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Old 05-23-2008, 02:14 PM   #1
Enw
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Elves- A second puberty?

Well, I know this sounds strange, but I've been thinking about this for a while now.

Well, I started thinking about Cirdan (you know, a bearded mariner who is a first generation elf, probably over 15000 years old). Just why does he have a beard? Is it because he just has a genetic disorder (or some rare genes)? Or is there another reason- Was it because he was old?

Well, we know that Elrond was very old, and is described as such:

Quote:
Originally Posted by fotr
The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor younghis hair was dark[he was] hale as a tried warrior in the fullness of his strength
Whereas Cirdan:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotk
His beard was long, and he was grey and old
I was thinking that maybe after their 10000th year, elves stop being so youthful, and start getting grey. Even after however many years Elrond lived, he had black hair. But Cirdan was far older, and was going grey, and what I am saying is that maybe when they get to a certain age, elves get a beard.

After all, Cirdan is the oldest elf left in Middle Earth (that we are told about) so we have no-one to compare him to. And even if the first generation elves in Aman have not grown grey and bearded, that may be because they are in the Blessed Realm, the Immortal Land, where things do not grow old.

Is there anything in the works of Tolkien that mention anything about this or am I just picking at nonexistent ideas? And does anyone know of other bearded elves?
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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Tolkien once wrote (published in Vinyar Tengwar):
'Elves did not have beards until they entered their third cycle of life. Nerdanel's father was exceptional, being only early in his second.'
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:55 PM   #3
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Well, the beardedness is one thing, but the silver hair of Crdan is simply token of his kinship with Elw Singollo. To quote from The Peoples of Middle-Earth:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien, in The Peoples of Middle-Earth
Crdan 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 Olw, one of the two kings of the Teleri, and lord of those who departed over the Great Sea. He was thus also akin to Elw, Olw's older brother, acknowledged as high king of all the Teleri in Beleriand.
The most other notable relative of Elw and Olw, in regards to silver hair is Celeborn, grandson of their younger brother, Elmo, but his mother-in-law, Erwen of Alqualond. In Unfinished Tales, it is said of Galadriel's hair:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tolkien, in Unfinished Tales
[Her hair] was golden like the hair of her father and of her foremother Indis, but it was richer and more radiant, for its gold was touched by some memory of the starlike silver of her mother...
Now, it can be argued other ways, but it should be quite clear that if the relatively young and child-bearing Erwen (Elves give up marital relations later on in life, according the LACE) is noted for silver hair, then among Elves this clearly does not denote old age.

Beardedness can, though.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:23 AM   #4
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Does grey = silver though when it comes to describing elven hair?

Brightness seems to be a characteristic of silver hair e.g. "the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright" and the reference to the "starlike silver" of Earwen's hair.

In RotK, Tolkien describes Cirdan as "grey and old". There is no mention of silver there. Whatever his original hair colour might have been, by the time the Ringbearers set sail, it would appear that Cirdan was actually grey.
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:06 PM   #5
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Thingol was said to have had 'long and beautiful hair of silver hue' in Quendi And Eldar, and his hair is described as grey silver in The Grey Annals.

In 'Of the Coming of the Elves' (The Later Quenta Silmarillion I) there is a description of both Olwe and Elwe concerning their hair: 'The locks of Sindo were as grey as silver... but the hair of Elwe was long and white' (name changes include Elwe > Solwe, Sindo > Elwe).

By the end of revision here, in 'Of the Coming of the Elves' as it stood in LQI, the hair of the brothers is again described, and now Olwe's hair is long and white but the hair of Elwe was grey as silver.
'The Loremasters also supposed that reference was made to the hair of the Sindar. 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, though it was found among them occasionally, especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwe (as in the case of Crdan).' JRRT Q&E
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galin View Post
Thingol was said to have had 'long and beautiful hair of silver hue' in Quendi And Eldar, and his hair is described as grey silver in The Grey Annals.

In 'Of the Coming of the Elves' (The Later Quenta Silmarillion I) there is a description of both Olwe and Elwe concerning their hair: 'The locks of Sindo were as grey as silver... but the hair of Elwe was long and white' (name changes include Elwe > Solwe, Sindo > Elwe).

By the end of revision here, in 'Of the Coming of the Elves' as it stood in LQI, the hair of the brothers is again described, and now Olwe's hair is long and white but the hair of Elwe was grey as silver.
'The Loremasters also supposed that reference was made to the hair of the Sindar. 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, though it was found among them occasionally, especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwe (as in the case of Crdan).' JRRT Q&E
In both the instances that you cite, the word "grey" is qualified by the use of "silver". In the case of the description of Cirdan at the end of RotK "grey" is qualified by the word "old" with no mention of silver at all. My point is not that Cirdan, once upon a time, did not have silver hair but that at the end of the RotK it appears that it is old age grey.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:05 PM   #7
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Those quotes are for consideration -- for possible wriggling

I agree the 'implication' in The Lord of the Rings is that Crdan looked old in ways, due to the specific phrasing there -- however in a more general light I think one could 'wriggle' that grey could refer to silver hair, described elsewhere for this character.

And I myself prefer to wriggle on this point -- even if it goes against the implication I agree exists (in Tolkien-published text to boot), because I think Tolkien's Elves would ultimately 'fade' in the body as opposed to looking aged (though I suppose if his hair went from 'silver' to 'grey' it is not really that much of a physical change in itself).
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:40 PM   #8
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I have always wondered questions like this, in specific beardedness in Middle-earth.

Tolkien gives a mix of ideas, ranging from bearded and beardless Elves to bearded and beardless Numenoreans and those of their blood.

My main question about this has always been, since Tolkien cites that Numenoreans take after the fashion of Elves, if Elves grow a beard in their third cycle of life, do Numenoreans as well? If so, the "third cycle" of a Numenorean's life would be a much younger age than the third cycle of an Elf's life. When would a Numenorean (or one so descended such as Boromir, Denethor, Faramir, Aragorn...) grow a beard? Or did they just shave? Did people even shave in M-e?

The world may never know, but these are my nitpicky questions that I wish Tolkien had answered.
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Old 05-31-2008, 02:01 AM   #9
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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?
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
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My main question about this has always been, since Tolkien cites that Numenoreans take after the fashion of Elves, if Elves grow a beard in their third cycle of life, do Numenoreans as well? If so, the "third cycle" of a Numenorean's life would be a much younger age than the third cycle of an Elf's life. When would a Numenorean (or one so descended such as Boromir, Denethor, Faramir, Aragorn...) grow a beard? Or did they just shave? Did people even shave in M-e?
I tend to think that the Numenoreans only got a beard when heir "blessed years" were over. By that I mean the years when they stayed young for sometimes over a hundread years (much more in the early Numenoreans). After that then they got old and my guess is also bearded.

But to me, Boromir and Faramir don't seem to be true Numenoreans, so I think they just shaved, as was probably the custom of their people. Aragorn, has more Numenorean blood in him, but still, I think after all those years of "mixing" with non-Numenoreans, he must have had a beard (but was probably even more likely to shave).

But I have a question- Are all Numenoreans direct descendants of Elros? Because otherwise, it would have a very small population, all with severe gentic disease (incest). And in the UT, I remember that at some time, a royal was only allowed to marry another descendant of Elros, which to me means that there were non-Elros people on the island. But did they also live longer? Was it because of the people or the island or both?
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:20 AM   #11
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I think it is safe to say that Aragorn was clean shaven (in spite of the cartoon ROTK, where he had a quite respectable beard) It seems that was the fashion in amoung ME men or at least amoung Gondorians and Arnorians. When Tolkein describes the people Near and Far Harad he makes much point of the fact that they are bearded "like dwarves". If any signficant portion of Men in the West did grow beards the difference would not be so commented on. In fact whenever beardedness is metioned amoung the other races (except for dwarves, of course) is is marked as being something unusual and probably recessive. The fact that the some of the Stoors can grow beards sets them apart from the other hobbits (it is also siginficant that tese beards are considered a Mannish trait, like wearing shoes). When a woodwose grows a small, mosslike beard (as metioned in the Drunedain essay in the Unfinished tales) is is considered a remarkable and imporessive feat. On the other hand, all of the wizards are have beards and none of the men think that that sets them apart from other men so there must be some men in ME with facial hair.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I tend to think that the Numenoreans only got a beard when heir "blessed years" were over. By that I mean the years when they stayed young for sometimes over a hundread years (much more in the early Numenoreans). After that then they got old and my guess is also bearded.

But to me, Boromir and Faramir don't seem to be true Numenoreans, so I think they just shaved, as was probably the custom of their people. Aragorn, has more Numenorean blood in him, but still, I think after all those years of "mixing" with non-Numenoreans, he must have had a beard (but was probably even more likely to shave).

But I have a question- Are all Numenoreans direct descendants of Elros? Because otherwise, it would have a very small population, all with severe gentic disease (incest). And in the UT, I remember that at some time, a royal was only allowed to marry another descendant of Elros, which to me means that there were non-Elros people on the island. But did they also live longer? Was it because of the people or the island or both?
Forgive me if I'm wrong here, I was of the impression that Numenor was populated by the men of the three houses of the Edain, so descendants of Haleth, Hador and Beor (Haleth was one of the three, correct?) were all on the island. If I remember rightly, Aldarions wife, Erendis, was of the house of Beor, and they were not as long lived as those of Elros' royal line? I'm not sure.
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Old 05-31-2008, 05:00 PM   #13
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Forgive me if I'm wrong here, I was of the impression that Numenor was populated by the men of the three houses of the Edain, so descendants of Haleth, Hador and Beor (Haleth was one of the three, correct?) were all on the island. If I remember rightly, Aldarions wife, Erendis, was of the house of Beor, and they were not as long lived as those of Elros' royal line? I'm not sure.
But the question is, when you so not so longer lived, does that mean normal lifespan, or just shorter than the descendants of Elros's.
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:34 PM   #14
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Whether it's silver or gray-- isn't the main question, why Cirdan has a beard?
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
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But the question is, when you so not so longer lived, does that mean normal lifespan, or just shorter than the descendants of Elros's.
My take on it would be for it to mean that they had a longer lifespan than the men left in darkness on middle earth, but not as long as Elros' line.

If i can use the example of Aldarion and Erendis, Erendis, not of Elros' line, lived from 771-985 SA, making her 214 years old when she passed, whereas Aldarion, being of the royal line, lived from 700- 1098 SA, making him 398 years old when she passed.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:47 AM   #16
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Didn't Erendis kill herself? I don't think her lifespan can be taken as a normal Numenorean one then But the plebs in Numenor did live shorter lives.
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Old 06-01-2008, 08:00 AM   #17
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So Elmo, does that mean it was the island, not Elros?
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Old 06-01-2008, 12:50 PM   #18
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Ach, your right Elmo, she didn't die of natural causes did she!!! Bugger.
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:37 AM   #19
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Something I found in the UT (which I'm re-reading for the nth time ) regarding the lifespan of Numenoreans, this is mentioned in 'the line of Elros';

This first one is actually from the Akallabeth which said the line of Elros "had long life even according to the measure of the Numenoreans". It also talked about the "end of vigour" (which came before the waning of their lives), stating that the descendants of Elros began to feel the end of their vigour about the 400th year or slightly earlier, whereas those not of that line felt it about their 200th year, or slightly later.

Its also mentioned in later writings that people of Numenor had a lifespan five times the length of other men (or three times the span, as is mentioned in Appendix A of LOTR), but this doesn't make such a clear distinction between the royal line and the 'plebs', as Elmo so beautifully put it , saying only that the Royal line had a tendency to live to a greater age.

So it seems like allot of things, Tolkien was somewhat undecided in the final finished details!
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