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Old 01-19-2002, 05:40 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Children in Middle-Earth

I'm fascinated by the (few, granted!) references to children in LotR. The hobbits exemplify one life-style; apparently, they love children, have lots of them and let them be children for quite a long time. Coming of age is at 33, after the "irresponsible tweens".
Then there are several societies that have few children - the dwarves, who are slowly dying out; the elves, who are leaving Middle-Earth; and some of the humans. Tolkien speaks of empty houses in Minas Tirith, of kings more interested in past history than having children of their own. The latter die out as well.
That's Third Age, so presumably it was different before that. I'm just starting to read the Silmarillion, so will be happy to learn from those who know more about earlier times.
Compare that to today's world - everdecreasing birth rates in the Western world . . . .
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Old 05-12-2002, 01:27 PM   #2
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Question

Seriously?

[img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]


But really...the lack of young dwarves is attributed to the lack of female dwarves which is noted somewhere...I forget where.

[ May 12, 2002: Message edited by: Legalos ]
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Old 05-12-2002, 01:44 PM   #3
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The lack of Dwarven children can be attributed to Tolkien's focus on Elves, Men, and hobbits rather than dwarves. Unfinished Tales and the Lost Road also focus on children; I highly recommend reading them as well.

OH...somewhat slightly off-topic; Did anyone notice the listing of the "Cute Hobbit Children" that was separate from the actors who portrayed the other Hobbit children? [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

[ May 12, 2002: Message edited by: Aralaithiel ]
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Old 05-12-2002, 01:54 PM   #4
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Cool, didn't notice the division in the movie of the Cute Hobbit Children. LOL

BTW, I noticed that in BOLT - it has children retelling events in story form.
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Old 05-12-2002, 01:55 PM   #5
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Sting

I think much of the respective focus on youth has much to do with the ages of the different races. The hobbits, being the youngest race in Middle-Earth, are not worn by the cares of the world, and have a great joy in life (ignorance is bliss, I suppose one could say). On the other hand, Elves are so saddened with the worries of wars and great misfortunes of ME that they are undoubtedly reluctant to bring more into the sadness that is their existence.

A microcosmic example of children in Middle-Earth is the relationship between Beregond and Bergil of Minas Tirith. As darkness grows and nears, Bergil is nearly sent away. He ages and realizesthe apparent futility of life under such oppression, and in effect loses his childlike persona. Middle-Earth in that time was no place for children.

Obviously, after the defeat of Sauron, everyone gets busy and there is a plethora of kids once again. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 05-12-2002, 02:20 PM   #6
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Very interesting topic, 'Stel! I wonder, too, if Hobbits get the most attention on the topic of children because they, themselves, were so child-like in nature? In fact, the Hobbits were actually representative of children for all of ME in the LOTR stories, right?
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Old 05-13-2002, 08:11 AM   #7
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Another reason for the decline of children is the looming approach of the Fouth Age, the Age of Men. While the Third Age was no place for any youth, the Fourth glorifies the human child and no other. This is very interesting when one considers that Arwen forsakes her Elvish heritage for that of Man and thus keeps her line alive. The offspring of Aragorn and Arwen, especially Eldarion, are rather universal examples for what happens in later times.
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Old 05-19-2002, 11:42 AM   #8
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Sting

I'm just bringing this to the top again because I'll be stepped on by a rogue Oliphaunt before I'll let a thread on which I actually posted seriously die down without a fight.
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Old 06-03-2002, 06:45 AM   #9
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril

Thanks, all of you, for your answers on this long-neglected thread! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

The lack of dwarven children is partially explained by the mystery concerning female dwarves, as Legalos says, and in a literary sense by Tolkien's concentration on the other races - true, Aralaithiel. Dwarves do seem to get handled like stepchildren, perhaps due to the fact that they represent a "sideline" of created peoples.

I will look forward to reading more when I get the HoME books; thanks to Aralaithiel and Joy for the references to The Lost Road and the Book of Lost Tales.

Kate brings up two very interesting points: first, the obvious fact that war is not a good time to have children; afterwards, there would be a positive look on life with hope for the future again, so that the general willingness to have children would increase.

The point I find most intriguing is the idea that the relative ages of the different races would have an effect on the number of children they have! I can see that the sadness and disillusionment of the elves, as well as the realization that their time is almost over, would keep them from wanting to procreate. (Question: Do they continue to have children when they pass into the West, or does their number remain static after leaving Middle-earth?)

The future race is human - and only those Elves who join in the fate of the humans, like Arwen, have a future, i.e. children, in Middle-earth.

That brings us to the hobbits: both Kate and Evenstar suggest that they as a race represent children. Their innocence does make them seem child-like in their ignorance of what is happening outside their little world. Interestingly, Gandalf does not blame them for that; he seems to wish it could stay that way. Yet at the end of the war, he leaves them to solve their problems alone in the Scouring of the Shire. I would consider that a rite of passage, a coming of age. Still, when that is over, they slip back into the old ways of isolation from the events of the big world around them, at least for the most part. Are they comparable to Peter Pan, not really wanting to grow up? However, they do have lots of children, are able to live in the present and enjoy the simple things of life.

I remember reading similar thoughts on the child-like nature of the hobbits on another thread. I will look for it and post those when I find it again.
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