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Topic: Fingolfin or Faenor

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 3, 2007
Fingolfin or Faenor

Here is something I wonder about alot.  For the most part, it seems, everyone agrees that Faenor was the greatest of the elves.  And I believe, it actually even says that somewhere.  But I do remember reading in the Silmarillion that of Finwe's sons, it said that Fingolfin was the stoutest, if that is a word even, or strongest in arms.  And that Finarfin was the fairest of mind.  My question is, of the brothers I have veered towards Fingolfin being a greater elf in deeds of their life.  Faenor did make the Silmarils, which will go down as the greatest things ever made, and the only other thing of good that i can think of is that he created from Rumils alphabet another alphabet that was to be used.  Where as Fingolfin showed many times his greatness.  From being a better elf and not wanting to take revenge for Faenor turning his sword upon him, to completly forgiving him for that.  Also, the treck across the northern ice to get to Beleriand, although he lost many.  To the one on one challange against Morgoth, in which he fought bravely, and wounding Morgoth 7 times before finally falling.  It just seems to me that Fingolfin was the better elf.


I look forward to some good arguments on this


 


And sorry about the no paragraphs thing, i am a really bad writer.


 



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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On Fëanor:

Fëanor made the seven Palantiri as it is told in the Annals of Aman and he made the Silmarils, the great jewels that holds the last remaining light of what was before the Sun and Moon.
Furter, according to the Earliest Tales, he created the Green Stone of Fëanor. This was the Elessar, the green stone that was taken by Earendil into the West. Now, in later versions Tolkien credited Celebrimbor with the creation of the Elessar, but still the fact that he was the one who made it in early writings is another hint for his power and skill.
Though not confirmed Fëanor may also have been the creator of the Lamps of the Noldor.
In VY 1250 Feanor took the letters of Rúmil and improved them and those letters have been used by the Eldar ever since. In VY 1490 he went north of Valmar and built Formenos, where also his father and sons came to live.

So as we see, he had done more things, and perhaps many others we are not told of.

Fingolfin didn't create anything, but as you say, considering his deeds he is more worthy of remembrance then Feanor. Still, there are enough reasons to consider Feanor the overall winner, and the greatest of the Noldor.

This is important to keep in mind, since Noldor doesn't include all the Elves.


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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 3, 2007
Ah yeah, forgot about the palantir.  And i am not trying so much to belittle in anyway what Faenor did, but more i guess to build up Fingolfin, who if you have not been able to tell yet, is my favorite charactor.  Another point I just remembered, and i think it was in Lost tales, about Galadrial and Celeborn, i believe i remember it saying also that after her time in Middle Earth she was considered to rival Faenor for greatness.  I know coming from Lost tales, which it seems might be somewhat not taken as part of the true past because of the time it was written, that might not be as much of an argument. 

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Yes indeed Turgolfin I will post the quote you firstly refer to:


"Fëanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame. Fingolfin was the strongest, the most steadfast, and the most valiant. Finarfin was the fairest, and the most wise of heart; and afterwards he was a friend of the sons of Olwë, lord of the Teleri, and had to wife Eärwen, the swan-maiden of Alqualondë, Olwë's daughter." The Silmarillion


 


However there is 2 other quotes, which in my eyes at least, overides this:


 


"Thus ended the mightiest of the Noldor, of whose deeds came both their greatest renown and their most grievous woe." The Silmarillion


"For Fëanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding, in skill, in strength and in subtlety alike, of all the Children of Ilúvatar, and a bright flame was in him." The silmarillion


 



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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 3, 2007

Both excellent quotes which i do remember.  I know it was the intent of Tolkien to make Faenor the greatest, which he did very well.  My thoughts are more of a reader than a writer, meaning when i read the Silmarillion, what i get out of it is yes, Faenor is great, his skills with his hands no one can deny, and words he was able to move people.  But with that good also i take into account the bad, which he also had alot of.  One of the toughest parts of the book for me to read is the Kin Slaying, after that point i down right did not even respect him anymore.  So I believe although the great things he did do, the bad things ended up bringing him down, in my opinion.  Where as Fingolfin was always on the right side of things, and doing his great deeds without having the baggage that Faenor brought with him. 


So in Tolkiens mind yes, Faenor is the greatest, that is the way he wanted it.  But for me, i can't let go of the bad things, and that is why i think Fingolfin overall was better.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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it depends on the reader
Turin Turambar did also many bad things and was responsible for more then one death of innocent people due to his decisions, but still he is deemed by many to be the greatest of Men
so I guess it is your own choice as a reader to choose who your favourite is

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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I agree TM, its up to the reader to make that choice for themselves.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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In terms of combat between the two I think it would be a close call if thats what you mean. After all Fingolfin did manage to wound Morgoth seven times, whilst Feanor did take on a large host from Angband single handed and survived quite a while until Gothmog came.

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Elf of Beleriand - Rank 2
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Date: Jan 22, 2007
That is part of what i meant, but i think that physical combat is only one part of what makes someone great, i think leadership wise he was greater as well.  obviously craftsmenship wise its a no brainer that faenor is the best, but i would say combat and leadership went to fingolfin.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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RE: Fingolfin or Feanor

When comparing the half brothers Fingolfin and Feanor, there is no question as to which is the greater, as the above quotes from Tolkien illustrate quite clearly.   Now if you wish to compare them on a moral basis, there is still a question of which is 'better'.   Feanor was his father's favored son, and that is demonstrated by Finwe following his son into exile.   Both brothers were prideful and it does seem that Fingolfin sought to usurp his older brother's position, though he does deny it.   Fingolfin still takes leadership of the greater host of the Noldor during the rebellion, though it is clear that Feanor is the High King at this time due to the death of Finwe.  

No matter that almost all of the Noldor chose to follow through with the rebellion, if Fingolfin were truly the moral superior he would have given his fealty to his older brother.  

And as for Feanor's works vs Fingolfin, Feanor did create the more reknown works, but that is not to say that Fingolfin did nothing.  The Noldor were fond of Aule and for the most part were very adept at creating things from the earth.   That would imply that an Elf as great as Fingolfin would probably have been quite skilled at hand. 

The reference to Galadriel as being nearly Feanor's equal is from an unfinished tale and is hardly canon.  There is a foreward in that chapter that explains that Tolkien had never finished the story of Galadriel and many of his later thoughts were contradictory to what can be found in the published works.  



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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RE: Fingolfin or Faenor

I also found it difficult to believe that Galadriel could be superior to Noldor like Finwe, Fingolfin and Finarfin. Is there any referhence anywhere else to suggest that another Noldor save Feanor might have surpassed her?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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The description in The Shibboleth of Feanor makes an exception for Feanor with respect to Galadriel being the 'greatest' of the Noldor, that is, it's noted 'except Feanor maybe' (and it is added that she was wiser than he however). Also published in Unfinished Tales: in the tale that Christopher Tolkien describes 'adumbrated but never told, he describes his father's treatment as including Galadriel being the equal of Feanor 'if unlike in endowments' -- in The Lord of the Rings Feanor was said to be greatest of the Eldar in arts and lore. 

In The Lord of the Rings Galadriel is called greatest of Elven women, and it's noted that the Three Rings '... had been held at first by the three greatest of the Eldar: Gil-galad, Galadriel, Círdan.' This could mean 'at the time' perhaps. One thing which I think contradictory (in any case) is when Tolkien tries to remove Galadriel from the rebellion of the Noldor (as he had already published something about this).

Anyway 'great' can include many things, and when the full package is considered, Galadriel appears to gets high marks even according to published accounts. In The Shibboleth, after referring to Feanor and Galadriel as the 'greatest of the Eldar in Valinor', Tolkien noted: 'Who together with the greatest of all the Eldar, Lúthien Tinúviel, daughter of Elu Thingol, are the chief matters of the legends and histories of the Elves.'

Galin 



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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As Christopher Tolkien also points out in the UT, Galadriel and her long and complex tale was one of the topics Tolkien was working on when he died. This could be the reason for the existance of so many different and at times contradictory statements.

I personally don't know what to think...I consider Feanor greatest, and Galadriel second, as for Luthien...I don't know what to say about her, her part in the Quenta Silmarillion was in my opinion greater then any of Galadriel's deeds. 



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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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I have always thought of Finwe (sp?) as being the greatest of the Noldo. He was one of the three traversers who went across to Valinor and back to his homeland to tell the Elves about it. He was the father of all these great Elves mentioned and he was the founder of the Noldo.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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When looking at Unfinished Tales we are essentially looking at unfinished drafts and thus contradictions are not unexpected, especially considering the time a given piece was written. If we look at 'unpublished' texts on the whole, we do note how great Galadriel is thought to be, but looking at what Tolkien had published about her we find that she is already inculded among the great of the Eldar, if indeed not the foremost in arts and lore (Feanor) -- which Tolkien appears to be considering in the very late 'unpublished' version in which we find Galadriel being the equal of Feanor 'if unlike in endowments'.

Galin

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Forgive me Galin but are you saying that Galadriel was the equal to Feanor in some of Tolkien's unpublished stories? Can you tell me which ones so I can have a look?

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Utúlie'n  aurë!  Aiya  Eldalië  ar  Atanatári,  utúlie'n  aurë! 
Auta  i  lómë! 
Aurë entuluva!

Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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There's a very late and partly illegible note, a story adumbrated but never told, said to have been set down in the last month of Tolkien's life in which '... he [Tolkien] emphasized the commanding stature of Galadriel already in Valinor, the equal if unlike in endowments of Feanor;...'

That's just from Unfinished Tales (Christopher Tolkien's description of course)

Galin

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Perhaps this means that Galadriel was the equal of Feanor in terms of female. However as we know Tolkien does tend to show Men in a greater and stronger light then women so Galadriel, being the female equal of Feanor, does not mean she is actually on par with him in might if you see what I mean. She is the Female (which are portrayed weaker) equal/counterpart.

-- Edited by mouth of sauron at 20:14, 2007-02-20

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