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Old 04-01-2006, 08:38 PM   #121
Thalion
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What places Carcharoth much higher than Huan...they slew each other...? And since the prophesy is being taken into account about Huan's death and his placement in relation to Sauron, since when does Carcharoth deserve a placing significantly higher than Huan?

Additionally, in reading simply the last lines of Feanor, Fingolfin, Fingon, and Finrod, we are given the following statements in the Sil:

Feanor: "Then he died; but he had neither burial nor tomb, for so fiery was his spirit that as it sped his body fell to ash, and was borne away like smoke; and his likeness had never again appeared in Arda, neither has his spirit left the halls of Mandos. Thus ended the MIGHTIEST OF THE NOLDOR (emphasis added), of whose deeds came both their greatest renown and their most grievous woe."

Fingolfin: "He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Orome himself was come: for a great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the eyes of the Valar"...Morgoth comes to the challenge but "and it is said that he took not the challenge willingly; for thorugh his might was greatest of all things in the world, alone of the Valar he knew fear"....hense we can deduce that Morgoth feared either death, defeat, or Fingolfin himself......Fingolfin wounds Morgoth "with seven wounds, and seven times Morgoth gave a cry of anguish, whereat the hosts of Angband fell upon their faces in dismay..." so Fingolfin is making a mockery of Morgoth so badly that his forces are crying on the ground......finally he falls to the ground, but "Thirse he was crushed to his knees, and thrice aroce again and bore up his broken shield and stricken helm"...until finally he falls in the pit and with his last "desperate stroke Fingolfin hewed the foot with Ringil........Thus died Fingolfin...most proud and valiant of the Elven-kings of old".

Fingon: "AT last Fingon stodd aone with his guard dead about him; and he fought with Gothmog, until another Balrod came behind and cast a thong of fire about him. Then Gothmog hewed him with his black axe, and a white flame sprang up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the high king of the Noldor..."

Finrod: "Thus King Finnrod Felagund, fairest and most beloved of the house of Finwe..." after he dies at the hands of a werewolf...

My points from these texts are the following:

Feanor and Fingolfin most definetly deserve placing above the other two...in what order it is hard to say...Fingolfin wounded Morgoth multiple times...no small feat, yet Feanor is named specifically Mightiest of the Noldor...yet Fingolfin caused Morgoth to feel fear, so this one is a toss up in my mind...

Finrod comes next...although he strove with Sauron for a long time, he eventually LOST and was eventually killed by none other than a "simple" werewolf...although he possssed powers to decieve Sauron (continue his and Beren's disguises) in his powers of song, that doesn't to me seem to imply great powers as this list seems to be conveying...additionally, since he doesn't die with a title like that of Feanor or Fingolfin, I believe he deserves to be placed lower than them on the list

Fingon ranks the lowest of these...he strives with Gothmog and presumably is doing fine until another Balrog gets in the picture and allows Gothmog to kill him...however, the white flame that leaps up from his helm seems somewhat pertinent as it characterizes somewhat of his character...none-the-less...I'd place him last of the 4
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:11 PM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalion
What places Carcharoth much higher than Huan...they slew each other...?
What is known about the two? I have yet to reread about them.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:21 PM   #123
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Of the two beasts it is said that they fought to the death, that Huan actually slays Carcharoth, but that he dies as a result of venom of Morgoth in his wounds...because he left Aman with the Noldor, he too would die, but not unitl he encountered the mighiest wolf that would ever walk the world...
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:55 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Thalion
he eventually LOST and was eventually killed by none other than a "simple" werewolf.

He strives with Gothmog and presumably is doing fine until another Balrog gets in the picture and allows Gothmog to kill him...however, the white flame that leaps up from his helm seems somewhat pertinent as it characterizes somewhat of his character...none-the-less...I'd place him last of the 4

Okay, Finrod was killed by a single werewolf of no great stature whereas Fingon is on par with Gothmog and is brought down by a dirty tactic and Finrod is tougher? If anything, I'd rank Finrod as the lowest of them.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:13 AM   #125
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yet Feanor is named specifically Mightiest of the Noldor.
I don't think that might in itself is too much of a thing. Since he didn't use his mind, but rushed foolishly into battle, loosing his life for nothing, he only proves his "brutish" force. I would place Fingolfin above him, for his abilities, and deeds:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Of Eldamar and the princes of Eldalie, Silmarillion
Feanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame. Fingolfin was the strongest, the most steadfast, and the most valiant.
Quote:
Okay, Finrod was killed by a single werewolf of no great stature whereas Fingon is on par with Gothmog and is brought down by a dirty tactic and Finrod is tougher?
That was no small feat, considering esspecially the condition in which Finrod was:
Quote:
But when the wolf came for Beren, Felagund put forth all his power, and burst his bonds; and he wrestled with the werewolf, and slew it with his hands and teeth; yet he himself was wounded to the death.

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Old 04-02-2006, 11:46 AM   #126
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I'm going to stick with Fëanor as the greatest of the Noldor. Though Fingolfin is the most noble, it is the oath of Fëanor that takes power over Fëanor. This shows that the oath is greater than its speaker, not that Fëanor is less after speaking it than he was before. The oath was spoken invoking none other than Ilúvatar, so Eru's power is what overcomes Fëanor's native strengths, by Fëanor's own will, having spoken the oath. It is clear that Tolkien (I assume rather than C.T., though I may need correcting on this) takes this oath so seriously that he does not quote it verbatim, but narrates it. The point of this, in case anyone may miss it (at least it seems obvious to me), is that by narrating the oath rather than quoting it, Tolkien avoided calling it into being.

Your points regarding the four chief Noldoran Elves have been very well put, and I've placed them as seems best to me, though I don't consider the issue completely resolved.

I've placed Uinen over Ossë because she has the power to restrain him.

I've dropped Smaug below the eagles and hawks of Manwë because I don't see the evil spirit in him as being greater than the spirits who take shape as eagles and hawks, or as greater than Melian to Tilion.

One question that needs resolving: Are the "spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles [that] flew ever to and from [Manwë's] halls" (Sil p. 40) different beings than Thorondor and the Eagles that play the role of rescuer in The Hobbit and LotR?

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Old 04-02-2006, 11:51 AM   #127
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Humph...so despite everything Tolkien says to the contrary, Galadriel gets 5th place? When boys get together....
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:07 PM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
One question that needs resolving: Are the "spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles [that] flew ever to and from [Manwë's] halls" (Sil p. 40) different beings than Thorondor and the Eagles that play the role of rescuer in The Hobbit and LotR?
These quotes indicate to me that they are the same.

Thorondor is sent from Manwë, and is 'mightiest of all birds that have ever been.'

Quote:
And the Eagles brought news of much that passed in those days to the sad ears of Manwë. Now, even as Fingon bent his bow, there flew down from the high airs Thorondor, King of Eagles, mightiest of all birds that have ever been, whose outstretched wings spanned thirty fathoms; and staying Fingon's hand he took him up, and bore him to the face of the rock where Maedhros hung.
Thorondor's statement points out that he and his eagles are the 'Eagles of Manwë.'

Quote:
But the watch of the great eagles was now redoubled, and they marked Húrin well, far below, forlorn in the fading light; and straightway Thorondor himself, since the tidings seemed great, brought word to Turgon. But Turgon said: 'Does Morgoth sleep? You were mistaken.'

'Not so,' said Thorondor. 'If the Eagles of Manwë were wont to err thus, then long ago, lord, your hiding would have been in vain.'
The term 'the great birds of heaven' indicates likewise.

Quote:
But Eärendil came, shining with white flame, and about Vingilot were gathered all the great birds of heaven and Thorondor was their captain, and there was battle in the air all the day and through a dark night of doubt.
[Side note] Morgoth's limp from Fingolfin is often mentioned, but never his facial scar from Thorondor:

Quote:
And Morgoth took the body of the Elven-king and broke it, and would cast it to his wolves; but Thorondor came hasting from his eyrie among the peaks of the Crissaegrim, and he stooped upon Morgoth and marred his face. The rushing of the wings of Thorondor was like the noise of the winds of Manwë, and he seized the body in his mighty talons, and soaring suddenly above the darts of the Orcs he bore the King away.
Quote:
Morgoth went ever halt of one foot after that day, and the pain of his wounds could not be healed; and in his face was the scar that Thorondor made.
(all of the quotes above are from The Silmarillion)

And the eagles of The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings are Thorondor's descendents:

Quote:
There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young.
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:17 PM   #129
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Of Galadriel it is said in the Sil (Of the Rings of Power...) "yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in VAlinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth."

Unless there is another reference that I'm missing, I don't think Galadriel is ever named above any of the males of the house of Finwe...
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:38 PM   #130
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What's with the "Gothmog 2nd Nazgul, Khamul, 3rd Nazgul" stuff...

Khamul is named 2rd of the Nazgul behind the Witch King, and no other Nazgul are named...

Gothmog refers to two entities in the legendarium...

1) The Lord of the Balrogs killed by Ecthelion of the Fountain

2) The Leutenient of Morgal who commanded the troops of Sauron after the Witch King is defeated by Eowyn and Merry

...of the second, which I believe is where you are getting the reference to him being a Nazgul it is never stated that he is one...and Since Khamul is specifically named 2nd in command (albeit only in Unfinished Tales)...Gothmog couldn't have been 2nd...PJ represented Gothmog as an half orc creature thing in RotK if you remember the movie, but other than that, we are given no reference to him...he could have been Nazgul, Orc, Man or other, but he is never described beyond this that I am aware of and therefore I don't believe he can be properly placed as a Nazgul...
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Old 04-02-2006, 12:54 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Lalaith
Humph...so despite everything Tolkien says to the contrary, Galadriel gets 5th place? When boys get together....
Instead of merely complaining (as girls are wont to do in the company of the superior gender ), how about putting together an argument to support your contention?
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:04 PM   #132
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Much thanks, Legolas. In that case, Thorondor, Gwaihir and Landroval must be raised up the list.

I stand corrected in terms of the names of the Nazgúl.

Is there any reference that anybody else knows of as to the nature of this second Gothmog? I fear that I was influenced by a certain Avalon Hill LotR game which named one of the Nazgúl "Gothmog". I thought that perhaps they based this decision on some authoritative documentation. My mistake.

As to Galadriel, there is much written (and much of it contradictory) in Unfinished Tales; does anyone care to venture a conclusion from that rather difficult set of texts? I have mostly found the contradictions between them inscrutable of a useful conclusion.

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Old 04-02-2006, 01:09 PM   #133
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Is there any reference that anybody else knows of as to the nature of this second Gothmog? I fear that I was influenced by a certain Avalon Hill LotR game which named one of the Nazgúl "Gothmog". I thought that perhaps they based this decision on some authoritative documentation. My mistake.
That's the unfortunate bit of business is that there isn't any other reference to him (unless there is one in HoME that I missed)...Letters doesn't even contain any mention of him...

...A few games out there have named all 9 Nazgul, some even with plausible names that are feasible Numenorean in nature (given that it is said that some of the Nazgul were fallen kings of old)...however, Tolkien himself doesn't name them, and any placing of Gothmog as a Nazgul while possibly may not be INcorrect, it technically isn't accurate...
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:10 PM   #134
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I think what Tolkien is saying, in reference to Galadriel, is after The Ban is lifted, she is the mightiest and fairest of The Noldor to remain in Middle-Earth. She refuses to go back to Valinor at that point. The moment Tolkien is referring to is of course during The Third Age and after the fall of Gil-Galad.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:26 PM   #135
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I think what Tolkien is saying, in reference to Galadriel, is after The Ban is lifted, she is the mightiest and fairest of The Noldor to remain in Middle-Earth. She refuses to go back to Valinor at that point.
That would be my interpretation as well.......in fact in Letters Tolkien speaks specifically to how she refuses/can't go back to Aman even after the ban because she was one of the main conspirators of the original emigration of the Noldor...but she is redeemed as a result of her good deeds on Middle Earth and her passing the temptation to take the Ring when Frodo gives it to her...I believe there is even a reference somewhere to her having committed no evil deeds, yet because of the ban she was herself caught up the acts of Feanor...thus again...she can't be held higher than any of theh High Kings of the Noldor or her brother Finrod

.....an interesting side note I was thinking about, if one list the houses of the sons of Finwe in order of "might" or "relative powers", how would you rank them?...sticking to just Feanor, Fingolfin and Finarin, which house ranks highest and lowest? (by default that leaves someone in the middle)...slightly off topic I kno, but not necessary outside the realm of this thread...
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:50 PM   #136
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Instead of ignoring the superior gender, when they make posts, elempi, as boys are so often wont to do...(post #102, to be precise)....

Here's that quote again, this time in full...:

Quote:
'Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Feanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years. (...) These two kinsfolk [Feanor and Galadriel], the greatest of the Eldar of Valinor, were unfriends for ever.'
Nothing about the Third Age, there...
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:55 PM   #137
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I think Beorn (and possibly his race) should be higher on the list...Dain, Balin, and Thorin Oakenshield were all at the Battle of the Five Armies, yet it wasn't until Beorn showed up that they really had a chance of winning ("But even with the Eagles they were still outnumbered. In that last hour Beorn himself had appeared......he seemed to have grown almost giant-size in his wrath"..."The roar of his voice was like drums and guns; and he tossed wolves and goblins from his path like straw and feathers. He fell upon their rear and broke like a clap of thunder thorugh the ring." He also kills Bolg himself ("crushed him") which finally caused the goblins to be dismayed and flee the battle)...

...No other person or being saved the battle from loss (or at least thats how I read it)...even though these other great dwarves were there...I would still account Gimli higher than Beorn because of his special context and the fact that he is allowed to go into the west with Legolas, but Beorn deserves to be placed above Dain, Balin and Thorin who were all at the Battle of the 5 Armies yet didn't turn the tide...
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:57 PM   #138
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'Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Feanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years. (...) These two kinsfolk [Feanor and Galadriel], the greatest of the Eldar of Valinor, were unfriends for ever.'
What work does this come from? I'm not denying its authenticity, I just wasn't able to find it myself...

EDIT: NM, I found it in Unfinished Tales

HOWEVER...in reading the passage (and this is going to sound picky)...I wonder what Tolkien means by the word greatest...to me it seems possibly to imply fame or had the most dealings with others...almost like he's saying "Galadriel had the most renoun of the Noldor, except Feanor maybe, though she was wiser than he..."...not so much that she was the most commanding or had more power than others, just that because she stayed in Middle Earth so long and because she strove against the forces of evil so long, she invariably will appear to be "the greatest" or have lasted the longest or something along those lines......

...A reading of the word "great" in the OED (for which Tolkien himself was a writer) leads one to be able to draw this conclusion, although it necessarily allows one to see the word "greatest" in a more common meaning of implying more power or statur...I back this by saying that the essay to which the lines come from are characterized by Christopher Tolkien as a "very late and primarily philological essay..."
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:17 PM   #139
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien
'Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Fëanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years. (...) These two kinsfolk [Fëanor and Galadriel], the greatest of the Eldar of Valinor, were unfriends for ever.'
Borrowing this quote from Lalaith, I feel like putting my two bits into the conversation here.

Personally, I would rate Galadriel as either second or third of the Noldor. Although this passage equates her as an equal of Fëanor, I am inclined not to give it TOO much weight. As with LMP, I am inclined to discount quite a bit (although not so much as he) of what Tolkien wrote in his later years. In the case of Galadriel in particular, I find that Tolkien gets more and more fond of her over the years, making her more and more special.

Now, whatever Tolkien may say about Galadriel's greatness, I think a look at the Silmarillion will show just who the greater Elf was: Fëanor. He wasn't as GOOD an Elf, I would agree, and he was a good deal more rash at times, but in terms of POWER, there is really no Elf that can compare with Fëanor. In terms of physical feats, he was amazingly skilled. The Silmarils, the Palatíri, and a host of unnamed objects beside, were all the products of his hands. He was also an accomplished warrior, fell and fey in battle. Then there is the strength of his mind: he was a brilliant oratorian, moving the majority of the Noldor to follow him into exile. His words to the Messenger of the Valar (some say it was Mandos) were such that even the Messenger was amazed. And then there is the "fire of his spirit" which burned his body as it departed, and which caused his mother to perish.

Say what you will about Galadriel, her accomplishments are a good deal more muted.

So I would place Fëanor at the top of the list of the Noldor. Galadriel, as I have already mentioned, would probably be second. I left the possibility of bumping her down to third, in light of Fingolfin's accomplishments, but I think that she rightly belongs above him.
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:25 PM   #140
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I would agree, Form. If we measure power for example in terms of being "a great character", Feanor is greater than Galadriel.
Also, while she was superior, morally speaking, his creative spirit was greater.

I always remember the first time I heard Feanor mentioned, when Gandalf talked about how he longed to see his hands at work, via the Palantiri. I thought at the time, if Gandalf has such admiration for him, well...
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:28 PM   #141
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Good posts, Lalaith.

Greatest of the Eldar

By the way, arguing with Tolkien himself will only make this thread more hopeless than it already is.

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Old 04-02-2006, 02:32 PM   #142
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Obloquy, I've only read the first twenty posts or so of that thread you linked to but it is hilarious. Thank you.

Edit: I've read the whole thing now and it doesn't get any less funny...
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Old 04-02-2006, 02:48 PM   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith
Obloquy, I've only read the first twenty posts or so of that thread you linked to but it is hilarious. Thank you.

Edit: I've read the whole thing now and it doesn't get any less funny...
Yeah, it's pretty good stuff. It's a terrible shame that burra's graph doesn't show up because it's one of this forum's most brilliant posts.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:32 PM   #144
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Beauty and The Beasts

I'd like to go back to the Luthien debate, and say a few things that may have been missed. Firstly the powers Luthien employed, these were:

1. Her Song/Singing/Voice

2. Her Beauty

3. Inherent Power

1a.The song of Luthien released the bonds of winter, and the frozen waters spoke, and flowers sprang from the cold earth where her feet passed.

1b. But Luthien heard his answering voice, and she sang then a song of greater power. The wolves howled, and the isle trembled.

1c. Then suddenly she eluded his sight, and out of the shadows began a song of such surpassing loveliness, and of such blinding power, that he listened perforce; and a blindness came upon him, as his eyes roamed to and fro, seeking her. All his court were cast down in slumber, and all the fires faded and were quenched; but the Silmarils in the crown on Morgoth's head blazed forth suddenly with a radiance of white flame;...................She cast her cloak before his eyes, and set upon him a dream, dark as the Outer Void where once he walked alone.

1d. The song of Luthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall hear ....... And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was moved, nor has been since.

2a. Then all memory of his pain departed from him, and he fell into an enchantment; for Luthien was the most beautiful of the Children of Iluvatar.

2b. Then Morgoth looking upon her beauty conceived in his thought an evil lust, and a design more dark than any that had come into his heart since he had fled Valinor. Thus he was beguiled by his own malice....

3a. It is told in the Lay of Leithian how she escaped from the house in Hirilorn; she put forth her arts of enchantment, and caused her hair to grow to great length, and of it she wove a dark robe that wrapped her beauty like a shadow, and it was laden with a spell of sleep.

3b. Then Luthien stood upon the bridge, and declared her power: and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates were thrown down, and the walls opened, and the pits laid bare.

3c. But suddenly some power, descended from of old from divine race, possessed Luthien, and casting back her foul raiment she stood forth, small before the might of Carcharoth, but radiant and terrible. Lifting up her hand she commanded him to sleep, saying: 'O woe-begotten spirit, fall now into dark oblivion, and forget for a while the dreadful doom of life.' And Carcharoth was felled, as though lightning had smitten him.

Well there we go, seems like a pretty good C.V to me, and what a mighty person, some powerful beings she got the better of there. What price for Beauty and a Song, did a bit more damage than the swords of The Noldor, including Ringil. One can say that Morgoths lust defeated him, but it must have something to feed off, and evil thought must have a reason. So whether you rate Luthien as an Elf or Hybrid Maia/Elf she deserves to be close to were her mother sits on the list.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:33 PM   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith
Instead of ignoring the superior gender, when they make posts, elempi, as boys are so often wont to do...(post #102, to be precise)....
Ah, thanks for the reminder. I consider myself answered, thou most superior of the inferior gender.

EDIT: But it occurs to me that Lúthien never made it to Valinor (except for the Halls of Mandos which don't exactly count), so cannot be considered as one "of Valinor". Therefore, I take the liberty of leaving her at a superior position to Galadriel. I recall now that my original reason for holding her as above even Fëanor, was that she was born of the union of Thingol, one of the three Eldest of the Eldar, and of Melian the Maiar. Being half-Maiar places her above any other Eldar, seems to me.

EDIT: I've just read narfforc's excellent post, and am all the more convinced regarding Lúthien.

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Old 04-02-2006, 07:46 PM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
I don't know why unsupported opinions are being given so much weight here, but I'm done with it.
Well, ouch. Sorry to cause you such frustration. I'd be very much obliged to you if you would explain to me where I've gone wrong, and how to correct it.
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:15 PM   #147
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Greatest of the Eldar

By the way, arguing with Tolkien himself will only make this thread more hopeless than it already is. I don't know why unsupported opinions are being given so much weight here, but I'm done with it.
After reading this linked thread, I wish I had joined the forums 4 years ago to get in on that debate...but without going into a great discussion over it, what I think everyone missed in that thread is what does the word "greatest" mean...I said something earlier about what does "greatest" mean in the Oxford English Dictionary...the very dictionary Tolkien worked on...the dictionary that he relied upon most...the word greatest can mean many things...suffice it to say that varying opinions of the meaning of this word will give each person a different meaning to a statement of one elf as the "greatest"...none-the-less...I think narrorc makes valid points as to her positioning on this list...

on to other matters...

1) I think Tilion should be next after Arien...although she is called "mightier than he", Tilion still is able to defeat the spirits of Morgoth sent to asail him "Then he assailed Tilion, sending spirits of Shadow against him, and there was strife in Ilmen beneath the path of the stars; but Tilion was victorious." Because not much else is said concerning them, I think they should rank 1/2 wherever they are placed...

2) Since Gandalf the Grey was felled by a "regular" Balrog, I think its only fair to put Gothmog above Gandolf the Grey...just a small point, maybe up for contention

3) Not sure why Gothmog the Leutenient of Morgul and the Mouth of Sauron are down so low...for some reason I just have to believe they would be higher up than hobbits...
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:16 PM   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
Well, ouch. Sorry to cause you such frustration. I'd be very much obliged to you if you would explain to me where I've gone wrong, and how to correct it.
Actually, I was too harsh. It was just a few posts that were bugging me. Your list is looking decent. I'm still annoyed by Hurin's and Turin's placement, as well as the ranking of Nazgul above any Eldar (even generic tribal entries). Also, Ancalagon above Sauron is incorrect, in my estimation. I think there's a good bit of confusion in the lower ranks, too. Radagast and the Blue Wizards below Arwen and Aragorn; Frodo above generic Eldarin tribes; Legolas ranked above the Sindar; Mouth of Sauron below Hobbits; Gothmog of Morgul below Hobbits; if Frodo's ranking is due to his bearership, Smeagol is way too low; Dwarf heroes are too low; W-K still bugs me; Eagles and Hawks are too high, or are we comparing the entire group vs. individuals?; Gothmog the Balrog might be too low. Quite honestly, I think I just like my design better. It allows us to rank power levels without necessarily measuring each individual against the adjacent one.

Anyway, sorry about the previous post. I'll fix it.
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:22 PM   #149
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalion
2) Since Gandalf the Grey was felled by a "regular" Balrog, I think its only fair to put Gothmog above Gandolf the Grey...just a small point, maybe up for contention
Thing is, Tolkien tells us that Gandalf allowed himself to be killed so as not to violate the guidelines of the Istari, while still ensuring that the Balrog did not survive to cause further trouble. Tolkien's comments indicate that Gandalf (even as "the Grey") was capable of handling the Balrog much more decisively than he did.
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Old 04-02-2006, 09:29 PM   #150
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Thing is, Tolkien tells us that Gandalf allowed himself to be killed so as not to violate the guidelines of the Istari, while still ensuring that the Balrog did not survive to cause further trouble. Tolkien's comments indicate that Gandalf (even as "the Grey") was capable of handling the Balrog much more decisively than he did.
What are you referencing? One of the HoME? Unfinished Tales Essay on Istari?
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Old 04-02-2006, 10:07 PM   #151
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalion
What are you referencing? One of the HoME? Unfinished Tales Essay on Istari?
Letter # 156 paragraph 4 is what I'm referencing specifically.

Quote:
For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than for a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to 'the Rules': for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success.
In other words, he allowed himself to die in submission to the rules of the Istari; had he disobeyed those rules, he evidently could have prevented his own defeat.
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Old 04-02-2006, 11:22 PM   #152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obloquy
In other words, he allowed himself to die in submission to the rules of the Istari; had he disobeyed those rules, he evidently could have prevented his own defeat.
This, however, is exactly the reason that Gandalf the Grey is a seperate entity from Olórin. The Rules which caused Gandalf to die were the very rules that, as one of the Istari, he had to follow in Middle-Earth. Without the rules, yes, he would have probably been able to deal without the Balrog with much greater ease, but he wouldn't have been Gandalf the Grey, he would have been Olórin of Valinor.

It was the Rules that defined Gandalf the Grey. Therefore, what Gandalf the Grey was capable of is dependent on the Rules.

I therefore support the position that Gothmog, Chief of the Balrogs, should be placed ahead of Gandalf the Grey.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:24 AM   #153
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Sting

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Is there any reference that anybody else knows of as to the nature of this second Gothmog? I fear that I was influenced by a certain Avalon Hill LotR game which named one of the Nazgúl "Gothmog". I thought that perhaps they based this decision on some authoritative documentation. My mistake.
There are several threads here that argue Gothmog's race - orc, man, Nazgul, etc. To me, the safest conclusion is that he was not a Nazgul because he was never explicitly stated to be one.

Quote:
EDIT: But it occurs to me that Lúthien never made it to Valinor (except for the Halls of Mandos which don't exactly count), so cannot be considered as one "of Valinor". Therefore, I take the liberty of leaving her at a superior position to Galadriel. I recall now that my original reason for holding her as above even Fëanor, was that she was born of the union of Thingol, one of the three Eldest of the Eldar, and of Melian the Maiar. Being half-Maiar places her above any other Eldar, seems to me.
That's what the 'Greatest of the Eldar' thread oblo linked to above points out. Tolkien speaks of Feanor and Galadriel as the greatest of the Eldar of Valinor, and notes that Luthien is the greatest of all the Eldar:

Quote:
Who together with the greatest of all the Eldar, Lúthien Tinúviel, daughter of Elu Thingol, are the chief matter of the legends and histories of the Elves.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:58 AM   #154
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Oh, I quite agree about Luthien. Mary Sue she may have been, but we have to take the Professor at his word.
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:57 AM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil
This, however, is exactly the reason that Gandalf the Grey is a seperate entity from Olórin. The Rules which caused Gandalf to die were the very rules that, as one of the Istari, he had to follow in Middle-Earth. Without the rules, yes, he would have probably been able to deal without the Balrog with much greater ease, but he wouldn't have been Gandalf the Grey, he would have been Olórin of Valinor.

It was the Rules that defined Gandalf the Grey. Therefore, what Gandalf the Grey was capable of is dependent on the Rules.

I therefore support the position that Gothmog, Chief of the Balrogs, should be placed ahead of Gandalf the Grey.
Sure, I concede the point about Greynerd being ranked lower than Gothmog. I just couldn't let Gandalf be dissed for dying to an 'ordinary Balrog.'
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:36 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalion
what I think everyone missed in that thread is what does the word "greatest" mean..
Excellent point. Quotes pointing out levels of "greatness" cannot be used directly to determine levels of "power". They are two different words. As The Barrow-Wight said on another thread, according to his dictionary Luthien being the "greatest" means that she was the "largest" of the elves.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:16 PM   #157
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Eye

I skimmed the thread as best I could, and I didn't happen to spot one of my favorite quotes from the Silmarillion. So, here it is. And if it's already there and I just missed it, it can't hurt to read it again.
Quote:
For Feanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding, in skill, in strength and in subtlety alike, of all the Children of Iluvatar, and a bright flame was in him. The works of wonder for the glory of Arda that he might otherwise have wrought only Manwe might in some measure conceive.
In other words, Feanor should remain very very high on the list, no matter what arguments others come up with.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:55 PM   #158
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Well this will be the second time I attempt to post this as the first one timed out on me...grrr...

Quote:
For Feanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding, in skill, in strength and in subtlety alike, of all the Children of Iluvatar, and a bright flame was in him. The works of wonder for the glory of Arda that he might otherwise have wrought only Manwe might in some measure conceive.
This passage, finally supplied by the phantom, speaks to the "greatness" of Feanor...when so many often say that Feanor is the greatest in a particular character aspect such as metalurgy or works of hand this passage lends them credibilty...not only that but it even characterizes Feanor as "mightiest...in beauty" a character trait often described of Galadriel or Luthien...

...this is not the importance of this passage, per say...its importance is to lend crediblity that Feanor is the "mightiest" or "greatest" in certain catagories...this question is often posited in response to the passage concerning Luthien being the "greatest of the Eldar"...people ask "greatest in what"...and the correct answer is essentially..."not in anything in particular, just the greatest" since Tolkien doesn't qualify this statement...but he does quality the statements about Feanor...which lead us to believe possibly that Luthien is the greatest elf of all...

...but to do so would not necessarily be to take the entire quotion in the correct context...I repeat it here one more time for argument:

Quote:
Who together with the greatest of all the Eldar, Lúthien Tinúviel, daughter of Elu Thingol, are the chief matter of the legends and histories of the Elves.
The crux of this statement is "WHAT DOES GREATEST MEAN?!"...this question defines the statement...how you answer it will alter your beliefs as to what placement Luthien deserves amongst the elves.......as I've said multiple times before, defining "greatness" can be to say "of most renown" or "most famous"...to define "greatness" in this way would no way place Luthien atop a list of the highest in relative powers, but yet it would be an accurate description of the passage presented above...I say this because the alternate definitions of "greatness" that I provided can be gathered from the Oxford English Dictionary, which gives not concrete definitions of things, but rather contextual definitions to provide readers with alternative uses of a word as authors have used it over time...while this may not be greatly important, what is important is that Tolkien was a writer to this dictionary at one point in his life...this means he was chiefy aware of alternative definitions to words...including such words as "greatest"...

...additionally, a definition of "greatest" as "of most renown" or "most famous" is outside a proper reading of the passage above...the passage speaks of the history of elves and which elves concern their history most chiefly...this means that to call Luthien the "greatest" in this context could very well mean that she is in fact the elf to which tales telll the most about or to which legends most often speak about...legends may speak about Luthein more often than others for various reasons including that her tale with Beren is a bittersweet tale with a somewhat happy ending(?), that it is important for understading the history of the Elves (and later Numenoreans) or that is the most beautiful tale when sung in Quena or Sindarian and that they enjoy hearing it most just as some of us prefer to watch certain movies over and over (or read certain books...cough cough....Tolkien works....cough cough) because they are most entertaining...this doesn't mean that she had more power than other elves simply that the Lay of Luthien would be the "greatest tale" of the elves because it speaks of lmany emotions including love, despair, hope, ect...

...lastly, and least we not forget...Luthien is most chiefly written to be Tolkien's wife...so there is obviously some author's prejudice here...although I do not argue with what Tolkien wrote, I simply mean to say that understanding this may create a greater understanding why she may be accounted amongst the very highest echelon of elves...
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:29 AM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalion
The crux of this statement is "WHAT DOES GREATEST MEAN?!"...this question defines the statement...how you answer it will alter your beliefs as to what placement Luthien deserves amongst the elves.......as I've said multiple times before, defining "greatness" can be to say "of most renown" or "most famous"...to define "greatness" in this way would no way place Luthien atop a list of the highest in relative powers,
I think the issue is one of context. What did Tolkien mean by saying both Feanor & Luthien were 'greatest'?

Tolkien states at different times that Frodo, Sam & Aragorn was the 'hero' of LotR. Clearly they can't all have been the hero - simply that at different times Tolkien considered one to be the hero, at other times he considered another to fulfil that role. But in terms of context a statement may be qualified by what isn't stated

In Appendix F we find the 'clear' statement about Elves:

Quote:
They were tall, fair of skin & grey-eyed, though their locks were dark save in the golden house of Finarfin.
Now, CT has stated in BoLT1:

Quote:
Thus these words describing characters of face and hair were actually written of the Noldor only, and not of all the Eldar: indeed the Vanyar had golden hair, and it was from Finarfin's Vanyarin mother lndis that he, and Finrod Felagund and Galadriel his children, had their golden hair that marked them out among the princes of the Noldor. But I am unable to determine how this extraordinary perversion of meaning arose.
Because of this, in the revised 50th anniversary text the editors (Hammond & Scull) add the following note to LotR:

Quote:
These words describing characters of face & hair in fact applied only to the Noldor.
So, what we have is an apparently clear statement about the physical attributes of the 'Eldar' as a whole, but which in fact only applies to the Noldor. Whether this failure to distinguish between the Noldor & the Eldar as a whole applies in the case of Luthien vs Feanor is probably impossible to answer, but certainly it might be true to say that while Luthien was the 'greatest' of the Eldar, Feanor was the 'greatest' of the Noldor (unless we give that crown to Galadriel). Yet, Luthien was not strictly 'Eldar, but half-Eldar-half Ainur.

Let's not forget that Tolkien often made 'poetic' statements about characters & events as well as strictly 'factual' ones. And once we introduce the 'Translator Conceit' we have to ask which 'writer' within the Legendarium wrote which statement. There are a number of 'contributors' to the Legendarium, from Pengolodh to Bilbo, & one could speculate that they may have had their own particular biases.

I think this alone shows that we must be very careful about simply trying to trump each other with quotes....

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Old 04-05-2006, 04:53 AM   #160
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Davem makes a good point concerning the translator. At one point Feanor is 'Mightiest in beauty', then Luthien is considered the most beautiful of all the Children of Iluvatar. Feanor is 'Mightiest in valour, then Fingolfin is the most valiant. My problem is that Fingolfin was valiant in facing Morgoth in battle, how valiant was Luthien then?
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