At the Council of Elrond

Jill Javier '07, English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2003

In The Lord of the Rings --- The Fellowship of the Ring, the hobbits have just arrived at Elrond and join a council to discuss what should be done with the ring. Elrond, who is speaking to the council, reminds them about the history of Middle-earth.

"Fruitless did I call the victory of the Last Alliance? Not wholly so, yet it did not achieve its end. Sauron was diminished, but not destroyed. His ring was lost but not unmade. The Dark Tower was broken, but its foundations were not removed; for they were made with the power of the Ring, and while it remains they will endure. Many Elves and many mighty Men, and many of their friends, had perished in the war. Anarion was slain, and Isildur was slain; and Gil-galad and Elendil were no more. Never again shall there be any such league of Elves and Men; for Men multiply and the Firstborn decrease, and the two kindreds are estranged. And ever since that day the race of Numenor has decayed, and the span of their years has lessened.

"In the North after the war and the slaughter of the Gladden Fields the Men of Westernesse were diminished, and their city of Annuminas beside Lake Evendim fell into ruin; and the heirs of Valandil removed and dwelt at Fornost on the high North Downs, and that now too is desolate. Men call it Deadmen's Dike, and they fear to tread there. For the folk of Arnor dwindled, and their foes devoured them, and their lordship passed, leaving only green mounds in the grassy hills.

"But in the wearing of the swift years of Middle-earth the line of Meneldil son of Anarion failed, and the Tree withered, and the blood of the Numenoreans became mingled with that of lesser men. That the watch upon the walls of Mordor slept, and dark things crept back to Gorgoroth. And on a time evil things came forth, and they took Minas Ithil and abode in it, and they made it into a place of dread; and it is called Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery. Then Minas Anor was named anew Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard; and these two cities were ever at war, but Osgiliath which lay between was deserted and in its ruins shadows walked." [Pages 237-238]


1. What does the history Elrond describes reveal about Middle-earth?

2. What aspects seen in Tolkien's writing present the intricacy of his world?

3. What does this passage reveal about men compared with the elves and others?

4. What is the irony of the position of man?


Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring. Houghton Mifflin, Boston: 1966.

Victorian Web Overview J. R. R. Tolkien Victorian courses

Last modified 25 February 2004