Later that day, Elrond sends out scouts for news, and the hobbits meet in Bilbo’s room. Merry and Pippin are offended that Elrond has confirmed that Sam will accompany Frodo the Ring-bearer, but that they have not been considered for the journey. Gandalf joins their gathering and reveals that he will travel with Frodo and Sam. The hobbits continue to trade conversation with one another, and Frodo agrees to help Bilbo write books that detail their adventures. Over the next few days, the hobbits find that the evil memories and heartaches from their flight from the Shire begin to fade in the extraordinary setting of Rivendell.
While the hobbits, Gandalf, and Strider stay in Rivendell for a long time, they accomplish relatively little beyond regaining their strength and enjoying one another’s company. This suggests that peace, for all its pleasures, isn’t terribly interesting and is certainly not the material of history and myth.
Two months later, Elrond’s scouts return to Rivendell. They bear little news of Sauron and his servants, who have been quiet since the events at the Ford of Bruinen, but Elrond decides that they need to take action. He appoints Nine Walkers to the Company of the Ring that will oppose Sauron’s nine Black Riders in a quest to destroy the Ring in Mordor. Frodo, Sam, and Gandalf are already decided. Elrond then names representatives of the Free peoples of Middle Earth to form the Company—Legolas for the elves, Gimli for the dwarves, and Aragorn and Boromir for the human race. With Gandalf’s support, Merry and Pippin secure the final two places in the Company—despite Elrond’s desire to choose two powerful members from his household, Gandalf suggests that the four hobbits’ loyalty to one another is more valuable.
Elrond comments on the fortuitous nature of it all—the fact that Nine Walkers of complementary talents have volunteered to oppose Sauron and his nine Black Riders seems too circumspect not to be fate. Situations like these abound in The Fellowship of the Ring, suggesting an overarching presence that directs the events on Middle-earth. The hobbits show their fierce camaraderie in volunteering their services to the Company of the Ring despite likely death. This selflessness arises from a loyalty to one another and to their home, contrasting with the goal of earning personal glory that drives traditional heroes.
As the Company of the Ring—more informally known as the Fellowship of the Ring—makes plans to depart Rivendell, Aragorn instructs elven smiths to reforge the shards of Narsil that he carries in his scabbard. The Sword that was Broken is reforged into Anduril, Flame of the West. Frodo also gains a new weapon when Bilbo gifts him the magical short sword Sting, whose blade glows blue if orcs are near. Bilbo also gifts Frodo a coat of dwarf-mail for the younger hobbit to wear under his clothes.
Swords with names are given a power beyond that of anonymous weapons—Anduril’s purpose is to challenge the evil in the east, while Sting’s legacy is to protect its owner from orcs through magic and steel. Language, specifically the power of names, can offer insight to both histories and future destinies.
The time comes for the Nine Walkers to set off, taking with them Bill the pony, who is almost a different creature under the care of the elves and hobbits rather than the malicious Bill Ferny. The Company makes for the Misty Mountains, deciding to try their luck at crossing the pass of Caradhras. The first part of their journey is tense, cold, and cheerless as the Fellowship travels mostly by night to conceal their travel from any unfriendly eyes.
After two weeks of marching toward the Misty Mountains, the peaks have drawn closer and the weather has shifted for the better. The Company has reached the barren land of Hollin and must hide from great flocks of black crows that scour the landscape, likely looking for any sign of the Ring-bearer, Frodo.
Bleak landscapes symbolize the increasingly serious nature of the quest against evil. Even animals can be corrupted for evil purposes.
Two more nights of walking bring them to the foot of the mountain of Caradhras. They still desire to cross the dangerous pass, despite the threat of foul weather and evil watchers. Boromir persuades the Company to cut down wood to take up the mountain. It proves wise advice, for during their ascent, the Fellowship in engulfed by an intense blizzard in which the hobbits are almost overcome by the cold. Defeated by Caradhras, it takes a blazing fire and the strength of Boromir and Aragorn to keep the party alive in the heavy snow. They retreat down the mountain, defeated but grateful to have survived.
Numerous evil forces are at work to prevent the Fellowship’s success in their quest; even the weather defies them. The two humans show traditional heroism in protecting the smaller hobbits from the life-threatening snow through physical toil.