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Glorfindel back in town


Registered User
Nov 28, 2004
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In another post someone said:

"But Glorfindel (. . .) accepted as having come back from Aman after having been in the Halls of Mandos – also making him a category of one in Elvendom."

making this pour from my head
for anyone interested about the once dead

When Tolkien first chose the name Glorfindel for his character in The Lord of the Rings, he noted that the Elf should tell of his ancestry in Gondolin.

That didn't happen of course, but the notion of Elven reincarnation had existed well before The Lord of the Rings. Most Elves reincarnated as a fact of their lives (after a purging in Mandos), and could return to Middle-earth if they desired, at least before the removal of Aman from the World Circles. I highlight the time, as even Tolkien rejected that Glorfindel returned in the Third Age: "Manwe could be supposed to have received the permission of Eru to make an exception in this case, and to have devised some means for the transportation of Glorfindel to Middle-earth, this is improbable and would make Glorfindel of greater power and importance than seems fitting. We may then best suppose that Glorfindel returned during the Second Age, before the "shadow" fell on Numenor . . ." (Glorfindel II)

And actually in Glorfindel I, the Elf came to Middle-earth with Gandalf when he arrived in the Third Age, as a companion. Again, a we see this is rejected in Glorfindel II, and his purpose in returning to Middle-earth was to strengthen Gil-galad and Elrond, in response to prayers and messages for help, sent to both Numenor and Valinor.

Was Glorfindel the only Elf to do so? He's the only Elf noted to have done so -- in a text about Glorfindel! But I'm not sure silence on this point necessarily makes things certain. In any case: "When they were re-embodied they could remain in Valinor, or return to Middle-earth if their home had been there." Glorfindel I

Remembering Beleriand was under the sea. That said, Tolkien had basically noted this years before, in text published in Morgoth's Ring. Author's note 3, section Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth: "They "normally" remained in Aman. Simply because they were, when rehoused, again in actual physical bodies, and return to Middle-earth was therefore very difficult and perilous." Yet, elsewhere Tolkien says that they normally remain in Aman and: "Only in exceptional cases, as Beren and Luthien, will they be transported back to Middle-earth . . . hence death in Middle-earth had much the same sort of sorrow and sunderance for Elves and Men"

Well, it might be that Tolkien is thinking First Age here, considering Beren and Luthien, or perhaps he's emphasizing "transported", but given the idea of sorrow and sunderance, I have to admit the notion seems like it should pertain even to the Second Age before the removal of Aman.

So which is it?

After the ban and before Numenor fell, to my mind, shipping back to Middle-earth doesn't seem that difficult or perilous. Of course there are always perils, but the Eldar visited Numenor and the Numenoreans visited Middle-earth. On the other hand, Aman was nice, and was in better accord with the Elves as far as unwanted change and death. So maybe they normally stayed there anyway. But I imagine (from my experience reading Tolkien chat over the years), that Tolkien's not out of the golden woods yet, as some might say: "hey, if Glorfindel came back to help Elrond and Gil-galad, what about all those thousands of reincarnated Elves that could have shipped back as well?" Then some might think that these Elves must be "selfish".

I will not be saying that, nor will I be thinking these Elves must be selfish. Externally, Elves needed to leave Middle-earth while Men increased. Externally, they couldn't just save the day . . . every other day. Especially in the Third Age, but so too in the Second. Manwe and Ingwe were not sending an Elven host to fight for Lindon or Hollin.

And externally, Tolkien wasn't finished working it all out 💥

And then he fled
this galinish person sped back to bed
leaving silly red lines as he hit "post thread"

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