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Council of Elrond

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"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The Council of Elrond was a council called by Elrond in Rivendell, in order to decide what should be done with the One Ring. Unlike in the movie adaption, those who attended were not summoned to Rivendell by Elrond, but came of their own accord for various reasons; presumably an instance where "Fate" intervened in The Lord of the Rings.

" 'What shall we do with the Ring. . . That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world. . .' "
The Lord of the Rings, The Council of Elrond, Elrond speaking

Those present at the Council had arrived at Rivendell by different paths and on separate errands, yet they were all ultimately concerned with the Ring and its effect upon the people of Middle-earth.

Important participants at the Council included:

At the Council the full story of the Ring was told by Bilbo and Gandalf. Boromir was all for taking the Ring and using its power in the defence of Gondor, but Gandalf and Elrond were adamant that the Ring, having been forged by Sauron himself, would corrupt and ultimately destroy whoever tried to use it. Eventually Gandalf felt it necessary to employ shock tactics by reciting the Ring-inscription in the Black Speech, despite angering Elrond in the process.

Eventually it was decided that the only way to be free of Sauron and the Ring was to cast the Ring into the Crack of Doom in Mount Doom.

It then became necessary to decide who should take responsibility for such a perilous undertaking. Bilbo offered to finish the job he had started, but Gandalf told him he could not take back the Ring. Eventually Frodo surprised everyone including himself by telling them he would take the Ring. After some thought Elrond agreed. At this point Sam emerged from hiding and demanded to accompany Frodo, and since it was hardly possible to separate them Elrond agreed.

The matter of who else should accompany Frodo (later to be known as the Fellowship of the Ring, hence the title of the book and subsequent movie) was decided later, although the movie version of Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring depicts the choosing of the Fellowship as taking place at the end of the Council, and has Merry and Pippin also eavesdropping on the proceedings and demanding to accompany Frodo.

See also: