Character Biography of Gildor Inglorion

Author: Oshun

Nominator: Robinka

2011 Award Category: Non-Fiction: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Poetry  ✧  Length: N/A (Non-Fiction or Poetry)

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Gildor Inglorion seemed a fitting choice as a biography subject for Back to Middle-earth Month. He is yet another link between the history of the Elves of the Elder days as recounted in The Silmarillion and that of the Men, Hobbits, and Dwarves of the Third Age upon whom many of the readers of The Lord of the Rings focus.

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Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

This is a biography of a character in the Lord of the Rings who is linked back to the history of the Silmarillion by his name ("Inglorion of the House of Finrod") and yet cannot be securely located within that framework (in this, he resembles Glorfindel more than Elrond, although the question of the identity of Glorfindel of Imladris and Glorfindel of Gondolin has drawn even more attention). Oshun discusses the various possibilities, which are compounded by name changes in the History of Middle-earth: there are problems with both the view that Gildor is the son of Finrod Felagund and that he is his brother, so he may be neither. She also points out that it is Gildor who introduces the reader of LotR (as well as Sam, Merry and Pippin) to Tolkien's version of elvishness as such (i.e. Quendi) as well as to the concept of the High Elves (Eldar) and of the Exiles (the Noldor). This leads her to a very interesting discussion of the Tolkien's depiction of the Elves in LotR and how it hangs together and contrasts with the concept of elvish characteristics in the Silmarillion and the earlier versions of the mythology the Silmarillion goes back to. She tends to agree with the view of those who think that Tolkien protests too much about Celtic influences on his work.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard  ✧  Score: 10

Oshun’s character biographies are always so well written and informative and this essay on Gildor is no exception. So little is known about this character from reading the books and yet there are tantalizing pieces and clues that Oshun brings together to give the reader a sense of the character and his lengthy history only hinted at in Tolkien’s works. His meeting with Frodo in Fellowship of The Ring is one of the highlights of Frodo’s many adventures and the reader’s first encounter with these strange beings (provided one has not read the Silmarillion) so integral to the histories behind the story of Sauron and the One Ring. Seeing the Elves though the eyes of the wonderstruck Hobbits gives them an ethereal quality that lets us know right away how special and mysterious these creatures are. This essay is also notable for the information it imparts about Tolkien’s Elves and their ties to ancient myths and legends of the British Isles and beyond, as well as Gildor’s ties to the Silmarillion and the Tolkien’s own history of the Elves he created in his universe. Oshun is able to integrate fact and fable weaving together the aspects of a character readers remember fondly and who Tolkien left us so many unanswered questions about.

Reviewed by: Lyra  ✧  Score: 7

I really need to give the character biographies on the SWG page more credit than I've previously done - they're a great tool when I just want to look up some facts about characters I don't usually write about or have mostly forgotten without embarking on an epic research quest myself. Moreover, sometimes they're just an interesting read, as is the case with this biography of Gildor. As the first Elven leader that the Hobbits encounter in "The Lord of the Rings", he is a link between the somewhat silly, traditional folklore-y Elves of "The Hobbit", the rather more serious Elves of LotR, and the historical backdrop of "The Silmarillion", which Gildor likewise introduces. Considering how brief his encounter with the Hobbits is, he subtly provides quite a lot of information. I must admit I rather underestimated his function until I read Oshun's biography of him... Good work!

Author response: Thank you for overcoming your reluctance and reading some biographies and thanks for commenting.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 4

Oshun's character biographies are always fantastic and insightful, and this one is no different, going through the actual canon material on Gildor Inglorion in LotR to material in HoMe which can be used to form somewhat controversial opinions regarding his identity, to comparisons with the Tuatha de Danaan of Irish legends. A really good summary of the material about this character.

Author response: Thank you so much. I really enjoying writing Gildor.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

This was a really enjoyable glimpse into Gildor's character and the way the Silmarillion's deistinction between elves makes for a thorougher understanding of how he interacted with Frodo&Co. The canon was presented in an even-handed way, but it was far from dry, and I found myself with a definite nuzgul by the end of it. Very interesting material all around!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 3

I've always had a fondness for Gildor, who clearly spent some time passing through the Shire, and seemed to have a soft spot for Bagginses. This was a very interesting examination of his role in the story, and a look at just who this mysterious Elf was.

Author response: Thanks again, Dreamflower. I tend to think of Glorfindel as the first elf I got to know, but really that is not true. It was Gildor! And I had never before I wrote this realized how the story of the Elves in the LotR begins and end with him in a very real sense.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

A fascinating exploration of Gildor Inglorion, which made me realise just how much this seemingly minor character matters in Lord of the Rings as he represents the Elves and their long history and is the first Elf that the Hobbits encounter.

Author response: Thank you for reading, Linda. I had forgotten myself, when I started the research for this biography, how much Gildor meant to me when I first read the LotR.

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

A fascinating biography of Gildor Inglorion, whose appearance near the Shire makes him the first Elf that the Hobbits meet. As with many of Tolkien's elves, his family history is complex and tangled to say the least but with patience, one can gain a clearer idea of his story.