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Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:19 am

Post your loves, questions, and annoyances of this amazing race.

My first 2 questions are: Galadriel, is she a warrior? Or just a sorceress? When she takes down Dol Guldur, is she using an army and leading it or some mystical powers?
When a elf forsakes immortality, such as Arwen, do they begin to physically age as humans do or do they just stay the same and eventually die? Also how does their lifespan work after they forsake immortality
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Re: Elves

Post by Eldorion on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:37 am

Lorient Avandi wrote:My first 2 questions are: Galadriel, is she a warrior? Or just a sorceress? When she takes down Dol Guldur, is she using an army and leading it or some mystical powers?

Galadriel is reported to have "thrown down" the walls of Dol Guldur and "laid bare its pits". I think the text is fairly clear in attributing this to Galadriel specifically, rather than to Celeborn or Thranduil or their armies. I don't think that sorceress is the right term, but I have always assumed that Galadriel used some sort of supernatural power to achieve and/or aid in the destruction of Dol Guldur. That's not conclusive, though, and someone more familiar with the text or who goes and re-reads it might be able to find evidence to the contrary.

When a elf forsakes immortality, such as Arwen, do they begin to physically age as humans do or do they just stay the same and eventually die? Also how does their lifespan work after they forsake immortality

Arwen was able to give up her immortality because she was in a very rare situation. She, or rather, her father Elrond, had been granted a choice by the Valar to choose the fate of either Elves or Men because of his mixed heritage, and that choice was also granted to Elrond's children. That choice was not available to Elves in general, or in fact to anyone else outside that unique family. Even rarer was the case of Luthien, who personally convinced the Valar to grant her an even rarer exception because of her love for Beren. Again, this was a one-time deal that didn't apply to anyone else.
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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:41 am

Can't any elf forsake Immortality when they fall I. Love with a human? Because there were non-half-elves who became mortal this way.
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Re: Elves

Post by Elthir on Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:16 pm

As noted, Elves were not normally allowed to escape deathlessness. Luthien was an exception; Arwen was not an Elf but one of the Half-elven who had a choice before her (as did her brothers) whether she loved Aragorn or not.

What Elves do you refer to Lorient?
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:31 pm

Galadriel, is she a warrior? Or just a sorceress? - Lorient

I don't think either term really applies to elves in general. Galadriel seems slightly confused by Sam's whole concept of 'elf magic' not really seeming to understand him and saying that the term magic seems to be applied by mortals to both elves and the decits of the Enemy. Implying it's not really understood by mortals. And with Galdriel there is also the Ring she wears to take into account. She tells Frodo that she can see the mind of Sauron but that he cannot yet see hers because of the protection of the Elven Ring, fearing that if Frodo fails there will be nothing left to resist Sauron with and her mind will be laid bare to him (which raises the interesting qusetion of whether this would have already hapened had she not had a Ring).
For me the attack on Dol Guldur is a classic battle of the white light v dark light, fought not primarily with sword and bow (although they would have needed for dealing with low level orcs and the like) but with 'powers' beyond mortal knowledge.
It is for this reason I am expecting PJ and the Coven to completely fumble putting it on screen as I don't see how its possible without reducing it to Galadriel, Elrond Gandalf et all lobbing magic about and fighting- which will be simply awful. Some things are better left off page and offstage.

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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:13 pm

I looked it up and you guys are right about only half elves being able to choose. My question still stands, none of you answered it. As far as I can tell, being a half elf isnt super rare, there arejust fewof them named.
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:19 pm

Pretty sure I answered the first of your questions Lorient!

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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:21 pm

Sorry, I meant to refer to the second question.
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Re: Elves

Post by Eldorion on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:18 pm

Lorient Avandi wrote:I looked it up and you guys are right about only half elves being able to choose. My question still stands, none of you answered it. As far as I can tell, being a half elf isnt super rare, there arejust fewof them named.

Well, for one, half-Elves are super-rare. Tolkien stated that there were only ever three marriages between Elves and Men*. The first two (Luthien^Beren and Idril/Tuor) became related through their descendants marriage. (The third, Aragorn/Arwen, was different since Arwen had human ancestry herself.) Luthien and Tuor were both granted exceptions from their race's normal fate. Several of their descendants died prematurely and the others were given a choice, but as noted, they weren't true eLves to begin with. The only Elf I can recall who lost immortality was Luthien, and her fate is shrouded in such mystery that we are limited in what we can say about it. I believe The Silmarillion said that she died relatively quickly and I always intepreted the wording as saying she died without growing old, but someone not typing on a smartphone would have to find and post that quote. Razz

*It is mentioned in (I think) Unfinished Tales that there is a story that one of the ancestors of the Princes of Dol Amroth had an Elven wife, but this is presented as a folk legend of Gondor. In LotR Legolas remarks that they had Elven blood, but it is possible to interpret that as the House of Dol Amroth having a particularly strong strain of royal Numenorean (and thus Elven) heritage. I consider the idea that Dol Amroth had Elven heritage to be just a myth within the context of thee story since elsewhere Tolkien emphasized the rarity of Elf/Man marriages, but either way, their descendants are not said to have been given the same choice as Elrond and Elros and are known to have died as mortals.
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Re: Elves

Post by Eldorion on Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:20 pm

In any event, the point I was trying to make is that this was such a rare occurence and Tolkien deliberately did not go into detail about it, so there is very little we can say. One of the things I love about the legendarium is that we know there was so much more than we know but, as with real mythology and history, the accounts that have come down to us are incomplete. Smile
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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:39 pm

Ok I really didn't want to turn this into an argument, I just wanted to find some stuff out. Let me rephrase the question: when a half elf forsakes immortality, such as Arwen, do they physically grow old. Arwen, when she does decide to become human, is already 2 over 2000 years old. So does she just suddenly start physically aging, or does she just live for a while and eventually die? Also what is their usual lifespan after they become human? Elros lived for about 500 years as the first king of Numenor, butis that normal?
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Re: Elves

Post by Tinuviel on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:16 pm

Ok, just gonna put this here because it pertains to elves and aging. I was reading the story of Hurin in UT, and he was asking his gimpy friend about elves (this is right after Urwen dies) and their children. Accordingly, human children and elven children look the same, only that humans mature much more quickly physically than the elves do.

Ta-da! I'm on my way to bein a loremaster too!!!

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Re: Elves

Post by Eldorion on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:43 am

*high fives Tin* cheers
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:09 am

Now Tin surely you don't want to soil your Royal hands with mere administritive matters like Lore? But the implications of your finding is that elves age slowly-but there must be a 'cut-off point' somewhere after puberty or they would eventually get really old, and I don't think Tolkien describes any old elves (there might be one in The Book of Lost Tales-my memory is a bit fuzzy on it though).

I've often wondered about the Arwen thing myself Lorient. After Aragorn dies she returns to lothlorien which is empty and eventually just lies down and dies and a mound of green grass grows over her. But what happens inbetween? Does she stay as she was when she choose mortality but her 'spirit/soul' is mortal ages and dies? Or does she actually age and become an old lady in Lorien before she dies?

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Re: Elves

Post by chris63 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:37 am

How is it that Elven children are never mentioned. Never once heard about any toddlers being naughty,
or teenagers running a muck through the woods and getting giddy on mellorn juice.
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:16 am

Thranduils lot seem pretty much like that in TH. Parties in the woods, dancing and singing,getting so drunk they think its a fun idea to chase deer about- sounds like a college party to me!

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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:23 pm

She also dies of grief only about a hundred years after she chooses. She didnt live as long as she couldve. But how long is that? Elros lived for 500 years but is that the norm?
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Re: Elves

Post by Elthir on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:51 am

I don't mean to rain on Tinuviel's find but Tolkien had various things to say about the ageing of Elves compared to Men. Here's the 'latest' text I could find: Author's notes to NKE ('neter, kanat, enek'):


Note 1: 'C.E. ? netthi. C.E. tth > Q., T. tt; S. þþ > þ. nette meant 'girl approaching the adult' (in her 'teens': the growth of Elvish children after birth was little if at all slower than that of the children of Men). The Common Eldarin stem (wen-ed) wendé 'maiden' applied to all stages up to the fully adult (until marriage).'

JRRT, from Vinyar Tengwar 47, texts generally dated 1967-70


As for Elros Halfeleven, I always assumed he was given a Numenorean type span in any case, even though mortal. Here's what Tolkien noted about that: 'they' are the Númenóreans:

'Thus (as the Eldar) they grew at much the same rate as other Men, but when they had achieved 'full growth' then they aged, or 'wore out', very much more slowly.'

Note 1, The Line of Elros, Unfinished Tales

Interestingly, 'as the Eldar' here also seems to imply that the Eldar grew at much the same rate as other Men. Anyway, as for Arwen Halfelven, the description that I recall (from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen) seems a bit inconclusive.
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:45 am

Good work as always Elthir-although (and no fault of yours) the sum of what you say regards Arwen seems to be 'we don't know'?

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Re: Elves

Post by Elthir on Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:07 pm

Hmm, looking at the original question again, it had two parts...

When a elf forsakes immortality, such as Arwen, do they begin to physically age as humans do or do they just stay the same and eventually die? Also how does their lifespan work after they forsake immortality.

I think Arwen chose her doom well before she was wed, but even that aside, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen notes that 'Arwen became as a mortal woman' when Elrond sailed, which is still over one hundred years before the passing of Elessar, and I don't think Arwen looked over 100 years old when Aragorn died. So I would say that she didn't begin to physically age as humans do...

... but as for the second part, yes I'm not sure there is a way to know, for certain anyway.


'She was not yet weary of her days - In his unpublished letter to Eileen Elgar, begun 22 September 1963, Tolkien suggests that Arwen could have surrendered her life at the same time as Aragorn, but she was not yet prepared to do so. Although she had become mortal, by nature she was still Elvish, with the long view of life held by that immortal race, to whom 'the gift of the One to men ... is bitter to receive.'

Hammond and Scull, The Lord of the Ring's Reader's Companion



This is a relatively 'new' reference to Arwen, and 'by nature she was still Elvish' could (that is, might) refer to her physical nature as well as her Elvish perspective. If so this might go along with her being not yet weary of her days.
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:49 pm

'Arwen became as a mortal woman'- does that not imply she did age? After all a mortal woman does. And that from the time Elrond sailed until her death she would have got physically older.

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Re: Elves

Post by Tinuviel on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:34 am

Evil or Very Mad Thanks for showing me up Elthir. But then again, it was from UT and that stuff is just pieces that were never used or meant to be used.

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Re: Elves

Post by Lorient Avandi on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:44 am

Well the Narn is considered canon, as is most of the UT, so I believe that Tinuviel's quote about Turin and Hopafoot, but there are conflicting stories throughout Tolkien's books and that also was just hopafoot's account which may or may not be right.
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Re: Elves

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:05 am

You could always just issue a Royal Decree Tin saying you are always right! Very Happy I would if it was me but sadly as a mere drunken commoner I lack the legal powers. But to have a legal writ I could hold up every time Pretty opens her mouth proving I'm right would be hard to resist. Very Happy

I'm never comfortable with the notions of canon- for me there are only two books which are canon- TH and LotR's. My in-world view is I see these two as history and all the other stuff as myth and legend where contradictions and uncertainies are common place.

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Re: Elves

Post by Elthir on Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:43 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:'Arwen became as a mortal woman'- does that not imply she did age? After all a mortal woman does. And that from the time Elrond sailed until her death she would have got physically older.

It does imply it, I agree; but if she did age as a mortal woman then she would have been dead at the time of Aragorn's passing, or if not, an aged woman well over one hundred years old, who was still not yet weary of her days.


And if we say maybe she aged slower, then we are firmly into another maybe Very Happy


I'm never comfortable with the notions of canon- for me there are only two books which are canon- TH and LotR's.

Not The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and The Road Goes Ever On too?

If I recall correctly, the Narn description is close enough, in external chronology, to Laws And Customs of the Eldar, and if so the Narn might fit in with that conception: Laws and Customs states that it took 50 years, and for some 100 years, for Elves to reach the state in which their bodies would afterwards endure.

But Tolkien never published the Narn or Laws And Customs, and thus would be quite free to change his mind later -- which it looks like he did. When dealing with 'unpublished' (by author) texts, I tend to weight later ideas over earlier, but each case is different in any event, and that's a general approach.
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