1. Pippin's Artistic License
A/N: I was thinking about what might have happened if Tolkien had had a different editor, and about adapting LOTR in general, and this little nonsense came out of it.
Frodo was surprised when he returned to his room to find Pippin at his desk. "Hullo, Pippin. Sam didn't tell me you were here."
Pippin looked up from the papers he was reading. "Oh, I didn't see him. I came to ask a question, but remembered the answer before you came in. And then, I hope you don't mind, I saw your sequel to Bilbo's book and started reading it. It's very good."
Frodo took a seat. "Thank you, Pippin. What was your question?"
"Oh, it doesn't matter now," answered Pippin. "But I would like to ask another."
"Of course," said Frodo with a smile at his ever-curious friend.
"Well, I've been reading through your writing of the Council of Elrond and...it seems a bit long. I suppose it is word for word?"
"Well yes, from what I remember," said Frodo. "I have tried to keep everything word for word if I possibly could."
"I see," said Pippin and frowned a little. "What, exactly, is the point of your writing all this down?"
"Well," said Frodo slowly, "so that future generations can know how everything happened, so that they could learn from the past."
"Future hobbit generations?"
"Primarily," said Frodo. "While I was in Minas Tirith, Faramir accompanied me when I took notes for my book, and since then we have been corresponding, and I believe he is compiling a history of his own. So mine will be mainly for hobbits. Why do you ask?"
"Well," began Pippin, "it just seems like most hobbits would put down this book before they even got to the making of the Fellowship. You spend an awfully long time about irrelevant things, like here where I am reading, in the Council, and not enough about the point. Just look at this Council! Someone has to refocus discussion on three separate occasions."
"That is how it was, of course," said Frodo with another smile. "And it was rather dull then, as well as now. What would you want me to do?"
"Condense it," said Pippin shortly. "There seems to be no point in having the arguments to why we did not throw the Ring into the Sea, or give it to Tom Bombadil...what is clearly more important is whether to use the power, or to destroy it. I fear that if you keep it how it is, long and unorganized, people will not care to finish reading it. But if you keep it to the point, that should be all that is necessary."
"And what, in your opinion, is the point?" asked Frodo.
"I have written a rough draft," said Pippin, and handed it to Frodo.
Frodo perused it carefully.
Elrond: Look here, everyone, Frodo has brought a Ring of Power to Rivendell, at great peril to his life. We know now that it is the One Ring, because of Gandalf, who captured the creature Gollum who once possessed it, and found that it had been found in the River Anduin, which is where Isildur lost it originally.
Legolas: Alas, Gollum has escaped captivity!
Elrond: That is not important. And, of course, if that wasn't enough evidence, Sauron's servants have been hunting Frodo and trying to kill him and take it. So, why we are here today is to decide what to do with it, as we cannot let Sauron have it, for it would certainly mean the end of Middle-earth.
Boromir: I came here because I was told to in a dream—
Elrond: Not important.
Boromir: —but I think that if the Ring has such great power, we should use it to defeat Sauron.
Gandalf: Sorry, can't do that. Sauron made it, and everything done with it turns to evil, no matter how good the intentions. Even I wouldn't touch it. The only thing to do is destroy it, so the power that Sauron put into it will be gone, and so that he will be ended himself.
Elrond: Good point, Gandalf. But it can only be destroyed where it was forged, in Mount Doom...which is in the middle of Mordor. How do we do that?
Boromir: I still think we should use it.
Elrond: No way. Sit down Boromir, and be quiet. I think that we should send a small company secretly into Mordor, since we don't have enough armies to go openly, and they will destroy the Ring.
Boromir: More likely they will die.
Elrond: Shut up. So, anyone want to volunteer?
Frodo: I'll go. It seems like my doom.
Sam: And I'm going with him!
Gandalf: I'll guide you, Frodo.
Aragorn: And I'll protect you.
Boromir: Ha! Gondor will protect you as well. Neener neener neener.
Legolas: There has to be an elf in the mix. I'll go.
Gimli: And no one leaves out the dwarves!
Merry and Pippin: We're coming too!
Elrond: All right, no more! That's more than enough. How many exactly? Nine! Wow, that matches the Nine of Sauron. What a coincidence. Well, have fun you guys! Council adjourned!
Frodo looked up at Pippin, who said sheepishly: "It's a very rough draft."
"Um," said Frodo, trying to organize his thoughts. "You and Merry weren't at the Council."
"Yes, but it would take too long to explain how everyone was chosen, and we would have been there if security hadn't been so high. Economy, Frodo: learn to use it, learn to love it."
"I see," said Frodo. "It seems, though, that this shortened version might cause problems."
"Problems!" snorted Pippin. "What problems?"
"Well," said Frodo, "in real life, everyone had a say, and no one was shushed. It was much more polite."
"Yes, but really Elrond should have known better, and been a better chairman. Gandalf talks for more than ten pages! That's not fair to anyone."
"Well, what about all the arguments? If I leave it how you write it, people might think it was a hasty decision. After all, this was a decision that cost lives...people should know that everything was thought through."
Pippin's brow furrowed as he thought on this. "You might possibly have a point...but couldn't you edit just a little bit? After all, what does Gloin's testimony have to do with anything? And why do you have to have Boromir confront Aragorn then and there? And the information about Gollum and Saruman could also be put in somewhere else. It just feels too long."
Frodo gave another glance to Pippin's draft, and then put it down. "Sorry, but I'm going to tell it like it is. It's more honest anyway."
"Well, maybe you're right," acknowledged Pippin. "So the Council can stay how it is...but there's definitely room for more editing. What about Glorfindel rescuing you? He only shows up for that scene and the Council...wouldn't it be easier just to replace him with a more prominent character? Like Legolas maybe."
"Um, Pippin, some of the people whose words and actions you plan on abridging are immortal...they'd eventually find out, and I wouldn't feel safe then."
"Nonsense," said Pippin. "Legolas would protect you against Glorfindel."
"Glorfindel fought a Balrog," retorted Frodo.
Pippin's face dropped. "Oh," he said. "What about using Arwen then? She's Queen and could send an army to protect you."
Frodo threw his hands in the air. "Pippin, just stop! I don't want to have to have an army protecting me! I am not going to change things because you think people would like them some other way! This is how it was; this is how it will be written. All right?"
"Spoilsport," muttered Pippin as he left the office, making sure he took his paper from Frodo, though.
"Yes, and proud of it," said Frodo, unwilling to let the last word go to Pippin.
But Pippin was unstoppable. He turned around with a mischievous glint in his eye. "Oh yes, Frodo, but just you wait. You might write the authoritative version, but I'll write the more popular one. And then we'll see who wins."
"Go ahead," said Frodo with a sniff. "Everyone who cares will like mine better."
Pippin stuck his nose up in the air and left, and Frodo went back to writing his book. Yesterday he had almost thought about replacing Erestor with Glorfindel—a minor change that would very likely go unnoticed—but not now. Oh no, everything would be just as it was, as boring and as long as need be, but an honest telling first and foremost. And so Frodo wrote.