I think I sort of rambled about this behind a cut in a reply post or something regarding Children of Hurin, but I had this headcanon that in Sirion, tiny Elrond and Elros would hear, from their mother and her friends from Doriath and from various Edain refugees, all sorts of stories about the great Edain heroes which they didn’t entirely understand but thought were really cool.
And after the destruction of Sirion and their community, they would hold onto the memory of those stories really tightly, and tell them back and forth to each other (probably with ridiculous kid embellishments and stuff). And when they were younger, fantasize about how great it would be if Hador, or Hurin, or Turin, or Beren, were totally going to come rescue them, or fix things, or find their parents, or save Beleriand, or whatever. And when they were older, just appreciate them for their truth and their meaning. But the point is, they were too young to have actually known any of those people in those great pre-CoH edain stories of the first age, they would only have known the ones in the War of Wrath and later.
So, way later, in LOTR, when Elrond says to Frodo:
“But if you take it freely, I will say that your choice is
right; and though all the mighty elf-friends of old, Hador, and Húrin,
and Túrin, and Beren himself were assembled together your seat should be
He doesn’t only mean that Frodo will be as great as the Edain of the First Age. He never knew these most famous named Edain heroes. What he means is, Frodo, this little hobbit, will be as awe-worthy and meaningful a hero of great stories as the Edain of the First Age were, for him.
I always liked the bit in the Hobbit that states that Bilbo had, in fact, met elves before the quest:
“Hrnmm! it smells like elves!” thought Bilbo, and he looked up at
the stars. [lmaaaaoooooooo]
He loved elves, though he seldom met them; but he was a
little frightened of them too.
And ofc I also love this bit of elaboration from The Quest of Erebor in the Unfinished Tales, which contradicts a lot of fanon stuff about Bilbo being a total homebody who had no experience with or enthusiasm about adventuring at all before the quest, which slightly recolors (though doesn’t really retcon) some of his protestations about adventures in the Hobbit into even more of a doth-protest-too-much sort of thing:
had stayed in my mind ever since, with his eagerness and his bright eyes, and
his love of tales, and his questions about the wide world outside the Shire. As
soon as I entered the Shire I heard news of him. He was getting talked about,
it seemed. Both his parents had died early for Shire-folk, at about eighty; and
he had never married. He was already growinga bit queer, they said, and
went off for days by himself. He could be seen talking to strangers, even
went off at once to have a look at Bilbo, to see what twenty years had done to
him, and whether he was as promising as gossip seemed to make out. But be was
not at home. They shook their heads in Hobbiton when I asked after him. ‘Off
again,’ said one Hobbit. It was Holman, the gardener, I believe. ‘Off again.
He’ll go right off one of these days, if he isn’t careful. Why, I asked him
where he was going, and when he would be back, and I don’t know he says;
and then he looks at me queerly. It depends if I meet any, Holman, he
says. It’s the ElvesNew Year tomorrow!A pity, and him
so kind a body. You wouldn’t find a better from the Downs to the River.’
[…] It was a mistake, and nearly proved
disastrous. For Bilbo had changed, of course. At least, he was getting rather
greedy and fat, and his old desires had dwindled down to a sort of private
dream. Nothing could have been more dismaying than to find it actually in
danger of coming true!”
So, headcanon, Bilbo did a lot of small-potatoes traveling before the quest, but his attitude towards it was very see-saw. He would get excited about an idea, go out into the woods and areas out around the Shire, but he would never go far enough or stay long enough or run into the right kinds of opportunities, and would get discouraged, and succumb to his other strong personality trait of liking to be comfortable and in his own home, and would then tell himself adventures were idiotic and useless and that he wasn’t going to indulge in any of that foolishness again, no sir, and he would go back home and not do it again for a long while. So he was lowkey very put out about his failure to find any elves or New Years parties when Gandalf came to see him in the Hobbit and was very quick to dismiss the idea of adventures, yet also the idea of young hobbits running off for adventures was pretty close to his mind, hence:
“Gandalf, Gandalf! Good gracious me! Not the wandering wizard that gave
Old Took a pair of magic diamond studs that fastened themselves and never came
undone till ordered? Not the fellow who used to tell such wonderful tales at
parties, about dragons and goblins and giants and the rescue of princesses and
the unexpected luck of widows’ sons? Not the man that used to make such
particularly excellent fireworks! I remember those! Old Took used to have them
on Midsummer’s Eve. Splendid! They used to go up like great lilies and
snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!”
You will notice already that Mr. Baggins was not quite so prosy as he liked to
believe, also that he was very fond of flowers. “Dear me!” he went on.
“Not the Gandalf who was responsible for so many quiet lads and lasses
going off into the Blue for mad adventures. Anything from climbing trees to
visiting Elves - or sailing in ships, sailing to other shores! Bless me, life
used to be quite inter - I mean, you used to upset things badly in these parts
once upon a time.”
I don’t want to be TOO overhype about the elves lullaby to bilbo to the point of irritating people, bc i am selfconscious about my soft underbelly wrt the things that touch me most about these damn books, but like…..that song’s lyrics are exactly what Vilya does. Well, the second two are exactly what Vilya does, the first two are just transcendent, like, world-love, peak ideally-adjusted elf, etc.
ie., elrond totally came up with it – by which I mean, he got the idea started since these songs don’t exactly seem like songs people formally compose as opposed to the sort of impromptu variations on a theme that roll in an oral society of people who are capable of making up songs at the drop of a hat. I am….way too into songs of power, okay. I’m a musician. And the idea that the three rings’ power is unfurled through song is too beautiful, so is the idea it can work as a collaborative thing….i’m gonna stop now before i start sounding dumb. anyway does this even count as a headcanon…?
oh wait yeah also. elrond might be super considerate and all that but remember that his idea of welcoming guests and putting them at ease includes letting his patrol sing stupid songs at them from behind trees so lmao. maybe all really old people in this universe just have really weird senses of humor. (*cough* galadriel *cough* hair *cough*)