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Glorfindel or Ecthelion - who is a greater elf?

Who achieved more/is a greater Elf?

  • Glorfindel

    Votes: 16 39.0%
  • Ecthelion

    Votes: 16 39.0%
  • They are equal in achievements

    Votes: 9 22.0%

  • Total voters
    41

Ithrynluin

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Let's compare Glorfindel and Ecthelion, two Balrog slayers.

Glorfindel:
- slew a Balrog
- helped the Fellowship in the 3rd Age (assuming the two Glorfindels are one and the same)

Ecthelion:
- slew the Balrog (so to speak) - Gothmog, who was the mightiest Balrog

Which would you say was greater overall?
 

Celebithil

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Ecthelion

As you say Ecthelion slew THE Balrog and the description of him at the 7th gath in UT is one that really inspires a sense of awe and power.
 

Ithrynluin

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I think they are both pretty much equal in deeds. Nonetheless, I vote for Glorfindel because he helped Frodo & co. (and the One Ring would perhaps had fallen to the enemy if it weren't for him), and because he helped in the wars with Angmar, in addition to killing a Balrog.
I think there was a reason that HE of all Elves was sent back to Middle Earth, to aid Elrond and Gandalf. That speaks of his greatness.
 

Confusticated

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Originally posted by ithrynluin
I think there was a reason that HE of all Elves was sent back to Middle Earth, to aid Elrond and Gandalf. That speaks of his greatness.
Well he was a Noldo and had lived in Middle-earth during Morgoth's hell raising, as opposed to the Vanyar. If it was because of his great act of sacrifice that he was released earlier from Mandos than the majority of the Noldor were, then this might put him and Ecthelion (said to be a Noldo in BoLT, but I do not know about elsewhere) in equal positions; that is, both could have been released from Mandos sooner than the majority of the exiled Noldor.

My best answer to those who ask why it was Glorfindel and not Ecthelion that was sent back to Middle-earth is just this: I don't think it is known, but why couldn't we suppose that Ecthelion might have had a reason to stay in Valinor. Maybe he had a wife or children there or for some reason was unwilling to go.

I think both might have done the same thing if in the other's position.

I can't say if one is greater as we do not (as far as I have read, and correct me if you know where it is said) know when Ecthelion was rehoused, or what became of him at all.
 
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Ithrynluin

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Well he was a Noldo and had lived in Middle-earth during Morgoth's hell raising, as opposed to the Vanyar.
Well perhaps I should have said "I think there was a reason that HE of all 'Elves who died and were eventually rehoused' was sent back" instead of saying:

I think there was a reason that HE of all Elves was sent back to Middle Earth
His fight with the Balrog was an act of sacrifice, to secure the passage for Idril, Tuor and young Eärendil. What was Ecthelion's "motive"? Was it more of a self-defensive nature than a sacrifice?

My best answer to those who ask why it was Glorfindel and not Ecthelion that was sent back to Middle-earth is just this: I don't think it is known, but why couldn't we suppose that Ecthelion might have had a reason to stay in Valinor. Maybe he had a wife or children there or for some reason was unwilling to go.
I think both might have done the same thing if in the other's position.
But we must in the end base our decisions on the published texts. For example, I know you're not too fond of Fëanor because of his deeds, but what if he did something good or what if his motives were purer than you (and I) think and we just haven't got the chance to read about them because Tolkien didn't put his thoughts into words. That's why I believe we must not use too many "what ifs" and decide on the basis of the text.

Perhaps Tolkien himself thought that Glorfindel was greater since he decided to send him back to Middle Earth and since he said:

For long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.
Glorfindel was become even as one of the Maiar in personal power, which is saying a lot about him.

Tolkien decided to elaborate his character further in HOME XII which I suppose could be saying a lot as to why Glorfindel came back.
 

Maedhros

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Nonetheless, I vote for Glorfindel because he helped Frodo & co. (and the One Ring would perhaps had fallen to the enemy if it weren't for him), and because he helped in the wars with Angmar, in addition to killing a Balrog.
No way is Glorfindel "greater than Echtelion"
From the Book of Lost Tales II: The Fall of Gondolin
Tuor stood then in the way of that beast, but was sundered from Egalmoth, and they pressed him backward even to the centre of the square nigh the fountain. There he became weary from the strangling heat and was beaten down by a great demon, even Gothmog lord of Balrogs, son of Melko. But lo! Ecthelion, whose face was of the pallor of grey steel and whose shield-arm hung limp at his side, strode above him as he fell; and that Gnome drave at the demon, yet did not give him his death, getting rather a wound to his sword-arm that his weapon left his grasp. Then leapt Ecthelion lord of the Fountain, fairest of the Noldoli, full at Gothmog even as he raised his whip, and his helm that had a spike upon it he drave into that evil breast, and he twined his legs about his foeman's thighs; and the Balrog yelled and fell forward; but those two dropped into the basin of the king's fountain which was very deep. There found that creature his bane; and Ecthelion sank steel-laden into the depths, and so perished the lord of the Fountain after fiery battle in cool waters.
Notice that in the combat between Echtelion lord of the Fountains, he was already wounded before fighting Gothmog, unlike Glorfindel when he fought a Balrog.
There is also the fact that Eärendil was very fond of Echtelion. From the Book of Lost Tales II: The Fall of Gondolin
Yet Tuor set a strict watch, and himself slept not. Here they made one meal of scanty food and broken meats; and Eärendel quenched his thirst and played beside a little brook. Then said he to his mother: "Mother Idril, I would we had good Ecthelion of the Fountain here to play to me on his flute, or make me willow-whistles! Perchance he has gone on ahead?" But Idril said nay, and told what she had heard of his end. Then said Eärendel that he cared not ever to see the streets of Gondolin again, and he wept bitterly
The question that you have to ask is, why did Glorfindel return from Valinórë to Middle-earth. I always thought that it was a slip of the reuse of the name Glorfindel, and the professor, instead of changing the name, made up an explanation for it.
Notice that when the Tales were made, and no such duality of Glorfindel exists, he mentions that Echtelion of the Fountains is the fairest of the Noldoli.
 

Ithrynluin

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The fact that he is the "fairest of the Noldoli" means absolutely squat to me. The poll is not about measuring physical beauty (or any kind of beauty for that matter), but for comparing the deeds of the two Elf-lords.
The fact that Eärendil was fond of Ecthelion is also irrelevant.
Speaking of fondness or greatfulness, Eärendil must have been quite fond of or grateful to Glorfindel don't you think? After all he did save his life. I don't think that Ecthelion's "flute playing" quite measures up.:rolleyes:

The fact that he was wounded when he engaged Gothmog in combat does speak highly of him indeed. Glorfindel is still my first choice, though Ecthelion is close behind.

Whether Tolkien intended for the two Glorfindels to be one and the same from the very beginning is not that important. He obviously made a conscious choice that they were later on, and Glorfindel obviously held some great importance to him.
 

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posted by ithrynluin
Well he was a Noldo and had lived in Middle-earth during Morgoth's hell raising, as opposed to the Vanyar.


Well perhaps I should have said "I think there was a reason that HE of all 'Elves who died and were eventually rehoused' was sent back" instead of saying:


I think there was a reason that HE of all Elves was sent back to Middle Earth


His fight with the Balrog was an act of sacrifice, to secure the passage for Idril, Tuor and young Eärendil. What was Ecthelion's "motive"? Was it more of a self-defensive nature than a sacrifice?



My best answer to those who ask why it was Glorfindel and not Ecthelion that was sent back to Middle-earth is just this: I don't think it is known, but why couldn't we suppose that Ecthelion might have had a reason to stay in Valinor. Maybe he had a wife or children there or for some reason was unwilling to go.
I think both might have done the same thing if in the other's position.




But we must in the end base our decisions on the published texts. For example, I know you're not too fond of Fëanor because of his deeds, but what if he did something good or what if his motives were purer than you (and I) think and we just haven't got the chance to read about them because Tolkien didn't put his thoughts into words. That's why I believe we must not use too many "what ifs" and decide on the basis of the text.

Perhaps Tolkien himself thought that Glorfindel was greater since he decided to send him back to Middle Earth and since he said:


For long years he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled, and in the companionship of the Maiar. To these he had now become almost an equal, for though he was an incarnate (to whom a bodily form not made or chosen by himself was necessary) his spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self-sacrifice.



Glorfindel was become even as one of the Maiar in personal power, which is saying a lot about him.

Tolkien decided to elaborate his character further in HOME XII which I suppose could be saying a lot as to why Glorfindel came back.
The quotes in italics within that quote are mine, the last one is from PoMe, the other is ithrynluin's from his earlier post.

You split my first paragraph down the middle and looked at the first part alone, where it is nearly pointless.
My point was not that he might have been chosen because only because he was a Noldo who lived in Middle-earth during the first age, but because he was unlike other Noldor, except maybe Ecthelion ( so I speculate) in that he was allowed into Valinor, and did not stay long in Mandos, and that is in part because of his great deed.

There lies my answer to your new formed statement...

I think there was a reason that HE of all 'Elves who died and were eventually rehoused'
...because of the rehoused Noldor (who knows when they were rehoused???as early as was Glorfindel??) were not (according to my interpretation based on the writings in PoMe, to which you refer) just allowed back into Valinor.

You imply that Glorfinel's motive was entirely sarcrifice, but that Ecthelions might have been only self-defense.

Both warriors were in danger.

Glorfindel was among those fleeing Gondolin and faced with a balrog... his life was in as much danger as the others.

Now Ecthelion got up wounded and saved the life of Tuor and others in the King's square, although is life too was in danger at the time.


Also, they both did great things during the Nirnaeth. But mind you, Ecthelion slew the Lord of balrogs while seriously wounded... and (imo) that says a little more about the greatnes of the deed.

Maedhros posted: "I always thought that it was a slip of the reuse of the name Glorfindel, and the professor, instead of changing the name, made up an explanation for it."
That is also what I have thought, and though I took hell from someone for saying it, they did not change my mind.

PS: When I say that i suspect both might have done the same in the other's position, I mean that we can not be sure that Glorfindel would not have been able to take down Gothmog, or that Ecthelion could not have done wwhat Glorfindel did after he was sent back to Middle-earth.
 
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Inderjit S

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Ecthelion.

I think the reason why Glorfindel was released so early by Namo, was because of his relatively innocent deeds in the rebellion of the Nodlor, as HoME 12 states. In terms of pyshical prowess, IMO it was Ecthelion. But then again, if we are talking about the mightiest of the lords of Gondolin, then Galdor, Rog and Eglamoth could all be there as well and not forgetting our 8ft+ giant of a man, Tuor, and the even taller Turgon.go

His fight with the Balrog was an act of sacrifice, to secure the passage for Idril, Tuor and young Eärendil. What was Ecthelion's "motive"? Was it more of a self-defensive nature than a sacrifice
To save Tuor.

There he became weary from the strangling heat and was beaten down by a great demon, even Gothmog lord of the Balrogs. But lo!...Ecthelion strode above him as he fell; and that Gnome drave at the demon --->BoLT 2-Fall of Gondolin
 

Ithrynluin

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Originally posted by Ecthelion
Ecthelion is obviously better all round, to me anyway.
Please elaborate why you think he is "better all around".
 

Melko Belcha

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With the information given to us I find it hard to decide. What part did they play in The Battle of Unumbered Tears or any earlier battle? Because of the Appendix in LOTR we learn more of Glorfindel then we know of Ecthelion. But that does not mean that he did more or less than the other so I'm undecided.
 

Beleg

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Ecthelion.

The Quote's provided by Meadhros for me tipped the balance in favor of Ecthelion. Glorifindel however in not very far behind.
 

Melko Belcha

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The Return of the Shadow - At Rivendell
Consultation. Over M[isty] M[ountains}. Down Great River to Mordor. Dark Tower. Beyond (?) Which is Fiery Hill. Story of Gilgalald told by Elrond? Who is Trotter? Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin.
This note was written in the summer of 1938 when Bingo was still the main character and Trotter a Hobbit.

Christopher Tolkien writes
Also very notable is 'Glorfindel tells of his ancestry in Gondolin'. Years later, long after the publication of The Lord of the Rings, my father gave a great deal of thought to Glorfindel, and at that time he wrote: "[ The use of 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, now referred to as The Silmarillion, which escaped reconsideration in the final published form of The Lord of the Rings.' He came to the conclusion that Glorfindel of Rivendell were one and the same: he was released from Mandos and returned to Middle-earth in the Second Age.
 

Rain-King

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Ecthelion was quite clearly the greater Elf for several reasons. He slew Gothmog, lorg of the Balrogs. but died in the attempt.
Glorfindel slew only a regular Balrog and died in the attempt.
Other noteworthy factors are that Ecthelion was injured during his fight and weary from battle. Additionally, Gothmog was more than just a better Balrog, he was better equipped. The battle of unnumbered tears tells of his armour, suggesting that Balrogs (with the exception of Gothmog) wore no armour.

This is all very well but quite clearly, Fingolfin was greater than them both.
 

Ithrynluin

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Originally posted by Rain-King
This is all very well but quite clearly, Fingolfin was greater than them both.
If you are referring to their prowess in battle, I disagree. Both Glorfindel and Ecthelion could have done the amount of damage to Morgoth that Fingolfin did IMO. But this is not about Fingolfin anyway.

Welcome to the forums.
 

Rain-King

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Thanks, that comment about Fingolfin was not meant to be talked about, just me expressing my opinion for no reason, it was just an afterthought. One thing that seems apparent to me is that both Glorfindel and Ecthelion seemed to rely on their strength in their respective fights whereas Fingolfin relied on finesse, dodging Morgoth's blows rather than trying to block with his shield. Thus you might expect his individual hits to deal less damage but the fact that he made seven and then took Morgoth's foot off is quite an acheivement.
 

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