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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Who is the biggest jerk in Middle-Earth?


May 25 2018, 8:29pm

Post #1 of 11 (2657 views)
Who is the biggest jerk in Middle-Earth? Can't Post

Now this doesn't mean who is the most EVIL, but who is of the worst character? I feel like Eol the Dark Elf is up there since he tricked Aredhel into coming to his home and then he seemingly forced their marriage. Later on when Eredhel escaped from him along with their son Maeglin (who is also a future a-hole), Eol went after them and was captured by King Turgon of Gondolon. Even after Turgon showed pity for him and offered friendship, Eol declined and still attempted to kill Marglin...his own son! What a terrible guy!

Anyway, who do you think is the biggest jerk of Middle-Earth?

(This post was edited by entmaiden on May 25 2018, 10:10pm)


May 26 2018, 8:36am

Post #2 of 11 (2594 views)
Jerks or tragic figures? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thinking about Tolkien’s Third Age characters, I can easily list some who do immoral and selfish things (which is what I think you mean by ‘jerks’). Sméagol, Saruman, Denethor and (arguably) Thorin spring to mind.
But I don’t think I could rank them in a sort of Jerk play-off* It’s because the main feeling I get about them from reading is that they are tragic. It’s believable to me that people could go wrong in those ways. Sméagol is perhaps a good example- I find that I pity him more than revel in his downfall.

*Hmm - if players have a play-off, would jerks have a...
Oh well never mind then.

Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


May 26 2018, 11:12am

Post #3 of 11 (2590 views)
Mean, rude, selfish people who like making others unhappy or don't care if they do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that's my sense of "jerks." Eol would rank right up there, with competition from Bill Ferny.
Feanor was a total jerk too, and his great talent doesn't excuse him. His sons Curufin and Celegorm were big jerks in the tale of Beren and Luthien.
Sam would call Ted Sandyman a big jerk, but I never got that much sense about him, more that there was a lot of bad blood between them.
I'm not sure how much of a jerk Lotho was or how much he created a situation that got out of hand and made a victim (or meal) out of him too.


May 27 2018, 10:07pm

Post #4 of 11 (2549 views)
Eöl wasn't bad, he was just misunderstood... [In reply to] Can't Post

Eöl was one of Tolkien's tragic anti-heroes.

An immensely talented loner, Eöl got along quite well with the Dwarves, who were equally anti-social but appreciated his diligence in learning their craft. A vassal of Thingol he didn't care for the whole Melian's girdle thing, and like any James Dean-type rebel he escaped the confines of patriarchal authority and moved to the nice, quite woods of Nan Elmoth, but even there he was hounded by the haughty Noldor, and he had to give up one of his favorite swords, Anglachel, to Thingol for rent. Such is the price of freedom.

Was it his fault the capricious Aredhel Ar-Feiniel came wandering his way? It was love at first sight (and Tolkien even admitted Aredhel felt the same way, even editing out the rape charges as later Noldorin propaganda!).

So they have a son, Maeglin, and things are going quite well, until the ever flighty Aredhel decides to abscond with their son and goes back to her brother Turgon. As there was no Friend of the Court or police to charge her with parental kidnapping, Eöl goes after them like any caring father and husband would (after all, the "Dear John" letter had not yet been invented, and Eöl had no way to know what was truly happening).

So, Eöl finally finds his wife and son in Gondolin, and what happens? Turgon refuses to let Eöl leave. I mean, can you imagine the indignance felt by such a fiercely independent Dark Elf? Naturally, he balked at having his freedom stolen by an elf, a usurper, who he didn't even recognize as a king.

As for the rest, it was tragic, as all anti-hero stories go. He was betrayed by his wife and son Maeglin (who turned out to be a real treacherous piece of work), and in despair and blind anger Eöl flung his spear, more as a final act of rebellion than anything else, with sad results. But he died as he lived, unbowed and defiant to the end.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.

(This post was edited by Morthoron on May 27 2018, 10:08pm)


May 28 2018, 2:43pm

Post #5 of 11 (2490 views)
LOL--alternative facts are alive and well [In reply to] Can't Post


in despair and blind anger Eöl flung his spear, more as a final act of rebellion than anything else

Uh, yeah, trying to kill your son on purpose by throwing a poisoned spear at him, which your wife intercepts with her body, isn't like throwing one's spear up in the air, or throwing it at Turgon's favorite ceramic vase. Oh, and then not telling anyone the spear is poisoned, so there's no way to save your wife when there might have been a chance. Nice try, though. Smile


May 28 2018, 2:52pm

Post #6 of 11 (2479 views)
Merely trying to rehabilitate a character via revisionism ;P // [In reply to] Can't Post


Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


May 28 2018, 3:22pm

Post #7 of 11 (2480 views)
I still think Sauron & Morgoth are misunderstood [In reply to] Can't Post

and the victims of Elvish propaganda, but we'll save that for another day.


May 28 2018, 10:47pm

Post #8 of 11 (2423 views)
garden-variety jerks, and epic jerks [In reply to] Can't Post

garden-variety jerks

the master of lake-town
lobelia sackville-baggins
otho sackville-baggins
smeagol (not yet gollum)
wormtongue (yes, he appears on both lists)
old-man willow
thorin (at times)

epic jerks

wormtongue (yes, he appears on both lists)

i'm sure there's more...

cheers --


aka. fili orc-enshield
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

Petty Dwarf

May 31 2018, 7:20pm

Post #9 of 11 (2349 views)
I've got to say Morgoth. [In reply to] Can't Post

Since he's responsible for evil entering the world, that means that all the other jerks are indirectly his fault.

"No words were laid on stream or stone
When Durin woke and walked alone."

the 13th warrior

Jun 14 2018, 1:06am

Post #10 of 11 (1983 views)
where does bill ferny fit into all this??? [In reply to] Can't Post

hello F5, i will nominate bill ferny and put him on the inside track for a win. tolkien wiki said "bill was disliked by all at birth..."

1) he was some kind of eriador intell mole, dealing information with saruman and sauron hench-men/hench-orcs,

2) helped set up frodo being stabbed at weathertop by getting rid of the hobbit ponies, so they had to go on foot.

3) made money off them in the pony incident.

4) mocked them openly after the pony incident, the farewell from bree.

5) worked for lobelia (another jerk) as bridge guard during saruman"s shire takeover (In a way saruman was a jerk too but he was too influential,powerful to be put in this
box/category) - bill, lobelia, saruman (ok we can put him here for fun)--that is 3X the jerk quotient.

6) disappeared when hobbits retook the shire, so where is he?? still out there, plotting, scheming. whatta jerk!!!

7) takeover and then scouring of shire also featured wormtongue (another jerk, lots of jerks in that takeover, good thing the hobbits foiled it)

Middle Earth Jerk Hall of Fame anyone???

The 13th Warrior Left Field Caliphate "From the scroll rooms of Gondor, pondering is a jerk the same as a knave???"

(This post was edited by the 13th warrior on Jun 14 2018, 1:09am)

The Shire

Jun 24 2018, 1:48am

Post #11 of 11 (1791 views)
the mouth of sauron was a bit of a jerk, methinks! [In reply to] Can't Post


"Alas for us all! And for all that walk the world in these after-days. For such is the way of it: to find and lose, as it seems to those whose boat is on the running stream. But I count you blessed, Gimli son of Glóin: for your loss you suffer of your own free will, and you might have chosen otherwise. But you have not forsaken your companions, and the least reward that you shall have is that the memory of Lothlórien shall remain ever clear and unstained in your heart, and shall neither fade nor grow stale."

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Jun 24 2018, 3:48am)


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