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I have a question that has always hovered around the back of my mind regarding the intermarriage practices between elves and humans. Granted this has occured on rare occasions, and it appears to be only elf maids who have chosen to take a human mate. My question is this: has there ever been an example of an elf male choosing to marry a human female? As I have only read the Hobbit and LOTR books, perhaps this question has been answered somewhere else in Tolkien's works. (If so I apologize for asking an obvious question.) If not, why not? Would male elves feel women from the race of man unworthy of their attention or love? Not beautiful enough? Or simply not a practical idea as he would naturally outlive the wife and be left to raise the children without her help. Do you think he would also have to make the 'choice of Luthien' upon taking a human mate? I would appreciate hearing the viewpoints of others on this subject. Thanks for listening! Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
I think the only documented intermarriages were Luthien and Beren, Tuor and Idril and Aragorn and Arwen.

Luthien chose to be mortal after her 'death' so that she could be with Beren. Arwen, as a half-elven had the choice as all half-elvens did to be either of the race of Men or Elves and she chose to be mortal to be with Aragorn. It's a bit unfair that half-elven have that choice but the descendents of Elros didn't.

I know little of Tuor and Idril but Tolkien says
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that it was sung that Tuor alone of mortal Men was numbered among the elder race, and was joined with the Noldor, whom he loved; and his fate is sundered from the fate of Men.


From The Silmarillion - Of Tuor and The Fall of Gondolin

If intermarriage had been common then the wonderful emotions that Tolkien wrote into those three unions would be diluted. It would also complicate things.

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This doom she chose, forsaking the Blessed Realm, and putting aside all claim to kinship with those that dwell there; that thus whatever grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and Luthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world. So it was that alone of the Eldalie she has died indeed, and left the world long ago. Yet in her choice the Two Kindreds have been joined; and she is the forerunner of many in whom the Eldar see yet, though all the world is changed, the likeness of Luthien the beloved, whom they have lost


From The Silmarillion - Of Beren and Luthien

Luthien and Arwen are both examples of Tolkien's 'strong' women in that they made the choice, as difficult as it was, to be with the one they loved. It is an area where the women can be as strong, if not stronger, than the men.

I don't think Tolkien intended to say that elvish males were not attracted to human females but that it wasn't necessary to his story. The difference in life span alone is enough to make anyone think twice and thrice. Only the strongest lovers could survive and Tolkien left it to the women to show that strength.
Thanks for your insight, Vee. I guess I've always been a bit disappointed that one or two examples of devotion from a male elf to a human female wasn't included in the literature. I respect your view that too many examples of intermarriage might dilute the sacrifice made by the few that did so. However I thought perhaps one or two examples wouldn't hurt. I also realize that Tolkien did not write his works with the perspective of romance, rather he focused on building a world of characters, histories, languages, etc. Its just always been an idle thought in my mind, and I appreciate you taking a moment to share your views with me. Thanks again Vee! Big Smile Smilie
I believe Amrod or Amras or Angrod or Aegnor were loved by a mortal woman, but can't remember where i read that.
I think maybe because elves were fair and Men were not so the male elves would rather marry their own race.
But female elves like a bit of rough (so to speak)?
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But female elves like a bit of rough (so to speak)?
From what I've seen of the female human, that also applies. Or is it stereotyping to say that young women usually go for the bad boys, as one of them is more exciting than your ordinary guy. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
Oooooooooooh dangerous territory... but that could explain why human females don't marry male elves.


Wiggle Smilie
"No don't pick the flowers honey, it hurts them!" Very manly. Wink Smilie
Or maybe the elven ladies are better at looking below the surface than the men are.
But what if all male elves look like Legolas and spend all their time combing their hair and looking at themselves in the mirror? Maybe some human females married elves and them left them because their elf paid all the attention to himself?
I think this thread should be moved to the taverns, the way it has already evolved into major blah.
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Luthien chose to be mortal after her 'death' so that she could be with Beren. Arwen, as a half-elven had the choice as all half-elvens did to be either of the race of Men or Elves and she chose to be mortal to be with Aragorn. It's a bit unfair that half-elven have that choice but the descendents of Elros didn't.


That is because you are looking at the choice from the wrong perspective, assuming Elven immortality is better than the fate of Men. That was not meant to be the case. The fate of Men was a Gift from Eru. It was supposed to be something that far outweighed immortality. That is why Elrond's children are given the choice and Elros's aren't. Elrond had turned down the Gift, but his children still had human blood in their veins. The Gift was not denied to them just because their father had turned it down. Elros, on the other hand, had accepted the Gift. His children, therefore, did not "have to apply" to be mortal and join Eru in heaven. That Gift had already been granted.

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I think the only documented intermarriages were Luthien and Beren, Tuor and Idril and Aragorn and Arwen.


There was also Imrazor the Numenorian and the Elf-maiden Mithrellas, from whom Imrahil, Boromir and Faramir all gained their (very diluted) Elven blood.

This fourth union between Human and Elf does seem to highlight something, in that it is less documented than the other three. The other three are all unions between Elven princesses and human heroes/nobility. Imrazor was a marinor who was father to the first Lord of Dol Amroth. Mithrellas was a Silvan Elf who was a handmaiden of Nimrodel. Maybe the others got documented because they were more important than Imrazor and Mithrellas, not just because they formed Elf/Human relationships. If this is the case maybe Elf/Human relationships were more common than we are aware of, but Tolkien did not deem it necessary to document them all. Taking this a step further, maybe these relationships went both ways.Tolkien based a lot of his work on European/Scandanavian legends. Many legends concerning Faerie often portray Elven youths "frolicking" with innocent young girls. If Elven males in Middle Earth formed relationships with Human females, maybe this is more the nature it would take.

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Do you think he would also have to make the 'choice of Luthien' upon taking a human mate?


The Gift of Man could not be taken away as it was a gift from Eru himself. The human half of the relationship could not be made immortal therefore (Tuor was said to have gone to Valinor, but he would have still been mortal as the Valar did not have the power to take the Gift from him). If the Elven half of the relationship wished to stay with their loved one, therefore, they would have to become mortal. It does say of Luthien, however....

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So it was that alone of the Eldalie she has died indeed, and left the world long ago.


To me, that implies that Luthien was the only Elf to actually die and leave the confines of Ea, to which all other Elves are bound. Arwen received the Gift because she had Human blood, but it would seem any other Elves would have to wave goodbye to their loved ones forever, because they did not get to join their spouse during the singing of the Second Great Music.
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Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring – even as a rare event: there are 2 cases* only in my legends of such unions, and they are merged in descendants of Earendil.

*There is an Endnote:
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One would expect ‘three cases’:cf. The Lord of the Rings III 314:’There were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain: Luthien and Beren; Idril and Tuor; Arwen and Aragorn. By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half-elven were reunited and their line was restored’





It almost seems to me that Tolkien’s intent with the Elven-Men marriage was to merge the best of both races, which in the end, when the Elves have left Middle-earth, would leave some of their desired qualities in the Royal bloodline.

There is little doubt regarding Luthien’s great courage, however, I believe her intended role in the general scheme of things (aside from the bloodline) was to pass the wisdom and beauty of the Elves onto her offspring. A child’s first teacher is the mother. This would also apply to Idril and Arwen. Perhaps that is one of the reasons Tolkien could not write about the 4th age. Without an Elvish mother to nurture the future rulers of Middle-earth much of the wisdom and appreciation for beauty would be lost over time.

These were no ordinary Men who married the Elven princesses. They proved to possess strength of character and great courage. Traditionally, men had little involvement in raising young children. Although the courage would be the desired inherited quality, the children would be taught sense of duty as they mature.

I don’t think there was any “biological” or "social" reasons that the unions were between male Men and female Elves. I think it has more to do with the tradtional roles of the mother and the father and Tolkien's intent in the story to strengthen the Royal bloodline of the Men who would inherit stewardship from the Elves.
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That is because you are looking at the choice from the wrong perspective, assuming Elven immortality is better than the fate of Men.


I think I was more concerned that only one line had 'the choice' although it is possible that given the choice many men would choose to be elven because they see their immortality as a good thing, not knowing what the fate of men is to be.

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There was also Imrazor the Numenorian and the Elf-maiden Mithrellas, from whom Imrahil, Boromir and Faramir all gained their (very diluted) Elven blood.


This one I don't know of. Where can I find the it?

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It almost seems to me that Tolkien’s intent with the Elven-Men marriage was to merge the best of both races, which in the end, when the Elves have left Middle-earth, would leave some of their desired qualities in the Royal bloodline.


Thanks Nell, this seems an extremely plausible and rational explanation - as does the rest of your post.
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There was also Imrazor the Numenorian and the Elf-maiden Mithrellas, from whom Imrahil, Boromir and Faramir all gained their (very diluted) Elven blood.


This one I don't know of. Where can I find it?


I should be intereswted in where to find this too.
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I should be interesrted in where to find this too.
That story can be found in Part Two, Section IV of Unfinished Tales entitled 'THE HISTORY OF GALADRIEL AND CELEBORN and of Amroth King of Lorien'. This book should be read after The Silmarillion as it fills in and expands on some of that book's tales and omissions. It also gives alternate versions of some of them. And IMHO, it's also easier to read.
My son pointed something out to me that I would largely otherwise have overlooked. Through the various lines of descent, Aragorn and Arwen both carry the blood of all the various elven peoples, all the three houses of Edain and of the Maiar.
Yup, and Eldarion, their son would have had all the best genes of those three races, and been an even better man that his father before him. However, as Tolkien never got around to writing the part of the story after King Elesar's death, we can but hope the son(s) of Eldarion didn't turn out like Mordred or those of King Henry II.
I'm mainly posting here so Virumor has a look at my opinion of "mongrelry." Well, not really.

While it's not generally considered "canonical" LT2 has, in the story of Turin, Brandir going under the name of Tamar (but still lame, which is odd in light of the next part) and being Half-Elven. I don't recall any mention of parentage, so it could go either way (though it seems reasonable to expect that if this was a woman Nolda marriage that would be mentioned.)
Fionwë Urion
Posted Thursday 25th May 2006 (08:02am)


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Now, this has nothing to do with what you're talking about, but in the RotK, when Legolas and Gimli meet Prince Imrahil, Legolas says something like: I see not all the Elves of Hollindon passed over the Sea. Yet doesn't Tolkien say somewhere else that there were only three intermarriages between the two kindreds? Could someone please help me out on that point?



Morambar
Posted Thursday 25th May 2006 (12:21pm)


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I believe it's in the Silm, though I can't tell you exactly where (though the places I'd look would be the ones covering Beren and Luthien and Tuor and Idril.) But you have to recall the Silmarillion is, in some ways, a patchwork compliation by Christopher Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay. I believe Legolas was referring to Mithrellas, who wed a Numenorean Lord of Dol Amroth whose name I forget (alluded to in UT, yes?) So there's actually four. Except in one version of the tale of Turin, Brandir is the son of a FIFTH union between Man and Elf.

The more I think about it the more it amuses me, because the consensus seems to be that UT is canon but the rest of HoME isn't (for some unexplained reason.) For my part, I hold anything in HoME to be canon unless specifically contradicted by the Silmarillion, which has precedence of publication (the one exception being the House of of Finarfin because Christopher Tolkien has admitted it was an error that needed correction.) Under this dictum Brandir is fully mortal because the Silmarillion lists Beren/Luthien, Tuor/Idril and Aragorn/Arwen as the only three intermarriages, but by the same token, the section of UT referencing Mithrellas is off the table.

OK, fire away....



Cloveress
Posted Thursday 25th May 2006 (12:57pm)


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I have not yet read the name Mithrellas anywhere, but I have heard of the fourth union from many friends. It is where Imrahil is descended from, anyways, and I've always taken that to be truth. But where this info comes from I don't know, and I've always thought it to be a "less important issue".



Virumor
Posted Thursday 25th May 2006 (02:21pm)


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According to UT, Mithrellas supposedly was a companion of Nimrodel, who supposedly got lost in the woods, where she was supposedly found by Imrazor the Númenoran, who supposedly took her to wife (she-elves are so easy to pick up, it seems) : their son Galador was the ancestor of Imrahil of Dol Amroth.
The very short storys about the union between Elven Mithrellas and Númenoran Imrazor in UT, are found in two places: The first in Part Two, Section IV, entitled 'The History of Galadriel and Celeborn' at the end of the passages about Amroth and Nimrodal. The second in Note 39 found at the end of Part Three, Section II entitled 'Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan'.
The whole thing is a debatable issue... Tolkien said that there were only 3 intermarriages, whereas books such as UT and HoME say otherwise. My point is that as Tolkien developed his stories they changed here and there: some things were altered and others left out or dropped entirely in the process of perfecting his work. Sadly he didn't get to finish, leaving behind a varied treasure of "jigsaw" tales all connecting in some way to make an intriguing and beautiful creation full of depth and history; but some of the pieces were maybe conflicting - perhaps Tolkien didn't intend on publishing some of the things in UT and HoME or perhaps he did, in which case he would have ammended his earlier statement. I believe Christopher Tolkien had a difficult task of editing what was left behind; and though he was aware of conflicting stories, maybe he didn't know in which direction or manner his father would have shaped and pruned them; and I'd like to think that he didn't see fit to deprive the world of any of his father's masterful work.
Your analysis of Christophers very challenging position conforms to all I've read from him. As I recall from statement I've read in HoME, he seems to feel that in his fathers last years some large scale revisions were under way, but that most of these were ultimately abandoned in favor of the stories previous evolution. So we have, at the least, some original versions, some examples of their disparate development over several decades and often some very late revisions. Which is correct? Does Tevildo, Lord of Cats, belong in Saurons place in the Tale of Tinuviel, accounting for the ancient enmity between dogs and cats? Was Beren really a Nolda who provoked Thingol by vice of the Kinslaying rather than his mortality? Was Brandir Half-elven, and was he really Tamerlane? For the most part I say an emphatic "NO!" but where a developed late plotline is clear and doesn't conflict with the published Silmarillion I like to accept it as canon, whether it's UT or (other parts of) HoME. It's impossible to accept any of it as ultimately authoritative though, because there's to many options of uncertain pedigree.
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but where a developed late plotline is clear and doesn't conflict with the published Silmarillion I like to accept it as canon, whether it's UT or (other parts of) HoME.
Okay, but UT is not a part of HoME and thus I think its validity lies in between that of The Silmarillion and HoME.
Why? It's a posthomous work compiled by others from notes, just as HoME, and has been known to have the same kinds of conflicting details, not only with canon, but with itself (cf. the two different versions of how Galdriel and Celeborn got together, and the different reason for her being subjected to the Exile.) Even the format is the same: an essentially intact version of a story, followed by possible alternates, followed by language/name changes, followed by end notes from Christopher Tolkien. The only real difference I see is that HoME was designed to dig deeper into known events and has a far vaster body of evidence, while UT is a largely independent single volume that STILL manages to contradict canon periodically. HoME should, IMHO, have at least the same level of credibility, if not more for being more exhaustive. Hence I've never understood why the people who accept UT as canon so often dismiss parts of HoME they don't like.
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For my part, I hold anything in HoME to be canon unless specifically contradicted by the Silmarillion,

Same here. And thanks for the help, I think I may have heard something about the story of Mithrellas before, so thanks for clearing that up.
It seems to me that tolkien's hint in LoTR about the Prince of Dol Amroth's lineage was pretty clear. An elf wouldn't go around giving this comment (seems like a pretty high compliment) to just any prince of men that he met. So perhaps all the bit about there being only three unions (and Aragorn/Arwen being, in reality, a Man with a bit of elvish blood from way back, getting together with a she-elf who's really a quarter human and 1/8th Maia) was because those were the three "historical" unions -- the ones everyone knew about, told their children in history class, and which made rather a lot of waves in the timeline. If we suspend disbelief for a moment and think of Tolkien as a historian instead of as the creator of ME, then living with these ambiguities in "what really happened" is easier. The Sil, along with much of his other writings, then become historical documents which he has unearthed and translated, or perhaps heard in the oral tradition from the stray elf whom he met while wandering in a golden wood (heavens above! perhaps his muse was the lingering mark the spirits of Arwen and Galadriel left in lorien). Perhaps he's had to patch together "the real story" from various parchments, and of course the "real" story has got mixed up with human error and tradition and eventually mistaken for a mere myth. LoTR, being a tale told by hobbits, faithfully written down and edited by Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, with help from Merry, Pippin, and probably proof-read and edited by many of their companions, has probably got more historical validity and confirmation than the rest.

In this mood, I deem it wise to say that there WAS another union besides "the big 3" -- unheralded and untold by most.

oh -- and on the same note about it seeming that the women marry "down" as far as physical prowess and vitality is concerned, let's not forget that a female Maia married "down" to an elf! Perhaps it was her genes and nurturing that started this business of intermarriage. She was "multicultural", and she passed that longing for union with a different kind of Eru's creation on to her own offspring.

The Maia meets and enthralls Thingol in the woods, Luthien was, perhaps, merely imitating her mother when she danced her own enthralling magic for Beren.....
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An elf wouldn't go around giving this comment (seems like a pretty high compliment) to just any prince of men that he met.

I'm not sure about that. After all, Legolas was pretty much a big doofus.

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The Maia meets and enthralls Thingol in the woods, Luthien was, perhaps, merely imitating her mother when she danced her own enthralling magic for Beren.....

Neither of them succubi were dancing to enthrall someone. They were just floating/dancing around a bit under the stars when accidentally their future husbands passed by and were caught in the spider's web.

And it seems to me that as soon as Thingol/Beren took the hand of their future spouses, the latter seemed as much caught in the act as the former.
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that luthien or her mother were intentionally setting out to snare their future husbands -- nor did I wish you to infer the idea that I think they themselves weren't enthralled by their mates in turn. Just pointing out a similarity between temperaments -- both these ladies were able to consider mates from someone outside of their peers. I don't think every maia, elf, or human would have been suscebtible to that possibility.

What, exactly, makes you consider Legolas to be a "doofus"? The character certainly didn't strike me that way at all.
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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that luthien or her mother were intentionally setting out to snare their future husbands -- nor did I wish you to infer the idea that I think they themselves weren't enthralled by their mates in turn.

No no, I really like that idea. Lúthien was able to make Morgoth's blood boil and drool all over her, after all, so one must not underestimate her.

I'd rather picture her as a spirited, naughty little thing than a chaste damsel in distress.
hm, I don't picture her as either one of those things. There's a wide middle ground between naughty little thing and chaste damsel in distress. (Who ever said she was "little", anyways?)

My former question still stands: What makes you think of Legolas as a "doofus"?

I will not stand for character defamation without just cause! Wink Smilie

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Mithrellas I had never heard of before reading this thread; I'll have to go look her up in the library.
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My former question still stands: What makes you think of Legolas as a "doofus"?

I think I was kidding..
Ah, Virumor, I hadn't yet read enough of your posts to understand your normal tone of voice. Plus, I read it late at night and probably wasn't sharp enough at the time to catch any humor....Perhaps a face or two -- here and there -- would make it easier for relative newcomers to understand you Smile Smilie
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I believe Amrod or Amras or Angrod or Aegnor were loved by a mortal woman, but can't remember where i read that.


It was *one and four... or just Aegnor. And indeed it's said that he loved Andreth, so we do have an example of a male Elf loving a female mortal. But they were not wed of course.

*Aikanáro (Aegnor) was called by his father Ambaráto and the Sindarin form of this would have been Amrod.

Interesting thread. I believe that it has nothing to do with the beauty of mortal women - we know that some of them had the appearence of Elvish women. Morwen comes to my mind, since her surname "Eledhwen" was given because she had the Elvish presence. And of course physical appearance definitely isn't the only factor of (for example) Beren and Luthien's love, even if we are informed how amazing her beauty was. I also agree with Vee - I link those Elvish women, who chose to be with mortal Men, with some great strength when it comes to love. Women in Middle Earth seem to be more love-driven than Men in my opinion - and they were more capable of give up their domains and families not only for being with their Men but also for saving their loved ones (Morwen once again had the same strength).
I would suggest that the fact we see those intermarriages between Elvish women and mortal Men (and not with mortal women and Elvish men) may be somehow related to the role of men in the ME societes - we don't see marriages between Elvish princesses and plain mortal men - Beren, Tuor and Aragorn were the lords of Men, all of them were warriors or royals, they travelled a lot, and therefore they all had the opportunity to live among the Elves and meet some of Elvish women. I don't see mortal women doing the same - they simply wouldn't have the chance. And probably it would have to be a mortal woman with some royal descent.

Interesting. Another thing might be that mortal women knew a life of a bit more toil and hardship than elvish women. Sure, elvish women knew some of course. But mortal women, having shorter lives, had lives that were fuller and a bit harder. Yes? So, back to the point, elven men may have not wanted to marry a women that was so understanding of hardships and pain. They liked women that were more noble, and gentle in all respects. (Not that I would completely agree with them).  It is just a thought.

~Wen

Wen, the differences you pointed out would probably had bigger impact in the lives of "plain" mortal and Elvish women. I believe that a life of Elvish princess and mortal princess would be similar in some ways. But of course - never been one so it's pure speculation Wink Smilie Of course we can assume that immortality changes everything - perspectives, aspirations, way of life.

Yes, Indis. Pehaps. But what I was thinking was that because the race of mortals were later in coming, and later in "civilizing" and later is learning the ways of the elves. All of them were probably more rough and accustomed to hardships. They had a shorter time to learn, and came to the world late. I see your point though. Smile Smilie

This is very interesting thread...just an aside here, really....when Beren met Luthien in the woods; and when Aragorn first set eyes on Arwen...at various points the male protaganists have been described as "enthralled"....this word has an interseting etymology.....a "thrall"  originally meant "a slave"...so the word would have literally meant .."enslaved"....mmm..I don't like that translation very much in this context...perhaps "enspelled"...would be better...not all "spells" are evil....in this context I believe that tin inference is that "love" is a kind of spell... a good one...one that enriches us & enhances us....what do you think ?