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Old 09-11-2004, 09:55 PM   #1
Lachwen
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Eye A fourth union of Elves and Men??

Or possibly even a fifth?

This came upon me suddenly as I was discussing the descent of Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, with my mother. I was telling her about the story in the Unfinished Tales of Imrazôr the Númenórean who took the Elf Mithrellas to wife. Their son was Galador, first Prince of Dol Amroth. So my mother looked at me and said, "Wouldn't that make four unions of Elves and Men?" After all, there's only a big deal made of three: Beren and Lúthien, Tuor and Idril, and Aragorn and Arwen. Now suddenly there's this fourth one sitting there, chuckling at our discomfiture.

But this brought to mind ANOTHER union of Elves and Men that's almost never thought of: Dior and Nimloth. Dior, of course, is the son of Beren and Lúthien. Most people would assume that he's half-Elven, but Lúthien became full mortal to be with Beren, and I would assume that Dior was concieved sometime after Beren and Lúthien died and were brought back. Nimloth, however, is full Elf, being Celeborn's niece. So why the emphasis on "the three unions of Elves and Men?"

We all know that Tolkien was a whiz with words, but it would appear that he wasn't quite as strong in math...
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Old 09-11-2004, 11:39 PM   #2
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Ah, interesting points Lachwen. However, Tolkien's exact words were that there were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain. Now, the Eldar were originally the name of all Elves, but then only those who made the Great Journey to Valinor were known as Eldar afterwards. Thus, Nimloth was not of the Eldar. Also, while Dior was mortal (due to Manwe's decree), he was not fully mortal and was only half-Edain. Therefore, Dior was not of the Edain so it was simply the union between an Elf and a half-mortal, quarter-Ainu, quarter-Elf; that's Dior by the way!

In the case of Imrazor and Mithrellas, Mithrellas was a Silvan Elf and not of the Eldar and so for the same reason their marriage was not a union between the Eldar and the Edain, even though Imrazor was of the Edain, being Numenorean. So, yes, there are four unions between Elves and Men, but only three of them were unions between the Eldar and Edain- that is, Tuor and Idril, Beren and Luthien and Aragorn and Arwen- so the Professor remains both a master of words and by the look of this question, he would make a pretty good riddle-writer also .
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Old 09-12-2004, 12:31 AM   #3
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Actually, in another instance, Tolkien said this in Letter No. 153.

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Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring – even as a rare event: there are 2 cases only in my legends of such unions, and they are merged in the descendants of Eärendil.
This letter was written in September 1954 - *after* The Lord of the Rings was published (which included the statement about 'three unions'). I find this quote to be most sufficient in explaining the reality of the situation - Arwen was not an Elf, Dior was not entirely a Man, and Mithrellas' story was not presented in his legend (though it was hinted at when Legolas recognizes the elvish strain in Imrahil). Mithrellas' case certainly does count as a man-elf union, but Tolkien had no idea that it would ever be revealed to the public.

"Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring"

Dior and Arwen are products of these unions; their unions do not really fall under the category of man-elf unions for the blood of both men and elves already flow in each. In short, 'unions of man and elf' and 'unions of mortal and immortal' are different things.
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:43 AM   #4
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Then again, Lúthien wasn't completely an elf either. Her mother was a Maia, so Lúthien was only 50% Elf. The only real, pure Elf-Man unions were:

-Idril and Tuor
-Imrazôr and Mithrellas.

Which is two.
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Old 09-12-2004, 03:46 AM   #5
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But then Imrazor could have had elven blood in him, if his family had at some point married into Elros' line. And that is quite likely, seeing as he probably was of a noble family (or at least started one).
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Old 09-12-2004, 03:34 PM   #6
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Luthien was an elf. The point of Arwen and Dior isn't only that they are simply not entirely man or elf; it is that they are already products of man-elf unions. If you want to count the number of 100% man + 100% elven unions, your statement is correct, but that's not being discussed/disputed. The question is about the statements Tolkien made referring to unions within the stories that were made public (which means Mithrellas' case isn't included).
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Old 09-12-2004, 04:04 PM   #7
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Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race, or they could not breed and produce fertile offspring
Oh dear, I hadn't thought of that. *promptly disappears in a puff of logic* Though I should have, seeing as how both my parents are scientists... Maybe it's a good thing I'll be starting school soon, my brain has obviously atrophied over the summer.
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Old 09-12-2004, 07:22 PM   #8
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However, Tolkien's exact words were that there were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain. Now, the Eldar were originally the name of all Elves, but then only those who made the Great Journey to Valinor were known as Eldar afterwards
Actually the Eldar were all those who started the journey not just those who finished it. The only elves who were not counted as eldar were the avari. The teleri who never made it to Valinor were still Eldar, but they were Moriquendi and Calaquendi. Even the Nandor who turned from the journey before entering Beleriand were counted as Eldar.
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Old 09-12-2004, 07:22 PM   #9
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Tolkien Oh that old Chestnut

The lines at issue are in The Lord of the Rings Appendix A, I(i), which contains some minor technical errors with respect the rulers of Númenor and so forth, anyway, at least with the first Ballantine Books Edition that I have in front of me. This issue could likewise be dismissed as another such error, but it may also be stated somewhere else. The following is the Appendix A paragraph:
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There were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain: Lúthien and Beren; Idril and Tuor; Arwen and Aragorn. By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half-elven [Peredhil] were renunited and their line was restored.
Besides the conclusion that the omission of Imrazôr and Mithrellas is simply an oversight, in that Tolkien definitely had it in mind respective to the observations about the Princes of Dol Amroth in The Lord of the Rings, I would make a number of qualifying points:

1. JRRT does not say "only" three unions. To be pendantic, he is simply referring to three unions that in some way really matter. What makes them matter is not only their historical importance, but also that they are "royal" unions. That would be an adjective that an unabashed traditionalist like Tolkien might have thought unnecessary in terms of its obvious significance. For Americans, like me, who tend to be natually "republican" in our outlook, this makes various Tolkien issues, especially those of Arwen/Elrond, much harder to appreciate. Even a modern British Tory would not generally be able to relate to Tolkien's Monarchist views, which even he would have seen as moot in terms of modern politics.

2. Neither Imrazôr nor Mithrellas are of any royal line, and there union is of much less historical significance, and it certainly doesn't carry on the supposedly unfailing line of Lúthien. In The Unfinished Tales the impression is that the line of the Princes of Dol Amroth showed the effects of the intermingling in terms of physical appearance, but it did not necessarily endow them with greater nobility than that of any other of the truer Númenórean lines.

3. Like Aragorn, Imrazôr was a Dúnedain, to be sure. Technically, one must also say that Mithrellas belonged to the Eldar, but this is a grey area. As someone seeking to go into the West with Amroth and Nimrodel, she surely must be of Nandorin descent, as one must assume a fair number of the Silvan Elves in Lothlorien would be [see below]. But still she was not as "Eldarin" as the other elf-women noted, and in the Appendices, JRRT simplifies the whole thing about East-elves and West-elves, and certainly does not explicitly address the Nandor.

4. Despite being half Maian, Lúthien was undeniably counted among the Children of Eru and among the Eldar, as Melian had taken the form of an Elf in joining with Thingol. Later, Lúthien became mortal like Men, but not of Men. So, that union is fine. Idril may have retained her longeval existence, which was bestowed on Tuor as the counterpoint to Lúthien's choice.

5. Dior, Elwing and Eärendil, as well as Elrond and Elros, were all among the true Peredhil. They were mortal until given the choice (which was apparently not offered to the offspring of later elf/man unions, such as Imrazôr and Mithrellas). The Peredhil were neither Eldar nor Edain. So, their unions do not necessarily count. (Though Nimloth was an Eldar)

6. Arwen though was born and lived as an Eldarin Elf, and she did not become mortal until she married Aragorn (or irrevocably chose to do so, if one looks to the recent films), pursuant to her father's departure into the West. Also, technically, she was only 16.25 percent human, to begin with.

7. Aragorn despite his remarkable ancestory was still 100 percent a man as were all of the decedants of Elros.

EAST ELVES


With respect to questions of Avari/east-elves, J.R.R. Tolkien seems to have semi-intentionally blurred the matter of the Teleri-Nandor (initially Noldor-Danian), which split off before crossing the Misty Mountains, remembering also that there were other offshoots and lingerers (almost exclusively Teleri) between the first and second sundering of the Great March.

Consistently, the terms "East-elves" and “Eldar” should not be seen as mutually exclusive. In fact, the Nandor, and later the Silvan Elves in large part, were to some degree both: they were neither true Eldar, nor true Avari.

The true Avari were of all three kindreds, and at most, only some of them had gone just a very little way on the Great March before turning back completely and returning to Cuiviénen. But later they did spread out, and some probably wondered westward and joined up with Telerin Elves, who had turned aside in regions around what became the Sea of Rhûn or lands further west. This happened over ages and ages of time.

The Teleri, who turned aside at the Misty Mountains and were led by Lenwë south along the eastern side the Misty Mountains—i.e., the Nandor—eventually spread (as well) throughout southern Eriador and probably into what became Gondor through the early Second Age. Recall that Shelob had once had Elven victims.

These were not safe areas, however. Morgoth and his creatures terrorized areas east of the Ered Luin, hence the removal of many if not most of these Elves to Ossiriand under Denethor's leadership. Later in the Second Age, these Nandorin elves of Eriador and the lower Anduin would have fallen victim to Sauron's hegemony as it issued out of Mordor.

The Nandor who survived, but had not become the Green Elves of Beleriand, ended up mostly in the Upper Vales of Anduin. Here they acquired help from Grey and Green-Elves out of Beleriand, as well as Galadriel, and later some High-Elven refugees from Eregion. Quite probably, Amroth and his father were direct descendents of Lenwë.

Through the Second Age and Third Age these "Silvan Elves" were more and more concentrated in either Lothlórien or the northeast sector of Greenwood the Great, especially when it became Mirkwood under the Necromancer's influence. The rise of Dol Guldor thus contributed to the decline of intercourse between these two remnant—but still throughout the Third Age—thriving communities.

Who were they then by this point? Still to some extent "Eldarin" Nandor, to be sure, as would be necessary for explaining why Amroth, Nimrodel and others would have been drawn and allowed to pass over the Sea. Like Legolas, who might have been at least half-Nandor, these Eastern Eldar seem to have gone always through Gondor, where their ancestors may have also once wandered. The Grey Havens seem mostly reserved for the Beleriandic Eldar.

The Silvan Elves were not so much Nandorin in any pure or direct sense, however. Likely, they were augmented with other (Telerin) lingerers from the Great March east of Anduin, who had eventually wandered further westward, as well as significant numbers of true Avari. There were also eastward-moving Laiquendi and Sindar, who desired to return to simpler ways and were assimilated as part of Silvan society.

Arguably, this best describes the Wood-Elves (and raft-elves) of Thranduil's realm by the late Third-Age, which probably had significant representation from Beleriandic Elves or their descendents—as much as 10 percent or even more—but included no High-Elves. The great majority were likely still of Nandorin-blood (20–40 percent) and those of more eastern extraction (50–70 percent). The language spoken there seems disputed. It may have been a surviving "Silvan" dialect akin to original Telerin, or they may have mostly relied the Common Speech, since they were not too terribly isolated from other peoples, and it may have been a convenient lingua franca among differing Eldarin and Avarian tongues.

The Galadrim used a Sindarin dialect, and it seems likely that a great many of their numbers were Beleriandic. Perhaps more distinct from the main society, there might have also been a small number of High-Elves there, like Galadriel. Possibly a majority were still non–Laiquendi Nandor. Those of more eastern extraction represented a smaller portion than they would have in Thranduil's realm, but possibly were still quite common.

So, in summary, there is gradation and some non-certitude as regards “East-elves” and “Eldar,” which may not have been unacceptable to J.R.R. Tolkien, in this particular case.

These amalgamated realms of elves in Wilderland were also something of an exception to the rule about Elves in general. By the time of the War of the Rings, they were not really fading but rather quite vibrant. Consequently, it was most appropriate that Legolas, rather than a Noldorin lord, was a member of the Fellowship. He was at least partially of Sindarin descent, but he was also of a Third-Age generation from Elven lands that were still significant in the world at that time.

[Originally from a January 25, 2003, posting by, Man-of-the-Wold ]
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Old 09-15-2004, 05:05 PM   #10
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Now my arguments are going to sound kinda puny after Man-of-the-Wold's...

I am still firmly of the opinion that the union of Dior and Nimloth should count. As Man-of-the-Wold pointed out, Nimloth was one of the Eldar (technically, one of the Úmanyar). However, the argument put forth that Dior was not of the Edain because of his mother I find to be...well, for lack of a better term, wrong. After all, Tolkien was using a more medieval-European take on inheritences; in medieval Europe, inheritence of anything (name, land, title, etc.) was thought to come down only through the father's line. This can be seen in Tolkien's writings, as well: after all, you don't hear anyone claiming that Fingolfin and Finarfin were only "half-Noldor" because their mother was a Vanya. They were considered fully Noldorin, because the mother's lineage was not counted. In this way, Dior would still be considered one of the Edain, because his father was one of the Edain. Of course, J.R.R's take on such an argument is pure conjecture, but I still think I'm right.
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Old 09-15-2004, 05:24 PM   #11
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...And here I was of the impression that the "top three" were listed because only three Noldorin elves (all women) married mortals. Tut, tut, far too simplistic...
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Old 09-16-2004, 11:09 AM   #12
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Dior's case does not follow suit with Fingolfin's case. It is a different matter entirely. Fingolfin's mother was still an elf...the 'division' she belonged to was different, but elven divisions were only made based on who they followed, where they lived. Dior's parents are of different races, making him into a new or blended race. He is half-elven. He is not Edain; he is not Eldar. Half-elven is a race all its own. Tolkien said he was half-elven. You can't choose to dispute that with thoughts on how Tolkien might've classified him when he has already classified him.

If you do choose to base it on what he "inherited," then he would actually be of the Eldar because, as his name denotes, he is Thingol's heir - not Beren's. He inherited his mother's family's legacy. Still, he is half-elven.
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Old 09-16-2004, 08:04 PM   #13
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Does this mean that the union of Aragorn and Arwen shouldn't count because Arwen was half elven, not eldar?
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:03 PM   #14
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No, Arwen was full-Elven, because she was born an Elf.

Where did Tolkien say that Dior was half-Elven, Legolas?
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Old 09-16-2004, 09:56 PM   #15
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Arwen was not born an elf. Tolkien even says she's not an elf. She simply had the aging patterns of one until the time for her choice came. Letter No. 345:

Quote:
Arwen was not an elf, but one of the half-elven who abandoned her elvish rights.
Dior was half-elven:

Quote:
their mother being Elwing daughter of Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien: so the problem of the Half-elven becomes united in one line.
Quote:
By the marriage of Earendil to Elwing daughter of Dior son of Beren the lines of the Pereldar (Peredil) were united.
Elwing is half-elven by way of her father who was half-elven as a product of Luthien and Beren.

Quote:
Earendil was thus the second of the Pereldar (Half-elven), the elder being Dior, son of Beren and Luthien Tinuviel daughter of King Elu Thingol.
And most completely, Dior himself says it:

Quote:
Dior their son, it is said, spoke both tongues: his father's, and his mother's, the Sindarin of Doriath. For he said: 'I am the first of the Peredil (Half-elven), but I am also the heir of King Elwe, the Eluchil.'
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Old 09-17-2004, 12:27 AM   #16
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Silmaril The Pereðil

In "The Problem of Ros" Dior is quoted as saying that 'I am the first of the Pereðil,' and in "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" we learn, 'Eärendil was thus the second of the Pereldar (Half-elven), the elder being Dior,' although that might be technically in error if one recalls that Eluréd and Elurín were probably born before Eärendil; later it is noted, 'by the marriage of Eärendil to Elwing daughter of Dior son of Beren the lines of the Pereldar (Pereðil) were united' (The Peoples of Middle-Earth).

In the "The Wanderings of Húrin" (sometimes those that wander are lost), for the year 497 the term "Dior Halfelven" is given (The War of the Great Jewels). Elsewhere in the same volume are geneologies, in which one can assume that Christopher Tolkien, correctly indicates Beren to be the last ruler of the House of Béor, in part because Dior would not really be considered an Edain or Man. (It is also implied at times that the titular claim to Ladros lay with Túrin)

In The Lost Road and Other Writings we have Manwë declaring (something never revisited) that one drop of mortal blood gives that person the life of Man, even if presumably not a very short one.

In effect, the Half-Elven were originally more like mortal elves, even though Eärendil's "heart was rather with the kindred of Men and the people of his father." The term mortal elves essentially best describes Arwen and her breathren, after such time as Elrond would have gone into the West, unless and until they followed him (in at least relatively short order).

Ironically, though mortal, the Half-elven are evidently more fit to be rulers of Elves than of Men, if not High-King, in that Elrond does not succeed Gil-Galad. Only Arwen I believe is ever suggested to be formally recognized as a ruler ("Queen") of both elves and men, but she represented the ultimate reconcilement.

Galador and Gilmith (children of Mithrellas, and conceivably Eldarion and his sisters) could be listed as Pereðil, too, but pursuant to the settlement of issues at the end of the First Age, they might not only have had the life of Men, but also might have been counted more immediately among Men.

What seems true is that Pereðil's offspring are only Pereðil, if the other parent is also a Pereðil or an Elf. It is suggested that had Elrond married a mortal woman; he would have forfeited his choice and any that his children would have otherwise had. Similarly, the children or Elros, Galador, Gilmith, Eldarion and his sister were indisputably Men and Women.
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