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View Poll Results: Who is your favourite Noldorian King?
Finwe 3 6.82%
Feanor 8 18.18%
Fingolfin 18 40.91%
Fingon 6 13.64%
Turgon 1 2.27%
Gil-Galad 8 18.18%
Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-24-2006, 09:50 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Numenorean
Upon first reading the above list of Kings I really had no idea which way to vote, but after reading the other posts and pondering some sections of the Silmarillion, I’m going for that eternal crowd pleaser …Turgon.
Turgon Appreciation Society: 2 and counting ..?..? sigh

the groundswell continues
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Old 02-24-2006, 09:56 AM   #42
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For what you ask? Kuru, you *have* forgotten the Fen of Serech, haven't you?
The ingratitude was all on Hurin’s part. You forget that he owed Turgon his life because Turgon set aside the law of his kingdom (twice) by not killing Hurin and then by letting him go free. Hurin repays Turgon by exposing his kingdom to ruin. If that is not ingratitude and betrayal, I don’t know what is.

Note that Hurin owed a personal debt to Turgon. The Fen of Serech was a state matter where the lords of Dor-lomin willingly sacrificed themselves to allow the king of Gondolin to escape. This hardly necessitates a personal response by the king later if it puts his kingdom in danger, as Numenorean has already said.

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I always wonder why, if the Noldor are there to make war, Turgon decides instead to hide.
Because Ulmo told him to. The real puzzle is why he decided to come out again.

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I also don't think Aredhel was empty-headed or silly.
I’m afraid I have to categorically disagree with your definitions of them then.

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Like a lot of women she naturally reacted against the 'protection' that was in fact a restriction.
Then she should not have gone with Turgon in the first place but should have gone to her brother or her father. I’m sure Turgon would have gladly allowed this before she knew the location of his secret kingdom.

And why are you so persistent in overlooking the fact that Aredhel’s little life was not the only one devastated by her actions. That is why she is so empty-headed and silly. Not that her behavior wasn’t dumb on her own behalf, she just refused to acknowledge that there were other things in the world more important than she was and she wrought all sorts of destruction in the wake of her thoughtless frolics.

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And it was not just Aredhel who Turgon displayed arrogance towards, he was also like this with Eol.
I am confused...

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But Turgon treated him with honour, and rose up and would take his hand; and he said: “Welcome, kinsman, for so I hold you. Here you shall dwell at your pleasure save only that you must here abide and depart not from my kingdom; for it is my law that none who finds the way hither shall depart.”
It was only after Eöl behaved quite rudely that Turgon became surly in turn. Again, he had a whole lot of other people to think about and protect. His earlier leave from his kingdom was already causing all kinds of problems. Why should he do it again?

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If only Finrod had some of Turgon's haughty snobbery, his kingdom would have lasted longer
I think you misunderstand the circumstance a little. For one thing, I wasn’t Finrod who lost the kingdom. He only lost his life. Beren wasn’t being trailed by the spies of the enemy nor had he been in Morgoth’s hands for a few decades. Finrod had made a promise. Turgon made no promise of reciprocation to Hurin.
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Old 02-24-2006, 10:00 AM   #43
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agreed Khuru
that was an attempt to counter the misguided personality sniping of poor old T.
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:05 PM   #44
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One expects to encounter advocates of cold-hearted realpolitik in all too many places these days, but among Tolkien fans....

*shakes head sorrowfully*
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Old 02-24-2006, 12:52 PM   #45
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One expects to encounter advocates of cold-hearted realpolitik in all too many places these days, but among Tolkien fans....
Romantic gestures and impulses do not a realm maintain.

For Exhibit A I give you Turin.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:09 PM   #46
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"Cold-hearted" is often used in place of "rational" and "right" by people who can't stomach such things.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:20 PM   #47
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Bah. Go back to your Machiavelli fansites.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:37 PM   #48
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Oh, honey, it hurts when you're so cold-hearted towards me.
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:48 PM   #49
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Hey, wait a minute everyone, hold on, what's that I see on the horizon? It's coming toward the thread very quickly indeed almost as though it were flying with wings of Balrogian capabilty....wait a minute.....I see what it is now......oh no, NO!

THE CHAT SKWEREL!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!
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Old 02-24-2006, 01:59 PM   #50
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You fool! The skwerl had nearly passed us by and would be on its way to another thread had you not felt it necessary to scream and holler about it. Now, I'm afraid, it is here to stay.

The only way to deal with this is to elect a Noldorin King who is able to defeat a chat skwerl. Vote for Feanor! Only his persuasive voice can rid us of this evil! The voice which caused even the herald of the Valar to bow low.

And if it comes to blows, Feanor, who fought alone against many Balrogs, is the only one capable of defeating a skwerl in combat, except for, perhaps, his half-brother Fingolfin.

Feanor is the clear choice! Vote now!
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Old 02-24-2006, 02:41 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Lalaith
*shakes head sorrowfully*
Like I said, I dont mind being a dissapointment, just as long as I dont dissapoint myself...


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I have to say, in the Silmarillion, Tolkien lays out all these tales and leaves us to judge whether the characters were right or wrong; such distinctions can be more clear cut in LotR than in the Sil. Is this due to the style? Or is it that LotR goes into more narrative detail so we have more chance to learn motives etc?
True words. Its all about the exposition. The Gondolin story, like Earendil, Numenor etc., all had legs of their own, so to speak. The Silm after all is an unfinished work.

This does cause me to ponder legacy, because there's a legacy of Turgon's that most assuredly had an impact in TH and LOTR (and my initial reading impressions/perceptions) that is both subtle and wonderful: The blade aquired by Olorin.
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Old 02-24-2006, 02:53 PM   #52
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Aredhel most closely links to Eowyn. Both are women confined within their realms who wish to do more. Aredhel, like Eowyn, grows in age and eventually realises that she is in fact imprisoned in her 'safety'; we only see Aredhel as one representative of those who might have felt restricted, but it is likely that there would have been others who wished to go beyond the walls of the city. Aredhel even declares to Turgon that she is not his 'slave'. Defiant she may be, but Turgon has no moral 'right' to keep his people from leaving Gondolin. Therein lies the difference between Theoden and Turgon; the former gives his niece a duty to do which she derelicts, the latter only seeks to needlessly confine.

Attempting to keep a body of people in confinement was a doomed venture from the outset. Either you insist that people stay and become a despot and little better than a prison warder to a body of people who have committed no crime, or you let them leave if they wish and face the very real risk that they will reveal the location of this hideout. Either way, you are going to lose.

Eol's reaction to Turgon was entirely expected, and one of the things that I dislike about Turgon is that he did not anticipate such an event occurring when he decided to go ahead with the foundation of Gondolin. Eol was driven to find his wife and child (who he treated as 'possessions' much in the same way that Turgon treated his sister as a 'possession') and furthermore was taunted by another of the Noldor while he sought her. An Elf faced with a superior power who have come to dominate his home, who has lost his wife and child, it is not surprising that he reacted as he did.

He is then told he will be confined to this 'prison' for good. His actions in attempting to kill his family must have been an act of desperation; they would escape confinement but would be reunited in the Halls of Mandos. I am not saying this is right you understand, but a likely consequence of misguided notions.

Eol is then put to death, which although being wrong, even in terms of Tolkien's world, is also inevitable. He could not be kept in Gondolin as he would be a loose cannon, and he cannot be released as he would reveal its location.

I like how all the tales of the Noldor are tales which show us how the Elves, who so many idolise, are not infallible and perfect beings - but expressed by Tolkien almost entirely without moral didacticism, leaving it up to us to argue. . The stories of Turgon are just one example of a flawed Elf, Feanor is much worse. But I enjoy the tales of Feanor much more and find him more thrilling as a character, perhaps because his 'badness' is expressed in terms of action as opposed to politics.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:10 PM   #53
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I find this anti-Turgon sentiment fascinating.

Does it make any difference that he "hid" in Gondolin in response to a directive from Ulmo? If the Lord of Waters appeared to me and told me I was the only hope for the Noldor, I'd listen.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:10 PM   #54
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I would agree with Lalwendë; it's cool seeing the elves as other than super-model saints.

And what we see, as we discuss Turgon, is his and then others trying to hold back time. All things change, even for the elves, though they might want to deny or slow it. Feanor makes the Silmarils, imperishable, yet these jewels change the face of Arda (and Melkor's ). And the jewels go from earthly items you could have held in your hands to unearthly elemental...things (a star, a water molecule, a shiny rock?). Turgon hopes to sit in an island while Middle Earth founders in Morgoth's sea, but as stated, he should have seen that he could not prevent the inevitable, only delay it, if but for a little while. A mechanism for bleeding off the chaos that would accumulate over the years, for example memory erasure and deportation, may have been a prudent pursuit.

The bad thing about control is that the more you do, the more you need to do. And over the years fear and fear of the new grows, as things may slip, or you just think that they are slipping as you are losing your mind, and so you attempt to control even more.

Adapt. Evolve.

Later, we see again the embalming elves attempt yet again to be Turgon with the creation of the Three Rings.

Though I'm surely contradicting myself, some things never change...
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:23 PM   #55
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Both are women confined within their realms who wish to do more.
In Aredhel’s case the “more” did not rise above the level of being able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. I’m afraid I cannot consider this to be a particularly noble motive that is worthy of any great consideration when compared to the safety of a kingdom.

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Defiant she may be, but Turgon has no moral 'right' to keep his people from leaving Gondolin.
I find this statement rather inexplicable and absurd. (Well, in a certain why. I’m pretty sure I know why you would say something like this, but I’ll not try to put words in your mouth). Turgon was the king. Not only that, his followers followed him of their own free will. You will have to explain why Turgon has no moral right to rule his own kingdom.

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the latter only seeks to needlessly confine
Needless? If she hadn’t wanted to go to Gondolin she shouldn’t have gone. It seems you missed the “Don’t you know we’re at war?” bit.

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Attempting to keep a body of people in confinement was a doomed venture from the outset. Either you insist that people stay and become a despot and little better than a prison warder to a body of people who have committed no crime, or you let them leave if they wish and face the very real risk that they will reveal the location of this hideout. Either way, you are going to lose.
Indeed, they shouldn’t have left Valinor in the first place. However, I fail to see why this is relevant to the discussion of whether Turgon did his best.

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An Elf faced with a superior power who have come to dominate his home, who has lost his wife and child, it is not surprising that he reacted as he did.

-and-

Eol is then put to death, which although being wrong, even in terms of Tolkien's world, is also inevitable.
This is true, but this does not change the fact that he committed murder. I cannot entirely agree that his fate was wrong in terms of Tolkien’s world.

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Does it make any difference that he "hid" in Gondolin in response to a directive from Ulmo?
Apparently not because I already asked about this and didn’t get an answer.
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Old 02-24-2006, 03:54 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan
I find this statement rather inexplicable and absurd. (Well, in a certain why. I’m pretty sure I know why you would say something like this, but I’ll not try to put words in your mouth). Turgon was the king. Not only that, his followers followed him of their own free will. You will have to explain why Turgon has no moral right to rule his own kingdom.
The people who chose to follow Turgon also chose to go to Gondolin and live there for safety, but the very fact that they are not allowed to leave deprives them of that same free will. That is totalitarian, and I do question whether any leader has the moral right to do that, even in Tolkien's world. A ruler has the right to rule, and of course must do what will work, but sometimes what might seem to work, will ultimately fail; freedom comes at a price, but so does safety. I see that Aredhel would rather risk danger than have her free will removed.

I suppose the closest real world equivalent would have been the USSR (or maybe East Germany) when it was a closed Communist state; people could choose to go and live there but once there, it was made almost impossible for them to leave again. Inevitably, this system was doomed to fail, as depsite the risks there are alwyas those who choose to take them rather than be kept 'safe' but restricted.

I also think that even though I find Turgon's methods questionable and misguided, it was fated that this should happen. If it had not, then other remarkable things would not have happened, and I think that this could be why Ulmo intervened. That is the cruel side of Eru's world; sometimes people do suffer and even die because they are tied to the fate of the world and what will follow.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:08 PM   #57
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The hiding in Gondolin thing wouldn't be my modus operandi of choice, but that's not why Turgon is my least favourite elf ever. As for the Aredhel/Eol thing, even that doesn't bother me so much, I'll even concede that Turgon was more decent than Thingol would have been.
No, with me it's the Hurin thing, all the way. It wasn't just the miserable cold-heartedness of not letting Thalion into Gondolin, it was the way Turgon reacted to the Dor-lomin sacrifice. Not "oh my goodness, you've all got wives and children waiting for you at home, how can I let you do this." Not, "oh, very well, if you absolutely insist, but I and all my kin will be beholden to you and yours til the world changes".
Instead, Turgon just accepted, nay, expected, that men would act as his cannon-fodder.
You'd never have caught Finrod Felagund behaving like that.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:29 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan
In Aredhel’s case the “more” did not rise above the level of being able to do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. I’m afraid I cannot consider this to be a particularly noble motive that is worthy of any great consideration when compared to the safety of a kingdom.
Have to say this is my feeling too. I don't think Aredhel comes across (or is meant to) as a 'caged bird' only seeking freedom to be herself. She is immature & selfish. She ultimately brings disaster on Gondolin. She leaves because she's bored & comes back trailing disaster in her wake. In many ways her closest analogue is not Eowyn (or Luthien if it comes to that) but Erendis, in the way she ignores the harsh realities of her time in favour of pursuing her own will whatever the cost to others.

Her immaturity is shown not simply in her leaving Gondolin, but also in her running back there when she has gotten herself into trouble. Turgon is a 'nasty dictator' when he strives to keep her in Gondolin (even though it is for her own safety & the protection of the inhabitants of the city) but suddenly becomes a 'protector & safe haven' when she gets herself into a mess.

Turgon is a hero who makes an error of judgement in not listening to the words of Ulmo brought by Tuor. Apart from that one fall from perfection he is wise, compassionate & plays his part in the war against Morgoth. He 'fights the Long Defeat with all the heroism we could expect from a King of the Noldor.

We cannot judge him a 'dictator' as he was living & ruling 'in extremis', if I can put it that way. His decisions were made for the best in very difficult circumstances. I cannot see him behaving in such a way in peacetime. This was not a 'fake' or 'cold' war, but a very real one, where one false move could have brought disaster on his realm & people. That disaster did, ultimately, descend, in the form of his nephew. And his nephew was only there because of Aredhel's immaturity & selfishness. She had made her bed, but refused to lie in it when she found it didn't suit her. She doesn't like being stuck in Gondolin, so she runs away from home. Then she decides she doesn't like being stuck with Eol & just runs away again.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:31 PM   #59
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So in other words, Lalaith, even more than any intrinsic selfishness in Turgon's actions, you hold them to account because of their relative lack of generosity compared to other Elven lords.

I tend to think this is a valid point. Caranthir-who had the decency to rescue Haleth's people-put a higher price on the lives of the Atani, and he's not thought of as an especially liberal prince. (Perhaps mistakenly.)

As for the much stressed point that Turgon was taking orders from Ulmo...well, once again, this places Turgon firmly among the Elves who get ahead by obeying the Big Shiny Ones. For many of us this just lacks the appeal of heroes who "toiled in the North", like Fingon or Finrod, who rebelled against the Valar but did not shrink from taking on Morgoth openly.

As for Aredhel and Eol...in retrospect, Aredhel had left and returned to Gondolin without threatening its security in the least; could Eol not have been allowed to do the same, his destination after all, Nan Elmoth, being as well hidden as Gondolin itself? No, perhaps not, he was a grim, fell Dark Elf, Turgon's sympathisers might answer. But it might have set a good example, and weakened rather than confirmed Eol's suspicion of the Noldor, had a Noldorin King reached out and made a friend of the gruff Sinda.

It seems to me that Turgon is here a kind of Creon, whose draconian regard for law accelerates the pace of the tragedy.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:32 PM   #60
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Ondolindë as East Germany? Oh my head... getting dizzy.... must focus on...

Lal - how about I throw in a gift certificate to Barnes&Noble if you come to one Turgon Appreciation Society Meeting? You wont have to sign in I promise!

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Old 02-24-2006, 04:35 PM   #61
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Looks like your venture, drigel, is as doomed as my twin project-the Curufin Fan Club and the Lomion/Maeglin Appreciation Society...
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Old 02-24-2006, 05:51 PM   #62
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Turgon is a 'nasty dictator' when he strives to keep her in Gondolin (even though it is for her own safety & the protection of the inhabitants of the city) but suddenly becomes a 'protector & safe haven' when she gets herself into a mess.
indeed, this is how Aredhel might view things, as one who has become unable to fucntion independently. Neither Turgon nor Aredhel are 'right', what she did and what she felt are simply an inevitability of keeping people confined.

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Originally Posted by davem
Turgon is a hero who makes an error of judgement in not listening to the words of Ulmo brought by Tuor. Apart from that one fall from perfection he is wise, compassionate & plays his part in the war against Morgoth. He 'fights the Long Defeat with all the heroism we could expect from a King of the Noldor.

We cannot judge him a 'dictator' as he was living & ruling 'in extremis', if I can put it that way. His decisions were made for the best in very difficult circumstances. I cannot see him behaving in such a way in peacetime. This was not a 'fake' or 'cold' war, but a very real one, where one false move could have brought disaster on his realm & people.
He is anything but a hero. And he is not wise. His biggest error was to attempt to keep Gondolin a hidden city, though again, it was inevitable that one of the Noldor would try this method. Another society which has become more and more excluded from the rest of the world is Gondor, which has entered a state of stasis by the time of the War of the Ring, become suspicious and inward looking. Likewise, another leader who is operating in 'extremis' is Denethor. We could indeed say that his decisions are taken for the 'best', and if Tolkien had not shown us otherwise (in contrast to how the Sil is written, which is quite 'blank' in didactic terms, in contrast to LotR) then we might also sometimes think Denethor was a 'hero' for 'doing his best'. Being 'in extremis' is no excuse.

Again let me reiterate that I do not think Turgon was evil and Aredhel was right. I do think that Turgon made a terrible decision in attempting to hide Gondolin, and it had disastorus consequences which were inevitable.

To protect such a city would require, at times, quite desperate measures. As shown in what has to be done when Eol turns up and quite violently displays his feelings towards Turgon! This event sees Turgon turn to brutal actions, to slaying a fellow Elf. It also leads Turgon to betraying Hurin, all in the attempt to try and save Gondolin.

What I see the whole situation as, is a simple tragedy. One misguided ruler, and a lot of people who suffer because of his misguided attempts to 'protect' them, and all the more tragic because it was all necessary for other later events to take place, which would be events to turn the tide.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:30 PM   #63
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The whole Turgon debate... amuses me...

Basically, what I'm getting out of reading it is that Turgon was human (not a "Man", to clarify). He had his good traits, his bad traits, his personal eccentricities. He is a character who changes over time...

In other words, he's not a two-dimensional person. Or, at least, he's fleshed out better than Finwe, Fingolfin, Finarfin, or Fingon... or assorted other Finweans.
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Old 02-24-2006, 06:51 PM   #64
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The people who chose to follow Turgon also chose to go to Gondolin and live there for safety, but the very fact that they are not allowed to leave deprives them of that same free will. That is totalitarian, and I do question whether any leader has the moral right to do that, even in Tolkien's world.
You are misapplying your terms. Even in the modern world are we completely free to go where we choose across international borders? I seriously doubt Turgon made any undue regulations regarding the movement of his people inside his kingdom. External affairs were governed by the fact that there was this pesky war going on. Nobody in Beleriand was “free” to go frolicking about as they pleased. Turgon adopted absolute secrecy as a matter of policy on the advice of a Vala. The survival of Gondolin, as Turgon himself noted, was utterly dependent on secrecy. Once the kingdom was discovered it was done for.

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but sometimes what might seem to work, will ultimately fail
An unimpressive argument. Looked at from a practical perspective, one could hardly know what will work and what will not beforehand.

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as one who has become unable to fucntion independently.
And how exactly would you suggest she function on her own “independently?” Would you like to have seen her set up her own realm somewhere?

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He is anything but a hero. And he is not wise. His biggest error was to attempt to keep Gondolin a hidden city, though again, it was inevitable that one of the Noldor would try this method.

-and-

I do think that Turgon made a terrible decision in attempting to hide Gondolin, and it had disastorus consequences which were inevitable.
Ulmo.

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Instead, Turgon just accepted
What else should he have done? Stayed and died? Hurin and Huor wanted him to go and they did not wish to leave themselves. Useless argument back and forth would not have improved that rotten situation. There was an opportunity and there was only time to accept it or reject it.

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You'd never have caught Finrod Felagund behaving like that.
I think he probably would have done the exact same thing.
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Old 02-25-2006, 03:40 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Kuruh
What else should he have done? Stayed and died? Hurin and Huor wanted him to go and they did not wish to leave themselves. Useless argument back and forth would not have improved that rotten situation. There was an opportunity and there was only time to accept it or reject it.
I can only agree here. Its dangerous to base a judgement of Turgon's response to Hurin & Huor's 'offer' on just that moment - especially as its given in the Published Sil. Events are inevitably compressed & there is no psychological analysis given, so we have to make our judgements based on what we know of Turgon & his strong feelings for Hurin & Huor. Based on that we can only say that the decision must have broke his heart. And refusing their offer of self sacrifice would have been insulting. All parties knew they were in a life & death struggle. The survival of Gondolin was essential to the survival of Middle-earth
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Old 02-25-2006, 09:12 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by davem
The survival of Gondolin was essential to the survival of Middle-earth
But it did not survive. It fell in spectacular style. Hiding as a form of defence will only last so long, it is inevitable that it will fail. And if you do manage to hide until you die then those who drove you into hiding have won anyway. Then Gondolin's fall was all the more violent when Morgoth discovered it; like a cat waiting for a mouse to come out of the hole, he was ready to destroy it at the first opportunity.

Natural curiosity drove Aredhel to seek the outside world. It wasn't right or wrong for her to do this, it just happened. Someone would have done this sooner or later, which is why Turgon's attempt to hide Gondolin was doomed. The only way that he could have prevented someone leaving would be to physically prevent this, which would make him as brutal as those he hoped to hide his people from.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:04 AM   #67
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we only see Aredhel as one representative of those who might have felt restricted, but it is likely that there would have been others who wished to go beyond the walls of the city.
Indeed, I believe Maeglin drew his followers from these types of elves,
which was the proximate cause of the fall of Gondolin. An
interesting problem of Gondolin in general, the elves come back to Beleriand
(seen in Galadriel's view) as much as anything for travel, adventure, etc.,
but then the Gondorians have to hide in a much smaller area then
Valinor for their protection.

My impression of Ulmo's thinking was that the Gondolin elves would stay
there as long as possible, then when necessary leave for the south
(the island of Balar?) and wait for the valar to decide to intervene.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:23 AM   #68
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But it did not survive. It fell in spectacular style.
But it lasted long enough. After the Battle of Unnumbered Tears it had not yet been long enough.

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The only way that he could have prevented someone leaving would be to physically prevent this, which would make him as brutal as those he hoped to hide his people from.
This line of thought is beginning to get silly.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:51 AM   #69
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The fall of Gondolin has two causes, one general (the curse of Mandos "to evil end shall all things turn that they begin well; and by treason of kin unto kin, and the fear of treason, shall this come to pass") and an inherent weakness in the dark elves
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Originally Posted by Quendi and Eldar, HoME XI
The 'Dark-elves', however, often were hostile, and even treacherous, in their dealings with the Sindar and Noldor; and if they fought, as they did when themselves assailed by the Orcs, they never took any open part in the War on the side of the Celbin. They were, it seems, filled with an inherited bitterness against the Eldar, whom they regarded as deserters of their kin, and in Beleriand this feeling was increased by envy (especially of the Amanyar), and by resentment of their lordliness. The belief of the Celbin that, at the least, they were weaker in resistance to the pressures or lies of Morgoth, if this grievance was concerned, may have been justified; but the only case recorded in the histories is that of Maeglin, the son of Eol... Eol found Irith, the sister of King Turgon, astray in the wild near his dwelling, and he took her to wife by force: a very wicked deed in the eyes of the Eldar. His son Maeglin was later admitted to Gondolin, and given honour as the king's sisterson; but in the end he betrayed Gondolin to Morgoth. Maeglin was indeed an Elf of evil temper and dark mind, and he had a lust and grudge of his own to satisfy; but even so he did what he did only after torment and under a cloud of fear. Some of the Nandor, who were allowed to be Celbin, were not any better. Saeros, a counsellor of King Thingol, who belonged to a small clan of Nandor living in eastern Doriath, was chiefly responsible for the driving into outlawry of Turin son of Hurin. Turin's mother was named Morwen 'dark maiden', because of her dark hair, and it was one of Saeros' worst insults to call her Morben. For that Turin smote him in the king's hall.
The BoLT version of the Fall attributes even more guilt to Maeglin:
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But the rede that Meglin gave to Melko was that not all the host of the Orcs nor the Balrogs in their fierceness might by assault or siege hope ever to overthrow the walls and gates of Gondolin even if they availed to win unto the plain without. Therefore he counselled Melko to devise out of his sorceries a succour for his warriors in their endeavour. From the greatness of his wealth of metals and his powers of fire he bid him make beasts like snakes and dragons of irresistible might that should overcreep the Encircling Hills and lap that plain and its fair city in flame and death.
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Old 02-25-2006, 11:16 AM   #70
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Frankly, "inherent weakness in the Dark Elves" is not something I'm prepared to allow any credence. I put it down to the prejudice of Noldor translators, reflecting as badly as Calaquendi as on Moriquendi.

Besides, that version seems highly confused as to where Dark Elves end and Sindar begin. Eol is one of the Sinda ethnically; he is called "the Dark Elf" in the same sense as Caranthir is called "the Dark".

I think one of Turgon's more obvious redeeming features is the honour he allowed to Maeglin despite his birth. It's sad that fate and Morgoth twisted Maeglin, an Elf of the greatest skill and potential, into ill repaying it.

And that leads back to the Curse of Mandos...which originates from the Valar...which means that, as a Noldo, I would have seen far more sense in directly opposing Morgoth in arms than plotting to obtain Valarin aid...
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Old 02-25-2006, 11:39 AM   #71
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I'll explain my silly argument a little more.

We know that if Gondolin had not survived then Earendil would not have been born, ergo, the Valar would not have been called to deal with Morgoth. We also know that Turgon was not around to see this happen; all he was doing was following an instruction to build Gondolin. But to attempt to keep a people confined forever, even if it is for their own safety, is simply doomed to failure as those people will want out at some point. That is how people are, even Elves in a book. War or no war, people do not always follow rules and Tolkien's world is no different. Even Turgon himself broke the rules by leaving Valinor.

Turgon was also most definitely not a tyrant; as I have already said, to force people to stay would be the behaviour of a tyrant, but he does not do this as he allows his sister to leave. His downfall on her return is his stupid pride. When Eol comes to Gondolin he will not allow him the possibility of leaving. His pride is hurt as this other Elf, an Elf who is not one of the Noldor, has taken his sister without 'permission'. He clearly will not even contemplate listening to Eol. Had he done this he could have found himself in a stronger situation; instead he causes Eol, who is equally full of stupid pride, to react with violence.

Firstly, Turgon follows his 'orders', but how he follows them matters. And Secondly, his 'orders' are a suicide mission in the first place as Gondolin is doomed to failure - simply as Elves are not perfect beings, nor are they automata, they inevitably have personalities which may manifest in the desire to leave.
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Old 02-25-2006, 12:35 PM   #72
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But to attempt to keep a people confined forever, even if it is for their own safety, is simply doomed to failure as those people will want out at some point.
This does not release the protectors from their duty to try.

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people do not always follow rules
Clearly there should never be any rules of any sort because somebody at some point is going to break them.

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When Eol comes to Gondolin he will not allow him the possibility of leaving.
Because he'd already seen that bad things came of letting people go. I realize you will not pay attention to this next bit, but I'm going to say it anyway. Somebody else might appreciate it. Eol would not have been a reliable person to have running around on the outside. Granted, he would not have been likely to have told another elf the location of Gondolin because he tried to avoid his own people as much as possible. He might have told the dwarves though. Through them sooner or later the secret probably would have come out. Even if that did not happen, after the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Eol would have been caught in his wood by Morgoth's rampaging forces and he would have been broken. There was just no upside to Turgon for letting Eol loose and a huge danger.

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And Secondly, his 'orders' are a suicide mission in the first place as Gondolin is doomed to failure
So was the whole Revolt of the Noldor, as I have said a number of times. You are not gaining any traction bringing this up over and over again. Would you have preferred they just launch a frontal assault and get it over with? That was certainly Feanor's way. I suppose the poor emotionally stunted Elves could then have "freely" scampered about helplessly as they were getting chopped into itty, bitty pieces.
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguirel
Frankly, "inherent weakness in the Dark Elves" is not something I'm prepared to allow any credence. I put it down to the prejudice of Noldor translators, reflecting as badly as Calaquendi as on Moriquendi.
I think I've just figured out something about you, Anguirel, that's been troubling the back of my mind for a while now: you don't seem to like the concept of clearly delineated good and evil...

Maybe it's completely wrong, but this "revelation" of mine makes me sit much more at ease. The Sons of Feanor, Maeglin... it all makes sense now why you prefer the makers of major mistakes rather than those people who actually did a decent job of staying on the "good" side of things.

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Besides, that version seems highly confused as to where Dark Elves end and Sindar begin. Eol is one of the Sinda ethnically; he is called "the Dark Elf" in the same sense as Caranthir is called "the Dark".
Actually, no.

Eöl was not always a Sinda in Tolkien's mind. The version presented in the Silmarillion regarding him being a Teler of high and noble birth (in other words, a Sinda akin to Elu Thingol) is not the only version Tolkien put forth. Also highly popular was the idea that Eöl was one of the Avari- and of Tatyarian (ie. Noldorin) origin, and thus completely unakin to Thingol and the Sindar. In this idea, Tolkien uses Eöl's distant kinship with the Noldor as part of the reason for his hatred of them.

My point being, of course, that Eöl is not exactly a proven Sinda... and at the time of quoted passage, he seems to have been accounted among the Avari.

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And that leads back to the Curse of Mandos...which originates from the Valar...which means that, as a Noldo, I would have seen far more sense in directly opposing Morgoth in arms than plotting to obtain Valarin aid...
The only thing being that Morgoth kept proving time and again his ability to muster enormous armies, and as the Silmarillion shows, Morgoth's armies just kept on growing, while the Elven forces got smaller, and smaller, and smaller...

At least the Valar would have been remembered as benevolent (before the rebellion). I'd say that their hopes there, if slim, were not entirely unjustified.
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Old 02-25-2006, 02:58 PM   #74
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Frankly, "inherent weakness in the Dark Elves" is not something I'm prepared to allow any credence.
Why? The Calaquendi are greatly increased in power and abilities by their association with the valar.
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Besides, that version seems highly confused as to where Dark Elves end and Sindar begin.
I think you are confusing Eldar with the elves of the light; the first are those who set out on the march; the second are those who actually saw the light of the Trees; the sindar are, therefore, of the elves of darkness, with Thingol the exception.
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:25 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan
Clearly there should never be any rules of any sort because somebody at some point is going to break them.
I am sorry but that is a reductive argument and it just isn't worth going there.

It is a fact that Turgon's Gondolin was doomed to fail. That is part of the tragedy. I find it interesting that he was bidden to build the place and keep it secret even though it would be destroyed along with everyone in the realm apart from a handful of survivors. Was this Eru/the Valar extracting a 'price' from Turgon for being part of the rebellion? I think so. None of the Noldor who left Valinor ultimately succeeded in Middle-earth, even Galadriel was forced eventually to give up her dreams of power and 'diminish'.

As for releasing a prisoner? It has been done before. I seem to remember a certain treacherous Gollum who was allowed to live. What a disaster it would have been for Middle-earth if another attitude had been taken instead. Mercy plays a big role in Tolkien's world. Funnily enough, mercy seems to be much more valued than vengeance or pride. Leaders are defined by their capacity to use it, and also shown to fail when pride takes its place.

But what did I say? I did not suggest that Eol should be released. I merely mentioned that Turgon refused to listen to him. And that is Turgon's main fault. He does not listen. He approaches the situation incorrectly. His pride takes over and he 'decrees' an order to Eol, who is not one of his people. Turgon lacks diplomacy skills in this situation. It's an age old story and one that occurs elsewhere in Tolkien's work - how Pride Comes Before A Fall.

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Originally Posted by Anguirel
Frankly, "inherent weakness in the Dark Elves" is not something I'm prepared to allow any credence. I put it down to the prejudice of Noldor translators, reflecting as badly as Calaquendi as on Moriquendi.
Anguirel can correct me if I'm wrong but I think he's talking about moral weakness. Those Elves who did not go to Valinor and live under the Light of the two trees are not any less moral than those who did. In fact the story of the Noldor rebellion and the Kinslaying shows that the Noldor really are no more 'moral' than those who never went to Valinor. An Elf's natural 'place' is in Valinor, but the fact of having been there does not mean that an Elf is any better morally.
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Old 02-25-2006, 04:52 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Lalwende
It is a fact that Turgon's Gondolin was doomed to fail. That is part of the tragedy. I find it interesting that he was bidden to build the place and keep it secret even though it would be destroyed along with everyone in the realm apart from a handful of survivors. Was this Eru/the Valar extracting a 'price' from Turgon for being part of the rebellion? I think so. None of the Noldor who left Valinor ultimately succeeded in Middle-earth, even Galadriel was forced eventually to give up her dreams of power and 'diminish'.
I can't see it as a 'price' being exacted in that sense at all. The creation & survival of Gondolin was essential to the ultimate destruction of Morgoth, both in the fear & uncertainty it created in his mind & in the fact that it provided a safe haven for Tuor & Idril to marry & have Earendel.

Gondolin was vital. Turgon knew this, & if he over-reacted (which is questionable), he certainly ensured the downfall of Morgoth. If he had been in any sense a 'dictator' we know that he would have been replaced - we only have to look at the situation that developed in Nargothrond to see that there was no sense of 'divine right of Kings' which could leave an unpopular leader in power. The fierce loyalty Turgon inspired shows that he was in no way considered unreasonable or unfair by his people.

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I merely mentioned that Turgon refused to listen to him. And that is Turgon's main fault. He does not listen. He approaches the situation incorrectly. His pride takes over and he 'decrees' an order to Eol, who is not one of his people. Turgon lacks diplomacy skills in this situation. It's an age old story and one that occurs elsewhere in Tolkien's work - how Pride Comes Before A Fall.
I can't see that Eol was all that deserving of respect or of being listened to - he was a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work who showed no respect to others, & started laying down the law to Turgon. If 'pride does come before a fall' I think that would apply more to Eol (in more ways than one )
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Those Elves who did not go to Valinor and live under the Light of the two trees are not any less moral than those who did. In fact the story of the Noldor rebellion and the Kinslaying shows that the Noldor really are no more 'moral' than those who never went to Valinor. An Elf's natural 'place' is in Valinor, but the fact of having been there does not mean that an Elf is any better morally.
I'm not sure its a question of 'moral superiority' of the elves who went into the West. Its that they went. The point, I think, is that they chose the Light over the Darkness. The Avari & the Sindar rejected the chance of the Light & choose to remain in the Darkness. The rebelling Noldor may have 'fallen' but where did they 'land'? Well, right alongside the Sindar & Avari. The Sindar & Avari may not have 'fallen' in the same way but that's because they had never 'risen' in the first place - because they refused the chance.

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Originally Posted by Raynor
I think you are confusing Eldar with the elves of the light; the first are those who set out on the march; the second are those who actually saw the light of the Trees; the sindar are, therefore, of the elves of darkness, with Thingol the exception.
thingol is an interesting case. He did see the Light, but rejected it. Effectively (a point Flieger makes) he chose the 'reflected' light in the face of Melian over the direct light of the Trees. He is called 'Greycloak' after all.
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:08 PM   #77
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I am sorry but that is a reductive argument and it just isn't worth going there.
You started it (and I was being sarcastic).

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It is a fact that Turgon's Gondolin was doomed to fail.
This fact has nothing to do with whether or not Turgon did his best for his people or whether or not he was a tyrant.

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I find it interesting that he was bidden to build the place and keep it secret even though it would be destroyed along with everyone in the realm apart from a handful of survivors.
You forget that Tuor's errand was to tell Turgon that it was time to get out of town. This is when he made his prideful mistake. He was given a chance to get out.

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He approaches the situation incorrectly. His pride takes over and he 'decrees' an order to Eol, who is not one of his people.
Eol had more or less willingly entered Turgon's realm. That alone gave Turgon come claim over him. Besides, you can hardly condone murder, even if the culprit is a foreigner.

And, don't forget, Turgon was inclined to spare Eol until his silly sister died.

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I can't see it as a 'price' being exacted in that sense at all.
I have to disagree with this a little bit. I do think that the Curse was at work here and that it played a role in Turgon's death. However, Turgon was unique in that he was given the opportunity to potentially escape. Perhaps his willingness to ask mercy from the Valar was instrumental in Ulmo giving him this chance (although the escape warning was built into the Gondolin deal at the beginning).

Speaking of the message to the Valar, the mariners obviously left Gondolin.

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The fierce loyalty Turgon inspired shows that he was in no way considered unreasonable or unfair by his people.
Hear him! Hear him!
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:14 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by davem
I can't see it as a 'price' being exacted in that sense at all. The creation & survival of Gondolin was essential to the ultimate destruction of Morgoth, both in the fear & uncertainty it created in his mind & in the fact that it provided a safe haven for Tuor & Idril to marry & have Earendel.
But therein lies the rub. The very existence of a place which he cannot find must have made Morgoth even more determined to find and destroy the place, and when he does find it, he brings all his might to bear on it. That is a risk that Turgon must have been all too well aware of. Gondolin was on borrowed time from the beginning. The Elves who lived there, who included a great number of Sindar, were incredibly vulnerable.

Again I have to say (and how tired I am of saying it ) that of course Gondolin was where Earendil was born and so of course it had to exist..... The essential tragedy is that the vast majority of the population of Gondolin would be slaughtered and it was inevitable that they would be slaughtered. I would like to hear what was said in The Halls of Mandos by those who did not survive. This is the cruel side of Tolkien's world, that so many are put to the sword in order that others may live. But I do wonder if these people may have been saved, as Turgon was said to have become overly proud of his city and even though warned to evacuate, he did not.

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Originally Posted by davem
The fierce loyalty Turgon inspired shows that he was in no way considered unreasonable or unfair by his people.
But as shown in what happened with Aredhel, it only took one single person to dissent for the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.

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Originally Posted by davem
I can't see that Eol was all that deserving of respect or of being listened to - he was a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work who showed no respect to others, & started laying down the law to Turgon. If 'pride does come before a fall' I think that would apply more to Eol (in more ways than one )
Eol and Turgon are very similar in terms of pride. One resents the incomer who represents a 'conquering power', the other is too proud to listen to what is said and why it might be said in anger. I don't know that we can say Eol showed 'no respect to others' as we only know him in relation to his family and to Turgon; the Dwarves seem to accord him with a great deal of respect so we can also guess that he was not always 'a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan
Eol had more or less willingly entered Turgon's realm. That alone gave Turgon come claim over him. Besides, you can hardly condone murder, even if the culprit is a foreigner.

And, don't forget, Turgon was inclined to spare Eol until his silly sister died.
It is a situation that is badly handled by Turgon. In his urgency to maintain the secrecy of Gondolin he loses his head when dealing with this unexpected situation. He welcomes Maeglin (who in his turn is undoubtedly tempted to stay because of the sight of Idril), he tells Eol that he will have to stay. Eol chooses death for his son and himself and Aredhel throws herself in the way. The situation escalates rapidly as Turgon begins by issuing an order, not by listening. I have no doubt that what is paramount in his mind is keeping Gondolin safe and not trying to assess the situation. This is something he did not anticipate, and he again fails in not considering all the risks of the situation he has bound himself and his people to.
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Last edited by Lalwendë; 02-25-2006 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:32 PM   #79
davem
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Originally Posted by Lalwende
The very existence of a place which he cannot find must have made Morgoth even more determined to find and destroy the place, and when he does find it, he brings all his might to bear on it. That is a risk that Turgon must have been all too well aware of. Gondolin was on borrowed time from the beginning.
Bujt isn't this the point - the very determination it inspired in Morgoth distracted him, confused his counsels & made it more difficult to conduct his war in the way he would have wanted. Of course Gondolin was on borrowed time from the beginning, but 'fighting the Long Defeat is pretty much the Elves' raison d'etre.
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Old 02-25-2006, 05:32 PM   #80
Kuruharan
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The very existence of a place which he cannot find must have made Morgoth even more determined to find and destroy the place, and when he does find it, he brings all his might to bear on it.
Hmmm...apparently you subscribe to the school of warfare that holds one should fight one's wars with an eye toward making happy and accommodating one's enemies. I'm afraid I don't agree with that.

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The Elves who lived there, who included a great number of Sindar, were incredibly vulnerable.
Which is exactly why secrecy was so vitally important.

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it only took one single person to dissent
The way you talk about her implies too much nobility to her motives. To hear you speak, it almost sounds like you think she was some brave political activist engaged in a life-and-death struggle attempting to overthrow the cruel regime of Comrade Stalgon. This was not the case at all. She was a silly, empty-headed little nitwit who had no higher aspiration than to go a-Maying at the most inopportune moments.

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the Dwarves seem to accord him with a great deal of respect
Eol was probably a very useful spy. I don't know if that is exactly the same thing as respect.

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I have no doubt that what is paramount in his mind is keeping Gondolin safe and not trying to assess the situation.
The security of Gondolin meant that there was nothing to assess. Some things are non-negotiable. Turgon politely informed Eol of this at the beginning. Try to think of it as Turgon extending a courtesy rather than giving an order.

Last edited by Kuruharan; 02-25-2006 at 05:38 PM. Reason: The thread flows swiftly...
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