If Merry and Pippin hadn't joined the Fellowship...
#1
If the wise had persuaded Merry and Pippin not to join the nine walkers, who do you think would have taken their places? Post suitable candidates here.
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#2
An interesting predicament.

Casting asside that both Hobbits almost had to go, else events would have turned out rather poorly for all involved, up to and including the potential recovery of the Ring by Sauron, I'm not certain who else would have been a good choice for the Fellowship at the time and place it was formed.

Perhaps throwing Glorfindel in the mix would have livened things up, or some other Elf lord. Another Dwarf, perhaps? <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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#3
I can think of a few possibilities. To be considered, a candidate should have either been at the Council, or reasonably close to Rivendell at the time of the Council.

Glorfindel has already been mentioned, by Tolkien as well as RR. The problem with Glorfindel is the conspicuous factor. I'm not sure how well he might sneak about.

Elladan and Elrohir are another viable chioce. They have operated with aragorn in the past, and handle themselves well in the Wild.

Halbarad is a potential dark horse selection.

For something really outside the box, how about Radagast? Of course, no one knows where he was (the messengers didn't find him at Rhogosbel)

Gloin was the only other Dwarf present, and he is likely a bit old for the Quest
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#4
Yes, that's the problem with Glorfindel. I wonder if Elladan and Elrohir wouldn't have had similar problems.

Galdor of the Havens and Erestor were also present, so we could add their names to the potential list of Fellowship Alternates, though I'm uncertain what benefits they might have added.

Of course, Merry and Pippin were selected more from friendship than from a logical choice of Cost/Benefit Analysis. :bg:
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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#5
Quote:Originally posted by Bacchus
Glorfindel has already been mentioned, by Tolkien as well as RR. The problem with Glorfindel is the conspicuous factor. I'm not sure how well he might sneak about.
I was going to let this go by, but now that RobRoy has agreed with this I've just got to know: what is this "conspicuous factor" that everyone talks about? Is this something that Tolkien discussed in his letters, or somewhere in HoME?

As for who should go with the Fellowship instead of Merry and Pippin, how about Elrond himself? Oh, that's right, he has one of the Three Rings. That would be 'conspicuous'. Well then, he should leave the Ring behind in Rivendell when he goes. With whom, you ask? Why, with his daughter, of course!
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#6
I know that we had a discussion that touched on this matter some time back. IIRC, it might have directly addressed the question of 'why not Glorfindel?'

I had argued, based mostly on the events and observations in "Flight to the Ford" in LOTR, that Glorfindel apparently shines so brightly in the 'wraith-world' that he would stand out like a beacon if he were to approach Mordor. In fact, his best possible tactical use might have been as a diversion -- but the very fact of Glorfindel being so used might have made Sauron suspicious and caused him to lock down Mordor and pay more attention to security breaches such as the little ruckus at Cirith Ungol that netted a mithril mailshirt!

That was my take, anyway, & it's worth what you paid for it.

Interesting idea about including Elrond, but I doubt he would have added much benefit either. He was wise in lore, but so too were Aragorn, his pupil, and Gandalf, to the extent such was useful. He was a master healer, but who needed healing? Boromir, certainly, but would saving Boromir (if possible) have ultimately been advantageous?

Gandalf? I can just see this now:

"Elrond! Gandalf fell into the hole with that Balrog!! Can you heal him?!"

"Well, if you can bring him to me, I could see what I could do..."

"Okay, I get your point!"

I think RR is on exactly the right track: some of these choices were clearly to be made by the heart rather than the head, as neither strength nor knowledge ultimately was going to prevail. The matter was in the Hand of Eru, as we have discussed exhaustively (interminably? incessantly?) before.

:coffee:
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#7
Quote:Originally posted by Elenmir
I was going to let this go by, but now that RobRoy has agreed with this I've just got to know: what is this "conspicuous factor" that everyone talks about? Is this something that Tolkien discussed in his letters, or somewhere in HoME?

As for who should go with the Fellowship instead of Merry and Pippin, how about Elrond himself? Oh, that's right, he has one of the Three Rings. That would be 'conspicuous'. Well then, he should leave the Ring behind in Rivendell when he goes. With whom, you ask? Why, with his daughter, of course!
Yes, but Gandalf had one of the Three Rings too, and he went.Smile
'Say on!' said Andreth. 'Say: who art now but a wise-woman, alone, and age that shall not touch him has already set winter's grey in thy hair! But say not thou to me, for so he once did!'
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#8
Quote:Originally posted by Alvin Eriol
I know that we had a discussion that touched on this matter some time back. IIRC, it might have directly addressed the question of 'why not Glorfindel?'

I had argued, based mostly on the events and observations in "Flight to the Ford" in LOTR, that Glorfindel apparently shines so brightly in the 'wraith-world' that he would stand out like a beacon if he were to approach Mordor.
I'm sorry that I missed the earlier discussion. But I fail to see why Glorfindel's shining in the wraith-world, if we accept that premise, makes him any more of a liability than Gandalf in that regard. Which is to say, no liability at all, except when in direct confrontation with (or under direct observation of) wraiths.

Quote:Originally posted by Alvin Eriol
Interesting idea about including Elrond, but I doubt he would have added much benefit either. He was wise in lore, but so too were Aragorn, his pupil, and Gandalf, to the extent such was useful. He was a master healer, but who needed healing?
You're arguing the value of a healer from hindsight here. Setting out from Rivendell, nobody knew that only Boromir would need healing on the journey (and he would be beyond even Elrond's skill, IMO). And you forget that both Sam and Frodo came out of Moria with cuts and bruises that Aragorn tended.

But Elrond, earlier in his career, was more than a loremaster and healer. He was Gil-galad's herald during the War of the Last Alliance. He was at Gil-galad's side during the final combat with Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom. He was no stranger to combat and valor.
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#9
Quote:Originally posted by Elenmir
I'm sorry that I missed the earlier discussion. But I fail to see why Glorfindel's shining in the wraith-world, if we accept that premise, makes him any more of a liability than Gandalf in that regard. Which is to say, no liability at all, except when in direct confrontation with (or under direct observation of) wraiths.

The power that was housed in the body of Gandalf was dampened to a great extent. Gandalf was bound tightly to the task, and that included the binding of his powers. Not that he couldn't summon them, at need, but that they simply weren't as easily accessible to him. He appeared as an old man, and though he might have shown in the wraith world (my opinion) he wouldn't have shown any brighter than Aragorn.

It wouldn't do for Gandalf to be about his business of opposing Sauron, if Sauron could track his every move.

Quote:You're arguing the value of a healer from hindsight here. Setting out from Rivendell, nobody knew that only Boromir would need healing on the journey (and he would be beyond even Elrond's skill, IMO). And you forget that both Sam and Frodo came out of Moria with cuts and bruises that Aragorn tended.

I disagree that this is an argument based on hindsight alone.

Stout folk were sent to help the Ringbearer on his journey. If we drop Merry and Pippin, who were selected last of all, and Sam who was selected right after Frodo, then everyone else who was chosen was a mighty warrior. Gimli may have been least proved of all the Company, but Boromir, Aragorn, Legolas and Gandalf were all considered to be a match for almost anything that the Fellowship was likely to come up against (barring Balrogs, of course).

Too, as Gandalf stated, "This is a serious journey, not a Hobbit walking-party." They were not going on a signt-seeing tour of Middle Earth. They were walking into the den of the dragon. Mordor wasn't exactly a AAA aproved scenic route. It had enough Orcs, Trolls, Nazguls, and Men that it's a wonder Frodo and Sam escaped as much harm as they did.

And given those factors, a healer might have been a good choice for one of the positions taken by Merry or Pippin.

Quote:But Elrond, earlier in his career, was more than a loremaster and healer. He was Gil-galad's herald during the War of the Last Alliance. He was at Gil-galad's side during the final combat with Sauron on the slopes of Mount Doom. He was no stranger to combat and valor.

Granted. But two points to consider. First, I would submit that Elrond's own power would have made him as much, if not more, of a beacon as Glorfindel. Second, while he certainly was a power in Middle Earth, and not just for his stunning good looks, he was the master and ruler of Rivendell, which was heavily peopled. Would he leave his kingdom just as the shadow was extending over Middle Earth? Just when they would have the most need of his power, ability, lore and strength?

Elrond leaving Rivendell alone to accompany the Fellowship, while certainly a good choice for the Fellowship, would have been as bad or worse than Glorfindel. I would submit that Elrond rejected himself as much for the same reasons as Glorfindel, as for his own duty to his people and the safety of his realm.
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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#10
I agree with RR that the Ringbearer was adequately protected for most mundane foes. Even the Balrog was diverted and eventually defeated and killed, and the Fellowship escaped from Moria. Golly, it would have been something to see Glorfindel fight the Balrog. If Ecthelion could kill Gothmog, I'll bet Glorfindel could have done for Durin's Bane.
"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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#11
Quote:Originally posted by Attalus
I agree with RR that the Ringbearer was adequately protected for most mundane foes. Even the Balrog was diverted and eventually defeated and killed, and the Fellowship escaped from Moria. Golly, it would have been something to see Glorfindel fight the Balrog. If Ecthelion could kill Gothmog, I'll bet Glorfindel could have done for Durin's Bane.


I can just see Glorfindel sigh, spit on his palms, draw his sword and mutter "Here we go again" before offering the Balrog ten to run.

I don't buy the conspicuous argument, because I can imagine that Elves could hide their power at need. Much of the survival of the Elves in the First Age was due to secrecy. I think Gondolin would have shone like the Las Vegas strip if powerful Elf Lords were so conspicuous to creatures like Wraiths and one must assume, Sauron and Morgoth. I read the scene as Glorfindel unveiling his power. Frodo, as far gone as he was, didn't see Glorfindel as described until the Elf saw fit to display his power.
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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#12
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":
Quote:I think, Elrond, that in this matter it would be well to trust rather to their friendship than to great wisdom. Even if you chose for us an elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.

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:
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#13
Quote:Originally posted by Alvin Eriol
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:
Perhaps the reason that no one has mentioned 'Ring-lust' as an objection to Glorfindel is because, like 'conspicuousness', it is not a criteria that appears anywhere in Elrond's deliberations about the Ringbearer's companions in "The Ring Goes South".

Elrond does not say, for example, "for the dwarves shall go Gimli son of Gloin, for he is inconspicuous, and immune to lust for the Ring".

It seems to me that if being vulnerable to desire for the Ring were to disqualify potential companions, Frodo would have left Rivendell alone.
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#14
Quote:Originally posted by Elenmir
Perhaps the reason that no one has mentioned 'Ring-lust' as an objection to Glorfindel is because, like 'conspicuousness', it is not a criteria that appears anywhere in Elrond's deliberations about the Ringbearer's companions in "The Ring Goes South".

Elrond does not say, for example, "for the dwarves shall go Gimli son of Gloin, for he is inconspicuous, and immune to lust for the Ring".

It seems to me that if being vulnerable to desire for the Ring were to disqualify potential companions, Frodo would have left Rivendell alone.


True. I suppose I carelessly swerved into the Hand-of-Eru viewpoint, instead of focusing on what Elrond and Gandalf could know and anticipate as of the time of the selection of the Fellowship.

Elrond, and for the most part even Gandalf (until he spoke up for Merry & Pippin) tried to apply conventional wisdom and foresight to the problem of Frodo's journey by providing him with crack soldiers, commandos, and scouts to maximize his chances of finding his way while foiling or evading enemies. I think Gandalf had a little flash of insight that such wisdom is ultimately folly, to have said what he did. After all, they had no clear idea how they would approach Mordor or the Sammath Naur, or how they might win their way through.

The worst case scenario, after all, would have been for the entire company, even with Glorfindel and another elf-warrior replacing Merry & Pippin, to attempt to enter Mordor. If they got past Shelob, I wouldn't lay odds they would pass Castle Cirith Ungol without raising all of Mordor (who would be encamped with no immediate plans to assault Gondor, since Sauron would have gone untaunted by the Sword That Was Broken) to converge on them like fire ants on a beetle grub.

But of course, that's hindsight. The point of all this is that a decision made from the heart in the name of friendship and love, in spite of conventional wisdom, proves with the help of the Hand of Eru to be the right choice.

:coffee:
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#15
My original comment regarding conspicuousness was a shorthand. The 'shining beacon' argument is only a factor in my thoughts. Perhaps he could veil his inner strength, and perhaps not. More important, in my view, is the idea that Glorfindel is an unlikely candidate for a stealthy mission, precisely because of his great power. Think to the two occasions when Frodo was briefly captured. I feel that Glorfindel would have likely fought heroically upon being cornered. Of course that heroism would have been ultimately disastrous upon his inevitable fall. Far better, IMO, to submit to capture and preserve the chance of subsequent escape.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#16
Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
I don't buy the conspicuous argument, because I can imagine that Elves could hide their power at need. Much of the survival of the Elves in the First Age was due to secrecy. I think Gondolin would have shone like the Las Vegas strip if powerful Elf Lords were so conspicuous to creatures like Wraiths and one must assume, Sauron and Morgoth. I read the scene as Glorfindel unveiling his power. Frodo, as far gone as he was, didn't see Glorfindel as described until the Elf saw fit to display his power.


There is no proof that Elves could "hide their power at need". That Gondolin might have shone because of the Elves is not in question, but the city itself was made to be hidden. I would suspect this included some manner in which the Elves' power was also hidden.
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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#17
Quote:Originally posted by Bacchus
My original comment regarding conspicuousness was a shorthand. The 'shining beacon' argument is only a factor in my thoughts. Perhaps he could veil his inner strength, and perhaps not. More important, in my view, is the idea that Glorfindel is an unlikely candidate for a stealthy mission, precisely because of his great power. Think to the two occasions when Frodo was briefly captured. I feel that Glorfindel would have likely fought heroically upon being cornered. Of course that heroism would have been ultimately disastrous upon his inevitable fall. Far better, IMO, to submit to capture and preserve the chance of subsequent escape.
Think of the one occasion, in Moria, when having an Elf of "great power" who was an expert at falling great distances with Balrogs would have been mighty handy! Smile

Seriously though, you seem to assume that, whether Glorfindel is with Frodo or not, it is inevitable that he would be captured first by Faramir and then by Shelob/Shagrat/Gorbag. Granted that if you merely plug Glorfindel into those situations the likely result is a bloodbath not favorable to the Ringbearer's chances, but why the assumption? The question as posed is who should be selected to go with the Nine Walkers if Merry and Pippin are not. It seems to me that you are arguing Glorfindel's exclusion from hindsight, by saying that if he had found himself in the exact same position as we know Frodo actually did, things would have gone badly. Elrond did not have the advantage of such hindsight.
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#18
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
There is no proof that Elves could "hide their power at need". That Gondolin might have shone because of the Elves is not in question, but the city itself was made to be hidden. I would suspect this included some manner in which the Elves' power was also hidden.
My understanding is that Gondolin was hidden by geography and the vigilance of the Eagles. To the best of my knowledge, Morgoth did not have a SETI (Search for Elven Terrestrial Infestation) program.
If some Disney-princess can do it, why not Sauron?
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#19
Quote:Originally posted by RobRoy
There is no proof that Elves could "hide their power at need". That Gondolin might have shone because of the Elves is not in question, but the city itself was made to be hidden. I would suspect this included some manner in which the Elves' power was also hidden.

Nor is there any proof that they walk around lit up like Christmas trees under normal circumstances.

Considering that for most of their history they have been at war with forces that were far beyond their numbers and strength, if they had no ability to hide, they'd all be dead. If their most powerful and effective leaders, warriors etc were conspicuous to agents of the Dark Lord(s), thing would have turned out differently.

The Sil is filled with Elves and their allies succeding by stealth, rather than open force. Every time good confronted evil in open battle, things went badly. Nargothrond, Gondlin, the Nirnaeth, etc.

Glorfindel being one of the oldest and most experienced foes of both Dark Lords, I think he'd be among the most persuasive proponents of a subtle approach.

Also, given the foresight/hindsight argument, I think Glorfindel would have been a good choice. Maybe the wrong choice, ultimatly, but a good choice based on information the Council had at the time. Perhaps G's presence would have prevented the capture by Gorbag and crew, or driven off Shelob, or persuaded Faramir to let the Fellowship pass.

The strongest argument for Merry and Pippin joining the Fellowship is already given by Gandalf. Turns out he was right.
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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#20
Quote:Originally posted by Elenmir
My understanding is that Gondolin was hidden by geography and the vigilance of the Eagles. To the best of my knowledge, Morgoth did not have a SETI (Search for Elven Terrestrial Infestation) program.

Why do you assume that there was no investment of power into the protection of these cities?

Quote:Originally posted by Mike of Quantum Muse
Nor is there any proof that they walk around lit up like Christmas trees under normal circumstances.

Considering that for most of their history they have been at war with forces that were far beyond their numbers and strength, if they had no ability to hide, they'd all be dead. If their most powerful and effective leaders, warriors etc were conspicuous to agents of the Dark Lord(s), thing would have turned out differently.


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.

Against Nazgul, who were known to be abroad, and Sauron, who was searching for the Ring and had at his disposal one, and perhaps two palantir, sending such a power, which could be percieved by these, could have easily spelled disaster. It would seem more logical for Elrond to choose Glorfindel before even Legolas, if he had a mind to send the Elf-lord at all.
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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