|The LOTR Movie Site
October 2, 2000
It Depends on How You Define
In reply to SHO.
Yes... Feanor has a lot of admirable qualities mentioned in
his favour (good scholarship on finding that quote, by the way!) but the 'claim' Tolkien
makes for Feaor's greatness is not borne out in the sum total of Feanor's actions.
And when one tallies up his other accomplishments, were they
really so 'great'?
Feanor has a pretty face and nice big muscles... this makes a
I think most people today would include a set of ethical
criteria amongst all those others in their assessment of someone's 'greatness'. To limit
'greatness' to the possession of non-moral qualities is to suggest that a sentient being
is 'great' merely because it had a privileged gene set and a favourable upbringing.
Or in other words; good luck.
No... the moral component when judging 'greatness' must be
included, and on the strength of this criterion Fingolfin beats the pants off Feanor.
It wasn't Fingolfin's blows upon Morgoth that made him great -- it was his decision to go and do something about the desperate situation the peoples under his rule were in.
Perhaps if Tolkien's Elves understood 'greatness' to mean 'most prominent' then Feanor might stand as such. But then, the point that Morgoth was the 'greatest' could also be urged; did he not force the hand of Iluvatar himself?