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Old 05-09-2010, 11:52 AM   #1
elbenprincess
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Question Cirdan's appearance

Hi all, I have a really dumb question, but I always wonder why Cirdan is described as looking old. I always thought that elves remain young. And then I read something about a thrid life circle, that elves reach with probably 10.000??? years, explaining the growth of beard. Does that mean that elves in the third circle grew old?

Galadriel is nealy 10.000 Years too, does that mean she gets old? (poor gril) And therfore the elves in valinor should be looking very old too (Finarfin, Ingwe...) Or does Valinor stops or delay this process?

Or is Cirdan just an exception? (Maybe his sorrows, never seen Valinor...) Did Tolkien said something about the aging thing?

Should we assume that elves at one point appear as aged? Even the elves in valinor?

About the fourth circle:
Eventually, their immortal spirits (fëar) will overwhelm and consume their bodies (hröar), rendering them "bodiless", whether they opt to go to Valinor or remain in Middle-earth. At the end of the world, all Elves will have become invisible to mortal eyes, except to those to whom they wish to manifest themselves. Tolkien called this process "Lingering", and it may be thought of as a fourth and final cycle of Elven life.



What does that "eventually" mean? 20.000 Years, 30.000 Years...anyway, you could really feel sorry for the elves, I would not like to remain bodiless for dacades...

Before the lingering process, are they grey and old? Whats your opinion?
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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A dumb question? I actually like it, the best one in some time.

As far as Cirdan's origin is concerned, he may have well come from Cuivienen. We know we was akin to Elwe and Olwe, so this assumption makes sense.
This would indeed make him over 10000 years old and as such probably the oldest Elf in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age.

As far as facial hair and the third circle are concerned this Wikipedia quotation is useful:
Quote:
Despite Tolkien's statements in The Hobbit that Elves (and Hobbits) have no beards, Círdan in fact has a beard, which appears to be an anomaly and a simple oversight. However, Tolkien later devised at least three "cycles of life" for Elves around 1960; Círdan had a beard because he was in his third cycle of life. (Mahtan, Nerdanel's father, had a beard in his second cycle of life, a rare phenomenon.) It is unclear what these cycles exactly are, since Tolkien left no notes further explaining this. Apparently, beards were the only sign of further natural physical ageing beyond maturity.
Nevertheless, Tolkien may have ultimately changed his mind about whether Elves had facial hair. As Christopher Tolkien states in Unfinished Tales, his father wrote in December 1972 or later that the Elvish strain in Men, such as Aragorn, was "observable in the beardlessness of those who were so descended", since "it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless".[19] This would seemingly contradict the information above.
Elves sometimes appear to age under great stress. Círdan appeared to be aged himself, since he is described as looking old, save for the stars in his eyes; this may be due to all the sorrows he had seen and lived through since the First Age. Also, the people of Gwindor of Nargothrond had trouble recognizing him after his time as a prisoner of Morgoth.
Since other old Elves are not mentioned to have beards a good compromise would be to guess that most remain beardless, but that under stress they would also age bodily.

About the fourth circle, I think it would be even more than 20 or 30000 years. It is said that the Elves and even the Ainur will come to envy men for their gift of Death. So I guess they would retain a body for longer. Anyway, they would still remain bound to the physical plain.

Nice question at the end, I guess that with our compromise above they would all have beards. They would grow weary of the world and this stress would cause them to age bodily as well.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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... like Celeborn was old and had silver hair
But Galadriel didn't have grey hair, nor did she appear old in the least. And Celeborn's hair colour appears to be part of the basis for his name, 'silver-tall'. If that was the case, his silver hair wouldn't look to be related to his age, at least not as an expression of his time in Middle-earth.
I wonder if it is indeed not notable that the two grey-haired Elves we see (aside from Gwindor, whose physical appearance was caused by torment and labour under Morgoth) were both of the Teleri. They would certainly have seen more than their share of grief and general stress, much of it due to the Noldor.
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Downs, elbenprincess! The spelling of your name makes me wonder - is that a typo, or are you German, too (like me)? Anyway, enjoy being dead!

The Might has already summed up everything I was going to say very nicely, but I'd like to throw in my two cents about the question of Lingering/Fading and the fourth cycle.
Since we don't meet any bodily visible Elves anymore in our days (except for rare sightings of the kind you mention in your post), we can, I think, safely assume that they're all well into their fourth cycle by now.
Now Tolkien once said (somewhere in the Letters, IIRC) that we're now in the Seventh Age, each age covering something between 2000 and 3000 years (they were longer in the beginning, but have become shorter over time), which would mean that about 6000-7500 years (three ages à 2000-2500 years each) have passed since the War of the Ring and the end of the Third Age. Combining this with the observation that all Elves, even those who were young in Frodo's time, seem to have Faded completely in the meantime, it looks like the process of Fading, too, has accelerated, and they now reach their fourth cycle in much less than 10,000 years - probably due to the growing dominion of Men, I suppose.

As for the Elves in Valinor, that's a different matter - I wouldn't expect them to age in the same way as the Lingerers in Middle-earth, especially since Valinor has been removed from the circles of the world, and certainly not to Fade.

Like TM said, nice question, and not dumb at all !
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
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Yes, my point was... sorry I deleted the post before anyone responded, but you must have been 'responding' Inziladun...

... that Silver hair need not be because of great age. That is, Celeborn didn't look old (but was old) and had silver hair.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:08 PM   #6
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... that Silver hair need not be because of great age. That is, Celeborn didn't look old (but was old) and had silver hair.
Yep, silver or white as a natural hair colour seems to have been quite common among the Teleri, especially the close kin of Elwe. Still, it's quite possible that they 'greyed' more easily than Elves of the other kindreds for that very reason. The whole matter has been discussed at some length in another thread, and I especially like the point Roa made in this post:
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Originally Posted by Roa_Aoife
It seems clear that originally Cirdan's hair was silver. Perhaps the description of his hair being grey was not so much the loss of color (as the greying that our hair goes through in old age) but the loss of the sheen that made it look silver. The soul of an Elf is a bright burning flame. It stands to reason that as an Elf reaches the third stage of life, that flame dims a little, causes them to lose a little of the shine that follows their description in almost every instance. So Cirdan's hair may have been the same color, but dimmed somehow. Does that make sense?
It does to me - Cirdan's grey hair would be his natural Teler silver dulled, rather than depigmented, by age.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:48 PM   #7
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Was silver hair common among the Teleri? at least it is noted as seemingly not common among the Sindar, though found among them occasionally: '... especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwe (as in the case of Cirdan)'. (JRRT, Quendi And Eldar). The line in The Lord of the Rings reads...

'... and his beard was long, and he was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars...'

My original (now deleted) post raised the 'technicality' that the line doesn't actually state that Cirdan looked old, but that he was old and grey... but yes I know how weak this is, and agree the implication of the whole sentence is that he looked old.

Reconsidering this, I deleted a post that basically said little or nothing, like this one
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:12 PM   #8
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Well, maybe not 'common' in the sense that every other Elf would have it, but as in 'not uncommon, not exceptionally rare', which amounts to about the same thing as your 'found among them occasionally'. But who knows - perhaps even the dark-haired among the Teleri had a sort of silver-metallic lustre in their hair, counterpart to the dark copper-red found among the sons of Fëanor?
Which raises the question: Could it be that the name Sindar referred in part at least to the (cum grano salis) 'commonness' of that hair colour among them, especially in the royal family (beside the obvious sense that they were Elves of the Twilight in contrast to both Calaquendi and Moriquendi)? After all, the Vanyar were also named thus for their hair colour, weren't they? All speculation, I know...
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:23 PM   #9
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In addition to being Firstborn, Cirdan never went to Valinor. He was one of the very oldest beings in Middle-earth, and had never experienced the regenerative, sustaining power of Aman.
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Old 05-09-2010, 02:44 PM   #10
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Oh thanks for the many responses And @Pitchwife: Yes Im german and I forgot that in english its elven and not elben But I like elben more ;- )

Very interesting your points, and I think it really makes sence that the fading of the remaining elves in ME starts earlyer than in Aman but even in Aman they begin to fade "eventually" but I think only after a long long time, more than 20000 or 30000 Years and maybe its even individual. The more an elf is been through the faster is the process.

But we still don´t know if elves before they reach the fourth circle generelly will look old, cause cirdan can´t be take as example, cause he never saw aman and under stress they can age faster too (I read somewhere) And I think he had stess

But it must be terrible for an elf suddenly looking like after all this years of beauty.
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitchwife
(...) Which raises the question: Could it be that the name Sindar referred in part at least to the (...) 'commonness' of that hair colour among them, especially in the royal family (beside the obvious sense that they were Elves of the Twilight in contrast to both Calaquendi and Moriquendi)? After all, the Vanyar were also named thus for their hair colour, weren't they? All speculation, I know...
Tolkien actually raises this as a supposition of the loremasters, but that's when 'the author' follows with: 'Elwe himself had indeed long and beautiful hair of silver hue, but this does not seem to have been a common feature of the Sindar...'

On the origin of Sindar, the reader is referred to note 11 (Quendi And Eldar), which explains that Mithrim was a name given to northern Elves by the southern-dwellers, because of the cooler climate and greyer skies, and the mists of the North, and that it was probably because the Noldor first came into contact with this northerly branch that they gave the name Sindar or Sindeldi 'Grey-elves' to all the Telerin inhabitants of the Westlands who spoke the Sindarin language.

It's added that Sindar was also later held to refer to Elwe's name 'Grey-cloak,' and it was said further that the folk of the North were clad much in grey for secrecy, especially after the return of Morgoth.


I take this to mean: here is the origin of the name Sindar (note 11)... and some loremasters also thought it might refer to hair, and Elwe himseld did have Silvery hair, but (and so on), adding that the Sindar generally resembled the Noldor, being tall, lithe and dark-haired (and then the eyes of the Noldor are noted).


This gave me the general impression that there doesn't seem to be any great reason for this added supposition -- Sindar including a reference to hair -- despite it coming from certain loremasters.

That's how I read it anyway
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:40 AM   #12
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Back to the subject at hand... we don't know that there is anything called a 'fourth cycle' for Elves, and for myself, the reader's explanations: that Círdan was really old, or was under stress, and never went to Aman, do not well enough explain why he appears to look aged.

Text on fading refers to Elven spirits consuming their bodies so that they become invisible to men's minds, though they '... may reveal to him their forms (through his mind working outwardly, maybe), and he will behold them in their beauty.' In note 7 to the commentary on the Athrabeth, it is noted that the Elves: '... eventually became housed, if it can be called that, not in actual visible and tangible hroar, but only in the memory of the fea of its bodily form, and its desire for it,...'

In Laws And Customs Tolkien talks about Elven ageing beyond what might be observed, as the text notes that Men deem that the Elves do not grow old in body-- and thus it might be thought that they can have children at any time in the ages of their lives. And what Men deem is not corrected as I read it, rather it is explained that the Elves do age, but in inner ways: '... the impulses and moods of their bodies change. This the Eldar mean when they speak of their spirits consuming them; and they say that ere Arda ends all the Eldalie on earth will have become as spirits invisible to mortal eyes...'

In short they do age, as in: they fade.

In the text Aman once again 'fading' is raised: '... after the vitality of the hroa was expended in achieving full growth, it began to weaken or grow weary. Very slowly indeed, but to all the Quendi perceptibly. For a while it would be fortified and maintained by its indwelling fea, and then its vitality would begin to ebb, and its desire for physical life and joy in it would pass ever more swiftly away. Then an Elf would begin (as they say now, for these things did not full appear in the Elder Days) to 'fade', until the fea as it were consumed the hroa until it remained only in the love and memory of the spirit that had inhabited it.'


To my mind it seems that Tolkien writes about, or refers to, fading enough times. Morgoth's Ring references include (not necessarily exhaustive)...

Page
210 'and the fire of their spirit had not consumed them'
212 'spirits invisible to mortal eyes'
219 '... the body becomes at last, as it were, a mere memory held by the fea.'
224 'Lingerers, whose bodily forms may no longer be seen by us mortals, or seen only dimly and fitfully.'
225 'Then they may reveal to him their forms...'
342 'They eventually became housed (...) not in actual visible and tangible hroar, but only in the memory of its bodily form, and its desire for it.'
427 'thus an Elf would begin to fade (...), until the fea as it were consumed the hroa until it remained only in the love and memory of the spirit...'


It would seem to me fairly notable if Elves who remained young looking for thousands of years in Middle-earth also had a phase of looking aged. And here we have opportunities to describe, or even briefly mention (to make clear, if so), some phase before fading, or describe that fading includes the bodily ageing of Elves.


For myself, I don't think any such phase really existed, with respect to the later legendarium anyway. It doesn't seem to me that the Elvish experience in Middle-earth normally included aged looking Lingerers. But yet Círdan is presented as looking aged, in description published by Tolkien himself, and never revised. So yes, good question!


If Círdan is to be characterized as an exception, I don't see how really old should matter here: if one lives ten thousand years, or twenty, or more, why should it matter if the way an Elf ages means that he or she begins to fade in the body (become invisible to Men, be held in memory), and become a Lingerer.

Stress? Well maybe Tolkien could focus on that somehow, but in my opinion this opens up a somewhat ambiguous door as to 'how much' is enough. Going by the description we have to date, I don't recall that Círdan was ever taken by the Enemy and tortured for years, for example.

Last edited by Galin; 05-10-2010 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #13
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:15 AM   #14
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Also, Tolkien's late note 'it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless' could be an indication that he intended to alter Círdan's description in some theoretical future edition of The Lord of the Rings...

... or, it could represent Tolkien simply forgetting what he had written, and forgetting what he had published actually, or both. Or, since his point concerned Men who did not live nearly so long as Elves (obviously), his meaning could have been quite general -- since Men could arguably not hope to reach whatever age constituted even one 'cycle', the general beardlessness of all Elves was still a solid factor here.

In other words: all Elves were beardless, until they reached a certain age -- but an age in which it did not matter with respect to the beardlessness of Men with Elvish heritage.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:41 AM   #15
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Personally, I have always rationalized Círdan's aged appearance as a combination of true antiquity (awakened at Cuiviénen, or at the very least born there) and stress of a sort. There is a presumption that Círdan wanted to remain in Middle-earth, and while that was in part true -- he chose to stay to search for Elwë, and agreed to Ulmo's behest that he stay because he would be needed -- I don't believe it erases the possibility that he nonetheless longed to sail West, to Aman. Events of the First Age were stressful, all by themselves, and Círdan participated in many of the battles. He fostered Gil-galad, and one could assume that part of why he remained at the end of the FA was because his foster son chose to remain. Comes the Second Age, longer than the First, with a lot of stress in which Círdan is again a participant -- and at the end of it, his foster son is killed in combat with Sauron, who though defeated is not destroyed. Why didn't Círdan sail then? He'd lived through a lot of death and destruction, probably had his heart broken several times -- and yet he stayed. In the Third Age, he hands off Narya to Gandalf (do we know what effect such a sacrifice, even willing, has on a Bearer after they have borne the ring for over a thousand years?). After that, he becomes more reclusive. We know he sent troops to fight against the Witch King, but I don't recall if he went with them. He sends others, like Galdor, in his stead to important councils. Why? It seems to me that something happened to make Círdan more detached from the affairs of ME during the TA. For all we know, he is feeling a powerful version of the sea longing, and may well have been feeling it since long before Galadriel was even born. How many years before that pressure and other stress take their toll on an Elf's physical appearance? We know that psychological stress ages humans before their time; I think it not impossible that it might also do the same to an Elf. Círdan's beard may be an outer manifestation of his inner feeling that he has become bound to the mortal lands of ME; though he longs to sail, he feels he cannot until his purpose there is fulfilled -- and he has no idea when that might at last come to pass.

This is just my rationale. Tolkien never said any specific of this sort, but to me, it makes sense in light of those things we do know for certain about Círdan.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ibrîniðilpathânezel View Post
Personally, I have always rationalized Círdan's aged appearance as a combination of true antiquity (awakened at Cuiviénen, or at the very least born there) and stress of a sort. There is a presumption that Círdan wanted to remain in Middle-earth, and while that was in part true -- he chose to stay to search for Elwë, and agreed to Ulmo's behest that he stay because he would be needed -- I don't believe it erases the possibility that he nonetheless longed to sail West, to Aman. Events of the First Age were stressful, all by themselves, and Círdan participated in many of the battles. He fostered Gil-galad, and one could assume that part of why he remained at the end of the FA was because his foster son chose to remain. Comes the Second Age, longer than the First, with a lot of stress in which Círdan is again a participant -- and at the end of it, his foster son is killed in combat with Sauron, who though defeated is not destroyed. Why didn't Círdan sail then? He'd lived through a lot of death and destruction, probably had his heart broken several times -- and yet he stayed. In the Third Age, he hands off Narya to Gandalf (do we know what effect such a sacrifice, even willing, has on a Bearer after they have borne the ring for over a thousand years?). After that, he becomes more reclusive. We know he sent troops to fight against the Witch King, but I don't recall if he went with them. He sends others, like Galdor, in his stead to important councils. Why? It seems to me that something happened to make Círdan more detached from the affairs of ME during the TA. For all we know, he is feeling a powerful version of the sea longing, and may well have been feeling it since long before Galadriel was even born. How many years before that pressure and other stress take their toll on an Elf's physical appearance? We know that psychological stress ages humans before their time; I think it not impossible that it might also do the same to an Elf. Círdan's beard may be an outer manifestation of his inner feeling that he has become bound to the mortal lands of ME; though he longs to sail, he feels he cannot until his purpose there is fulfilled -- and he has no idea when that might at last come to pass.

This is just my rationale. Tolkien never said any specific of this sort, but to me, it makes sense in light of those things we do know for certain about Círdan.
This is good. I too think Cirdan was intended to be discretely Elder. Tolkien provides confirmation for a portion of your reasoning, from HoMe XII, Last Writings--Cirdan:
Quote:
This is the Sindarin for 'Shipwright', and describes his later functions in the history of the First Three Ages; but his 'proper' name, sc. his original name among the Teleri, to whom he belonged, is never used. He is said in the Annals of the Third Age (c.1000) to have seen further and deeper into the future than anyone else in Middle-earth. This does not include the Istari (who came from Valinor), but must include even Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn.

Cirdan was a Telerin Elf, one of the highest of those who were not transported to Valinor but became known as the Sindar, the Grey-elves; he was akin to Olwe, one of the two kings of the Teleri, and lord of those who departed over the Great Sea. He was thus akin also to Elwe, Olwe's elder brother, acknowledged as high-king of all the Teleri in Beleriand, even after he withdrew to the guarded realm of Doriath. But Cirdan and his people remained in many ways distinct from the rest of the Sindar. They retained the old name Teleri (in later Sindarin form Telir or Telerrim) and remained in many ways a separate folk, speaking even in later days a more archaic language. The Noldor called them the Falmari, 'wave-folk', and the other Sindar Falathrim 'people of the foaming shore'.

It was during the long waiting of the Teleri for the return of the floating isle, upon which the Vanyar and Noldor had been transported over the Great Sea, that Cirdan had turned his thoughts and skill to the making of ships, for he and all the other Teleri became impatient. Nonetheless it is said that for love of his kin and allegiance Cirdan was the leader of those who sought longest for Elwe when he was lost and did not come to the shores to depart from Middle-earth. Thus he forfeited the fulfillment of his greatest desire: to see the Blessed Realm and find again there Olwe and his own nearest kin. Alas, he did not reach the shores until nearly all the Teleri of Olwe's following had departed.

Then, it is said, he stood forlorn looking out to sea, and it was night, but far away he could see a glimmer of light upon Eressea ere it vanished into the West. Then he cried aloud: 'I will follow that light, alone if none will come with me, for the ship that I have been building is now almost ready'. But even as he said this he received in his heart a message, which he knew to come from the Valar, though in his mind it was remembered as a voice speaking in his own tongue. And the voice warned him not to attempt this peril; for his strength and skill would not be able to build any ship able to dare the winds and waves of the Great Sea for many long years yet. 'Abide now that time, for when it comes then will your work be of utmost worth, and it will be remembered in song for many ages after.' 'I obey,' Cirdan answered, and then it seemed to him that he saw (in a vision maybe) a shape like a white boat, shining above him, that sailed west through the air, and as it dwindled in the distance it looked like a star of so great a brilliance that it cast a shadow of Cirdan upon the strand where he stood.

As we now perceive, this was a foretelling of the ship which after apprenticeship to Cirdan, and ever with his advice and help, Earendil built, and in which he at last reached the shores of Valinor. From that night onwards Cirdan received a foresight touching all matters of importance, beyond the measure of all other Elves upon Middle-earth.

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:24 AM   #17
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I'm not even sure why Gwindor was so changed, as in 1497 (YT) Maedros was put to torment as well (before his time in the steel band), and ultimately maimed as well. Although I suppose JRRT could come up with something here.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:23 PM   #18
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I'm not even sure why Gwindor was so changed, as in 1497 (YT) Maedros was put to torment as well (before his time in the steel band), and ultimately maimed as well. Although I suppose JRRT could come up with something here.
I recall that the Silmarillion indicated that Maedhros having resided in Valinor was a factor in his recovery, and though Gwindor was a 'prince' in Nargothrond, I don't know that the same could be said of him.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #19
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"It would seem to me fairly notable if Elves who remained young looking for thousands of years in Middle-earth also had a phase of looking aged. And here we have opportunities to describe, or even briefly mention (to make clear, if so), some phase before fading, or describe that fading includes the bodily ageing of Elves."

Then it would be interesting to know at whitch point (when) the faiding will start and if there a differents between Aman and ME.

Did I understand that right, the body ages, then the fea will overhelm and consume the body and the body is sort of invisible but can appear in the form of the former, young body, if the elf wants?
And so the body becomes untouchable? But what about the last battle (dagor dagorath) I think that at this point all the elves would be consumed by their fea, but how can they fight? And it is said that the elves would fight.

For me, the destiny of the elves sounds terrible One can just hope that an elf has to be 50000 years old and older until that happens.

Thats an interesting quote:
"But in Aman, since its blessing descended upon the hroar of the Eldar, as upon all other bodies, the hroar aged only apce, and the Eldar that remained in the Blessed Realm endured in full maturity and in undimmed power and spirit conjoined for ages beyond our mortal comprehension" (Morgoth’s Ring "Myths Transformed").

This gives me the impression that this "fading" is more the problem of the ME elves. Of course the eldar in valinor are affected too, but not as radical as for the ME elves.

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Old 05-10-2010, 03:31 PM   #20
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elbenprincess wrote: Did I understand that right, the body ages, then the fea will overhelm and consume the body and the body is sort of invisible but can appear in the form of the former, young body, if the elf wants?
I can't find any certain evidence of an 'aged looking phase' in any of the above citations from Morgoth's Ring. Not that lack of evidence proves anything, however.

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Inziladun wrote: I recall that the Silmarillion indicated that Maedhros having resided in Valinor was a factor in his recovery, and though Gwindor was a 'prince' in Nargothrond, I don't know that the same could be said of him.
That's true, but I think it's implied that Gwindor was Noldorin (and 'Flinding' had been a Gnome) -- although if he is never called an Exile specifically I suppose it's possible that this lord of Nargothrond had been born in Middle-earth.

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Old 05-11-2010, 12:58 PM   #21
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On elves with beards - in Tolkien's "Beleg Finds Gwindor in Taur-nu-Fuin," Beleg appears to be sporting a goatee. Not sure what to make of it, but there it is.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #22
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True but that picture is dated quite early (and much later used for a cover illustration to the Two Towers).

I'm not sure JRRT later imagined Beleg to be in his third cycle of life in the First Age, despite that no numbers (yet) are known with respect to a cycle.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:45 PM   #23
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If cirdan is 11.000 years old and appears grey and old, are the elves of the same age in valinor old looking too? I mean Olwe and Ingwe and probably finarfin are in the same age or does the blessed realm prevent them from aging?

I still have no answer for the aging problem, once tolkien said that the elves become full grown with 50 -3000 years and from this point endure in their body form and then he said that they indeed grow older together with arda and that they are not immortal ´, they just have out of the ordinary long lifespans...
Does he mean physical changes, getting grey hair and wrinkels or does he mean the change of their body mood and impulses; the fading. And Tolkien said that the fea controlls the hroa, would that mean that if an elf wants looking old, the fea has a control in that, maybe that is the case for cirdan, I read somewhre that "he apperas to age himself"
And I read that at the point of dagor dagorath ALL the elves of the earth will be invisible not just the elves in ME, so it is clear that the elves in aman are fading too.
That all is really confusing, I just would like to know if the fading includes outwardly changes and how long it takes for an elf to fade in aman, if the elf is happy (no grief and all that)

For the circles, the first and second circle is very clear, childhood and early adulthood but what about the third circle, we know elfes grew a beard but is that in accord to usual signs of age (like cirdan) or get they just a beard? And what about the women I think we can assume that they don´t grew a beard.
I believe elfes are very vain, aren´t they? I think they wouldn´t be too amazed, at least many of them. And then to live 50000 jahre in the body of a eighty years old? I don´t think that would be fun, and therfore the elves would no longer be a fair folk.

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:30 PM   #24
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Hmm, still, we read in Morgoth's Ring...

Quote:
'But in Aman, since its blessing descended upon the hroar of the Eldar, as upon all other bodies, the hroar aged only apace with the fear, and the Eldar that remained in the Blessed Realm endured in full maturity and in undimmed power of body and spirit conjoined for ages beyound our mortal comprehension.'
This description is in contrast (note how it begins 'But in Aman...') to what came immediately before it in the essay titled Aman (see Myths Transformed text XI) -- and what came before it is a description of the slow fading of the Elves in Middle-earth.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:34 AM   #25
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In my point of view Aman has already faded completly with all its inhabitants.

Mortals neither can reach it nor see it. It is removed to the same level of existence to which the elves of Middle-Earth are doomed in the longrun of there lifes. To go to the west is not to escape from fading, but to accept it!
In Aman an elf might be less unhappy because he does not be reminded all the time about what he has lost, but he still HAS lost all intercourse with the physical world of Middle-Earth.

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Old 06-21-2010, 07:13 AM   #26
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I cannot agree Findegil. In Reincarnation of Elves Tolkien jotted an aside...

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'the exact nature of existence in Aman or Eressea after their "removal" must be dubious and unexplained', as must the question of 'how "mortals" could go there at all.'
I think this is good 'advice' for readers as well, and in my opinion your post seems an attempt to explain (in measure) this very thing, in part merging a concept Tolkien kept distinct to my mind.

Despite 'If it is thus in Aman, or was ere the Change of the World' the author still notes 'and therein the Eldar had health and lasting joy' (which begins the section Aman and Mortal Men immediately after the citation I posted above), why should the author even attempt such a distinction if it is to be tossed aside with respect to after the Change of the World.

I think JRR Tolkien is shining through here: he cannot lay out the ideas in certain terms, for Men do not go to Aman, nor is the existence of such a place easy to explain in any event... but still the idea put forward is that in Aman there is no fading of the bodies of the Elves 'for ages beyond our mortal comprehension'.

And this fading is the 'waning of the Elvish Hroar' (note 7, Commentary to the Athrabeth), or the spirits of the Elves consuming them (Laws And Customs). I think if Elfwine were to have sojourned to Aman he would see the Elves with actual physical bodies and the world about him would be physical... and the question of the nature of the very existence of Aman -- with respect to its relation to Middle-earth or 'the World' itself -- is another matter.


Regarding the Dagor Dagorath: in Morgoth's Ring Tolkien noted that the Elves had no myths or legends dealing with the end of the world, and that the myth that appears at the end of the Silmarillion is of Numenorean origin (excised for the 1977 Silmarillion in any case).

But besides taking Dagor Dagorath out of the mouth of Mandos, I think such a concept can fall 'outside the rules' in any event; or perhaps, we need not press the myth too hard concerning how these events will occur. If there is to be such a battle in the future, why can't even Elves who happen to be without bodies be given bodies? If Turin is to be involved for example (as he was at least for a number of phases of this concept), do we need to wonder how he can fight, having already died on earth as a mortal?

For myself I see no real gain by pressing the Mannish myth in this way. I tend to think: whatever will happen at the Great End, if there is a 'Battle of Battles' that needs to be physical as we understand the nature of our present existence...

... then physical enough it will be
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:00 PM   #27
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a question about cirdan, was he an elf who awoke at cuivienen? If not, what became of the 144 elfes who awoke at first? Why is not some elf of the first generation the king of the differnet groups, but Finwe (at that time), Olwe and Ingwe, I guess the second generation? I guess all three had had parents?
Where did they go?
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:17 AM   #28
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a question about cirdan, was he an elf who awoke at cuivienen?
It is not said that he awoke, specifically.

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If not, what became of the 144 elfes who awoke at first? Why is not some elf of the first generation the king of the differnet groups, but Finwe (at that time), Olwe and Ingwe, I guess the second generation?
It's interesting that JRRT appears to have considered Ingwe one of the Unbegotten in The Lhammas (see The Lost Road, here from CJRT's commentary): 'It is now told that Ingwe was not only the high-king of the Eldalie, but was 'the oldest of all Elves, for he first awoke.').


But I would say Tolkien abandoned this. I think JRRT later came to believe that a fairy tale treatment of such an ancient matter worked well, and it might serve to improve the mystery of the ambassadors too. Keep in mind the nature of the sources for the legend of the awakening: an Elvish fairytale '... preserved in almost identical form among both the Elves of Aman and the Sindar' Is such a text meant to contains truths about the Unbegotten? Hmm.

Perhaps Ingwe will not certainly be noted as one of the Unbegotten, and even he will have a relationship (in The Shibboleth of Feanor for instance, Ingwe is said to have a sister) which -- when compared to the legend of the Unbegotten at least -- might raise questions concerning whether or not he awoke (I don't imagine that Tolkien thought of the earlier texts specifically, as there is quite a gap of years between them in any event, but I do think that when he decided to deal with the Unbegotten in Cuivienyarna the ambassadors might generally have come to mind).

In a sense we have Ingwe, Finwe, Elwe from history (albeit very deep legendary history), with no reference stating that they awoke (as formerly for Ingwe), and from an arguably 'less scholarly' side of preserved lore (but still not to be ignored): Imin 'One', Tata 'Two', Enel 'Three', from fairy tale.

I think the new idea was that even the Elves -- who might preserve history and tales from very distant times (especially from a mannish perspective) -- even they retained their own origin in an Elvish fairy tale, as here I guess that there was to be no competing account from a loremaster of Eressea. The author of Quendi And Eldar mentions the legend, but still that's different from a full acount that is not: 'Actually written (in style and simple notions) to be a surviving Elvish 'fairytale' or child's tale, mingled with counting lore.' (JRRT wrote this on a copy of Cuivienyarna).

To my mind it's another brilliant decision to present the matter of the Unbegotten Elves from a source readers might tend to question -- in some measure anyway -- while at the same time still wonder what truths might have shaped it.


And here is another example where I think Tolkien desires certain areas of the deep past to remain a mystery. The very first Elves from the legend are not identified with any Elves from Quenta Silmarillion, nor is it explained what happened to 'Imin' for instance.


In Middle-earth there is lost history or lore, just as in the Primary World, and even the Elves only preserved so much.
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Old 06-28-2010, 02:47 AM   #29
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As to the question why Ingwe, Finwe and Elwe / Olwe became kings and not the three unbegotten leaders Imin, Tata and Enel:
Consider the situation: You are a leader of a folk that has recently suffered some causality from a dreaded hunter. Now a hunter appears, it seems that he is different from the one that is feared but some in your folk mistrust him. He makes in invitation for one of your folk to follow him as an ambassador to be shown the paradisiacal country he promises to lead all your folk to.

As a good leader you would never go yourself!
If the mistrust is right you would be dead and your folk leader less. The risk of that is too high even if the chance for it might be very small.

So who do you send? You must trust him and you must know him very well, considering that he might come back being brainwashed and leading you to wrong conclusions if you do not detect the change in him. He must be known and well respected by your people as well, since your decision to follow the not fully trusted hunter will be based on his report.
That means you send a trusted member of your council, probably some one near akin.

It seems that all three leaders Imin, Tata and Enel followed that course.

Now the ambassadors come back. They seem unchanged and promote the idea to settle in that paradise. But the discussion opens up a rift through the middle of you folk between the party how wants to go and the one who wants to stay. You as the leader are unable to close that rift. It is clear in the end that the folk will be split. So one party at least will choose a new leader.

An honest leader will consider stepping back in that situation. He might be counted then still as a leader of the complete folk, even so he goes naturally with one of the parties. The party following the hunter will chose the ambassador as a leader, since he is most convincingly discussing that they do the right thing.

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Old 06-28-2010, 09:49 AM   #30
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(...) So who do you send? You must trust him and you must know him very well, considering that he might come back being brainwashed and leading you to wrong conclusions if you do not detect the change in him. He must be known and well respected by your people as well, since your decision to follow the not fully trusted hunter will be based on his report. That means you send a trusted member of your council, probably some one near akin.

It seems that all three leaders Imin, Tata and Enel followed that course.

Hmm, but according to both the Annals of Aman (AAm) and Quenta Silmarillion (QS), it was Orome who chose three ambassadors -- and according to the former (AAm): 'And three only of the chieftains of the Quendi were willing to adventure the journey: Ingwe, Finwe, and Elwe, who afterwards were kings.'


Generally speaking, variant sources might differ in detail as well: I consider the cuivienyarna, or fairy tale concerning the awakening of the Elves, a more Elvish source -- and for instance, in it the Elves awoke after the Sun existed (they first awoke in Spring).
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