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View Full Version : why do elves need to go to the undying lands?


jordainian
09-05-2005, 08:45 PM
Elves are supposed to be immortal so why do they need to leave middle earth and and go to the undying lands.Throughout the movies elrond talks about his daughters death. Can someone please fill me in on what is going on here?! :eek:

Eyrie
09-06-2005, 05:37 AM
The Elves don't need to go to the Undying Lands. If they wish (which they seldom seem to do) they may stay in Middle-Earth until Dagor Dagorath [Doomsday]. On the other hand there isn't much left for an elf who stays behind. Your life would just be lurching in the shadows in an everchanging world. Now that wouldn't be too good for your mental health ;) Elves also felt a yearning to leave for a better place, and that place was of course the Undying Lands.
The death of an elf is also a bit exceptional since they first go to Halls of Mandos and after that they might get a new body. They are chained to this world so to speak. Men on the other hand die and go where nobody knows (except Er˙).

Now Elrond and his children are an exception, because Elrond is half-elven and that gives him and his children a choice. They may choose an immortal life and leave for the Undying Lands if they wish, or they can stay behind and die as humans. I think there are threads here that discuss this choice more on deepth, so I won't go into that. I'll just say that Elrond chose the life of an elf and thus he also got a yearning to sail West. Arwen on the contrary chose the mortal life (because she married Aragorn etc.). Now imagine being a father who's only daughter is going to die (and stay dead until the new theme of Er˙) while you yourself will live on in this world for almost all eternety. I think that's reason enough to talk a whole 9 hours about your daughters death.

This was of course a very short presentation of the whole matter. I'd recommend to do a search on topics about the subject if you wish to know more. I bet there are a lot of long debates around some of the subjects I took up here.

Boromir88
09-06-2005, 06:26 AM
Eyrie, I think you explained it quite well, no need to go into too much detail here.

Yes, elves are immortal, but that only means they can't die of old age or sickness. They can still die from a broken heart (fragile people I say) or in battle. The elves go to the Undying Lands because that marks an ending point to their life. Now, as Eyrie said, not all decide to go there, some decide to stay in Middle-earth when they will just be forgotten and fade away.

It seems you have a misconception about the Undying Lands, that it makes the people who go there immortal. Mortals who go there (Frodo, Bilbo, and eventually Gimli and Sam) will die there eventually. The Undying Lands doesn't make people immortal, the mortals who go there eventually die.

On half-elves, Eyrie explained this well, no need to go into much detail. Elrond kept saying Arwen was going to die because she was a half-elf and was going to choose a mortal life. Half-elves get this choice. Since Arwen chose to marry Aragorn, she revoked her elvish life, and would die shortly after Aragorn's death.

Mithalwen
09-06-2005, 06:35 AM
Elves are bound to the earth and they do age albeit very slowly. As they age their spirits become dominant over their physical bodies until they become beings of spirit only (this explains in the created mythology why we don't see even a few elves around today.. ;) ). This is referred to as the fading of the elves - this process was held back in Rivendell and Lorien by the power of the Elven rings.

Tuor in Gondolin
09-15-2005, 01:16 PM
I believe the "refusenik" elves (who didn't originally go to Aman) have
to stay on Middle-earth, and will gradually fade, while the remaining Noldor (after The War against Melkor) and the half-elven have a choice of staying and fading
or going to Aman, according to past discussions and some reading by me
in Tolkien's works. Whereas I originally thought all elves had the choice of
the half-elven.

Anguirel
09-15-2005, 01:20 PM
Tuor-it's more like this-

Half-elves-death on Middle-earth or eternal life in Valinor. No fading.

All Elves, including "refuseniks"-fading on Middle-earth or eternal life in Valinor.

Legolas
09-16-2005, 12:00 PM
Being immortal, elves attempt to be preservers - they try to halt change as much as possible. Change can even give men turmoil in our short lives, so it wears and tears even more on elves as they live thousands of years. In Aman, they may rejoin their kin and live in a place that changes very little.

Elrond's concern for his daughter is different, as noted by the others before me. I wrote a full explanation of Elrond and his family's mortal/immortal situation here (http://www.barrowdowns.com/faq_halfelves.php). Simply put, they are half-elven (on each side of their family tree is the union of a man and elf). His family did many great things, and as their ancestors, he and his parents, brother, and children have the choice - mortal or immortal. He chose immortality, and his children have to make their decision before he leaves (or very shortly after).

SunniGadi
10-19-2005, 05:48 PM
Elves are immortal in the since that they can froever age, but they can still die.

And I never remember Elrond talking about Arwen dying, just about Aragorn and their potential children dying, her having to stand and watch them pass.

wilwarin538
10-19-2005, 06:00 PM
And I never remember Elrond talking about Arwen dying, just about Aragorn and their potential children dying, her having to stand and watch them pass.

Well even though Arwen did choose a mortal life, it would still take a while longer for her to die. Almost like the imortality takes awhile to leave her. I think Elrond was just saying that even though Arwen would be mortal she would still out live Aragorn by quite a bit, possibly even her own children(but I doubt that).

radagastly
10-19-2005, 07:39 PM
It should probably be mentioned at this point that those half-elven who chose mortality and their descendents (including Aragorn) had the freedom to choose the time of their death. They must die, but they could take the time to come to terms with it first, to finish their task before leaving behind the bonds of Arda. This is why I think that if Arwen had recanted her mortal choice when Aragorn died, she still could have sailed into the west and rejoined her father there, instead of journeying to Lorien and lying down on Parth Galen. That, to me, is part of what makes her passing so moving.

ElentariGreenleaf
10-20-2005, 04:10 AM
I've always felt kinda sorry for elves. I mean, surely immortal life would get kinda dull. And half-elves having to pick between immortal and mortal lives. Cruel Eru! Cruel! ;)

LalwendŰ
10-20-2005, 06:46 AM
There is also a certain expectation that Elves will go to the Undying Lands. Those who refused to go are somewhat diminished. For Elves who have already died, who have only their Fea, to refuse to go to the Undying Lands and the Halls of Mandos is viewed as wrong. It is said that such 'houseless' Elves are incredibly vulnerable to corruption from dark forces and can be dangerous, sometimes inhabiting trees and rocks. For more, have a look at HoME X.

One question which fascinates me is how and why did Elros and Elrond come to the decisions that they made over their fate?

Tuor of Gondolin
10-20-2005, 12:41 PM
Posted by Radagastly
"This is why I think that if Arwen had recanted her mortal choice when Aragorn died, she still could have sailed into the west and rejoined her father there, instead of journeying to Lorien and lying down on Parth Galen. That, to me, is part of what makes her passing so moving."
==========

Check the appendix to LOTR. It's actually curious. Radagastly's view is that of
Aragorn's, while Arwen disagrees. As, I believe, JRRT does in Letters. But it
is a curious exchange between Aragorn and Arwen.