Tulkas is listed as physically the strongest Valar of all, and excels in close unarmed combat and runs faster than anything alive. So it's a given he wins most fights. If you are looking at more magical like applications of divine power, Melkor surpasses Tulkas by far. His earlier battels with the Valar reshaped Arda.
Also, Manwe technically was the ambassador of uber-God and could call down his wrath in a hot minute, making him arguably the most powerful being in Arda.
Manwe's herald, and he's explicitly noted as being the best at arms. Whereas Tulkas is a huge buff guy, Eonwe could pretty much outduel anyone, bar none.
Tolkien says that even all the Valar working together could not have defeated Melkor in his prime. Luckily for Tulkas, Tolkien claims that by the time the Valar confront Melkor in Utumno he has already disappointed much of his power into Arda.
So I'd favor Prime!Melkor over even Tulkas.
True, but I wouldn't give Eonwe the edge over Tulkas. After all, Tulkas doesn't use weapons.
--- You May Fire When Ready ---
Last edited by ares834 on Jan 6th, 2014 at 11:12 AM
I mean, as I said, Melkor was still the mightiest being in Arda even after imprisonment. That didn't stop Tulkas from punching his face out the back of his skull and putting him in chains to begin with.
I think, in Melkor's case, though he is very powerful, he is too much of a cowardly little girl to bring it to bear in combat. Because he is a coward and a fool.
It's in an essay Tolkien wrote which is found in Morgoth's Ring.
"Melkor must be made far more powerful in original nature (cf. 'Finrod and Andreth'). The greatest power under Eru (sc. the greatest created power).(1) (He was to make I devise I begin; Manwe (a little less great) was to improve, carry out, complete.) Later, he must not be able to be controlled or 'chained' by all the Valar combined. Note that in the early age of Arda he was alone able to drive the Valar out of Middle-earth into retreat.
The war against Utumno was only undertaken by the Valar with reluctance, and without hope of real victory, but rather as a covering action or diversion, to enable them to get the Quendi out of his sphere of influence. But Melkor had already progressed some way towards becoming 'the Morgoth, a tyrant (or central tyranny and will), + his agents'.(2) Only the total contained the old power of the complete Melkor; so that if 'the Morgoth' could be reached or temporarily separated from his agents he was much more nearly controllable and on a powerlevel with the Valar."
Yep. In fact, I just reread a few pages of The Sil while waiting for an appointment and it confirms that before investing his power into Arda, Melkor was able to contend with the sum of the other Valar, and was explicitly the strongest of any of them and riches in divine gifts of Eru.
No, Tulkas would probably still win. He's just a Lightning Bruiser of epic levels. However, if Eonwe had to sword duel someone, he's explicitly the best at it, bar none. A very limited scope when compared to Melkor or Tulkas, but against other Maiar, elves, or Numenoreans, he would stomp.
What I read in The Silmarillion dictates that Melkor was indeed able to contend with the combined might of all the other Ainur... Until Tulkas showed up, in which case Melkor ran and hid like a little girl.
You mean after countless ages of fighting with the combined might of the other Valar, to the point of rearranging the face of Arda in countless battles? You mean at that point? Tulkas tipped the scales; he didn't solo Melkor at full strength.