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Old 11-03-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
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Silmaril Resurrection of Haudh-En-Ndengin thread "Rivendell or Lothlorien"

Wow, I've never resurrected a thread from Haudh-En-Ndengin before!

While I was reviewing this thread about The White Council (digging thru the archives pre-Hobbit-movie) the last post in this thread made me wonder: what WAS the population of Rivendell, anyways? And what WAS the population of Lothlorien? How had they dwindled or grown from age to age? Any quotes or ideas saying why?

"Which was greater, Rivendell or Lothlorien?"

I imagine that since this thread concluded (in the misty past), many of us have read much more and seen much more.... any takers?
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Old 11-03-2011, 03:48 PM   #2
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Interesting one - do we reply here or in HEN?
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:07 PM   #3
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I don't think we can reply in HEN... or can we?

Anyways, I'm quite sure that Lorien for one dwindled in the SA and TA. Their "territory" became smaller, and I think that their numbers got a lot smaller as well (Treebeard says something about that land being supposed to flourish but instead is fading; I think it means thatthe population is fading too). More so because many left with Nimrodel.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:03 PM   #4
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OK, then

Greatest- could mean many things

Physical size - Lothlorien, as Rivendell is just valley-sized at most
Population - Likewise
Military Power - Likewise again

Is Galadriel with the white a more powerful opponent of Sauron than Elrond with the blue? Tricky but I'd imagine so, regardless of the rings as Galadriel is significantly older, had been to the Undying lands and was personal friend of Melian.

On the other hand Elrond might be viewed as a more active opponent of Sauron and better suited of course to interaction with the human civilizations.

Rivendell is more welcoming and supportive of 'allies' than Lorien, (even if it is located down a secret parth that even Gandalf has touble following), Dwarves, Hobbits, Dunedain etc drop in all the time (in elvish terms - at least once per century) whereas such interaction is extremely rare for Lorien.

Other plus-points for Rivendell, which I don't think overcome Lothlorien's greater size, population and Galadriel are-

The remnants of the Noldor, eg Glorfindel was a handy chap to have around
Renowned seat of learning and counsel
Elrond has close allies in the Rangers, but Celeborn's close allies are the Ents
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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Rivendell always appeared more as a household to me, and not exactly having a permanent population (aside from Elrond, his children, and other members of his house). It was established as a refuge in the 2nd Age, so the population would have probably constantly fluctuated. And after Sauron's defeat in the the Last Alliance it became known as a house of lore, where Elrond (of course) dwelt and travellers went to seek council. The Council of Elrond might be a good judge of the regular business of Rivendell. A safe place, a refuge, but relatively few people living there permanently.

Where Lorien had been settled by Silvan Elves for ages, and it accepted Amroth, then Galadriel and Celeborn as Lorien's rulers. The population would have likely consistantly declined as the Elves continued to leave for the West or die in wars. But don't forget Lothlorien fought off 3 assaults out of the Misty Mountains and Celeborn led an army to aid Thranduil from the assaults out of Dol Guldur.

So, Lothlorien's population was permanent (and my guess is a steady decline). Where Rivendell's, from the fact that it was established as a refuge would have not had a permanent population except for Elrond's household.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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mark12_30 spoke: How had they dwindled or grown from age to age? Any quotes or ideas saying why?

Not much is known really. The author didn't give much in specifics.
Dwindled is certain however on both fronts.

There are some curious tidbits about Lothlorien though.

In virtually all texts Lothlorien is a divided community. Also, not all the Lothlorien elves were tree-dwellers. Legolas states that the elves of Lorien did not delve under the ground or build forts of stone before the Shadow came.
Meaning they did so afterwards.
This is c.1000 or thereabouts.

Curiously, Haldir comments on halflings and their evil nature. He mentions not having heard of halflings for many years, but that these halflings (in the Fellowship) did not look evil, so persumably these are the tales he knows of concerning halflings from the past--that they are an evil race (in looks originally? or perhaps both in looks and demeanor?).

The Stoors of Gladden would be the obvious source for these tales, but perhaps not wholly. There may be some ancient connection with the Pukel Wild-men afterall. Halflings have dwelt in the south (Oliphaunt tales and other remnants of memory) and is the likely origin point for the halflings in the Anduin valley since these tales survive into lore in the Shire.

The old elf tales of evil halflings perhaps may have also come from their southward connections--the old and now largely abandoned havens in the Belfalas region, which were also population centers for Lothlorien elves as was Ithilien itself. Legolas mentions that elves dwelt there once and that the land had not completely forgotten them.

Haldir also lets the readers know that the Galadrim (the tree-dwellers) dwell in the heart of the forest (or elvendom), but that pockets of other Lorien elves are sundered from the Galadrim--in the north of Lothlorien specifically, but presumably elsewhere. These may be the elves who delved underground or built forts for defense against the Shadow that Legolas refers to.

So the population information of Lothlorien elves may be slightly skewed.

Rivendell is another matter, as many of the elves travel in wandering companies from Mithlond and Rivendell back and forth and are closely allied and seemingly confer frequently. The wandering companies from Mithlond also seem to have a capable network of communication, possibly using animals. Messages came to Bombadil fast enough as he seems to have little interaction with the world at large except for the occasional visit to hobbit lands and talking to animals and trees.

Noldor elves also apparently held the three elf towers and the palantir there, but no information is known on population or if it consists only of elves of Mithlond. Rivendell elves may also dwell there. Gildor visits Rivendell often enough, and is probably where he last saw Bilbo.

All that is assured is that the elves are much dwindled in numbers.

Which was greater? As per the original thread--hard to say.
Lothlorien most likely as it had to defend itself on at least active two fronts (Dol Guldur and Moria) for many, many years. Possibly a third front from the goblins of the north in addition.
You don't do that sucessfully unless you have some quality strength.

Rivendell seems to be a much more peaceful place and had little communication with Lothlorien. Afterall, Haldir only knew of a vague rumor concerning the havens beyond the land of the halflings, so few--if any--elves took sail from there, and the old south havens are seldom used, if at all, at the time of the war of the ring.
Faramir remarks that it has been some time since elves were seen in Gondor.
The Rivendell elves regularly use the havens of Mithlond to sail away, depleting their numbers even further.

That help any?
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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Elrond has close allies in the Rangers, but Celeborn's close allies are the Ents
I don't believe the Ents could be considered active allies. When Galadriel and Treebeard spoke to one another about the time of Eowyn's wedding, Treebeard spoke as if they hadn't met before, that the two forests, so close to one another, had no contact with each other.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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I don't believe the Ents could be considered active allies. When Galadriel and Treebeard spoke to one another about the time of Eowyn's wedding, Treebeard spoke as if they hadn't met before, that the two forests, so close to one another, had no contact with each other.
Well, he also says that Elves came and talked to the trees. Lorien Elves could have come during times of peace just to visit. It's a possibility. They grew rather alien of one another by the end of the TA: each one says that the other is queer and dangerous, though really both are ancient and wise and etc... and dangerous.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:52 PM   #9
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Well, he also says that Elves came and talked to the trees. Lorien Elves could have come during times of peace just to visit. It's a possibility. They grew rather alien of one another by the end of the TA: each one says that the other is queer and dangerous, though really both are ancient and wise and etc... and dangerous.
Oh, yes. Individuals from the two woods might well have met, but if the leaders of the two cultures have never met, describing them as 'allies' doesn't seem right.

It has always seemed odd to me that Tolkien's free peoples tend to be so isolationist, so distrustful of one another. The Rohirrum thought Ents a children's tale, and though evil of Galadriel. The Wild Men were thought of as beasts, while hobbits were a legend. Aragorn forbade men access to the Shire, and thought this a good thing, a favor to the hobbits.

I'm not saying this is wrong, but it is an odd aspect of Middle Earth. In many a political fantasy world, if a state like Fangorn or Lorien remained ignorant, isolated and alone, they might become victims of this plot or alliance or that. In Middle Earth, remaining isolated and alone, protected by great power that sleeps for millennia, is more the norm.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Aragorn forbade men access to the Shire, and thought this a good thing, a favor to the hobbits.
Just a note here (I couldnt resist): I think it's better to forbid men to enter the Shire's borders than to have men pour into it to google at hobbits after they appeared from the legends. There would be many curious folk. So yes, he's doing the hobbits a favour.

He's not forbidding interaction between the two "species" - he encourages it. But it should not be something enforced on all hobbits, rather something that the more adventurous hobbits choose.

Though, in general, I agree with your thoghts about isolated communities and states.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flim
Curiously, Haldir comments on halflings and their evil nature. He mentions not having heard of halflings for many years, but that these halflings (in the Fellowship) did not look evil, so persumably these are the tales he knows of concerning halflings from the past--that they are an evil race (in looks originally? or perhaps both in looks and demeanor?).
No, I don't think so. He says that they don't look evil because he knows what evil could look like, not because he thought hobbits were evil.

Quote:
Is Galadriel with the white a more powerful opponent of Sauron than Elrond with the blue? Tricky but I'd imagine so, regardless of the rings as Galadriel is significantly older, had been to the Undying lands and was personal friend of Melian
Agreed, though I would add that she is so powerful (with the help of Nenya and the Elessar perhaps) that she can read Sauron's mind without opening her own. She might have learned this from Melian, who played a similar trick on Morgoth. But still, to be able to defeat a Maia as mighty as Sauron....

Elrond's power lies in a different field. As has been mentioned, he is more communicative to the Free Peoples. He is closer to them, and thus more respected - and more obeyed, I'd assume. People come to him for a word of advice (eg Boromir) but most are afraid of Lothlorien.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:46 PM   #11
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Elrond's power lies in a different field. As has been mentioned, he is more communicative to the Free Peoples. He is closer to them, and thus more respected - and more obeyed, I'd assume. People come to him for a word of advice (eg Boromir) but most are afraid of Lothlorien.
Elrond might have taken up the life of counselor and healer during the Lord of the Rings, but he's got about as an impressive pedigree as any other elf. Son of Earendil and Elwing, grandson of Tuor and Idril, great grandson to Turgon and Luthien and Beren. He was also Gil-Galad's herald and could have taken the claim as High King of the Noldor...just wouldn't seem like much of a point with how few Noldor remained in ME aftet the 2nd Age.

But Galadriel happens to be an elf with probably an even more impressive pedigree.
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mark12_30 View Post
While I was reviewing this thread about The White Council (digging thru the archives pre-Hobbit-movie) the last post in this thread made me wonder: what WAS the population of Rivendell, anyways? And what WAS the population of Lothlorien? How had they dwindled or grown from age to age? Any quotes or ideas saying why?
Some of the questions about population were already discussed in topics regarding size of armies in the Middle Earth, though not in particular detail:

http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=15485
http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=13770

Most estimates in these topics state the army of Lorien is 3.000-4.000 strong, and the army of Imladris being at least a few hundred Elven defenders. Of course, we don't have to agree with the numbers, but they would mean that the population of Lorien is at least ten thousand (possibly more, depending on the share of warriors in the entire population), and of Rivendell 1.500-2.000.

While the woods of Lothlorien are probably large enough to accommodate such a people, assuming not all of them live in Caras Galadhon, it seems to me that the population of Rivendell has to be smaller. I would say it is at least ten times exaggarated, although it most likely was greater before the Elves started departing for Grey Havens.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:03 PM   #13
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(...) Also, not all the Lothlorien elves were tree-dwellers. Legolas states that the elves of Lorien did not delve under the ground or build forts of stone before the Shadow came. Meaning they did so afterwards. This is c.1000 or thereabouts.
I agree not all the Galadhrim need have been Tree dwellers, but I don't think they began delving underground or building forts of stone after the Shadow arrived. Concerning Thranduil's folk: 'In fact the subjects of the king mostly lived and hunted in the open woods, and had houses or huts on the ground and in the branches.' The Hobbit

However when the Shadow came Thranduil did delve in the ground 'like a Dwarf' (although in his mind, like Thingol or Finrod I would say) and seek protection with stone. The reader is already aware of Thranduil's halls, or at least The Hobbit was already on bookshelves, and I think Legolas is basically referring to what he knows, based on his own experience, versus what he yet does not know. After Nimrodel is said to live in a house built in a tree: '... for that was the custom of the Elves of Lorien, to dwell in the trees, and maybe it is so still. Therefore they are called the Galadhrim, the Tree-people. Deep in their forest the trees are very great. The people of the woods did not delve in the ground like Dwarves, nor build strong places of stone before the Shadow came.'

And 'maybe' it is so still, but in any case the 'people of the woods' did not delve in the ground like Dwarves unless need drove them -- and so maybe the Galadhrim have as well -- but at this point he has yet to find out for sure -- and he does know that deep in the forest the trees are very great, anticipating the 'city' of trees that the reader will soon encounter.

In short: maybe they still live in trees, but in any case the Silvan folk didn't live underground before the Shadow came. And I think this interpretation can be somewhat supported by the drafts. In an outline published in Lothlorien (Treason of Isengard):

Quote:
'Make for Lothlorien. Legolas' description The Wood is in winter (...) They lived in houses in trees before the darkling world drove them underground.'
So at first this is a fact. Christopher Tolkien notes

Quote:
'At this point, then, my father conceived of the Elves of Lothlorien as dwelling underground, like the Elves of Mirkwood. CF. Legolas' later words on p. 255: 'It is said that Linglorel had a house built in the branches of a tree, for that was the manner of the Elves of Lorien, and may be yet (...) And our people [i.e. the Elves of Mirkwood] did not delve in the ground or build fastnesses before the Shadow came.'
But it enters that Legolas does not truly know the Galadhrim's response to the Shadow, and thus he can only note what his people have done. I think this meaning essentially remained, despite the change of 'our people' to the people of the woods.

Gimli responds that in these latter days, a dwelling in trees might be thought safer than sitting on the ground, and so in The Lord of the Rings it is revealed to the reader that the Galadhrim are still the Galadhrim, as they have a fortress in their city of trees, not underground as in Mirkwood, and they live in flets -- and if not all of the Galadhrim, others can still retreat behind the walls where Galadriel and Celeborn reside -- just as the Tawarwaith of Mirkwood can leave their houses and huts to find safety in Thranduil's halls.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:14 PM   #14
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Good points above,

certainly Middle Earth is ridiculously sparsely populated, as far as we're aware. Basically the Prof was no Ecologist, Economist nor Geographer!

I think that Haldir is refering to Legolas and the Mirkwood elves as 'our Northern kin' so don't see this as an indication of a sundered Lorien. Likewise no evil Halflings!

Yes I overstated the relationship of the two Forests as 'Allies', but, hooom, neither Treebeard nor Celeborn are what you'd call 'hasty' with their information. The Ents did indeed act as allies of Lothlorien (and Rohan of course) in destroying the orcish army from Dol Guldur out on the Wold after it had been repelled from Laurelindorenan. Whether this was in cahoots with C&G or completely independently is not stated.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:22 AM   #15
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Other plus-points for Rivendell, which I don't think overcome Lothlorien's greater size, population and Galadriel are-

The remnants of the Noldor, eg Glorfindel was a handy chap to have around
Renowned seat of learning and counsel
Elrond has close allies in the Rangers, but Celeborn's close allies are the Ents
One thing to consider, if trying to weight the dice in Rivendell's favour (), is where the respective realms descended from. Rumil mentions it briefly with 'the remnants of the Noldor', but consider:

Lothlorien is a bunch of Silvan elves (ie, had never been to Valinor, and therefore are 'lesser' in Sauron's eyes), led by a couple whose previous home was Eregion. Eregion was the only Elven realm ever to welcome Sauron in; they worked with him, he knows (or thinks he does) how its people think, and when he decided to get rid of them, he took them out pretty easily.

(Now, granted, Galadriel and Celeborn had no part in any of that, but I don't think it's unfair to assume Sauron would just figure they were much like Celebrimbor.)

Imladris, though, is a realm of the Noldor and the Sindar, and it's led by the herald of Gil-Galad - Gil-Galad who led the alliance which brought Sauron down, and whose realm he was never actually able to conquer. Lindon faded due to emigration (and possibly loss of land at the fall of Numenor), not due to Sauron's actions. And in fact, Rivendell is still in active contact with Gil-Galad's successor at the Havens.

So on the one hand, you have a mob of petty-elves led by chums of the guy he once stuck on a flagpole and used as a banner. They're fiercely isolationist - they don't even talk to their kin in Mirkwood, and for three thousand years their armies haven't stirred (other than Galadriel popping out to do magic on occasion). On the other hand, you have the heir of Lindon, of the line of the High Kings, forging an alliance which spans the entire North (remember that both Mirkwood and Erebor send messengers to Rivendell when trouble comes). Imladris is actively patrolling at least the local area; it includes at least one non-Ringbearer who can effectively take down the Nazgul; and, worryingly, Sauron still doesn't know exactly where it is!

As it turned out, Elrond's 'alliance' was nothing of the sort: the armies of the North didn't come together to fight as a new Last Alliance. Erebor and Dale fought their battle, Mirkwood joined Lorien, Arnor travelled to Gondor, and Mithlond stayed pretty much out of things. But to Sauron - to draw a not-unreasonable connection to the First Age - a new Nargothrond was probably much more worrying than a new Doriath.

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Old 02-11-2018, 08:09 PM   #16
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Imladris, though, is a realm of the Noldor and the Sindar, and it's led by the herald of Gil-Galad - Gil-Galad who led the alliance which brought Sauron down, and whose realm he was never actually able to conquer. Lindon faded due to emigration (and possibly loss of land at the fall of Numenor), not due to Sauron's actions. And in fact, Rivendell is still in active contact with Gil-Galad's successor at the Havens..
Moreover, Elrond had led a substantial wing of Gil-Galad's army in the First War of the Rings, had founded Rivendall as a redoubt in that war (which Sauron beseiged, unsuccessfully), and who sallied into the Mordor forces' rear as they were retreating before the Numenoreans, leading to a Pelennor-grade slaughter and rout. Rivendell also sent a substantial force under Glorfindel to the battle of Fornost where Angmar was destroyed and the Witch-King overthrown

So, yes, Sauron took Imladris very seriously.

However, a very great portion of Rivendell's people were Noldor; while this would make them more "potent," it's also the case that throughout the Third Age the Noldor had been drifting west to the Havens, so I imagine Rivendell had been bleeding population at a greater rate than Lorien.
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