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Old 01-01-2002, 04:22 PM   #1
Ereinion
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Sting Gil-galad's hair...

Several things have led me to wonder whether Gil-galad had golden hair or not. I believe that I had read he did, but I am not so sure now. Two things are bothering me. First of all, in the movie, Gil-galad, played by Mark Ferguson, has dark hair. Now, I know the movie is far from completely accurate, but I find it hard to believe that PJ would mess up on such a simple thing. The second matter is of Gil-galad's name. Gil-galad is Sindarin and translates as "Starlight" or "Star of Radiance", and refers to his arms (as in armor, etc...lol). However, his Quenya name is Ereinion ("Scion of the Kings"). Nearly all of the Noldor known to have golden hair have the element "fin" in their name (GlorFINdel, FINgolfin, FINgon). Fin translates as something to the effect of "locks", and is used to draw attention to their hair. I find it strange that Ereinion does not contain this element. On a side note, I suddenly realized Turgon did not contain "fin" either. Did he have golden hair? O well, any help is welcome. Thanks.

[ January 01, 2002: Message edited by: Ereinion ]
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Old 01-01-2002, 10:28 PM   #2
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All the Noldor in Finarfin's line had light hair. An example is Galadriel (a Noldorin elf with light hair). Her name means 'radiant garland' so we know Tolkien used 'galad' to refer to hair in another case, so though it describes Gil-Galad's armor, it could be a reference to his light hair also.

As Elenhin points out below, 'fin' doesn't denote hair color. Finwe was the father of the three houses of the Noldorin (Feanor, Fingolfin, and Finarfin), which is where the 'fin' comes from.
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Old 01-01-2002, 11:11 PM   #3
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I don't think that "fin" in their names is really relevant in this context. It may be a reference to the person's hair, but I think that in the Noldorin royal house "fin" is more likely a reference to Finwe, their father - and he did not have golden locks, or anything else special in his hair. At least the three sons of Finwe were not named after their hair, but their father (Curufinwe, olofinwe and Arafinwe - Curufinwe was better known as Feanor, and olofinwe and Arafinwe were "Sindarinized" to Fingolfin and Finarfin).

Gil-galad's hair is a difficult matter, I think, largely because Tolkien never decided whose child he should be. The published Silmarillion makes him Fingon's son (a somewhat doubtful decision by Cristopher), and if we go by that I'd say that Gil-galad was dark-haired - Fingolfin's house was not known for golden hair. On the other hand, if he was of the golden house of Finarfin then I'd say that he had golden hair.

I was quite surprised to see dark hair with Gil-galad in the movie, but it was a pleasant surprise. Blond hair should have been an exception, not the rule.
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Old 01-02-2002, 04:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
but I find it hard to believe that PJ would mess up on such a simple thing.
If you'll notice in the beginning when they show the three Elven ringbearers, Galadriel, GilGalad and Cirdan, Cirdan does not have a beard! It clearly states in the book that he does.

[ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: Elrian ]
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Old 01-02-2002, 09:22 AM   #5
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Yeah, well on the beard part, I always thought that was an anomaly. Nowhere else have Elves mentioned having beards, at least I don't think so. I think it's kind of wierd that Cirdan would have a beard.
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Old 01-02-2002, 01:27 PM   #6
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Gil-Galad's hair was definitely dark.
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Old 01-02-2002, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ereinion:
<STRONG>Yeah, well on the beard part, I always thought that was an anomaly. Nowhere else have Elves mentioned having beards, at least I don't think so. I think it's kind of wierd that Cirdan would have a beard.</STRONG>
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Old 01-02-2002, 10:22 PM   #8
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Concerning the element fin- in so many Noldorin names, it probably doesn't come from the word meaning hair or tress of hair, but from an older more archaic element phin- which can be found in HoME V.
Quote:
PHIN- nimbleness, skill. ON phinde skill, phinya skilled; *phinderauto, N Finrod
IIRC then the beard on Cirdan was a natural part of aging for elves, there is a discussion or two on this and it seems very reasonable considering Cirdan's great age.

And I think that the galad in Gil-Galad and the one in Galadriel come from different origins, but I may be mistaken on that and it might just be that neither come from galad- which means tree.
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Old 01-03-2002, 10:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
IIRC then the beard on Cirdan was a natural part of aging for elves, there is a discussion or two on this and it seems very reasonable considering Cirdan's great age.
Very good point, Cirdan was one of the Firstborn.
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Old 01-04-2002, 02:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ereinion:
<STRONG> Nearly all of the Noldor known to have golden hair have the element "fin" in their name (GlorFINdel, FINgolfin, FINgon).]</STRONG>
Quote:
This is what the index to the Silmarillion has to say on the subject of Golden Hair
<STRONG>Finarfin, The third son of Finw, the younger of Fanors half-brothers; remained in Aman after the Exile of the Noldor and ruled the remnant of his people in Tirion. Alone among the Noldorin princes he and his descendants had golden hair, derived from his mother Indis, who was a Vanyarin Elf ]</STRONG>
Ereinion I cant find any reference to Fingon or Fingolfin having golden or blonde hair ... but maybe Im missing something???
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Old 01-04-2002, 04:21 AM   #11
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Yes, Telchar is on the right track.

In Tolkien's genetics of the Elves, golden hair (which for personal reasons I see as a more reddish blonde than a whitish blonde) is a trait of the Fair Elves or Vanyar. Fingolfin like Finarfin was a child of Indis, Finwe's second wife, but he and his children were of the Noldorin look. Dark, raven hair with bright grey eyes. Turgon's daughter, Idril, was golden haired, but her mother was also a Vanya.

So, I'm not sure about Gil-Galad, but without some definite indication, I'd assume he looked like his father and grandfather, and did not pick up any recessive gene for hair color, because his mother was probably a Noldo, too. But who knows?

What's interesting about this is that physical heredity aside, Elros, Elrond and their children had less Noldorin in them than Vanyarin or Telerian. Maglor's foster-sons were as follows:
Maiar: 1/16
Vanyar: 5/32
Noldor: 3/32
Teleri: 5/16
1-Edain: 1/4
2-Edain: 1/16
3-Edain: 1/16.

Even Celebrian was 3/4 Teleri, 1/8 Nolder and 1/8 Vanyar.

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Old 01-04-2002, 01:48 PM   #12
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Sting

Yeah, I was wrong about Fingolfin and Fingon. But hey, you learn something new everyday lol. I think that's a pretty interesting genetic breakdown, by the way. Well, thanks a lot guys.
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Old 01-04-2002, 09:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
What's interesting about this is that physical heredity aside, Elros, Elrond and their children had less Noldorin in them than Vanyarin or Telerian. Maglor's foster-sons were as follows:
Maiar: 1/16
Vanyar: 5/32
Noldor: 3/32
Teleri: 5/16
1-Edain: 1/4
2-Edain: 1/16
3-Edain: 1/16.

Even Celebrian was 3/4 Teleri, 1/8 Nolder and 1/8
There were only 2 Edain forfathers, Beren and Tuor. There could not be 3 strains of Edain only 2.
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Old 01-06-2002, 10:48 PM   #14
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Yes only to Eddaic forefathers. But Tuor's mother was Rian, a cousin of Beren, hence the predominance of lineage from the House of Beor.

Of Tuor's father, Huor, his father was Galdor King of the Third House, but his monther was Hareth, of the Second House of the Edain, the Haladin.
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Old 01-07-2002, 02:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Man-of-the-Wold:
<STRONG>Yes only to Eddaic forefathers. But Tuor's mother was Rian, a cousin of Beren, hence the predominance of lineage from the House of Beor.

Of Tuor's father, Huor, his father was Galdor King of the Third House, but his monther was Hareth, of the Second House of the Edain, the Haladin.</STRONG>
That was the lineage that came from Tuor and Beren, there still was no third!

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 01-07-2002, 08:44 PM   #16
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Elrond and Elros are descended from Beor through Rian mother of Tuor.
They are descended from Marach through Huor's father Galdor (Huor was the father of Tuor).
They are decended from Halmir of the Haladin through Huor's mother Hareth.
This covers the Three Houses of the Edain.
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Old 01-08-2002, 12:22 AM   #17
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That isn't what I was talking about. The Edain parts came into Elrond and Elros through Beren and Tuor, in a direct line , not indirect. Thingol, Beren, Dior, Elwing ! Edain side. from Tuor (his mix), Earendil 2nd Edain side.
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Old 01-08-2002, 11:31 PM   #18
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"Thingol" ???

They still have the blood of the three Edainic houses which is what I think 'Man-of-the-Wold' was getting at.
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Old 02-09-2002, 02:49 AM   #19
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1420!

Well, the wonderful thing about it all is that Tolkien designed it so that you'd end up in Elros with one indisputable heir to all Three houses of the Edain in Beleriand, to be the King of the Dunedain, even though he was altogether only 3/8 Man (technically speaking), and most of that from the House of Bor, however, due to the Ran connection. Although Elros had two Eddaic forefathers, one was a grandfather and one was a great-grandfather (Beren). Still, it's beautifully done

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Old 02-09-2002, 03:08 AM   #20
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So, I'm not sure about Gil-Galad, but without some definite indication, I'd assume he looked like his father and grandfather, and did not pick up any recessive gene for hair color, because his mother was probably a Noldo, too.
Do you really think Tolkien incorporated Biology (Dominant and Recessive Genes) into his work?
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Old 02-09-2002, 08:25 AM   #21
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1) Gil-Galad's hair was definitely dark. My fan fiction character is a grandaughter of him, but her hair ends up starting a dark ash blonde and rainbows into a platinum blonde. She gets that from her mother.
2) Anything is possible with Tolkien regarding incorporating biology. IMHO (in my honest opinion) I really don't think he was concerned with it though, but rather to tell a fascinating story. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-09-2002, 08:50 AM   #22
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Another question...Ereinion, where did you get your sig? Way cool!!!!! [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 02-09-2002, 03:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elendur:
<STRONG>

Do you really think Tolkien incorporated Biology (Dominant and Recessive Genes) into his work?</STRONG>
NO for pity's sake! I was just being facetious. It's there of course, if not fully considered by Tolkien, because Middle-Earth is meant to be very much like our world. So, one must assume that even Elves have DNA and so forth. Clearly, though, Tolkien ascribed to a belief in mind & spirit over matter.

Light, blonde hair, which is not really golden, oftentimes, among real-world humans, even when they come by it naturally, is popularly called a recessive trait, although I suspect that it isn't quite so simple, given the tremendous variety of hair color that appears in various places around the world. Interesting, there is little indication of Redheads in Tolkien's otherwise Europe-like world.

In the case of Elves, Hobbits, Dnedain and other special or graced peoples, hair color and other attributes have some sort of significance. That significance is not necessarily a point of consistent symbolism, but it is there, but not in a way that is biologically distinctive, which I think is the theme of a largely negative reply I'd like to make to the question of "racism" in Books II.

Whether skin, hair and eye-color attributes could be explained thought genetics or other phenomena, as in the case of the many fair-haired children born in the Shire in the aftermath of the War of the Rings, is not really critical. He relied on real-world biology to present certain points, especially in regard to ecology and nature, but he then would deviate from it in terms of Elvish power over woodlands, or the ability of vast forests of familiar tree-species (Mallorns aside) to flourish for eons without the photosynthetic power of the Sun! Those first Stars must really have been something!

Returning to Human-like features, Tolkien was I think drawing on the aesthetic sensibilities of the rather physically-diverse peoples of the "Nordic" region (Scandinavians, both Teutons and Finns, as well as northwardly Celts and Slavs) on which his peoples are based, first and formost in terms of culture, traditions, values and ('oh yeah') language, and then only by default in terms of associated phenotypes.

In summary, I concur, Gil-Galad would seem to fall into the "Raven-haired, bright-eyed, fair-skinned" look so favored by Tolkien among some of his most noble characters who are Elves or Men. This would also fit into his presumably mostly Noldorin ancestry.

What is interesting, and not necessarily intentional, is that the golden-haired ones like Galadriel, Finrod, Hurin ("red-gold) and the Rohirrim (Tolkien's horse-riding Angles) are while also very great and noble, in some ways given a more impassioned feel then the more austere and reserved types, such as Morwen, Lthien, Elrond and the Dnedain of the North.

The Gil-Galad passage arise from Sam's reference as they approach Weathertop, where Gil-Galad and Elendil had rendezvoused. I can't remember whether Sam, Frodo or Aragorn is to have uttered those Stanzas.

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Old 02-09-2002, 07:45 PM   #24
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Thank you, Man of the Wold! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] I truly agree with your statements! [img]smilies/cool.gif[/img]
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Old 02-10-2002, 03:06 PM   #25
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An interesting point about redheads, Man-of-the-Wold. The only redheads (as opposed to reddish blondes) I can recall mentioned anywhere are three of Feanor's sons - Maedhros, Amrod, and Amras - who are described as having copper colored hair in HoME. After so many years of picturing raven-haired or golden blonde Noldor, I had a real mental block in place when I first tried to picture a redheaded Elf! It just doesn't seem right somehow.
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Old 02-10-2002, 03:39 PM   #26
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Hmmm...I had been toying with the idea of making my fan fiction character have red hair. She may have to undergo a dye job! LOL!! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 02-10-2002, 07:07 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Man-of-the-Wold:
NO for pity's sake! I was just being facetious. It's there of course, if not fully considered by Tolkien, because Middle-Earth is meant to be very much like our world. So, one must assume that even Elves have DNA and so forth. Clearly, though, Tolkien ascribed to a belief in mind & spirit over matter.
JRRT did note some concern of biological matters:
"I suppose that actually the chief difficulties I have involved myself in are scientific and biological - which worry me just as much as the theological and metaphysical... Elves and Men are evidently in biological terms one race...".
Letter 153

Quote:
He relied on real-world biology to present certain points, especially in regard to ecology and nature, but he then would deviate from it in terms of Elvish power over woodlands, or the ability of vast forests of familiar tree-species (Mallorns aside) to flourish for eons without the photosynthetic power of the Sun! Those first Stars must really have been something!
The Sun and Moon existing only after the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth is, in Morgoth's Ring, attributed to the myths and legends of Men. A Sun and Moon that have been extant for a much longer period of time is entirely in keeping with the traditions presented in LotR and virtually so stated.

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 02-11-2002, 12:10 AM   #28
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Thanks folks. I'm not so sure about the implications of having Sons of Feanor as redheads, but I agree that it doesn't seem to fitting to find Elves with such coloration, which I have myself in a much lighter but increasingly sparse way. And of course dwarves have various colored hair, but you'd think that some of the races of men would match up with the classic look of the Vikings, whose legends are otherwise an inspiration for Tolkien.

Also, appreciate the reference to Letter #153, Tar Elenion. It is excellent-looking. And, of course, to have viable off-spring they'd both have to be of the same species: Homo middle-earthis? Immunity to decay and death from disease and age of the Elves, I've often thought as not biologically based, but that as Spirits of Middle-Earth, as opposed to something outside, the Elven Spirit essentially overrides bodily biology, just as Elves with time and wisdom can learn to bypass other Laws of Nature. It is not simply a matter of lacking the genes for old-age, since in the case of humans these genes provide a necessary amount of programming for tissues in which the cells can constantly reproduce, because some tissues (muscle and nerves) do not reproduce, and wear and tear themselves inevitably.

Quote:
Originally posted by Tar Elenion:
<STRONG>

The Sun and Moon existing only after the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth is, in Morgoth's Ring, attributed to the myths and legends of Men. A Sun and Moon that have been extant for a much longer period of time is entirely in keeping with the traditions presented in LotR and virtually so stated.

[ February 10, 2002: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]</STRONG>
Hmmm. Well for me the Quenta Silmarillion is what it is, and presumably written from the Elvish point-of-view, except for the "Children of Hurin" and some other tales. So, in the case of The History of Middle-Earth, I'm inclined to look at contradictory references as simply another way that Tolkien's complete works "could" have been written or explained. But I will read through them all some day. Also, I thought that The Lord of the Rings contained a few implied references to the vast Ages of Starlight. The reference to the Sun's and Moon's appearance has major implications in The Silmarillion (Morgoth's early impotency, ending of the Sleep of Yavanna, legacy of the Two Trees, etc.). So, I find it hard to put it aside very easily, but I have often wondered if it were somehow more figurative than literal, because of the plants that clearly lived and went right on living when Anar first rose. Or, maybe one could think of a great temporal conjunction!

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Man-of-the-Wold ]

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Man-of-the-Wold ]
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Old 02-11-2002, 10:52 AM   #29
Tar Elenion
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Originally posted by Man-of-the-Wold: Also, appreciate the reference to Letter #153, Tar Elenion.
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Hmmm. Well for me the Quenta Silmarillion is what it is, and presumably written from the Elvish point-of-view, except for the "Children of Hurin" and some other tales. So, in the case of The History of Middle-Earth, I'm inclined to look at contradictory references as simply another way that Tolkien's complete works "could" have been written or explained.
Personal preferences are entirely acceptable. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

Quote:
Also, I thought that The Lord of the Rings contained a few implied references to the vast Ages of Starlight. The reference to the Sun's and Moon's appearance has major implications in The Silmarillion (Morgoth's early impotency, ending of the Sleep of Yavanna, legacy of the Two Trees, etc.). So, I find it hard to put it aside very easily, but I have often wondered if it were somehow more figurative than literal, because of the plants that clearly lived and went right on living when Anar first rose. Or, maybe one could think of a great temporal conjunction!
Gimli's song in Khazad-dum has an 'unstained moon' when Durin 'awoke'. He also uses the light of sun and moon in crystal lanterns. This is before the 'mythological' awakening of Men, and hence before the Sun and Moon as per The Silmarillion.
A similar case could be made for Galadriel's
'I sang of leaves'.

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: Tar Elenion ]
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Old 02-11-2002, 07:16 PM   #30
Aralaithiel
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Don't forget that genes can mutate! Red hair COULD be possible, no matter how remote! Besides, isn't this supposed to be fantasy?
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Old 02-12-2002, 01:05 AM   #31
Man-of-the-Wold
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Thanks, I remember thinking about the implications of Gimli's song in that context in a recent reading, too, but I'm going to have to do some looking to see what little hints The Lord of the Rings has about the celestial bodies and the coming or awakening of the various peoples.

Like the Book of Genesis a more metaphorical approach is really the path to truth.

I've often wondered if Hobbits may have awakened with the arising of the Moon, assuming the Silmarillion way, and in that they are close to men but not the same.

As for reddish hair, of course, anything is possible, even with non-fantasy literature. We're just remarking about what was and was not written by the author of this particular fantasy, because it's fun. And rarely did he fail to sometimes lavishly describe the hair color of key Elves and Men.
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