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The Council of Elrond (chapter)

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This article is about the chapter. For the event in Rivendell, see Council of Elrond.
The Council of Elrond (chapter)
Chapter Information
Title The Council of Elrond
Number 02
Location Rivendell
Date October 25 T.A. 3018
Characters Elrond, Frodo Baggins
Previous Many Meetings
Next The Ring Goes South

The Council of Elrond is the second chapter of the second book in The Fellowship of the Ring (novel).


The Council of Elrond was an important political gathering attended by many people. During the meeting, Gandalf tells the story of his escape from Saruman. Ultimately, the members of council decide that the ring must be destroyed, and Frodo offers to take it himself to Mordor.


In the morning, Gandalf summons Frodo and Bilbo to the Council. Messengers from many lands and races are there seeking Elrond’s advice. Glóin says that the Dwarves are worried: the Dwarf-king Balin, who journeyed to the Mines of Moria under the Misty Mountains to reestablish the ancient Dwarf-kingdom that once flourished there, has not sent word for quite a long time. Furthermore, a messenger from Mordor has come offering the Dwarves an alliance, as well as new Rings of Power, in exchange for news about a certain Hobbit. The wise Elrond tells of the origins of the Rings of Power, forged by the Elven-smiths in the Second Age, and of the One Ring, which Sauron made to rule the others. Elrond speaks of the great battle in which Isildur cut the Ring from the Dark Lord’s hand, and of the loss of the Ring in the Anduin River when Isildur perished. Afterward, the realms of the Men of Westernesse went into decline: the northern realms were mostly abandoned, and though the southern realm of Gondor endured, it weakened as well. The Men of Gondor allowed Sauron’s forces back into Mordor and had to cede territory to the Dark Lord.

At this point, Boromir, a powerful-looking warrior from Minas Tirith, the great city of Gondor, speaks. He tells of a rising power in Mordor that has recently dealt crushing losses to Gondor. Boromir tells of a dream he had that spoke of the Sword that was Broken, something called Isildur’s Bane, and a Halfling. The meaning of Boromir’s dream is suddenly made clear as Strider stands and reveals himself to be Aragorn, the heir and direct descendant of Isildur, keeper of Elendil’s broken sword. The Halfling—another word for Hobbit—is Frodo, who stands and displays Isildur’s Bane—the Ring.

Frodo and Bilbo relate their parts in the story of the Ring thus far. Then Gandalf tells how he managed to prove the identity of the Ring. He discovered that Sauron was gaining power again in Mirkwood, and that Saruman the White, the head of Gandalf’s order of Wizards, advised against challenging Sauron. When the Wizards finally did decide to challenge Sauron, it was too late, as the Dark Lord had built up his forces in Mordor and fled there. Gandalf searched for Gollum but was unable to find the creature, so he went to the city of Minas Tirith, where Isildur had allegedly left a description of the Ring. From this description, Gandalf learned about the writing on the Ring. Then Aragorn tells the Council that he did in fact find Gollum after Gandalf left; the wizard adds that it is surely from Gollum that Sauron heard of Bilbo and the Shire. Legolas, an Elf from Mirkwood, interrupts with the alarming news that Gollum recently escaped from the Elves’ dungeon with the help of an army of Orcs.

Gandalf tells how he journeyed to Orthanc, the tower of Saruman, where he was dismayed to learn that Saruman, the greatest of the Wizards, intended to join forces with Mordor or to wield the Ring himself. When Gandalf refused to join the side of Mordor, Saruman locked him in the tower of Orthanc until Gwaihir, the Great Eagle, came and rescued Gandalf, taking him to the horsemen of Rohan. There, Gandalf tamed Shadowfax, the swiftest of all horses, and rode him back to the Shire. Gandalf missed the hobbits and Aragorn at Bree, and then went on to Weathertop, where he battled the Nazgûl. The wizard then made his way to Rivendell, hoping to draw some of the Nine away from Strider and the hobbits.

The only remaining question—the most important one—is what to do with the Ring. The Elf-lord Erestor suggests they give the Ring to Tom Bombadil, over whom it seemingly has no power. Glorfindel counters that such a course of action would simply postpone the inevitable, as Tom alone could not defeat Sauron. Boromir brashly recommends that they use the power of the Ring to defeat Sauron. Gandalf and Elrond immediately dismiss this suggestion. As the Ring contains the power of Sauron, it is irrevocably evil, and anything done with it will ultimately turn to evil.

Glóin suggests that the Elves use the Three Rings of the Elves to fight Sauron, but Elrond silences this idea. Glóin asks what would happen if the Ruling Ring were destroyed. Elrond sadly replies that he thinks the Three Elven Rings would fail; their power and all that they have created would fade. However, the Elves are willing to endure that possibility in order to destroy Sauron.

Erestor suggests that it is despair and folly to go into Mordor to look for the fire that forged the Ring. However, Gandalf responds that despair is only for those who have no hope; as for folly, that may be their only chance. Sauron is wise, but he only thinks in terms of desire for power. That someone would pass up power by trying to destroy the Ring would never occur to him. Elrond agrees, adding that the road will be so hard that neither strength nor wisdom will be of much help; the weak are as likely to succeed as the strong. It is often true that the weak make all the difference in the world “while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”

At this, Bilbo pipes up, declaring that it is obvious that Elrond is saying that old Bilbo himself should take the Ring to Mordor. Gandalf disagrees. After a heavy silence, Frodo feels strangely compelled to speak up. He says he will take the Ring himself, “though I do not know the way.” Elrond agrees, saying that it is a heavy burden, but it seems that Frodo is meant for it. Sam, who has been hiding in a corner, jumps up and demands to go along. Elrond smilingly assents.


By type 
Characters Species and creatures Locations Factions, groups and titles
Events Objects and artifacts Miscellanea


Dramatis personae

Other characters

Species and creatures


Factions, groups and titles


Objects and artifacts

Songs and VersesEdit

  1. Seek for the Sword that was broken

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

Council of Elrond - FOTR

The Council of Elrond as seen in Peter Jackson's film of Fellowship of the Ring.

In Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring film, the only characters who speak, other than Elrond himself, are mostly Gandalf, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli and Legolas. Other members of Elrond's household like Erestor, Figwit and Glorfindel are omitted. There are no signs of talking about the current War and of Gollum's escape in Mirkwood. In addition to this, it was not only Sam who was eavesdropping, but also Merry and Pippin.

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