Thread: Elves after Third Age?!
This was a topic of discussion in my college days when I was not yet introduced to PT. Now I see the time is ripe for clarification. Okay, ideas anyone?
High Elves (Tareldar) usually refers to the Noldor with respect to Middle-earth, but to my mind it's possible that it had a wider application now and again, more equivalent to Eldar.
That noted, Of The Rings of Power And The Third Age relates that the last of the Noldor set sail and left Middle-earth for ever: 'And latest of all the Keepers of the Three Rings rode to the Sea...' seemingly indicating that the Noldor had departed before Galadriel, for instance.
Contradiction? Purposed contradiction? in my opinion the first citation hails from the stronger text in any case. I can't recall at the moment if there is more here...
... but this alone is interesting I think
Incidentally, it is interesting to compare Christopher Tolkien's entries for Eldar in The Silmarillion with his choice for the later Children of Húrin, as the latter more easily fits with what Tolkien himself published: 'Eldar The Elves of the Great Journey out of the East to Beleriand'
That's basically the 'definition' in The Lord of the Rings (the Eldar or West-elves)
By the way it's not just me concerning High Elves: Hammond and Scull note: '(Elsewhere Tolkien equates Eldar with the High Elves (see note for p. 43), or defines the term more narrowly as 'the West-Elves' in contrast to 'the East-elves', p. 1127, III: 405. The classification of Elves in Tolkien's mythology according to their response to the summons of the Valar is a difficult issue; see further, The Lost Road and Other Writings, pp. 182-3.)' H & S, Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings
Though again I would stress that High Elves often enough refers to the Noldor in a Middle-earth context, and one can find rather specific references explaining the High Elves or Tareldar (which would not include the Sindar). One instance to arguably confuse that hails from a letter, another I am thinking of hails from Appendix B, where High Elves appears to include the Sindar and so might be equivalent to Eldar there (the reference is to the Elves of Lindon).
If by High Elves the Noldor are meant in the Note On the Shire Records, we have a strong, author-published source. I wish more was known about the text Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age in any case.
But maybe we need to know what Estel means by High Kindred
I think Sian that Cirdan went on the Last Ship.
And it is mentioned in the LOTR that Celeborn and Galadriel were seen by Frodo and Sam when they set out to the Undying Lands.
Do you think that sons of Elrond count as one of the High Kindred?
And it is mentioned in the LOTR that Celeborn and Galadriel were seen by Frodo and Sam when they set out to the Undying Lands.
They weren't just seen; they traveled together from the Shire to the Grey Havens and beyond into the West. And now I have Annie Lennox singing in my head. It is a good thing I love that ear worm.
Galin, by High Kindred I mean Calaquendi.
OK so with respect to your question, basically the Noldor. If I had to choose I would say that some of the Noldor remained in Imladris at least, after Elrond sailed -- based on the Note On The Shire Records and an interpretation of High Elves referring to the Noldor. In The Road Goes Ever On (also published by JRRT himself) High Elves appears to refer to the Noldor, and there 'most' of the Elves in Rivendell were said to be High Elves (see quote below).
And it seems that in Fourth Age 120 Aragorn refers to the gardens of Elrond 'where none now walk', perhaps indicating that even if some Noldor had stayed after Elrond, they had departed by this time.
The other interpretation of 'High Elves' for the Note On The Shire Records allows a certain measure of consistency with Of The Rings Of Power (in existence in some form by 1948), but maybe Tolkien would have revised the description in the latter, concerning the Noldor.
'The Language is Sindarin, but of a variety used by the High Elves (of which kind were most of the Elves in Rivendell)' JRRT, The Road Goes Ever On
For it is told that the children of Elrond may choose to pass with him into the West or stay in the Mortal lands and give up their immortality when they don't go with him. I was thinking on the first reading of LOTR that this would refer to Arwen only but on the twenty so perusal of LOTR I had come to the conclusion that it might extend to Elladan and Elrohir too. (This is mentioned in the Appendix) Anyone care to contradict?
However this letter was written before Tolkien finished work on the Appendices, and much later in the 1960s JRRT would add references to the sons of Elrond (for the revised edition), letting the reader know that they did not sail with Elrond (in any case).
So the debate goes on. I note a part of a conversation between Elrond and Aragorn from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen: 'That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar (...) And when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses.'
Aragorn responds that the years of Elrond's abiding run short at last, '... and the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth'. Elrond answers 'Truly' but notes 'soon as we account the years'. Earlier in the N. Kings it is also noted that the children of Elrond had the choice to pass '...with him from the Circles of the World; or if they remained to become mortal and die in Middle-earth.'
Of course the option remains that 'with him' means 'as he did' or similar, but especially the conversation with Aragorn seems very much about timing to my mind. There's an interesting draft text called T4 in The Peoples of Middle-Earth, which according to Christopher Tolkien: '...was and remained for a long time the form of the Tale of Years that my father thought appropriate, and was indeed proposed to the publishers in 1954.' It reads in part (concerning Elrond's children):
2300 '(...) These children were three parts Elven-race, but the doom spoken at their birth was that they should live even as Elves so long as their father remained in Middle-earth; but if he departed they should have then the choice either to pass over the Sea with him, or to become mortal, if they remained behind.'
Again, what does with Elrond mean exactly? Hmm
'... and they are called the Eldar, the Elves of the Great Journey, the High Elves: distinct from those who, refusing the summons, chose Middle-earth for their land and their destiny. They are the 'lesser Elves', called Avari, the Unwilling.'
I by no means get it straight concerning the elves, but that last excerpt helps a great deal. The thing that comes to me is that I simply don't know how the few left could bear it, the slow decay and the completely different world from which they 'created' and enjoyed in one another's company. How dismal to my mind.
Question, please don't laugh, I am just learning really , I have only read the entire body of work concerning LOTR and such twice, I will start again after Christmas. My question is is there not some indication in the book that the elves could communicate from their minds alone if they wished without using verbal expression, or was that in the movie, I honestly cannot recall. Well, if they could communicate through a sort of telepathy, could they do this from Middle-Earth to the undying lands or is that just plain silly?
It's not silly - the High elves (and Gandalf) could communicate from mind to mind using a method called 'Osanwe-kenta'. Tolkien wrote an essay on it, which was published in one of the Elvish language magazines, called Vinyar Tengwar no.39 (July 1998). It's a bit involved, and I'm off to bed soon; but basically, Galadriel, Celeborn, Elrond and Gandalf used this method of 'talking' after the others went to sleep on their way back home in LotR (Many Partings)
"If any wanderer had chanced to pass, little would he have seen or heard... For they did not move or speak with mouth, looking from mind to mind, and only their shining eyes stirred and kindled as their thoughts went to and fro'.
I'm not sure whether anyone could have communicated with Elvenhome - tho' if anyone could I guess it would be Gandalf, being an 'enhanced Maia' as it were.
Thank you very much. I should like to read the paper. I just stumbled upon something the Professor wrote on what is Fairy the other day and it was very complicated and I think I was a little surprised about what he did not consider as such. What an amazingly profound mind.
Since you are aquainted with some of the family, I was wondering sir, if Edith was mentioned much, and what part did she play in helping her husband with his work? I remember reading that Tolstoy would leave his papers all over the place, things written will nilly and his wife would help out. Did Edith take a strong interest in her beloved's work on his fantasy writings or perhaps more just language? She seems to have been extremely intelligent and a somewhat gifted pianist, hampered by the arthritis at some point. And she must have been a brilliant mother, being all she was never allowed to experience past a certain age when she became an orphan.
Well actually, I can't be of much help, apart from what I've read in Carpenter's biography, and Hammond and Scull's two-volume work 'The JRR Tolkien Companion and Guide' (which I contributed to, by the way).
As you say, Edith was an accomplished pianist, with hopes of becoming a piano teacher, or possibly a soloist, at the time she and Ronald were courting. But social conventions of the time meant that women were not encouraged to pursue a career of their own after marriage (there were exceptions, of course - Tolkien's colleagues Ida Gordon and Elizabeth Wright continued their own distinguished academic careers after marriage). Edith was not gifted intellectually, apart from her musical ability, and her education had not taken her as far as her husband. But she did take an interest in his early fictional writings; making fair copies of Ronald's 'Book of Lost Tales' on his return from France. Later, Edith was the first person Ronald showed 'Leaf by Niggle' to, and 'Smith of Wootton Major' - two works which meant a great deal to him personally.
But of course, as we all know, Edith was Ronald's inspiration for Luthien, and the famous scene of Luthien Tinuviel dancing for Beren in the hemlock-wood was based on an actual event - after Edith's death, Ronald wrote to Christopher and said that 'her hair was raven, her eyes more bright than you have ever seen them, and she could sing - and _dance_.' And dance for him she did, soon after his return from the hell of the trenches in France in WWI. Ronald never called her by her Elvish name; but as he wrote to Christopher, 'She was - and knew she was - my Luthien', and the names 'Beren and 'Luthien' are on their gravestone.
We in the Tolkien Society have an annual get-together in Oxford; it's called Oxonmoot, which takes place at a college in Oxford, over a weekend in September, as near as may be to Sept. 22nd. Mrs geordie and I have ben going there for many years. There's a formal dinner on the Friday, and the Saturday is given over to papers, and a quiz; an art show and other events; finishing in the evening with a Party! and a masquerade. Lots of fun, with Tolkien fans from all over the world. The final part of Oxonmoot takes place on the Sunday morning. We gather outside the porter's lodge to wait for the coaches to take us to Wolvercote cemetery in the north of the city, to where Edith and Ronald have their 'long home'. There's a reading from one of the Professor's works, then a couple of minutes' silence, followed by one of our fellowship singing 'Namarie' to Ronald's own tune - based on a Gregorian plain-song chant, I believe. Very moving. Some snatches of Tolkien's writings come into my mind on these occassions, including this, from The Silmarillion:
"Farewell sweet earth and northern sky,
forever blessed, since here did lie
and here with lissom limbs did run
beneath the moon, beneath the sun,
Luthien Tinuviel. More fair than mortal words can tell..
Though all to ruin fell the world,
and were dissolved, and backward hurled
unmade into the old Abyss;
yet were its making good, for this:
The dusk, the dawn, the stars, the sea -
that Luthien for a time should be'.
To my mind, he wrote nothing finer.
That brought tears to my eyes, thank you for that. And I can scarce imagine how lovely that is for you to go to the cemetary and take part in such a hallowed event. wonderful.
I always felt that the very fact that the professor and his wive's being orphaned, tossed about in the world as it were and the deep love they had after 'finding' one another in the boarding house, in some way typified the love and yet sense of grief and lostness that seemed to cling to many of the characters, especially in the unfinished tales and the Children of Hurin. And also of course the fact that his father never made it to England from south africa. I still feel ill and grief when I remember Jrr's feelings as he looked at the painting on the steamer trunk as they sailed the ocean, the feeling that he might not see daddy again, and the horror of his mother's own death, alone like that. I feel that, and more gave him such an insight into grief and as he put it, two people falling in love and 'saving' one another in a sense.
Sorry to be off topic in the last reply. Whenever I think of the elves in the third age I feel weak and weary. To my mind, their ever leaving their Original Home and coming to Middle-Earth was such a mistake , I know the reasons and all that, but it is to me like uprooting a rare specimen of flower, delicate and though hardy in some ways, tearing it then away from the sun and nutrients that came to the flower in a unique manner; and then planting it in a hostile and darkened place. The hardiness would take root no doubt , but there would always be this vulnerability and 'longing' of the flower to rest in the soil of home once more. I can't explain it , but the longer the time span away from HOME, the weaker and more droopy I see the elves. It seems incredibly sad to me, no matter what their plans had been for personal fame and power.