Do elves reproduce?

vek555
Posts: 10

Do elves reproduce?

Post#1 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:16 am

I mean I know that they reproduce, and they do it in the same way humans do. But it just doesn't make much sense, since they're immortal. If they reproduced just like humans, with a normal birth rate and a death rate of zero (since they're immortal) their population would be growing exponentially. There should be millions of elves by now. But there aren't. And plus, there should be a LOT of elven children (especially more since they age slowly) but you don't see that many. Is the answer that elves don't breed very often? This would make sense, because Arwen seems to be Elrond's only child; and although Celeborn and Galadriel have been together for thousands of years, they don't seem to have any kids (although I may be wrong about that). Maybe most of the elves that are alive at the time were the original elves brought to life by Iluvatar thousands of years ago. Any ideas?

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gandalf-olorin
Posts: 481

Do elves reproduce?

Post#2 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:51 am

You are right, the elves did not have children often. ()Celebrian, wife of Elrond, was daughter of Galadriel. The elves died often enough in war. When they frequently left for Valinor, their population went down. So they did not gain anything even when they had lots of kids in the First Age. But by the Third Age, they had fewer children seemingly, as we have mention of very few.

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virumor
Posts: 3567

Do elves reproduce?

Post#3 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:36 am

Elven population would not grow exponentially since Elven couples usually had children only after hundreds of years of marriage.

Also, since they were immortal, I think the majority of Elves never found a life partner or at least it would take a very long time. Marriage lasting an eternity would make them extremely picky.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

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galin
Posts: 1369

Do elves reproduce?

Post#4 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:04 am

Laws And Customs Among The Eldar explains that there were seldom more than four children in any house, and the number grew less as ages passed. And the reasons it came to pass that the Eldar brought forth few children (Feanor was renowned as the father of seven sons)...

A) in the begetting, and still more in the bearing of children, greater share and strength of being in mind and body goes forth than in the making of mortal children.

B) the Eldar would beget children only in days of happiness and peace if they could.

C) with the exercise of the power of generation the desire soon ceases and the mind turns to other things.

vek555
Posts: 10

Do elves reproduce?

Post#5 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:32 pm

Thanks for everyone's responses! So do you think they have less of a desire to love than men?

Estel
Posts: 538

Do elves reproduce?

Post#6 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:54 pm

But theirs was more connected to the spirit (fea) than to the body (hroa). So elevated again above the Mortal Kindreds.

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galin
Posts: 1369

Do elves reproduce?

Post#7 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:40 pm



So do you think they have less of a desire to love than men? 




 



If you're asking because of C (in my post above) I would add that I think this refers to the desire to have more children -- a different thing than the desire between Elves of course. While it's noted that the Eldar are seldom swayed by the desires of the body only, their spirits being great masters of their bodies, the fuller citation reads...



 




'Doubtless they would retain for many ages the power of generation, if the will and desire were not satisfied; but with the exercise of the power the desire soon ceases, and the mind turns to other things. The union of love is indeed to them great delight and joy, and the days of the children, as they call them, remain in their memory as the most merry in life; but they have many other powers of body and mind which their nature urges them to fulfill.'



JRRT, Laws And Customs Among The Eldar, Morgoth's Ring




 



I see nothing here, at least, that necessarily states the Elves stopped having sex after a given time, or did not find it enjoyable or meaningful.



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leelee
Posts: 2293

Do elves reproduce?

Post#8 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:42 pm


To my mind Elves were simply more cerebral than physical, so much of their time was in beauty of thought and poetry and craftsmanship, perhaps learning to wield the sword in a beautiful magnificent way, talking amongst themselves and longing for the beginning again as it were. Careful to keep memory alive of their exploits and deeds and loves right from the Beginning.



I am sure they enjoyed marital love and affection the same as anyone, but it was not on the top of their list as it were. And as for the bringing forth children, i doubt it was more than how Illuvatar created them, it was just how it was with their kind, the same as the Hobbits seemed to be much more prolific and such. It seems the less time one had to live in Middle-Earth the more children they might be blessed with. I think it is obvious how much all the children, but in my mind Elven children were so carefully kept and loved and considered such a wondrous blessing. Strange come to think of it with Elrond having three. But then again he was half elven . Really i have no clue, just impressions.



 


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brego
Posts: 1275

Do elves reproduce?

Post#9 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:53 am

I think your impressions on this are spot on Lee Lee. Also perhaps Illuvatar created the Elves with a slower fertility cycle than that of the Mortals of Middle Earth. This would make sense in an evolutionary and biological manner as it would prevent over population or at least the risk of one. Tolkien also mentioned that when the Men of the West were gifted long life following their relocation to Numenor, that their birth rate slowed down as their years lengthened. I guess Tolkien realised that with extended years of life over population would become a problem.

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leelee
Posts: 2293

Do elves reproduce?

Post#10 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:41 pm




 



Exactly dearest Brego,. Just a moment ago as I was reading your post I saw you as it were perfectly groomed and wearing all white, you know like the chaps did in the time of Hercule Poirot, 1930's modernest ; funny how strange things your mind imagines stick with one. 



The slow fertility cycle makes sense, else can you really imagine an Elf wife bringing forth a babe every two years like many mortals and Hobbits. Rather a nightmare after say fifty years!



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