The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum

The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum (
-   Novices and Newcomers (
-   -   How strong was Rog of Gondolin? (

skytree 10-20-2020 07:19 PM

How strong was Rog of Gondolin?
Tolkien described many of the Noldor of Gondolin with superlatives. Rog was strongest of all the Noldor. Would that have made him stronger than great men like Hurin, Tuor, and Turin? Considerably so?

Pitchwife 10-23-2020 03:13 PM

Short answer: The Prof didn't say, so we don't know.

Long answer:
We have examples, and from the First Age too, of Edain besting Elves in physical combat (Túor/Maeglin, Túrin/Saeros), so I'd say the two kindreds were roughly equal in strength. As for the Noldor, we'd probably have to distinguish between those born and nourished in the Undying Lands and later generations, and Rog, being chief of a house, would very likely be Aman-born; but I think the difference would be more one of spiritual, less of physical strength.

Now, imagining Rog as kind of a Muhammad Ali or Arnold Schwarzenegger among the Firstborn, he would, in my personal subjective unsubstantiated opinion, probably surpass even the great heroes of Men, but still be somehow within the same order of magnitude.

The more interesting question to me is: Why do you need to know? If you're writing a fan fic or running a DnD campaign that somehow revolves around, say, pitting Túor against Rog in a wrestling match or some other sports contest in Gondolin, I'd say go with whatever makes most sense for the story you're trying to tell, and damn the stats. Pure strength isn't all, skill and stamina can change a lot.

Huinesoron 11-02-2020 06:10 AM

Tolkien really did love his superlatives, didn't he? I've had a browse, and here are some of the most fun:

Thingol "appeared as it were a lord of the Maiar, his hair as grey silver, tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar; and a high doom was before him." (Silm, Of Eldamar...) That makes him taller than Turin, of whom the Noldo Gwindor said "Very tall he was, as tall as are the Men from the misty hills of Hithlum" (Silm, Of Turin...); and indeed taller than the Numenoreans, of whom Tolkien wrote "they were tall, taller than the tallest of the sons of Middle-earth" (Silm, Akallabeth), which makes them taller than Turin, too. I think this explains why Maedhros "the Tall" never visited Doriath - he would have felt like a shrimp!

Varda making the stars is "greatest of all the works of the Valar since their coming into Arda" (Silm, Of the Coming of the Elves...). Given that the description comes across as her just flicking some dew into the sky, it makes the rest of them sound like a bunch of slackers. ^_^ (Though really, it just means we should be paying more attention to the brief descriptions of what the Valar did between the Song and Arda itself forming.)

Luthien of course is "the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar" (Silm, Of Beren and Luthien), while Galadriel is "most beautiful of all the house of Finwë" (Silm, Of Eldamar...); when they hung out with Daddy Tallest and Daeron "greatest of all the minstrels of the Elves east of the Sea" (Silm, Of Beren and Luthien) it must have been a proper Superlativefest! Not that Melian was going to be left out: of the people of Lorien "there were none more beautiful than Melian, nor more wise, nor more skilled in songs of enchantment" (Silm, Of Thingol and Melian).

As you say, skytree, Gondolin was just as bad as Doriath. Aside from Rog the Strongest, I count Duilin the Swiftest (also the Best Archer), Penlod the Tallest (of the Noldor), and Galdor the Second-Most Valiant (of Gondolin); and so of course when the Most Dire monsters of Morgoth (Balrogs) came against the city, even the Most Stubborn-Valiant stand (Ecthelion's) couldn't prevent the Most Dread of all sacks of cities upon the face of the Earth (all from the 1917 Fall of Gondolin).

(But I think it's worth remembering that the 1917 Fall is a very old text in a very mythic style. I suspect you'd find texts like Beowulf are also littered with Strongests, Swiftests, and All Round Greatests.)


William Cloud Hicklin 11-08-2020 04:14 PM

He liked his superlatives so much he gave us two Eldests!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:28 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.