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Revision as of 10:39, 17 December 2007
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|Titles||Half-elven, Lord of Imladris|
|Birth||c. F.A. 532, Havens of Sirion |
|Heritage||Half-elven father and mother|
|Parentage||Eärendil and Elwing|
|Children||Elladan, Elrohir, Arwen|
Elrond was one of the greatest Elves in the history of Middle-earth and one of the few characters to appear in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. His name means “Star-dome,” which according to one account he received because in his youth he was playing in a cave underneath a waterfall. He was also a master of healing in his time. He held the great elven ring Vilya.
Elrond in the First and Second Ages
Elrond was born at the Havens of Sirion late in the First Age. His parents were Eärendil and Elwing. He was thus Half-elven: Eärendil was the child of the mortal Tuor and the elf Idril, while Elwing was the grandchild of Beren (a human) and Lúthien (daughter of the Elf-king Thingol and the Maia Melian). Consequently, Elrond was descended from all three tribes of the Elves (Vanyar and Noldor through Idril, Sindar through Luthien), a Maia, and the Edain. Elrond had a twin brother, Elros, who later became the first king of Númenor.
When the Sons of Fëanor attacked the Havens of Sirion, Elrond and his brother were taken captive by Maglor, and were subsequently raised by him. Following the War of Wrath, because of his Half-elven heritage the Valar gave Elrond and his brother a choice whether to be counted among the kindred of Elves or of Men. Elrond chose to belong to the Firstborn, while Elros chose to become mortal. Elrond subsequently remained in Lindon with Gil-galad, where he became known as a healer and loremaster.
When Sauron (disguised in his fair form as Annatar) came seeking entrance to Lindon during the Second Age, Elrond and Gil-galad sensed that he was not what he seemed, and denied him. Later, in Second Age 1697 during the wars of the Elves against Sauron, Elrond founded the refuge of Imladris, also known as Rivendell.
Elrond marched with Gil-galad and Elendil during the War of the Last Alliance, serving as Gil-galad’s herald. He was present during the last battle of that war, witnessing the deaths of Gil-galad and Elendil. At the conclusion of that battle, when Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand he and Círdan advised Isildur to destroy the Ring, but Isildur refused their counsel. Elrond subsequently returned to Rivendell, which prospered the coming years with the aid of the Ring of Air, Vilya, that Elrond had received from Gil-galad. It has been argued that following Gil-galad’s death, Elrond had the right to become High King of the Noldor, but he never claimed the title.
Elrond in the Third Age
Following Isildur’s death, Elrond received the shards of Narsil, which he preserved for many years. He began his long tradition of fostering the heirs of Isildur by helping to raise Isildur’s son Valandil, who had been left in Rivendell during the War of the Last Alliance. Centuries later, when the Northern Kingdom fell, Elrond took the other heirlooms of Arnor (the Sceptre of Annúminas and the Ring of Barahir) into his keeping, holding them for the one who would eventually be able to reclaim the throne of Arnor.
In 2933, Elrond took Aragorn as his foster-son in Rivendell, naming him Estel ("Hope") and concealing his heritage from him until he came of age. When Aragorn became an adult, Elrond gave him the Ring of Barahir and the shards of Narsil, foreseeing that Aragorn might be the one to claim the thrones of Gondor and Arnor. When Aragorn fell in love with Arwen, Elrond revealed to him that Arwen shared the choice of the Half-elven, and that one or the other of them would ultimately be parted from her forever. Elrond insisted that Arwen could not marry Aragorn until he became king of both Gondor and Arnor.
Elrond in The Hobbit
In The Hobbit, Elrond played a minor but significant role. During Thorin and Company’s stay in Rivendell, Elrond read the runes on the swords Orcrist and Glamdring, identifying them as coming from Gondolin. He also read the moon-letters on Thorin’s Thrór's Map, providing the information the Dwarves and Bilbo need to enter the Lonely Mountain.
In The Hobbit, it is said of Elrond that he “was an elf-friend — one of those people whose fathers came into the strange stories before the beginning of History, the wars of the evil goblins and the elves and the first men in the North. In those days of our tale there were still some people who had both elves and heroes of the North for ancestors, and Elrond the master of the house was their chief. He was as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer.” (A Short Rest) Note that in this description he is not identified as an elf himself, as Tolkien had not at this stage decided that Elrond of Rivendell was the same person as Elrond the son of Earendil.
Elrond in The Lord of the Rings
When Frodo first leaves the Shire with the One Ring, it is always his intention to go to Rivendell to seek the advice of Elrond. Indeed, in his letter left at Bree, Gandalf counsels him to do so. Elrond’s first role in The Lord of the Rings is to heal Frodo of his wound sustained at Weathertop. Elrond then hosts the feast that is held when Frodo recovers. The description given of Elrond at that feast tells us that “the face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars. Venerable he seemed as a king crowned with many winters, and yet hale as a tried warrior in the fulness of his strength. He was the Lord of Rivendell and mighty among both Elves and Men.” (Many Meetings)
Elrond’s principal role, of course, is as the leader of the Council of Elrond. During that meeting, he narrates what he knows of the history of Isildur and the Ring. He identifies Aragorn as Isildur’s Heir, and when Frodo ultimately volunteers to carry the Ring, Elrond affirms that decision as correct. Elrond also appears to have selected the members of the Fellowship other than Frodo and Sam, accepting Merry and Pippin only reluctantly.
Later, Elrond sends his sons Elladan and Elrohir to join the Dunedain Rangers who ride to Rohan to join Aragorn. Through Elrohir, Elrond advises Aragorn to take the Paths of the Dead. During the Last Debate, Elrohir supports Aragorn’s decision to attack Mordor as a diversion to allow Frodo time to reach Mount Doom, saying that this was Elrond’s advice. Following the War of the Ring, Elrond escorts Arwen to Minas Tirith for her marriage to Aragorn, and parts from her in great sorrow.
At the end of the story, Elrond is one of the Elves who takes ship to Valinor along with Frodo and the other Ringbearers. The Third Age is held to have ended with Elrond’s departure.
Portrayal in Adaptations
- Elrond from Rankin-Bass' The Hobbit.jpg
Elrond as portrayed in Rankin/Bass' The Hobbit
- Elrond from Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings.jpg
Elrond as portrayed in Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Elrond first appears in the Prologue as a commander of the army of Elves in the War of the Last Alliance. A later flashback scene shows him actually taking Isildur into Mount Doom, trying to persuade him to destroy the Ring. This scene is strongly paralleled in The Return of the King when Frodo attempts to destroy the Ring, with Sam using some of the same words Elrond did in the earlier scene.
As in the book, Elrond heals Frodo’s wound from Weathertop. Elrond then has a conversation with Gandalf, discussing the many challenges that face them. Elrond argues that the Ring cannot remain in Rivendell (in the movie, Frodo appears to have thought that he would be able to leave the Ring there). He also expresses his doubts about the race of Men, and gives the first hints about Aragorn’s real identity. In the Council of Elrond, Elrond himself is the one who argues that the only option is to destroy the Ring. He does not select the Fellowship, but accepts those who volunteer.
Elrond gains two additional scenes in the Extended Edition of the movie. In the first, he talks with Aragorn beside the grave of Aragorn’s mother. Elrond encourages the reluctant Aragorn to accept his fate of becoming king. In the next scene, Elrond blesses the departing Fellowship.
In The Two Towers, Elrond is mainly appears in scenes involving Arwen. In a flashback, Aragorn remembers Elrond telling him to abandon his love for Arwen, allowing her to sail to Valinor. Aragorn attempts to do this, but Arwen denies him. In another scene, Elrond persuades Arwen that she should sail to Valinor, describing what will happen if she remains and Aragorn dies. Elrond then has a telepathic communication with Galadriel discussing the war that is beginning. He apparently suggests that she send an army to Helm’s Deep to aid the Men there, since when Haldir arrives at Helm’s Deep he says that he brings “word from Elrond of Rivendell.”
In The Return of the King, Elrond’s first scene is with Arwen, who has decided not to sail after all, but to return. Although he senses that she is dying Elrond acknowledges her choice. At her suggestion, he has the shards of Narsil re-forged, then carries the new sword to Aragorn at Dunharrow. He finally convinces Aragorn to accept his destiny, and advises him to take the Paths of the Dead. Later, Elrond escorts Arwen to Minas Tirith for her wedding, and he finally sails to Valinor with the Ringbearers.