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In the Return of The King, we see that Elrond doesn't seem so enthusiastic to re-forge the sword. Why is that?

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    Well, it looks like hard work. – Valorum Mar 2 '16 at 17:16
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    I always understood that scene in the film not as reluctance on Elrond's part, but on him recognising the gravity and significance of the moment. The sword of Elendil is the weapon that defeated Sauron; now it is returning to the world to battle him (or his armies) once again. Incidentally, in the book, the sword is reforged in Rivendell before the Fellowship set off on their quest. – maguirenumber6 Mar 2 '16 at 17:34
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    This is simply not so. If memory serves, the reforging happens in Fellowship, before the company sets off on their quest (has to, because Aragorn carries it with him), and Elrond never voices any objection. – jamesqf Mar 2 '16 at 17:35
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    @Leth - Have you any idea how much coal costs nowadays and then there's the wear and tear on the bellows. I'll be lucky if I break even on this one, squire... – Valorum Mar 2 '16 at 17:41
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    "and it was not forged anew. And Master Elrond foretold that this would not be done until the Ruling Ring should be found again and Sauron should return; but the hope of Elves and Men was that these things might never come to pass" - Silmarillion – Valorum Mar 2 '16 at 17:59
49

In this scene, Elrond shows why:

In text, the relevant conversation is as follows:

Elrond: "The time of the Elves is over, my people are leaving these shores. Who will you look to when we've gone? The Dwarves? They hide in their mountains seeking riches, they care nothing for the troubles of others."

Gandalf: "It is in Men that we must place our hope."

Elrond: "Men? Men are weak. The race of Men is failing. The blood of Numenor is all but spent, its pride and dignity forgotten. It is because of Men the Ring survives. I was there Gandalf. I was there three thousand years ago, when Isildur took the Ring. I was there the day the strength of Men failed."

[flashback of that day]

Elrond: "It should've ended that day, but evil was allowed to endure. Isildur kept the Ring. The line of kings is broken. There is no strength left in the world of Men. They're scattered, divided, leaderless."

Gandalf: "There is one who could unite them, one who could reclaim the throne of Gondor."

Elrond: "He turned from that path long time ago. He has chosen exile."

This conversation shows exactly why he refuses to reforge Narsil, the blade of the Numenorean king of Gondor:

  • To Elrond, the bloodline of Numenor is spent and gone.
  • Aragorn IS a rightful heir to the throne of Gondor by his Numenorean blood, and Elrond knows it.
  • However, the nobility of the line has failed the day it succumbed to the temptation of the One Ring. Aragorn has also chosen to be a Ranger, not who he was born to be. As such, he considers Aragorn unworthy of his lineage.
  • As such, there is no meaning and nobody to reforge the blade for, least of all that Ranger guy.
  • At this point, Elrond is looking upon Middle Earth and thinking:

enter image description here

That is why he rejects Arwen's pleas at the start:

To Elrond, Arwen's request is nothing more than a desperate plea for her lover, a futile endeavour considering Aragorn's perceived unworthiness to wield the blade of the king, and the weakness of his blood before the might of Sauron.

It is only when he realised that Arwen has chosen the mortal life of Man, that there is no more ship that can bear her west to Valinor, that his daughter's fate is now tied to the fate of Middle Earth, that he finally decided to reforge the sword (and set out to persuade Aragorn to put aside the Ranger).

Elrond didn't reforge the sword because his faith in humanity was restored. He reforged it because doing something, however futile, is better than doing nothing when it comes to saving his own child's life.

  • 1
    @user2813274: Are you wondering about destiny or just whether Aragorn knew that he was Isildur's heir? He certainly knows that he is heir to the throne, but so did his forefathers for hundreds of years, and none of them claimed it, so it comes down to knowing one's destiny. The movies present Aragorn as a man who knows the weakness of men and so is reluctant to face his destiny. In the books, he sets forth from Rivendell to claim the throne (with the reforged sword in hand). – Mark Peters Mar 2 '16 at 22:30
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    @user2813274: Very true, Elrond does initially hide Aragorn's heritage from him, but by the time of the events of the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn has known he was the heir for almost 70 years, and has had travelled the world, serving as a captain of both Gondor and Rohan, finally ending up as a Ranger in the north to keep an eye on the Shire. So it's hard to argue he didn't choose to be a ranger, or chose so without knowing he was heir. – Mark Peters Mar 2 '16 at 23:34
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    @user2813274: In fact, you could argue that only became a ranger once he knew his lineage, since being the leader of the Rangers was an honor given to Isildur's heir. – Mark Peters Mar 2 '16 at 23:41
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    @MarkPeters You could use the same argument to suggest that Aragorn was interested in pursuing his heritage and was wise enough to start small. – Trisped Mar 3 '16 at 0:28
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    This interpretation by PJ ruined the movies for me. The books make it very clear, that Elrond thinks highly of Aragorn and certainly does not think that he chose the exile. This choice was made by the Arvedui, the last king in the Northern line (see the prophecy of Malbeth the Seer lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Malbeth_the_Seer). PJ decided to disregard that, made Aragorn some vagabond without no aspirations and totally ruined the movie experience for me. – mpiktas Mar 3 '16 at 9:44
3

If I have one beef with Peter Jackson's films, it's how hard he tried to create added tension that didn't exist in the books. It may seem trivial, but to me it very much undermines a huge theme in the books, which is the solidarity and resolution the Free People of middle Earth felt when confronted by the Shadow. In the books, Theoden never once considered not going to Gondor's aid, nor did he express resentment towards them for not aiding him in battle (I assume he understood the fact that Gondor had it's own problems to worry about being next-door neighbors with Sauron). Treebeard was never opposed to assailing Isengard. Faramir understood the peril of the Ring from the start and made it expressly clear that he would under no circumstances take the Ring for Gondor's use. And, lastly, Elrond was not against the re-forging of Narsil. In fact, he was the one encouraging Aragorn to step up and take the title given to him. Although, Aragorn was not as hesitant to do this as he was in the films either.

There's a lot more nobility, honor, and valor in the books, a lot of which being due to racial traits among the characters (Elf-blood, Numenorean blood, etc) that PJ cut out of the picture. To make a rambling comment short; the element in question of Elrond being against the reforging on Narsil was simply a device conceived by the PJ for dramatic effect. There's really no deeper meaning to be found in it.

As for Elrond's feelings concerning Aragorn's life of exile, it wasn't simply that Aragorn turned away from his destiny and went into hiding as a Ranger. Aragorn was raised in Rivendell by Elrond. The Rangers are the descendents of the Numenoreans - that's what they do: they protect the remnants of their ancestral Homeland. It's understood that all the things prophecied to take place (the Return of the King, the reforging of the sword that was Broken) are to happen when the time is right, which other prophecies alluded to.

And Elrond talking about how the "blood of Numenor is spent, men are weak" etc etc. He simply wouldn't have actually said such a thing. In many individuals, the blood of Numenor was barely traceable, if there at all. But there were still individuals, such as Aragorn and Faramir, in which the blood of Numenor still ran strong, and Elrond having raised Aragorn would be well aware of that. They also are related and come from the same blood line. They are both descended in long line from Beren and Luthien. Elrond would never have spoken of the Line of Luthien failing or being worthless. So again I say, pure Hollywood dramatic effect and nothing more.

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In the movie, reforging the sword would draw his (Elrond's) daughter to her one true love, and thereby losing her eternal nature.

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    Noice answer... – user1717828 Mar 2 '16 at 23:45
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    Where did you get that from? I think thegreatjedi explains it pretty well and your answer is completely irrelevant. It's factually wrong. – Mast Mar 3 '16 at 8:37
  • It's...not why he refuses to reforge the blade, imo. But it is true that he doesn't want Arwen to stay in Middle Earth. He sees Middle Earth as a lost cause, and her staying for Aragorn is doomed and unwise. That's why he didn't tell her he saw a vision where they may have a happy ending after all - he believed it's false, and he didn't want to give her false hope. To him sending her to Valinor is the best fate for her. – thegreatjedi Mar 3 '16 at 10:25
  • @Mast can you really trust a jedi to answer a LotR question though? – corsiKa Mar 3 '16 at 15:48

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