In 'The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring', the chapter about the Council of Elrond focuses upon issues raised by the characters concerning strange happenings on Middle Earth. It is a very long chapter, but what was cut from the final script? Was it needless sentences?
Or was it this?
The sound of a faraway bell pealing sent its message over the terraces overlooking the Bruinen, and two characters that were solely observing the grey rocks and foamy waters turned from their post and pricked up their ears. It was a morning that smelt fresh as alpine meadows and, after appreciating the pale goldenrod sun emerge from the east, and staring in wonder at dew-dropped thread curtains, it calmed their nerves gently.
One of the characters inhaled deeply, closing his eyes as he did and giving a happy sigh. This was paradise. The other turned from their vantage point and made down a path away from it.
'Wait up, Mr. Frodo, sir!'
he exclaimed. The named character stopped and waited for his companion to catch up with him. When he had arrived next to him, they strolled down the path pensively; two pairs of big furry feet thumping down the way.
'Oh, there's Elves everywhere, Mr. Frodo.'
said the latter's friend.
'Singing and singing and playing all this music, you'd never find anywhere down in Bagshot Row!'
'Of course you wouldn't, Sam.'
'Not at all, Mr. Frodo?'
'Don't be silly. If you hadn't noticed the very simple fact that we're Hobbits, not Elves.'
He sighed with an air of weariness.
'Besides, I want to know what that bell means. Something important, I imagine. My shoulder's still a little sore, and I wish the Elves didn't have to play such loud music! Some of us have to get some sleep after almost dying from mortal wounds, you know.'
Sam waddled over to look into a large garden, and gasped at the variety of flora growing with a sanguine smile, with roses, cherry blossom and other such overused plants and trees scattering the edges of walkways. It was extremely enchanting but, if it were not for the fact that there were a group of purple-veined gladioli next to the water feature, stretching towards the sun, it would be incredibly unoriginal.
'Imagine what the Gaffer'd say at this!'
'He'd say, don't be nosy, Samwise Gamgee!'
a stern but jolly voice answered. Sam turned around and flushed a deep red.
'Now, you say you like the music of the Elves?'
spoke Gandalf, putting his arm around Sam. His pointed wizard's hat cast a dark shadow on the ground, and Sam found that his chances of getting a tan were now currently nil.
'I hear that some of the younger Elves are putting an impromptu clubbing session on in the Hall of Fire. Yes, it is a new style they are trying out. It is called... now what was it?'
He pulled out a pipe, filled it with pipe-weed, lit it and took a draw from it.
'Ah, yes, Master Samwise, it is a new fad called by some as Elvish Chillout. I daresay you'd enjoy it. Now, why don't you pop down to the Hall and listen in? I'm sure they appreciate your opinion.'
Sam's eyes lit up like Gandalf's pipe.
'Oh, yes, Mr. Gandalf, sir! I'd love to go! But what about Mr. Frodo? And Mr. Merry and Mr. Pippin? Can't they come too?'
Gandalf took a long draw and blew out a smoke ring shaped like a treble clef.
'Merry and Pippin are no doubt making themselves useful as foodtasters in the kitchens, but I'm afraid Frodo must come with me, as we have important business to attend to. Now, run along. I made a special request that you are placed directly at the front.'
Sam blurted out a thank you and jogged away from the wizard as fast as his big feet would let him. Elvish Chillout was something not to be missed, even if his beloved Frodo was in mortal danger.
Frodo, on the other hand, was tugging the back of Gandalf's cloak. In smoking his pipe, the wizard had gone into his reverie.
asked the wizard, blowing out the word 'YES?' in smoke.
'What's this business? I'm sick of all this important stuff. And what's that bell? And please don't shout. The Elves played such loud music last night, I couldn't sleep.'
Gandalf inhaled his pipe deeply, and blew a smoke ring into the hobbit's face. Frodo, catching it full, began coughing and spluttering violently.
'The business we will see about later.'
said Gandalf, puffing small 'later's into the air,
'and the bell is signalling that the start of the Council of Elrond is imminent. I imagine Bilbo went there when it sounded, and we should follow suit.'
Exit several smoky hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs from Gandalf's mouth.
'What's happening at the Council?'
asked Frodo, his face red and breath short from unexpected smoke inhalation.
The wizard tapped out the spent pipe-weed and refilled it.
'Why, the business, my dear hobbit. Now, remember, a wizard is never late, and I most certainly won't be this time. I suggest that you shouldn't be late either.'
Gandalf turned and swept away down a path. Frodo stared down after him, then thumped down after the wizard. He wasn't going to be late either.
When Frodo entered the porch, a gentle breeze washed his face in air. The quiet rushing of a babbling brook crept by, the birds whistled their morning greeting, and the warmth of the sunlight gave Frodo a glimmer of hope. Maybe they weren't going to greet him with music.
In the middle of the terrace was a group of chairs, set in a large circle. Many of them were already filled, but some people stood leaning against the balcony, preferring to savour the mountain air of Rivendell rather than sitting down.
There were several people at the Council who Frodo had seen before. Glorfindel was there, looking longingly down the Bruinen; Glóin the Dwarf, smoking a pipe and talking to another dwarf sitting by him, presumably his son. Strider, or Aragorn, was looking very laid-back, with his feet up on a small footstool and smoking as well. Bilbo was grumbling as he crossed out and rewrote lines on a pad of paper, and beside the hobbit sat Gandalf, smoking what must have been his tenth pipe, his hat on a small stand and his feet perched on the edge of a valuable Elvish tea-table. Frodo went over to the wizard and asked him who the others were.
'That's Erestor, one of Elrond's counsellors.'
said Gandalf, pointing his pipe in the direction of a solumn-looking Elf.
'And that's Galdor of the Grey Havens, another Elf. And that one over there...'
and he blew a smoke arrow towards a young Elf with long blonde hair who was looking overly proud and extremely irritated,
'is Legolas, the son of King Thranduil of Mirkwood.'
'Yes, and unfortunately several more whose names I cannot recall. You're lucky they didn't have their instruments with them. There's enough Elves here to form a philharmonic orchestra.'
Taking an extra-long puff at his pipe, Gandalf blew out a smoke harp that was playing soothing notes.
'Next to Glóin is Gimli, his son, and the person standing opposite Glorfindel is a man from the South called Boromir. See how he peers at Bilbo and yourself with those amazed eyes. Yet another ignorant philistine who didn't listen in his geography lessons.'
All the people called to the Council were checking nearby sundials, water clocks and hourglasses, and grumbling terribly. Their eyes occasionally flicked to the empty porch, and after more grumbling, they examined the timepieces again. Frodo noticed this and asked what was the matter.
'Elrond hasn't arrived yet,'
explained Gandalf. He blew out a smoke clock and looked at the hands.
'I must say that he hasn't been as late as this for a Council meeting before.'
Just then, the room fell silent as someone rushed in, fiddling with a silver object on his head and looking very agitated. His hair was as black as twilight shadows, his eyes grey and like a cool summer evening, but with a twinkle of vigour and strength. However, his hair was looking a little askew and the silver circlet around his head was not straight.
"Sorry I'm late,'
mumbled the Elf.
'Someone hid my circlet again.'
His hands went up to the circlet and straightened it.
'Does that look straight?'
he asked another Elf, who nodded with a yawn.
'Oh, Elrond, I'm sure that your circlet is so very important that you should be late for such a monumental Council.'
smiled Gandalf, puffing his twelfth pipe with a wry expression.
'Thank you for your comment, Gandalf, I'll keep that in mind.'
said Elrond scathingly, receiving a set of papers from a nearby Elf. Elrond stood in the centre of the circle of chairs and addressed the Council.
'First things first.'
Elrond replied, looking through his notes.
'For those who don't know already, I'm Elrond Halfelven, Lord of Rivendell, and this is my Council.'
Several of the members yawned and groaned at this point.
'As you know, there are many important subjects that must be attended to today, and we have many special guests to welcome, namely the Halfling Frodo, son of Drogo, who has travelled here all the way from the Shire.'
There was some polite clapping from the Dwarves.
Elrond trailed off as his sharp eyes scanned the terrace.
'Hold everything for a second,'
he said, turning to the porch. The Elf called,
Two minutes later a beautiful dark-haired Elf-maiden traipsed in, looking bright and merry. She smiled warmly at Frodo and cheekily at Aragorn, who grinned back. She walked up to Elrond and looked at him questioningly, her hands on her hips.
'Could you go and get a tray of fifty croissants and bring it back here?'
he asked her.
'Excuse me, I don't like croissants!'
said Boromir behind him.
'How about brioche buns?'
'What about lembas? Lembas and jam? Yes? Good. Make that fifty croissants, a large pot of coffee, thirty cups, aspartame tablets, semi-skimmed milk, some lembas and a jar of jam.'
He gave her several coins and sent her back. Arwen had a distinct scowl on her face as she left.
'She's just come back from her grandmother's,'
explained Elrond, beaming cheerfully and pointing a thumb to the receding image of Arwen.
murmured everyone with an understanding look.
There was an uneasy silence as they waited. Frodo had a strange sensation, and he found himself reaching for the Ring. He couldn't stop himself, and just as his finger was about to slip it on, he found his chair kicked out from under him and a running pain up his side as he landed awkwardly on the floor.
whined the hobbit, scrambling back on to his chair.
'You should be more careful, Frodo Baggins.'
Gandalf remarked with a devious grin, now refilling his pipe for the eighteenth time.
A ripple of heads turned to the porch when Arwen reappeared, carrying a tray of croissants piled into a pyramid. There was also a jar of blackberry jam, a pot of coffee, a jug of milk, several sachets of aspartame and a plate of lembas. She put the tray on the tea-table and went to her father.
'They said that if you get half as many again you can get some pain au chocolat as well!'
Arwen told Elrond.
'So, can I get some?'
'Please? I really like pain au chocolat, and I bet loads of people here like that too!'
'I think we have enough food here already, Arwen.'
'Please? There's just enough change here!'
'No. I told you, no.'
Arwen's eyes flashed with irritation and she screwed up her face so it was a figment of wild rage. She began gesticulating agitatedly and leapt violently from foot to foot.
'YOU'RE SO HORRIBLE!'
she shouted furiously, waving her fist.
'THAT IS SO UNFAIR! YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING BY MYSELF! YOU ALWAYS LET ELLADAN AND ELROHIR GO OUT BY THEMSELVES UNTIL LATE! YOU NEVER LET ME SEE WHO I WANT! YOU NEVER APPROVE OF ANYONE I SEE AND NOW YOU DRAG ME AWAY FROM MY HOLIDAY TO THIS PIT! I HATE YOU! YOU'RE SO UNFAIR! NO WONDER MOTHER LEFT TO GO OVER THE SEA! IT WAS TO GET AWAY FROM YOU! I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!'
The Elf who was famous for her resemblance to Lúthien Tinúviel glowered at her father before storming out of the terrace, throwing violent abuse at anyone and everyone. Aragorn sighed and called to her sympathetically. 'Arwen!'
At this point, Elrond gave the Ranger a look of poison, and the sight of his piercing grey eyes and his power of being able to look into his mind was enough to make Aragorn bite his lip and look at a rather interesting pot-plant instead. Finally, Elrond released him from his gaze and beamed at the rest of the congregation.
'Mood swings, you know. When Elves reach about 1700 years, you realise that they're growing up so quickly, and I can remember when Arwen did. I can remember my adolescent years clearly... but none of that!'
he added hastily.
'Please feel free to take a croissant,'
'there's more than enough for everyone.'
Everyone moved towards the tray of croissants, and the jar of blackberry jam was opened ritualistically.
'There's no knife to spread the jam with!'
The Elves gasped in horror, and Bilbo dropped his croissant in shock.
'Someone will have to go and get a knife,'
announced Gandalf, who was looking more relaxed than ever; a pipe in one hand and a croissant in the other.
said Aragorn, getting up.
'Do you know where the kitchens are?'
asked Frodo as he nibbled at his croissant.
'The kitchens? Yeah, of course. They're on the way to Arwen's bedr...'
A sense of silence and anxiousness passed through the terrace and Aragorn trailed off, his eyes fixed on Elrond's grim-looking face. He was not impressed.
'And you can see a lot of things from Arwen's bedroom, can't you, Aragorn.'
said Elrond. Each word shot into the Ranger, hitting him severely.
Aragorn bit his lip again, and nobody felt like speaking. Even the birds were silenced. Only the babbling brook gave its words as it whispered to the rocks.
'Errrrrrrr... I'll just use my sword.'
Aragorn drew his sword, took one look at it and replaced it.
'Oh, damn, it's broken. Erm... why don't we just use our fingers?'
The Hobbits took advantage of this suggestion and dug their fingers into the jam. The Dwarves followed suit and soon anyone under five feet were happily munching on croissants and sipping Elvish coffee. The Elves and Men, after some consideration, shuffled forward to follow suit.
'Excuse me, is there any point in me being here at all?'
asked an arrogant and annoyed voice.
All eyes turned to the blonde-haired Elf.
'you tell us to wake up really early to call us up for this boring Council. You turn up late, and all you can talk about is how to spread jam on pieces of glazed bread! I came because I had to, and nothing has happened! I could have done my roots by now! And there is no way I'm sticking my fingers into that! This skin is the best in the whole of Middle Earth, and I'm not clogging up the pores with that dirt! Honestly, none of you have any style whatsoever. I'm not splitting any hairs just to get my hands covered for croissants! Who do you think I am? Galadriel or something?'
'Oh, go manicure your nails, Elf-boy!'
exclaimed Frodo acidly as he smeared more jam on to his croissant.
retorted the Elf, pulling out a file and tending to his fingernails.
'I'll do it just to spite you!'
'Now, now, Lobelia!'
laughed Gandalf, the smoke wafting around his face in curls.
'Let Frodo do as he pleases and leave him alone.'
He threw his head back in a reckless fit of giggles that soon faded away when the wizard realised that everyone was looking at him, thinking 'This guy's crazy'.
'My name is Legolas, not some cheap off-shoot of a plant.'
growled Legolas quietly.
'Well said, Master Elf,'
'You've just reminded me of those frightful Sackville-Bagginses. Did you know that...'
'And so to the first thing on the agenda!'
interrupted Elrond. Everyone rushed back to their places, a croissant in each hand. They had all heard Bilbo's stories at least twice in their lives and were not planning to listen to more.
'Apologies from several people,'
said Elrond, flicking through his notes.
'Gildor and company cannot come due to the fact they are going to the Havens... but that's everybody's excuse if they want to turn down an invitation to a dinner or party.'
'A very important message from the Havens has arrived. Anyone planning on taking the ship over the Sea is advised to postpone their journey until further notice, as Círdan the Shipwright is taking the ship inshore to be serviced. Therefore, I'm afraid, fellow Eldarin, that you'll be stuck on this pad until spare parts have been refitted and the ship is deemed fit to sail.'
There was a resounding groan from all the Elves, many throwing their hands up in disgust.
'With regards to important announcements, tickets have gone on sale for 'The Rivendell Revue: 3018'. Everyone is welcome, and the proceeds go to funding 'Silmarillion - On Ice', so please come if you can. They have tried hard to include different music styles, including Big Band Elvish, Elvish Jazz, Elvish Chillout, Elvish Greatest Hits and Elvish Drum and Bass, although whatever happened to Classical Elvish, I don't know... so look out for that.'
Gandalf was nonchalantly filling his pipe with croissant crumbs and smoking it as Elrond continued.
'Thanks to Glorfindel, Elladan and Elrohir for making the areas around the North a slightly better place.'
More polite clapping from the Dwarves. The room was filling with smoke as everybody pulled out a pipe and began smoking. The Elves began trying to cough politely, and Legolas moved towards a smoke-free area, lest the smoke should cling to his clothes and he should smell like an underground Dwarven jazz club.
'That's the introductions finished,'
muttered Elrond, screwing up pieces of paper and throwing them into the Bruinen.
'And to the first main discussion... I believe that it is...'
All eyes peered through the smoke.
Elrond rifled through his files.
'Yes, Master Elrond,'
said the Elf.
'I know that I'm at the top.'
'It is true,'
confirmed Elrond, looking confounded at the list of topics to cover.
'Erestor, could you take the minutes?'
Turning to Anurin, he indicated that he should stand.
The Elf bowed and moved lightly to the centre of the circle. He was of medium height for his kindred, about the same size as Legolas. His hair was light brown, and draped over his shoulders. He was a young Elf, but the expression on his face was grave, so all moved forward to listen.
'As you know, we have received many gracious visitors over the days,'
Anurin said, flicking his hair back over his shoulders.
'Elves from faraway places, Dwarves, Men and Mithrandir, and not to mention the Periannath.'
'It's Hobbits! Not your la-di-dah Periannath.'
'Hobbits, as they call themselves,'
added Anurin, giving Bilbo a shot of acid.
'And we are all gathered here for a reason. And I think we all have an idea of what that reason is.'
A murmur of 'yes's reverberated around the terrace, and acute nodding from Gandalf.
'However, I must issue something that is distressing me deeply. I have lived in Master Elrond's household for several tens of centuries, and have not had anything to complain about for a long time. And I'm certain that everyone else would feel the same if it happened to them.'
'I'm talking about the bathroom in the second floor of the north wing. Someone used up all of my athelas-scented aftershave.'
Everyone gasped. Not because of the aftershave, but because it was something so insignificant to be put at the top of the agenda. Elrond looked like he would take the tray of croissants and smash it over Anurin's head.
said Anurin, nodding his head, misinterpreting their gasps.
'I felt exactly the way. And you know what was really annoying? The aftershave was in my shelf, the shelf clearly labelled with my name and lineage, with the rest of my aromatherapy bubble bath set and herbal shower gel. Everyone knows it's my shelf.'
'I loved that aftershave. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother on my father's side gave me that aftershave for my 1067th birthday 1731 years ago, and there's none other like it in Middle Earth.'
Elrond was holding his head in his hands, ignoring the fact that his silver circlet was slipping off, and Gandalf was trying hard not to laugh in case he choked on the smoke. Bilbo had gone back to his book, and Frodo had fallen asleep. The others were busily regarding the view from the terrace, commenting on how lovely the waters of the Bruinen were.
'Now, I'm not blaming the visitors for anything, and I'm most certainly not putting the blame on any of the people on the second floor, but please have consideration for other users of the bathroom, and please don't assume that all the toiletries can be used at your whim. But to make sure that it doesn't happen again, my new strawberry-scented soap has been name-tagged with my name, and to make sure everyone can understand, it is labelled also in all the Elvish dialects, the Common Tongue, Quenya and Sindarin, French and, yes, even Belgian and Mordor.'
A dark shadow passed over the Council, and Frodo awoke with a jolt. The Ring was growing heavier and heavier, and he could feel the Eye searching him out. Gandalf smoked unconcernedly, but Elrond cried out in a clear voice,
'Do not speak of the Dark Land!'
The shadow passed, and the sun shone on the Council again.
'Well, I didn't want to discriminate against anyone!'
explained Anurin gruffly.
'So, I say again, nobody use my stuff, otherwise I cannot be responsible for my actions.'
'Is that a threat?'
'No, it is a warning.'
said Anurin. Seeing Elrond glare at him like an extremely angry lion, he added,
'And that's all I have to say.'
'And if you say anything about your damn bathroom products again, Anurin, I will personally make sure you are moved to a less people-orientated floor!'
pronounced Elrond. He scrunched up the top sheet of his notes and threw it away, and straightened his circlet surreptitiously.
'And now, the main topic,'
said Elrond, flicking through.
'Something about... a Ring?'