Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
TORn Amateur Symposium Essay: "Revealed in His Wrath: The Matter of Glorfindel" by Ninrandir
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

TORn Amateur Symposium
Bree


Nov 19 2013, 1:04pm

Post #1 of 26 (688 views)
Shortcut
TORn Amateur Symposium Essay: "Revealed in His Wrath: The Matter of Glorfindel" by Ninrandir Can't Post

Welcome to November 2013 TORn Amateur Symposium, the second TAS!

We are very pleased to present the next essay for TAS2:

"Revealed in His Wrath: The Matter of Glorfindel"by Ninrandir

Abstract:
The "Matter of Glorfindel" is an issue raised by many fans, and even Tolkien himself: a careful wordsmith uses the same name for two different instances of remarkably similar characters, why? Glorfindel becomes the victim of editing and accidental omission, a single character pulled apart. This paper attempts to rectify the two instances of Glorfindel back into a single character, as well as address why his wholeness is important and its effect on the legendarium at large.

To view the essay, please click on the link above.

Our authors have written essays and analyses that are concerned, in some way, with the legendarium of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. These essays may be philosophic opinions, scientific theories, or analytical approaches to understanding or highlighting some facet of Tolkien's writings and world. These pieces are written with the goal of amateur scholarship at their core - thus inspiring our Symposium title. Authors may choose to include citations or footnotes, but they are by no means required. Keeping in mind the dual spirit of enjoyment and inquiry that we believe in (as much as we value cheer and song), and which is of paramount important to both the TAS team and our authors, we fully encourage discussion of the essays presented.We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy posting it. The TAS is open for discussion, and any comments, questions or thought you wish to share about this essay can be posted in this response to this thread.

We have quite a full schedule of essays - essays will posted approximately every other day. The full schedule can be found here

So please, go forth and enjoy all of the works we have posted for this 2013 November Session. The entire TAS Team, (Elaen32, DanielLB and Brethil), is both delighted and proud to present the essays our TAS members have crafted, relating their interests and skills to the world of JRRT that we all love; a world most intricately crafted, and one that "takes hold of us, and never lets go."


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 19 2013, 1:59pm

Post #2 of 26 (337 views)
Shortcut
Glorfindel and Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

Wonderful piece Ninrandir!

I like the way you have compared Glorfindel to Gandalf and pointed put the similarities of their 'deaths' at the hands of Balrogs. Neither is really 'defeated' per se: JRRT seems to have preserved a sort of victory for both Glorfindel and Gandalf, and their 'falls' and subsequent deaths are almost incidental: being pulled down, not utterly defeated in a manner such as Fingolfin, literally cut and stomped to pieces. In a way both Gandalf and Glorfindel's deaths feel secondary to their essential, perhaps moral, victory over the demons.

Also I like that you addressed Glorfindel's prophesy/foresight about the fall of the Witch King. Having been reborn from the Halls of Mandos, I wonder if JRRT gave him this important piece of vision to reflect that?

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Nov 19 2013, 2:27pm

Post #3 of 26 (312 views)
Shortcut
Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

This filled in a nagging confusion in my mind. I am no Tolkien scholar but after reading The LOTR and The Silmarillion, my brain kept trying to put things together without having all the clues. Now I have the story from beginning to end!

A Pippin-ish question: When placing Glorfindel side-by-side with Gandalf and Denethor to compare various features of their characters you do not include the fact that each are different races or beings in Middle Earth. On the surface it looks like apples and oranges but looking deeper, do you think Tolkien used these similar circumstances, setting each of them up to make their choices so as to underline the differences between their origins? Does it give us a bit of information on the relative strengths/weaknesses or closeness to Eru etc. of man vs. elf vs. Maiar?

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings



Elthir
Gondor

Nov 19 2013, 3:23pm

Post #4 of 26 (303 views)
Shortcut
a point about the external scenario [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice essay. I'm a huge Glorfindel fan myself, but I don't quite agree with the following description of things.


Quote
'At the Council of Elrond, Tolkien had originally included a passage where 'Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin'. This special 'matter of Glorfindel' is explained by Christopher Tolkien as being an accidental removal and his father intended these two instances of the name to be the same being (Return of the Shadow 214-215)'




As far as I'm aware, Tolkien only wrote this sentence as part of a brief note; in other words, there was no actual passage that was accidentally removed from The Lord of the Rings narrative. Tolkien seems to be thinking of writing one at the point he jotted this sentence down, but for whatever reason it appears that he never did.

Edit: Unless you mean passage as in this sentence -- but even if so, I'm not aware that it was accidentally removed from The Lord of the Rings before the books were published.

While this sentence is certainly suggestive that JRRT imagined only one Glorfindel at some point while writing The Lord of the Rings, it was only much later [Last Writings, The Peoples of Middle-Earth] that JRRT would note that the use of Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings was a 'somewhat random' re-use of the name, a choice which 'escaped reconsideration' into the final text.

I would agree that somewhat random is not wholly random, but in any case it was many years after the publication of The Lord of the Rings that Tolkien sat down to find out the truth, looked at various possibilities at this time, and then certainly concluded that, yes, there was only one Glorfindel.

Ultimately Tolkien thought it made a better tale too Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 19 2013, 3:30pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Nov 19 2013, 3:41pm

Post #5 of 26 (297 views)
Shortcut
just to source my two blue citations [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
'Its use [the name Glorfindel] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings. This is unfortunate, since the name is now difficult to fit into Sindarin, and cannot possibly be Quenyarin. Also, in the new organized mythology, difficulty is presented by the things recorded of Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings, if Glorfindel of Gondolin is supposed to be the same person as Glorfindel of Rivendell.'



The Peoples of Middle-Earth, Last Writings

By the way I should rather say Tolkien looked at possibilities rather than 'various' possibilities, as the latter might suggest 'a lot' of them.

Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 19 2013, 3:46pm)


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Nov 19 2013, 5:23pm

Post #6 of 26 (269 views)
Shortcut
Nice!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see how the two characters, being one, would definitely be better!

One minor quibble: Faramir's offensive held Sauron's forces at bay for a few days. This gave time for Rohan to come to their aid. It was not a foolish mission, as such, rather a noble sacrifice. I agree that Denethor should have called earlier for help, but in sending Faramir, it would appear that some shred of his good sense still existed.

Great article!!

Call me Rem. Rembrethil is a lot to type!!


elaen32
Gondor


Nov 19 2013, 10:06pm

Post #7 of 26 (254 views)
Shortcut
Thanks for an interesting read Ninrandir [In reply to] Can't Post

I have always thought that the two Glorfindels were one and the same- it wasn't until our recent discussion of the Silmarillion that I understood how this was the case. I like your comparison of Glorfindel and Gandalf and how their cases mirrored each other. I am less sure about the comparison with Denethor II, although I understand where you are coming from. As Ioreth says in her post, this is not really comparing like with like and I think that a mortal is always going to have a different viewpoint to an immortal. For a mortal, whose time is short and does not know what lies beyond their death, the future is likely to seem less hopeful than for an immortal, who knows that, after a spell in the Halls of Mandos, they will be reborn into the same form as before. As such, a mortal is more likely to fall into despair than an immortal. However, Denethor is certainly a bit of an extreme case and does seem to make all the wrong decisions. This is greatly influenced by Sauron, via the Palantir, and also by Denethor's own pride and wilfulness. However, I like the contrast of Denethor's external "insight" (the Palantir) with Glorfindl's innate insight. Amazing how Glorfindel's prophecy re the Witch King echoes down the centuries and is fulfilled. It would be fun to speculate what Glorfindel thought about this when he hears of the events at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. When he accompanied Arwen and Elrond to Minas Tirith, did he talk with Eowyn and Merry about this?

I also like the accounts of Glorfindel fighting more generally in the North with Earnur, against Angmar. I do wish they had been a little more fleshed out- but I guess we can't have everythingUnsure Incidentally- I can't remember the timelines exactly, but weren't the Istari around during this conflict? And what part did they play, if so?


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 19 2013, 10:34pm

Post #8 of 26 (269 views)
Shortcut
Glorfindel, just as he appears in Fellowship of the Ring, is a bit of a mystery [In reply to] Can't Post

Well done Ninrandir!
Glorfindel, just as he appears in Fellowship of the Ring, is a bit of a mystery. He's the last if a series of "helper" characters who turn up when the still-wet-behind-the-ears hobbits are in trouble (Gildor, Farmer Maggot, Bombadill, Bombadill again, Strider, Glorfindel). Once we have him, we have to do some arm-waving to keep such an eminently suitable candidate out of the Fellowship (WHY do there have to be 9 walkers exactly, especially when 4 of them are half-sized, and their horse doesn't count? Can't we have 10 walkers? Will the difference between 9 and 10 really jeopardize the mission?)

Peter Jackson's film cuts Glorfindel out, of course, in favour of giving Arwen a,"warrior princess" moment. And Tolkien could have done without him had he wanted to: trotting down the road could be Gandalf on Shadowfax. Having shaken off the Black Riders, Gandalf is now coming to help. Frodo is in so much trouble after Weathertop that he needs Major assistance: if Gandalf turns up any earlier in Book 1, Theresa danger that the hobbits arent in enough peril to maintain suspense, and also that they contacted a credible training to thoughen them up for later. But Glorfindel us such potent assistance that it's hard to see that Gandalf could have done any better.

So it does seem very reasonable that Tolkien had some specific reason to bring in Glorfindel specifically- and the idea that he was meant to foreshadow Gandalf's Balrog adventure is an interesting one!

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 19 2013, 11:38pm

Post #9 of 26 (259 views)
Shortcut
Glorfindel's literary purpose [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

So it does seem very reasonable that Tolkien had some specific reason to bring in Glorfindel specifically- and the idea that he was meant to foreshadow Gandalf's Balrog adventure is an interesting one!




True, as Ninrandir hypothesizes we have the way cleared for Gandalf to survive and be sent back (with special intervention). I wonder too if Glorfindel was his way of subtly (and it is subtle) working the Elven rebirth into LOTR. We hear about it in the Silmarillion, and certainly in the negative (in Feanor's case, where no rebirth is possible) but this seems like the only intimation in LOTR *I think* - any other places where it is mentioned?

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 19 2013, 11:41pm

Post #10 of 26 (249 views)
Shortcut
Tales by any other names... [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting that the union of Elves and Men came about by the 'random' reuse of Elrond in TH too. Laugh A method in that randomness or a very consistent subconscious at work?

Thanks for the info Elthir! Always fascinating to read.

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Nov 20 2013, 12:32am

Post #11 of 26 (248 views)
Shortcut
I have sometimes wondered [In reply to] Can't Post

That instead of having Gandalf returning, Glorfindel could have appeared and helped the fight against Sauron in the War of the Ring. Apart from anything else, it might have been nice to have a lord of the Noldor witnessing Sauron's final downfall.


Mikah
Lorien

Nov 20 2013, 1:20am

Post #12 of 26 (235 views)
Shortcut
Here you hit the nail on the head. [In reply to] Can't Post

At first readings of The Sil and Lord of the Ring's I had always assumed that the two Glorfindel's were one, without ever considering the question of why I thought that. I was very interested when I saw that you were writing on this.

You point out that "without the history of the first (Glorfindel) to support the actions of the second, events become mere plot devices." This is a most excellent observation when one stops to consider that Tolkien is not know for "mere plot devices." He has woven such an intricate world, that nothing seemed to have gone unnoticed by him and there was always a method to his madness. Tolkien was nothing if not thorough.


telain
Rohan

Nov 20 2013, 6:11pm

Post #13 of 26 (206 views)
Shortcut
thoughtful and interesting take on "The Glorfindel Matter" [In reply to] Can't Post

and I thought "The Matter" was where the stress in the name is meant to be placed...Wink

What I liked most about your essay -- apart from the lovely writing and organization (I have been grading undergraduate papers lately...) -- is the slightly different take on this. Instead of the argument being centred on Tolkien's metaphysical concept of Elf-Life, it is centred on why it makes sense within the confines of the narrative. I agree with the others -- as a more fully fleshed-out character with motivation and purpose, the combined Glorfindel is strides ahead of the two-parter. Not only are his own motivations more fully realized, but in comparison the two other main characters' (Gandalf and Denethor II) motivations are better understood and their actions perhaps more accurately judged.

To this, I am not bothered by the "apples and oranges" discussion, mostly because Tolkien, imo, rarely gives meaningful differences in motivations or actions based on race, with far more meanignful differences based on evil v. good. To be sure, (was it Lindir?) who tells Bilbo in the Hall of Fire that they rarely bother themselves with the affairs of mortals and can't tell the difference between Hobbit and Sheep poetry, but to me those were always rather off-handed comments that do not speak to the wider motivations and actions.

And, finally, "Hannon le" for the very welcome diversion! I hope to be back soon...


Brethil
Half-elven


Nov 20 2013, 6:59pm

Post #14 of 26 (189 views)
Shortcut
Lovely to see you, Telain Teldaquent Avatarlost! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

To this, I am not bothered by the "apples and oranges" discussion, mostly because Tolkien, imo, rarely gives meaningful differences in motivations or actions based on race, with far more meanignful differences based on evil v. good. To be sure, (was it Lindir?) who tells Bilbo in the Hall of Fire that they rarely bother themselves with the affairs of mortals and can't tell the difference between Hobbit and Sheep poetry, but to me those were always rather off-handed comments that do not speak to the wider motivations and actions.

And, finally, "Hannon le" for the very welcome diversion! I hope to be back soon...





Interesting point about the evil/good dichotomy versus the mortal/immortal one. I know in Letters JRRT described Denethor's greatest failing as one of 'political thinking' and making judgment based on expediency versus morality. That's a failing any rational being can make - not necessarily one being mortal or immortal.

We hope to see you too! Cheers! Cool

The second TORn Amateur Symposium is running right now, in the Reading Room. Come have a look and maybe stay to chat!





noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Nov 20 2013, 7:18pm

Post #15 of 26 (183 views)
Shortcut
Wait! Can this be THE telain? Welcome back! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"nowimė I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


elaen32
Gondor


Nov 20 2013, 8:50pm

Post #16 of 26 (182 views)
Shortcut
Good to see you again Telain! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hope you can stay aroundSmile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



telain
Rohan

Nov 20 2013, 11:55pm

Post #17 of 26 (163 views)
Shortcut
yes and thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

the "political thinking" -- that's precisely what I was going for. Thinking all the way back to this summer talking about The Sil and some of the rather "mortal" decisions those immortals made, Valar and Elf.

There's a small lull now and then the final grading. ... One might even say the deep breath before the plunge...

I missed you all very much.


telain
Rohan

Nov 20 2013, 11:58pm

Post #18 of 26 (161 views)
Shortcut
I thank you! But remember... [In reply to] Can't Post

...a talan posts precisely when she means to! Wink


telain
Rohan

Nov 21 2013, 12:01am

Post #19 of 26 (169 views)
Shortcut
me, too! [In reply to] Can't Post

I shall endeavour to keep an eye on the Reading Room as the term ends.

Two eyes, as often as I can spare them...


cats16
Valinor


Nov 28 2013, 5:37am

Post #20 of 26 (111 views)
Shortcut
Nice piece, Ninrandir! [In reply to] Can't Post

Like many others, I've read the two Glorfindel characters as being one and the same. Interesting parallels that you list between Glorfindel and Gandalf, and Glorfindel and Denethor.

As someone said up thread (elaen?), it would be neat if the early TA had more writings to discuss things like the Battle of Fornost. Oh well...

A great read. Smile


sador
Half-elven


Nov 28 2013, 10:15pm

Post #21 of 26 (103 views)
Shortcut
A few comments: [In reply to] Can't Post

1. I do not think the short note in the drafts to FotR means much. As Christopher Tolkien mentioned, at the time this was just a re-use of a name from the old Fall of Gondolin story. Other re-used names were Galdor and Legolas, It is far more likely that Tolkien at first thought of Galdor (whose namesake did survive the fall of Gondolin) as the same person, and then added the note about Glorfindel telling of his "ancestry in Gondolin". Note - "ancestry", not youth.
2. However, at the time Tolkien had still thought of the slain elves as reincarnated in their descendants; in which case, this might have been the case with Glorfindel. Much later, when he shifted his view to that of an actual reincarnation, he decided that Glorfindel II was actually Glorfindel I sent back; but he didn't get around the question of when he was sent back, and how was this not a breach of the Doom of the Noldor (yes, he stated that his self-sacrifice was the justification, but it is a rather lame one - what of Finrod Felagund and his comopanions?).
3. Nevertheless, I think Tolkien did intend this connection; I would speculate that the importance of Ecthelion in welcoming Tuor to Gondolin might have been to balance Glorfindel's importance in LotR (which was written already).
4. On a side-note - Tolkien was thinking of some sort of reincarnation, or at least of the repetition of names and memories from ancient generations to recent ones, even in Men - as can be seen in The Lost Road. I wonder whether anyone has ever tried to compare it to his shifting ideas regarding Elvish reincarnarion.
5. I also think that the early account of the duel at Cirith Thoronath would have survived had the chapter regarding Tuor been rewritten in full. For one thing, one just cannot take on a Balrog according to Tolkien's later descriptions the way Glorfindel did. This is one of the balrogs of which Tuor slew five, and Ecthelion four, in the BoLT description. And of course, this balrog was not "the general in charge of the attack upon the city itself" - that was Gothmog, lord of the balrogs, which fell by the hand of Ecthelion (in a combat which Tolken described in a not less picturesque and curious way, but in the later, short narratives seems to suggest a proper duel).
6. However, Tolkien did mention Glorfindel once or twice in his post-LotR writings regarding the First Age - when he covers one of the flanks during the retreat through Fen Sirion after the Nirnaeth (the other flank was covered by Ecthelion's soldiers), which again shows him to be considered both a courageous and capable commander; and he was also named as one of Aredhel's three companions who lost her at Nan Dungortheb (the others being Ecthelion and Egalmoth), which is less complimentary - Tolkien soon later wrote that it is unlikely those three would fail so miserably in such a charge, which prompted Christopher to omit them from the published Silmarillion.
7. The account of the battle of Fornost is by no means bomplete; suffice it to say that the leader of the enterprise seems to be Cirdan (not as you've written), and Glorfindel appears on the scene only after the battle was won. Or perhaps he was there all the time, as a part of a vast pincers manouever? It is likely that Tolkien loved the image of the shining figure of Glorfindel turning the Witch-king to flight (as on the Ford of Bruinen), as well as the opportunity to have him utter the famous prophecy - without considering deeply what was the elf-lord doing until this point, and where did he come from so suddenly, after the main battle was won.
8. If you make the comparison to Dennethor, it would behoove us to remember that his father's name was Ecthelion. For sure, there was no intention of any direct connection - but I wonder what was the connection Tolkien had in mind when he named him so.
9. But I must say your description of Dennethor's preparations for war does him a severe injustice; perhaps you are conflating Tolkien's with Jackson's version?
Dennethor did send for Theoden at exactly the correct time - Hirgon reached Theoden with the Red Arrow at Dunharrow, and the second messenger at Edoras the day after. This precise timing is most likely explained by Dennethor's knowledge of events in Rohan by the palantir (which he hints at); but it seems that immediately once new news have come, a second messenger was dispatched.
The beacons were lit well in time (do you remember Eomer's stateent that he removed all his Men to the West of the Entwash? There were none in the Westmarch to see them before, and the folk of Anorien did not need them so long in advance). |
The reinforcements from the Southren fiefs have come in time - I expect they gathered somewhere in Lossarnach to march to the town together.
The women and children were sent away to safety on time (again, in stark contrast to the scene of Faramir's departure in the movie), and food was rationed long before the actual siege, in another commendable measure.
The only measure which seems open to debateis the work on completing the Rammas Echor; prof. Shippey compares this to the Maginot line, but even this is easily defendable.
Regarding the sending of Faramir to man (not retake!) Osgiliath - see Elizabeth's reply; I also note that in the drafts, this was Faramir and Gandalf's idea, which later Tolkien gave to Dennethor to enhance his drama; but this indicates it was hardly a foolhardy operation.
Regarding the question of whether the Rohirrim should be in the city or without - actually, Hirgon urged Theoden to come into the city, while Theoden suggested the Rohirrim would better be deployed in the fields. In a way, both were proven right.
As another point - when Gandalf did suggest using cavalry to repulse the Morgul forces, it turned out that Dennethor has already given thought to this, and the knoghts of Dol Amroth were ready to charge. Once again, his military acumen seems nigh-impeccable.

10. Dennethor's real failing was in the breaking of his spirit; I'm not sure how this compares with Glorfindel at any stage (it does to Aragorn, Theoden, Boromir, Faramir and even Thorin - possibly also to Turgon in the BoLT version). This is a whole topic, on which I've written my understanding in various earlier discussions - as other members posted theirs, with deeper penetration and no less erudition that mine.
11. There actually is much to compare the two about - for instance, Glorfindel's refraining from pursuing the Witch-king at Fornost and his holding Earnur back, and whether there is a contrast with Dennethor's actions regarding the next king after Earnur, and the Witch-king himself. But I'm afraid any such comparison would be too much of a speculation.
12. Another important aspect of Glorfindel would be trying to glean whatever we can from his words in the Council of Elrond. I did that once (in the "fine comic troop" section, in the couple of paragraphs regarding the Elves). His main suggestion is sending the One Ring over the Sea - what do you make of that?




All in all, thank you for a most interesting essay!


Elthir
Gondor

Nov 29 2013, 12:57am

Post #22 of 26 (118 views)
Shortcut
good points [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
1. I do not think the short note in the drafts to FotR means much. As Christopher Tolkien mentioned, at the time this was just a re-use of a name from the old Fall of Gondolin story. Other re-used names were Galdor and Legolas, It is far more likely that Tolkien at first thought of Galdor (whose namesake did survive the fall of Gondolin) as the same person, and then added the note about Glorfindel telling of his "ancestry in Gondolin". Note - "ancestry", not youth.




I wondered about this choice of word too. Still, Tolkien surely must have remembered Glorfindel of Gondolin dying, and the connection to Gondolin is suggestive I think, given Elven reincarnation. JRRT characterized the re-use of the name [Glorfindel II] as part of the 'somewhat random' re-use of names from the Silmarillion, but it's hard to say what that means exactly, meaning how random is 'somewhat' random.





Quote
2. However, at the time Tolkien had still thought of the slain elves as reincarnated in their descendants; in which case, this might have been the case with Glorfindel. Much later, when he shifted his view to that of an actual reincarnation, he decided that Glorfindel II was actually Glorfindel I sent back; but he didn't get around the question of when he was sent back, and how was this not a breach of the Doom of the Noldor (yes, he stated that his self-sacrifice was the justification, but it is a rather lame one - what of Finrod Felagund and his comopanions?).



I wonder about something here, although I feel like I am missing something else when I do so...

... anyway, why did Tolkien seemingly worry about having Glorfindel's reincarnation before the Exiles were forgiven? From the Fall of Gondolin to the end of the First Age wasn't that [relatively] long a time, and Glorfindel could still return to Middle-earth in plenty of time to be...

... Glorfindel Smile

Or am I missing something?


(This post was edited by Elthir on Nov 29 2013, 1:02am)


sador
Half-elven


Dec 1 2013, 12:06pm

Post #23 of 26 (87 views)
Shortcut
Two more: [In reply to] Can't Post

In The Hobbit, Elrond tells of Gondolin as being taken by an army of goblins and dragons - no balrogs!
Now one could say that Tolkien didn't want to mention these fellows, so as not to encumber the reader with so much more non-useful information; but then what of the Faerie in the West, and other such references?
I can think of two explanations:
1. Possibly none of the balrogs which attacked Gondolin survived. This would enhance Glorfindel's deed, having slain the last of the enemy chief commanders, and also explain why the fugitives which Tuor led made it in safety to the Mouths of Sirion - there was no one to organise an effective pursuit (this works well with Tolkien's later concept that there were no more than five balrogs; but this was well into the future). This doesn't seem a very likely
reading of the text. I note that according to the drafts published by Rateliff, at first the sack of Gondolin was attributed to dragons, which is in keeping with the description of Glaurung's conduct after the sack of Nargothrond, and might indicate that no officers with the power to oversee the division of the spoils survived - however, in the published text this was ammended.
2. I wonder whether the generic "goblins" which Tolkien used throughout The Hobbit was intended to cover all kinds of orcs, as well as balrogs, which were simply a larger, more powerful and more ferocious type.
The comment about the mountain orcs being the largest of goblins was a later addition, to the much-changed version of Riddles in the Dark. This would suggest that huge goblin-kings, such as the Great Goblin, Azog and Bolg were actually balrogs (according to the early concept)! This has the inevitable corollary of diminishing Glorfindel's achievement (and making Tuor's and Ecthelion's according to The Fall of Gondolin more believable), and was clearly rejected or forgotten when Tolkien wrote the LotR appendices (according to Dain's words to Thrain, according to which Durin's Bane is far greater than the puny Azog), but was in a way revived later, when the concept of the Boldogs arose.
I must note, however, that Gothmog was of a different order altogether. And it makes sense, that the "Lord of Balrogs" need not be one of them, anymore than Thu-Sauron, the Lord of Werewolves, was a werewolf himself. Indeed, in the Book of Lost Tales, Koskomot (the early form of his name) was Melko's son, not creature! (the Valar could and did reproduce in the first version).
Later, of course he was one of the "five at most" Tolkien named.



Another important point, regarding the comparison of Glorfindel and Gandalf, is that this is one of the few actual duels described, and the descriptions are pretty similar. There are few description of duels in Tolkien - Eowyn with the witch-king, and Sam with Gollum and Shelob come to mind - but the Glorfindel-Balrog one is the most detailed I know of. No movie-Aragorn vs. Lurtz in the books! Even Eomer's duel with Ugluk occurs off-stage.


Elthir
Gondor

Dec 2 2013, 1:47pm

Post #24 of 26 (87 views)
Shortcut
interesting [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
2. I wonder whether the generic "goblins" which Tolkien used throughout The Hobbit was intended to cover all kinds of orcs, as well as balrogs, which were simply a larger, more powerful and more ferocious type. The comment about the mountain orcs being the largest of goblins was a later addition, to the much-changed version of Riddles in the Dark. This would suggest that huge goblin-kings, such as the Great Goblin, Azog and Bolg were actually balrogs (according to the early concept)!



Interesting idea but my guess would be no. In the first edition Hobbit we have 'goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description', and I think the 1951 addition of the mountain orcs was just following the idea that an 'orc' was a more formidable and larger kind of goblin -- this idea was ultimately abandoned in my opinion [and interesting that readers of The Hobbit would be quite unfamiliar with the word 'orc' at the time].

Of course that doesn't necessarily rule out your theory. I note the Great Goblin's huge head -- I think this [although admittedly small detail] has more of George MacDonald's goblins in it than Tolkien's Balrogs.

'They [Orcs] are not based on direct experience of mine; but owe, I suppose, a good deal to the goblin tradition (goblin is used as a translation in The Hobbit, where orc only occurs once, I think), especially as it appears in George MacDonald, except for the soft feet which I never believed in.' JRRT letters

MacDonald describes [about goblin feet and head]:

'Well, to be honest, it is a goblin's weakness. Why they come so soft, I declare I haven't an idea'.

'Specially when your head's so hard, you know father'

'Yes my boy. The goblin's glory is his head. To think how the fellows up above there have to put on helmets and things when they go fighting! Ha! Ha!'
The Goblins


And...


Quote
'For, while each knight was busy defending himself as well as he could, by stabs in the thick bodies of the goblins, for he had soon found their heads all but invulnerable, the queen...' The Goblins In The King's House




I note that the Great Goblin in The Hobbit was a tremendous goblin with a huge head, and in The Return of the King, Azog was described as a great Orc with a huge iron-clad head. Why note that their heads were huge?

Of course 'huge' and 'hard, invulnerable' are not the same thing in any case, obviously, but I think this was Tolkien's take on goblins based in part on MacDonald's creatures, changing the feet and giving some reference to the heads of notable goblins at least.

Although of course that doesn't disprove your theory either. Just my guess, as I say.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Dec 2 2013, 1:53pm)


sador
Half-elven


Dec 3 2013, 10:15am

Post #25 of 26 (62 views)
Shortcut
Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not familiar with George MacDonald's work, but those citation you've brought seem compelling. I like your theory - which as you've noted yourself, does not contradict mine.


I would note that apparently Ugluk's head was very large (I expect the "great goblin head on a stake" the three Hunters find at the battlefield is his) - and also that he was taunted for this by Grishnakh (in his sneer that in Lugburz they might things Ugluk's shoulders need relieving from "a swollen head").
Just adding to your collection.


First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.