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Glorfindel?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:24 pm    Post subject: Glorfindel? Reply with quote

How many different elves are named Glorfindel?

An elf Glorfindel fought a Balrog in the First Age. Is that the same Glorfindel who went to the Council of Rivendell?

If this has been discussed before, excuse the interruption and ignore my message?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not been discussed here before AFAIK. But it's a well known LOTR "problem".

The Encyclopedia of ARDA has some good information about it [link].

The answer, I guess, is "no", and "yes". Very Happy : It's enough to make you wish that you've asked an Elf for council.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is only one elf named Glorfindel.

He perished in the First Age, fighting the Balrog, and returned to Middle Earth after spending 'an age or two' in the Halls of Mandos.

I believe he returned to Middle Earth with the Istari.

And I believe that was all contained in Tolkien's Letters.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emotional Leper wrote:
And I believe that was all contained in Tolkien's Letters.

And ...
Quote:
The question of Glorfindel's identity, then, brings us to a much wider, and highly relevant, question. Can we accept a writer's personal notes, whether written in preparation for a published work, or simply for personal satisfaction, as part of that writer's 'canon'?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend wrote:
Emotional Leper wrote:
And I believe that was all contained in Tolkien's Letters.

And ...
Quote:
The question of Glorfindel's identity, then, brings us to a much wider, and highly relevant, question. Can we accept a writer's personal notes, whether written in preparation for a published work, or simply for personal satisfaction, as part of that writer's 'canon'?


He was writing to explain it to someone. I, therefore, believe it stands.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In volume XII of The History of Middle-Earth, titled The Peoples of Middle-Earth there is an essay written by Tolkien tackling this issue - he knew he'd have to clarify this thing if Silmarillion was to be published.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emotional Leper is correct on this. I read the same. Glorfindel was one of the few elves to be granted a return to life and to Middle Earth. It was because he fought the Balrog that his return was granted.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ur Dead wrote:
Emotional Leper is correct on this. I read the same. Glorfindel was one of the few elves to be granted a return to life and to Middle Earth. It was because he fought the Balrog that his return was granted.


That is about as set in stone as any history you might think of regarding Galadriel and Celeborn.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tyler's The New Tolkien Companion has a good "article" on Glorfindel, specifically addressing the multiple personality issue.

Has anyone ever wondered why Glorfindel wasn't one of the Fellowship? Even though he was slain by a Balrog, to say that you have battled a Balrog--actually engaged it in contact and not quickly, summarily disposed of--is a mighty feat, considering that the Balrog are fallen Maiar.

They could have used this strength.

(Kind of fun playing with Glorfindel in The Battle for Middle Earth II.)
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

burgs wrote:
Tyler's The New Tolkien Companion has a good "article" on Glorfindel, specifically addressing the multiple personality issue.

Has anyone ever wondered why Glorfindel wasn't one of the Fellowship? Even though he was slain by a Balrog, to say that you have battled a Balrog--actually engaged it in contact and not quickly, summarily disposed of--is a mighty feat, considering that the Balrog are fallen Maiar.

They could have used this strength.

(Kind of fun playing with Glorfindel in The Battle for Middle Earth II.)


I think that was actually discussed.
Elrond wanted to but Gandalf said that even Glorfindel couldn't open the gates of Mordor with the power that was within him (or something to that effect).
Plus I don't see Glorfindel as the stealthy type.

Glorfindel to me has always been the BobaFett of Middle Earth.
By that I mean. for some unknown reason an almost throwaway character achieves superstar cult status. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, it's been ages since I've read the books. I'll have to brush up.

Glorfindel would have helped a bit against the Balrog! But I suppose that his "power" would have announced their arrival in Mordor before they spoke melon and entered.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On page 269 of the hardocver movie version, Gandalf says to Elrond:

Quote:
Even if you chose for us an elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him.


But still--if I were heading up a group to send against the inestimable might of Sauron (maneuvering past a treacherous Saruman to get there), I would rather have Glorfindel and another "elf-lord" or someone of similar status than Pippin and Merry.

That's my thinking if *I* was Elrond.

Of course it all worked out in the end, and it's still the best fantasy story ever told (IMHO). Reading The Council of Elrond and The Ring Goes South to find this quote brought back such memories...and reintroduced me to the prose of a master. Good timing, that.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That, and keep in mind they weren't even sure they were going to face a Balrog -- but they were sure as hell they didn't want an open confrontation with Sauron.

I can't remember where I read it (it might have been the Letters) but the Maiar were not supposed to openly act against each other. Bad things happen with you get two beings of that power level fighting. Stuff like entire mountains collapsing. And Glorfindel, being one who was alive in the First Age, and beheld the Valar in their youth in the Undying Lands, was a particularly powerful elf. Next to Gandalf, he was the most powerful person there, and probably not short of Gandalf by that much, either. Gandalf was one of the Maia, after all.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So was the Balrog - all Balrogs were fallen Maia, which I assume you know.

I don't recall seeing anything about Maiar acting against each other, but it's certainly interesting. Cool! More research.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

burgs wrote:
So was the Balrog - all Balrogs were fallen Maia, which I assume you know.

I don't recall seeing anything about Maiar acting against each other, but it's certainly interesting. Cool! More research.


Yes. In the History of the Silmarils, I believe they talk about how the Valar and the Maiar are no longer supposed to get directly involved in fighting against the agents of Morgoth, because when they do, whole Landscapes get demolished from such powerful beings fighting each other.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More to the point: There were Maiar and Maiar; some were nearly as powerful as the Valar, some were much lesser beings. And some had dedicated themselves to the pursuit and exercise of power, while others hadn't. At one extreme we have Bombadil (whom JRRT once described as 'a Maia of a sort'), who is so utterly indifferent to power that he doesn't even bother to do anything about the Barrow-wights in his back garden. At the other extreme is Sauron.

JRRT was quite clear, in his letters and other writings, that no one in Middle-earth had any chance of defeating Sauron in a personal encounter. Sauron was in origin a more powerful Maia than Gandalf or Saruman, and had (through the instrument of the One Ring) essentially turned his entire being into a tool for dominating other wills.

If Glorfindel had tried go mano a mano with Sauron, there would not even have been the ghost of a struggle. Elf-bug, meet Dark Windshield. Gandalf himself could not have escaped from Sauron's power, as he himself said: 'Those who pass the gates of Barad-dr do not return.' The damage to landscapes and whatnot, if any occurred, would be a matter of Sauron pleasing himself, and not any consequence of the battle.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Unfinished Tales, in the chapter The Istari, Manwe asks Olorin (Gandalf) to be the third messenger to Middle Earth, as an answer to the reawakening of Sauron. Olorin was noted for being the wisest of all the Maiar, and he remarked that he was "too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron." Manwe said, essentially, that was all the more reason he should go. (Like the man who says he has not what it takes to be King - all the more reason for him to be King.) I've always interpreted that to mean that Gandalf's "fear" of Sauron was tied into Sauron's relentless malice, not that Sauron was so much stronger than he. That his "fear" was the fear of wisdom, not of cowardice. In LOTR, Gandalf said to one of the Hobbits that Black is always stronger than White (or something like that). Again, I interpreted it to mean that Black/Evil will fight dirty, so to speak, to get what they want. Whereas White/Good would not do whatever it takes to win because there may be repercussions against the innocents, or, to tie it in here, the landscape.

Two pages later Tolkien writes,
Quote:
"To the overthrow of Morgoth [Manwe] sent his herald Eonwe. To the defeat of Sauron would he not then send some lesser (but mighty) spirit of the angelic people, one coeval and equal, doubtless, with Sauron in their beginnings, but not more? Olorin was his name."


The last paragraph seems to indicate that Sauron was indeed the stronger of the two...but it's taken from a paragraph that is highly speculative in nature, where JRRT asks himself, "Who was 'Gandalf'"? He later says "I do not (of course) know the truth of the matter, and if I did it would be a mistake to be more explicit than Gandalf was." That was speculating on whether later people in Middle Earth, who viewed Gandalf as the last coming of Manwe, were correct or not.

Obviously a thought still in process, still being worked through.

In Sauron's weakened state, sans the One Ring, I imagine that Gandalf, especially as Gandalf the White, could have mastered him. (Especially, let's say, with a great elf-lord like Glorfindel at his side.) However, getting TO Sauron would have been impossible. There wasn't an army on Middle-earth strong enough to storm the Black Gate, and even if there were, he'd still have to get past the 9 on *their* turf, which he may not have been able to do.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morgoth was the mightiest of all but he "used" up his powers corrupting the Earth.
Sauron wasn't so wasteful but even he was far lesser than he originally was.

Remember, One Elf and a Man beat him once before in direct combat.
(Yeah, it was a special Elf and a special Man Very Happy )


I thought I read that Tolkien said that the only one in ME that COULD have taken the Ring and become it's master was Gandalf, the act of successfully doing so would have destroyed Sauron. Gandalf himself had no doubt that he would become as evil though.

If Aragorn had taken the Ring as his own it would have been a mighty blow to Sauron but he would have survived and come back.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

burgs wrote:
In Sauron's weakened state, sans the One Ring, I imagine that Gandalf, especially as Gandalf the White, could have mastered him. (Especially, let's say, with a great elf-lord like Glorfindel at his side.) However, getting TO Sauron would have been impossible. There wasn't an army on Middle-earth strong enough to storm the Black Gate, and even if there were, he'd still have to get past the 9 on *their* turf, which he may not have been able to do.


But cf. Letters no. 246:

Tolkien wrote:
Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated. One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors.


Note that this assumes Gandalf would be using the Ring against Sauron in other words, turning a great part of Sauron's own power against him. A battle between Gandalf and Sauron would essentially be decided by which one could gain control of the Ring. That implies that Sauron's original power (since the power of the Ring came from him in the beginning) was greater than Gandalf's; perhaps much greater, since Sauron 'was weakened by long corruption'.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, perhaps it's my admiration (or misinterpretation) of Gandalf's humility that infects my thoughts.

But it makes me wonder. Saruman, too, was weakened by long corruption (not as long as Sauron), but he, too, was exerting immense will to create and control Isengard's Orcs.

I feel like I'm crossing into D&D territory - but it makes me wonder about Saruman and Gandalf. When Gandalf was chosen as the third to go,
Tolkien wrote: wrote:
Varda looked up and said: 'Not as the third'; and Curomo (Saruman) remembered that.


Which to me implies that the humble Olorin, as Gandalf in Middle-earth, merely played his part. Saruman was selected as the leader of those sent to Middle-earth, and Gandalf never had a desire for power or leadership anyway. Though when he pushed for the Istari to assail Dol Guldur, and Saruman counseled against it, I imagine he rethought his role a bit. And we know that he kept his own counsel close after that.
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