Thread: Are elves immortal?
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Didn't feanor's mother's body stayed the same even after her death?
Yes but there is an interesting confusion surrounding this. Tolkien first seems to say that the maids of Este tended her body 'so that' it would not decay...
'... and the maidens of Este tended her body so that it remained unwithered...'
Or that it would not decay in Aman, at least not until Melkor poisoned the Two Trees and was in Aman himself.
'Though the death of severance may find out the Eldar in my realm, yet one thing cometh not to it, and shall not:* and that is deforming and decay.'
*Yet after the slaying of the Trees it did so while Melkor remained there, and the body of Finwe, slain by Melkor, was withered and passed into dust, even as the Trees themselves had withered.'
JRRT, Laws A, Morgoth's Ring
The idea written in Laws And Customs Among the Eldar was that Miriel ultimately returned to her body and began to weave in the house of Vaire...
... although in the Quenta Silmarillion tradition it is simply noted [in a footnote] that at some point Miriel ended up in the house of Vaire, and there it was her part to record, in web and broidery, all the histories of the Kin of Finwe and the deeds of the Noldor.
Then confusingly Tolkien bracketed this footnote with 'omit' and a question -- as he wondered what happened when Finwe was slain and came to Mandos...
... seemingly forgetting that he had already written, in Laws And Customs, what happened when Finwe was slain! Which was [slightly longer explanation]:
Finwe is slain and comes to Mandos, his renunciation of re-birth, the re-entry of the fea of Miriel into her body that still lay in Lorien. Mandos accepts the abnegation of Finwe as Miriel's ransom, and Miriel in her body, now refreshed, yet chooses to go to the House of Vaire, and there she wove her webs of history.
I think sometimes Tolkien needed someone to help him keep his texts in order
I once did a bit of digging on the matter of beasts and plant life in Aman. There might be something more in Morgoth's Ring, in the text Aman, if I recall correctly.
Melkor of course disrupted this state of perfection in many ways after his release, and disturbed the system. He poisoned the Two Trees, killed Finwe and caused mayhem which resulted in the Kin Slaying. Perhaps it was his great power which enabled him to achieve this evil, evil which the Earth had never seen before.
Elves are not subject to aging, and it seems their bodies are hardier than those of mortal men. However, elves can be slain in battle. Also, the first Half-Elven were given a choice between Mankind and Elf-kind. It seems that, in certain situations, an elf can trade their eternal life for a dead mortal's life. Elves can also pine away until death.
After a period, after their deaths, elves are reincarnated in Valinor. It is unclear whether this applies only to elves slain in battle, or those killed in sadness.
I'd just like to add that while I agree that Elves are immortal to a degree, their lives are tied to Ea. As such, when Ea ends the Elves end with it.
The Elves will end, as in die at the 'End of the World', but just to add something to this, they do not necessarily cease to exist at this point.
The Elves had their own theories about life after this kind of death [again the 'ultimate death' that awaited them in the future, when the world ends], just as Men had theories or beliefs about life after their spirits left the World.
They are not immortal in terms of never being able to die, but they are eternal in terms of slow aging, if aging at all.
I think enough material to back-up this sentence has been presented in the posts above, but if needed I can provide some also.