Tolkien’s Legendarium is one of the biggest, most popular and most interesting fictional universes we have. It is – in a way – the epitome of a fantasy-based universe and served as a prototype for all later similar universes that are part of the fantasy genre. Tolkien’s universe has a lot of mysteries and while some of them are unclear, there are some that are solved but need further clarification. Today’s article is going to be focused on the Fellowship of the Ring, i.e., why some more powerful Elvish characters – Glorfindel, Elrond and Galadriel – never joined the Fellowship to aid in their quest. Keep reading to find out!
And while the exact reason was never explicitly stated, we can assume that Glorfindel, Elrond and Galadriel opted out of the journey because the One Ring would have too much power over them, which would make them not only useless during the journey, but also a hindrance for the Fellowship.
In today’s article, you are going to find out why Glordindel, Elrond and Galadriel never joined the Fellowship of the Ring. We’re going to go through each of them individually to reveal their reasons. Enjoy!
Why didn’t Glorfindel join the Fellowship of the Ring?
Glorfindel was a very powerful Elf, whose adventures have been chronicled in different stories from Tolkien’s Legendarium. Although he doesn’t play a major role during the main narrative, his role in the expanded universe is enormous, as are his adventures and achievements. Having achieved immortality, Glorfindel was certainly a candidate for the journey and it seems that Elrond, indeed, wanted to send him:
‘The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil. With you and your faithful servant, Gandalf will go; for this shall be his great task, and maybe the end of his labours.
‘For the rest, they shall represent the other Free Peoples of the World: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Legolas shall be for the Elves; and Gimli son of Gloin for the Dwarves. They are willing to go at least to the passes of the Mountains, and maybe beyond. For men you shall have Aragorn son of Arathorn, for the Ring of Isildur concerns him closely.’
‘Strider!’ said Frodo.
‘Yes,’ he said with a smile. ‘I ask leave once again to be your companion, Frodo.’
‘I would have begged you to come,’ said Frodo, ‘only I thought you were going to Minas Tirith with Boromir.’
‘I am,’ said Aragorn. ‘And the Sword-that-was-Broken shall be reforged ere I set out to war. But your road and our road lie together for many hundreds of miles. Therefore Boromir will also be in the Company. He is a valiant man.’
‘There remain two more to be found,’ said Elrond. “These I will consider. Of my household I may find some that it seems good to me to send.’
‘But that will leave no place for us!’ cried Pippin in dismay. ‘We don’t want to be left behind. We want to go with Frodo.’
‘That is because you do not understand and cannot imagine what lies ahead,’ said Elrond.
‘Neither does Frodo,’ said Gandalf, unexpectedly supporting Pippin. ‘Nor do any of us see clearly. It is true that if these hobbits understood the danger, they would not dare to go. But they would still wish to go, or wish that they dared, and be shamed and unhappy. 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.’
‘You speak gravely,’ said Elrond, ‘but I am in doubt. The Shire, I forebode, is not free now from peril; and these two I had thought to send back there as messengers, to do what they could, according to the fashion of their country, to warn the people of their danger. In any case, I judge that the younger of these two, Peregrin Took, should remain. My heart is against his going.’
‘Then, Master Elrond, you will have to lock me in prison, or send me home tied in a sack,’ said Pippin. ‘For otherwise I shall follow the Company.’
‘Let it be so then. You shall go,’ said Elrond, and he sighed. ‘Now the tale of Nine is filled. In seven days the Company must depart.’– The Fellowship of the Ring, Book II, Chapter 3, “The Ring Goes South”
Glorfindel seems to have been Elrond’s candidate for the Fellowship, but due to practical reasons – the Fellowship had to have nine members, they had to be able to be obscure and quick, etc. – Gandalf was against it. Certainly, a group of Hobbits is far better for such a task than an Elf-lord, especially due to the Elvish connection with magic. Glorfindel would certainly be noticed by Sauron and there would always be a risk of him being corrupted by the One Ring’s power.
Why didn’t Elrond join the Fellowship of the Ring?
Elrond was the powerful and wise Lord of Rivendell. He was an important member of the forces opposing Sauron in both wars and was a member of the companionship that defeated the Necromancer (i.e., Sauron) at Dol Guldur. Elrond was certainly powerful and wise enough to be of use to the Fellowship; he was also great in combat. So, why didn’t the Lord of Rivendell go with the Fellowship? Let us see.
As the Lord of Rivendell, Elrond had a lot of responsibilities towards his people. In that aspect, his duties towards his home can be viewed as the most important reason why Elrond didn’t join the Fellowship. Unlike Glorfindel, it seems that Elrond never even pondered the possibility of joining the Fellowship, knowing actually where his loyalties lie. Like Glorfindel, Elrond would also be quite easy to detect for Sauron and there was also the danger that he might become corrupted by the One Ring’s power.
Why didn’t Galadriel join the Fellowship of the Ring?
Galadriel’s reasons seem to be the easiest to understand, really. Galadriel was a powerful character and she had already succeeded in fighting Sauron at Dol Guldur, which forced the still-weak Dark Lord to find refuge in Mordor, where he waited for the One Ring’s return. In that aspect, Galadriel would have been a perfect fit for the Fellowship of the Ring. Yet, she did not go. Why is that?
Galadriel first came into direct contact with the One Ring – as far as the main narrative is concerned, of course – when Frodo offered her the Ring for safekeeping. Frodo’s intentions were, indeed, pure. He trusted Galadriel and as she had shown kindness to the Hobbit, he thought that she would be the ideal person to guard the One Ring. Still, Galadriel was very cautious. The One Ring tempted her, she would make full use of its enormous powers and that is why she decided to let Frodo have a look at a possible future where Galadriel held the One Ring.
This resulted in the famous “Dark Galadriel” scene that shocked Frodo, but which ended with the famous “I pass the test” quote. Galadriel was aware of the Ring’s powers and although it tempted her to take it, she managed to fight her urges and declined Frodo’s offer to keep the One Ring safe. Herein lies the reason why Galadriel wouldn’t have been a good member of the Fellowship. We all know how the One Ring influenced Boromir and just imagine how dangerous a character as powerful as Galadriel would have been in such a situation? That is why she was not a member of the Fellowship.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!