a final end to the Ring.

The Ring must go to Mordor where alone it can be destroyed.

Boromir objects. They should take up and use the Ring against Sauron.

Elrond refuses. It will corrupt any who take it up. Gandalf refuses.

Boromir despairs.

Gloin hopes Balin will find the Ring of Thror and their forces will combine.

Gandalf and Elrond disabuse him of that hope.

Elrond speculates on the effect of the Ring’s destruction on the 3 Elvish Rings.

Gandalf sermonizes on despair and folly. And how Sauron will not imagine they would destroy the Ring and not use it. The weak have as much hope as the strong to accomplish this, perhaps more while the strong are active elsewhere. [Thus the entire coming plot is revealed here.]

Bilbo volunteers to take the Ring.

Gandalf gently rejects this option. And indirectly proposes “messengers” be sent with the Ring.

Long pause. Frodo volunteers.

Elrond elicits a fully voluntary commitment from him.

Sam suddenly interjects that he will join Mr. Frodo. And Elrond approves.

Respectfully submitted by Fern Elffrond, secretary and niece to Lord Elrond
Copy in Moon Letters ONLY to all participants.

The Third task of the Council is accomplished. And along the way the Second.

Any corrections, additions, or comments?

I will note one thing: observe how clever and deft a story teller and narrator Tolkien is. The entire necessary factors have been skillfully interwoven together in a way that is neither tedious nor simple. Digressions and tensions kept one attentive and anticipatory.

As is apparent, this summary is only of what happens at the Council, without and comments, conclusions or insights achieved in the Sessions of Exploring the chapter.
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
Apologies to all and sundry. This was typed out and posted under extremely adverse visual conditions for me. I hope I have corrected now the blatant typos.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
You might want to go back and add Bilbo's narrative.

From what I think is a similar impulse as we near the end of the Council, I went back this past week or two and listened to the whole Rivendell story again. That's when I fist realized when the classes posted so I started looking for them. I remember thinking, we just spent four classes analyzing a poem, a kind of analysis I haven't done for decades - and how difficult it was to explain this new discovery to a friend.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
You might want to go back and add Bilbo's narrative.
Thanks, Rachel, not sure how I missed that link in the story. But in correcting that and inserting it, I also added notes in square brackets [ ] indicating how, in giving the account of the Council, Tolkien breaks up the History of the Ring into four parts, told by Elrond, Bilbo, Frodo, and finally Gandalf. Thus we are given the first period, then the recent period, and finally the missing and perhaps most conclusively important middle portion (historically speaking, but actually the final step in the process in identifying the Ring), which reveals how to prove the Bilbo-Frodo ring is indeed the One Ring. By holding that crucial turning point until last, Tolkien skillfully breaks up what might otherwise be a tedious and long dissertation (avoiding the dry Silmarillion annals style) and adds rising dramatic structure and tension by keeping the key moment till last. It is this sort of artistry that makes LotR the masterpiece it is. Yet we never feel the artistry is forced upon the material or on us, so it remains unnoticed, and thus all the more effective.
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
PS: A further bit of merely statistical data....
According to my copy in MSWord of the heroic and inestimably valuable work of Tony Meade in summarizing the Discussion Sessions... the Council of Elrond's 30 pages alone takes up 225+ pages of Summaries... with narrow margins and 13 point type. Which means for every 1 page of Tolkien text, the summaries result in about 7.5 pages. I will also note that the preceding 135 pages of Tolkien text consumed about 400 pages of TM summaries. (Note: I am not counting the first 20 sessions which proceeded at an entirely different rate. So this page count starts somewhere in the first part of Bk, 1 Ch 5 with the "Bath Song". So that average was for every 1 page of Tolkien text the TM summaries have only 3 pages. This clearly indicates the greater detail of the discussions of C of E compared with prior Sessions. In other terms: it took 105 Sessions to cover 135 pages of prior Tolkien text and 66 Sessions to cover the 30 pages of C of E. Which amount to (estimating average discussion time per session at 1.85 hrs. -- and that may be quite low!) 122 hours of discussions at the minimum for the C of E alone.
 
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Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
in giving the account of the Council, Tolkien breaks up the History of the Ring into four parts, told by Elrond, Bilbo, Frodo, and finally Gandalf. Thus we are given the first period, then the recent period, and finally the missing and perhaps most conclusively important middle portion (historically speaking, but actually the final step in the process in identifying the Ring), which reveals how to prove the Bilbo-Frodo ring is indeed the One Ring. By holding that crucial turning point until last,
It's a matter of carefully answering the question. What they knew is told first, and then the process by which Gandalf connected the two seemingly unrelated stories. Elrond tells the early story until the Ring gets lost, then Bilbo tells of its finding of the Ring, and Frodo of the dangers he faced bringing it to Rivendell. Those are the two things that Boromir and Galdor ask to have connected. Then Gandalf tells how he went from not believing the two could be connected, to his search for the intervening time until he became certain that this was indeed the One Ring. He vividly takes his listeners every step of the way with him so that no one is left with any doubt.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
It's a matter of carefully answering the question. What they knew is told first, and then the process by which Gandalf connected the two seemingly unrelated stories. Elrond tells the early story until the Ring gets lost, then Bilbo tells of its finding of the Ring, and Frodo of the dangers he faced bringing it to Rivendell. Those are the two things that Boromir and Galdor ask to have connected. Then Gandalf tells how he went from not believing the two could be connected, to his search for the intervening time until he became certain that this was indeed the One Ring. He vividly takes his listeners every step of the way with him so that no one is left with any doubt.
Very nicely put, Rachel!! It's all done with such apparently effortless ease just as the whole story would naturally have been told. All the more artistic in achieving that. A less skillful author would have gone straight to the all important connecting link given by Gandalf and then filled in the rest. But that would have been clumsy and obviously contrived. Instead he starts with what another might have put last, Gloin's account of the Mordor Messenger, which seems like a careless digression but actually builds interest and suspense by proving that the threat of evil is very real.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
It's all done with such apparently effortless ease just as the whole story would naturally have been told. All the more artistic in achieving that. A less skillful author would have gone straight to the all important connecting link given by Gandalf and then filled in the rest. But that would have been clumsy and obviously contrived. Instead he starts with what another might have put last, Gloin's account of the Mordor Messenger, which seems like a careless digression but actually builds interest and suspense by proving that the threat of evil is very real.
Actually, Gloin's report is a bridge, not a digression; it connects the earlier part of the Council, when various scouts and emissaries report on what's happening in their home areas, with the part that's reported in more detail, which of course is the story of the Ring. It's placing tells everyone that what becomes the main point of the Council is clearly related to their own regional concerns.

Tolkien experimented with various orders of presentation before arriving at the published version. So that effortless ease is deceptive. It reminds me of an interview I heard recently with a Broadway star, discussing her work with Stephen Sondheim. She described going to him with ideas for changing something in a song, and how he listened carefully, then showed her that he'd already gone through that and other possibilities before arriving at what obviously was the best solution. Tolkien already tried the other possibilities others might suggest.
 

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Respectfully submitted by Fern Elffrond, secretary and niece to Lord Elrond
Copy in Moon Letters ONLY to all participants.
I smiled when I came to this, thinking how nice to have had at least one female present - I could picture her taking minutes and making sure everyone had their coffee cups topped off. Then it occurred to me - Elrond's niece? Wouldn't any nieces of Elrond have been mortal, and long-dead by now? Did he have any siblings besides Elros? Or was she Celebrian's niece - again, did Celeborn and Galadriel have any other children?
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Actually, Gloin's report is a bridge, not a digression; it connects the earlier part of the Council, when various scouts and emissaries report on what's happening in their home areas, with the part that's reported in more detail, which of course is the story of the Ring. It's placing tells everyone that what becomes the main point of the Council is clearly related to their own regional concerns.

Tolkien experimented with various orders of presentation before arriving at the published version. So that effortless ease is deceptive. It reminds me of an interview I heard recently with a Broadway star, discussing her work with Stephen Sondheim. She described going to him with ideas for changing something in a song, and how he listened carefully, then showed her that he'd already gone through that and other possibilities before arriving at what obviously was the best solution. Tolkien already tried the other possibilities others might suggest.
Right, as to point one above. I have added a couple of lines about "those present", as any minutes would include. And a line of transition to Gloin's Narrative.

As to point two above. Exactly. Good art consists of seeming effortlessness after careful trial and error diligence. The careful construction of a poetic lyric piece is a concentrated example of just what a good prose or epic narrative does in extenso.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Summary of Boromir's minutes of the Council: As written up to send to Denethor and Faramir

1. Attendees
2. Reports from distant lands
3. History of Wars against Sauron from Lore-master Elrond.
4. I report on desperate situation in Gondor.
5. I report Divine Dream.
6. Sword that was Broken revealed as Elendil's (complete with bearer - Isildur's heir). Agrees to come to Gondor's aid.
7. Isildur's Bane revealed as Enemy's Ring of Power.
9. Halfling revealed as bearer of Ring.
10. History of Halfling's acquisition and possession of Ring. Ring-wraiths in pursuit of Ring, and they are probable cause of Dread at Osgiliath.
11. Proof that Ring is Sauron's Ring.
12. Saruman revealed as traitor and potential enemy to Gondor and Rohan.
13. Discussion on what to do with Ring. Options: Hide it; Send it to West; Throw in Sea; Use as weapon vs. Sauron; Destroy it in Mt. Doom, Mordor. Destroy it selected as option. At first seems insane. Vast risk for little gain. Ringless Sauron can still defeat us all. But then deduced that if One Ring destroyed, Ring-wraiths destroyed. Dream answered. Stronger than Morgul-spells. Apparently use of Ring as Weapon v Sauron wont have good result. If Ring-wraiths eliminated Enemy will be weakened. Enough to beat him?
14. Halfling volunteers to try sneak into Mordor and destroy Ring.

End Council.

Preliminary Recommendations:

1. Consider sending strong forces to Rohan to aid v. Saruman?

2. Consider diversionary strikes against Enemy to draw attention from Mordor. Raid Umbar? Raid Dol Guldur?

3. Strengthen Defences and muster / train all possible troops.

4. If Ring destroyed, Ring-wraiths gone, suggest attack in force on first Osgiliath, then Minas Morgul. Objective: Capture pass of Cirith Ungol and threaten Mordor from West.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Nifty idea... to bring out a specific interest's point of view. I could see Legolas and Gloin sending something similar home to Thranduil and Erebor.
One possible minor revision: Given the autocratic attitude of Denethor to his position, Boromir would be consciously smarter to put this in some terms that imply it's all Denethor's ideas... Say. put in a phrase like; As you, Lord Denethor, intimated in our policy discussions prior to my departure. B son of D, knows full well Pa had no idea B son of D would find The Ring itself in Rivendell let alone in the hands of some puny race of humanoid dwarves. But Pa would take any assertive ideas from B son of D as presumptuous if not insolent. So, he's gotta know that and keep it in mind... And a very vague phrase like "policy discussions" could refer to a wide range about anything in any time span ...
Also, I think it seems fairly clear that any in the know about Sauron's Ring that Isildur's Bane always had meant The One Ring, no? All he (and Aragorn) note is that I's B is found.... not that it was identified now as The One Ring... Or that is what I get from their exclamations. Just as they don't mention the name Sauron in Gondor, so they would use a euphemism for his Ring.... (or more precisely, a dysphemism!!)
Are we to understand by your Pt. 4 at the end, that B son of D does not get it that the destruction of The Ring would have already have brought Sauron and his empire down to ruin?
 
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Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Hi Timdalf,

I totally agree with your suggestion. Boromir would have put in all those diplomatic suggestions in his full report. He is obviously a skilled diplomat, and also pretty good at manipulating Denethor - he got to go on the quest for Imladris after all. Not wanting to write the full report, I only produced the executive summary, or perhaps table of contents.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Nifty idea... to bring out a specific interest's point of view. I could see Legolas and Gloin sending something similar home to Thranduil and Erebor.
One possible minor revision: Given the autocratic attitude of Denethor to his position, Boromir would be consciously smarter to put this in some terms that imply it's all Denethor's ideas... Say. put in a phrase like; As you, Lord Denethor, intimated in our policy discussions prior to my departure. B son of D, knows full well Pa had no idea B son of D would find The Ring itself in Rivendell let alone in the hands of some puny race of humanoid dwarves. But Pa would take any assertive ideas from B son of D as presumptuous if not insolent. So, he's gotta know that and keep it in mind... And a very vague phrase like "policy discussions" could refer to a wide range about anything in any time span ...
Also, I think it seems fairly clear that any in the know about Sauron's Ring that Isildur's Bane always had meant The One Ring, no? All he (and Aragorn) note is that I's B is found.... not that it was identified now as The One Ring... Or that is what I get from their exclamations. Just as they don't mention the name Sauron in Gondor, so they would use a euphemism for his Ring.... (or more precisely, a dysphemism!!)
Are we to understand by your Pt. 4 at the end, that B son of D does not get it that the destruction of The Ring would have already have brought Sauron and his empire down to ruin?
Legolas wold not have send a letter but a verbal message - pobably put in verse form. I do doubt he is literate at all, seems not at all a Silvan thing. I have no doubt Thranduil is literate as the king, because he has to, as he deals with mortals, but I do doubt he would spoil the "innocence" of his child by having him learn the Kinslayers' invention. Elves generally a little literate in the human sense, even those who use letters regularly, they pass information in more direct ways. Cirth was rarely used by Sindar in the Third age and when, then in insciptions in wood, stone or metal, not it what we would call "writing" - beyond that cirth have bee almost completely appropiated b dwarves at that time anyway.
 
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Timdalf

Active Member
Thinking over Denethor's autocratic attitude to his own position, made me realize what a panoply of inflated ego's there are ruling Middle-earth.... Denethor, Saruman, Thranduil, Theoden, Galadriel, Dain, Beorn, even the S-B's.... Elrond., Treebeard and T Bombadil seem to be quite exceptional!! I suppose had Tolkien had a slightly different goal as author, I could see a whole novel of rivalries and secondary wars going on... How did they all ever manage to even remotely cooperate!!
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Legolas would not have sent a letter but a verbal message - probably put in verse form. I do doubt he is literate at all, seems not at all a Silvan thing. I have no doubt Thranduil is literate as the king, because he has to, as he deals with mortals, but I do doubt he would spoil the "innocence" of his child by having him learn the Kinslayers' invention. Elves generally a little literate in the human sense, even those who use letters regularly, they pass information in more direct ways.
Then whence come all the "translations from the Elvish" that form the vast body of work (of which one JRRT transcribed only fragments really) that form the Red Book of Westmarch, etc.? To me the various Elvish factions seem the most literate and literary of any of the races of Middle-earth, with Elrond at the forefront. Which is not to say a messenger with a long verbal message is not also possible.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Then whence come all the "translations from the Elvish" that form the vast body of work (of which one JRRT transcribed only fragments really) that form the Red Book of Westmarch, etc.? To me the various Elvish factions seem the most literate and literary of any of the races of Middle-earth, with Elrond at the forefront. Which is not to say a messenger with a long verbal message is not also possible.
Elrond's library. He is Half-elven after all. Numenorian would also have written some of the things down have heard about form the elves and some copies of those could have been send to him also. And Bilbo would translate and write down some of the songs and stories he hear from elves live in Rivendell. See Galadriels messages passed on from her via Gandalf in Rohan. I doubt she ever wrote a letter in her long live - imho she would not see the point of doing so. Elves have perfect memories, ways to spread gossip like wildfire (Gildor Inglorion) and can read each others minds to an extend.
Writing letters or books is completely contraintuitive for them.
 

Timdalf

Active Member
Then why would any Elves have even invented the Tengwar and Cirth at all? These are not Mannish in origin.
 
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