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Thread: Turgon, king of Gondolin

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Allyssa began this thread with the following post

My fav. character from the Sil. I was captivated by the tragedy in his life as well as his "human" failings of pride and complacency and his inability to accept the inevitable.

I almost cried when he died. Very moving I think, the captain going down with his ship.

I wonder if he ever recieved the pardon of the Valar?

Huan replied

Alyssa you have this wonderful tendac of posting interesting things that nobody replies too! I'm back to Sil. soon but cannot off the top of my head talk about Turgon (even if I have read the book several times)
However, my memory of Turgon is that due to all the Elves and he suffered he has decided too hole up in Gondolin and wait for time to go by. It just seemed to be a doomed decision from the beginning. And his "fear" is what inevitalby dooms his city. We'll talk about it later But there are so may rich characters in the book. I have a definite feeling for the lost-heroes - Turin, Beren, etc. even my name sake Huan!
I always thought Turgon was kind of like an Ostrich, hiding his head in the sand and hoping the problem would go away. He did come good a couple of times though, but he should have trusted Tuor quicker. Of the two who forged their secret fortresses, I still prefer felagund, sorry!
But Feanor was also proud & complacent...even more than the sons of Fingoflin & Finarfin. I don't think that it could be called human failings, since Feanor & most of his sons had 'em. Elves aren't noble and wise all the time.

Ermm...what are Elven values, btw?
About 20 a share at the mo I think Big Smile Smilie
The elven values I was referring to were the responsibility of a leader to do the right thing by his people. Turgon made the wrong choice and most of the people of Gondonlin died as a result. I think he fealt a lot of remorse in the end, when he realised what he had done, that's why he chose to die rather than escape. I think that is noble.

Feanor was only interested in revenge when he came to ME. He wasn't there long before his recklessness got him killed. Proud? yes. Complacent? When did he get time? And you can't say Feanor was kind to his sons. He pushed them on to fullfill the oath, even as he died.

As for the others, complacent? Not to the point of halving their guard on their boarders as if the outside world didn't exist any more. Humans often ignore something in the hope it will go away. I think most people can identify with that. It makes us feel closer to him, and makes him seem less "above" us. I like to see characters with flaws. Makes them more interesting.
I don't mind Turgon, but I must say I preferred Finrod, too.
Ok, I concede the 'complacent' point about Feanor...but I still think that Feanor is more human than all the other Elves, including Turgon. True, I haven't read as much on Turgon as you have, but Feanor seems to be more 'earthy' (thus human) - he's proud, passionate & a very skilled craftsman...kinda like the human warriors of old. Turgon seems to be too pure & lofty to be human somehow.
I still feel very sorry for Hurin who wanted to come back to Gondolin after ahving been released from Angband... and Turgon hesitated such a long while and finally Hurin had to depart and committed suicide.
When we realise how much Hurin did to save Turgon and at what cost to himself and his own family... this is extremely sad.
You have my agreement yet again Eryan. And I think hesitancy and indecision are more human-like failings. He hesitates because he fears for the security of his realm, and yet it is this very hesitation that gives away its location to Morgoth. Very ironic and moving.

I find it difficult to think of Feanor as human because of his distain for the secondborn races as inferior and repulsive, as he is described in The Book of Lost Tales (I think). He does make for an interesting catalystic character though.
Very true Allyssa!...
For me, the question of alliances with no real equality among allies belongs to the most
sad and tragic questions in human history. There are hundreds of examples of situations
in which "faithful alllies" had the right to die for you, but not the inverse! Foul play...
In Tolkien's world Finrod Felagund is the most important exception. He really treats
Barahir and Beren as his equals.
I think Finrod should have his own thread....
he certainly deserves it.

Yes, and I suppose Turgon did give Hurin a pretty raw deal. Hurin sacrafices all, and Turgon ignores him? Not nice. But very true to indecisive, hesitant character. If Hurin had been an elf, do you think Turgon would have acted differently?

Turgon did however allow Tuor (a human) to marry his daughter, so he must have had some sense of "equality" with humans. All of Gondolin is said to have taken heart at the sight of Tour on the battlements,Tuor was also more popular than the ill-favoured Meaglin (an elf), so it seems that the Gondolithrim in general felt no particular disdain for motals.

AS for thinking of them as equals? Its not quite the same thing, but they seem to be at least regarded close to equals.
Yes you are right Allyssa!
When Voronwe (an Elf) and Tuor (a human) approached the secret gates of Gondolin, Voronwe also was threatened by the Guards although he was an Elf...
Turgon seems to have accepted the love between Idril and Tuor more easily than
Thingol did in a similar case. But it is also said that he always had in mind the words of Huor during Nirnaeth Arnoediad... that the hope for Eldar and Edain will spring from the union of their houses...
I also have a feeling that Elves learned to respect and to love Edain more and more as they had an occasion to know them better. Thingol at first adresses Beren as a "baseborn mortal" - and then he accepts him as a son-in-law and then makes Turin his own foster son.
Isn't the cause of most racism just a fear of the unknown. When an individual really becomes familiar with one of the others (one of "them"), becomes to trust that person, then their racist tendencies are lessened towards the other group as a whole. If they have truly come to trust that other person, familiarity does not breed contempt.
Very true!
Things worked in the same way in the case of Legolas and Gimli as well...
I like your comments about Turgon Allyssa and Eryan. I also love what Grondy said about racisim, it is so very true. I myself found Finrod to be to be the least human of the Elves in the Silmarillion. I could sympathize with Turgon because he was not as renowned as his brothers, he was hesitant and quieter. Atleast that's what I sensed. And I think he was very noble because he probably regretted the bad descisions he made. Feanor did not.
I never liked many of the High Elves very much(except Finrod and Fingolfin) all the rest just seemed to care about themselves and the Sillmarills, I never saw much humanity in them.
I don't view the Hurin episode as indecisive, but rather resolute. Turgon had seen the seriousness of Morgoths threat, and all the harm it could wreak. There's also the issue of Morgoths habit of setting the dread of him on his thralls so that if even if they should escape they remained his slaves. In the end, Turgon relents despite the risk in memory of his old friend and ally.

That Turgon defied the counsel of Ulmo at the beginning and end of Gondolin simply shows how deeply all the Exiles were meshed in the Doom of Mandos (in the LT part of this was Mandos' statement, "Great is the Fall of Gondolin.")

Meanwhile, Turgon was one of the wisest and noblest of the Exiles, who longest remained unbowed by Morgoth. The Silmarillion tells us that Gondolin rivalled Tirion itself, a remarkable declaration, given that the greatest of Noldor, Vanyar, and Valar were involved with its making. Where Feanor and his sons were obsessed with the Silmarils, Turgon fashioned with his own hands memorials of the Two Trees in Gondolin. And, of course, Gondolin did what Feanor couldn't: slew Gothmog. One might even argue that if the hosts of the Nirnaeth Ardeonidad (sp. but that one always gave me trouble) had come to Gondolins aid rather than the reverse Morgoth might've been overthrown then. However, that would've conflicted with a major theme of the narrative, one that Turgon and Finrod understood better than any: that while the Eldar might marshall a defence, they could not overcome Morgoth by their own might, thus their hope lay in secret resistance and seeking the aid of the Valar.

Fer sure Finrod deserves his own thread (or as I thrice mistyped "won thread," and he certainly won it,) but I still like Turgon best (though Tuor runs a close second.)
Where Feanor and his sons were obsessed with the Silmarils, Turgon fashioned with his own hands memorials of the Two Trees in Gondolin.

Well, you could say Turgon became obsessed with his fair city, so that he lost any feel of danger and thought his ppl would be safe until the end. And this proved to be his downfall.

And about Maeglin, well, what was the cause that he loved his niece (although it quickly turned into only lust, and nothing more) ? The Doom of Mandos, as always. He cannot be blamed that it drove him insane. He should've taken a Wertherish way out, maybe, instead of betraying his mother's ppl and city...

P.S. : Nirnaeth Arnoediad
I don't really agree that all the High Elves were selfish. You make a good point in saying Finrod and Fingolfin weren't, but a lot of the others were good too, like Fingon and (give him some credit) Turgon wasn't bad either...
Yeah, I assumed I misspelled that; I always do. Too many !@#$@!! vowels. Turgon wasn't insensible to the danger he (and by extention all the Eldar who remained free after the Ruin of Doriath) but he was caught in the Doom of Mandos, too (REALLY caught; Gondolin is the only thing specifically mentioned in it in LT1.) Maeglin was a tragic figure; I have far more sympathy for him than his father; in fact the two go together. I always felt Eols Foretelling at his death was a Doom of his own on Maeglin, and, while the text doesn't say this, it is from that moment the Idril began to dread him. But, like I say, that's just my feeling and there's nothing to indicate anything more than what we already knew: that the Eldar had the Foretelling (but Gitara Moroso Foretold the birth of the Dragon Reborn!)
(but Gitara Moroso Foretold the birth of the Dragon Reborn!)

That wasn't really foretelling now, was it ? Wasn't that the chick who cried out "the dragon is born." or something in the like, when Shaiel gave birth to him on the Dragon mountain?

I could be wrong, of course.

Maybe we should make a WOT thread somewhere.
We'd have to excercise some care though since it's in progres, and not everyone reads/has time to read at the same rate. I've heard rumors the Committee to Sell Grondy On WoT is making progress, and I'd feel like a real heel if I ruined it for him, or anyone else. I, of course, well likely have finished KoD by dawn the day after it comes out. And then it's only two years 'til the next one!

Well i've only read the first 7 books, as my library can't be bothered with ordering the next 3....

i don't really dislike Elaida, for some reason... you're very right about Sevanna though, to me she's prolly the biggest female dog in the book, although i dislike that Seanchan chick Suroth (sp?) and also Semirhage almost as much.

Well maybe it's just me but i found most female characters becoming more and more annoying as the number of books increases, safe Nynaeve : i'm actually liking her now. Faile (expect Perrin to get a heartache), Elayne and Egwene really start to get on their high horse.

Of course, most Aes Sedai are a pain in the arse anyway, safe Moiraine and Siuan (sp?) Sanche.

The thing i really like bout WOT is that in the beginning of each book, we get to know that every baddie/faction makes his or her own plans to use the Dragon for their own plans, but in the end it always backfires and it's the Dragon who's in control.
Tell me again what the Wheel of Time series has to do with "Turgon, King of Gondolin"? Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Instead of rubbing it in, Mr Grondmaster, couldn't you help us by moving this thread to where it belongs ? Very Big Grin Smilie

We have, however, wandered a tad far astray, I'm just too shy to start that (those? the real reason I'm hesitating) WoT thread in Non-Tolkien Books.

Well, i'd say, have a go, before someone starts threads about Hairy Potty...
OK, tell you what: I'll start one and transport them to it. I'll toast all of mine except the original Foretelling comparison because a) it's less than a sentence at the end of a long post, and b) I think it's funny, and leave yours to your discretion, Miruvor, but they'll be over da either way. (I really must sleep soon.)
There, thread unhijacked. (See, it was all Miruvors fault.) Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie

Oops, sorry; being internet illeterate, I have no clue how to do that, thanks, Vee.
And the thread on WoT can be found here....

Wheel of Time Thread