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  1. #1
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    So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    It is kinda sad that the Chuck Norris of elves got deleted from the movies; that said, let's talk about him here!

    Is the Glorfindel you meet in Rivendell the same one who slew a balrog? Supposedly elf names don't get repeated, but there are two Legolases (Legolasi?) and two Glorfindels...

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  2. #2

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    To my recollection, it was never made clear whether the Glorfindel that slew the balrog during the escape from the fall of Gondolin was later "reincarnated" as the Glorfindel that we meet in LotR, although I bet some of our resident Tolkien scholars can probably chime in with a reference to some point in the text where the issue is definitively resolved. However, my belief is that they were the same being.

    My understanding is that when the elves die they spend time in the Halls of Mandos before being returned to Middle-earth (whereas Men die in truth, as part of their "gift" from Illuvatar - or alternatively, simply bide in a different area of the Halls of Mandos but aren't ever sent back). I'm not sure this concept was ever properly developed by Tolkien, as I am not aware of any other elves besides Glorfindel where there is an obvious "reincarnation" using the same name. (I note that there are bunch of men of Numenorean descent that used recycled elvish names, such as Echthelion.) Given that lack of name recycling, it seems to me that you would have to conclude either (i) the elves were not in fact reincarnated after a stay in the Halls of Mandos, or (ii) they were reincarnated but almost always under a different name. In the latter case, it leaves you wondering what the deal was with Glorfindel.

    My money is on (ii). Among other things, I seem to recall a statement in the Silmarillion that Feanor had to stick around in the Halls of Mandos and wasn't reincarnated, and another statement that Luthien was also not reincarnated because of her choice to share in Beren's mortality (at least not subsequently reincarnated after the first time when she and Beren were sent back and lived together on the Isle of the Dead that Live).

    One thing I do note is that in LotR Glofindel is clearly stated to have seen the light of the Two Trees in Valinor, so obviously he is an "old" elf. I'm not sure it is ever stated, but the Glorfindel that slew the balrog most likely had been in Valinor as well (my opinion, based on the fact that he had enough juice to take down a balrog). It seems unlikely to me that Tolkien had two Glorfindels alive at the same time. My personal opinion is that the balrog Glorfindel was returned to Middle-earth after his stay in Mandos and is in fact the same being as the Glorfindel we meet in LotR.

    Another complicating factor is that Tolkien didn't finish the Silmarillion - it was published posthumously by his son who had to edit it into a final form. It is possible that Tolkien would have revised the Glorfindel/balrog incident to give the elf a different name in order to clear up the inconsistency, if it was instead the case that he didn't mean for the LotR Glorfindel to be a reincarnation of the Silmarillion Glorfindel.

    *Edit: The Encyclopedia of Arda has this useful entry for Glorfindel. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/g/glorfindel.html
    Last edited by Vilnas; Feb 18 2009 at 01:50 PM.
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  3. #3

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by thegneech View Post
    It is kinda sad that the Chuck Norris of elves got deleted from the movies; that said, let's talk about him here!

    Is the Glorfindel you meet in Rivendell the same one who slew a balrog? Supposedly elf names don't get repeated, but there are two Legolases (Legolasi?) and two Glorfindels...

    -The Gneech
    Well, the answer is a definite maybe. For my part, though, I think that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Rivendell are the same person.


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  4. #4

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Hey Gneech, where does the other Legolas that you mention appear in the books? I don't recall there being two.
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  5. #5
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by thegneech View Post
    Chuck Norris of elves
    Sigh. I'd like to go back in time and kill the guy who invented this stupid Chuck Norris phenomenon.


    Personally, I've never seen what's so great about Glorfindel.
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  6. #6

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnuala View Post
    Sigh. I'd like to go back in time and kill the guy who invented this stupid Chuck Norris phenomenon.
    Maybe it was a clever marketing ploy BY Chuck Norris, in which case you'd have no chance. :P

    Personally, I've never seen what's so great about Glorfindel.
    A quick check on the Encyclopedia of Arda website has this for Glorfindel:

    The only real resource we have to answer this question is in The Peoples of Middle-earth (The History of Middle-earth Vol. 12): XIII Last Writings, Glorfindel. Christopher Tolkien dates the notes he gives here at 1972, the year before his father's death.

    These notes clear up one question immediately: at the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, Glorfindel of Rivendell was not conceived as the same character as Glorfindel of Gondolin. Tolkien says, 'Its use [i.e. the name 'Glorfindel'] in The Lord of the Rings is one of the cases of the somewhat random use of the names found in the older legends ... which escaped reconsideration in the final published form...'.
    So there were originally two Glorfindels and it was a writer's error by JRRT to use the same name for two different characters.

    Having said that, even the first Glorfindel wasn't as awesome as Fingolfin who fought Morgoth hand to hand in a duel. Morgoth was a Valar who rebelled, even a balrog is small taters compared to a Valar. OK, so Fingolfin was killed and Morgoth was wounded, but this is a Valar vs Elf matchup, a damn big difference between the two, much bigger than balrog vs Elf in Glorfindel's case.

    So if Glorfindel is the "Chuck Norris" of the Elves, what does that make Fingolfin?

  7. #7
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vilnas View Post
    Hey Gneech, where does the other Legolas that you mention appear in the books? I don't recall there being two.
    It's in one of the "lost tales". See also:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legolas#Names_and_titles

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  8. #8
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnuala View Post
    Sigh. I'd like to go back in time and kill the guy who invented this stupid Chuck Norris phenomenon.
    Aww. It's just silliness, don't let it get to you!

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  9. #9
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    So if Glorfindel is the "Chuck Norris" of the Elves, what does that make Fingolfin?
    Bruce Lee, obviously.

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  10. #10

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    So if Glorfindel is the "Chuck Norris" of the Elves, what does that make Fingolfin?
    i would guess the terminator in my opinion i could be wrong

  11. #11
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    There's two entries for Glorfindel in The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, though there is no hint that they might be one in the same. Christopher Tolkien also seems to affirm that they are two different characters as well.

  12. #12

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post

    So if Glorfindel is the "Chuck Norris" of the Elves, what does that make Fingolfin?
    He would obviously be the Clint Eastwood of the Elves.

  13. #13
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkheart06 View Post
    He would obviously be the Clint Eastwood of the Elves.
    I was thinking more Johnny Cash. Maybe Jedidiah Smith.
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  14. #14
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    Cool Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    ...So if Glorfindel is the "Chuck Norris" of the Elves, what does that make Fingolfin?
    Umm... High King of the Noldor?
    What else is there?
    Clint, Chuck and Bruce are 'just dudes' compared to Fingolfin, or Glorfindel.
    Well, this is useless.

  15. #15
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vilnas View Post
    One thing I do note is that in LotR Glofindel is clearly stated to have seen the light of the Two Trees in Valinor, so obviously he is an "old" elf. I'm not sure it is ever stated, but the Glorfindel that slew the balrog most likely had been in Valinor as well (my opinion, based on the fact that he had enough juice to take down a balrog). It seems unlikely to me that Tolkien had two Glorfindels alive at the same time. My personal opinion is that the balrog Glorfindel was returned to Middle-earth after his stay in Mandos and is in fact the same being as the Glorfindel we meet in LotR.
    Glorfindel was clearly Noldor (Gondolin was a Noldor kingdom, and was secret, so no contact with other elf-kin), and it's unlikely that he was young enough to have been born AFTER the Noldor left Valinor for Middle Earth.

    As for the sillier question of "If Glorfindel is Chuck Norris, who is Fingolfin?" I'm going to go with Bruce Lee too, for the following reasons:

    1) Clint Eastwood is too morally impure, if you will. Fingolfin is anything BUT Dirty Harry or the stranger from the spaghetti westerns. Feanor is the elven Clint Eastwood.

    2) Bruce Lee DID pwn Chuck Norris in one of his movies.

  16. #16
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Wikipedia

    The special "matter of Glorfindel"

    In The Return of the Shadow, Christopher Tolkien states that some time after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, his father "gave a great deal of thought to the matter of Glorfindel" in the book, and decided that it was a "somewhat random use" of a name from The Silmarillion that would probably have been changed, had it been noticed sooner.[9]

    The problem lay in Tolkien's conception of the spirits of dead Elves being re-embodied in their old bodies after a Purgatory-like period in the Halls of Mandos in Valinor, the home of Tolkien's "gods", the Valar and Maiar (more akin to angels, though rulers and overseers), where Elves previously lived before (re)migrating to Middle-earth. After being re-embodied, previously dead Elves stayed in Valinor. Tolkien decided that each Elf's name should be unique, and therefore the two Glorfindels should be one and the same.

    Tolkien had a well-documented (and confusing) habit of inventing and changing character names while writing drafts, so this is not too surprising. On the other hand, early notes for the Council of Elrond state "Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin", indicating that the character was early on already intended to be the same Elf. This may be reconciled by the fact that Tolkien was known for being disorganized, misplacing his notes and having to work from memory alone on several occasions. Nevertheless, seeing that the reintroduction of the name had been made, and that it would require some explanation, Tolkien devised a solution. He would, at the end of his life, devote his last writings to the issue of Glorfindel and some related topics, as detailed in The Peoples of Middle-earth.[11]

    Tolkien wrote that Glorfindel is sent back to Middle-earth by the Valar during the Second Age circa 1600, when Barad-dûr was completed and Sauron forged the One Ring, and while Númenor was still friendly with the Elves under Tar-Minastir. He is sent as a kind of predecessor to the Istari (Wizards), or in a different version, together with the Blue Wizards. At one point he was even considered as a possibility for the identity of one of them, though this was immediately rejected since the Eldar were not initially conceived as possibilities for the Wizards, and he had come to the conclusion that they were only Maiar.[11]

    Conceivably the problem of Glorfindel's resurrection could easily have been resolved by changing the name of Glorfindel of Gondolin to another name, but Tolkien was unwilling to do this, as he now associated the name with the character.


    I realize that the Wikipedia is not normally refered to as a source of Tolkien authority, but it does illustrate the chain of events here.

    It was decided by Tolkien himself, that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Rivendel should be considered one in the same.

    Further, in the Silmarillion, from the Fall of Gondolin-

    ...and they buried him in a mound of stones beside the pass; and a green turf game there, and yellow flowers bloomed upon it amid the barrenness of stone, until the world was changed.

    '...until the world was changed.'

    Conjectural, I know, but I just love quoting that particular passage.
    It tears my guts out every time I read it.

    They are one in the same.
    He is a Noldor of very high linage, and unwaivering courage.
    I can't think of anyone of our own race (human) to which he could be compared, lest it be Lionides, or Achilles himself.
    Well, this is useless.

  17. #17
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnuala View Post
    Sigh. I'd like to go back in time and kill the guy who invented this stupid Chuck Norris phenomenon.


    Personally, I've never seen what's so great about Glorfindel.

    /sigh

    Soloed a Balrog, was in the sack of Gondolin, saved Frodo from the Nazgul. Yes, he's the chuck Norris of elves and he is that good.

  18. #18

    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    I am a big fan of Glorfindel as well, but I think someone should clarify that he didn't actually solo the balrog as such. Due to a coding glitch the balrog /followed when Glorfindel realized he was about to wipe and ran off the cliff to avoid the damage to his gear. As a result they were both incapacitated due to misadventure. Glorfindel then got a lengthy ban for using an exploit and didn't get to come back until the 3rd Age.
    Last edited by Vilnas; Mar 04 2009 at 07:26 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bopbopaluie View Post
    /sigh

    Soloed a Balrog, was in the sack of Gondolin, saved Frodo from the Nazgul. Yes, he's the chuck Norris of elves and he is that good.
    Saying that he's the Chuck Norris of the Elves is an insult. Chuck Norris is just an aging action star that a stupid internet phenomenon has managed to make unjustifiably popular. The phenomenon needs to die.

    That aside, I still don't know why people put Glorfindel up on a pedestal. Compared to other heroes of the Silmarillion I just can't find anything about the character that's particularly compelling. Let me clarify that I am expressing my opinion here. I personally much prefer such heroes as Fingolfin, Beren, Maedhros, Finrod, Tuor, and Earendil. Some of them aren't conventional heroes but did great things nonetheless.
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  20. #20
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    Re: So ... Just How Awesome Was Glorfindel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vilnas View Post
    I am a big fan of Glorfindel as well, but I think someone should clarify that he didn't actually solo the balrog as such. Due to a coding glitch the balrog /followed when Glorfindel realized he was about to wipe and ran off the cliff to avoid the damage to his gear. As a result they were both incapacitated due to misadventure. Glorfindel then got a lengthy ban for using an exploit and didn't get to come back until the 3rd Age.
    lol this cracked me up work good show!
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