The Council Of Elrond Pt. 4, The Lord Of The Rings | SFP024

As the sun is climbing to noon over the Council of Elrond Bilbo tells of his finding of the Ring. Frodo, less willingly, recounts all his dealing with the Ring from the day that it passed into his keeping. Afterward, Gandalf tells all he has learned, and whether it is the One which Sauron seeks. Join us as we continue to read through The Lord of the Rings.

The Council of Elrond Pt. 4

Bilbo compliments Frodo on his storytelling prowess. But the younger hobbit is not satisfied; the story does not yet seem complete. “I still want to know a good deal,” he said. Galdor of the Havens agrees.

The Wise may have good reason to believe that the halfling’s trove is indeed the Great Ring of long debate, unlikely though that may seem to those who know less. But may we not hear the proofs?

The Lord of the Rings: One Volume Edition, p. 249

Galdor finds that what has been heard so far is quite convincing. But what of Saruman? He is learned in these things, the lore of the Rings, yet he is not present to offer council. Would he affirm the things said thus far? Galdor is speaking from wisdom.

Proverbs 18:17 NASB
The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him

Many of the Proverbs of Solomon deal with council. The wise receive council instead of acting on the information provided only by oneself, or those on one side of an issue. The New Testament gives an excellent example in the form of the Bereans:

Acts 17:10-11 NASB
The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

This image show Minas Tirith in Gondor as depicted in the Peter Jackson trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings.

The Hunt For Gollum and Answers

Elrond anticipated the questions of Galdor. And in order to answer them he calls upon Gandalf to make the matter clear.

[T]he gap in the knowledge of the Wise has been filled at last. Yet too slowly. For the Enemy has been close behind, closer even than I feared.

The Lord of the Rings: One Volume Edition, p. 250

Gandalf reveals that the Necromancer in Dol Guldur was none other than Sauron, taking shape again. The White Council was able to drive him out of Mirkwood – the very year of the finding of the Ring – but he was prepared and fled to the Dark Tower. There he openly declared himself and began ever more eagerly seeking the One Ring.

Gandalf’s attention turned to Gollum and how he came to possess the Ring. He enlisted the aid of Aragorn to track the creature, while he travelled to Gondor to search for records among its scrolls and books of the markings which were said to adorn the One Ring.

Enjoy the film The Hunt For Gollum by Chris Bouchard.


Additional Resources:

What stood out to you in The Council Of Elrond Pt. 4? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • I don’t know if it is simply because I’ve always been a nerd, but the Council of Elrond has always been one of my favorite chapters in the Fellowship of the Ring, even as a kid when I first read it. There was something intricate and subtle about it, and it stood out from things that other authors, especially fantasy authors, would be willing to write. Imagine a new writer trying to break into fantasy publishing who wrote an epic that featured a lengthy committee meeting, complete with interruptions, jumping around in time, and a list of named characters who would only appear at this meeting and never again in the narrative.

    What was especially interesting about the chapter was something I intuited but didn’t fully grasp until I started reading Tom Shippey’s books on Tolkien. He’s a writer I recommend very highly, especially because he is someone who understands what Tolkien studied – Shippey is a professor of Middle and Old English literature, and he illuminates wonderful details, like how the whole auction scene that greets Bilbo when he returns to Bag End at the end of The Hobbit may have arisen from an academic argument about the meaning of an Anglo-Saxon word.

    What Shippey demonstrates about the Council of Elrond is how Tolkien uses different layers of archaism in the various characters’ speech. There are characters present who are thousands of years old, and hundreds of years old, as well as mundane older people on a human scale like Bilbo, and young adults like Frodo. Tolkien masterfully switches the syntax and vocabulary around for each of them, representing older or newer modes of speech as appropriate. So what you get, in the effect, is a consistent feeling of the age of the world through the speech patterns of the various characters. This is something Tolkien was better-qualified to do than almost anyone alive at the time, and the effect, for me at, least is that some speech comes echoing out of the past while other speech is immediate – Bilbo’s interjections, for example, compared to Isildur’s scroll, compared to Frodo’s simple and direct speech. Fantasy authors since have tried to emulate it, throwing in (often awkward) thees and thous, but no one I’m aware of has ever come close to this level of subtlety and consistency.

    It also makes some of the speech a challenge to read aloud 🙂

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