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Old 03-08-2016, 03:33 PM   #1
Axbolt
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The Eye Where do elves get metal?

This is probably a silly question with an obvious answer but:
I've never seen any mention of an eleven mine, and I certainly can't see Thranduill trading with dwarves for steel for arrow heads. Although there is plenty of reference to them having many diferent metals.
So where do elves get there metal?

My brother suggested that they sell maggotey bread to Orcs for steel?
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Old 03-08-2016, 07:41 PM   #2
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Gondolin is specifically stated as having mines. Consider this statement about Maeglin:
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"he gathered about him all such as had the most bent to smithcraft and mining; and he sought in the Echoriath (which are the Encircling Mountains), and found rich lodes of ore of divers metals. Most he prized the hard iron of the mine of Anghabar in the north of the Echoriath, and thence he got a wealth of forged metal and of steel, so that the arms of the Gondolindrim were made ever stronger and more keen; and that stood them in good stead in the days to come."
This is the only statement I can find in The Silmarillion about Elven mines, but given that so many Elves lived underground, including Thranduil, I would consider it very unlikely that they didn't have their own mines. Mines tend to usually be mentioned in the context of Dwarves and the enemy, it seems, but I wouldn't say that means that the Men of Gondor, for instance, who were great metalworkers, didn't have mines.

Considering how much the Noldor loved working with metal, I'd say it would be practically essential that they had mines of their own. I can't see Eregion not having its own mines, for instance.

That being said, I'm sure some Elves did acquire it through trade with Dwarves; not Thranduil perhaps, but those with friendly relations presumably could have.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:16 AM   #3
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Very interesting, so I would assume that if elves mined at Gondolin then they must still mine in middle earth. However there is no mention of it anywhere in LOTR that I can find.
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:15 AM   #4
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Nope. I've done a search of the whole thing (The Lord of the Rings, I mean) and couldn't find a reference to Mines outside of those used by Dwarves and Orcs.

It just seems likely to me that they probably did have their own mines. Professor Tolkien just doesn't seem to often describe such industrial business when it comes to Elves, even though there were surely Elf-miners and Elf-farmers and Elves who did all sorts of fairly menial manual labour to keep Elven society running; perhaps they just did it so well (as you might imagine they would) that it just wasn't worth mentioning!
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Old 03-09-2016, 11:41 AM   #5
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Wasn't it also implied or stated that Maeglin's and his father Eöl's keen interest in mining and smithcraft was rather looked down on by the other nobles? That it was below their station to go under ground and dig for ore and that they became bent by their labour? It does seem a rather un-Elvish thing to do.

I would assume that the Elves of Middle Earth would trade with Dwarves or Men for ore, metals and metalwork rather than doing it themselves if they had the opportunity.

Like fex Thingol would have the Dwarves of Ered Luin supply his metal and smithying needs. I assume that Thranduil would trade for his fill as well, maybe with the Men of Dale acting as middle men between him and the Dwarves. Almost certainly the Noldor of Eregion would have gotten most of their metals and ore from Moria, even though the Noldor would have been the most keen miners of the Elvish peoples. The Elves of Lindon in the Third Age also had Dwarven neighbours.

The native Wood-Elves would barely use metals, if at all, methinks.
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Old 03-09-2016, 11:55 AM   #6
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Wasn't it also implied or stated that Maeglin's and his father Eöl's keen interest in mining and smithcraft was rather looked down on by the other nobles? That it was below their station to go under ground and dig for ore and that they became bent by their labour? It does seem a rather un-Elvish thing to do.
Then again, didn't Morgoth value his Noldorin slaves for their skills in mining and smithwork?
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:03 PM   #7
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Wasn't it also implied or stated that Maeglin's and his father Eöl's keen interest in mining and smithcraft was rather looked down on by the other nobles? That it was below their station to go under ground and dig for ore and that they became bent by their labour? It does seem a rather un-Elvish thing to do
If mining is an un-elvish thing to do, then a lot of things must be an un-elvish thing to do. It must be very boring to be an elf
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:47 PM   #8
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Wasn't it also implied or stated that Maeglin's and his father Eöl's keen interest in mining and smithcraft was rather looked down on by the other nobles? That it was below their station to go under ground and dig for ore and that they became bent by their labour? It does seem a rather un-Elvish thing to do.
Well Eöl was certainly "stooped by his smithwork" but he was disdained by Curufin as a "Dark Elf" rather than for other apparent reasons, at least as far as I can see.

Also, I don't think other Elf nobles would have looked down on smithcraft; at least the Noldor would not have done, as Fėanor was the greatest craftsman of their people and also King for a time and held in high esteem.

Furthermore, many Elves didn't just go underground but lived underground as a matter of course, if usually for defensive purposes, and that included Noldor like Finrod in Nargothrond as well as "Dark" Elves like Thingol and Thranduil.

The Silmarillion does state, however, that Eöl often took Maeglin to the mansions of the Dwarves in Ered Luin where he learned "the craft of finding the ores of metals in the mountains," so perhaps such skills were not necessarily common among Elves; but they had to have been common enough that the craftsmen of Turgon could delve their own mines in the Encircling Mountains, unless those mines were not delved until after Maeglin came to Gondolin.

It just seems very unlikely to me that Elves never acquired metal for themselves on their own. Not all Elves were noblemen of high station and many must surely have done fairly "ordinary" work, albeit probably in a superior, Elvish way.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:05 PM   #9
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Then again, didn't Morgoth value his Noldorin slaves for their skills in mining and smithwork?
At least in BoLT it is mentioned how he used the enslaved Elves to build his machines.
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:36 PM   #10
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At least in BoLT it is mentioned how he used the enslaved Elves to build his machines.
The Silmarillion, in Of Tśrin Turambar states:

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For few of the Noldor whom Morgoth captured were put to death, because of their skill in forging and in mining for metals and gems...
I doubt Thranduil's people did that stuff, but they could once have had trade with Dwarves of Erebor, the Iron Hills, or even long ago Moria, and still had arrow points and such stockpiled. After all, arrows can usually be retrieved.
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Old 03-10-2016, 02:31 AM   #11
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Well Eöl was certainly "stooped by his smithwork" but he was disdained by Curufin as a "Dark Elf" rather than for other apparent reasons, at least as far as I can see.

Also, I don't think other Elf nobles would have looked down on smithcraft; at least the Noldor would not have done, as Fėanor was the greatest craftsman of their people and also King for a time and held in high esteem.

Furthermore, many Elves didn't just go underground but lived underground as a matter of course, if usually for defensive purposes, and that included Noldor like Finrod in Nargothrond as well as "Dark" Elves like Thingol and Thranduil.

The Silmarillion does state, however, that Eöl often took Maeglin to the mansions of the Dwarves in Ered Luin where he learned "the craft of finding the ores of metals in the mountains," so perhaps such skills were not necessarily common among Elves; but they had to have been common enough that the craftsmen of Turgon could delve their own mines in the Encircling Mountains, unless those mines were not delved until after Maeglin came to Gondolin.

It just seems very unlikely to me that Elves never acquired metal for themselves on their own.
Not all Elves were noblemen of high station and many must surely have done fairly "ordinary" work, albeit probably in a superior, Elvish way.
Yes I'm not suggesting they never would. The case of isolated Gondolin is clear proof of that. Even in The Undying Lands there must've been Elvish mines - no Dwarves over there but the Firstborn still worked with metal. I do think that most Elves would probably prefer to buy ore and smithy-work from the Dwarves because they didn't want to dirty their fingernails in the mines and because the Dwarves were the best in the business.

I'm going by memory here but I suppose I might be reading too much into that Eöl was 'stooped' by his work. That this crookedness would be a reflection not only of his physical shape but also of his soul. His son Maeglin, the most wicked of all Elves, was of course also a keen miner something I can't help but to connect.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:35 AM   #12
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I might be reading too much into that Eöl was 'stooped' by his work. That this crookedness would be a reflection not only of his physical shape but also of his soul. His son Maeglin, the most wicked of all Elves, was of course also a keen miner something I can't help but to connect.
Maybe Eöl's "stoop" was also an image of the way in which he'd become almost Dwarvish: obsessed with his craft, secretive, and insular.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:21 AM   #13
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they didn't want to dirty their fingernails in the mines
Do Elves really seem this squeamish or vain in the books? I feel like this modern pop-cultural idea of Elves as universally being aristocratic snobs who spend all their time sitting around smelling flowers or something is not really borne out in Professor Tolkien's work. Surely Elves had to do all manner of "dirty" jobs all the time. They were probably just able to do them more effectively and with more dignity and poise than Men and other peoples; perhaps not when in the fetters of Morgoth, which I imagine was a miserable time for all concerned, but in their own realms.

I think it may not actually be clear if the Elves used metal before they were taught in its use by Aulė in Aman. They certainly do not appear to have forged metal weapons prior to being taught how to do so by Melkor in Aman. I wonder if the Avari used metal. Perhaps they had to be taught by the Dwarves, who seemed to have been endowed with such knowledge by Aulė.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:13 AM   #14
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Do Elves really seem this squeamish or vain in the books? I feel like this modern pop-cultural idea of Elves as universally being aristocratic snobs who spend all their time sitting around smelling flowers or something is not really borne out in Professor Tolkien's work. Surely Elves had to do all manner of "dirty" jobs all the time. They were probably just able to do them more effectively and with more dignity and poise than Men and other peoples; perhaps not when in the fetters of Morgoth, which I imagine was a miserable time for all concerned, but in their own realms.
.
Squeamish, no. Vain and snobbish, yeah.

Think this is partly because pretty much all the Elves we meet are high ranking nobles and also, more significantly, because the Prof wanted to give the Elves this aura of elevated and transcendent aloofness - describing them at work with dull menial tasks goes against that. But yeah, since they seem to have most of the basic needs that Men do, one has to assume that they also do the dirty work that comes with satisfying them.

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Maybe Eöl's "stoop" was also an image of the way in which he'd become almost Dwarvish: obsessed with his craft, secretive, and insular.
Yeah, that too I'm sure.
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:19 PM   #15
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Squeamish, no. Vain and snobbish, yeah.
I agree, I don't think that they are squeamish, but I would say they would have no problem, minding and doing other dirty work if they weren't trying to be as un-dawarvish as posible.
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Old 03-10-2016, 06:03 PM   #16
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Firstly I want to say sorry (especially to skip spence) if I'm banging on about this too much and/or making too much of one remark.

In any event, high-ranking Elves certainly could be arrogant, even towards each other, and I recall that they do seem to have considered some people to be "ugly" (I thought this was about the Dwarves, but it was the language of the Dwarves which is "unlovely" to their ears).

At the same time, however, I don't recall Elves ever being "precious" about their appearances in a "don't want to get their fingernails dirty" kind of way. Elves were naturally "fair" and seem to have generally been well-dressed and well-groomed, but I don't recall them ever, as it were, "wrinkling their noses" in a sort of posh way at things they thought were dirty or unhygienic or something like that. Finrod doesn't seem to have cared about disguising himself as an Orc, for instance, although perhaps those disguises were purely magical.

I suppose this is bringing to my mind the image of a posh nobleman holding some "dirty" thing at arm's length with a wrinkled nose, and such behaviour simply doesn't come across to me in the books. Many high-ranking Elves were craftsmen, and that's inevitably dirty, sweaty work. Some of them may have sneered at "lesser" Elves and other peoples, but they don't come across as shying away from "dirty" work (of which battle was surely another one).

I apologies if I'm going on too much about this, and I don't mean to harp on about one thing you said skip spence. I'm just not sure how much evidence there is for this "avoiding getting their fingernails dirty" characterisation of Elves.
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Old 03-10-2016, 06:24 PM   #17
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I think the fact that Elves are portrayed as "constantly elegant" does not mean that they are squeamish or contemptuous of dirty work, but rather that the work for them is not dirty at all. They are just creative beings, and they turn everything into creation, into art. Arranging food on platters is an art, not a service. Mining is also an art, and a rather skill-demanding one. And good metalwork (and I therefore presume good metal extraction from the ground) is a skill that's honoured, so perhaps it's not as lowly as you make it sound.

I realize that I'm talking more about late Third Age ME Elves when I talk about art. The First Age Elves were darker, certainly had less smooth "class systems" and more tensions between them. However, I still think that their essence of creativity rather than destruction is present throughout.

And this brings me to the main point of how Elf mines could have been different from Dwarf (or orc) mines. Unlike those two, Elves don't seem to make industries for anything. They don't make more things for the sake of making more; they make just as much as they need for the foreseeable future. They use wood too, but they would never chop down forests; the Dwarves, while they have intentions of creation, can lose track of the destructive aspect - which is why they awoke Durin's Bane, and why Yavanna was concerned about their existence. When Dwarves make, they make it an industry. Elves don't; if they had mines, those mines would be smaller and as harmless as possible. Those Elves who lived underground probably had more extensive mines, but still not "industry scale" like the Dwarves, and certainly not "full on destructive" like the orcs. So I think they had some mines, but they were smaller and not used as often.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:46 PM   #18
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I think the fact that Elves are portrayed as "constantly elegant" does not mean that they are squeamish or contemptuous of dirty work, but rather that the work for them is not dirty at all. They are just creative beings, and they turn everything into creation, into art. Arranging food on platters is an art, not a service. Mining is also an art, and a rather skill-demanding one. And good metalwork (and I therefore presume good metal extraction from the ground) is a skill that's honoured, so perhaps it's not as lowly as you make it sound.
I think this is a very good way of looking at it, and ties nicely to Professor Tolkien's literary influences from arts-and-crafts supporter William Morris. In Morris' utopian text News from Nowhere, the "problem of labour" has been eliminated because all labour is now art.
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Elves don't seem to make industries for anything. They don't make more things for the sake of making more; they make just as much as they need for the foreseeable future.
Yes, this seems like it. Letter 131 captures these points about the Elves well:
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"Their 'magic' is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations: more effortless, more quick, more complete (product, and vision in unflawed correspondence). And its object is Art not Power, sub-creation not domination and tyrannous re-forming of Creation."
I think "industry" comes under that second type, "domination and tyrannous re-forming", in Professor Tolkien's view.
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Old 03-11-2016, 01:23 PM   #19
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When Dwarves make, they make it an industry. Elves don't; if they had mines, those mines would be smaller and as harmless as possible. Those Elves who lived underground probably had more extensive mines, but still not "industry scale" like the Dwarves, and certainly not "full on destructive" like the orcs. So I think they had some mines, but they were smaller and not used as often.
Excellent exsplanation Galadriel55, given what you have just said I would say that modern day humans are most like dawarves, ore even orcs, anything we make, we make an industry.
This would exsplain why Tolkien never mentioned elves mining in LOTR's or TH. Dawarves mined as an industry, and therefore it was an important part of there way of live. Although elves mines when they needed steel, not to sell steel, in much the same way that a hobbit would fix the roof if it leaked (sorry, couldn't think of a better metaphor) but it wouldn't become part of there way of life. And not being way of life, isn't important enough to the story to be worth mentioning.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:30 AM   #20
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I think this question ties in with a general lack of mundane information about elvish societies. One might as well ask "where did the elves get their leather?". I mean can you picture smelly elvish tanners who are doing this disgusting kind of labour? Yet I'm fairly certain that elves used leather. I don't find this lack of information to be a problem. It's a consequence of the narrow perspective we have access to.

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I realize that I'm talking more about late Third Age ME Elves when I talk about art. The First Age Elves were darker, certainly had less smooth "class systems" and more tensions between them. However, I still think that their essence of creativity rather than destruction is present throughout.
I wonder if this difference in perception has something to do with the hobbitish perspective of the Hobbit/Lord of the rings novels. The Hobbits (especially Sam) seem to idealise and glorify the elves to a certain degree, which might have influenced them (as authors of the red book) in their reports and retelling of the "actual events".

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Old 03-14-2016, 01:53 PM   #21
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I wonder if this difference in perception has something to do with the hobbitish perspective of the Hobbit/Lord of the rings novels. The Hobbits (especially Sam) seem to idealise and glorify the elves to a certain degree
Yes, I guess that is possible and that our image of elves from the books and movies could be compleatly wrong. We did only realy meet nobals and warriors in the storys, and therefore have no real idia about actual elvish civilization and normal life. What we do know will be influanced by 'hobbitish' views.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:45 AM   #22
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Firstly I want to say sorry (especially to skip spence) if I'm banging on about this too much and/or making too much of one remark.
...
I apologies if I'm going on too much about this, and I don't mean to harp on about one thing you said skip spence. I'm just not sure how much evidence there is for this "avoiding getting their fingernails dirty" characterisation of Elves.
No worries mate i dont feel in any way offended nor attacked. Im mostly talking out of my arse anyway. I do think that the Elves generally give off this "holier than thou" impression even though they don't nessesary shy away from hard work. You know: 'we don't normally hang with dull hobbits but we'll make an exception for tonight and you should be very grateful' that kind of attitude.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:57 PM   #23
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1) The Noldor in Valinor definitely mined for gems

2) To the extent the BOLT is canon, one of the Twelve Houses (Meglin's) was that of the Mole, a house of miners. They were distinct from Rog's Hammer, the smiths.

3) The Noldor most assuredly quarried, not all that far from mining. "Deep they delved us" goes Legolas' song in Hollin.
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:07 AM   #24
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I'm currently in the process of making final emendations to my successful PhD thesis on Professor Tolkien and utopianism (ie I should be graduating in September but a few small changes have been requested prior to final submission), and this has involved touching upon Dr. Rateliff's The History of the Hobbit. I was particularly interested in reading the passages of the short-lived 1960 "rewrite", which includes among other things a new episode featuring a broken bridge, the Last Bridge of The Lord of the Rings. Dr. Rateliff muses that in this version of events "clearly Elrond must have restored it sometime in the intervening years" but later makes the following remark:

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While Elrond's maintenance of the road makes sense and is in keeping with his role as the preserver of the last vestiges of the North Kingdom, it is hard to picture the elves of Rivendell working at road-mending, since throughout the legendarium the elves are never associated with road-making.
While it is true that we hear very little of Elf-roads in the texts, although there was a path through Mirkwood used by Thranduil's people, it does not seem unreasonable to me to imagine Elves being capable of restoring and maintaining bridges and roads where necessary given their talent in so many other crafts.

With no disrespect intended to Dr. Rateliff, I wonder if this speculation also arises from this curiously common assumption that Elves were averse to manual labour.
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:51 AM   #25
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With no disrespect intended to Dr. Rateliff, I wonder if this speculation also arises from this curiously common assumption that Elves were averse to manual labour.
Quite possibly. It seems fairly common for people, at least those with a relatively superficial acquaintance with the books, to pigeonhole the different races into rigid characterizations.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:54 AM   #26
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at least those with a relatively superficial acquaintance with the books
This is why I find Dr. Rateliff's suggestion odd, because he is an expert and surely would be altogether familiar with the variety of Elvish occupations.

I also couldn't help but think that that if there isn't any other evidence for Elves being road-builders and bridge-builders, surely this statement is that evidence. There's also mention of an "ancient road" passing through the defile of Sirion towards Nargothrond, although it's unclear by whom it was built. Similarly, it's unclear to me if Thranduil's road through northern Mirkwood was paved or if it was more of an informal path through the trees. There was also the road that ran from Ost-in-Edhil to Khazad-dūm, and it's implied that this was an Elf-Dwarf collaboration.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:45 AM   #27
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There are certainly bridges built by the Noldor. The stone bridge over the Narog built at the behest of Turin in Nargothrond is one. But the construction techniques of the Noldor were unrivalled by any but the best of the Dwarves: Gondolin with its repurposed tunnel through the Encircling Mountains, an echo of the Gate of the Noldor that Turgon left behind; Finrod’s fortress at Tol Sirion; Tirion upon Tśna in Eldamar; Fėanor’s fortress in the north of Valinor, where he kept the Silmarilli and his father Finwė was murdered by Morgoth; not to mention the various other fortresses of the Noldor in Beleriand (of Maedhros at Himring, of Caranthir in Ered Luin, and so on). All were described as beautiful, strong, and enduring even under attack.

While the Dwarves of Khazad-dūm no doubt assisted in some of the works of Eregion, I think we should imagine that most of the construction in that land was the handiwork of the Noldor. As Legolas reported when the Company of the Ring entered Hollin,
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[T]he Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them; only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago.
The stones of Hollin at least recalled the deep delving of the Noldor. Most of the survivors of Eregion lived with Elrond in Rivendell until the end of the Third Age: it was they who reforged Narsil into Andśril.

Zigūr, I did not know you were writing a dissertation on Tolkien. Congratulations! Where? might you tell us when its defense is scheduled? and may we read it when it is published?
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Old 06-02-2016, 01:20 AM   #28
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There are certainly bridges built by the Noldor. The stone bridge over the Narog built at the behest of Turin in Nargothrond is one.
Of course; more good examples.
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The stones of Hollin at least recalled the deep delving of the Noldor.
Indeed. The examples are rarer for the Elves, but they do exist.
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Zigūr, I did not know you were writing a dissertation on Tolkien. Congratulations! Where? might you tell us when its defense is scheduled? and may we read it when it is published?
Thank you. Once it is finalised and I have graduated I will certainly mention it on the Downs for any interested parties to read.

I am at the University of Sydney. In the Australian system, the thesis is not examined through a thesis defence or viva; instead a process of examination occurs in which three examiners (typically one internal, two external) read the thesis independently and give individual results. The University then gives a final result based on these. I have already passed this process with only emendations required. I am currently completing those prior to final submission and graduation.

Supposedly this is a result of the geographical isolation of Australia, as it would be difficult to get international scholars to agree to attend oral defences, except perhaps from New Zealand. Technological developments might change that in the future. Nonetheless my two external examiners were both international, one being in New Zealand and the other being in the United Kingdom, as I understand it.

Apologies for this bit of off-topic content. As I say, when the final document is available I will mention it here on the Downs.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:08 AM   #29
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Thumbs up Glad to read the good news!

I'm glad to read the good news about your doctorate, Zigūr! I (and I'm sure others) would be interested in any other news about it, including any conclusions you've come to.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:17 AM   #30
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Silmaril Some nonsense about elves

Zigūr, I agree with you about the existence of 'this curiously common assumption that Elves were averse to manual labour'.

It made me think about the similar assumption that Elves were vegetarian, as shown in the first few seconds of this clip from the first of Jackson's adaptations of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, when Bilbo and the dwarves are in Rivendell:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovKDk7ZaXSw

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Old 06-08-2016, 07:41 AM   #31
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Another one of those "assumption" examples where it seems like Peter Jackson needed to put down the Dungeons & Dragons manual (or perhaps the Warhammer army book) and actually pick up one of Professor Tolkien's stories.

Wouldn't it have been so much more original and refreshing in this film if, instead of going for the pop-culture cliché, they had followed the actual book they were meant to be adapting so that the Dwarves were the stuffy aristocratic ones who took themselves too seriously and the Elves were the light-hearted, humorous merrymakers? I suppose Thorin still takes himself far too seriously in the film.

In any event, one can't help but find it bizarre that Professor Tolkien's imitators have so much influence that it creates mistrust in his own stories, such that people are inclined, despite everything, to see his Elves as work-shy posh weirdoes and his Dwarves as drunken Scotsmen in comedy Viking helmets.
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:40 AM   #32
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White-Hand Tolkien's imitators

Thanks for the reply, Zigūr! While I'm critical of Jackson's adaptations, in terms of his facile joining of elves and vegetarianism I'm saving my annoyance for the people who began that nonsense.

Also, the request for chips can be said to have some support, Sam Gamgee promising Gollum in LotR that if he continued to behave well, he would cook him some fish and chips.
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:33 AM   #33
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Where do elves get metal?

The Sindar, being of course the most numerous and representative of western Elves, had all of Metallica's albums. The Noldor, being far more traditionalist, but enamored of 'technology', listened to Sabbath but did so on streaming audio. The Vanyar off in Valinor were a bit out of the loop and still regarded Iron Butterfly as metal. The Silvan Elves naturally listened to Jethro Tull and indignantly insisted "They are too metal!"
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:14 AM   #34
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The Silvan Elves of course listened to Jethro Tull and indignantly insisted "They really are metal!"
My dad must be a Silvan Elf then.

Another rather obvious bridge I've missed is the one in The Hobbit itself that leads into Rivendell, one which appears to be of a defensive nature:
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There was only a narrow bridge of stone without a parapet, as narrow as a pony could well walk on; and over that they had to go, slow and careful, one by one, each leading his pony by the bridle.
Incidentally, Dr. Rateliff is curious about this note of Professor Tolkien's after the end of the revised Chapter III:
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Ch. III should make clear
Elrond's care for roads etc. from
Greyflood to <Mountains>
Dr. Rateliff finds this difficult because he does not consider there to be a precedent for Elves doing the road work and thinks it unlikely that Dwarves would have been hired to do it as "that solution runs afoul of this text's statement that dwarves were not welcome here [in Rivendell] and did not know this part of the world well."

However he seems to extrapolate a tad; the text simply says "This country was not well known to the dwarves" (previously "unknown to the dwarves" but Professor Tolkien himself realised this was inconsistent with the fact that they traded between the Iron Hills and the Blue Mountains by traversing that region, and so changed the statement) and says of Rivendell "few dwarves have ever seen it."

Dr. Rateliff takes this as meaning that "the dwarves were not particularly welcome at Rivendell", describing it as a "new and somewhat disconcerting idea, apparently imported back into The Hobbit to match the initially chilly relations between Gimli's people and the elves of Lórien in The Lord of the Rings." He observes that Professor Tolkien originally drafted "no dwarf has ever seen it" but changed it.

To me there are a few too many assumptions here; the idea that few Dwarves had seen Rivendell does not seem particularly "disconcerting" to me, as it does not seem to me that there would be much reason for the Dwarves to go there, or much reason for Elrond to compromise Imladris' secrecy by revealing its location to anyone except other Elves, the Wise and the Dśnedain. Surely if there was meant to be a parallel with Gimli's treatment in Lórien the Elves in the revised Hobbit would have been far more secretive, but they are not. I always assumed that the Silvan Elves of Lórien were simply a little superstitious. I find it unlikely that the Noldor of Imladris bore such prejudices given their history of collaboration with the Dwarves. I assume there were some Sindar at Rivendell as well, but nonetheless I think Dr. Rateliff is making the situation more complex for himself than is necessary. It could quite simply be that Elven craftsmen ventured forth, in secrecy, and maintained the roads when necessary.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:34 AM   #35
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Given the substantial numbers of Noldor in Rivendell (and the fact that the Sindar were quite capable of masonry when they felt like it), one doesn't have to boggle at Elrond's folk doing their own road maintenance.
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Old 06-12-2016, 10:19 AM   #36
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The Sindar, being of course the most numerous and representative of western Elves, had all of Metallica's albums. The Noldor, being far more traditionalist, but enamored of 'technology', listened to Sabbath but did so on streaming audio. The Vanyar off in Valinor were a bit out of the loop and still regarded Iron Butterfly as metal. The Silvan Elves naturally listened to Jethro Tull and indignantly insisted "They are too metal!"
I must disagree in part. The Silvan Elves started listening to Jethro Tull because of their dealings with the Dwarves, who considered Tull hard rock, of course. Tolkien in a late emendation placed Tull in the metal category, perhaps forgetting about the prior designation. In any case, their defeat of the Sauronian Metallica was eucatastrophic.
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:57 PM   #37
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Just a quick post before I finish reading the rest of the thread:

As someone early in the Thread/Topic observes that Tolkien doesn't say anything about the Elves, or Men of Gondor mining..... And thus we are to "suspect" whether they "mined" for anything.

Yet Tolkien also does not say very much about the Agriculture needed to support the populations involved, nor does he say anything about the populations needed to support the armies he mentions in passing.

Yet if we are examining Middle-earth as if it is an actual Sub-Creation (and thus a Real Place in some Existential Reality), then these sorts of things exist.

We have to constantly be on guard against the Pop-Cultural derivations of Middle-earth (I hear some Kiwi guy made some movies loosely based upon Tolkien's work - One should be cautious when looking at Pop-Culture), and their portrayals as creating stereotypes that deviate from what Prof. Tolkien describes (and there is more in his descriptions than just the words themselves, and their order - those words themselves are clues to other things about Middle-earth).

Tolkien seems to have thought of Middle-earth as a living, breathing world, in which people (Elves, Humans, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, Ents, Dragons, Demons, etc.) lived.

And this means that the Infrastructure of life must also exist within Middle-earth for these people.

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Old 07-07-2016, 07:05 AM   #38
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1420! What was needed to support the populations

While Tolkien doesn't say much about 'the Agriculture needed to support the populations involved', he does say enough, in my opinion, to hint at the existence of agricuture and communications sufficient to support those populations. In terms of the Shire, he described what it was like before taken over by the hobbits in the Prologue of LotR, and in terms of Gondor, he gave a short description of Minas Tirith's fertile surroundings, particularly the Pelennor Fields, in Book 5, Chapter I.

He went into things in more detail in Letter 154 of 25th September 1954 to Naomi Mitchison:

I am not incapable of or unaware of economic thought; and I think as far as the 'mortals' go, Men, Hobbits, and Dwarfs, that the situations are so devised that economic likelihood is there and could be worked out: Gondor has sufficient 'townlands' and fiefs with a good water and road approach to provide for its population; and clearly has many industries though these are hardly alluded to. The Shire is placed in a water and mountain situation and a distance from the sea and a latitude that would give it a natural fertility, quite apart from the stated fact that it was a well-tended region when they [the hobbits] took it over (no doubt with a good deal of older arts and crafts). The Shire-hobbits have no great need of metals, but the Dwarfs are agents; and in the east of the Mountains of Lune are some of their mines (as shown in the earlier legends): no doubt, the reason, or one of them, for their often crossing the Shire.

I'm always amused when I read this letter; because Tolkien here uses 'Dwarfs' instead of his usual 'Dwarves'.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:40 PM   #39
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We know the Nśmenóreans mined. They obtained metal for farming and tools, then later for weapons; and the only other place in Arda mentioned to have (ore) loads of mithril was Nśmenor, so they must have mined for that, too.

Eöl the Smith mined somewhere: this was part of his affinity with the Dwarves, which was unusual among the Elves of Beleriand. His son Maeglin was captured by Morgoth’s servants while he on a scouting expedition for veins of ore. Going back even farther, Fėanor dug a fortress along the mountains of the north coast of Valinor, where he and his father Finwė guarded the Silmarilli. (From whom were they guarding them? Was Fėanor already suspicious of Morgoth, or of his brothers, or the Valar in general?)

As for the Shire hobbits, Pippin told Bergil Beregond’s son that his father “farmed the land around Whitwell”: Pippin was a farmer, too. Maggot was a farmer: it seems most of the hobbits farmed or were merchants or tradesmen regarding farming. (Even innkeepers: their customers were farmers.) We are so far removed from the ways of our near ancestors we forget that only 100 years ago, about four in five people were “farmers”: either they farmed exclusively, or had some trade on the side. Even an innkeeper like Butterbur was likely to have a small plot for growing vegetables and keeping some animals (chickens, a cow, perhaps a pig; and we know he stabled horses).

My grandfather was a skilled carpenter, but he lived on a farm and was primarily a farmer: there was no fulltime work for carpenters. He told me all the builders in the rural area where he lived were farmers, and built only seasonally, between crops, or in an emergency: e.g., after a fire. Even today, of the dozen or so farmers I still know, I can only think of two that are full-time farmers (it’s 14- to 16-hour a day work), and one of those is manager of a farm in New England maintained primarily so the locals can see what life was like only a couple of generations ago. (But don’t get lost in rural Vermont or New Hampshire: “Yah cahn’t get theah frahm heah,” are the first directions a farmer give you. It means you have to go back: Take it in the humor in which it’s offered (usually pretty sharp humor), and ask him how to get to someplace from where you can get there.)

Tolkien remembered and loved a way of life that was vanishing, as he himself mentions in Letters.
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:02 PM   #40
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While Tolkien doesn't say much about 'the Agriculture needed to support the populations involved', he does say enough, in my opinion, to hint at the existence of agricuture and communications sufficient to support those populations. In terms of the Shire, he described what it was like before taken over by the hobbits in the Prologue of LotR, and in terms of Gondor, he gave a short description of Minas Tirith's fertile surroundings, particularly the Pelennor Fields, in Book 5, Chapter I.

He went into things in more detail in Letter 154 of 25th September 1954 to Naomi Mitchison:

I am not incapable of or unaware of economic thought; and I think as far as the 'mortals' go, Men, Hobbits, and Dwarfs, that the situations are so devised that economic likelihood is there and could be worked out: Gondor has sufficient 'townlands' and fiefs with a good water and road approach to provide for its population; and clearly has many industries though these are hardly alluded to. The Shire is placed in a water and mountain situation and a distance from the sea and a latitude that would give it a natural fertility, quite apart from the stated fact that it was a well-tended region when they [the hobbits] took it over (no doubt with a good deal of older arts and crafts). The Shire-hobbits have no great need of metals, but the Dwarfs are agents; and in the east of the Mountains of Lune are some of their mines (as shown in the earlier legends): no doubt, the reason, or one of them, for their often crossing the Shire.

I'm always amused when I read this letter; because Tolkien here uses 'Dwarfs' instead of his usual 'Dwarves'.
I am aware of that letter.

It is a rare instance of having given thought to Logistics.

As far as the Shire is concerned, it is an exception in Middle-earth, being an Almost-Modern (Victorian England) realm plopped down into the Archaic World of Middle-earth.

My point was that he does not mention a great deal of things (even within this letter there is a great deal left unstated or unaddressed - One such Example is the Predator-Prey relationship of Middle-earth in terms of the Human/Hobbit/Dwarf/Elf population to the Populations of the Orcs/Trolls/etc. - If you look at such typical relationships, even among omnivorous apex competitor-predators, such as Bears, you find that Middle-earth's population of Humans/Hobbits/Dwarves/Elves isn't large enough to support a Predatory population that he provides of Orcs and Trolls).

But this relates to the general absence of a lot of things that held up his work in his later life, as he was looking more for Generalized Rules (what he referred to as the "underlying postulates" and "...requirement for a coherent Theological and Metaphysical System" - p. x of Morgoth's Ring).

Having had such a System in Place would have allowed the answers to most of these smaller questions to fall into place with no real effort.

The point was that obviously the Elves had complete civilizations that could provide the Logistics for entire cities and countries, even into the Third Age, if on a smaller scale.

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