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"The Council of Elrond"

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Xanados, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Ivan

    Ivan Minstrel

    I liked that chapter because, aside from getting a view of all this cool stuff that's going on, there is this tension of- what are they going to do now? Up to this point it has mostly been hobbits mucking around and getting lost and buried and eaten by trees, and the dreary excursion to Rivendell punctured (har har) once or twice by the black riders. The chapters following were kind of a letdown to be honest, not just because its more walking through wasteland, but because they've more or less decided what to do, and it is mostly up to others to steer their path and the plot.
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    Heh. Bombadil is a definite side-trip… essentially irrelevant to the rest of the story. (The hobbits could have picked up their "swords" just about anywhere, after all.) He was a character that Tolkien had created some time previously for totally different purposes, but who he desperately wanted to include in LotR. Which is another good writing hint: if something is that disconnected from the rest of your story, don't force it in.

    The Council, on the other hand, is Tolkien's info-dump. While fair amounts of it can be picked up elsewhere from context, it's what ties the story into the vast panoply of the world and its history–including the amazing amounts that never made it into print during his lifetime, and probably never would have. (Had all of it been included in LotR, we probably would have ended up with a five-volume work instead. And the digressions would have become so frequent and extended that few other than the hardiest fans would have read it through.)

    It's also what keeps the line "What happens when four hobbits, two humans, a dwarf, and elf and a wizard walk into Moria?" from showing up as a joke… or, at any rate, gives linking reasons for those characters to be where they are, and to share common interests sufficient to go forward together–in spite of some of that world's history. Rather than accumulating companions one or two at a time, Tolkien is able to start us off with the complete set, then disperse them as the narrative moves along… contrary to the usual process, at least in my experience. At the same time, he neatly sidesteps questions about which characters were around to hear what when, since they all got the same background information at the same time.
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