who are you, really?

Since his birth, Elrond has been besieged on all corners to make a simple and clear choice of who he is. Is he Man-kind or Elf-kind? If he is Man-kind, is he of the House of Bëor or of the House of Hador? If he is Elf-kind, is he of the Ñoldor, or of the Sindar, or of the Teleri? If Elrond made some implication of preference, another was division was immediately presented to him, and he would be expected to choose again, subdividing his identity until there was nothing of him left. If he was of the Ñoldor, to whom did he trace his line? If he was of the Sindar or of the Teleri, of which did he count Elwing? Did he trace his descent more centrally from Elwë, Olwë, or Elmo?

What about his Maiar heritage? Who was his father, Eärendil or Kanafinwë? Who is his king?

Does he wield a spear or a banner or a bow or a sword or his voice? Is he a warrior or a healer? Did he learn how to Sing from Maglor or his descent from Melian?

Does he intend to press his claim for kingship? If so, which one, the Sindar or the Ñoldor?

Is Imladris a fortress or a homely house?

It is written in the tales one of these choices: that he chose to be counted among the Elves, rather than among Men. As to the others, little is said, or even naught.

Elrond is so sick of being made to choose. There is speculation even now, he knows, as to why his children tarry to make their Choice – they are all of age, and have yet to take or refuse the Gift. The reason is that Elrond wishes them to tarry the choice. To cut away part of oneself is painful and difficult, and even now after his Choice he is still called Peredhel, as if he is too little of either race to belong to one of them. There is both some and no truth to that, for he is both.

He has always been every option he has been told he has, because to him they are not options. They are simply who he is. No choices were before him to be made, for he has always been everything. He speaks little of this, and only ever on request, because he has found that people wish him to diminish. When he informs the wrong ear that he will shun no side of his heritage or inheritance or ability, the wrong ears’ mouths accuse him of duplicity (there is a case for that, to be sure, but they mean it in the sense of ‘deceiving,’ and that he is not) or arrogance, a greedy wish for portions of eachopption. It would only make things worse to say he does not want a portion of each dish, he has full servings of each at his table, and invites all who will to sup from his diverse and plentiful hospitality.

But if the right mind seeks to know, he will tell them. Mithrandir knows better than to not accept him for he is. Bilbo Baggins knows not enough not to. “That is all a lot of nonsense!” says Bilbo. “Why, I am a Baggins, but I am Tookish, too, and nobody denies that, not recently at any rate!”

Elrond has to smile at the indignant, crinkled face in front of him. “And nor shall they ever, here,” he says, putting an arm around his small shoulders, “for you are in a Homely House.” Bilbo never asks why there are watch-houses and arrow slits, just believes him.