“[Gollum] had learned the trick of clinging to boughs with his feet as well as with his hands…”
Chapter 2

The Council of Elrond

It seems that the purpose of this chapter was primarily to fill in the blanks. I appreciate learning everything else that was going on elsewhere, but the endless flashback sequences were harder to endure than if I’d read the same stories firsthand.

I suspected Saruman from the moment Gandalf mentioned him…maybe his name is too close to Sauron. But, way back when Gandalf revealed the nature of the ring to Frodo he said that his fears had been originally allayed by Saruman who assured them all that the One Ring was gone forever. From that moment I had a bad feeling about Saruman.

With the mention of Cirdan the Shipwright, I actually gasped and said, “Oh my gosh!!” He was one of my favorite characters from The Silmarillion on account of the fact that his origins are so mysterious. He’s not mentioned among the first princes or kings of the First-born, but somehow he ends up the a leader of a whole people. Now, I learn he has endured the ages (he is much much older than Elrond) and endured perilous adventures in “after days,” as Tolkien would say, even to the point of taking a heroic part in overthrowing Sauron. That’s very cool.

But now I feel echoes of The Silmarillion because there is never an end to the rise and fall and rise of Melkor’s successor. No matter what happens, the personage of Evil, the Common Enemy, always reappears destroying the fruitfulness of the sacrifices and heroism of past individuals and groups.

I have a couple of favorite quotes from this chapter. The first is the “all that is gold does not glitter,” passage that everyone loves. The second is, “…he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”

Finally, the hum and haw over what should be done with the ring seems rather pointless. The reader is fully expecting Frodo and his companions to take the Ring to the Cracks of Doom as was mentioned way back in Chapter 2 of

Book I.

till next time, keep thinking

Mark-Edmond Howell

Kanazawa, Japan