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Elrond was Lord of Rivendell, one of the mighty rulers of old that remained in Middle-earth in its Third Age. His name was explained by Tolkien in a letter from 1958 to Rhona Beare as "Elf of the Cave", as he was found as an infant abandoned in a cave. Later notes, reflected in The Silmarillion and The War of the Jewels, interpret the name instead as "Star-dome" or "Vault of Stars" (a vault in the sense of the celestial dome).
Elrond was the son of Eärendil and Elwing, and a great-grandson of Lúthien, born in Beleriand in the First Age, making him well over 6,000 years old by the time of the events described in The Lord of the Rings. Elrond's twin brother was Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first High King of Númenor.
Although Elrond was considered half-elven, that was not meant to be an exact percentage value. Through Lúthien, daughter of Melian the Maia, he and his brother Elros were also descended from the Maiar, angelic beings who had come to Middle-earth thousands of years before. Both his mother and his father had mixed human-elf ancestry, and as a result Elrond himself was 3/8 human, 9/16 elf and 1/16 Maia. Elrond, along with his parents, his brother, and his children, were granted a choice between Elven or human fates by the Valar. Elrond chose to travel into the West and live as an immortal Elf, while his twin Elros chose mortality.
As documented in The Silmarillion, Elrond was born at the refuge of the Mouths of Sirion not long before its destruction by the sons of Fëanor. He and his brother, Elros, were captured alive. Their parents feared that they would be killed, but instead they were taken up by the brothers Maedhros and Maglor. Elrond went to Lindon with the household of Gil-galad, the last High King of the Noldor, when Beleriand was destroyed at the end of the First Age. Like his parents but unlike his brother, he chose to be counted among the Elves when the choice of kindreds was given to him.
During the War of the Elves and Sauron in the Second Age, Elrond was Gil-galad's herald and was sent to Eregion when it was attacked by Sauron. He united his army with one from Eregion, led by Celeborn. Eregion was destroyed, however, and Elrond was driven back and surrounded by Sauron. Fortunately, an army led by Durin and Amroth assailed Sauron's host in the rear, causing the Dark Lord to turn and drive them back to Moria. Elrond was able to retreat to a valley where he made a settlement at Imladris, later called Rivendell. In S.A. 1700 an army from Númenor arrived in Lindon and Gwathló, and Sauron was trapped between the forces of Númenóreans and Elrond. The White Council decided that Eregion would be abandoned in favour of Imladris. On this occasion, Gil-galad entrusted Elrond with Vilya, the mightiest of the Three Rings of the Elves.
Near the end of the Second Age, the Last Alliance of Elves and Men was formed, and the army departed from Imladris to Mordor, led by Elendil and Gil-galad, who were both killed in the Siege of Barad-dûr. Elrond and Círdan were the only ones to stand by Gil-galad's side when he fell. In the early years of the Third Age, Elrond married Celebrían, daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel. The union produced twin brothers Elladan and Elrohir, and a daughter, Arwen Undómiel.
During the Third Age Elrond was the main ally of Arnor. Following its fall, Elrond harboured the Chieftains of the Dúnedain and sheltered the Sceptre of Annúminas, Arnor's symbol of royal authority. After being captured and tortured by Orcs in the Redhorn Gate, Celebrían left Elrond and went into the West to seek healing. After Aragorn's father Arathorn was killed a few years after Aragorn's birth, Elrond raised Aragorn in his own household and became something of a surrogate father to him. Aware of his daughter's feelings, Elrond made a condition that Aragorn must become King of Gondor and Arnor before marrying Arwen.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, he headed the Council of Elrond, at which it was decided that the One Ring should be destroyed at the Mount Doom in Mordor. Elrond also reasoned that Isildur could not bring himself to destroy the One Ring, since Isildur was the only one that stood by Elendil in the last challenge (while Elrond and Círdan were with Gil-galad) and because the Ring was a weregild for the deaths of his father and brother. Elrond also reluctantly accepted that his personal loss (Arwen's choice of mortality) would be for the greater good of Man, as she would help to renew the declining lineage of the Dúnedain.
Elrond remained in Rivendell until the destruction of both the Ring and Sauron in The War of the Ring. He then travelled to Minas Tirith to see Arwen marry Aragorn, now King of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. Three years later, at the approximate age of 6,520, Elrond left Middle-earth to go over the Sea with the Ring-bearers, never to return.
Portrayal in adaptations
Cyril Ritchard voiced Elrond in the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated film of The Hobbit. In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Elrond was voiced by André Morell. When Rankin/Bass attempted to finish the story (left incomplete by Bakshi and his financial backers) with The Return of the King in 1980, actor Paul Frees voiced Elrond in the same style as Ritchard, who had since died. In the Rankin/Bass version, Elrond was depicted with a pointed beard and a crown of stars floating around his head.
Matthew Locricchio portrayed Elrond in National Public Radio's 1979 radio production of The Lord of the Rings. Hugh Dickson portrayed Elrond in BBC Radio's 1981 serialisation of The Lord of the Rings. In the 1993 Finnish television miniseries Hobitit, Elrond is played by Leif Wager. In the 2006 musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Elrond was portrayed by Victor A. Young.
In the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, Elrond is portrayed by Hugo Weaving. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey after Elrond reads the moon runes on Thror's map, a White Council session is held in Rivendell, where Gandalf expresses his worries to Elrond and Galadriel, but Saruman dismisses the concerns as unfounded. After Gandalf confirms that Sauron has returned and had taken up residence in Dol Guldur, Elrond joins the other White Council members to fight off the Nazgûl and the revealed Necromancer in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Elrond holds Men in lesser regard after witnessing Isildur's failure to destroy the One Ring. Unlike the book, he is more skeptical of Aragorn both in terms of his ability to lead the Men of the West and the courtship of his daughter. As shown in the flashback scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, he forces Aragorn to break up with Arwen so that she could leave to the Undying Lands, though she eventually makes the decision to stay with Aragorn in Middle-Earth. Also, instead of presenting the reforged Andúril to Aragorn at the beginning of the quest, he only does so after arriving at Dunharrow in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir and the Grey Company of the Rangers of the North led by Halbarad are absent from the film, so Elrond is the one to advise Aragorn to take the Paths of the Dead. Elrond is present at Aragorn's coronation and Arwen's wedding in Minas Tirith and departs Middle-Earth with other Ring-bearers at the end of the film.
Weaving reprised his role as both Elrond and the narrator in video games The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II (2006) and The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (2009). In the storyline campaign of The Battle for Middle-earth II Elrond, after planning the war in the North and sending the Fellowship to destroy the One Ring, forms an alliance with the Dwarves to repel Sauron's forces, defending Rivendell from goblin assaults. He leads the first strike in the final battle at Dol Guldur, joined by other Elves and Dwarves, enabling him to defeat Sauron's remaining forces.
In the 2002 video game adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring Elrond is voiced by Jim Piddock, who later reprised the role for The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest (2010) and The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (2011). Elrond is one of the major characters in The Lord of the Rings Online (2007). Residing in the Last Homely House in Rivendell, he is frequently consulted by players seeking council in battling threats to the lands of Eriador. In the 2003 video game adaptation of The Hobbit Elrond only appears for a few seconds in a non-interactive cutscene.
|Half-elven family tree|
- Letters, no. 211, p. 281–282
- The Silmarillion, Entry for "Elrond" in the Index, p. 327; and Entry for "-rond" in the Appendix, p. 363.
- The War of the Jewels (History of Middle-earth, Vol XI), "Quendi and Eldar", p. 414.
- J. R. R. Tolkien (1994). "The Tale of Years of the First Age". In Christopher Tolkien. The War of the Jewels. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 342–354. ISBN 0-395-71041-3. Elrond and Elros are born in the same year, 532 of the Years of the Sun in the First Age.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. The Silmarillion (George Allen & Unwin paperback edition, 1983), pp. 296-297.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. The Silmarillion (George Allen & Unwin paperback edition, 1983), p. 306, p. 314, and pp. 343-344.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King, The Appendices
- Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King, The Appendices
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Book II, chapter 2: The Council of Elrond, ISBN 0-395-08254-4
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Appendices, A, (V): Here Follows a Part of The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, ISBN 0-395-08256-0
- Elrond at the Internet Movie Database
- at the
- Elrond at The Thain's Book
- Encyclopedia of Arda article, which includes a detailed description of Elrond's "half-elven" ancestry