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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 1:35 pm 
Gondorian
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This is an interesting question, especially since I’ve never seen it asked before. But, these are just lists. I’d like to hear why you all consider them your favorites. Is it just gut feel because you like him or her, or because of what they have done in their lives, or might it be because of the way they treated others? I’d find that interesting and more telling about who you are than just a list. :D

Here is my list from the movies, if I have to choose...:

1 – The blond elf who was re-forging Narsil into Andúril! :drool: :swoon:
2 – Galadriel, for the beaded dress she was wearing when she met with Frodo at her mirror.
3 – Elrond, for his amazing eyebrows!

:whistle:

Here’s my list, from the books, if I may expand the thread...:

1. Glorfindel of Gondolin – If it wasn’t for his sacrifice while fighting the Balrog, Eärendil would not have lived and married and had Elrond and Elros and their extensive legacies. And for that sacrifice, I believe he is one and the same Glorfindel who came to the aid of Frodo in FotR (and was so grossly left out of the movies... But I won’t go there...). Because of his selfless deed, I believe that is why Mandos granted him rebirth. My humble opinion, of course.

2. Galadriel – If only for her ability to say no to the Ring. Yes, she did a lot before then, both good and bad, but to feel the power she would have had had she taken the Ring, and then to deny herself, took immense courage and self-control.

(Speaking of courage -- If Éowyn were an elf...)

3. Gildor Inglorion – He showed great wisdom and kindness for such a very short appearance.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think the rest of them are important. Tolkien has a way of making most of his characters important in their own significant ways. These just stood out to me when I saw the question.

So, why did you choose the ones you chose? Movie and/or books?

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 6:16 pm 
Gondorian
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Findë wrote:
Glorfindel of Gondolin – If it wasn’t for his sacrifice while fighting the Balrog, Eärendil would not have lived and married and had Elrond and Elros and their extensive legacies. And for that sacrifice, I believe he is one and the same Glorfindel who came to the aid of Frodo in FotR (and was so grossly left out of the movies... But I won’t go there...). Because of his selfless deed, I believe that is why Mandos granted him rebirth. My humble opinion, of course.


He certainly is the same Glorfindel, Finde; and Tolkien agrees with you:

"More important: Glorfindel had sacrificed his life in defening the fugitives from the wreck of Gondolin against a Demon out of Thangorodrim, and so enabling Tuor and Idril daughter of Turgon and their child Earendil to escape, and seek refuge at the Mouths of Sirion. Though he cannot have known the importance of this (and would have defended them even had they been fugitives of any rank), this deed was of vital importance to the designs of the Valar. (...) After his purging of any guilt that he had incurred in the Rebellion, he was released from Mandos, and Manwe restored him."
JRRT, Glorfindel II, Last Writings

The text had earlier noted that Glorfindel was an Elda of high and noble spirit, and that though he left Valinor in the host of Turgon and so incurred the ban, "he did so reluctantly because of kinship with Turgon and allegiance to him, and had no part in the Kinslaying of Alqualonde."

Of course, very generally speaking [and allowing for variant amounts of time spent in Mandos given the individual Elf] in theory all Elves could be reincarnated. Tolkien's thought here was that Glorfindel was one of the Rebel Noldor and banned from returning to Aman... and so, the reasons why this paragon of the Eldar was restored in body, in Aman, before the ban was lifted...

... are as stated above, and in Finde's opinion... and in the opinion of that Tolkien fellow too :-D


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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 7:33 pm 
Gondorian
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Yeah, “that Tolkien fellow”! ;-) I wish I had known this before when I’d argue my point to no avail.

Elthir, I am SO glad you posted this! :notworthy: My personal resources are limited and the sites I’ve used for reference are not definitive in their descriptions. One uses the words “It appears” and another says that “The question of Glorfindel’s identity remains an open one.” For some reason I never thought it was an open question and now I have the definitive answer! Thank you very much for clearing this up!

Now, what’s the truth about the Balrog having wings??? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 7th, 2017, 9:41 pm 
Gondorian
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Hah! Those dratted Balrogs... still causing headaches ;-)

And you're right about some web sites, Finde. I've been wrangling with a couple about the Glorfindel question, including the Encyclopedia of Arda.

There are two texts (one is missing its initial page it seems), both written very late in Tolkien's life, where JRRT concludes that there was only ever one Glorfindel, a Noldo of Gondolin, reincarnated and sent back to Middle-earth (in Glorfindell II, sent back to Middle-earth in the Second Age). Christopher Tolkien revealed this in one of the History of Middle-earth volumes too, but the actual texts weren't printed until volume XII.

Some sites seem to raise the issue that Tolkien himself never published these texts, and while that's true, the same sites appear to treat plenty of things as facts based on descriptions Tolkien himself never published. And maybe more to the point, with respect to our golden-haired Noldo here...

... Tolkien himself never published that there was any Elf named Glorfindel of Gondolin in the first place! I mean, the question only arises when one considers posthumously published material, so I don't get why some cast a measure of mist over this topic, based on that much anyway.

One thing about both Glorfindel I and II [the texts I mean] is that Tolkien is "speaking" as Tolkien here, and not in his internal guise as Tolkien-the-translator. That said, I'm not sure why this should necessarily be problematic, regarding the Glorfindel matter at least. For example, for the constructed Silmarillion, Christopher Tolkien based part of The Ruin of Doriath on a letter [letter 247] about the Ents aiding Beren in the ambush on the Dwarves, a letter in which Tolkien was also speaking as himself, noting that he will have to add some measure of Ents into the older stories (Ents, as we know them, only arising during the writing of The Lord of the Rings.)

Then there's what I call "the mistake" argument... but, as I realize no one here is actually making any of these arguments... I'll shut up... for now... heheh, here I go again with my hair on fire, making my case to the unseen forces behind certain web sites! Drat their easy concealment from my...

... well, I'll call it wrath... just to be more dramatic ;-)


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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 8th, 2017, 4:50 pm 
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I'll just quote from the second-to-last paragraph of "Flight To The Ford", chapter 12 of book 1 (of 6, by Tolkien's count, not the three volumes of the "trilogy"):

"With his last failing senses Frodo heard cries, and it seemed to him that he saw, beyond the riders that hesitated on the shore, a shining figure of white light; ..."

And then from chapter 1 of book 2, "Many Meetings":

"I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did nor grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?" "Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes."

A Balrog-killer, to be more precise. The Nazgûl may have been distracted by their concentration on the One Ring and chasing Frodo up to that time, but then they (their horses certainly, but I would speculate they too) noticed WHAT was coming up against them from behind. A "what the f...*blubb*" moment. :karate:

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 8th, 2017, 6:16 pm 
Gondorian
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Gandolorin wrote:
"...one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes."


I’d forgotten that quote. That should have cleared it up. But then, he is described as seemingly young at Elrond's feast in the hall:

"Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength."

(I LOVE that description of him! :drool: :swoon: )

As old as he was, he still had a fair, young face, fearless and full of joy. It might have confused some people to think he couldn't be one and the same.

Even though he was older than Elrond, this description makes Elrond seem older, or maybe more affected by age:

"The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars. Venerable he seemed as a king crowned with many winters, and yet hale as a tried warrior in the fulness of his strength. He was the Lord of Rivendell and mighty among both Elves and Men."

Although it says his face was ageless, I think his “memory of many things” made him sound older, whereas Glorfindel’s was “full of joy”, making him sound much younger. I would think that considering all Glorfindel had been through, he would look and feel older than Elrond. But with this description of Elrond, I get a feeling that he's been through much more than Glorfindel, or, that what he’s been through has left more of a presence.

I’m trying to equate it to people I know who are the same age and yet one looks a LOT younger than the other. Lifestyle and experiences, good or bad, and a general outlook on life can all affect how someone looks as they age. Some people who meet my Mom say she doesn’t look 89. That’s because she “acts” like someone who is 40, or even 20 some days. :P I do wonder about those who meet her again for the first time in years and tell her that she hasn’t changed... Does that mean she looked THAT old when they last met???

And here’s another reason why Glorfindel “sounds” younger than Elrond: anyone who has “tinkling bells” on his steed’s harness cannot be considered “old”! :drool: :swoon: I cannot imagine Elrond riding a horse with bells on its harness... :P

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 10:34 am 
Gondorian
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It's hard to be certain -- at the time when The Lord of the Rings was being written -- if Tolkien was simply borrowing the already invented name Glorfindel (as he did with the names Legolas and Gimli for example), or if he imagined this Elf as the Glorfindel. There is a brief note in the drafts, that Glorfindel should tell of his "ancestry in Gondolin", but given that Tolkien never followed his own direction here, folks have argued that perhaps Tolkien wasn't sure (again, at this time anyway) and that the thought may have been somewhat ephemeral, the matter awaiting a later date for a considered decision, perhaps.

The Glorfindell II text states early on that: "Its use 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 now 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." JRRT, Glorfindel II, Last Writings

And there are folks who focus on "somewhat random" and "escaped reconsideration" and claim that the use of Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings was a mistake. To that I say, reconsider does not necessarily certainly mean revise however; and moreover, Tolkien would [or should] be aware of the difference between an internal mistake, and an external mistake. In other words, even if Tolkien chanced to reconsider the name before the first edition was published [which by the way, took years after Glorfindel had been introduced, so this could be considered a rather slow escape], I think it would be very difficult to make the case that internally, there is something problematic with an Elf named Glorfindel in The Lord of the Rings.

And as Christopher Tolkien mentions, the option of revising the name for the Elf of Gondolin was still easily in play, as no Fall of Gondolin had ever been published by Tolkien himself -- if in fact JRRT felt he should need to, that is.

Anyway, Tolkien wrangles with certain difficulties in these late texts, not only concluding that there was ever only one Glorfindel, but even stating at one point [same text, Glorfindel II]: "Also it may be found that acceptance of the identity of Glorfindel of old and of the Third Age will actually explain what is said of him and improve the story."

But the thing I really wanted to add is this: at the time Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, the mode of Elvish reincarnation had Elves being born again... as babies, becoming Elf children for [at least] a second time.

The point being [I'm almost there], is that if JRRT thought of Glorfindel of Gondolin as the same Elf as Glorfindel of Imladris, at any time during the writing of The Lord of the Rings, the Elf in Rivendell would have been one who had been reborn as an Elf child, "at some point" in history; and yet, the things said about him in the story as published, would still have to be true.

This mode of Elvish reincarnation was revised, and very different with respect to the late texts Glorfindel I and II. And for myself, I wonder if JRRT even remembered his brief "ancestry in Gondolin" note, written decades before the late writings.

Also, I note what is said of Sindarin nd in Appendix E, that it's also seen in some ancient names derived from an older period, considering too, that by the time Tolkien arrived at the end of writing his book, he had penned a letter from King Elessar to Samwise [to be used in the once planned Epilogue to The Lord of the Rings], a letter in which Sam's daughter "Goldilocks" is given an Elvish name: Glorfinniel.


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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 11:06 am 
Gondorian
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As always, you bring so much depth to the issues, Elthir! Thank you!

I guess I assumed (yeah, bad me...) that Glorfindel was reincarnated as an adult. Why I thought that, I have no idea. It never occurred to me that he was a new born yet again.

Let me ask this then... Even though he was born the first time before Elrond was, and IF he was reincarnated after Elrond was born, and we don't know how long he was with Mandos (do we?), then I can see why he would "seem" and maybe "look" and "act" (those bells again...) younger than Elrond. Since he's not mentioned again until LotR, it makes me wonder what he was doing all those years. Just hanging around the Halls?


Elthir wrote:

But the thing I really wanted to add is this: at the time Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, the mode of Elvish reincarnation had Elves being born again... as babies, becoming Elf children for [at least] a second time.

This mode of Elvish reincarnation was revised, and very different by the time Tolkien wrote the texts Glorfindel I and II.


How was it revised, oh scholar of all things Tolkien? What did I miss? In a post farther above, you say "restored in body", which doesn't really say whether it was a baby body or a full-grown body.

Thank you again! I find it fascinating.

Edit: A couple more questions:

1. Might he be younger than the twins?

2. Would he have his memories of his prior life? Or would Elladan say, "Great going, Glorfy! If not for you, I wouldn't be here." And Glorfy would say, "Huh?" Kinda like poor Harry Potter who had no idea he was "The Boy Who Lived".

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Last edited by Findë on April 11th, 2017, 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 5:44 pm 
Gondorian
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Apologies Finde, I guess I've been too confusing above. In my opinion, Glorfindel would have been restored in an exact replica of his former body [adult body, as I interpret things], as this is the later, revised idea.

Tolkien discovered problems with his earlier, long held notion of Elves being reborn as babies, who as they grew up, recaptured the memories of their previous lives "... the most fatal objection being that "it contradicts the fundamental notion that fea and hroa were each fitted to the other: since hroar have a physical descent, the body of rebirth, having different parents, must be different and this must be a condition of pain to the newborn fea." Reincarnation of Elves, Morgoth's Ring

So the childhood idea is ultimately rejected, and if it was still to appear in the legends in some way, it was to be noted as an incorrect or confused, Mannish notion.

What I was trying to say earlier is that, at the time of writing The Lord of the Rings, if Tolkien imagined Glorfindel of Rivendell to be Glorfindel of Gondolin returned, the older idea about reincarnation was still in play, and that might have influenced his thinking at this point [even if only to put the question aside for the moment], as the notion would have to be in step with what is said about Glorfindel in the published text. The mode of reincarnation wasn't revised until the later 1950s and afterward [also, I'm simplifying Tolkien's path to the new idea, a bit].

And by the time JRRT wrote the Glorfindel texts, which are possibly as late as the last year of his life, the new idea had emerged: the fea retains a precise memory of the hroa, which the Valar use to restore the body -- and again, I at least, assume the adult body, as Tolkien never refers to a second childhood in this scenario, which makes sense to me.

According to Glorfindel II, after his purging of any guilt in the rebellion, Glorfindel was restored and became a follower and friend of Olorin. The Elf remains in the Blessed Realm during the last years of the First Age, and far into the Second Age, ultimately returning "more probably" [than SA 1200] "as late as c. 1600, the Year of Dread, when Barad-dur was completed and the One Ring forged, and Celebrimbor at last became aware of the trap into which he had fallen."

In Glorfindel I, Tolkien had imagined the Elf returning with Gandalf in the Third Age, but he changed his mind for text II. There's also an interesting slip of paper on which it's noted "it seems far more likely that he was sent in the crisis of the Second Age, when Sauron invaded Eriador, to assist Elrond, and that though not (yet) mentioned in the annals recording Sauron's defeat he played a notable and heroic part in the war."

At the end of this note, Tolkien wrote "Numenorean ship" :)


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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 10th, 2017, 11:12 am 
Gondorian
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Elthir wrote:
In Glorfindel I, Tolkien had imagined the Elf returning with Gandalf in the Third Age, but he changed his mind for text II. There's also an interesting slip of paper on which it's noted

"it seems far more likely that he was sent in the crisis of the Second Age, when Sauron invaded Eriador, to assist Elrond, and that though not (yet) mentioned in the annals recording Sauron's defeat he played a notable and heroic part in the war."


Thank you, Elthir! This helps immensely. It amazes me that all that Tolkien had going on in his brain, he kept anything straight. And it amazes me that you have this info at the tip of your fingers, or at least know where to look. ;-)

Here's one more question about elves: Do they sleep like we do, a (mostly...) restive, restorative sleep? Or do they just rest to restore? I've seen discussions of this both ways.

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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 10th, 2017, 12:09 pm 
Gondorian
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I like this answer, Finde... [he said, dodging and weaving a bit] ;-)

On 5 November 1956 Tolkien wrote to a Mr Britten that: "it is plainly suggested that Elves do "sleep", but not in our mode, having a different relation to what we call "dreaming". Nothing very definite is said about it (a) because except at a length destructive of narrative it would be difficult to describe a different mode of conciousness, and (b) for reasons that you so rightly observe: something must be left not fully explained, and only suggested." Tolkien -George Allen & Unwin archive, HarperCollins, Courtesy Hammond And Scull, The Lord of the Rings Reader's Companion.

"Then Ambarussa [son of Feanor] went pale with fear. "Did you not then rouse Ambarussa my brother (who you call Ambarto)?" he said. "He would not come ashore to sleep (he said) in discomfort." JRRT, a late text describing the death of Ambarussa [one of them], The Peoples of Middle-earth


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 Post subject: Re: Top 3 favorite Elves
PostPosted: April 10th, 2017, 12:32 pm 
Gondorian
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I like that answer too! Thank you!

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