Forum: Characters of Middle-earth and Aman

Discussing: Glorfindel


I'm currently working on a story about Glorfindel, and therefore thinking a lot about his character. Since we get so little information, it is both harder and easier to flesh out.

The description of his face as "full of joy" makes me think at least some of the joy is due to his return from Mandos and his time in Valinor.

But what would his other traits be? What would his faults be? (perhaps vanity, given the description in the Sil of his "mantle so broidered in threads of gold that it was diapered with Celadine as a field in spring..."

I'm interested in how others see him.




Re: Glorfindel

I would see anybody who dies a horrible death and is then thrust back into a new body as being slightly traumatized, maybe not permanently though.

He could have been vain, if you're taking the description of his attire with that interpretation (somehow I can't help it now but picture Glorfy checking his hair and braids before fighting the Balrog!), but then Ecthelion is described as dripping with silver and diamonds. It would seem that Elves were as a whole concerned with their appearance, as aesthetic appreciation was a major facet of their lives, and perhaps the Elves of Gondolin were a little more concerned with pagaentry and decoration than others.

However, I could not see the Glorfindel who appears to Aragorn and the hobbits near the ford of Bruinen as vain.

My Glorfindel is far too self-effacing and unwilling to see himself as others see him: as a hero worthy of praise. It bothers him that the Elves celebrate the anniversary of his death (Tolkien states that this was so, and that his grave was a place of pilgrimage), but that the sacrifices of Ecthelion and others are not given the same consideration.

Also, since Tolkien never says what happens to the remnants of the Golden Flower, I had to guess that, without their lord, many of them joined Tuor's household and stayed until the sons of Feanor sacked Sirion; a few might have gone to Balar with Galdor and the House of the Tree. Many were probably killed at Sirion, so that might have some effect on Glorfindel's personality--after all, the people of the Golden Flower are *his* responsibility, and he was not there to protect them from the Feanorians.

Since he was probably reborn and returned to Middle Earth in the Second Age (Tolkien finally settled on this version in HoME XII), around the time that Celebrimbor was killed and Eregion laid waste, one has to wonder how sympathetic Glorfindel was toward Feanor's grandson.

I am guessing that since he spends much of the First and (after his rebirth) Second Ages in combat, Glorfindel probably has something of a military mindset. Since we are told that the warrior Ecthelion was an accomplished flutist, it isn't unreasonable that Glorfindel is musical or has some other artistic talent (I bet he sings beautifully), but I think he is more comfortable on the back of a horse with a sword in his hand.



Re: Glorfindel

Granamyr, I have tried to avoid Envinyanta so I would not be influenced by a different perception of Glorfindel. It was about as successful as my attempts to avoid Levade's stories, or Nilmandra's 'History Lessons'. Which is to say temporary victory, with eventual fall to the lure of the story. I'm enjoying it very much. I also find it fascinating to see the differences and similarities of our Glorfindels.

I chose to emphasize the 'joy' part of the description, but I can see a good basis for your Glorfindel, and I find it quite an interesting view of him.

I am using an earlier time period in the Second Age, and my Glor doesn't think too much of Celebrimbor either, mainly for his foolish blindness. We've written some parallels - mine too is very much the military commander, although he would rather give it up. And I did make him musical.

I agree that the Glorfindel of Fotr is not vain. If vanity was an early flaw, it would have been gone after his time in Mandos' halls.I am still working out what (minor) faults he might have, as I know I'll need that to make him believable. You have already done that - having him snap at the child Lindir fills that in nicely for your character. Would you see any other minor flaws?




Re: Glorfindel

My Glorfindel has a tendency to wallow somewhat in self-pity and has a bit of a self-esteem problem, if you could call it that. Much of this stems from survivor's guilt and the fact that he was thrust unexpectedly into a position of command by the death of his brother; it's perfectly sound reasoning from a psychological standpoint and pretty accurate, I think, for somebody just coming out of Mandos after such a traumatic event. In this case, the fall of Gondolin is likened somewhat to the Holocaust, and it probably would have been so to the survivors of places like Gondolin, Nargothrond and Doriath. And in his rebirth, Glorfindel is confronted by many parallels to his old life. Even Rivendell, with his falling waters and encircling mountains, reminds him of Gondolin.

I think if he were aware of the effect he has on others, or rather, if he acknowledged it, he might eventually become arrogant. Elves may not be human, but Feanor is proof enough that they are capable of excessive pride.

He does find Erestor highly annoying, but then, my Erestor, being a pupil of Pengolod, is obnoxious.

As for lighting up like a candle, I imagine that could be a source of embarrassment if you can't switch it off.

Some Eldar, like Galadriel, are capable of mind-speech, but somehow I don't think Glorfindel is capable of it. I can definitely see Finrod doing it, though.



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