Here is the quote I promised from the Letters. The famous Letter 131, to Milton Waldman: My point, as I stated it when I mentioned that quote without giving it, is that Tolkien compares the Noldorin exile with the Fall of Men. Now to some other matters. "A Balrog... now I understand. And I am already weary..." As I see it, Gothmog, and Arvedui, neglect the role of personal responsibility when assigning blame. If we disregard personal responsibility, all blame must be laid at Eru's door; and the debate is tied . If we accept personal responsibility, on the other hand, the Oath of Fëanor, the slaying at Alqualondë, and such, are to be considered as faults of the Noldor; not of the Valar, or of Morgoth, or of Eru. No one forced Fëanor to swear his oath; not even Eru did that, if we accept Free Will. By the same token, the treason of Ulfang is Ulfang's responsibility. My point is that we must ascribe blame according to responsibility; thus, to ascribe the Fall of Gondolin as a responsibility of the lesser houses of Men strikes me as odd. That is just an example; Doriath is another. I'll add some examples at the end of the post, some neglected issues (so far) in this debate. But as I said in my first post, I don't think this kind of question may be answered by a tallying of faults. And I think our opponents are lucky that it is so; Lhun's posts already point at a greater number of Noldorin faults, and I'll add some. Tallying faults would result in a much greater number of faults for the Noldor; to be frank, surely this can be ascribed to the fact that the story is "elf-centered" and, quite possibly, many grievous acts were committed by the lesser houses of Men that we are not aware of. As I said, our opponents are lucky that we are not tallying faults; we can't very well speculate on hypothetical scenarios without hard data, and the hard data points at the Noldor as the culprits. Indeed I think the method to be used is to accept that the two evils are comparable (as Tolkien compared them) and to see who had the most chance of avoiding the evil. If two people steal bread, we are more lenient towards the one who is starving than towards the one who is well fed. And according to that criterion, the Noldor were much better fed -- in all accounts. And now for the neglected matter: the 2nd and 3rd ages. Sauron was doing his mischief, oppressing Men (only the lesser houses of Men, by the way ) all around. What were the Noldor doing? Why, they were falling for the old ruse -- again! Were they dumb? Were they blind? Were they unwise? No. They were smart, far-seeing, and proud of their wisdom. And again they were indulging in sorcery, in "magic" of the not-so-safe kind. They were making Rings. Ah, they had great reasons for doing so... but still the path to Hell is paved with good intentions, and those Rings proved themselves to be the most detrimental objects in those Ages. Let me quote Tolkien again (Letter 181): So, even the Three Rings, though unsullied and good in a limited way, are still the result of the Elvish "weakness", and the desire for "power" (as opposed to "art"). Those acquainted with Tolkien's Letters will know that Tolkien's ideas of the desire for "Power" are not very complimentary . He is criticizing the Elven-smiths, quite harshly. And well he might; for those guys "should have known better!". If we consider all the Rings as a group, we see how harmful they were. And at that time the lesser houses of Men were being oppressed, by both Sauron and Númenóreans. One could make a case that the Númenórean oppression of the lesser houses of Men is a result of the Noldorin effect on the Three Houses of the Edain... I won't make that case, though, because I still think that we should focus on personal responsibility here, and the Númenórean oppression, though fomented by their glory, which is a result of Noldorin acts, is not directly attributable to the Noldor. The lesser houses of Men were crushed by everybody in the latter ages. They definitely were "worse fed". And so I submit that the Noldor have a (much) greater responsibility to bear in the history of Middle-Earth. They brought good, but they also brought evil; and they should have known better. Though the evils were comparable in scope and magnitude, the Noldor had better reasons to avoid them; and thus a greater responsibility.