Best of the Fellowship
One of the really great things about the Fellowship, both in the books and in the films, is that each member of it is truly selfless, and they look out for each other, right from the start, before they have become a fellowship in more than just name. They all look out for each other, and have each others' backs. They might not always agree with each other, but they respect each other, and are truly committed to the quest. All of which makes the Fellowship feel like a band of brother, and very admirable that is too, but not very useful for picking out the best member of the Company. So, I have spent a good part of the day mulling it over to myself, and this is what I have come up with.
Most of the members of the Company had reasons to be involved in the quest. It was Frodo's mission to destroy the Ring, and the hobbits had all committed themselves to helping him through it, before they had ever left the Shire. Boromir was returning home to Minas Tirith and a nearly hopeless battle against the East, and Aragorn was going with him to reclaim his throne. Gandalf... well Gandalf, like all the wizards of Middle Earth, was a Maia, sort of an angelic being sent to Middle Earth to oppose the growing might of Sauron, so of course Gandalf had a vested interest in the success of the mission. As did Legolas, though it might not seem so at first glance. There are several facts about the elves that are nor entirely clear in the Lord of the Rings. The first is that is that they do not actually belong on Middle Earth. Their proper home was the Undying Lands in the True West. Their coming to Middle Earth was something of a rebellion, and they are partly responsible for the fact that Sauron came into that land as well. The second is that their war against Sauron, and his master, Morgoth, predated their coming to Middle Earth. The last is that Sauron had deceived them, coming amongst them in disguise and teaching them to make Rings of Power. He made rings for men and for dwarves, but Elvish rings were never touched by him, and so did not corrupt the bearers. However, their power was still bound up with the power of the One Ring, and while It endured, they were bound to fight it. So, Legolas might not have had a personal reason for going on the quest, but the Elves as a race did, and he was their representative.... Which leaves only Gimli, the dwarf.
Of all the members of the Company, he had the least cause to be there. His home was in the North, and he had left it only to seek out information concerning his kinsman, Balin, and to give warning about the Black Rider. There was nothing for him in the Southland. The original travel plan did not even include a journey through Moria. And yet, when the Fellowship is making ready to depart Rivendell, and Elrond tells them that no oath or bond is laid upon them, to travel further than they will, Gimli argues against that:
At that point, he had no real reason for such a strong commitment to the Quest. He had no friends in the company. The Dwarves seldom bothered to look outside their own narrow little world. And yet, with the exception of the hobbits, he alone of all the company, set out determined to see it through to the end. He proAnd for that reason, I am going to say that Gimli is my choice for the best of the Company.
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