5

In the narration of Dagor Dagorath, Tolkien prophesies that when Melkor is released at the end of the world there will be an encounter in Valinor of Tulkas, Eönwe and Túrin Turambar to oppose him.

Tulkas is not the greatest of the Valar, but he is the most powerful unarmed fighter. Eönwe is the most powerful weapon fighter among the Maïar. Túrin is one of the most deadly human warriors (he killed a lot of people, even some enemies).

I interpret this meeting as a team of the best fighters of each species and I miss the inclusion of an elf. Said elf should be the most famous warrior of his race.

Did Tolkien ever mention that Elvish chronicles and legends singled out an elf warrior above all others? Was his name known?

  • How does your question relate to the scenario? Are you simply using to establish a precedent for "best" of a race? – amflare Jul 26 '17 at 0:42
  • @amflare I found the apparent lack of symmetry shocking and I thought there must have been a good reason for the absence of an elf champion. The only elf with a good reason not to be available is Fëanor. – Ginasius Jul 26 '17 at 6:22
  • 1
    I believe it actually has to do with personal enmity rather than peak physical prowess. In the earlier versions of the mythology, Eönwe is avenging the "death" of Arien. I might actually argue that Huor or Húrin were equal to Túrin; the circumstances in which each fought were different enough to make direct comparisons difficult. (Ah, just saw Buzz mentioned Húrin as well.) – chepner Jul 26 '17 at 16:37
  • It seems a little silly to make the connection. The Ainur are closer to a pantheon, where each has a clear role/purpose and strength. Other races are not likely to have such a definitive choice for the best in an area with few exceptions (Feanor as an elven craftsman comes to mind). – suchiuomizu Jul 26 '17 at 22:11
8

There are many great Elven warriors that are named, but here are a few that are quite explicitly considered as "the most powerful".

Explicitly mentioned as powerful

Fëanor

  • Went into combat with several Balrogs, perished in the attempt

For Fëanor was made the mightiest in all parts of the body and the 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.

As mentioned in the quote, Fëanor was mightier; in body, mind, valour, endurance, beauty, understanding, skill, strength and subtetly, than all the Children of Ilúvatar.

Fingolfin

  • Went into combat with Morgoth himself, perished in the attempt: not before inflicting mortal wounds

Fingolfin was said to be the strongest, most steadfast, and most valiant of Finwë's sons.

Of course, there's also Ecthelion, who killed Gothmog Lord of Balrogs, and Elu Thingol, who's noted as "the mightiest Eldar save second to Feanor only". Based on how you want to interpret the sources, you could say that Fingolfin was the most powerful Elven warrior, give that he was able to wound Morgoth 7 times.

Galadriel

While not a warrior, she was explicitly considered to be a mighty.

A queen she [Galadriel] was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth.


Not explicitly mentioned as powerful

Ecthelion

  • Went into combat with Gothmog Lord of Balrogs, perished in the attempt: not before succeeding in killing Gothmog

Fingon

  • Went into combat with several Balrogs, perished in the attempt

Glorfindel (pre-reembodiment)

  • Went into combat with a Balrog, perished in the attempt: not before succeeding in killing the Balrog

Gil-galad

  • Went into combat with Sauron (together with Elendil), perished in the attempt: not before succeeding in wounding Sauron

What about elves in the Dagor Dagorath?

I'll venture out to include the prophecy, which is told in full here:

Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgement in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and Moon. But Eärendel shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor.

Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Eärendel shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Fëanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Palúrien; and he will break them and with their fire Yavanna will rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the Light shall go out over all the world.

Eärendil (spelt Eärendel then) is the only Elf (formally Half-Elven) mentioned that goes to battle with Morgoth. Fëanor, reembodied, is mentioned as well, but his only mentioned role in the Dagorath is to "surrender" the Silmarils.

5

The greatest elven warrior would presumably be Fëanor, just as he was the greatest in many areas. He was only slain in battle by being ambushed by multiple balrogs when he headed off alone toward Angband after the Battle Under the Stars. However, he is unavailable to fight in the Dagor Dagorath. Fëanor is confined to Mandos until he repents for his crimes, which he will not do until after the battle (when he will finally reveal the secret of how the Silmarils were made, so they can be broken open and their light used to recreate the two trees).

Incidentally, Turin, while he might have been a great warrior, was not the mightiest Edain fighter. That honor belongs to his father, who slew so many orcs and trolls at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears that his weapon melted.

  • I like your answer more than Voronwe's cause 1) is earlier and 2) you allude to that Mandos issue. Could you improve your response with quotes from Tolkien's writings? – Ginasius Jul 26 '17 at 6:27
  • @Ginasius I'll have to dig up some quotes later; I don't have the Silmarillion in digital form. – Buzz Jul 26 '17 at 13:57
3

Good answers but I'd like to add Beleg Cúthalion into consideration. Tolkien singles him as the most skilled, which is something broad, but considering we see him healing and fighting with sword and bow, makes him a very complete warrior.

Thus ended Beleg Strongbow, truest of friends, greatest in skill of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand in the Elder Days, at the hand of him whom he most loved; and that grief was graven on the face of Túrin and never faded.

The Silmarillion - JRR Tolkien

  • of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand That's a pretty small designation. He doesn't seem to match nearly to that of other elf lords... – Edlothiad Jul 26 '17 at 11:53
  • @Edlothiad In my opinion it becomes important when you consider others who fought in the woods of Beleriand: Turin, Hurín, Beren. And he is singled by Tolkien, the lover of nature, whose world is basically made of forests. Then again I could be wrong but I don think it merits a downvote. – Ram Jul 26 '17 at 11:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.