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Why didn't Elrond send one of his sons in the company?

60

This isn't explained in-universe, but there are a few factors that may have contributed:

  • They were busy doing behind-the-scenes work for the fellowship. In Fellowship of the Ring we learn that Elladan and Elrohir were part of a large-scale scouting effort before the fellowship left Rivendell:

    Some of the scouts have been sent out already. More will go tomorrow. Elrond is sending Elves, and they will get in touch with the Rangers, and maybe with Thranduil's folk in Mirkwood. And Aragorn has gone with Elrond's sons. We shall have to scour the lands all round for many long leagues before any move is made.

    Fellowship of the Ring Book II Chapter 3: "The Ring Goes South"

    And later that they were on some secret mission, most likely to Lothlórien:

    The sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir, were the last to return; they had made a great journey, passing down the Silverlode into a strange country, but of their errand they would not speak to any save to Elrond.

    Fellowship of the Ring Book II Chapter 3: "The Ring Goes South"

    It's possible that they continued doing work of this kind, keeping the path relatively clear for the fellowship.

  • They were helping the Rangers. It's not exactly clear what the Rangers are up to after the Council of Elrond (they're certainly not doing a good job keeping Saruman out of the Shire). However, Elladan and Elrohir accompany a contingent of them at least for part of the time, meeting up with Aragorn and the Rohirrim at Dunharrow:

    'All is well,' said Aragorn, turning back. 'Here are some of my own kin from the far land where I dwelt. But why they come, and how many they be, Halbarad shall tell us.'

    'I have thirty with me,' said Halbarad. 'That is all of our kindred that could be gathered in haste; but the brethren Elladan and Elrohir have ridden with us, desiring to go to the war. We rode as swiftly as we might when your summons came.'

    Return of the King Book V Chapter 2: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

    It's possible that Elladan and Elrohir were helping out the Dúnedain with whatever it is they were doing.

  • He was going to, but didn't get a chance. It's worth remembering how the final two spots in the fellowship were filled:

    '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 Glóin 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.'

    [Boromir is joining them because he and Aragorn are going to Minas Tirith]

    '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.

    Fellowship of the Ring Book II Chapter 3: "The Ring Goes South"

    It's entirely possible that he would have chosen his sons to join the fellowship, but the other seven got filled up before he could pick from his own house, and then Merry and Pippin claimed the last ones. Them's the breaks.

Having said that, the correct answer is the out-of-universe one: Tolkien hadn't conceived of them yet. The sons of Elrond make their first appearance in a series of chapter outlines for Return of the King, dated by Christopher Tolkien to 1946:

[Ch.] 45. King and Aragorn (with Merry, Legolas, Gimli) ride to the Hornburg. Overtaken by the Sons of Elrond and 30 Rangers seeking Aragorn (probably because of messages sent by Galadriel to Elrond). King rides to Dunharrow by mountain roads. Aragorn (Legolas and Gimli) and Rangers go by open road. Aragorn reveals he has looked in Palantír, and seeks the Paths of the Dead.

History of Middle-earth VIII The War of the Ring "Part 3: Minas Tirith" Chapter III "Minas Tirith"

Just based on that short excerpt, we can see that we're very close to the final version of the story; despite being quite far out from publishing (Return of the King was first published 9 years after this was written), the plot quite closely resembles the final product.

Even if Tolkien had thought of adding them to the fellowship (which seems unlikely; from a narrative perspective they don't add much), it was probably not worth substantially rewriting two-thirds of his manuscript.

  • 1
    Another point is that this is a stealth mission, and the elf lords such as Glorfindel and presumably Elrond's sons are highly visible on the "other side". – jamesqf Jul 13 '15 at 18:44
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    Nine...talk about hitting numbers. No wiggle room apparently. – Paul Draper Jul 13 '15 at 23:30
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To supplement, rather than supplant, Jason Baker's excellent answer above, I can only offer the following note. In a sense, Elrond did send his son on the quest. In The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, which is found in the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings, we read this passage:

[After his father Arathorn's death] Aragorn, being now the Heir of Isildur, was taken with his mother to dwell in the house of Elrond; and Elrond took the place of his father and came to love him as a son of his own.

There are several other references to the relationship between Elrond and Aragorn, and almost all of them paint the relationship as one between a father and his son, including this one, from the same source:

"My son, years come when hope will fade, and beyond them little is clear to me. And now a shadow lies between us. Maybe, it has been appointed so, that by my loss the kingship of Men may be restored. Therefore, though I love you, I say to you: Arwen Undómiel shall not diminish her life's grace for less cause. She shall not be the bride of any Man less than the King of both Gondor and Arnor. To me then even our victory can bring only sorrow and parting - but to you hope of joy for a while. For a while. Alas, my son! I fear that to Arwen the Doom of Men may seem hard at the ending."

Note that here, Elrond doesn't say that he loves Aragorn like a son; he literally calls him "My son".

Of course, Aragorn did indeed go with the Fellowship of the Ring, so one of Elrond's sons was among the Fellowship.

So, as Obi Wan Kenobi would say, Elrond did send his son to accompany the Ring on its journey to Mordor - "from a certain point of view".

3

According to their wiki page

The WERE a part of the fellowship....sort of. It was their job to scout out ahead of the fellowship before they even set out. Later, they joined The grey company , the greatest mortal soldiers of middle earth. With this great company, they apparently followed the fellowship through the paths of the dead, subsequently fighting with Aragorn and the ghost army in the battle of Pellenor Field.

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Don't forget also that Gandalf states that the hope of the fellowship lies in secrecy and not in strength and that even having Glorfindel in their ranks would help.

Seeing as Legolas was already going to be travelling that direction(ish) it makes sense that he would be the one of elf kind in the fellowship

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