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Tolkienís Elves from his letters:

Letter #131
Quote:
The 'Elves ' are 'immortal', at least as far as this world goes: and hence are concerned rather with the griefs and burdens of deathlessness in time and change, then with death.


Letter #131
Quote:
They wanted the peace and bliss and perfect memory of 'The West', and yet to remain on the ordinary earth where their prestige as the highest people, above wild Elves, dwarves, and Men, was greater than at the bottom of the hierarchy of Valinor. They thus became obsessed with 'fading', the mode in which the changes of time (the law of the world under the sun) was perceived by them. They became sad, and their art (shall we say) antiquarian.


Letter 154
Quote:
But the Elves are not wholly good or in the right. Not so much because they had flirted with Sauron; as because with or without his assistance they were 'embalmers'. They wanted to have their cake and eat it: to live in the mortal historical Middle-earth because they had become fond of it (and perhaps because they there had the advantages of a superior caste), and so tried to stop its change and history, stop its growth, keep it as a pleasance even largely a desert, where they could be 'artists' - and they were overburdened with sadness and nostalgic regret.



Some points picked up from the readings.

Of the coming of the Elves

- First beheld the stars upon waking.
- Called themselves Quendi
- Stronger and greater in the beginning
- Possessed beauty beyond all beauty enriched by sorrow and wisdom
- Were left free to walk as they wished
- Given the skill to order all the lands and heal their hurts
- Melkor held the Elves responsible for his downfall (Battle of the Power)

Races of Elves:
Eldar (West Elves)
- Vanyar were the 'Fair Elves', people of Ingwe and beloved of Manwe and Varda.
- Noldor were the 'Deep Elves', people of Finwe. Fought and laboured long and grievously in the Northern lands of old.
- Teleri were the 'Sea Elves'. Those who came to the western shores were enamoured of the sea.


Many Partings

- Elves fear the Dark Lord
- Never again will they listen to him or serve him
- Some of the Elves in Rivendell were the Eldar or Elven-wise
- Eldar do not fear the Ringwraiths
- Those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds (Glorfindel)
- Have great power against the Seen and Unseen
- Sing many songs of the Blessed Realm
- They seem to like music, poetry and tales as much as food, or more.


Council of Elrond

- Sauron was able to ensnare the Elven smiths through their eagerness for knowledge.
- While Men multiply, the Firstborn decrease


Lothlorien

- Customarily the Elves of Lorien dwell in trees ( Galadhrim - Tree People)
- Language of the Silvan Elves East of the mountains differnet thatn that of the West
- Elves of Lorien seldom speak the language of others
- Elves of Lorien do not willing have dealings with other folk
- Elves of Lorien do not like strangers in their land
- Hold hostility towards the dwarves
- Nimble (lightly climbed rope into tree, ran along rope as if a road)


This week is just an introduction to the Elves.

Did they live too much in the past and grow too old and antiquarian for Middle-earth?

Did the Elves possess magic?

Why would the numbers of Elves diminish while Men increased?






[Edited on 28/11/2002 by Rednell]

[Edited on 28/11/2002 by Grondmaster]

[Edited on 29/11/2002 by Rednell]

[Edited on 29/11/2002 by Grondmaster]
*Cries rivers and oceans* I wanted to join Bilbo's study today as I for once was anywhere near a computer on a sunday, but the computer-labs were closed and these other computers won't let me chaaaaat! *buuuuhuuuuuubuuuuuu!*
I just wanted to be there.. Very Sad Smilie
Due to the frustrating issues with my PC and major papers looming over my head, I cannot be involved in this discucussion, much to my chagrin. I do have questions, though.

The Silvan Elves... Where do they fit into everything? Are they not Eldar? What type of elf was Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood elves and father to Legolas? For that matter, what does that make Legolas? If a Noldorin Elf takes a Sindarin or Silvan mate, what does that make the child? If a Silvan or Sindarin elf goes West, what are they? And if they return from the West, what are they then?

It seems that the elves are broken into groups by how far they got on their journeys West and when the actually arrived (if they ever did) in the West and even who was their leader.

At the end of LOTR, are all elves intending on going West? Or do some of the Silvan plan to stay?

One last thing pertaining to lineage, in LOTR Legolas recognizes Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth as Dunedain having Elven blood. How is this possible? I think in the appendicies of LOTR it says that there were only three blendings of Eldar and Men, Beren and Luthien, Tuor and Idril and Aragorn Telcontar and Arwen Undomiel. Is it that Silvan elves not counted among the Eldar and thus there may be an unknown number of blendings of bloodlines of Men and Elves in Dol Amroth and maybe other places?

I am open to facts and conjecture, as long as we can seperate the two.
I'm not sure this is the right place to answer these questions, some of which have been answered elsewhere within the forum, but rather than sending you off on a wild goosechase, I'll do what I can for you here.
Quote:
The Silvan Elves... Where do they fit into everything? Are they not Eldar?
Silvan Elves are those Elves who are not Eldar. In other words they are the Avari, but they might also include the surviving Nandor who did not enter Beleriand.
Quote:
What type of elf was Thranduil, King of the Mirkwood elves and father to Legolas? For that matter, what does that make Legolas?
Thranduil was a Sindarin Elf, most likely from Beleriand (and I'm guessing from Cirdan's people) What is certain is that at the beginning of the Second Age he was living in Lindon before moving to Greenwood the Great (Mirkwood) around the time SA 1000.
His Court, most likely, were Sindarin too, but most of his subjects would be Silvan Elves.

Most books refer to Legolas being Sindarin too, as though in his case it is a blood thing rather than where he journeyed.
Quote:
If a Noldorin Elf takes a Sindarin or Silvan mate, what does that make the child?
Finwe, King of the Noldor, took a Vanyar elf as his second wife but Fingolfin etc was always seen as being Noldor too. Eol was Teleri and Aredhel Noldor. Their son Maeglin was raised in Gondolin as Noldor.
I think when it came down to it, the elves were pretty easy going when it came to such matters. They were after all of the same blood originally when they awoke at Cuivienen. They did not really become different races, they just learned different things on their journey.
Quote:
If a Silvan or Sindarin elf goes West, what are they? And if they return from the West, what are they then?
I assume if they go into the West, they join the other Teleri who originally made the journey. Unlike those who had originally gone during the Age of the Two Trees, however, these new arrivals would be unable to see the light from the now dead Trees. This would mean they would not be blessed by that light, and would therefore, not eminate it themselves. If they returned again to Middle Earth, they might be enriched with knowledge from their time spent with the Valar and their forefathers, but that would be the only difference. They would not shine with an inner light as some of the Noldor and Thingol were said to do.
Quote:
At the end of LOTR, are all elves intending on going West? Or do some of the Silvan plan to stay?
I think they all plan on leaving eventually. Elrond predicts it is the end of the time of his people (elves) and a Time for Men.
Quote:
One last thing pertaining to lineage, in LOTR Legolas recognizes Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth as Dunedain having Elven blood. How is this possible? I think in the appendicies of LOTR it says that there were only three blendings of Eldar and Men, Beren and Luthien, Tuor and Idril and Aragorn Telcontar and Arwen Undomiel. Is it that Silvan elves not counted among the Eldar and thus there may be an unknown number of blendings of bloodlines of Men and Elves in Dol Amroth and maybe other places?
The importance of the three unions that you mentioned is that they all contained Maian blood too from Melian (see the weekly course on Half-elves for more).
Imrahil's elven blood comes from a union between one of his ancestors, Imrazor, (22 generations back) and a Silven elf maiden named Mithrellas. She was a companion of Nimrodel, the betrothed of Amroth who became lost while travelling to Dol Amroth (or Lond Ernil as it would have been in those days)

Incidently, since Imrahil's sister was the mother of Boromir and Faramir, they too would have had elven blood, though very dilute.

[Edited on 2/12/2002 by Valedhelgwath]
Discussion transcript as follows:
Quote:
This week we are doing an overview of the Elves. Characteristics, relationship with other races on Middle Earth, etc.
Next week we will discuss the Teleri and the following week the Noldor.
Tolkien didn't lay the information about the Elves in LOTR as nicely as he did for Men, Hobbits and Dwarves. We really have to glean information out of the actual text of the story.
What are some of the characteristics of the elves?
* Joins: Princess99 (pt@db031c74.maxg5-2.dips.d1c4df18.net.hmsk)
bueatifu
Hi
Do not suffer from ageing or sickness
hi princess
sorry I'm late
they are higher then the other races
beautiful
that's okay princess
strong
Lithe
wise
sad
ageless and timeless know the secrets of the forests
Do not sleep
welcome Princess, we are listing the characteristics of the Elves
gained wisdom as they aged
Love the stars
aware of their fading
heightened senses
* Joins: Mellie2 (Admin@6ca5ed5b.a55581.64.158.imsk)
May have the light of the Two Trees within them
More tolerant of temperature than Men
only those that ever saw the trees though Val
not the sindar val
Yes
what about their relationship with the Dark Lord?
They will never trust him again
he helped them at first
they feared him]
how did he help them, Sam?
they hated him
* Quits: Planewalker (gand40@6ca5ed1f.14055ab7.195.29.imsk) (Ping timeout)
he taught the Nolder how to make beautiful things like the Rings
Both Melkor and Sauron taught them much...particularly the Noldor
hated him for changing some of their race into orcs
would it be safe to say that they feared him?
yes it would
yes
Most of them did
and because he was destructive to nature
yet i think that they are stronger
which ones didn't val?
There were a few who's pride would have overridden their fear
that's true
yes that would be safe to say
yes it is very true
* Quits: Mellie (Admin@6ca5ed9c.6ca5f07f.64.158.imsk) (Ping timeout)
but not in LOTR
In LOTR do we see any evidence of the Elves feeling of superiority?
yes
where?
oh yes
elrond feels that arwen is superior to aragorn
towards men and dwarves
That's true...the ones with too much pride ended up pretty dead
and in lorien
examples, grondmaster
Lorien for sure
Lorien over Dwarves
Elrond says, "Men are weak,"
Norther Mirkwood over both
arwen says 'as poor fools i scorned them'
yes most elves think that they are more superior of dwarves
in lotr the feeling of superiority mostly stems becasue men are mortal
Which elves in Lothlorien were more vocal about their distain towards the dwarves?
Haldir and his brothers
legolas
at first yes
Celeborn
I noticed it very strong in Celeborn
Until Galadriel clamed him down
yes so did I
Why would Galadriel feel any different?
Celeborn was kin of Elwe so he had issues
definitely
northern mirkwood had issues too
he did so because they dug too deep in Moria
Galadrial was Noldor. She had had dealings with the dwarves of Moria from the happy days
because she probably felt that she needed to help them on their way and changed her thoughts about Gimli and other dwarves
What about the rest of the fellowship?
She did not trust Boromir
yes I do agree with Val
she had a great respect for the hobbits, but was leary of Boromir
or Boromir's weaknesses..
The hobbits, she had a soft spot for
she read Boromir's heart
she knew Boromir would try to get the ring from Frodo
he only wanted the ring for himself
yes, but a soft spot doesn't really translate into respect.
i don't know if she distinguished between boromir and his weakness.
for himself or to save his people, Princess?
you are right, i think soft spot is a better word than respect
I think that he was more controlled by the ring than Frodo
after he saved his people he would have no choice but to keep the ring
she liked the hobbits because she knew that everything depended on them
he had ambition so the ring had a toehold, Frodo did not
i think it was both Nell, to save his people and to have the ring for himself too
I think she respected Frodo when he showed her he was willing to give up the ring freely if she was willing to take it
not at that point in the story, grondmaster
Do you feel the Elves had any weaknesses?
yes
they had hot tempers
Pride
yes that is where I got the term respect from Val.
yes they lived in the past, entropy was setting in
yes, the weakness to be too kind and yes they did have tempers
And they lived for the First Age
they thought too much
yes they longed for the first age entirely too much
they thought too much and didn't like to act
How could they ever hope to save ME from the Dark Lord if they lived in the past?
the no longer created new stuff
they didn't. they believed they would fail
they wouldn't they would live in the past and keep going back
I think they had saved the world once too often and were now either weak or tired
they moved men so that men would save ME
did the Elves move men, Sam?
htye no longer could carry the torch so they passed it to men
they just wanted to go back across the SEa
well Gandalf helped move men a lot.
I don't think the Elves had faith in Men.
Gandalf moved the men to save middle Earth
some did and some didn't
you're right nell.
i think they just moved aside for men beacause they knew they had to not becxause they trusted them
The Elves felt M-E was a lost cause
I think they just yearned for peace and the world was beginning to move too fast for them
they longed for a simpler life and not one filled with war andhate
Not much wonder, they were so complacent in their own little world.
this is why they liked hobbits: hobbits were peace loving but they were also unwearied
yes closer to them than men were
The Elves huddled in conclaves to keep the world out
no they did not have a lot of faith in men, but the hobbits kept surprisings them, and their faith in the hobbits kept growing. There was more to the hobbits than met the eyes. Gandalf was the same way, and the more surprised that Gandalf was the more faith the elves had in the hobbits
Yet, Hobbits were facinated by the Elves
hobbits did not truly understand the elves
only frodo maybe
Not all hobbits
but they loved then all the same
only the five hobbits we knew were
yes you are all right
Most hobbits would have been terrified of elves or highly suspicious
Val, facination does not necessarily mean that they loved the Elves.
the other hobbits would have been cowed by the elves
gaffer gamgee did not love the elves
yes you are right Grondy
What were some of the things our 5 Hobbits loved about the Elves?
cabbages and potatos are better for you and me
their beauty
their food
their wisdom
The songs and aura of magic
there stories
their mystery,
music
the fact that the elves were very different from them
and all because of Bilbo's teaching
Do you think that Bilbo would have brought storytelling, poetry and song to the Hobbits had he not met the Elves?
they were something different for them to learn about
They felt they could trust elves whereas they could not trust all men
no
never
I think Rivendell really changed Bilbo
i think the hobbits have their own kind of poetry etc.
that is a good point val
I believe this was all part of the plan for the departure of the elves.
the hobbits already had poetry etc but bilbo deepened it with the elves teaching
* Mellie2 is now known as Mellie
yes
yes I agree
i think that the elves were not aware that this was part of the plan though
but gandalf was
no probably not
yes gandalf probably was
which is why he brought bilbo with him to fight smaug
I had not seen it like this before
The Elves were open to share with Bilbo and the others.
* Quits: Mellie (Admin@6ca5ed5b.a55581.64.158.imsk) (Client exited)
more so then they were to dwarves or even men
the Elves sensed the Hobbits' innocence
and yet i don't think they were in the beginning
yes they are nicer to hobbits than to dwarves
because at first they think that hobbiits are just like men
but then they get to know them better and sense their innocence, as grondy said
Hobbits had never caused them the problems that Men and dwarves had done, however. It was like a clean sheet
but they soon learn that they are not just like men
that is true
The Men had already shared in the world of the elves through the Half-Elven. The Dwarves lived with the Elves and shared their craftsmanship.
* Joins: Mellie (Admin@6ca5ed5b.a55581.64.158.imsk)
All this was to prepare Middle Earth for the departure of the Elves.
yes
yes
Was this an elven decision, or higher though?
i guess, i missed something.
i don't think the elves were aware of it
and when Bilbo gave the Arkenstone to Bard and company his stock went up in the eyes of the elves
The beauty of the Elves would live on through the songs they shared with the Hobbits, the Blood they shared with Men and the art they shared with the Dwarves.
we were just talking about how elves regarded hobbits mellie
Val, I think it definitely the decision of a higher power.
yes i agree
i do too
I cannot see the elves making that as a conscious idea at any rate
niether can i
gandalf knew though i think
So how high?
no, that is where Gandalf came in
no it just underlies the story
Gandalf or higher still?
manwe perhaps, val
manwe did send gandalf
not the entire Valar, I don't think. I would suspect Manwe as well.
And Gandalf (Olorin) understood and loved the elves
but could Manwe have gotten the idea from Iluvatar?
he could have
I think it goes to the top...Eru
manwe knew only a little of eru's mind
so i agree with you val
yes, it definitely could have been the "divine" plan of Eru
who may have been acting on instructions of hiogher postAuthorIDity or at least the music
do you mean eru was acting on higher instructions, or manwe, grondy?
manwe
The third theme was Eru's alone, so their fate was in his hands
wasn't Eru the higest power
yes
yes i think it was eru's divine plan
* Mellie does too
* Grondmaster thinks so too
* Princess99 sits back with some popcorn and watches all of you talk
Now understood Val
I'm Totally lost
i should have reminded everyone at the beginning of class.
don't worry
Yes I Think it was Eru's plan
so do I grondy
so do i
would Manwe be aware of this plan?
If he played out the third theme until the End, it must have been
Manwe knew certain thoughts from dreams
not sure about that one Nell
yes, becasue he sent gandalf
and gandalf was certainly aware of it
Mandos was the only one who saw the full picture
he only knew part of Eru's plans
well I have to go now, Good Bye!!! talk to you later
bye
bye Princess99
bye, hope you enjoyed yourself!
* Quits: Princess99 (pt@db031c74.maxg5-2.dips.d1c4df18.net.hmsk) (Quit: Leaving)
A person reading LOTR would not see any of this as Tolkien does not reveal any of the history of the elves to us.
they might be able to sense some of it
That's what the Silmarillion was for
from the glimspes tolkien gives
you are correct. nell.
but manwe knew the elves had to leave and the men had to become ascendent
I really think it is obvious that Tolkien had intended the Silmarillion to be published first.
and that is what is happening in LOTR
it is. it was the earlier work
You are right there Nell
he meant it to all be published as 'one long saga of the jewels and the rings'
very true. I read somewhere, that he want it published first, but it was not finished
yes, Grondy. That is exactly what is happening in LOTR. There is much more to it then the anti-quest for the Ring
there is. that's what makes it such a good book
It is the preparation for the exodus of the elves
For such a thick book, LOTR only gives us a tiny overview of the whole picture
* Joins: nik (pt@node0d9d.a2000.nl)
for sure, but when you take in the entire history of Middle Earth, it is really a very small part.
Crowded in here... hey all.
lotr is mostly concerned with men and hobbits
hi nik
that is right Sam.
So, why were Men never invited to Aman... They could have still died when their time was up
Hi Nik
But I think it is important to know about the Elves in order to understand some very important events.
the elves were too aloof
they didn't want the men in aman
the Sil explained so much about the LOTR
they did not understand the mortality of men
Neither did men, Sam
very true Val
men just understood that aman was beautiful and that they were missing out
One example is Galadriel's "test", if one did not know about the rebellion, they would have no clue why she would need to pass a test.
still don't
I totally missed that she was being tested the first time I read it
that made more since after I read the Sil
i assumed that her 'test' was just too see if she could resist the ring
still do't about mortality, not about the test Ironic, isn't it. Men desired immortality and the Elves found it a difficult burden.
The two don't go very well side by side
i think the valar favored the elves over men and that was why they were not permitted into aman
the greener grass and envy
The elves found this when they first discovered Men in the FA and they kept dying
even though manwe and mandos knew a bit about the plan
Sam: I think you are correct about the Elves being favoured.
that is very ironic Nell, but most immortals seem to feel that way not just in Tolkien. Mortals all want immortality and then those that have it consider it a major burden.
the dwarves were even less-favoured than the men
The Valar favoured the Elves because they were closer in spirit to themselves than Men were
Because they were not part of the original plan, Sam
yes nell
that is true too sam, because of the way the dwarves were formed, I think
It is said that at times Men even disappointed Eru
they favoured elves because elves were the 'first'
excellent point Val.
were not the animal also mortal
animals*
The elves respected better than Men what the Valar had created for them
I believe so
that is a good point grondy
I believe so grondy, but they could not communicate, and the elves favored communication
that is also a good point val
the The elves taught the other ppls to speak.
that is why teaching the ents to talk was such a great achievement, even though they were not animals
the valar felt that dwarves did not repect ME because they cut down the trees
That alone would make the Elves superior.
especially Yavanna
it seems that the valar valued stories and speech more than other talents
1000's of years of wisdom and learning would make you superior too, particularly if you remain youthful
except aule, who loved mining
Ironic, isn't it. Men desired immortality and the Elves found it a difficult burden.
The two don't go very well side by side
i think the valar favored the elves over men and that was why they were not permitted into aman
the greener grass and envy
The elves found this when they first discovered Men in the FA and they kept dying
even though manwe and mandos knew a bit about the plan
Sam: I think you are correct about the Elves being favoured.
that is very ironic Nell, but most immortals seem to feel that way not just in Tolkien. Mortals all want immortality and then those that have it consider it a major burden.
the dwarves were even less-favoured than the men
The Valar favoured the Elves because they were closer in spirit to themselves than Men were
Because they were not part of the original plan, Sam
yes nell
that is true too sam, because of the way the dwarves were formed, I think
It is said that at times Men even disappointed Eru
they favoured elves because elves were the 'first'
excellent point Val.
were not the animal also mortal
animals*
The elves respected better than Men what the Valar had created for them
I believe so
that is a good point grondy
I believe so grondy, but they could not communicate, and the elves favored communication
that is also a good point val
the The elves taught the other ppls to speak.
that is why teaching the ents to talk was such a great achievement, even though they were not animals
the valar felt that dwarves did not repect ME because they cut down the trees
That alone would make the Elves superior.
especially Yavanna
it seems that the valar valued stories and speech more than other talents
1000's of years of wisdom and learning would make you superior too, particularly if you remain youthful
except aule, who loved mining
Well it is 4 and my mother-in-law wants me off her phone line.
Just as an interesting scenerio, what if the Elves did not dwell so much in the past and become antiquarian? would the history of Middle Earth been different?
bye all
alright mellie
nice talking to you!
Cheers Mellie
men and dwarves being short lived creatures could not, even yet can see what they are doing to the environment, while the elves can
nite Mellie
bye mellie
* Quits: Mellie (Admin@6ca5ed5b.a55581.64.158.imsk) (Client exited)
can not see*
The elves would perhaps have been wiped out if they had come out of hiding
the elves would have gotten things done faster
that is a good point Val. their numbers were naturally decreasing.
There may have been more Peredhil though
that is interesting.
Next week we are going to look a little closer at the Teleri.
okay
I think they remained in hiding until the time was right for the final blow against sauron
it was not fear, it was a strategy
which would have been never
A very good strategy.
Try to conserve what strength they had until it could be best used
in that way they were like the dwarves
We will discuss the Last Alliance a little bit in two weeks time.
The elven rings even aided that strategy
as the elves were becoming weaker while Sauron's forced became stronger
okat Nell
okay nell
But if they had come out too early, before Man was ready too???
Okay nell
you are right Val
I think the Last Alliance has some relevence in respect to the attitude and concerns of the Elves and the defeat of Sauron
like "Isuldur
i think it was fate that the elves and men were ready at the same time, part of the plan
This ends our introduction to the Elves in The Lord of the Rings
Thanks for the wonderful class Nell! You are doing a great job, I really had fun.