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A porch in Elrond's refuge of Rivendell


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  • Updated 7 May 2003
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Council of Elrond

The war-council of the Wise

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The council held on 25 October III 3018 at Rivendell, where the history of the Ring was discussed, and its fate debated. Present at the council were representatives of all the free peoples of Middle-earth.

After much debate, four main proposals were put forward. Erestor, Elrond's chief counsellor, suggested taking the Ring back westward to Tom Bombadil, in the hope that he could withhold it from Sauron. Glorfindel suggested something similar: carrying the Ring west to the Great Sea and casting it in. Both of these courses were thought too dangerous to attempt, and rejected for other reasons besides.

Boromir of Gondor had a bolder proposal: to take the Ring and wield it against its maker. The dangers of doing this were all too clear, and none of those present who might have taken up the Ring would agree to do so.

The final conclusion of the Council was to follow the course devised by Elrond himself, to carry the Ring into Mordor and cast it into Mount Doom. By no means all the Council agreed with this course. Erestor in particular saw little hope of succeeding. 'That is the path of despair,' he said, 'Of folly I would say, if the long wisdom of Elrond did not forbid me.' (The Fellowship of the Ring II 2, The Council of Elrond).

Nonetheless, Elrond's plan was accepted as the only course possible. As Gandalf said, 'It is wisdom to recognise necessity, when all other courses have been weighed...' (ibid). Frodo the Ring-bearer took on the task, and a Company for him was assembled from five others of those present at the council, to which were added the hobbits Samwise Gamgee, Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. This was the Company or Fellowship of the Ring, that set out from Rivendell on the journey that Erestor had called the 'path of despair'.

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