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Old 05-05-2010, 07:00 PM   #1
ecthelion
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Pipe ecthelion vs glorfindel

I was reading the Fall of Gondolin the other day and it describes the heroic defenders amazingly. And Ecthelion and Glorfindel are shown as the greatest of the lords at Gondolin and Turgon's favorite captains. My question is who do you think is greater (both in battle and in spirit). They both did deeds that are remembered in song and both are balrog slayers.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:06 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ecthelion View Post
I was reading the Fall of Gondolin the other day and it describes the heroic defenders amazingly. And Ecthelion and Glorfindel are shown as the greatest of the lords at Gondolin and Turgon's favorite captains. My question is who do you think is greater (both in battle and in spirit). They both did deeds that are remembered in song and both are balrog slayers.
Well, it's been argued that Glorfindel merited a resurrection and returned to Middle Earth for his deeds.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Andsigil View Post
Well, it's been argued that Glorfindel merited a resurrection and returned to Middle Earth for his deeds.
Re-embodiment was not uncommon among Elves. Ecthelion almost certainly enjoyed this service of the Valar as well, although he may have had to wait until the ban on the Noldor's return to Aman was lifted.

It seems to me that the account actually specifies Ecthelion as the greatest warrior of the Noldor, but it has been a very long time since I have read it.

Since you (ecthelion) share my interest in Elf lords, you might be interested in the fact that there was a Galdor who dwelt with Cirdan at the Grey Havens, and there was also a mighty Elf lord named Galdor of the Tree in Gondolin at the time of its fall. At the Council of Elrond, the comment was made that "what power still remains [in Middle-earth] lies [...] in Imladris, or with Cirdan at the Havens, or in Lorien." Clearly Cirdan kept company with other mighty Elves. Galdor of the Tree returned?

I think Tolkien actually quashes this speculation regarding Galdor in his discussion of Glorfindel's identity, but I prefer to think he is wrong.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:09 PM   #4
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Well, it's been argued that Glorfindel merited a resurrection and returned to Middle Earth for his deeds.
That was more for his selfless death and saving a marquee character who will eventually save the Eldar and Edain, as well as beget other marquee characters. But strictly speaking, Echthelion taking on Gothmog solo was probably a more heavyweight bout.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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That was more for his selfless death and saving a marquee character who will eventually save the Eldar and Edain, as well as beget other marquee characters. But strictly speaking, Echthelion taking on Gothmog solo was probably a more heavyweight bout.
Have you ever seen the Tom Loback illustration of that fight? I like his Tolkien artwork- it has something of a stained-glass look to it.

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Old 05-07-2010, 05:43 PM   #6
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Re-embodiment was not uncommon among Elves. Ecthelion almost certainly enjoyed this service of the Valar as well, although he may have had to wait until the ban on the Noldor's return to Aman was lifted.
Why did Ecthelion have to wait? Wasn't he as valiant and selfless that day as Glorfindel? If I remember correctly, he slew three Balrogs in addition to Gothmog. So he should also be highly qualified for immediate resurrection, like Glorfindel.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:43 PM   #7
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Why did Ecthelion have to wait? Wasn't he as valiant and selfless that day as Glorfindel? If I remember correctly, he slew three Balrogs in addition to Gothmog. So he should also be highly qualified for immediate resurrection, like Glorfindel.
I said he may have had to wait, because Tolkien does not mention Ecthelion's receiving the same treatment.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:03 PM   #8
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I tend to doubt the number of slain Balrogs -- according to The Book of Lost Tales version of The Fall of Gondolin -- was going to hold for the later Quenta Silmarillion.


Unfortunately Tolkien abandoned the 1951 updated (long prose) version of this tale... although at that point Balrogs still existed in great numbers at least (externally speaking). Later Tolkien imagined that, at most, seven ever existed; though in any case he did not revise every relevant passage that implied large numbers of Balrogs...

... just to keep us guessing
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:56 AM   #9
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I tend to doubt the number of slain Balrogs -- according to The Book of Lost Tales version of The Fall of Gondolin -- was going to hold for the later Quenta Silmarillion.


Unfortunately Tolkien abandoned the 1951 updated (long prose) version of this tale... although at that point Balrogs still existed in great numbers at least (externally speaking). Later Tolkien imagined that, at most, seven ever existed; though in any case he did not revise every relevant passage that implied large numbers of Balrogs...

... just to keep us guessing
Yes, and I think it is best not to ignore the suggestion of only three Balrogs existing. That Tolkien says "three or at most seven" implies that he considered only three to be truly necessary (likely Gothmog, Glorfindel's Bane, and Durin's Bane), and seven to be the upper limit. I suspect Tolkien's ambivalence has to do with the question of how much revision would be necessary to implement the change.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:28 AM   #10
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I wonder: would he have come up with some sort of "Lesser Balrog" order, and left Seven Balrog Captains in command over numerous, lesser Ensign Balrogs; perhaps renaming the Ensign Balrogs to something less impressive.

Perhaps it reminds me of the spiders. There is Ungoliant; and Shelob; and there are Lesser Spiders, that make the southern borders of Dorthonion a nasty place, and Mirkwood too, later.

Of course this is all rambling and unsupported whimsy on my part.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:47 AM   #11
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I've even read the suggestion (not here) that maybe Tolkien, late in life, 'intended' to have Glorfindel fight a notable demon... but something that is not a Balrog specifically. Like, perhaps a notable Maia in orc form.

The suggestion was based on the late Glorfindel texts, because Tolkien used 'demon' throughout instead of Balrog, and in at least one instance, for some reason changed the word Balrog to demon. I must admit I have no great answer as to why Tolkien would revise the word Balrog to demon -- but also no great answer as to why, if indeed he meant to revise the encounter in this way, he wasn't more explicit about it (though granted these are still, to him, his private papers).


Anyway, I don't buy it myself but I thought it was interesting.
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:52 PM   #12
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I wonder: would he have come up with some sort of "Lesser Balrog" order, and left Seven Balrog Captains in command over numerous, lesser Ensign Balrogs; perhaps renaming the Ensign Balrogs to something less impressive.

Perhaps it reminds me of the spiders. There is Ungoliant; and Shelob; and there are Lesser Spiders, that make the southern borders of Dorthonion a nasty place, and Mirkwood too, later.

Of course this is all rambling and unsupported whimsy on my part.
Well, it actually reminds of the children of the Valar becoming Maiar. So maybe you could get even lower-level Ainu.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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In regard to ecthelion getting out of the halls of mandos around the same time as glorfindel I think is possible, because you have to remember that ecthelion sacrificed himself to save tuor (who was about to get killed by gothmog). So this selfless act I believe would be a good way to get out of mandos sooner than most.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:50 PM   #14
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Wow. I absolutely love that illustration you posted, Andsigil!
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:59 AM   #15
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Wow. I absolutely love that illustration you posted, Andsigil!
Thanks.

Loback has several illustrations at wikipedia under Tolkien-themed subjects:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca..._by_Tom_Loback
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?...m+loback&go=Go

You can see more here, at elvish.org
http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/tom_loback.htm
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:59 AM   #16
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Thanks.

Loback has several illustrations at wikipedia under Tolkien-themed subjects:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ca..._by_Tom_Loback
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?...m+loback&go=Go

You can see more here, at elvish.org
http://www.elvish.org/gwaith/tom_loback.htm
Andsigil, thanks for those links. Do you recommend any other sites for Middle Earth illustrations?
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