Author Topic: Births of Elves.  (Read 3271 times)

Curathir

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Births of Elves.
« on: July 28, 2007, 09:28:34 AM »
I was looking through some of my Tolkein books this morning and I can't seem to find what I was looking for and was hoping someone could point the way for me.

I seem to recall that Arwen was mentioned as the youngest of the Eldar in Middle Earth? Am I misremembering that?

Also, I am trying to find information on births amongst the elves? It seems to me that their physical passions have waned as they fade into the West, but what I am more curious about as a result is the likelihood that any Elf Player Character in the game is less than 2,700 years old?

Calandil

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2007, 09:55:25 PM »
I could be mistaken, because I don't have any material on hand to verify this with, but if I remember right, there could still be PC elves younger than 2,700.  I believe Arwen was at least one of the youngest elves, if not the youngest, and was somewhere around the neighborhood of 200 or so years old.  Legolas' age was also estimated to be somewhere between 600 and 800, though I seem to remember most estimates being around 600.  I've made Calandil's age somewhere around the 600 range as well (this way I don't have to be an expert on too much past lore that I'm still unfamiliar with).

As for the physical passions of the elves, it's my understanding that they tend to pass as the elf gets older and has already had children.  Most elves marry at a very young age (for elves, anyway, many times as soon as around 50 years old or so).  It wouldn't be likely that there are many more elves quite so young as Arwen, but not impossible.  After all, Elrond had children well past the usual time frame, and it's not too unlikely that there were other elves who didn't necessarily "fit the mold."  Again, I could be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading this somewhere, which had references to Tolkien's writings to back up the points.  Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken about this, though.

Curathir

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2007, 11:33:07 AM »
Well, Arwen was born in 241 Third Age, the War of the Ring takes places ~2900 Third Age. I haven't been able to find anything on Legolas's age, other Elves mentioned in the LotR are much older.

Galadriel is the last of the Noldor in Middle Earth (Age of the Trees), Elrond was the son of Earendil and Elwing (First Age), Celeborn and Thranduil are Teleri from before the First Age (Age of Trees), Glorfindel fought as one of Turgon's Captains for Gondolin in the Nirnaeth Aronediad and the fall of Gondolin. I don't have any information on the age of Gildor Inglorion that I can easily puzzle out.

If Arwen is among the youngest though that does indicate that any Elves in Middle Earth are well over two millenia old. 

That said, the elves don't age as men in any conventional way, meaning neither physically nor mentally/ emotionally; they are non-human in every sense. Their immortality shapes their perceptions and they perceive the continuity of time differently than men, they see the future and past differently than men so it is possible for them to be millenia old and yet seem much younger than mankind. I was more interested in factual information so I could develop an effective genealogy and character history for Curathir.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2007, 11:37:43 AM by Curathir »

Mordorrain

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 07:03:46 AM »
I found this online and thought this would help:

The Elf in question obviously being Mr Legolas Greenleaf of Mirkwood. There has been some interesting debate on this here but there isn't even a remote possibility that he is only 500 years old. In Fellowship (the film), most will remember that in the Mines of Moria it was Gandalf that identified what the 'Shadow and Flame' was. "It is a Balrog. A demon of the ancient world". In the book, however lies the clearest indication of how old Legolas really is. 'But it was not the Trolls that had filled the Elf with terror...."Ai! Ai" wailed Legolas. "A Balrog! A Balrog is come!"...."A Balrog," muttered Gandalf. "Now I understand." He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. "What an evil fortune! And I am already weary." [Source: J.R.R. Tolkien - The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 5]. So it was only Legolas who recognised the Balrog for what it was. This is the clearest indication that Legolas is very, very old as the Balrogs fled into the deep places of the world after the Valar overthrew Morgoth in the First Age (at least 6460 years earlier). Indeed Tolkien himself said, 'The Balrog is a survivor from the Silmarillion and the legends of the First Age. It is observable that only the Elf knows what the thing is - and doubtless Gandalf.' [Source: J.R.R. Tolkien - The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien]

Namarie
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Calandil

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 09:38:23 AM »
Here's another interesting dissertation speculating several facts about Legolas, including his age.  There are several statements from Tolkien's writings that the author uses and estimates his age to be around 700 years old.  The recognizing of the Balrog may not necessarily be related to having seen them before, but by tales from other elves who had knowledge of them.

http://www.istad.org/tolkien/legolas.html

Mordorrain

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 12:18:57 PM »
I have a feeling that J. R. R. himself is the only one that knows or knew his age...lol

Excellent article!!!

Mordorrain

Calandil

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2007, 10:41:15 PM »
From what I've seen, Tolkien himself didn't have a lot of things firmly set in stone.  Some of his earlier writings were contradicted by later writings when he changed his mind (even the original version of the Hobbit was modified slightly after LoTR was written to smooth over inaccuracies with Bilbo's meeting with Gollum).  Granted, as the mind behind the stories, it's his right to do so.  I have a feeling its why discussions like these always end up coming about and are so interesting.  There's a lot of room for debate and speculation about a lot of facts, which invites discussion and individual interpretations.

Orophor

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Re: Births of Elves.
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 08:48:03 AM »
One thing to keep in mind, the stories of the ages of Middle-earth were told and retold, both spoken and written many times over many generations of elves and men. Because of that retelling, different versions would be common and it lends a sense of historical realism to Professor Tolkien's works.

The History of Middle-earth is a 12-volume set full of various drafts and revisions, where the material is worked and reworked till it is what the author wanted (or as close as he got before his passing) that for me, when combined with his letters gives the broadest view of Arda and its people. Wading through dozens of rough-drafts is not for everyone, but an aspiring writer or Tolkien scholar can learn a lot of how these stories were made.