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I have been wondering when elves grow up. Elwing was only about 25 years old when she and Earendil got married, but I also read somewhere that elves didn't mature untill they were about 3000 years.

I am sure all of us have had our thoughts about this, what do you think? When do elves grow up?
That is a really thought provoking question. Just in my moments thinking about it, I would have to say that, in my opinion, elves might have longer mid-life spans. Their lives aren't drawn out like, say, this many elven years is equal to this many human years. I think that the Light of the Eldar keeps them at their height, their ripness, so they can enjoy life extensively in their prime.

Ok, the theory has holes, but it is the best I can come up with. It adds to the appeal of being elven also, don't you think?

Cáno
I remember reading somewhere that when an elf is 50 years old, that they're adolescents... not sure where i read that, though. I probably picked this up when reading some cheesy, Tolkien/Legolamb-related fantasy story so this is probably incorrect.

I don't know about Elwing's age, but at the point she married Eärendil there was the problem whether she was Elf or Man (same with Eärendil) ... i seem to remember though that Lúthien was around 500 years old when she met Beren. Hmm, i also seem to remember reading in a Tolkien essay that most elves are at their 'marital' age when they're 1000 years old.

Anyway, what's 'old' for an elf? i don't think elves even use that word (at least not for their kin). Anyway, it could be that 3000 years old is the age at which elves are considered fully adult. I remember Elrond saying to Aragorn that Arwen was just a young tree or something (while comparing her age with Aragorn, not literally of course -- Arwen was not THAT entic), so not yet fully adult at that point. (although Arwen was 2710 years old at that moment)

Furthermore, Arwen was the Evenstar of her people ---which to me means that she was the LAST elf born in Middle-Earth in 241 III (Lúthien was the FIRST elf born in Middle-Earth, so she was called the Morningstar of her people) --- and when she met Aragorn she was 2710 years old... so Amarië could be right by putting the year 3000 on 'adult' as Elrond seems to point out that Arwen isn't yet fully adult, even though she's 2710 in the year she meets Aragorn.

So it looks like Aragorn married a giggly, puberal Elf teen..... probably Legolamb posters everywhere in the Queen's room in Minas Tirith! Nice going, Telcontar.
Interesting question, Amarie. The answer lies in Morgoth's Ring under the section, Laws and Customs of the Eldar.

From Morgoth's Ring

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The Eldar grew in bodily form slower than Men, but in mind more swiftly. They learned to speak before they were one year old;and in the same time they learned to walk and to dance, for their wills came soon to the mastery of their bodies. Nonetheless there was less difference between the two kindreds, Elves and Men, in early youth; and a man who watched elf-children at play might well have believed that they were the children of Man, of some fair and happy people. For in their early days elf-children delighted still in the world about them, and the fire of their spirit had not consumed them, and the burden of memory was still light upon them.

This same watcher might indeed have wondered at the small limbs and stature of these children, judging their age by their skill in words and grace in motion. For at the end of their third year mortal children began to outstrip the Elves, hastening on to a full stature while the Elves lingered in the first spring of childhood. Children of Men might reach their full height while Eldar of the same age were still in body like to mortals of no more than seven years. Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would pass before they were full-grown.


As Virumor correctly suggested, then, Elves reach adulthood at about fifty.

Morgoth's Ring goes on to say...

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The Eldar wedded for the most part in their youth and soon after their fiftieth year.....

.... Marriage, save for rare ill chances or strange fates, was the natural course of life for all Eldar. It took place in this way. Those who would afterwards become wedded might choose one another early in youth, even as children (and indeed this happened often in the days of peace); but unless they desired soon to be married and were of a fitting age, the betrothal awaited the judgement of the parents of either party.
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Furthermore, Arwen was the Evenstar of her people ---which to me means that she was the LAST elf born in Middle-Earth in 241 III (Lúthien was the FIRST elf born in Middle-Earth, so she was called the Morningstar of her people)
Wow, once again you point out something that is really obvious once you think about it, but that I'd never have thought of on my own. I just thought they callled her Evenstar 'cause she was pretty and had that jewel. I need to read more Tolkien.. Wink Smilie

Elwing and Earendil being 'undefined' in race would explain how they don't fit in the the age thing. 25 is normal human age to get married don't you think? Maybe they were humans untill proven otherwise. Wink Smilie

I can't picture Arwen as a giggling teenager (though that is what she was treated like in PJs movies), I was thinking she was in her twenties. But if they are adults at 50...

When are you an adult anyway? At 18? What present-day age would 50 elf years be?
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Marriage, save for rare ill chances or strange fates, was the natural course of life for all Eldar. It took place in this way. Those who would afterwards become wedded might choose one another early in youth, even as children (and indeed this happened often in the days of peace); but unless they desired soon to be married and were of a fitting age, the betrothal awaited the judgement of the parents of either party.

Strange though, if marriage is the natural course of life for Elves, that at the end of the third age there were so few Elves... and it's not that most Elves went into the West. Maybe Elves wait around 1000 years before they have kids... or Elvish women are pregnant for over 1000 years... heh

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but unless they desired soon to be married and were of a fitting age, the betrothal awaited the judgement of the parents of either party.

So because Arwen was 2710 years old at the point she met Aragorn, which is a fitting age in my opinion, at least very adult, then this means that Arwen didn't need Elrond's approval to marry an ELF. Moreover, i feel that Arwen didn't need anyone's approval to marry ANYONE at that point, so yes including Aragorn, as it is mentioned she just 'made her choice' when she met Aragorn when the latter was 49 in 2980 III.

Furthermore, in the BOOKS she is very fast to reject the Shadow and decline the Dusk, even though she loved her father dearly. So bye bye daddy.

So Elrond's speech to Aragorn is mostly just out of selfishness, to put it harshly. He didn't want to lose his beloved daughter to Aragorn. (so the movies got it wrong again. what a surprise. Arwen didn't need evil daddy's approval).

I'm not yet sure if it's usual for Elves to marry at a 'young' age, as soon as they reach 50 years. Maybe it's unusual for Elves to marry when they're over 1000-2000-3000. I dunno.

I still find it strange that so many Elves get married, but still there are so few Elves in Middle-Earth... i don't think that many Elvish marriages stay childless.... well the only reference we have is about the house of Finwë, considering Elvish marriages : that House produced lots of kids!! But if it is representative for all Elves, no idea.

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What present-day age would 50 elf years be?

When Elves are 50, they appear like adult men. So at that age, they seem to be physically adult. Whether they are also mentally adult, is another question!! Just like with humans, perhaps some Elves never grow up.

I have a quote about this, from Samwise Gamgee :

"And Elves, sir! Elves here, and Elves there! Some like kings, terrible and splendid; and some as merry as children. And the music and the singing-not that I have had the time or the heart for much listening since we got here. But I'm getting to know some of the ways of the place.'"

So it seems that some Elves, even though they are perhaps 2000-3000, are indeed very childish and giggly... Lindir, anyone?
Now thats a scary thought. I to dont understand how was there so little elf children if they married so young (for elves). Maybe they just lost intrest in.......you know.
But the house of Finwë safe in Valinor while ME is filled with evil creatures and spirits and things change so fast from a elfs point of view, they could have waited for better and safer times. They are suppose to live forever, some 1000 years doesn't make much difference then. I am sure the elves in Valinor are quite numerous.
Well dunno...

a lot of Elves took a hike and left Middle-Earth for Valinor, anyway, perhaps with wife and kiddies...

Middle-Earth was emptied, and Valinor was filled... the only ones remaining were some High Elves who wanted to stay until the bitter end, and some Silvan Elves, who never really cared what happened outside their small, secluded realm... Lóthlorien and the Woodland realm i mean... well at least Lóthlorien was protected well enough so NO evil could come in there safe if Sauron himself would come... which he wouldn't do, considered the fact that he is a HUGE EYEBALL(hahahahaha, sure PJ hahaha -- heh).

I also think the Woodland realm was well enough protected... at least they always managed to keep the forces of Dol Guldur outside their realm. Of course, Thranduil does not have a Ring (he has a Bracelet).

Anyway what i was trying to say, as most of the Third Age ---for like 3018 years--- Sauron never openly did something 'evil' against Elves, safe for the Battle of the Five Armies, and as Elfies were good enough protected and only bothered with their own lands and customs, they had pretty calm lives, so i can not really see a reason for not having an Elvish baby boom.... i mean the Evenstar of their ppl --the last Elf born in ME-- was born in 241 III, and after that no new Elfies born?!?! Heh, even the Dwarves score better than that!

I find that hard to believe, as Sauron didn't do anything and the only evil Elves experienced was an occasional orc attack in the Redhorn Pass (awww, poor Celebrían) until 2941 III. Of course there would be marriages here and there (sorry lasses, even Legolamb is married!!! :p :p) so why not have kids either? Heh, all was calm and if there would be turmoil, the lil family could take a hike to Virumor... err Valinor.

Maybe Elves just don't like consuming their marriages... heh.
I think the Elves were just conservationists and chose not to over-populate Middle-earth.

Luthien was the first Elf born in Middle-earth? So she was older than both Feänor and Eärwen? Is that documented some where, possibly in The Lays of Beleriand?
Compared to elves, the life of Men is brief. Men need to have children to carry on the line etc. but as elves live so long they don't need to have children. Maybe they find enough joy in the world and in life itself so that they don't necessarily want children but Men have a biological need to procreate.
I remembered that there was a post about the times of fertility and like they were probably spread apart.
Thats probably why ARwen was the last elf beside the overpopulation business.
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Luthien was the first Elf born in Middle-earth? So she was older than both Feänor and Eärwen?

I didn't say Lúthien was the first elf born in Arda, just the first elf born in Middle-Earth, as Beleriand was a part of that continent. I remember seeing a date-line somewhere where was mentioned that Lúthien was born at the time Melkor was set free out of the Halls of Mandos.

Besides, i believe Fëanor and Eärwen were born in Aman, which is another continent. I know that Fëanor and most of the rest of the House of Finwë were born before Lúthien. They just were born in another continent. And yes, there are rumours about Fëanor being the very first elf born in Arda.
I still think that there wasnt sooo much elves to start them worying about over population in Middle Earth. Perhaps they really did lose intrest in "consuming their marrieges" heheh.
Yes, i think so too.

Let's not blame it on the Elf maidens being ice queens like always, i believe it's the fault of the men. These are more interested in singing, writing poetry and shooting the bow than in eh consuming their marriages.

Seriously, i agree with Amarië's point : Middle-Earth was found too unsafe for happy family life by Elves, so they waited for better times, for evil to be destroyed. Of course unlucky for them was, that at the point Sauron would be destroyed, the power of the Three would be undone.... but indeed, after Sauron's destruction some Elves stayed in Middle-Earth (probably forever) : the Silvan Elves! but of course they'd most probably "dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and to be forgotten". But that's their problem, of course.

Let's face it : Arwen was born because the line of half-elves had to be closed. PREDESTINY.

At the end of the Third Age, the majority of the Elves are in Valinor already anyway ànd i also agree with Amarië that Valinor is pretty crowded with Elves. Middle-Earth at the end of the Third Age has Elves (and Dwarves) very much in the minority, compared with Men.
This is becoming quite an interesting topic.

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Furthermore, Arwen was the Evenstar of her people ---which to me means that she was the LAST elf born in Middle-Earth in 241 III (Lúthien was the FIRST elf born in Middle-Earth, so she was called the Morningstar of her people) –


Personally, I would disagree with this statement. Luthien was not the first elf born in Middle Earth. The vast majority of the elves that made the journey west from Cuivienen were all born in Middle Earth themselves. Surprisingly, the number of elves that awoke in the beginning (and thus were not actually born), was only 144 (72 males and 72 females - all awoke beside their chosen spouse). Of this 144, 14 were of the people of Imin (who became the Vanya), 56 were of the people of Tata (and became the Noldor) and 74 were of the people of Enel (who became the Teleri). As these original elves (known as the Unbegotten or Eru-begotten) were not born, they were not kin to one another (eg. they would not have been related). As we know that Elwe (Thingol) and Olwe were brothers, it can be surmised, therefore, that these two kings were not of this original 144 Unbegotten. They too must have both been born in Middle Earth themselves, therefore.

I cannot think of any specific elves born after TA 241, but I am sure there must have been some. Are no elven children seen in Lothlorien or during Bilbo's visit to Rivendell during the Hobbit?

Ah, just thought of one. It's an half-elf, but as Arwen is half-elven herself, I think it still counts. In TA 1980 a silven elf-maiden, Mithrellas became lost in the White Mountains with her Lady, Nimrodel (the lover of Amroth, King of Lorien). She eventually married a Numenorian mariner, Imrazor, and bore him a son, Galador, and two daughters. Galador became the first Lord of Dol Amroth, and it is through his blood that Imrahil, Boromir and Faramir all gained their small quantities of elven blood.

I think the Morningstar and Eveningstar does signify something, however. Luthien was the first child born with Maian blood in her veins, and until Arwen had her children, she was the last of this line. It is this blood from Melian that was so potent; which gave the Numenorian descendants of Elros their vitality, and why Arwen was fated to marry Aragorn in order to pass this undiluted strength into the Fourth Age.

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And yes, there are rumours about Fëanor being the very first elf born in Arda


I actually started a thread based around that one, until Findekanu pointed out the error of my ways. In his very early writings, Tolkien did have Feanor being born in Middle Earth, on the journey West, near a waterfall prior to the company crossing the Misty Mountains. In this early version, he was said to be the very first Elf to be born. Later writings, however, changed all these events (eg. the 144 Unbegotten), and Feanor instead became the first Elf to be born in Valinor.

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Strange though, if marriage is the natural course of life for Elves, that at the end of the third age there were so few Elves... and it's not that most Elves went into the West. Maybe Elves wait around 1000 years before they have kids... or Elvish women are pregnant for over 1000 years... heh


There is a long section in Morgoth's Ring which does answer this question, but as it is long I will not copy out here, but will try to briefly summarise the situation.

Elves it says, tend to bear children shortly after they marry (conception to birth being exactly one year, and generally occuring in spring). It is said in general they have few children, and although four was frequent in the early days, with the passing of ages, this number fell. Feanor, with seven sons, is the highest on record. The reason for this, apparently, is that Elves pass to their children "a greater share and strength of their being, in mind and in body" than Mortals. Having children, therefore, drains them to greater extent than is seen in Men (Look at Miriel, for example, who was almost consumed having passed so much of her spirit into Feanor).

It also mentions the ageing of Elves here too. Although they do not appear to age, they do slowly become older, and their spirits gradually consume their bodies. It says as they age, their desires change too. Generally, children are born while they are still young and strong, therefore. Elves do have a desire to have children, though, and if this desire is not fulfilled in youth, it's strength will enable them to have children when much older (although once more, it says, very soon after marriage). Once this desire to have children has been fulfilled, at whatever age, they have no more children.

The "days of the children" as the elves call them, remain in their memory as the most merry in their lives. It is considered a grievous thing, therefore, if a man and wife are separated during this time. Generally, children are born only during periods of peace, therefore, if possible.

Finally, it mentions that though elves remain married forever, they do not necessarily dwell together for this entire period. They both respect each others impulses and spend long periods separated in body, if not in spirit (Galadriel and Celeborn, for example, at the end of the Third Age, when Galadriel returned to the West, while Celeborn remained in Middle Earth.

That finished up a bit longer than I first intended. Hope it helps.
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Personally, I would disagree with this statement. Luthien was not the first elf born in Middle Earth. The vast majority of the elves that made the journey west from Cuivienen were all born in Middle Earth themselves. Surprisingly, the number of elves that awoke in the beginning (and thus were not actually born), was only 144 (72 males and 72 females - all awoke beside their chosen spouse). Of this 144, 14 were of the people of Imin (who became the Vanya), 56 were of the people of Tata (and became the Noldor) and 74 were of the people of Enel (who became the Teleri). As these original elves (known as the Unbegotten or Eru-begotten) were not born, they were not kin to one another (eg. they would not have been related). As we know that Elwe (Thingol) and Olwe were brothers, it can be surmised, therefore, that these two kings were not of this original 144 Unbegotten. They too must have both been born in Middle Earth themselves, therefore.

I don't know where you have found all this information, as it is not mentioned in the Silmarillion. In the Silmarillion it is mentioned that Oromë found the Eldar near Cuivienen. No numbers mentioned. Probably from HOME, but i don't follow that book as it often doesn't follow the Silmarillion, and are merely a collection of pretty much everything JRRT ever wrote.
For instance, there isn't any mention of Ingwë, Finwë or Elwë, which are mentioned in the Sil, and which i thought were the Kings of the 3 groups of Eldar. (in fact, Ingwë is the High King of all Quendi). So i don't really know what to think of the (interesting) transcript you posted.

Anyway, 144? They must have had lots and lots of children then, to form the large group the Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri which reached the west coast and Beleriand and were brought to Valinor by Ulmo. Very large, as also a part of the original Eldar became the Avari, another part began on the journey to the West but stopped at the Anduin (Nandor), etc etc.

I agree with you postulating that there must've been Elves born during this trip into the West. But i believe a much larger number of Elves awoke, instead of just 144.

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Ah, just thought of one. It's an half-elf, but as Arwen is half-elven herself, I think it still counts. In TA 1980 a silven elf-maiden, Mithrellas became lost in the White Mountains with her Lady, Nimrodel (the lover of Amroth, King of Lorien). She eventually married a Numenorian mariner, Imrazor, and bore him a son, Galador, and two daughters. Galador became the first Lord of Dol Amroth, and it is through his blood that Imrahil, Boromir and Faramir all gained their small quantities of elven blood.

I also thought of Mithrellas, but I thought that was merely just a legend, that there was Elven blood in the House of Dol Amroth. It indeed seems that there is Elven blood in that line, as Legolas mentions it when he sees Imrahil in MT, but 100% sure : nope. But it's most logical to indeed agree with you there.

Yes, Boromir's and Faramir's mother was Finduilas, who was related to Prince Imrahil.

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I think the Morningstar and Eveningstar does signify something, however. Luthien was the first child born with Maian blood in her veins, and until Arwen had her children, she was the last of this line. It is this blood from Melian that was so potent; which gave the Numenorian descendants of Elros their vitality, and why Arwen was fated to marry Aragorn in order to pass this undiluted strength into the Fourth Age.

Well, Arwen was called the likeness of Lúthien as well. So maybe perhaps that's why she was called the Evenstar of her people : Arwen lived in the Third Age, when the times of the Elves in Middle-Earth would come to an end... the evening of Elves in Middle-Earth... while Lúthien lived at the dawn of the time of Elves in Middle-Earth : so there we have the Evenstar and Morningstar !! And of course those two women got those names and not anyone else, because at the time they lived, they were the most beautiful and most noble. Well, to be more exact, Lúthien was the fairest of the Children of Eru who ever lived, so there's the Morningstar, and as Arwen looked like Lúthien (not only in looks, but also in character and fate) she was the Evenstar.

I don't think Arwen was fated to marry Aragorn because she had Maian blood running through her veins... it was just part of Eru's script imho. He opened a Half-Elven account to topple first Morgoth and later Sauron, and after all the work had been done (evil gone) he decided to have his Half-Elven account closed by letting the two descendants of that account, marry and live happily ever after (for 120 years, at least).

Anyway, perhaps this is more logical than my previous theory. Arwen's birth in 241 III is just the only Elvish birth mentioned by JRRT in LOTR. So Arwen being 'Evenstar' has nothing to do with the Elvish baby boom... or lack of a baby-boom.

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Finally, it mentions that though elves remain married forever, they do not necessarily dwell together for this entire period. They both respect each others impulses and spend long periods separated in body, if not in spirit (Galadriel and Celeborn, for example, at the end of the Third Age, when Galadriel returned to the West, while Celeborn remained in Middle Earth.

Just wanted to add, Celeborn only stayed for a short while. First he expanded the Lóthlorien realm in Mirkwood, but later on he became weary and lived in Rivendell. After that, he went into the West as well.

And well, there's one exception : Míriel and Finwë. But this exception proves your point.

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The "days of the children" as the elves call them, remain in their memory as the most merry in their lives. It is considered a grievous thing, therefore, if a man and wife are separated during this time. Generally, children are born only during periods of peace, therefore, if possible

So this could indeed explain why there were so few Elves at the end of the Third Age in Middle-Earth :

a) they didn't find it safe to have kids and b) a lot of Elves went into the West.
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I don't know where you have found all this information, as it is not mentioned in the Silmarillion. In the Silmarillion it is mentioned that Oromë found the Eldar near Cuivienen. No numbers mentioned. Probably from HOME, but i don't follow that book.

Anyway, 144? They must have had lots and lots of children then, to form the large group the Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri which reached the west coast and Beleriand and were brought to Valinor by Ulmo. Very large, as also a part of the original Eldar became the Avari, another part began on the journey to the West but stopped at the Anduin (Nandor), etc etc

I agree with you postulating that there must've been Elves born during this trip into the West. But i believe a much larger number of Elves awoke, instead of just 144.


In answer to the first question, it does indeed come from HOME. It is a section in book 11, The War of the Jewels, called Quendi and Eldar. Tolkien wrote this essay in 1959-60, and so while not being among his latest writings, was fairly recent compared to many of the sections. Though you say you do not follow these books, I would not totally dismiss them. What is the Silmarillion after all, if not Christopher Tolkien's edit of his father's notes? JRR did not have a finished form of the Silmarillion, it took his son to piece all of his notes together. This was a considerable task, as JRR was a prolific writer, but does not appear to have had the best of filing systems. In short, if JRR's later writings have precident over the earlier versions of rewritten material, Christopher made mistakes when editing the Silmarillion. HOME contains volumes of stories which were later superceeded, and perhaps were never meant to see the light of day, but they also contain many stories that were not superceeded, and still did not get into Christopher's version of the Silmarillion. My greatest regret, here, is that JRR never finished the Silmarillion. He left the likes of his son, and us to pick through his wealth of notes in order to gain a closer glimpse of what his vision of the Silmarillion should have been.

With respect to your second question/comment:-

I agree, they must have had lots of children, because I have always imagined the numbers marching West to be in the tens of thousands. But there again, they did have a long time, and it is a magical world. Did not the entire dwarven race not originate from seven dwarven fathers, after all?

Talking about the Avari and Nandor etc.... it does break down the proportions that eventually became these groups (apparently the proportions remained constant until the Separation).

Of the 14 Minyar (Vanyar) all became Eldar, none Avari.
Of the 56 Tatyar, 28 were Avari and 28 were Eldar (these became the Noldor)
Of the 74 Nelyar, 28 were Avari and 46 were Eldar ( of these, 20 were Amanyar Teleri, while 26 became either the Sindar or the Nandor).


You seem to have edited your previous post, while I have been writing this response to it. I'll have to carry this one on later as it's 2am here and I need some sleep. Great discussion.

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So this could indeed explain why there were so few Elves at the end of the Third Age in Middle-Earth :

a) they didn't find it safe to have kids and b) a lot of Elves went into the West.


I think another contributing factor would be what I mentioned earlier about their desire to have children fading once it had been fulfilled. If the majority of the elves left in Middle Earth by the time of the War of the Ring are old, they have most likely already had their children. After losses from several ages of wars, when many of the unwedded "youngsters" may have been killed, what we see are the remnants of an "aging" population in which there are few left with the desire to have children.

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For instance, there isn't any mention of Ingwë, Finwë or Elwë, which are mentioned in the Sil, and which i thought were the Kings of the 3 groups of Eldar. (in fact, Ingwë is the High King of all Quendi). So i don't really know what to think of the (interesting) transcript you posted.


The section I took this from does mention Elwe and Olwe, but only has being chieftains who wished to go west, and who were taking with them a great following. I haven't come across any versions of this tale which appear to superceed it. The stories in which Elwe is King of the Sindar are some of JRR's oldest writings. This idea of him being a chieftain of a section of his people was written by JRR much later, and so in my opinion is something that should not be brushed aside. Instead, let us question where JRR was going with this idea. Enel was the original leader of this group, and Elwe and Olwe were chieftains. Now a large proportion of this group refused the call to the West. If Enel was one of these, maybe he remained behind with the Avari. What would have happened to Elwe and Olwe after this? By the time they reached Beleriand, and the beginning of the story as far as the Silmarillion is concerned, would they not be kings of their people in their new realms. I think this is feasible, as while in Beleriand, Olwe is never mentioned as being a king. Once he has separated from Elwe, however, and formed his own realm in the West, he becomes king.

Must stop again, as now I must go to back to work...... to be continued....
My gosh! I feel so... so... incompetent! Where is my copy of the Sil, the UT, all the Lost Books?!?!? I really have to brush up! At least I have the immensly knowledgeable people of Planet Tolkein to help me when I am clueless. I have been humbled.

Cáno
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Of the 14 Minyar (Vanyar) all became Eldar, none Avari.
Of the 56 Tatyar, 28 were Avari and 28 were Eldar (these became the Noldor)
Of the 74 Nelyar, 28 were Avari and 46 were Eldar ( of these, 20 were Amanyar Teleri, while 26 became either the Sindar or the Nandor).

But still i have problems with this number... i find it just too low. It is possible of course, if we see that the Dwarves have 7 founding fathers (but not 7 founding mothers... i wonder how they reproduced...). Actually, now i think of it, it is very unclear how Dwarves originated out of 7 fathers...

Anyway, from 144 to 1000 is possible, as the journey into the west lasted for centuries, probably. And if Elves reproduce exponentially like Men, then it would be very easy to get from 144 to 1000-10 000 - 100 000.

But... in the Sil it's also mentioned that Melkor captured some of the newborn Elves (and according to the lore masters of the Elves in Valinor, made Orcs from them), and that the Elves indeed knew of the threat of Melkor as some of their brethren already had disappeared : this is also the reason why they fled for Oromë as they thought he was the 'dark rider'. So perhaps their number didn't remain constant until the Separation.

So... i think in that HOME transcript, JRRT only wrote about the origins of Elves, without having it already incorporated in the 'larger' story of the history of Arda, in one word : he didn't take Melkor into account. Perhaps he didn't fit it in already in the 'larger story'.
About the names, this is perhaps not so important. JRRT changed names a lot, perhaps later on he didn't want to use the names anymore he used at first, but only the names of characters who were to appear in the Sil and had a big part in the history of Arda, as some of the chieftains became Avari... and nothing is known about them.

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I think another contributing factor would be what I mentioned earlier about their desire to have children fading once it had been fulfilled. If the majority of the elves left in Middle Earth by the time of the War of the Ring are old, they have most likely already had their children. After losses from several ages of wars, when many of the unwedded "youngsters" may have been killed, what we see are the remnants of an "aging" population in which there are few left with the desire to have children.

I agree. Even Legolas doesn't seem to be very young anymore, i think, as JRRT didn't include his birth date in the appendices of LOTR, whilst the birth dates of all other members of the Fellowship are mentioned. So ---if JRRT didn't forget, which i think he didn't--- it is safe to assume that Legolas was not born in the Third Age, and thus at the time of the War of the Ring, was more than 3000 years old. And that is not young for an Elf. I feel that Legolas is not married, if he had been, i don't think he would have left his wife (?), and furthermore, no one of the Fellowship is married or has a special person waiting at home (safe for Aragorn and Samwise, perhaps).

The oldest Elves in Middle-Earth are Círdan (possible awoke at Cuivienen), Elrond (first age), Galadriel (age of the trees, so around 6000), Celeborn (age of the trees), Thranduil (mentioned he is related to Elwë, so possible same age as Celeborn?), Glorfindel (if he is the Glorfindel from the Sil, at least) and some other High Elves whose names aren't mentioned.

At the end of the First Age most of the Noldor returned, and the rest of the High Elves started kingdoms in Hollin and Lindon. I think at that point already, there were less High Elves than 'other' Elves (Silvan Elves from Mirkwood, Galadhrim from Lóthlorien).

And as in the second age most High Elves in Hollin were destroyed by Sauron, there were even more less, either perished or went into the West.Then at the end of second age, at the Dagorlad : again large numbers of Elves perished, ànd the last Kingdom of High Elves came to an end, so most High Elves left, and only a few chose to live in Rivendell, with Elrond.

So at this point, the number of Elves came to a minimum, and stayed roughly equal (or decreases slightly, as some went into the West) because hardly any new Elves were born, which is logical due to the continuous times of turmoil (at least, continuous for Elves). Most Elves undoubtedly grew weary of Middle-Earth, and i feel that most of them didn't see any reason to stay, and/or have kids.

But of course, the 'big guns' among the Elves, Círdan, Elrond, Celeborn, Galadriel, Thranduil, stayed because they wanted to see evil destroyed and not leave this task only to Men, even after the Last Alliance had ended and Men and Elves got estranged.

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Enel was the original leader of this group, and Elwe and Olwe were chieftains. Now a large proportion of this group refused the call to the West. If Enel was one of these, maybe he remained behind with the Avari. What would have happened to Elwe and Olwe after this? By the time they reached Beleriand, and the beginning of the story as far as the Silmarillion is concerned, would they not be kings of their people in their new realms. I think this is feasible, as while in Beleriand, Olwe is never mentioned as being a king. Once he has separated from Elwe, however, and formed his own realm in the West, he becomes king.

I agree. As Enel wasn't important to the later history of Arda, or at least the history of the Western part of Arda, JRRT never used his name anymore in the Sil, and only used Elwë and Olwë, which were very important to that story. The same is true for the other names.

Yes, Elwë was the leader of the Teleri, 'King' if you wish, but as he was lost in Nan Elmoth (due to Melian) and never returned, Olwë became king of the Teleri who reached Valinor, whilst Elwë became King of the Sindar.
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Are no elven children seen in Lothlorien or during Bilbo's visit to Rivendell during the Hobbit?
Well, as we have said elsewhere, the singing Rivendell Elves of The Hobbit surely acted more like children than did those of LotR. So possibly it was mainly the children Bilbo and the Dwarves encountered there, as the grown-up Elves couldn't be bothered with the likes of the "little" people; after all it was the Dwarves who had stirred up all that trouble in Moria. And during Elrond's Council, the children (if their were any) would have been kept away so as not to bother the distinquished guests. This latter would also hold during the Fellowship's visit in Lothlorien, though I think they must have seen children in the background had there been any.

Of course the above is just a rationalization to explain the diferences in the Elvish actions between the two books.
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And well, there's one exception : Míriel and Finwë. But this exception proves your point.


Most of the Elven marriage bits I have quoted above actually come from a section of Morgoth's Ring about Miriel and Finwe. Miriel's decision to remain in the Halls of Mandos, and Finwe's desire to have more sons created quite a dilemma for the Valar. Manwe finally had to make a decree, that in such cases where one spouse died and did not wish to return from the Halls, their husband/wife could remarry, but only if the spouse swore never to leave the Halls again ever.

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But still i have problems with this number... i find it just too low. It is possible of course, if we see that the Dwarves have 7 founding fathers (but not 7 founding mothers... i wonder how they reproduced...). Actually, now i think of it, it is very unclear how Dwarves originated out of 7 fathers...

Anyway, from 144 to 1000 is possible, as the journey into the west lasted for centuries, probably. And if Elves reproduce exponentially like Men, then it would be very easy to get from 144 to 1000-10 000 - 100 000.


I agree, Virumor, it is a very small number, and throwing into the equation the laws of genetics, one that in the real world is probably not possible. This, however, is not the real world. It is a magical, fantasy land where things happen because they are meant to]. This creation is not too dissimilar, after all, to many religeous and mythological ideas on creation, where pagan gods create Mankind from small numbers of individuals (even in the Bible, with Adam and Eve). I think Tolkien based a lot of his work on ancient beliefs, and this awakening and creation of a race from a small number of individuals was something not too out of place with other contemporary myths.

In addition this, the time frame from the awakening of the elves, to their discovery by Orome, was possibly a very long time. Given this amount of time, and like you say rapid growth, potentially their numbers could have been quite high by the time Orome found them. Although they reach breeding age slower than humans, their population would begin to grow faster than a human one after a few generations because none of them would be dying of old age or disease (granted, they did have Melkor preying on them).

Conflict with the small number of individuals could have been a reason why Christopher chose not to include it in the Silmarillion, however. I assume he was limited on how large the Silmarillion could be, so choosing what to put in, and what to keep out must have been a great problem for him considering the extent of his father's notes.

Wow, what a great thread! I’ve already learned tons of new stuff I previously didn’t know from reading this thread!

I must say Val that maybe if I hold off on reading Morgoth’s Ring (which seems the best place to start with H.o.M.E. from all the people I’ve heard who have read HoME) for about another year, I probably won’t have to because you will have posted the whole thing here. Great stuff my friend!

I was looking through The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien the other day trying to find some direct information pertaining to this topic, but there wasn’t really anything specific in there, but Tolkien did say in Letter #353 (Aug. 4th 1973) that he had given the idea of Elven procreation a lot of thought. Obviously in reading over some of the excerpts from Morgoth’s Ring, J.R.R. certainly did put much thought into this (which is no big surprise since he is the ultimate master of detail and thought).

I think one very important factor to consider when comparing differences between events in the published version of The Silmarillion and HoME, is to always remember that even by Tolkien’s own admission he had forgotten much of his earlier writing in the time that he was continuing to write and develop The Silmarillion towards the end of his life.

This coupled with the fact that J.R.R. was far from being organized with his notes greatly attributed to the amount of discrepancies we find when comparing the published version of the Sil., and HOME. Had Tolkien’s notes been organized toward the end of his life, and had he been able to constantly reference his earlier writings, I feel we would have very few discrepancies between the two.
Elf Smilie
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This coupled with the fact that J.R.R. was far from being organized with his notes greatly attributed to the amount of discrepancies we find when comparing the published version of the Sil., and HOME. Had Tolkien’s notes been organized toward the end of his life, and had he been able to constantly reference his earlier writings, I feel we would have very few discrepancies between the two.


One of the things I find facinating about HOME is the notes Christopher adds. At the start of each story he describes how each piece was written in an old 1952 diary, or scribbled on the back of an old 1960 calender, with paragraphs scribbled out and notes added in the margins. I don't know whether this was intentional on JRR's part, but much of the subsequent dating was possible due to either this, or because JRR kept his manuscripts pressed between old newspapers. Reading such notes, I find myself better able to picture JRR creating this world for us.

Imagine how different it would have been if he had possessed a word processor or a PC.

Anyway, back on topic.....

With regards Elven reincarnation, and birth, JRR almost created a Catch-22 dilemma for himself. I'll go into more detail later, if anyone is interested, but it was something he seemed unable to come to a conclussion about. Basically, he found himself toying with the idea of spirits returning from the Halls of Mandos actually being reborn, but he ran into several problems with this idea. I'll expand on this one when I get a little more time.
I have a question regarding this same topic.

In ROTK, Arwen stays in Middle Earth, and the light/life of the Eldar leaves her. This insinuates to me that elves are not really immortal. I know there are some 'circumstances' to their immortality (can be slain in battle, etc.) but is not returning to Valinor at the appropriate time one of the conditions for elven immortality?
I don't think so. Elves could remain in Middle-earth and stay immortal, though why they would want to stay is rather vexing. In the movies, the 'life of the Eldar' left Arwen, and that was because she was a descendant of Man-Elf marriages (Tuor-Idril, Beren-Lúthien), and being a Half-Elf she, like her father, brothers, and uncle, was given the choice to be counted of what kindred she chose. She made her choice to be mortal, and stay with Aragorn rather than go with her father to Valinor. While on his deathbed Aragorn said that she still could go into the West, she was then mortal, and now more like a woman than an Elf, and even if she wanted to, there was no ship to bear her hence.
OK, I forgot the Half-Elven influence. Her father is know as Elrond the Half-Elven. This also brings up another question (I'm full of them): if it had not been the end of the Third Age when the elves had to leave, would Arwen stayed alive? Her father didn't seem to have any problems with the immortal factor, and he had been around a while. It is because of the re-migration to Valinor, isn't it?
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This insinuates to me that elves are not really immortal. I know there are some 'circumstances' to their immortality (can be slain in battle, etc.) but is not returning to Valinor at the appropriate time one of the conditions for elven immortality?


The fate of Elves is very much tied to Ea. For the duration of Ea, their spirits are immortal. They do age slowly, however, and the fire of their spirits often burn so strongly that after many hundreds of years their bodies can become consumed by it. This is particularly so with Elves who have seen the Light of the Two Trees, and who have subsequently returned to Middle Earth. Part of the reason for this is thought to be the effect of Morgoth's Ring. Rather than concentrating his power into one small item as Sauron did, Morgoth disseminated his own power throughout Middle Earth, becoming part of every atom from which it was composed. Thus marred, he managed to taint everything single thing that was made (outside of Aman, as his power did not stretch there). The effect on Elves was to weaken their bodies to the ravages of time.

One of the properties of the elven rings of power seems to have been to protect their wearers and those around them from the effects of time. For this reason Galadriel was able to stay in Middle Earth so long, even though she had seen the Two Trees, but once the power of her ring was gone she needed to return into the West.
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Elves could remain in Middle-earth and stay immortal, though why they would want to stay is rather vexing.


This is not the case! I don’t have a lot of time on my hands right now, otherwise I would go into more detail on this, but simply put, any Elves who choose to linger, or remain in M. E. at the end of the Third Age instead of going into the West (Valinor, Aman, etc.) would not live on in immortality.

True they would still live longer than mortals, but ultimately Tolkien made it very clear that any Elves that did not go into the West would eventually perish. The exact term Tolkien used is that they would “fade”.

If I have a little more time later, I’ll be back with more specific detail on this, but hopefully Val gets here before I do again, because I can guarantee you he will be able to explain this better than I can!
Elf Smilie
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Elves could remain in Middle-earth and stay immortal, though why they would want to stay is rather vexing.

I am not trying to brag, but read my Post of the Week... it was exactly about what you were wondering about, Cano_Yavanna.

Again, Galadriel's quote : "We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and to be forgotten."

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Her father is know as Elrond the Half-Elven.

Elrond's alias in indeed Half-Elf (Peredhil) but this doesn't take away the fact that he chose to be counted among the race of Elves so he is an Elf and as such immortal. His brother Elros chose to be counted among the race of Men, and as such died.

Elrond's children haven't made their choice yet, so as long as they don't make a choice (this is either stay in Middle-Earth and become mortal like Arwen, or leave with Elrond to the Undying Lands and stay Elf) they stayed Elf as their father and mother were Elves.

Because Elrond left Middle-Earth without Arwen, Arwen became as a mortal woman, and died after 120 years of marriage with King Elessar.
I was just thinking about that, the decision to be counted as man or elf. There is a lot of that going on in the Sil. That's probaly why I never knew who was elf or man, they didn't even know (funny). I'm going to read your post now, definately. I have put it off because, frankly, it seemed very long. Yes, I'm a bit lazy. But for the sake of being informed I am going to do it.

Cáno
I always thought that Arwen died for the same reason Luthien did (always follow the parrallels.) If she faded, she did it awfully quick after her fathers departure. The only place I know of where fading is discussed in detail (which is why I like it, in some ways, more than the Silmarillion) is HoME, and the Elves Eriol/Aelfwine met still didn't die, they just became insubstantial and ethereal. However, we know that Elves CAN be slain by wounds or grief (as in the case of Luthien) and I feel this was Arwens fate.

Maybe the whole Morning/Evenstar thing is a lot simpler: Luthien was the first and Arwen the last flowering of their people, whose appearance may have only roughly coincided with the presence/total absence of the Eldar from Middle-Earth.

Whether Luthien or Feanor was older is an interesting question; both are said to have been born at "the Noontide of Valinor." I guess it comes down to the question of how long Thingol and Melian stood frozen on their meeting (though Luthien is said to have been born at the end of the "first age" of Morgoths imprisonment) and no one whom we can ask knows the answer to that.
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I always thought that Arwen died for the same reason Luthien did (always follow the parrallels.) If she faded, she did it awfully quick after her fathers departure. The only place I know of where fading is discussed in detail (which is why I like it, in some ways, more than the Silmarillion) is HoME, and the Elves Eriol/Aelfwine met still didn't die, they just became insubstantial and ethereal. However, we know that Elves CAN be slain by wounds or grief (as in the case of Luthien) and I feel this was Arwens fate.

Maybe the whole Morning/Evenstar thing is a lot simpler: Luthien was the first and Arwen the last flowering of their people, whose appearance may have only roughly coincided with the presence/total absence of the Eldar from Middle-Earth.

We have to look into the Story of Aragorn and Arwen here, from the LOTR appendices : Arwen was a mortal woman when she died, not an Elf. Besides, why would she die quickly after her father's departure?? She chose not to go with her father to Valinor because she wanted to marry Aragorn; she only died after 120 years as Queen of Gondor. Also, her death was out of free will : Aragorn still gave her the chance to go to the Grey Havens, and depart for Valinor where their love would only become a memory, but she refused.

The first time Lúthien died, she was an Elf and died because she wanted to follow Beren's spirit to Mandos; the second time though, she died her final death (pleonasm?) as a mortal woman and hence could never ever return to Arda.

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Maybe the whole Morning/Evenstar thing is a lot simpler: Luthien was the first and Arwen the last flowering of their people, whose appearance may have only roughly coincided with the presence/total absence of the Eldar from Middle-Earth

That's it, plus the fact that Arwen was very alike to Lúthien, both in looks and fate.

Who knows, maybe Arwen and Aragorn are the reincarnation of Lúthien and Beren ? After all, Beren was a very good ranger-type as well, if you look at how he was able to pester the forces of evil in Taur-nu-Fuin, not to mention his ability to cross Nan Dungortheb alive and in one piece. Also, they both had an important relationship with the Elessar.

JRRT has never ever written by reincarnation in his letters, but it is an interesting idea.
My reasoning on Arwens departure soon after her fathers rather different one was that a hundred twenty years is but the twinkling of an eye to the Eldar; surely, if it were a matter of fading, it would come less quickly. I had always thought of Arwen accepting "the doom of Men" as tying herself to Aragorn and suffering the loss of him, but his words that "weare not bound forever to the circles of the world" seem unambiguous. It seems odd that Arwen would depart to Cerin Amroth and there die so quickly after Aragorns death, but the death of humans by grief and stress is not unprecedented. To be honest, I had simply always thought that Elronds choice to be numbered with the Eldar was irrevocable and bound his descendants as well, but the interpretation (I believe by Val) that the descendants of the peredhil would have the same choice until one chose to embrace the Doom of Men is logical.
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Luthien was the first Elf born in Middle-earth? So she was older than both Feänor and Eärwen? Is that documented some where, possibly in The Lays of Beleriand?

I thought Feanor was called the First-Born or am i wrong? im probably wrong since its Grondy but oh well
No, Fëanor was not called the Firstborn. The Firstborn is a another name used to indicate the race of Elves.

The first Elf ever born in Arda, was born at Cuiviénen, out of one of the 72 couples that first awoke there.
i see, (i knew the firstborn terminology but thought that something else said so and so)