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Thread: Elven Habitat

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Some Elves lived in trees others had a greater affinity for caves. Why was this?
Not enough trees?


We, as a race, live in different environments, different cultures..... I live here in the UK because I was born here and I live in a house because everyone here does. But in other places people live in igloos or mud huts or river boats, or caves or tents or caravans......

Someone will be along soon to tell us why the elves liked caves and trees - I know elves liked dim light like the night sky.

Could it also depend on where the elves were when they awoke and where they ended up if they got lost travelling to the Undying Lands?
I could imagine that it may have had something to do with the different races; i.e. the Silvan Elves liked the trees and woods, the Teleri loved the sea, and the Noldor were more 'Dwarf-like' than the others, having a passion for works and crafts of hand. I don't know where the others fit in, and I don't really even have any citations or evidence that I could find yet; most of this is just speculation and things I've picked up.
Yes. I also think so. Like Vee said, we are all diffrent and we like diffrent things.
I think those that went into the West learned great skills from Aule, and went on to build magnificent cities. This particularly applies to the Noldor and Vanyar. The Teleri who went into the West arrived later, and it would seem they maybe missed out on these lessons, for it was the Noldor who built for them the Havens of Alqualonde. The Noldor where said to be particularly skilled of hand.

Back in Middle Earth, those elves who remained seemed to live either in trees or caves. Maybe they again missed out on Aule's lessons, or maybe preferred something more natural. Whatever, the two great elven cave systems of the First Age were crafted with the aid of the Dwarves, but were made in the likeness of forests, with the pillars being carved into the likeness of trees. Thranduil originally came from Menegroth, so in his case, it does not seem surprising that his Halls in Mirkwood were below ground too.

Of the other non-Noldor settlements, most seem to be tree abodes apart from the Grey Havens. Originally, however, the Noldor strengthened Cirdan's various havens with great towers, so again stone structures in this case may be a Noldor legacy. Edhellond, I believe was a small port village. Again this was buildings, but I am unsure which race of elves was responsible for its construction. As its purpose was to dock ships prior to their final voyage into the West, again it may have been Cirdan who had it built.
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Some Elves lived in trees others had a greater affinity for caves. Why was this?

As for Elves living in caves, i can only recall the Noldor in Nargothrond and the Sindar in Menegroth.
The ones in Nargothrond lived there because it proved a fine stronghold, and a good hiding place from Morgoth, whilst Menegroth was also a fine stronghold but most importantly a fitting place for a city. Now that i think of it, Thranduil has a city underground as well. Again, fine stronghold, as dragons and spiders and Dol Guldur weren't that far away.

Elves living in trees, would be the Galadhrim. I find it quite logical if you live in forests, to live up in the trees... provides best protection against Orcs and such nasties.


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Could it also depend on where the elves were when they awoke and where they ended up if they got lost travelling to the Undying Lands?

Nope, as all first Elves (144, according to HOME) awoke at Cuivienen.

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Back in Middle Earth, those elves who remained seemed to live either in trees or caves. Maybe they again missed out on Aule's lessons, or maybe preferred something more natural.

The Noldor who stayed in Middle-Earth after the First Age, lived either in Lindon or Hollin. In Hollin a great city was built, Ost-in-Edhil, who was later demolished by Sauron, but of course during the war in 2nd age Rivendell was founded. As for Lindon, i have no idea where or how Gil-Galad lived over there. Probably near Círdan in Mithlond, anyway after the 2nd age the only Elvish settlement in Eriador would be Rivendell, and the Grey Havens/remains of Lindon.

The Galadhrim and Silvan Elves and others who are related to the Nandor, never came to Valinor so could've never been taught by Aulë anyway.

I think Thranduil's underground city is mostly out of safety, otherwise he would have lived in the trees as well... like the Galadhrim, who had of course the Power of Nenya to keep all intruders out.
The Elves chose their settlements mostly out of safety, at least in Middle-Earth. In Valinor, they could chose more esthetically.


Aesthetically is perhaps the key word here. How could you live in harmony with nature by destroying or threatening it? (donīt answer, I am trying to make a point) Remember that Elves are part of nature. They didnīt appear magically (well, they did) and tried to rule over the lands and Earth. They consider themselves as importnat as a tree, or river, or star. They are part of their nature, and they know it. They have to live with it, walk with it, manupulate it, just as everything else arround them manipulates them. Itīs not a matter of industrializing and contracting prefabricated houses, it is a matter of consience, sharing and merely contemplating the big picture.
I think Gil-Galad lived in the Forlond, according to T Cool Smilie
I wonder if it didnt' come from families and the stronger personality and tastes of some just sort of was adopted by the others.
Take for example all those who fled or left for other reasons Britain and came over to the Americas. Why it is amazing how after just a couple of generations so many different dialects exist.
Here in Canada from West to East you hear such different ways of speaking English until you reach the Eastern shores and there the English is so differant as to be unbelievable really.
So it may have just be an assimilation thing because of the tastes of a few. I have no idea really.
Because they came from different areas of Europe, but mainly Britain where many different dialects of English are spoken. But which dialect became prevalent in which area was dependent on where the preponderance of the early settlers originated. And even Quebec fits this theory. I also think the early western Canadians were mainly of Scottish origin, but they lost some of their brogue before they crossed the Rockies.
Tolkien explained that the Eldar, '... though they might at need, in their bitter wars with the Dark Powers and his servants, contrive fortresses underground, were not dwellers in such places of choice. They were lovers of the green earth and the lights of heaven...'

The subjects of King Thranduil were said to have mostly lived and hunted in the open woods, and had houses or huts on the ground and in branches.
Smile Smilie The Eldar had a wide range of habitats ranging from +0 degrees to +60 degrees. The Southernmost main dwelling by the Eldar is at Tirion upon Tuna, nigh to the Girdle of Arda. The northernmost are Eithel Sirion, Mirkwood, Dorthonion and Gondolin. All of the northernmost reaches of Elvish Habitat all except from Mirkwood had got destroyed in the War of Wrath, in 583 of the First Age. From east to west Elvish habitat ranges from hundreds of kilometres( or in America miles) from Cuivuinen in the first age to Beleriand, From Edhelond to Mirkwood, the Elves ability to adapt to many different environments. A favourite approach to the Elves when they make a kingdom is that they make it hidden. Gondolin, Rivendell, Nargothrond, the dwellings by the Sirion, Ossirialand, Doriath, Lothlorien and The Isle of Balar are all sort hidden to some extent. Most popular is putting your-city in the middle of an forest, putting in an deep valley or putting it in the middle of an mountain range. But if their sort of dwelling is safe,they don't really think about keeping it hidden. An example of this is The Grey havens. It's not hidden at all, it's quite obvious for miles around. Smile Smilie