Thoughts of Elrond

by WindSinger

Elrond built and is master of one of the last remaining elf strongholds. His wife has already traveled to the Undying Lands and I am sure he is mentally distancing himself from Middle Earth as his own inevitable journey to the Grey Heavens draws closer. Even so, he is pulled in once more; to care for Gandalf, heal the ring bearer, challenge the remaining inhabitants of Middle earth to deal with the power of the ring and, finally, to formally give his daughter to a mortal man.

Elves are not all powerful or they would have used that power to get rid of the evil in Middle Earth long ago; before so many of them were killed, tortured and corrupted into orcs. Even the last great alliance of men and elves failed to actually destroy the one ring, the keeper of evil. Although many, many men and elves were killed in that war, a man allowed the ring to survive. I am surprised, amazed, awed that Elrond allowed Isildur to leave Mt. Doom with the one ring. Any lesser being would have just thrown him into the firry pit along with the ring, maybe after first shooting him full of arrows or slicing and dicing him with a sword. But no, Elrond had the strength, the character, the amazing ability to understand that perhaps this was not his call. The ring came to Isildur and he decided not to destroy it. Even though Elrond had to understand that failure was at least partially due to the rings corrupting influence, he still gave Isildur the respect, or maybe support, due an ally, a comrade in arms if not a friend.

Who knows? Maybe it WAS for the best. Because the one ring survived the rings of the elves could be used to help heal Middle Earth; their influence used to direct that process. What would Middle Earth have been like if Isildur had destroyed the one ring? Was the devastation of that horrific war so complete that Middle Earth could not have gained the same level of peace, prosperity and affluence without the elvish rings of power? We will never know but I, for one, would like to think that it was probably for the best that the one ring was not destroyed until the combined efforts of both Frodo and Gollum completed the task.

Of course, the flip side is that the elves may have only used the rings to carve out their own enclaves and did not add much to the general population of Middle Earth. I am not sure if this is covered in the histories of Middle Earth, but until I read differently I choose to believe that they used their rings of power to help all Middle Earth heal.

One last point. The elves were leaving Middle Earth. They had, in fact, already lingered longer than they were ment to. They had been at the forefront of battling evil for generations. It really was up to the remaining races to face this new threat. The elves, although they still cared, had to start to let go so they could move on. They had to start letting men take control of Middle Earth (at least, I never got the impression that anyone felt dwarves or hobbits would ever do much to direct the course of the country). They were no longer its guardians, its protectors. In LOTR I think Elrond did what he could to help the cause, without dictating or controlling the outcome; he helped Gandalf when he was resurrected, he healed Frodo and he called the gathering of all the remaining races to decide what the next step was. More power to him for knowing when to let go. He did not even let Gandalf drag him back in. Not even to try to save Frodo could he take on the burden himself. He understood that the remaining races needed to learn, or at least accept, that it was time for them to stand on their own.

If Elrond and the elves had, somehow, destroyed the one ring would men be as able to assume control? Would their reign be as successful? I think not. No matter how much I dislike it, there is something to be said for the idea that we value that which we must fight, struggle, suffer for. Those things we are handed on a silver platter we do not tend to value, or understand the value of, as much as those things we fight for. Examples of this are rampant in my own life as well as in recent history. So, in the end I think Elrond was wise, almost beyond my ability to grasp. A wisdom that prevented him from just trying to make it all better. A wisdom that brought him great pain. He was like a father figure to the men, hobbits and dwarves he interacted with; he had to let them make their own decisions, take their own chances and learn to control their own destinies. He even had to come to grips with allowing his daughter to remain in Middle Earth with a mortal; to die rather than enjoy immortality in the Undying Lands with her family.

I enjoyed how Hugh Weaving portrayed Elrond. I thought he did a wonderful job of showing how much Elrond cared for Middle Earth, Frodo, Aragorn, Arwen and the danger they were all in. He was gentle and yet very strong, even dangerous. I especially liked how, when Gandalf said "There is yet one who can lead them", the warring of emothions (love, pride, fear, defeat) played over his face and in his eyes before he answered, "He left that path many years ago." It is obvious to me that he is very ambiguous about the whole subject, and how Hugo can show all that by his mannerisms, his eyes and how he says that line just amazes me. But then, I am amazed by how much all of the actors put into every second they are on the screen. The layers are incredible. There seems to be no end to how much can be read into every look, pause, stance, line in the movie.

I had no question that Hugo Weaving was Elrond (but then I have never seen him in whatever else he was in - the Matrix? so I had no preconceived notion of what type of roll he should play). I thought the mix of empathy and understanding with force and strength was appropriate and understandable. Way to go Hugo! Way to go Elrond!