Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Rivendell

Posted by – 09/07/2008

I was browsing my old emails and I found a 2002 one to the Tolkien List (I believe that list is dead, since Google seems to know nothing about it), that have generated a thread over the known controversy of the two Glorfindels.

By that time, the discussion was over with the argument that Tolkien have not said a thing about it and, since he re-used a lot of names, the two Glorfindels might not be the same person… Tolkien might have just let it slip without further consideration. While Googling for the dead list I just found some text that shed more light on the issue: apparently Tolkien have written about the controversy!

The information comes from a book published after Tolkien’s death by his son, Christopher, and it sets the story of one Glorfindel, dead in Gondolin, after defeating a balrog, gone to Mandos in the blessed land and

After his purging of any guilt that he had incurred in the rebellion, he was released from Mandos, and Manwë restored him… We may then best suppose that Glorfindel returned during the Second Age, before the ‘shadow’ fell on Númenor. . .

The Tolkien Gateway goes further and speculates he became a follower of Olórin (who became Gandalf in the Middle-earth) after being released from Mandos, and that he came to Middle-earth around the time the Blue Wizards came, to help in their task.

That last part is not quoted from the Tolkien text, so I would have to read it from some source to believe it (although quite possible). Now I’ll have to find a copy of that book to learn the rest of the story. Might not be easy to get one… the book was published in 1996, and, apparently, nobody knew it back when I had the discussion at the Tolkien List… Any idea where I can find one in Brazil?

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