The LOTR Movie Site
September 7, 2000

Fingolfin the Greatest ... What?

In response to Mark S.'s 9-01-00 article...

Fingolfin was most likely endowed with the greatest physical strength, and swordsmanship of all the Noldor, and possibly all the Eldar, but he was not the greatest non-Ainu.

That title belongs to Feanor.  None of Fingolfin's deeds, nor those of any other Child of Iluvatar, compare to the impact Feanor's had on Middle Earth.

Don't get caught up in the idea that Feanor was prideful and selfish, or that his actions had negative repercussions.  That does not diminish his greatness.  Melkor's deeds had nothing but negative repercussions, but he was still the greatest being in Arda.

Check out this passage from "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor" in the Silmarillion (Chp. 11, pg. 112 of the version I have):

"...Feanor 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 Iluvatar..."

We know Feanor had Fingolfin beat in all other categories, but those words imply he had him beat in the strength and valour categories as well.  After all, Fingolfin may have wounded Melkor, but Feanor held his own for an impressively long time against Gothmog and the same Balrogs that defeated a bloated Ungoliant.  So bloated and powerful, in fact, that she could have slain a temporarily weakened Melkor.  That suggests Feanor's physical might was as terrible as Ungoliant at her strongest.