If Merry and Pippin hadn't joined the Fellowship...
#21
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy


No, you proceed from a false assumption: that all foes of the Elves could see into the wraith-world. This is hardly the case at all. Last I understood, there were precious few who could do this unaided, and no mention of Orcs or Trolls ever doing so.



I make no such assumption.

I merely state that among the foes of the Elves there wer always some powerful enopugh to have so seen. Sauron and the Nazgul for certain, and I feel confident Morgoth and probably the Balrogs.

Orcs and Trolls are not the issue. They are the ground troops, to be sent in after the Intel types find the enemy.

As much of Elven magic was designed to hide Elven lands (the Girdle of Melian, Galadriel's magic around Lorien, the cloaks given the Fellowship) or to detect foes (Sting, Galmdring, Orcrist, the Mirror of Galadriel) it is reasonable to assume that the ability to hide this halo of power was something that the Elves would find important.

Like any outnumbered force in history, they did well when they valued intelligence to baffle the enemy and fight by strealth, striking when it would have the greatest effect, and they did very badly in open battle (sure, they did tend to inflict more casualties, but they usually lost the battle).

To the above examples, add Turin's band of rebels, his adventures with Beleg, a very powerful Elf, and Beren and Luthien's quest into the center of Morgoth's power, and Luthien's defeat of Sauron by deceit. It's harder to imagine a more impressive aura than Luthien's, being part Vala.

Consider also Gandalf's appearance. He is describe sometimes as looking like an old man, stooped with age and responsibility, and sometimes great and terrible, whne he displays his power. Ditto for Galadriel. Aragorn spends much of his life concealing his power under the veneer of a Ranger.

For such a force to have a power that the strongest and most terrifying servants of the Enemy could see makes as much sense as the Viet Cong abandonning black pyjamas for dayglo orange jumpsuits and miners' helmets with a lamp on them.
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
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#22
Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
I make no such assumption.

I merely state that among the foes of the Elves there wer always some powerful enopugh to have so seen. Sauron and the Nazgul for certain, and I feel confident Morgoth and probably the Balrogs.

Orcs and Trolls are not the issue. They are the ground troops, to be sent in after the Intel types find the enemy.

Ah, but Orcs and Trolls are the issue. If we were to rank the number of battles in which Orcs and Trolls attacked elves versus the number of battles in which Nazgul, or Sauron, or Morgoth or even a Balrog made an appearance, we'd see a heavily one-sided set of statistics.

Combat happened all the time without the presence of Nazgul or Sauron or Morgoth or any other combatant capable of seeing into the wraith-world. The great battles, no. But there were certainly all kinds of battles, great and small, in which heros bested lesser foes who lacked the aforementioned abilities.

Quote:As much of Elven magic was designed to hide Elven lands (the Girdle of Melian, Galadriel's magic around Lorien, the cloaks given the Fellowship) or to detect foes (Sting, Galmdring, Orcrist, the Mirror of Galadriel) it is reasonable to assume that the ability to hide this halo of power was something that the Elves would find important.

To hide from sight? Yes. To hide the cities? Yes. To hide the individual? Unknown.

Quote:To the above examples, add Turin's band of rebels, his adventures with Beleg, a very powerful Elf, and Beren and Luthien's quest into the center of Morgoth's power, and Luthien's defeat of Sauron by deceit. It's harder to imagine a more impressive aura than Luthien's, being part Vala.

Again, how many times were they face to face with someone actively searching for them who had the power to peer into the wraith-world and seek them out? Not often.

Still, I can't attest to every circumstance, but even you will admit that Tolkien wasn't flawless in his writing.

Quote:Consider also Gandalf's appearance. He is describe sometimes as looking like an old man, stooped with age and responsibility, and sometimes great and terrible, whne he displays his power. Ditto for Galadriel. Aragorn spends much of his life concealing his power under the veneer of a Ranger.

Gandalf as an argument doesn't work. When sent to Middle Earth he wasn't allowed the full function of his powers. They weren't locked from him if he needed to call upon them, but they weren't at the surface. Gandalf, if anything, was dimmed when he took on the mantle of flesh.

Quote:For such a force to have a power that the strongest and most terrifying servants of the Enemy could see makes as much sense as the Viet Cong abandonning black pyjamas for dayglo orange jumpsuits and miners' helmets with a lamp on them.

Not in question. Not in the least. And yet, here's the problem that I come up against. I agree that there is little evidence to support either side of this argument.

But Glorfindel wasn't chosen.

Legolas was.

The very thread of hope for all Middle Earth was the destruction of the Ring, and to accomplish this Elrond chooses a commando team to go into Mordor to accomplish the task. And yet to this team he adds Legolas, newly arrived and not nearly as well known as Glorfindel in ability, capacity and strength. Why? Why not Glorfindel? Why not pit his strength and ability against the might that would be thrown against the Fellowship rather than the lesser (but by no means unskilled) Legolas?

I can't say for certain either way, but if you have a theory, I'd be more than willing to listen. At the end of the day, I'm willing to accept that I'm wrong. Dead wrong. But I still can't get past the choice of Legolas, a lesser elf, rather than Glorfindel, if it wasn't for the question of the personal power shining in the wraith-world. <shrug>
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#23
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
But I still can't get past the choice of Legolas, a lesser elf, rather than Glorfindel, if it wasn't for the question of the personal power shining in the wraith-world. <shrug>


Perhaps Glorfindel simply did not wish to go. He was blessed with great foresight.

In the history of Middle-Earth it is often the 'lesser' being that overcomes.
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#24
Quote:Originally posted by Unregistered
Perhaps Glorfindel simply did not wish to go. He was blessed with great foresight.

In the history of Middle-Earth it is often the 'lesser' being that overcomes.


Fair enough. Though all members of the Fellowship were given a choice, and none were sworn to the quest, but rather aske dto go as far as their will or fortune took them.

So it would seem that if Glorfindel were a logical choice by any standard, he would have been given the opportunity to reject the choice, rather than being cut from the running out of hand, which is what Elrond and Gandalf both did.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#25
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy



But Glorfindel wasn't chosen.

Legolas was.

The very thread of hope for all Middle Earth was the destruction of the Ring, and to accomplish this Elrond chooses a commando team to go into Mordor to accomplish the task. And yet to this team he adds Legolas, newly arrived and not nearly as well known as Glorfindel in ability, capacity and strength. Why? Why not Glorfindel? Why not pit his strength and ability against the might that would be thrown against the Fellowship rather than the lesser (but by no means unskilled) Legolas?

I can't say for certain either way, but if you have a theory, I'd be more than willing to listen. At the end of the day, I'm willing to accept that I'm wrong. Dead wrong. But I still can't get past the choice of Legolas, a lesser elf, rather than Glorfindel, if it wasn't for the question of the personal power shining in the wraith-world. <shrug>


Looking at the book, it seems Legolas and Gimli and Boromir were chosen simply because they were headed in the right direction.

"Legolas shall be fro the Elves, Gimli son of Gloin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least as far as the passes in the Mountains, and maybe beyond...."

So, as the lands of L & G were beyond the Misty Mountains, it seems more a question of convenience to send them. They took no oath to protect the Ringbearer, and made no commitment to stay beyond the point where their path would diverge. Ditto for Boromir. He never had any intention to go further than Minas Tirith, but was included in the Nine regardless.

Elrond planned to choose two more "of his household," and Gandalf says that "ever if you send Glorfindel..." so he may well have been under consideration.

Much of the makeup of the Fellowship seems to be of convenience. Boromir for certain, Legolas and Gimli probably, as they were headed East anyway.Aragorn planned to go to Minas Tirith, and when asked by Frodo if he were to accompany the Ring, he restated his intent to go to MT, and only said that "your road and our road lie togther for many hundreds of miles."

I very much doubt that Elrond thought, "How about old Glory...Nah, sticks out like a sore thumb. Enemy'd spot him in a minute. Better throw a sheet over him like we've had to for the last ten thousand years. Hey, Leggy, what exit you get off at?"

I'll grant there's no written proof that Elves could hide their power, but hidden power is a theme throughout the books, as evidence by my earlier examples, and a major goal of Elven magic. I don't think it rash to assume thatthe best and brightest of the Elves survived three ages of struggle against monumental odds by some form of subterfuge.
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
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#26
Posted before I could add:

The larger question of why Glorfindel din't go is: What was he doing instead? I highly doubt he sat out the War of the Ring.

If battle were to come, as it was likely to and in fact did, a powerful Elf lord would be of great use on the field, and maybe of use to the quest, but maybe not. Better he distract the Dark Lord by taking the field. A few of his oldest enemys fighting against him might make Sauron take his eye off the ball.

This may have been the rationale for the choice of lesser companions. I can't equate the stealth/commando argument taking Glorfindel out of the picture, but sending a companion who "breathes so loud, we could shoot him in the dark."
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
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#27
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy

So it would seem that if Glorfindel were a logical choice by any standard, he would have been given the opportunity to reject the choice, rather than being cut from the running out of hand, which is what Elrond and Gandalf both did.


I always thought that Elrond would have had a few choice words with certain people before the council began. Glorfindel would have had time to rule himself out of the running then. I can't imagine Elrond letting one of the most important meetings of the 3rd age begining without at least having a vague idea of what the outcome should be. Maybe I'm wrong and it was 100% spontaneous.
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#28
Obviously it turned out Merry and Pippin were brilliant choices. The question was not, discuss whether Merry and Pippin were great choices, but, discuss what sort of people would've been sent instead if they had been persuaded to stay behind.

If memory serves me, there were some months between the convening of the Council of Elrond, and the time of the Fellowship's departure, so get the two extra guys in they would have a good few months. Obviously Glorfindel is the main candidate; he was at Rivendell, person of great power, is used to riding out, etc etc. The bad thing is he is very 'shiny' or whatever Smile.
I think Elladan and Elrohir would've gone if Merry and Pippin hadn't, they seem to have been much more 'humanised' than any other notable Elves around at the time (this is reflected in the fact they stayed behind in ME after the last ship departed), and they were also again used to journeying in the wild, fighting alongside the Rangers.

Having three Elves in the company would however over-represent the Elves in whats meant to be a mixed group of the Free Peoples. 33% of the Fellowship, when there weren't that many Elves left by the time of the WOTR.

The alternative is get Halbarad or some Rangers in, i don't think Tolkien named any other of the Dunedain at the time.

The other interesting point raised is: what did Glorfindel do during the WOTR?
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#29
Quote:Originally posted by Alvin Eriol
I'll concede that all of you, esp Mike, have a point about Glorfindel's conspicuousness. Yes, his burning fiery presence at the ford was probably a conscious exertion and not his normal state.

I think the best statement re why Merry & Pippin went, and not Glorfindel, was provided by JRRT thru Gandalf (showing again RR had the right idea) at the beginning of "The Ring Goes South":


Sheer force would not avail, as there was no conceivable way to match the force at Sauron's command. Aragorn and Boromir were more than enough strong arms for the hobbits, and even they proved to be liabilities for the last stages of the quest.

While I may have been off track to suggest Glorfindel was necessarily readily detectable from a long distance, I think nonetheless he probably would not have been able to hide from all the Orcs and the hunting Nazgul. The objection I made to Aragorn entering Mordor with the hobbits applies to Glorfindel with possibly even greater force: he could not have disguised himself; he would have been forced to fight continuously, until eventually enough of an alarm went out he would be hunted down and overwhelmed.

Another objection no one has mentioned also applies to Glorfindel as well, IMO. Ultimately, he would not have proven immune to the Ring-lust, and almost certainly would have taken the Ring at Sammath Naur, if not sooner.:coffee:
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#30
While I don't think that Glorfindel was as wise as Galadriel, I am sure that he would be up to resisting the Ring. He had much more experience than Aragorn, even, who never showed any sign of Ring-lust that I know of. Surely one whom the Valar allowed to return to Middle-earth after being reborn would not lust after power to that extent. That said, I'm kinda sorry Glorfy didn't get to go. We could have learned a lot more.
"What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling questions are not beyond conjecture." - Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici
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#31
Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
[B]Looking at the book, it seems Legolas and Gimli and Boromir were chosen simply because they were headed in the right direction.

"Legolas shall be fro the Elves, Gimli son of Gloin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least as far as the passes in the Mountains, and maybe beyond...."

So, as the lands of L & G were beyond the Misty Mountains, it seems more a question of convenience to send them. They took no oath to protect the Ringbearer, and made no commitment to stay beyond the point where their path would diverge. Ditto for Boromir. He never had any intention to go further than Minas Tirith, but was included in the Nine regardless.

Granted, though I disagree that it was simply "a question of convenience". Elrond opens his speech of choices by saying, "For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men." For any number of reasons, the Ring was a matter that all the "Free Peoples of the World" needed to be involved in. Boromir wasn't just "headed in the right direction". He was a strong and capable warrior, a mighty leader of men and a hero in the classic sense. Asside from his failing against the Ring-lust, which is understandable given his the psychology of his character, he was a very wise choice.

But I must disagree completely that either Legolas or Gimli were "headed in the right direction". Gimli's choice, from the available stock of Dwarves seems to be the most logical. He was young, skilled and able. Legolas is similar to Gimli in this regard (by Elf standards), and so I don't dispute his choice. But there was far more going into his consideration than he was headed in the right direction. The right direction for either Gimli or Legolas should rightly have been over the High Pass. The Redhorn pass, was South which would have been out of the way for Legolas or Gimli in returning home.

Quote:I very much doubt that Elrond thought, "How about old Glory...Nah, sticks out like a sore thumb. Enemy'd spot him in a minute. Better throw a sheet over him like we've had to for the last ten thousand years. Hey, Leggy, what exit you get off at?"

I don't see why not.

Quote:I'll grant there's no written proof that Elves could hide their power, but hidden power is a theme throughout the books, as evidence by my earlier examples, and a major goal of Elven magic. I don't think it rash to assume thatthe best and brightest of the Elves survived three ages of struggle against monumental odds by some form of subterfuge.


And I don't disagree with this belief. In fact, I've supported it througout. The hidden city alone seems to indicate that they weren't just using camoflague netting and clever mirror tricks.

I simply disagree that within the wraith-world Elves could dim their power. There just weren't that many people who could look into that realm for this to be an issue. When it was an issue, it seems that other elements, other investments of power were used, rather than the dimmer switch on an Elf's back (though perhaps this is how they made their hair so shiny?).

Quote:If battle were to come, as it was likely to and in fact did, a powerful Elf lord would be of great use on the field, and maybe of use to the quest, but maybe not. Better he distract the Dark Lord by taking the field. A few of his oldest enemys fighting against him might make Sauron take his eye off the ball.

This I can see as being a viable contention for de-selecting Glorfindel. I think you can agree that it is somewhat weak. After all, Elrond's household while strengthened by Glorfindel, would not have been considered weak if he had gone on a Hobbit walking party. It certainly could have been a consideration, though.

It just seems that if you're pinning all your hopes on something that has next to no hope at all, and you're picking from the strongest available forces under the criterion of representing the Free People's, Legolas doesn't seem the best choice over Glorfindel, unless there was something else up in the mix.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#32
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy


I simply disagree that within the wraith-world Elves could dim their power. There just weren't that many people who could look into that realm for this to be an issue.


You don't think that, in three Ages of conflict, Sauron or Morgoth, both of whom would have been able to see into the wraith world, and their few trusted servants, would have thought it was a good idea to hunt down those of their enemies who shone brightly with power?

I'm sure either Dark Lord would have gladly traded a few hundred Orcs to take out Glorfindel, if he could be located by wraiths when walking about.

If the most powerful Elves were easy to find, they would have been at some point in the thousands of years of conflict. I therefore have to reject the idea that Glorfindel was skipped because he was easy to find. If that were true, he'd have been dead. Again.
Wrestling Darwin on a daily basis.

"Question boldly even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blindfolded fear." -Thomas Jefferson
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#33
Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
You don't think that, in three Ages of conflict, Sauron or Morgoth, both of whom would have been able to see into the wraith world, and their few trusted servants, would have thought it was a good idea to hunt down those of their enemies who shone brightly with power?

What I think is that even the most powerful entity with the ability to see into the wraith-world would still have a limit on just how far they could see. This isn't a global positioning system that Sauron just enters coordinates into, and lets search for anything glowing in the wraith-world. In my estimation, he would have to be actively searching, and searching in the right area, in order to find it.

There were surely any number of elves running about Middle Earth that seeking out any one of them in such a fashion would have proven a chore. Unless there was great need, why bend all their strength on locating one or even a couple of Elves in all of Middle Earth?

Quote:I'm sure either Dark Lord would have gladly traded a few hundred Orcs to take out Glorfindel, if he could be located by wraiths when walking about.

Agreed. All the more reason to believe that this kind of sight was limited.

Quote:If the most powerful Elves were easy to find, they would have been at some point in the thousands of years of conflict. I therefore have to reject the idea that Glorfindel was skipped because he was easy to find. If that were true, he'd have been dead. Again.


I haven't said that the elves were easy to find.

What I've said is that there must be a logical reason why Glorfindel was either not considered, or considered and rejected out of hand. Glorfindel would have been walking into the Balrog's den (as a metaphor), while Sauron and the Nazgul were actively searching for the One Ring, and had at their disposal one, if not two, palantir. The One Ring would have meant the complete and certain triumph of Sauron over the Free Peoples. So it makes sense that all or most of Sauron's vision, and that of his servants', would have been bent on trying to discover where the One Ring was heading in order to capture it. Thus, if we accept the wraith-world argument, Glorfindel would have been as much a liability as he would have a benefit.

What we know is that the One Ring had been found, and was being sent into the territory of the Enemy as a last-ditch effort in the hopes of destroying it and bringing about the downfall of Sauron and saving Middle Earth. For this mission, Elrond decided that the Free Peoples should all be represented. But in making his choices, he either never considers Glorfindel at all, or, like Gandalf, considers and rejects Glorfindel out of hand, saying that speed and not strength, would win this battle.

Now we come to the question of why?

The argument that he, Glorfindel, was needed to defend the home fires is valid, and obviously true. But it is weak. It is weak because if the Ring-bearer had failed, any efforts of defense would have been futile. So it stands that in chosing from the Free Peoples Elrond would have wanted to pick the best he could from his stock at hand. Aragorn is perhaps the finest hero Men have to offer at this time, and Boromir isn't far off from that mark. Gimli is perhaps the finest the Dwarves have to offer of the pool on hand in Rivendell. Frodo and Sam are good companions, and also wise choices given their individual weaknesses are somewhat countered by their joint strengths.

But Legolas is not the best choice from the Elves at hand. He is certainly not a bad choice, but we're talking about the Olympics of Middle Earth quests here. Why send your bronze or silver medal hopefuls, when you've got a renowned and repeat gold winner at hand?

I submit the answer is a combination of elements. That Glorfindel was needed to aid the defense of Rivendell, and more importantly that his pressence, given his personal power and the active search, would have been detrimental to the quest.

If you can offer another, more plausible theory, I'm all for hearing it. But as we've both agreed, there is precious little evidence for either side except logical conjecture.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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