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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Elrond in the movies
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aruman
Rivendell

Apr 4 2012, 5:12pm

Post #1 of 40 (902 views)
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Elrond in the movies Can't Post

Hello folks,

I am sorry, I am sure this has been discussed to death over the past several years, but I'm just re-reading the books again, and I am reminded of one of the complaints I had about the movies (which overall I do like a lot).

I've heard many people complain about Elrond coming across as a jerk in the films, which people feel was not represented in the books, and I agree 100%.

The most common argument I have heard defending PJ's Elrond is "Well, you'd be bitter too!"

To this I have a few points I'd like to bring up:

1.) Whether I would be bitter or not, Elrond is one of the most powerful characters for good in the book. I think it's reasonable to hold him to higher standard and expect him to be above labeling men as "weak" because of the actions of one man (now that man was one of the mightiest men in the books, so this point isn't all that strong, but I'm saving my best points for last).

2.) Whether we would be bitter in Elrond's shoes or not, Tolkien's Elrond wasn't bitter, or at least, it didn't come across in the same way as PJ's Elrond. The book Elrond seems much more compassionate and friendly.

3.) Elrond claims men are weak. His stance on the strength of men seems to be based in large part (if not solely) on Isildur keeping the ring rather than destroying it. The way I see it, his statements and feelings towards men imply that he believes that if an elf (say Gil-Galad or himself) had recovered the ring, they would have ran up the mountain and cast it into the fire without hesitation.

Sure Isildur failed to destry the ring, but he was the only one who COULD have failed to destroy the ring. It's not like there were 2 evil rings, and Elrond destroyed one and Isildur refused to destroy the other.

Could anyone have wilfully thrown the ring into the fire? I guess that's debatable, but I think we can all agree that it would be extremely difficult to do so. In fact, that is one of the main points of the book, I feel.

The only character in whose ability to throw the ring into the fire I would be confident would be Bombadil.

Isildur only did what Frodo tried to do (claim the ring).

So the way I see it, Elrond is bitter towards men b/c of one man, who did what pretty much any other creature (man, dwarf, elf, wizard, hobbit) would have done.

I don't think it's fair to say, "I would have destroyed it!" It's a tough situation, and if Elrond hadn't been put to that temptation I don't feel he is justified in saying that men are weak. In the book, many powerful characters (including Gandalf, Galadriel, and I think Elrond) refused the ring for that reason. (I don't think Elrond was ever offered it, but I seem to recall him saying he wouldn't touch it).

4.) Elrond states that "It is because of men that the ring survived," or something to that effect. We could just as easily say, "It is because of men that we have the ring, and Sauron does not."

Anyway, thanks for reading! Sorry for complaining, but I really liked Elrond much more in the book than the movies!


Harold.of.Whoa
Rivendell


Apr 4 2012, 6:01pm

Post #2 of 40 (441 views)
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Consider the changes as being about Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post

Aruman,

I think some of the complaints about Movie Elrond are valid, and you lay them out well.

I can't make you feel any better about the diminishment of a character you love, but I might suggest a couple of thoughts about why it might have been done.

The entire "Men are weak" story emphasis is, I believe, in place because of a decision to enlarge the importance of Aragorn's character, making him more of a co-equal figure with Frodo. Doing so required Aragorn's character to have more of a developmental arc than in the book, and also made it desirable to revise Aragorn's motivations to something easier for a broad audience to understand, accept, and invest in.

Elrond's display of personal dismay at Isildur's failings, his reproachful attitude toward Aragorn's life choices, and his extrapolated prejudice towards the potential for good in Men are all written in to lay the groundwork for Aragorn's 'journey.' Movie Aragorn shares this doubt about his own people and himself, and that provides a starting point for his transformation, his reason for staying in exile, the timing of his emergence, the reason he ultimately seeks the throne, and his evolving relationship with Arwen (even though they are separated for almost the entire trilogy.)

The emotional punch to the end of FotR stems directly from this storyline.

A side benefit (if you want to look at it that way) of the Elrond re-imagining is that it gives Elrond's character an arc as well, and it allows him to be in the story much more than in the book. It also enfolds him into a central theme that is woven throughout the trilogy having to do with Engagement vs. Withdrawal. Something similar is true for Arwen, to an even greater extent.

I have been thinking about this issue a lot recently in connection with another discussion in another forum, at least insofar as it pertains to Movie Aragorn's character and his core motivations. That's why I wanted to respond to your post. I know that none of this really defends the changes to Elrond, per se, but it might be something to ponder.


aruman
Rivendell

Apr 5 2012, 2:38am

Post #3 of 40 (366 views)
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Good points [In reply to] Can't Post

Harold,

Thanks...your post actually does make me feel better about PJ and the movies. I had been hoping that someone would make these films long before they were made, so I really shouldn't begrudge PJ taking a few liberties with the characters.

I do really like Elrond in the books, and dislike his portrayal in the films, but you're right, it does make some sense why PJ did it when considered in that light.


Fertlthewhite
Bree


Apr 5 2012, 7:36am

Post #4 of 40 (359 views)
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Elrond [In reply to] Can't Post

.. I think Elrond could have end it all by kicking Isildur into the fire of Mt Doom - instead of letting him walk away with the Ring...


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 5 2012, 7:44am

Post #5 of 40 (352 views)
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This raises a couple of issues [In reply to] Can't Post

1) I don't think Elrond would have pushed Isildur. They are a too kindly race Angelic
2) Would Elrond not have been tempted by the Ring? Mad
3) Would Isildur have overcome (either by own strength or the Rings power) and killed Elrond Evil
4) Did Elrond know of the full power of the Ring? - The Istari had not yet been sent to Middle-Earth to advise on these matters. Pirate

I am sure there are more Wink


Fertlthewhite
Bree


Apr 5 2012, 7:51am

Post #6 of 40 (340 views)
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too kindly to end all evil once and for all? [In reply to] Can't Post

... Elrond surely did know of all the things to come - at least Galadriel


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 5 2012, 8:08am

Post #7 of 40 (332 views)
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Elrond would have commited murder [In reply to] Can't Post

Murder=evil. That's not Elrond, and it's certainly not what Tolkien intended to happen.

Also remember, that this scene from the film is an invention of the film-makers. If I remember rightly, they were not at the Cracks, but on the slopes of Mount Doom. It wouldn't have been a simple matter of pushing Isildur into the Fire. He would have had to have attacked him - with respective armies surrounding them.


Fertlthewhite
Bree


Apr 5 2012, 8:16am

Post #8 of 40 (331 views)
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martyr for the good [In reply to] Can't Post

 ... but this would lead to a very lame and short book...


(This post was edited by Fertlthewhite on Apr 5 2012, 8:18am)


ElendilTheShort
Gondor

Apr 5 2012, 8:31am

Post #9 of 40 (354 views)
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Movie Elrond [In reply to] Can't Post

is unfortunately one of the characters in the movie that is substantially different to, and almost unrecognisable from the one in the book. His disdain for men is a poor decision on the part of the film makers that fails to recognise his own heritage in the books as well as his foster role in the raising of Aragorn, let alone the fact that his own children yet had the decision before them that they may ultimately choose to share the Fate of Men.

As for destroying the One Ring, that is impossible to do willingly as written in Letter 131 "Also so great was the Ring's power of lust, that anyone who used it became mastered by it; it was beyond the strength of any will (even his own) to injure it, cast it away, or neglect it. So he thought. It was in any case on his finger."

We see examples in the book version of the wise rejecting the One Ring for fear, and no one knows all about the One Ring apart from it's maker, so Elrond could not have know the effect it would have on Isiludr or indeed the fact it would have on himself if he took it.

Book Elrond is not at all bitter and although he has seen "many defeats, and many fruitless victories" and he fears the decision that Arwen may yet make if Aragron is to succeed and become the King of Gondor and Arnor he ultimately accepts it, which is about the only similarity he shares with movie Elrond.


aruman
Rivendell

Apr 6 2012, 3:56am

Post #10 of 40 (281 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, I was unfamiliar with that letter of Tolkien's, but it only reinforces my resentment with Elrond in the movies and his jerkiness.

However, I would be very curious to ask Mr. Tolkien, "Could Bombadil have cast the ring into the fire?"

I agree that the character is almost unrecognizable (as is Denethor, IMO), and I strongly disagree with the film makers' decision to butcher this great character.


aruman
Rivendell

Apr 6 2012, 4:12am

Post #11 of 40 (306 views)
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Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Daniel and Fertl,

Good points...I think many of us wondered at the scene in which Elrond tells Isildur to throw it into the fire, "Could Elrond have tried to force him, or possibly thrown Isildur in?"

My opinions regarding Daniel's questions:

2) Would Elrond have been tempted by the ring?
If he were holding it in his hand, I'd say definitely. Could he have pushed someone into the fire knowing that it would destroy the ring? Maybe, but I agree with you that he wouldn't have anyway.

3) Could Isildur have overcome Elrond?
With the ring in his grasp, that close to where it was forged, yes, I put my money on Isildur.

Now, here's the main thing the proposition of Elrond killing Isildur to destroy the ring brings to my mind (2 points really):

1.) It would be a very tough ethical decision. Do I kill one person in hopes that it will save the lives of many? Perhaps also saving Isildur himself from a fate worse than death? A tough ethical decision, but I agree that for Elrond the answer was easily no, do not attempt to harm Isildur b/c it's wrong (book Elrond, at least, movie Elrond was such a jerk it's hard to put it past him).

2.) Sorry for getting philosophical here, but I feel like in Tolkien's Middle Earth the ring just couldn't be destroyed by an act of harm towards another. If Elrond had attacked Isildur, I feel like something would have gone wrong.

Maybe he could have thrown Isildur in, maybe they both would have fallen in, but in either case I feel like the Ring would have survived, somehow. Maybe they would drop it then tumble in together, leaving the ring unharmed.

I believe that just as we cannot take the Ring and use it for good, even with the noblest intentions, we cannot destroy the Ring by the willful killing of another (Isildur).

PS as I re-read these books, I'm also starting to feel the same way about Haldir. He seems much kinder in the books, not such a jerk like in the movies LOL


(This post was edited by aruman on Apr 6 2012, 4:13am)


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2012, 8:29am

Post #12 of 40 (279 views)
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We know that [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombadil could not have cast it into the fire.

Bombadil had the very chance of taking the Ring from Frodo and undertaking the quest himself - he didn't want to. And that probably comes down to the fact he is such an enigma and mysterious character.


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2012, 8:33am

Post #13 of 40 (289 views)
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Agree with your points [In reply to] Can't Post

I just can't see Elrond pushing Isildur in. Elrond was not an evil person, and he certainly wasn't a murderer. Yes, it would have solves a whole load of issues later on, but he is not evil.

The running theme through Tolkiens works are the seeds of evil. Not only do the seeds of evil continue to sprout and grow in Middle-Earth, but the dark conditions in which they flourish continue to spread. Would a seed of evil then be planted within Elrond? A whole host of issues may then unfold.


imin
Valinor

Apr 6 2012, 9:00am

Post #14 of 40 (305 views)
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The ring was weregild [In reply to] Can't Post

to isildur for his fathers death. It was a combination of gil-galad, elendil and isildur or just isildur himself depending on how one interprets Saurons 'death' in the battle of last alliance.

As such Elrond had no right to take it from Isildur as it wasnt his to take away from Isildur. Elrond knew he could not take it and so didnt, of course he could have tried to fight isildur for the ring to try and cast it in himself, or just push isildur in himself but that would not of worked out well when he came back to everyone and all the men are like, wheres the ring, or wheres our king? Crazy

Plus like everyone is saying elrond wanted to do the right thing by his ally.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor

Apr 6 2012, 9:55am

Post #15 of 40 (268 views)
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They were never [In reply to] Can't Post

at the crack of doom either. They were on the slopes of Mt Doom, not just Isildur & Elrond but also Cirdan.


imin
Valinor

Apr 6 2012, 10:01am

Post #16 of 40 (265 views)
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yeah exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

So Elrond throwing isildur in would have took some effort to do, lol and like i said it was isildurs weregild so he could do what he wanted with it.


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2012, 10:07am

Post #17 of 40 (266 views)
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Weregild [In reply to] Can't Post

You learn a new word everyday! Never heard it before Smile


imin
Valinor

Apr 6 2012, 10:12am

Post #18 of 40 (263 views)
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It is written here [In reply to] Can't Post

"This I will have as weregild for my father's death, and my brother's. Was it not I that dealt the Enemy his death-blow?"
- The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 295

I think it is also somewhere in the council of elrond, but i might of remembered that wrong. I didnt know what it meant when i first read it Crazy


ElendilTheShort
Gondor

Apr 6 2012, 10:13am

Post #19 of 40 (258 views)
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I correct [In reply to] Can't Post

myself . Of course in the movies they did go to the cracks so that point remains relevant for the movies but not the books.

Yes he had right to a weregild but at the very least his choice as much as it was his to make was a bad one. Of course the One Ring laden with Saurons will fresh from his hand probably had more to do with the decision to take it than Isildur did himself especially once he had touched it.


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2012, 10:18am

Post #20 of 40 (258 views)
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Well I must of read it before then [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink
Not sure how I ever missed that then!


ElendilTheShort
Gondor

Apr 6 2012, 10:19am

Post #21 of 40 (258 views)
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Isildur [In reply to] Can't Post

exaggerates his death blow claim in the books. Elendil & Gil-galad had already rendered Sauron incapacitated at the cost of their own lives, all Isildur did was lop of the ring finger.

Also Isildur is probably the most unduly vilified character in Tolkiens writings followed a close second by Boromir when it comes to readers opinions.


Shelob'sAppetite
Valinor

Apr 6 2012, 2:37pm

Post #22 of 40 (274 views)
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Destroying the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

Does not "end all evil once and for all."

It simply ends that particular evil - the one that is a sort of godly manifestation on Earth. It also ends some of the "good" done by the other three rings...

The demise of the Ring marks the end of the era of Hell (and Heaven) on Earth, and the beginning of a mundane age, full of mundane evil and mundane good. In other words, our world.


(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Apr 6 2012, 2:39pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Apr 6 2012, 8:41pm

Post #23 of 40 (241 views)
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Yes, Bombadil could have cast the Ring into the fire... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Bombadil could not have cast it into the fire.

Bombadil had the very chance of taking the Ring from Frodo and undertaking the quest himself - he didn't want to. And that probably comes down to the fact he is such an enigma and mysterious character.



It's not that Tom couldn't have done it. The Ring had no power over him; of course he could have cast it into the Cracks of Doom. Tom is an elemental being who has no use for quests or Rings or anything outside of his limited area of interest. He would not have claimed the Ring for himself, but he was more likely to lose interest in such a mission and simply chuck the Ring into the Aduin or down a rabbit hole than to complete the quest.

"Darkness beyond blackest pitch, deeper than the deepest night!
King of Darkness, who shines like gold upon the Sea of Chaos.
I call upon thee and swear myself to thee!
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!"


DanielLB
Immortal


Apr 6 2012, 8:46pm

Post #24 of 40 (238 views)
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Mis-understood my post [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombadil could not have cast it into the fire because he had no interest in doing it.

Not that he wasn't physically able.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Apr 6 2012, 8:52pm

Post #25 of 40 (239 views)
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"I do not think that word means what you think it means." [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombadil could have destroyed the Ring; he would not have carried out the mission. The word that you want is 'would'.

"Darkness beyond blackest pitch, deeper than the deepest night!
King of Darkness, who shines like gold upon the Sea of Chaos.
I call upon thee and swear myself to thee!
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!"

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