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Old 08-11-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
Zigűr
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Elrond's speech

At the Council of Elrond, we're told that Elrond himself gave an account "of Sauron and the Rings of Power, and their forging in the Second Age of the world long ago." We're told that he discussed "the Elven-smiths of Eregion and their friendship with Moria, and their eagerness for knowledge, by which Sauron ensnared them." Apparently talking about the fall of Eregion, "through all the years that followed he traced the Ring" presumably up until the time of the Last Alliance when the narrative resumes "but since that history is elsewhere recounted, even as Elrond himself set it down in his books of lore, it is not here recalled."

So apparently Elrond wrote a history of the deeds of the Elves in the Second Age and the Rings of Power. I assume this is not the same document as "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" given that that text ends after the departure of the Bearers of the Three.

So where is this "elsewhere recounted" history? While I realise that "The Council of Elrond" as a chapter is already extremely long and full of backstory and exposition, one thing which has always given me pause is the fact that this vital information about what really went on with the forging of the Rings of Power, why they were made and what Sauron was up to never really gets explained in The Lord of the Rings itself, not even the Appendices. We have to go to The Silmarillion and elsewhere for this information. Personally I've always felt that the narrative might have benefited, even marginally, from just a little more detail in The Lord of the Rings itself regarding what Sauron's motivations were, as well as the intentions of Celebrimbor and the Gwaith-i-Mírdain who wished to build a "separate independent paradise" away from Valinor, and why the Rings of the title actually mattered beyond the One.

What do you think? Would that be too much information? Is it better left a mystery for the sake of the immediate narrative? I was thinking of this especially in comparison to how much information we get regarding Númenor and various other histories of less overt relevance. Despite being in the Appendices, they're still there. Some of this other information is arguably more pertinent and might have even warranted inclusion in the narrative proper, and yet it's nowhere to be found, not even the Appendices.

EDIT: Of course a bit later Elrond mentions that it's forbidden to speak of the Three, which might explain things, although that might only extend to discussion of their current activities and owners, not their creation.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:31 AM   #2
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While I realise that "The Council of Elrond" as a chapter is already extremely long and full of backstory and exposition, one thing which has always given me pause is the fact that this vital information about what really went on with the forging of the Rings of Power, why they were made and what Sauron was up to never really gets explained in The Lord of the Rings itself, not even the Appendices. We have to go to The Silmarillion and elsewhere for this information. Personally I've always felt that the narrative might have benefited, even marginally, from just a little more detail in The Lord of the Rings itself regarding what Sauron's motivations were, as well as the intentions of Celebrimbor and the Gwaith-i-Mírdain who wished to build a "separate independent paradise" away from Valinor, and why the Rings of the title actually mattered beyond the One.
I don't think LOTR is diminished in any way by not having more details of the making of the Rings of Power.
The reader is told enough for narrative purposes: Sauron made the Rings to enslave the "free peoples", and intended to do so by using the One to know the thoughts and govern the actions of their wearers. We know Sauron's motives were domination, and free from any good purpose. We know the Elves of Eregion were too enamored of "crafts" and works of the hand to see Sauron's scheme until it was too late. I think too much detail would have sidetracked the story.

One of the draws of LOTR to me, has always been the way in which Tolkien gives just enough "history" and backstory to give depth to the book, but not enough to make one feel that the history has supplanted the main narrative. History ought to support, not take center stage, and I think Tolkien got it right.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:30 PM   #3
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Thought I would post an Elrond quesiton in this current thread, rather than create a new one.

In the LOTR Appendix I read that the Fourth Age is considered to start upon Elrond's departure from Middle Earth, and not when the One ring is destroyed. This is unlike the Third Age which begins after Sauron is defeated.
I am curious to know how people interpret why Tolkien used Elrond specifically as the catalyst? Did he mean that the fourth age began when ALL the ring bearers departed (Elrond AND Gandalf, Galadrial, Frodo), or is the emphasis really on just Elrond?
I cannot decide why it would be on just Elrond. Unless he represented the last king of the Noldor (after Gil-galad), and his departure really represented the passing of the torch to Men.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:01 PM   #4
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I think it is the symbolic passing of the torch and the focus is on Elrond since as father and foster father of Arwen and Aragorn he is the most significant figure from Gondor's perspective. Also he was witness to the major events that ended the previous ages He reached adulthood about the end of the first age and would have witnessed the war of wrath, then witnessed the interim overthrow of Sauron and took up the responsibility if not the title of Gil-galad. Then with the destruction of the ring his task is done
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:48 AM   #5
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I agree with Mithalwen, but see the focus as much more shared. Galadriel and the other Ringbearers would still be seen as very significant, I think ... although two [Edit: three] of them were very short-term, of course, and Galadriel (to mortals) was much more hidden and seemingly "mythical," so to speak.

Aragorn would presumably have been very instrumental in matters such as when the new age began, as well as choosing of the date of the new year in Gondor and the celebration of Frodo's birthday (I think this latter one became known as Ring-Day, but I wouldn't swear to it - it might have been the new year date).

I would say that Aragorn's reverence and respect for Galadriel and Gandalf were no less than those he held for Elrond ... plus she was Arwen's grandmother, of course. And his determination to honour the huge part taken in the victory against Sauron by the diminutive Ringbearers is evident both on the Field of Cormallen and in his subsequent deeds, "You shall travel in honour and arrayed as princes of the land," etc - not to mention the two new festival days I mentioned above.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it would be completely down to Aragorn. But if he hadn't honoured and revered the Ringbearers as he did, would his people have done so? Gondor's new king, had he been a con-merchant and not the decent and noble Aragorn, could have downplayed their role. Well, there is the rather obvious tell-tale collapse of Barad-dur, etc, but a skilled spin-doctor, had he wanted to, could have pretended it was more Aragorn's doing than it was (after all, his military and leadership prowess was tremendous, and he had come to the succour of Minas Tirith in the pirate ships, and the fighting immediately following the destruction of the Ring was still very significant).

Admittedly, the Wise would not have thought much of any King of Gondor that would do that, but then they departed two and a half years after the fall of Sauron, and Aragorn continued to honour the part played by the Ringbearers. (OK, the sons of Elrond and Celeborn were still around, but still).

P.S. Welcome to the Downs, Popo.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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I agree that Aragorn reveres the other ringbearers by for example asking Gandalf to crown him in lieu of the old tradition which was impossible in this instance. However I do think that Elrond does have extra significance for the reasons already given, and for being a living link to Elros, Elendil and his sons, founders of Gondor. He also provided succour to the northern Dunedain. I think he is focused on because of the historical links which no doubt the recording loremasters would be well aware of.So I think it more a part of the translator conceit than an indicator of favouritism on the part of Aragorn personally.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:05 PM   #7
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What was the old crowning tradition? I'm away from my books and can't remember.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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What was the old crowning tradition? I'm away from my books and can't remember.
That the new king would either be given the crown by his father, the old king, or that he would take it from the body of the previous king in the Hallows.
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:57 PM   #9
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Thanks. That makes sense. It's made me wonder, though, if all Aragorn's descendants would be allowed to "give back the gift" when they chose, or if this would alter as the Numenorean blood dwindled (as I would have thought it must, there being so few of Aragorn's kin left) - does it say in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen that Aragorn surrendered the sceptre to Eldarion before closing his eyes? (Away from my books, so can't check at the moment).

Also wonder about the daughters, and whether they could lie down and die in old age, when weary.

Sorry, I know that this probably belongs in another thread.
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Old 08-20-2013, 05:56 PM   #10
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Interesting question. I suppose it depends on if they'd ever get to that point. Whether or not the ability to "give back the gift" comes into play the simple fact is that lifespans among the heirs of Isildur do seem to get progressively shorter as the blood gets diluted. By our standards Aragorn lifespan is incredible (especially if you add on the theoretic "decline" years he probably would have had if he hadn't relinquished when he did, but it is only a fraction of what some of his ancestors had. And it is a safe bet his decedents would be shorter too..Though the fact that Eldarion has maternal Elvish blood in him may have given a bit of a re-infusion (Since Arven also "gave up life" it is unclear what kind of a mortal lifespan she was granted. After all, if ME is supposed to be our own far history, than eventually the lifespans on the people would have to come down to what the were in our own recorded past. Aragorn had no problem giving in in his time, but by that point he had had well over a century of prime of life. For someone of our time, who had only had 50 or so, It might be a harder choice. If dying in your prime meant dying at 30-40 (yes I know that the "everyone in the ancient times died young" is a fallacy, people living into the 60-70's and 80's was not all that uncommon (especially in the upper classes), but it still wasn't exactly the norm) with the first 20 or so years spent in childhood, adolescence, youth (not quite "your prime") hanging on a little longer might seem quite attractive. So after a while, the question might have become moot.
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