As we prepare for Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings series, we thought it wise to look at some of the most epic characters to have lived in Middle-Earth. This list will concern itself with the beings who walked Middle-earth in the First, Second and Third Age. This is our the true list of all the strongest, wisest and most influential (A.K.A Famous) characters in the Tolkien’s universe.
A special mention needs to go out to certain characters who have not made it onto this list. The brave Hobbits, especially Frodo, are some of the truest, most tenacious, and strong-willed of all characters in the story. Yet Frodo was chosen as Ring Bearer precisely because he was not conventionally “powerful”, so that even if they failed and the Ring corrupted him, he would not be able to cause much harm. Most of the Fellowship are not included here but their importance to the tale is undisputed.
Here’s 15 Famous characters in Tolkien’s middle earth:
You simply cannot leave out Strider, ranger of the north. He is one of the few representatives of the race of Men on this list, Aragorn deserves a place not only for his skill at arms but for his importance as the First High King of the reunited Kingdoms after the fall of Sauron. Aragorn is the son of Arathorn, known as Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil’s son of Gondor. He is fostered by Elrond at Rivendell (like so many of the other Humans on this list) in secret until he is ready to take on this heavy destiny.
He served as the sixteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain and the Rangers of the North, living in the wild and, at Gandalf’s bequest, acting as a guard outside the Shire’s borders as Strider.
An unsurpassed warrior, he is also unfailingly loyal and protects Frodo and the Ring, refusing to give in to the temptation of the Ring’s corruption. When the Fellowship disbands, he strives to keep the remains of it in one piece and leads the fight to the Black Gate.
Aragorn is hailed as one of only 4 persons ever to resist the power of the One Ring when offered to take it freely: One such instance was at the council of Elrond. Aragorn is offered the ring by Frodo but he quickly declines. So if he was tempted, he passed with flying colors. Aragorn was, literally, the best of the best of men, and the best human alive in Middle Earth at the time. He was humble and knew the One Ring was beyond his power to control.
After the hard-fought victory over Sauron, he is crowned King Elessar, twenty-sixth King of Arnor and thirty-fifth King of Gondor. He is a powerful man in peace time as well as war and a symbol of good ultimately triumphing over evil.
Cool things Aragorn did:
-Reforged the shards of Narsil (Orignially forged during the First Age by the famed Dwarven-smith Telchar of Nogrod) to wield one of the most bad-ass swords ever: Anduril
-Summoned a Ghost army to fight for him.
-As mentioned above he successfully resisted the power of the One Ring.
Thingol is one of those characters that fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy might not have heard of unless they’ve read the books about Middle-Earth’s history. Thingol was the King of Doriath and the King of the Sindar, High-king. He was also described as one of the greatest and mightiest of all the Eldar.
The Sindar were the first of the first elves, befire Legolas, before Galadriel.
As was common with other elves it was it was gems that brought his end. After Húrin (More about him later) brought the treasures of Nargothrond to Doriath, Thingol summoned Dwarves of Belegost to Menegroth and invited them to work the treasure into jewelry. The finest of these pieces was the Nauglamír. The Nauglamír was the second-greatest treasure of Doriath (was an Elven realm, the land of the Sindar), prized above all but Beren and Lúthien’s Silmaril. After the smiths of Belegost finished their work on the Nauglamír, Thingol requested that the Dwarves of Nogrod set the Silmaril in it. The Nauglamír, now bearing the Silmaril was held to be the fairest object in Arda (whihc Middle-Earth is part of).
Beleg is an elven character that doesn’t get enough love. He was the best friend of one of my favourite characters in the entire history of Middle-EAarth; Turin turambar. Beleg plays a large part in the book Children of Húrin, and his story is definitely one dramatic enough to be successful on the big screen. He is known as Beleg Strongbow and was considered one of the greatest archers of the First Age of Middle-Earth.
Most notably was and tragic was his death, after he rescues Túrin from orcs and saves his life. Which we will spare the readers from here. We will go into more detail into their friendship when we talk about Turin later, but we dare say that the friendship and love between Beleg and Turin is true love. By no means is the books at all making reference to any type of homosexuality, but if it did then the relationship between these two were truly special, and so tragic.
4. Beren & Luthien
They cannot be seperated. She is an elf, daughter of King Thingol and Melian (a Maia). He is a mortal man. It is the complex tale of their love for each other and the quest they are forced to follow, triumphing against overwhelming odds but ending in tragedy.
Their story is told to Frodo by Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.
In the story of Lúthien and Beren, Luthien the immortal elf marries a mortal man and chooses mortality for herself.
The love story between Beren and Luthien is similar in many ways to the one between Aragorn and Arwen, which is sort of funny since Lúthien and Beren are their ancestors. Tolkien definitely enjoyed a theme. She is known as the Morning Star of the Elves because of her power and beauty. She had many powers including healing and being able to change her form. At one point she transforms herself into a vampire-like creature in order to save Beren from Angbad.
Also known as Tinúviel, she was an Elf Maiden of Doriath in the first age and the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar to ever live. That is no small achievement.
The story of Beren and Luthien is so amazing, we had to mention it here: King Thingol (mentioned above at No.2 and Luthien’s Father) was desperate not to let Beren (Human) marry his daughter, and set an impossible task as the bride price: Beren had to bring to Thingol one of the Silmarils from Morgoth’s iron crown. Let this sink in: Nobody from the beginning of the war of the Silmarils have been able to get near Morgoth (Except Fingolfin) let alone even SEE the silmarils on Morgoth’s crown.
Against monstrous odds, being kidnapped by the Sons of Fëanor and the death of Finrod Felagund, as well as a confrontation with Sauron, the couple achieved the task with help from Huan, the Hound of Valinor, but Beren died as soon as it was completed. In grief, Lúthien lay down and died, passing to the Halls of Mandos. There, in her grief, she sang to Mandos. Her song was of such beauty that Mandos, for the first and only time in his existence, was moved to pity. But Mandos had no authority to allow Beren to live again, so he went before Manwë for advice, who in turn sought out the counsel of Eru Ilúvatar himself. Two choices were then placed before Lúthien; she could either dwell in Valimar with the Valar in bliss forever as reward for all that she had accomplished, or she could be restored to life again with Beren, on the condition that they would both be mortal and die the death of Men. For her love of Beren, Luthien chose the latter.
Gil-Galad is featured in The Fellowship of the Ring movie, if only briefly. He can be seen fighting alongside Elrond at the battle against Sauron at the start of the film. He was known as the last High King of the Noldor in Middle-Earth, and he founded the elven kingdom of Lindon which was the longest-lasting elven kingdom in the Tolkien mythology. He died after defeating Sauron during the War of the Last Alliance.
il-Galad is definitely one of the most powerful and kingly elves that Tolkien created.
During their struggle with Sauron, Gil-galad inflicted enough mortal wounds on the Dark Lord to destroy his body but in return he received terrible wounds. His death marked the end of the Ñoldor Kingdoms in Middle-earth.
Cool things Gil-Gald did:
– When Sauron tried to make contact with the Elves under the name of Annatar, the “Lord of Gifts” Gil-galad and Círdan did not trust him and rejected his proposals.
– He formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men with Elendil, and led the Elves to war against Sauron during this time
Glorfindel makes an appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring books, and many fans were saddened that he didn’t make it into the film. However, there are two different Glorifindels that Tolkien created and the most badass one died before Frodo was ever alive.
“Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and clean, and his voice like music; on his brow set wisdom, and in his hand was strength.“
The original Glorfindel is often referred to as a noble lord and was a chief lieutenant to King Turgon. What Glorfindel is best known for, however, is battling a Balrog. In the story of the Fall of Gondolin, the retreating elves are attacked, and Glorfindel single-handedly defeats the Balrog, but unfortunately dies in the battle himself.
A thousand years after his deth Manwë (The Valar) sent him back to Middle-earth as an emissary of the Valar and granted him powers nearly as strong as that of the Maiar’s (Gandalf, Saruman, etc).
Sadly Glorfindel is one of the mightiest Elves left out of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In the book “The fellowship of the Ring, Glorfindel plays a small yet important part: A capable fighter with golden hair, Glorfindel’s “angelic presence” caused the Nazgûl to flee from him multiple times. His healing abilities saved Frodo’s life after he was stabbed by those same Black Riders. He guided them to Rivendell and sat in a position of honor with Elrond during the discussion over what to do with the One Ring.
Cool things Glorfindel did:
– Glorfindel was also the major reason the Witch-King of Angmar was defeated. He took part in the Battle of Fornost to drive off the Witch King and, after the battle was over, told them not to pursue, predicting that no mortal man would ever destroy the Witch-king and prophesying his death. Here is his full prophecy: “Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.”
– At the Council of Elrond, Glorfindel sat in a position of honour alongside Elrond and Gandalf. He suggested that the One Ring should be either sent to Tom Bombadil and cast into the depths of the Sea
Though not the main character of the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is the principle puppet master. A wizard, wise man, and warrior, when all around him seems lost, Gandalf is often the only one who can foresee the best course of action.
Gandalf has many names; Elf-friend, Ring Bearer, Grey Pilgrim, White Rider, Fool. Originally named Olórin, Gandalf is a Maia sent by the Valar to counsel and help those in Middle-earth who oppose Sauron. At first, he describes himself as weak, fearing Sauron, but he spends years wandering Middle-earth, learning from as well as teaching the people he meets, and becomes known as the wisest and most powerful of the Istari.
The below image illustrates it beautifully. you have Eru who created all, then the Valar, and below them the Maia:
Although fellow Istari Saruman is at first more powerful than Gandalf, his jealousy of Gandalf’s growing strength in part leads to his betrayal. After Gandalf’s resurrection as the White Wizard, he banishes Saruman from the Order of Wizards, taking his place.
As Ring Bearer of the Ring of Fire, Narya, Gandalf’s powers are often linked to fire and light. The exact extent of his powers is not known but, as those who took part in the Battle of Pelennor Fields know, Gandalf is definitely one you want on your side in a fight.
Cool things Gandalf did:
– He joined Thorin and his company to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug
– Lead the Fellowship of the Ring to destroy the One Ring, and led the Free Peoples in the final campaign of the War of the Ring.
– He has met 3 people on this list which is an amazing achievement: Aragorn, Glorfindel and Círdan the shipwright.
– He wore one of the Three Elven Rings of Power, Narya. Narya had the power to inspire others to resist negativity like despair, tyranny, and domination. It also gave the wearer the power to resist the weariness of time. It was also believed to possess magical powers as well as fire properties because it is seen that Gandalf claimed to wield the Flame of Anor when he fought Durin’s Bane.
8. Finrod Felagund
The noblest of all the elves, Finrod consistently chose the high road in all his actions. He opposed Fëanor’s (We’ll get to him) mad defiance of the Valar, did not participate in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë (The first killing of Elves vs Elves) yet chose solidarity with the host of Fingolfin. He was the first elf to encounter Men and he befriended them, learned their language and taught them Sindarin, and guided them to their first abodes in Middle Earth. He was a close friend of the men of Bëor’s House (First humans) and repaid a debt to Barahir by accompanying Beren on the seemingly impossible quest to wrest a Silmaril from Morgoth. Despite being the King of Nargothrond, Finrod personally embarked on Beren’s quest with a mere dozen retainers. Captured by Sauron’s minions in the Isle of Werewolves, Finrod courageously fought against Sauron in single combat though as an elf against a Maia he was doomed to failure.
Heroic act: At the last, after all his retainers were slain and he and Beren alone remained alive in Sauron’s prison, Finrod singlehandedly attacked a werewolf sent to slay Beren and slew it with his bare hands although he died of his wounds. A King of the Elves selflessly gave his life to defend that of a common Man. If it is true that “Greater love hath no man than this: to lay down his life for his friends” then Finrod Felagund displayed the most heroic love of the First Age.
Cool things Finrod did:
– First to meet men and teach them about elves
– Opposed Feanor and his Oath
– Barahir (Man) from saved Finrod’s life in the huge battle Dagor Bragollach, and in friendship Finrod gave him his ring. This ring was later known as the Ring of Barahir and was eventually handed down to Aragorn when told of his true identity. Read more on the ring of barahir, the ring Aragorn wore here.
Most will only know the name thanks to Aragorn shouting it when charging into battle. But there is far more to it. Elendil the Tall, Lord of Andúnië and future lord of Arnor and Gondor. Perhaps the noblest Man to ever live with the possible exception of Aragorn Elessar (As mentioned earlier), Elendil was an incorruptible and courageous leader of his people, The Faithful of Númenór.
He remained steadfast in his loyalty to the Valar and to his elvish allies despite persecution by the power-mad Ar-Pharazôn, King of Númenór, and his “King’s Men” vassals. Like being a defender of the Jews during Hitler’s rise to power, this was a perilous choice to make, with numerous powerful inducements to join the King and equally powerful threats designed to cow him into betraying his trust. Elendil was dispossessed of his lordship of Andúnië and forced to Rómenna where the King’s Men kept them under watch.
As Sauron corrupted the rulers and society of Númenór Elendil’s Faithful were hunted down, slain and even sacrificed on Sauron’s alter. Through these dark times Elendil kept faith with the Valar and Elves and escaped the destruction of Númenór to found the line of kings in Middle Earth.
During the battle of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men Elendil, together with the Elven-king Gil-galad overthrew Sauron, but they were both killed in the process, and Elendil’s sword broke when he fell. Elendil’s son Isildur used his father’s broken sword to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. Vanquished, Sauron’s spirit fled.
Tuor is a huge favorite of ours and we believe he does not nearly get as much attention as he deserves. After reading the more detailed story of his coming to the hidden city of Gondolin we so much more believe he deserves to be on this list. Tuor was a human of the House of Hador and great hero of Men. He was the cousin of Túrin Turambar. As many of the other legendary humans Tuor was fostered by the Grey-elves.
Living the most of his early years as an outlaw and persecuted by orcs and other forces of Morgoth Tuor eventually escaped and travelled far away to the west. He spent many years in Nevrast living in solitude until a few “chance” events lead him to the coast until he reached the ruins of Vinyamar, the previous home of Turgon (The current mighty Elvish King of Gondolin) and his people.
At this point, the Vala Ulmo, Lord of Waters, emerged from the Belegaer and appeared to Tuor. Now this is pretty epic. Never has a Valar so appeared to a being nevermind a mortal being…a man. Ulmo bestowed upon him a great cloak to shield him from the eyes of his enemies, and a quest to remind Turgon of the Doom of the Ñoldor, and to warn him of the Fall of Gondolin.
Tuor and Voronwë then travelled through the Fell Winter past the Pools of Ivrin, where they caught a glimpse of Tuor’s cousin, Turin, wielding Gurthang, and making his way towards the wastes of Dor-lomin.
After many years of living Gondolin Tuor fell in love with King Turgon’s Elven daughter, Idril Celebrindal. They were wed in a celebration of great happiness, and soon after, their only child Eärendil the Mariner was born, who himself became the father of Elrond and Elros. Tuor fought for the city of Gonfolin during the last battle and its fall. He, his wife, their son Eärendil, and a remnant of Gondolin’s people escaped through a secret way. Longing for the sea, Tuor eventually sailed into the West with Idril. Despite mortality, the tradition of the Ñoldor was that when Tuor arrived with Idril in Valinor he became the only Man to be accepted as one of the elder kindred, and thus shared with Beren and Lúthien, who were also granted a second life in Middle-earth, the exceptional fate of an immortal life in Valinor as long as Arda endured
Cool things Tuor did:
– A Valar appeared to him in person and gave him “powers”
– His son is Eärendil which ended up becoming of of the most famous persons in Middle Earth (Below)
– He was granted passage to the undying lands of the Elves and thus shared with Beren and Lúthien, who were also granted a second life in Middle-earth
Father of Elros, the first King of Numenor and very distant ancestor of Aragorn, and Elrond, lord of Rivendell. And in terms of actual achievements, he’s arguably the biggest badass in Middle Earth’s history. We do not say “badass lightly”. He is also the son of Tuor, mentioned above.
Earendil had in his posession a Silmaril, the Silmaril that Beren had wrested from Morgoth. Fëanor and his sons were not too fond of this (Well explain later) and they attacked the people living with Earendil. But Elwing, rather than be captured, threw herself with the Silmaril into the sea, leaving her young sons behind. Hearing of the tragedy that had befallen Arvernien, Eärendil then sought after Valinor, and he and Elwing found their way there at last. Eärendil thus became the first of all mortals to set foot in Valinor. Eärendil then went before the Valar, and asked them for aid for Men and Elves in Middle-earth, to fight against Morgoth; and the Valar accepted his plea.
Thus he helped lead the Host of the Valar, wearing one of the three Silmarils on his brow (badass!), and slew Ancalagon the Black, the largest and most powerful dragon ever to live, whose death destroyed three Everest sized peaks, in single combat (badass!).
He then ended up as the Evening Star, sailing the heavens, and guarding the Doors of Night – that’s right, he ended up as Morgoth’s prison guard. I know this doesnt make sense, but
Oh, and in a bit of Tolkien’s legendarium that he wasn’t sure if he was going to include, before all this, he’d been sailing the world. And in one part of it, he ran across Ungoliant, mother of Shelob, a spider-shaped Eldritch Abomination that ate the light of the Two Trees and terrified Morgoth himself (she attacked him for the Silmarils, and it took an ARMY of Balrogs to drive her off), and killed her, also in single combat. Granted, this was semi-canonical, since Tolkien had a couple of fates lined up for Ungoliant (either Earendil killed her, or she got so hungry that she ate herself), but even still – Tolkien reckoned that he could do it
Cool things Earendil did:
– He personally met all the Valar.
– Between himself and his wife Elwing they were in constant poseession of a Silmaril. The Silmaril that Beren had wrested from Morgoth.
– He killed Ancalagon the Black.
12. Turin Turambar
Turin is my favourite character in the entire middle earth history. No other tale has so much tragedy, sadness, revenge, anger, vengeance, blood and tears.
Turin was also raised by the noble Sindar elves. When he was eight years old he wen to Doriath, the Elven realm where he was adopted by King Thingol as a son after meeting the Elf-maiden Nellas in the woods. Túrin was a great warrior. It is at this time when he became friends with Beleg Cúthalion (Listed earler) and wore his heirloom the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin. In the meantime, Beleg Cúthalion obtained leave by Thingol to seek out his beloved friend that due to a long tale was now living as an outlaw. Beleg found Túrin but could not persuade his friend to leave the outlaws and return to Doriath.
Note: The friendship between Beleg and Turin is a long and complicated one. I will go into more detail around the love of these two more at a later stage.
Túrin was once captured and when Beleg rescued Túrin from the orcs, Túrin accidentally killed Beleg with the sword Anglachel, for Beleg, who was trying to cut Túrin’s bonds, was mistaken by Túrin as one of the orcs tormenting him. Realizing what happened Túrin’s mind was lost in a silent sadness, Gwindor led him to the Pools of Ivrin, where Túrin then cried and his madness was cured. Gwindor then led Túrin to Nargothrond, where once he had lived. Túrin became a chief counsellor of Orodreth (Elvish King), and was extremely influential in Nargothrond. He himself became known as the Mormegil (Black Sword), or the Black Sword of Nargothrond.
The tale or Turin get’s really complex here, but know that in involves a lot of deceit and lies by the hands of the Dragon Glaurung.
After much rage and with perfect timing Turin managed to stab Glaurung with his black sword and all the bitterness in his heart; killing Glaurung at Cabed-en-Aras, but as he retrieved his sword the foul blood of the Dragon fell on his hand and he was hurt and fell in a swoon. As Níniel (Which turin believed were dead due to the lies from Glaurung) came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words revealed to her that she was Turin’s sister. Horrified, and believing Túrin dead, Nienor Níniel killed herself by leaping into the ravines of the river.
When Túrin awoke he was told by Brandir the Lame, lord of the Haladin of Brethil what had happened. In anger, he killed Brandir in front of many people, refusing to believe the truth. When he learned from Mablung of Doriath, who had come to seek him, that Brandir was telling truth and that he had wrongfully slain him, Túrin could no longer live with the pains and misfortunes of his life
and determined to commit suicide. Just before his death, he revealed that he had been ‘blind’; Morgoth’s curse had had him groping in the dark since childhood.
Then, Turin said to Gurthang (his sword whom he believed had a will of its own): “Hail Gurthang, iron of death, thou alone now remainest! But what lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee? From no blood wilt thou shrink! Wilt thou take Tùrin Turambar? Wilt thou slay me swiftly?”
And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: “Yea, I will drink thy blood, that may I forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.” Then Tùrin set the hilts upon the ground, and cast himself upon the point of Gurthang, and the black blade took his life. Túrin thus committed suicide.
Cool things Turin did:
– Turin wielded a badass sword that was “alive”. Called Gurthang, it was reforged from Anglachel, a sword forged by Eöl, the “Dark Elf” of Nan Elmoth. After the sword was reforged Túrin renamed it Gurthang, which meant “Iron of Death”. Túrin himself became known as Mormegil, the “Black Sword”.
– Turin killed the most famous Dragon to ever lived, Glaurung.
– Turin commanded many armies and was a natural leader.
– Turin and Tuor are cousins. In the book “The unfinished tales” Their paths cross although unknowingly.
Half-Brother of Feanor (whom we will get to later), uncle of the sons of Feanor, High King of the Noldor, and all-round badass (as if putting up with Feanor didn’t qualify by itself…). Fingolfin ranks right up there by being in the top 3 of this list.
Firstly, he led his people across Helcaraxe (the Grinding Ice. Imagine Antarctica, but much worse), and kept most of them alive – and, by the way, this was before the Sun and Moon existed, so it was perpetual night-time, through the most brutal cold possible.
Then, after the Battle of the Sudden Flame, came his most extraordinary feat. After hearing of what happened to his people, he lost it, and armoured up, riding out – alone – into the scorched desert that Morgoth had essentially roasted, and Morgoth’s creatures and armies fled before him because he was so angry and radiating so much power that they thought he was one of the Valar returned to Middle Earth. He then strode up to Angband’s doors, hammered on them, and basically challenged Morgoth to come out and fight. Since Morgoth couldn’t really turn the challenge down (though he really didn’t want the fight), he reluctantly took on Fingolfin… who proceeded to kick the crap out of him. If it wasn’t for the fact that Morgoth was one of the Valar, he’d probably have killed him. As it was, he left wounds on Morgoth that never healed.
It is worth noting that “Fëanor was the mightiest in skill of word and of hand, more learned than his brothers; his spirit burned as a flame. Fingolfin was the strongest, the most steadfast, and the most valiant.”
This deed lead to some pretty epic portraits and designs of the battle, here’s a few of my favourite:
Cool things Fingolfin did:
-Because he was one of the Firstborn Children of his eyes glowed with the light of the Two Trees of Valinor.
-When you start talking about the mightiest in Middle Earth Fingolfin is always near/at the top of the list.
-He is hailed as one to have never lost in battle, defeating orc and Balrogs, not in fear as of a mighty opponent but in awe as of a god.
-If it was even possible to mention Sam as the “hero” in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy then Fingolfin was the hero in the 1st Age.
-He had a pretty epic sword called Ringil. Ringil bit with a chilling cold, a blade that glittered like ice by the light of the stars.
Húrin Thalion. One of the most deserved entries onto this list. The man was made of pure steel, there’s no doubt.
To begin with, Húrin was a Man. He is said to have been the “mightiest of the warriors of mortal Men”, so even from this one could say that he was mightier than his son Turin, his nephew Tuor and his relative Beren (all of them on this list). He became the Lord of his people when he was only 21 years old, after he had repelled a massive attack of Orcs against Barad Eithel. He gained considerable fame and also the friendship and trust of the Elves more than any other Man. That was just the beginning, though.
During the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (massive battle between Morgoth and the allies), Húrin fought like a god of war and helped Turgon (King of the Elves) escape. Imagine a field full of tens of thousands of dead bodies of every kind, Elves, Men, Orcs, Trolls, dragons and horses alike. The battle was finally lost; every single Man was dead and all Elves were gone. Orcs and Trolls continued to come by the thousands, bloodthirsty and fierce. Húrin was virtually the last Man standing, all alone. And what did he do? He took an axe and engaged Gothmog’s (was the Lord of Balrogs during the First Age, and the greatest Balrog ever to walk Middle-earth) personal bodyguard of Trolls; he killed seventy of them and every time he killed one he yelled: “Aure entuluva!” (“Day will come again”), a phrase that by its own right is one of the badass things one can cry.
And now comes the ultimate deed to declare his valour and might. Húrin was captured alive after he was buried beneath his enemies’ dead bodies and brought before Morgoth by Gothmog himself, the Lord of the Balrogs. This means that, more or less, he was brought before Satan himself, a being second only to God himself in knowledge, wisdom and spiritual power. If Aragorn was badass enough to confront Sauron through the palantir and Ecthelion of the Fountain was brave enough to fight and kill Gothmog, what was Húrin who dared to face the unnamed terror of mankind, one of the Powers of this world, the first among the Ainur? No Man could ever dream of such an encounter, but Húrin literally mocked and defied Morgoth, even after he was being brutally tortured with any means possible.
The rest is history; Húrin remained chained upon the Thangorodrim for 27 years cursed to watching his family getting destroyed and the world of Men falling under Morgoth’s shadow. He didn’t break, though. His mind was ultimately poisoned, of course, but he didn’t succumb to Morgoth.
Morgoth released Húrin, feigning pity to an utterly defeated foe. The House of Hador had been destroyed or enslaved. Hurin went searching for Turgon in Gondolin once more. Húrin sought for the entrance, but Gondolin was closed, and the King Turgon at first did not wish to allow him in. Húrin cried out against Turgon, thus inadvertently revealing the general location of Gondolin to Morgoth’s spies, and then left. Only after he had left did Turgon have a change of heart, and send Eagles to fetch him, but they came too late and did not find him.
After a few more mishaps and tragic events similar to those of this son, Húrin finally saw that all his deeds had only aided Morgoth. A broken man, he finally cast himself in the sea and ended his life.
Cool things Hurin did:
– Saved the life of Turgon
– His skill and prowess in combat surpassed that of all his peers and is considered one of the best fighters to have ever lived.
– He has seen the hidden city of Gondolin, being best friends with Turgon.
Feanor. The name we referred to on multiple occasions throughout this list.
Fëanor is perhaps the greatest of the figures in Middle Earth and the hitory of Tolkien. Some characters dominate the terrain and stand as giants, casting shadows in the stories we tell about the human journey. Something about the lives they lived—the quality that makes them larger than life, as we like to say—pulls disparate moments and events together, allowing us to see a cohesive narrative where one might not otherwise exist.
Tolkien called him “Chief artificer of the Elves”. Indeed none is said to have been the equal of Fëanor Curufinwë, unless it were Galadriel, which we left off this list intentionally.
“Fëanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind; countenance, understanding, skill, and subtlety, of all the Children of Ilúvatar” – The Silmarillion
Fëanor starts out as a renowned gem-smith. He was from the original elves that was born on the undying lands, Valinor that departed to the west. His skills was unsurpassed in the devising of jewels. Here’s a short list of some of the amazing things he made:
– The Silmarils (The gems that forms the centre of the most of the 1st and 2nd age), were in Tolkien’s first conception, pearls bathed in the luminescence of the Tree Silpion (later Telperion), combined with a drop of that from Laurelin. According to that draft, only Fëanor could have accomplished such a feat of artistry
– He was the inventor of the Tengwar script.
– He also created the Palantíri (The round seeing stones featuring in The Lord of the Rings)
Something to note here was that Feanor was very arrogant and proud. He specifically sets out to create something better than anything the other Elves have made. He wants them to last “beyond the end of all,” which implies that Fëanor resists, consciously or not, the limits of time and life put on the world by Ilúvatar. Morgoth (then known as Melkor) coveted the Silmarils and hated FëanorHe spent years spreading lies trying to divide the Elves. and it worked. A power struggle ensued between Feanor and Fingolfin. Fëanor’s testimony revealed the malice of Melkor and his lies. Meanwhile, Melkor with the help of the unholy and evil spider-like creature Ungoliant destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and plunged Valinor into complete darkness. Melkor and Ungoliant then stole the Silmarils and many other treasures. They then escaped by crossing the Helcaraxë, or Grinding Ice, in the north to Beleriand in Middle-earth.
Fëanor, upon learning of the theft of his prized Silmarils and his father’s named Melkor “Morgoth”, or “Black Foe of the World”. Fëanor gave one of the most impassioned speeches ever delivered in Arda. He railed against the Dark Lord, but he also blamed the Valar in part for Morgoth’s deeds, claiming that they should have been able to stop him and had failed. Fëanor then swore an oath by the name of Ilúvatar himself that he would suffer none, no matter their race or reasons, to withhold a Silmaril from him, and that he would pursue with violence any who attempted it. The Oath of Fëanor was also taken by his seven sons below the tower of the Mindon Eldaliéva in the Great Square of Tirion. This oath became the cause for great tragedy for Fëanor’s family, and for the Eldar in general. This oath put many deeds and actions in motion. Majority of the elves marched towards vengeance and war against Morgoth.
Many evil deeds were committed on their way out of Valoinor towards Middle-Earth. The first slaying of elves against elves was among the greatest tragedies. The killing of Elves against elves also lead to the Doom of Mandos being spoken, exiling the Ñoldor from Valinor and foretelling that their war against Morgoth would cause them only misery
Once Feanor obtained the boats, he decided to simply abandon all those whose loyalty to him was not absolute, and he and his followers slipped away one night in the ships. They arrived at Losgar, in the land of Lammoth, in the far west of Beleriand, where Morgoth and Ungoliant had passed not long before, and upon arriving, Fëanor decided to burn the ships and leave the followers of Fingolfin behind.
War then ensued between Morgoth and the forces of the Elves. The Ñoldor won the first battle handily, and destroyed Morgoth’s armies. But Fëanor, exhilarated by the victory and ever prideful, pressed on toward Angband far ahead of his army with only a small vanguard. As he approached Angband, the Orcs, seeing that Fëanor’s numbers were so few, turned and gave battle. Due to their proximity to Angband, they were reinforced by a number of Balrogs, who quickly slew most of the Elves. But Fëanor was undaunted, and though he was dealt many wounds, he long fought on alone. At last however, he was stricken to the ground by Gothmog, the Lord of the Balrogs.
Fëanor knew that his wounds were mortal, and bade his sons to stop. He looked upon Angband and cursed Morgoth thrice, but gazing upon the sheer scope of Morgoth’s stronghold, he understood at last the truth of Mandos’s words; that no force of the Ñoldor would ever overthrow the Dark Lord. Nevertheless, he instructed his sons to keep to their oath and avenge their father. As he died, his fiery spirit left his body and burned it to ash.
Phew what a story. It by no means ends here, but it does for Feanor. the story of his sons and the quest to obtain the Silmarils still continued for thousands of years after Feanor’s death.