Concluding the discussion on how alternate the Fellowship could be, I proffered this: a theoretically plausible, but utterly ridiculous, Fellowship of the Ring.
1) Bilbo Baggins. Ringbearer. He was rather more emphatic that he should be the one to 'finish it' - and spends much of the Quest scribbling in his diary while stroking his precious burden.
2) Fredegar 'Fatty' Bolger. The fifth hobbit of the five who left the Shire; it emerges that he has a streak of bravery in him which causes him to volunteer to join Bilbo.
3) Tom Bombadil. It turns out that 'he will not pass the borders' actually means 'I don't feel like it right now'; when the hobbits get in trouble on the Road, Frodo sings the song and Bombadil comes to their aid. He then accompanies them to Rivendell.
4) Barliman Butterbur. When Aragorn asks 'Who should they take with them instead? A fat innkeeper...' Butterbur's pride is stung, and he declares that yes, he will guide the hobbits to Rivendell. Sam is rather pleased with this - though since Butterbur's plan is 'walk along the Road', Merry gets killed by a Nazgul along the way. Poor Merry. :(
5) Bill Ferny. Insists that since he's selling them his pony, he has to come along to keep an eye on things.
6) Gríma son of Gálmód. While passing through Rohan, Boromir asked for a guide, and received the king's counsellor. Gríma was under the impression that he was only leading Boromir as far as the Isen, but having found himself in Rivendell, is trying to make the best of it.
7) Balin son of Fundin. He was shot in the dale while looking into Mirrormere, but not killed. Instead he was rescued by elves and taken to Lorien to be healed; since then he has been living in Rivendell. Of course, being about 250, he is well into his dotage.
8) Gollum. Brought from Mirkwood by Legolas in case Elrond wanted to question him, he is deemed to be 'the best possible guide, under the circumstances'.
9) Erestor of Rivendell. As Elrond pointed out, 'Someone needs to look after this mess of a Fellowship.' Erestor was not best pleased by his assignment.
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