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Council of Elrond

StriderX

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I just finished reading the council of Elrond, and I found that rather boring. That is the first boring chapter in the Fellowship of the Ring. I was just wondering if anyone else found this kinda boring. I mean it gave a lot of good information, maybe because it was too long had something to do with it. I dont know, what do you guys think?
 

Lantarion

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Welceom to the forum, SX! :)
I don't exactly agree, but I think that the feeling and the mood is far too cliché and stiff. And the major ****-up is when Elrond says: "This is the doom that we must deem." :D That always cracks me up...
But it's true, it provides some "vital" info on what's happening (like Gandalf's account on the treason of Saruman, and the activities of the Nazgûl in Erebor), and it would be folly to leave it out. It is probably the longest chapter in the LotR, but it's worth struggling through.
 

Thorin

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Welcome to the forum! :)

I think that the more you immerse yourself in LoTR and other great works about Middle Earth like The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, the COE takes on more meaning and significance to the point that you quite enjoy the history of Elrond's and Gandalf's speeches.

Eventually you will see the great literary genius of Tolkien in the reasoning and method of explaining through the COE what the whole issue is about and the stakes involved, and how important the COE is too the story, and how the reader views the story.

Keep reading it a few more times over.
 

Greenwood

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Welcome to the forum StriderX.

No, I never found the Council chapter boring. As you say it is necessary to fill out a lot of the background to the story. It also serves to introduce the reader to many important characters: Boromir, Gimli, Legolas and indirectly Saruman as well as to place the conflict in a wider context. It of course does not have a lot of the direct action that other, earlier chapters had, so I guess that is why you found it boring in that sense. I disagree with Thorin on invoking the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales in defending the chapter. A chapter in any book should stand or fall on its own in the context of the book it is in. It should not need to be propped up by other books, least of all works that the author never himself published. I think The Council of Elrond stands quite well on its own with no help from outside.
 

Tar-Ancalime

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To be frank, that was the most boringest chapter in Lotr! a 40 pg chapter on a ring. I liked how the PJ dealt with the exxceeding ly long chapter!
 

Aldanil

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I'm with Oakenshield here

"The Council of Elrond" is a magnificent set-piece, and works so powerfully, IMO at least, in part because its extended discursive rhythm offers a contrast in pacing to the headlong narrative force of the Flight to the Ford, and in part because so many voices are there woven together to tell the tale of the One Ring; there are other elements to be savored as well. It's a chapter that richly rewards rereading!
 
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Lindir

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No, I don´t agree that it was boring, but I can understand why it may seem so. Leading up to that chapter in the book we have had action, action and then some more action. And in Rivendell the whole pace of the story slows down. But I don´t think this is limited to The Council of Elrond, the pace is equally slow in Many meetings. And everything said at the Council was important and well wortt readning. I think that maybe it could have been a bit more developed in the film, but I can see the problems with this.
 

Tar-Ancalime

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not that i didn't like the chapter...it's just went slowly! I've read worse though like pride and prejeduce that book is slow!
 

Thorin

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Originally posted by Greenwood
I disagree with Thorin on invoking the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales in defending the chapter. A chapter in any book should stand or fall on its own in the context of the book it is in. It should not need to be propped up by other books, least of all works that the author never himself published. I think The Council of Elrond stands quite well on its own with no help from outside.

Aah, Greenwood, if I was a more paranoid man, I would say that you just don't seem to like me and want to disagree with me at on any point just to keep the spirit of the FADs and Weenies alive.

First of all: Apparently, you don't seem to place any merit in any of Tolkien's post-humous works. You seem to neglect that LoTR was just a drop in the history of ME, not a finished copy, or the be-all and end-all of Tolkien's work. LoTR does not even scratch the surface of the events of ME. It is a part of ME just like Silmarillion. All of the material that became LoTR had it's beginnings in The Silmarillion and all other of Tolkien's works. All the support, added meaning and extra information that could not possible have made it into a published LoTR copy should not be thrown out or not considered along side LoTR as ME gospel. To say otherwise is to negate the grand scope of Tolkien's ME. Blatent contradictions between the two, maybe you have a point...But stop throwing the baby out with the bath water because Tolkien wasn't around to publish his own works that he created long before LoTR came into existence....

Secondly: I never said anything about COE being "propped up" by SIL or UT, nor the need to "invoke" them either. What I was saying is that when you read other things that shed some light on events briefly mentioned in LoTR, it can become more meaningful and part of a story you know well rather than just something you are reading about from a distance..I for one didn't find the COE boring either, and yes, it can stand on it's own, but let me point out a few things on how Sil and UT make events in LoTR and The Hobbit more meaningful...By reading Sil and UT you get a better idea of:

1) The story of Gil-Galad and Luthien
2) The history of the first overthrow of Sauron and who Elendil and Isildur really are and how they came to ME
3) The history of Aragorn and who exactly the Numenoreans are that the Rangers come from.
4) Who Gandalf really is
5) Extra information on Thorin :) , and Gandalf's meeting
6) Who exactly Cirdan the Shipwright is
7) Who exactly Galadriel is and her history
8) Who Morgoth is
9) How Sauron came to be in such power
10) Why the elves sail to the west (Which a newbie to Tolkien could not understand)
11) The relationship between Gondor and Rohan
12) Feanor and the palantiri

And so on, and so on, and so on.....All these events are touched upon and will leave the new reader thinking, "Alright, let's skip this little poem about this Gil-Galad and get on with the interesting stuff" But when they read Sil and UT they see these LoTR tid-bits in a new and more meaningful light...Some of these things are included in the COE.
 
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Kuduk

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Originally posted by StriderX
I just finished reading the council of Elrond, and I found that rather boring. That is the first boring chapter in the Fellowship of the Ring. I was just wondering if anyone else found this kinda boring. I mean it gave a lot of good information, maybe because it was too long had something to do with it. I dont know, what do you guys think?
I don't think it was boring, but I do agree that it represents a definite change of pace in the book. I think this was intentional on JRRT's part. As others have said, I think he wanted to use this breather to fill in more background and flesh out some things that had been touched on earlier. Also, I feel the chapter is important in setting up Frodo's decision to take the Ring and the Council's decision to send it to Mordor. I get the sense that JRRT was anxious to have readers believe that the Ring had to go to Mordor and that Frodo was the one to take it. This chapter presents his arguments for why that must be. The chapter also represents JRRT's clear intention to everyone that LotR should not be taken as just another child's fairy tale (like The Hobbit), but should be viewed as an 'historical' epic suitable for adult readers.

And besides, they do spend 2 months in Rivendell, one-third of the time period over which Frodo's journey from the Shire to Mt. Doom takes place. If nothing else, the 'Council of Elrond' gives you that sense they spent a really long time in Rivendell.;)
 

EverEve

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alrite i have to agree with striderx on this one. it was kinda boring, but it really was important...........even if it was loooong
 

Greenwood

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Aah, Greenwood, if I was a more paranoid man, I would say that you just don't seem to like me and want to disagree with me at on any point just to keep the spirit of the FADs and Weenies alive.
Thorin

We have actually agreed sometimes, though I will admit not often. :)

In fact, I agree with you on the importance of the Council of Elrond chapter and I agree with you that it is not boring. Where we disagreed was when you seemed to be telling StriderX that to enjoy and understand the Council of Elrond chapter he/she had to read The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. I contend that any novel should be able to stand on its own without help from later publications, be it Tolkien or any other author's work. I believe LOTR does stand on its own and brilliantly. StriderX finds the COE chapter boring, and evidently a few others do also. That is their opinion. You and I disagree with their opinion and agree with each others, in this instance.

Apparently, you don't seem to place any merit in any of Tolkien's post-humous works.
I am afraid you have never really understood my position in this matter. I agree with you that The Silmarillion and later books make fascinating reading for a Tolkien enthusiast. I think someone not already fascinated by the world of Middle Earth would be bored to tears.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are finished works that can and do stand by themselves. The fact that millions of people have read them without reading the later books testifies to that. I have also said that since these two works are finished works, published, and revised by Tolkien himself, the books published after his death are secondary to them and cannot be used to dispute material that is clear in The Hobbit and LOTR. Yes, there are lots of things that are expanded on and explained fully in The Silmarillion and later books that are only hinted at in LOTR and for that material you of course use those books. Some people like to treat Middle Earth as a real place and pour through The Silmarillion and the rest as some sort of factual history of a real world. (I am not trying to say they have lost touch with reality, just that it is part of their fun to treat Middle Earth as real.) I love LOTR and its world of Middle Earth also. Tolkien did something there that few, if any others, have ever done. He created an alternate world, complete with its own creation story and thousands of years of history. I find The Silmarillion and all the posthumously published books fascinating because they let us see how Tolkien did it. Particularly the later volumes in the History of Middle Earth let us "watch" Tolkien at work as he fashions his great creation. This is something that is available to the general public for few, if any, other great authors.

So, no, I am not trying to "throw the baby out with the bath water" as you say. However, I do treat The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as being very different things than all of Tolkien's posthumously published works. The first two are finished works. The rest are not. They are Tolkien's working notebooks. They are fascinating in their own right, but they are not the same as the first two. Evidently Tolkien originally hoped to include much of The Silmarillion material as additional appendices at the end of LOTR, but clearly he did not intend them to be narrative books like LOTR, at least not in the form that they have been published in. I wish Tolkien could have lived another decade or more and turned some of this material into finished works, but that is something we will never have.
 

Snaga

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StriderX

Welcome!

I understand what you're talking about, and I think that maybe once a long time ago when I first read LotR that might have been one of the less interesting chapters.

What you find is that the book doesn't always go at the same pace. Particularly at the start of each 'book' (i.e. there are 2 in FotR, 2 in Two Towers etc) the pace slows, and they pause and take stock. I remember finding the first 100 pages quite hard work. You know... OK he's having a party, yes and... yes and... yes he's having a party and... Ok and now he's gone and Frodo's got the ring and... yes... 17 bloody years later, the adventure finally happens!

But in all that time, you are suddenly totally aware of how important this is and what it means to everyone, and how Frodo's feeling. So when the action kicks off you really feel the change of pace!

The other thing is like everyone else has said, LotR is the sort of book that you definitely can't take everything in first go. That's why so many of us are still so into it years later, after having re-read it many times. (Or alternatively, we're very sad! hmm...):)
 

Legolam

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I have to admit that, after the first time I read LOTR, for the next few times I just skipped over that chapter because it was too long and boring.

But, after reading some stuff on this forum, I realised that I didn't know that much outside of the actual journey to Mt Doom (I haven't read the Sil or UT yet) so I went back over the chapter and got a lot of information out of it.

But I did find it way too long in the beginning! :D
 

Bucky

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I must say I agree with Greenwood's last assesment. For me, anyhow.

Tolkien touched on this subject in one of the later forwards when he talked about the promised appenixes:

"I wish none had been promised. Botanists want more information on plants, flowers & trees, linguists on the various languages, historians on the political & military structure of Gondor...." (paraphrese).

I look at the books from an historical viewpoint.

I've read them about 25 times I guess. I am just about to start The Two Towers, if I can get it from my daughter, who's also reading it......

For alot of those 25 readings, there are certain 'favorite chapters' I look forward to.
I was actually thinking of starting a post on the subject, so I'll save the whole list for there.

But, suffice to say, 'The Council of Elrond' is always one of the high points for me.

I think there was so much information on the history of the ring that needed to be laid out that Tolkien divided it into 2 chapters, TCOE & 'The Shadow of the Past'.
In there, Gandalf tells Frodo, concerning The Last Alliance, "Maybe someday you will hear the tale told in full by one who knows it best".
That's just what Elrond does in TCOE.

I bet those 2 chapters are purposely seperated so that the first time reader (who writes a book to be read 25 times?) won't be overwhelmed by 75 pages of ME historical background information.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Greenwood
So, no, I am not trying to "throw the baby out with the bath water" as you say. However, I do treat The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as being very different things than all of Tolkien's posthumously published works. The first two are finished works. The rest are not. They are Tolkien's working notebooks. They are fascinating in their own right, but they are not the same as the first two. Evidently Tolkien originally hoped to include much of The Silmarillion material as additional appendices at the end of LOTR, but clearly he did not intend them to be narrative books like LOTR, at least not in the form that they have been published in. I wish Tolkien could have lived another decade or more and turned some of this material into finished works, but that is something we will never have.
Alas, I must disagree with you Greenwood as far as The Sil is concerned. You state that "the rest are not", which is not correct. In reading the Letters of JRRT it is apparent that the Sil was finished and ready to publish in 1953-1954 and the author was attempting to get Harper to publish the whole package as one big release. The Sil would come out first with LotR to follow. Harper balked due to the very narrative nature of The Sil and would do the one but not the other. Hence, we ended up with the Fotr and TT in 1954 and RotK in 1955 and no Sil.

All Christopher did to the Sil was to make the decision to include not only the Quenta Silmarillion but the Ainulindale and Valaquenta, Akallabeth and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. I'm not sure how JRRT originally had it packaged but surely CT did. Something everyone fails to realize is how actively involved CT was in the background. It was CT who drew many of the maps and his father bounced ideas off of him.

I will concede Greenwood that UT and HoMe are much less definitive as they are, as you state, mostly notes and incomplete or inconsistent writings. I have found multiple accounts of the origin of Orcs, for example. CT states what he felt his father's definative position was on the subject (and I would feel that CT would know) but it doesn't carry the same weight as a book written and published before the author's death. My only complaint about The Sil is that the author didn't have a chance to review and revise it himself; otherwise, I hold it as sacrosanct as either The Hobbit or LotR.

Just my two bits.
 

Greenwood

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In reading the Letters of JRRT it is apparent that the Sil was finished and ready to publish in 1953-1954 and the author was attempting to get Harper to publish the whole package as one big release. The Sil would come out first with LotR to follow. ....... All Christopher did to the Sil was to make the decision to include not only the Quenta Silmarillion but the Ainulindale and Valaquenta, Akallabeth and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.
Grond

Once again, I think our positions are not as far apart as you seem to think. When I refer to The Silmarillion, I am referring to the published book, about one third of which is not the Quenta Silmarillion, as you point out.

My only complaint about The Sil is that the author didn't have a chance to review and revise it himself
This is exactly my point about all the posthumously published books. I do not think that Christopher Tolkien made things up, but JRR himself never had a chance to make any changes and/or corrections that he may have considered. If the Quenta Silmarillion was ready for publication in 1953-1954, is the version that was published in 1977 that version or a revised version? If it is the unpublished version of the early-1950s then that means it does not reflect twenty more years of thought about his creation by the author. That you can find "multiple accounts of the origin of Orcs, for example" further validates my point. Clearly, JRR Tolkien's views were constantly evolving and this is why I place his posthumously published work in a different category than works published by him during his lifetime. Obviously, at some level you feel the same or you would not need the first clause in the following sentence: "My only complaint about The Sil is that the author didn't have a chance to review and revise it himself; otherwise, I hold it as sacrosanct as either The Hobbit or LotR."
 
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Thorin

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Do you mean to tell me, that from the 18 years from publication until Tolkien's death, when he himself says in LoTR forward that he turned his mind to the Elder days after publishing LoTR, that Tolkien wouldn't have made his writings like Sil jive with LoTR if he wanted everyone to judge ME by it? I find that a little hard to believe...I highly doubt that in all the time, Tolkien wouldn't have fined tuned Sil for publishing without any kinks and to be used as a definitive source for crediblility considering ME, and that Christopher Tolkien would not really have a good idea of what ideas Tolkien was still changing and formulating?

Sorry, post humous publication or not, that doesn't seem logical....

Also keep in mind that the HoME series distinctly has "Edited by Christopher Tolkien" on it. Sil and UT do not. Hence, I am led to believe, that though compiled, what is published in those two books is exactly how Tolkien intended it to be, especially considering the fact that Tolkien went back to working on them AFTER LoTR...Christopher Tolkien would have told us otherwise (as he has told it in all his comments in the HoME series of books).
 
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Originally posted by Thorin
Also keep in mind that the HoME series distinctly has "Edited by Christopher Tolkien" on it. Sil and UT do not.
Thorin,

My copy of The Silmarillion, (Harper Collins 1999 paperback edition), quite clearly has:
"Edited By Christopher Tolkien", on the front of it.

As does my copy of Unfinished Tales (Harper Collins 1998 Paperback edition).
 

lilhobo

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thats the problem with posthumous publications.....it would be easy money for Christopher Tolkien to leave only his father's name on the works, and many publishers would prefer the "straight from the horses mouth" spiel to selel the books
 

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