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men are often tempted to think immortality is something great and don't like the fact they'll die one day. but the elves always saw mortality as a special gift for men, and some of them might prefer being mortal. they seem to get very melancholy the older they get. it's a fact that really amazes me, when I was younger I also used to think that being immortal must be so much better than dying. but I changed my mind in the meantime.
I'm very interested in that topic, so what do you think about mortality and immortality?
A very importatnt question: is death a Gift to Men or the Doom of Men?
I think I'll leave the answer to philosophers and such...

This is a good place to ask my question...
Luthien and Arwen chose to be mortal. I wonder if every Elf could make that decision. We know that after Elrond, Galadriel and the others set sail for Valinor, some Elves still lingered in Middle Earth. Does that mean that they chose mortality or stayed a while and eventually returned West.
Does any one know for sure?
No. Not all elves could choose whether they could be mortal or immortals. This special "gift" to choose their destiny was given only to Earendil, who represented both the Elves and the Men when pleading to the Valar, and his offsprings starting with Elrond and Elros. Out of which Elrond chose to be of the Elven-kind and Elros chose mortality and hence became the first of the Numenorean Kings. They were also known as the Half-Elven due to their lineage extending among both Elves as well as Men.

As for Tinuviel, she was immortal and Beren was not, but due to the pain born by Beren due to the Silmarils and the love of Tinuviel for him, the hearts of the Valar melted and they granted them both another life as mortals. So she didn't "choose" as such.
I know that Arwen was given the choice whether or not to be mortal or not because Elrond was only half-elven, and his children were given the choice as well as him and his brother Elros and his children. And Lúthien chose to become mortal after the Quest for the Silmaril and Beren died. The Silmarillion said she chose it in this way:
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But the spirit of Lúthien fell down into darkness, and at the last it fled, and her body lay like a flower that is suddenly cut off and lies for a while unwithered on the grass.
Then a winter, as it were the hoar age of mortal Men, fell upon Thingol. But Lúthien came to the halls of Mandos, where are the appointed places of the Eldaië, beyond the mansions of the West upon the confines of the world. There those that wait sit in the shadow of their thought. But her beauty was more than their beauty, and her sorrow deeper than their sorrows; and she knelt before Mandos and sang to him.
The song of Lúthien before Mandos was the song most fair that ever in words was woven, and the song most sorrowful that ever the world shall hear. Unchanged, imperishable, it is sung still in Valinor beyond the hearing of the world, and listening the Valar are grieved. For Lúthien wove two themes of words, of the sorrow of the Eldar and the grief of Men, of the Two Kindreds that were made by Ilúvatar to dwell in Arda, the Kingdom of Earth amid the innumerable stars. And as she knelt before him her tears fell upon his feet like rain upon the stones; and Mandos was moved to pity, who never before was so moved, nor has been since.
Therefore he summoned Beren, and even as Lúthien had spoken in the hour of his death they met again beyond the Western Sea. But Mandos had no power to withhold the spirits of Men that were dead within the confines of the world, after their time of waiting; nor could he change the fates of the Children of Ilúvatar. He went therefore to Manwë, Lord of the Valar, who governed the world under the hand of Ilúvatar; and Manwë sought counsel with his inmost thought, where the will of Ilúvatar was revealed.
These were the choices that he gave to Lúthien. Because of her labours and her sorrow, she should be released from Mandos, and go to Valimar, there to dwell until the world's end among the Valar, forgetting all griefs that her life had known. Thither Beren could not come. For it was not permitted to the Valar to withhold Death from him, which is the gift of Ilúvatar to Men. But the other choice was this: that she might return to MIddle-earth, and take with her Beren, there to dwell again, but without certitude of life or joy. Then she would become mortal, and subject to a second death, even as he; and ere long she would leave the world for ever, and her beauty become only a memory in song.
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 Lúthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world.

And there you have it....a long explanation, but it's all there. Lúthien chose to be with Beren after dying, and only because Manwë gave her the choice because of the deeds and works that she had done.
So really, she didn't just choose...she got to choose, because of what she did in life. Smile Smilie I hope that clears things up a little bit Dwarflord! ciao!
Wow, now that's what I call a full answer

Thanks a lot, Lemaly orangeflower
How could I forget, that Elrond's children all got the right to chose. As for Luthien, thanks for the quote. Animated Wink Smilie
Oh this is tway too heavy to think about - I'm glad I don't have the choice - I wouldn't know if I wanted to be mortal or imortal.

I know I don't want to leave my family but knowing that I'm going to my God is a comfort, but of course it's my faith here coz there's no proof of heaven but I'm scared at the thought of dying or am I scared of leaving my family or is it the unknown!!!! As I said waaay tooo heavy Look Around Smilie
Some say that being afraid of death is what makes people human. Robots aren't scared of death...so i guess it just means that being scared of the inevitable makes us who we are.

And Dwrflord, no problem...I just finished reading that part and LOVED IT! So it was not a big deal...i like helping people out! Smile Smilie Oh, and the Elves that stayed in Middle-earth, I think they lived for a long time after, but slowly died like Men. But I think there was something that said they lived 2 maybe 3 times longer than the Men before they died. I don't know...it's in the appendices at the end of ROTK.

As for me...I think i might choose to be immortal. I don't know why...I guess I just love this world way to much. And I don't much like the thought of dying...too painful and unnecessary. Maybe that's why I dream of being an elf all the time? Plus I think the pain of my dying would hurt a lot of people, and I don't want to put them through that....Too many tears. Anywho...again, no problem, and great idea for the thread! Smile Smilie
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Oh, and the Elves that stayed in Middle-earth, I think they lived for a long time after, but slowly died like Men. But I think there was something that said they lived 2 maybe 3 times longer than the Men before they died. I don't know...it's in the appendices at the end of ROTK.

That is incorrect. Elves are immortal, hence never die. This applies for all the Quendi. They can only die by grief or getting killed.

Elves in other fantasy books though, are often not immortal. But not Tolkien's elves.

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As for me...I think i might choose to be immortal. I don't know why...I guess I just love this world way to much. And I don't much like the thought of dying...too painful and unnecessary.

Absolute immortality is impossible, as Arda will be destroyed after the Dagor Dagorath and then the time of the Elves has ended, as they are not included in the Second Music of the Ainur.

And no matter what, the soul is immortal, and this applies for both Elves and Men. I prefer mortality, as it grants Men a place in the halls of Eru after death, and a place in the second music of the Ainur; it also means freedom, as it doesn't make one bound to Arda.

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Luthien and Arwen chose to be mortal. I wonder if every Elf could make that decision.

They can all choose to die, by throwing themselves off a cliff (or riding themselves off a cliff on a Warg), but their soul will never leave Arda and always get stuck in the Halls of Mandos. They can even choose to return then.

Mortals though, never come back, although Dr Frankenstein might disagree there.
Most people would choose to live forever while they're still in their prime or just over the hill, but there comes a time after all their friends have passed on, when their bodies are worn out; their minds have grown tired; and they're subjected to much physical pain. At this time they may start considering Death as a welcome friend. Death is a gift when it doesn't come too soon.

However, until we let old rocking chair get us, we should keep picking ourselves up by our bootstraps, laughing in the faces of dispair, hardship, and adversity; and never ever give up. To 'live long and prosper' is a nice goal, but to never let the b******ds grind you down is a better way of dealing with life.

Smoke Smilie
Thanks Miruvor,
I'm glad that I know that now. I couldn't find my books to know for sure. Thanks for clearing it up. And Grondmaster, good theory. I like that. Smile Smilie
although immorlatality may appeal to many, espesialy the young, I would say that death is just as important to life as birth is. the road is a long and weary one yet still pleasant. i would chose a mortal life.
that was well written, elrose.
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Some say that being afraid of death is what makes people human. Robots aren't scared of death...so i guess it just means that being scared of the inevitable makes us who we are.

I like that very much, too, although I think people shouln't be that afraid of dying. being afraid of death doesn't keep you from dying, but from living. (who said this? I've got the worst memory)
I don't think that weeks of mourning are what anyone would want others to do after his/her death, I mean it doesn't help anyone. I don't want anybody to cry for me (maybe nobody will do so anyway). don't get me wrong, I think that crying is very relieving sometimes and I somewhat like it very much.
I appreciate these cultures very much in which people decide when they want to die. I think the australian aborigines do that. they finish everything they started and then they leave the group and go to uluru, their holy mountain, lie down and die. (I think that's about how it used to work) sounds a bit weird, but it's fascinating. noone cries for them because they know that the person has done everything he/she wanted to do and was ready to go now. they are sure everything is alright. isn't that a beautiful thought?
That is very beautiful. I guess because I'm still young, and just now starting to enjoy my life, I don't want to leave it. I always have terrible dreams/nightmares of the ones I love dying, and I always wake up crying. I had a hard childhood, and I guess now that I have people to love and those that love me, I don't want to let them go...and o...I'm crying again. I'm such a wuss sometimes! Smile Smilie Anyways, I do like that. I'll have to ask my anthropology teacher about that next semester....she would know!
I'm not afraid of death, I mean, if I died I would have a few regrets, but I don't fear to die. I would never ever want to be immortal.
In Blade Runner the androids' lives were limited to four years and in the end Rutger Hauer's character accepted that he had lived his life to the fullest, having seen many sights that men had not, and finally being reconciled to it, he died peacefully. I watched to director's cut again Saturday night and thought his ending was touching.
i always pitied tolkien's elves. why would anyone wish to live forever? after a while nothing would be new. there would be nothing to live for. it takes all the fun out of living.

to die of grief is not a way to go (but being slain is... as far as i'm concerned). it almost seems as if the elves are overstaying thier welcome on middle-earth.

i would never want to be immortal. i actually take comfort in the fact that i will one day die. the world is a pretty depressing place and there's not much that one person can do to change that. i would not want to live forever in that kind of situation.

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We know that after Elrond, Galadriel and the others set sail for Valinor, some Elves still lingered in Middle Earth. Does that mean that they chose mortality or stayed a while and eventually returned West.
Does any one know for sure?


This is in answer to Dwarflord; the rest of your questions were very fully answered indeed. In Appendix A to LOTR, it is stated that Legolas stayed in ME until the death of Aragorn(120 years after the end of the LOTR), after which he sailed across the sea (and reportedly took Gimli with him -see the commentary on that remarkable event.). The implication is that the Elves did not lose their immortality with the deaprture of Elrond and Galadriel, nor lose the right to leave ME for the uttermost west. It's impied (I'd have to dig through the books for the quotes, and I'm too lazy a scholar) that those who stay after the departure of the three rings are are doomerd to eventually fade, but it apparently didn't happen abruptly.
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The implication is that the Elves did not lose their immortality with the deaprture of Elrond and Galadriel, nor lose the right to leave ME for the uttermost west. It's impied (I'd have to dig through the books for the quotes, and I'm too lazy a scholar) that those who stay after the departure of the three rings are are doomerd to eventually fade, but it apparently didn't happen abruptly.


The fate of Men and elves, as has been discussed, is different. Men live but a short time in Ea, but then get to join Iluvatar in the Second Music after the end of Ea. There fate is free of Arda. Elves on the other hand are "immortal" within Ea, but their fate is tied very closely to the land. Should they die within Ea their spirits reside for a time in the Halls of Mandos, after which they are reincarnated back within Ea. In other words they do not get to leave Ea. Their fate after the end of Ea is uncertain. Personally I believe they cease to be, but others feel they also get to sit with Iluvatar during the Second Music. My reason for believing they cease to be after the End is that I feel Tolkien was presenting two alternatives... Heaven on Earth for the duration of Ea (a very long time) or True Heaven forever. I don't feel that Tolkien was allowing Elves to have both options.

But Back to the fading of Elves in Middle Earth... This is due to a phenomenon known as Morgoth's Ring. Originally Elves did not fade in Middle Earth, but Melkor diseminated his power into every peice of matter in Middle Earth causing it to become corrupted. As Elves and everything else in Middle Earth was made from this matter, they were imperfect and thus began to fade. As Melkor's power did not extend into Valinor at the time he diseminated his power, the matter there is not tainted, and thus does not cause fading. As a side note, the three Elven rings of power slowed time and reduced the effects of fading within Rivendell and Lorien.

In Morgoth's Ring it mentions the fate of some Elves whose spirit has burned away their body over a period of time (fading). Before totally fading they can go to the Halls of Mandos, so thay can be returned to new bodies. Some, however, refuse the summons and totally fade. These are said to become almost ghostlike spirits, very much tied to their place of existance.
Well, from a christian perspective you will either live forever in hell or heaven, so in a way there's no contest.
yeah, christians will live forever in hell or heaven... hindus will be reborn until they can break out of that circle... you see - the religion makes all the difference. it's a funny thought that all men are equal but there will be differences as soon as they've died....
but as to remain close to the topic: I mostly agree with lady eowyn's ideas, you can really be sorry for the elves. sooner or later life gets boring, one day you'll have seen the things you want to see and you get fed up with this world. but you can't get out of it. seeing this world die (I don't quite think that it's a very nice place to live nowadays... I'd prefer being somewhere in the past sometimes - but hey, you've got no choice...) must be rather depressing.
Everything is forever, due to conservation of energy. 15 billions years ago, we were all part of the cosmic egg, before the Big Bang started, or was started.

After that, we were part of the stars of the 1st generation, who dispersed the matter we consist of into the universe, to form the cloud out of which the solar system was formed. Once the matter was all in place, life started, or was started and here we are.

But even after death, the matter of which we consist will always exist; ultimately it will be dispersed again into the universe and perchance form new stars, planets or new life.

We all have a ticket to infinity.
Nice job getting the Morgoths Ring comments and (other) theology reference right together like that. I actually had missed Morgoths Ring, but it does provide an explanation for the "fading effect" in History of Middle Earth. It always amazes me how few people are aware of the Catholic background of Tolkien that provides rich insights into the epic(s.) Thus, we have the Valar translated as "Angelic Powers [NOT gods]" and the line from The Music of the Ainur about how every action of Morgoth to diminish Eru is blended and incorporated into the larger scheme to magnify him (sorry, don't have my Silmarillion handy at the moment, and can't find an online text.)

While subscribing to the Big Bang, at least until something better presents itself (and I'm not holding my breath,) that approach leads inevitably to the scientific method and Bacon, which in turn leads to The Metaphysics and Aristotles argument for a preeminent First Cause in Book II. In short, the Big Bang is a great explanation for the universe, but not existence. For those not accepting the immortality of the soul it's a pointless discussion; for those who do accept it, the question is less "is there immortality?" than "in what form will it occur?"

Final thought: I find it rather odd that on a site run by Brits no one has chimed in with Roger Waters' offering on the subject, but, in the interest of supplying the lack, "I must say it again: any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it, you've gotta go some time." "The Great Gig in the Sky," Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
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We all have a ticket to infinity.
But as the Universe is still expanding and since we seem to be unable to travel faster than the speed of light, then I think we out to get our money back or at least a rebate; for even though we have all eternity to reach that destination, I don't think we can ever arrive at infinity. Teacher Smilie
I don' t know if it was already discussed but...

How about the orcs? The Silm. described them as crosses between elves and men or something. I may be completely off, but were they mortal or immortal? and...

How about bad elves or valar? I am not confident on my Silm.. I have only read it once. But what happened to the bad guys? I know they went to the halls of mandos, but were they imprisoned there or what???

Please Educate Me.
Miruvor and I discussed this a bit, I think it was in Orcs, orcs, orcs in the Characters thread. I could be wrong though, it may in one of the discussions of Elves; I've been up a while. But I don't think so. It's my position that Elves=immortal, Orcs=debased and corrupted Elves, therefore Orcs=immortal. Aren't syllogisms beautiful? The issue of "evil" Elves (as Orcs could be argued to be) was briefly discussed, and I raised the question that always perplexed me about that: Elves breed rarely, and their children age slowly, but Morgoth was able to repeatedly raise an Orc army from nothing after each was destroyed.

I can't give you a link; I'm elliterate, sorry.

And, having missed this earlier, I dispute the preeminence of the Cosmic Egg in those terms, as does Aristotle (The Metaphysics, book two.) Existence can't be a product of deus ex machina.
Thankyou.

I also disagree with the big bang theory.
Creation is for me
But it all takes faith
I must also support the faith argument here. And when did science have to disprove creationism anyway?
My faith in the Creator is broad enough to believe he created both the universe and science; I find no contradiction with this. I know he works in mysterious ways and accept as a given that our scientific facts of today will probably undergo change in the future, just as they have in the past, because the Creator continues to reveal more and ever more about his creation as mankind matures. I just pray that we don't ruin or blow-up this world over which he has given us stewardship.
Don't worry, i'm sure the Lady will help us out.
Well, I think we both know, Grondy, it's more a question of when than if. Call it the Second Law of Thermodynamics applied to sociology if you like. Meanwhile, I agree there's no conflict (though I'm involved in a great debate on this very subject over at wotmania; some folks just want conflict, and it doesn't really matter on which side they are.) Working in mysterious ways, sure, but being restricted to them seems a little silly. And limited. Not a quality I tend to associate with God. There's a phrase I encountered a while back that I find helpful with this and many other controversies (or contriversies: )
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In Essentials: Unity; In non-essentials: Liberty; In all things: Charity [Love]
—Peter Meiderlin, 1626

Meanwhile, as I write this the News Hour is ending. I liked it better when they just told me how to get transcripts. "Make the world go away..." This, too, shall pass.
In my mind God is not restricted to mysterious ways, a lot of the time his ways are perfectly clear! Yet I don't think we as small human beings with tiny brains can expect the creator of the universe to reveal all to us and trust us with that knowledge..recipe for disaster. I'd rather wait until eternity to find out more thanks
Immortality can be viewed in many ways. one way is to say never to die. What will happen then, if an immortal person is blown into bits? they would still be alive see, thats where the phrase comes "there are some things worse than death" ( this view of immortality not tolkiens) i think that men are not actually afraid of death it self. it is actually the unkown they fear. the elves live long to see men come and go. they all fear the same thing... the unknown. Immortality to the mortal may seem as a gift... but to the immortals it is a curse. we cannot apretiate thing in life if we know that they will be there forever.. if we knoe that we will bw there forever
Personally i think being immortal would be horrible. You would go on on and it would get boring. And if you wanted to die the only way would be suicide. Its like you would be stuck.

Thats my two cents
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Personally i think being immortal would be horrible. You would go on on and it would get boring. And if you wanted to die the only way would be suicide. Its like you would be stuck.
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That explains why the Elves of Lothlorien showed up at Helm's Deep, then.
Moderator Smilie The last couple of posts were deemed too religious in nature and I deleted them.

You may talk about the religion or lack of structured religion in Tolkien's writings, but please do not bring any real-world religions or their precepts into your discussions, for you will doubless insult someone resuting in the spreading of hate and discontent, and that isn't what Planet-Tolkien is about.

Thanks Moderator Smilie
But, but, Grondy, how can I get offended if you remove the offensive posts? I go away for a bit and folks start, well, stealing my bit. Although I must admit that anything goes site encourages bad habits. I"ve scheduled a four month discussion over there for Labor Day that simply wouldn't be possible over here. Of course, I don't get insulted over here either. Elf Sticking Tounge Out Smilie
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Of course, I don't get insulted over here either.


Dang! Must try harder....

Wiggle Smilie
I have never seen death as a bad thing. I would not mind dying now and I would not mind dyinf in 60 years. The elves have always had a different perception of the world than men. In The Fellowship of The Ring while the company stayed in Lothlorien time seemed to pass much faster. They felt like they were there for a week and yet they were there for over a month. They also say in one of these passages that Elves have a different form of memory. They can place themselves in their memories and almost relive vividly. The elves greive as the world changes and loses all that is fair. They have a much deeper bond with Arda than the men. Therefore, mens' gift is to die and not see all that is fair fade away.
that was really beautifully said, Lembas.bread. I do agree with you.
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In The Fellowship of The Ring while the company stayed in Lothlorien time seemed to pass much faster. They felt like they were there for a week and yet they were there for over a month.

They only realized time goes faster in Lothlorien after they left. Whilst they were there, time seemed to pass normally. They never had the impression something fishy was going on.
It was the Moon being too far out of phase from when they had entered Lothlorien that told them something was rotten in Jutland.
The only thing that was fishy inside Lothlorien, was the fact that there was never a moon at night, just stars.

But i guess everybody swallowed Gimli's "the sorceress of the woods expresses herself in mysterious ways" explanation.
"Quote:
In The Fellowship of The Ring while the company stayed in Lothlorien time seemed to pass much faster. They felt like they were there for a week and yet they were there for over a month.

They only realized time goes faster in Lothlorien after they left. Whilst they were there, time seemed to pass normally. They never had the impression something fishy was going on."

Heh, yah I know. I guess I just worded it wrong Ignore Smilie


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Oh, and thanks for the compliment Ithil. I get complimented on my writing often even though I'm only a sophmore in highschool. Heh, and I thought I didn't articulate my thoguhts well before, but thanks Smile Smilie