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Old 03-12-2016, 07:04 PM   #1
The Mouth of Sauron
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Prince Imrahil and his mortality

When Legolas first set eyes on Prince Imrahil he recognised that despite being a mortal man he "had elven blood in his veins".

At what stage was Elven immortality removed from Imrahil's line? Did it depend on the percentage of elven blood, so that when it was diluted to a certain level death ensued?
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:18 PM   #2
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Given that Galador, son of Imrazôr the Númenórean and the Elf-maid Mithrellas, was mortal (and lived to the age of 125) I'd say that the Princes of Dol Amroth were never immortal. That was the one and only time when Elvish "blood" was introduced into the line of Dol Amroth. This information is found in Part VII of The Peoples of Middle-earth, volume 12 of the History of Middle-earth series (pages 220 to 222 in my edition).

As far as I can tell it would be no different to other intermarriages of Men and Elves in which they had to choose one fate or the other; the immortality didn't simply wear off over the course of generations. You're either immortal or you aren't (although people like Arwen rather exploited the system, I feel, by living for thousands of years before choosing to be mortal but we know it had its drawbacks for her).

I wonder if Galador was ever presented with the choice somehow or if he just assumed that he was mortal and therefore was. Perhaps, because Mithrellas was of "lesser silvan race" (to quote the text) no choice was possible, although I have no hard reason to back up such an assertion.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by The Mouth of Sauron View Post
At what stage was Elven immortality removed from Imrahil's line? Did it depend on the percentage of elven blood, so that when it was diluted to a certain level death ensued?
I doubt his line ever was immortal. The Dúnedain did not appreciate their Doom and feared death. It was more noticeable in the King's house on Númenor, but it touched even the band of the Faithful. It continued after the Fall. I would think, that based on these inclinations (regretting Elros' choice), that a Dúnadan like Galador would choose immortality if he were actually given the choice.

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Death was ever present, because the Númenóreans still, as they had in their old kingdom, and so lost it, hungered after endless life unchanging.
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Old 03-13-2016, 07:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Mouth of Sauron View Post
When Legolas first set eyes on Prince Imrahil he recognised that despite being a mortal man he "had elven blood in his veins".

At what stage was Elven immortality removed from Imrahil's line? Did it depend on the percentage of elven blood, so that when it was diluted to a certain level death ensued?
It's a bit of a flippant response, but I can argue from the Legendarium that Imrahil was the last generation this Elven blood was apparent to Elven eyes (the issue of mortality or lack thereof is dealt with by the posters above).

To wit: Imrahil's sister (the same generation as him) was Finduilas, who married Denethor, mother of Boromir and Faramir. As there is no remark regarding Boromir from any of the Elves in Rivendell or Lórien--or from Legolas himself, we must remark that the visibility of Elven blood in the line of Dol Amroth ended with Imrahil's generation.

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Old 03-13-2016, 04:46 PM   #5
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It's a bit of a flippant response, but I can argue from the Legendarium that Imrahil was the last generation this Elven blood was apparent to Elven eyes (the issue of mortality or lack thereof is dealt with by the posters above).

To wit: Imrahil's sister (the same generation as him) was Finduilas, who married Denethor, mother of Boromir and Faramir. As there is no remark regarding Boromir from any of the Elves in Rivendell or Lórien--or from Legolas himself, we must remark that the visibility of Elven blood in the line of Dol Amroth ended with Imrahil's generation.

I personally don't buy the Galdor and Mithrellas story. It doesn't make sense that Prince's of Dol Amroth would be the second greatest nobles in Gondor just based on having an elvish ancestor either.

Further elves and men have almost married several times like Turin and Finduilas, but it has never happened unless for some great purpose.


I think more likely than the Princes were close relatives to Elendil and descendants of Silmarien. The Elvish blood would come from Elros and their particularly Elvish lifestyle would explain why they kept the Elvish vigour and appearance longer than close relatives that moved away like Faramir/Boromir.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:13 PM   #6
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I think more likely than the Princes were close relatives to Elendil and descendants of Silmarien. The Elvish blood would come from Elros and their particularly Elvish lifestyle would explain why they kept the Elvish vigour and appearance longer than close relatives that moved away like Faramir/Boromir.
I've always had trouble with the notion of Imrahil having Elvish blood.

As you say, the Elf/Man unions are presented as being incredibly rare events in Middle-earth, only "allowed" when they are to play a major role in the Maker's designs. It seems that introducing another Peredhel situation would be overly complicated. For instance, was a choice of life-potential involved? How would the choice be explained to those concerned?

I think the thing was more likely a tradition that, unlike some others, had no factual basis.
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Old 03-13-2016, 05:24 PM   #7
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Yes it's noteworthy that, in the tradition of some ancient historians, no definitive story is given: "In the tradition of this house Angelimir was the twentieth in unbroken descent from Galador first Lord of Dol Amroth (c. T.A. 2004-2129). According to the same traditions Galador was the son of Imrazôr the Númenórean who dwelt in Belfalas, and the Elven-lady Mithrellas."
Even Galador's dates are uncertain and Angelimir is only held to be his twentieth successor according to tradition, and this is in the Third Age, in which some record keeping is quite accurate, albeit mostly concerning very culturally significant dates like the lives of the Kings of Gondor.

Again, I don't have a solid reason for it, but perhaps Mithrellas' leaving of Imrazôr and the children had some unexplained impact? Did Eldarion and his sisters ever have the choice put to them?

Imrahil himself only lived for 99 years, which suggests that if any Elvish longevity was imbued into the line it must have diminished rather quickly, although of course that could possibly be attributed to Mithrellas' silvan origins.

Perhaps the tale of Mithrellas tells us more about the nature of legends and traditions than it teaches us any hard facts.
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Old 03-16-2016, 07:58 AM   #8
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Silmaril Another elf in that particular family

I agree with you here, Zigûr, that 'Perhaps the tale of Mithrellas tells us more about the nature of legends and traditions than it teaches us any hard facts'; but it appears that there was a fact behind it. Legolas was clear, when he met Imrahil, that the latter had some elvish blood in him. This was all people who read LotR knew before the publication of Unfinished Tales and Volume 12 of The History of Middle-earth.

In UT it was mentioned that, as cellurdur said, Galador's ancestors were related to Elendil, so were presumably descended from a cousin of his who also escaped the Downfall, and who therefore had Elros as a common ancestor. Perhaps this, plus the later marriage of Galador with Mithrellas, reinforced the existing elvish strain in that particular family.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:52 PM   #9
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To sound cheesy for a bit if I may, love doesn't always happen when it is 'allowed'. Unlikely, divide-crossing couples happen all the time in real life. Doesn't mean that there will be a happy ending, like in the case of Mithrellas and Imrahil but I think Tolkien tries to show how it can occur in the most unlikely circumstances and can break down logic and good sense.

Aegnor and Andreth are another example of a doomed romance that didn't contribute greatly to the cause of Arda. Tolkien believed in free will that the Maker would give His children. Love between elf and man should be included in this.
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Old 03-16-2016, 02:22 PM   #10
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Tolkien believed in free will that the Maker would give His children. Love between elf and man should be included in this.
Free will, yes, but I think that situation is different.
Men and Elves are so different with respect to life-potential that major complications can arise when they marry and have offspring. They were the Firstborn and the Followers, separated, for a reason. Each had their own contribution to make in Eru's Plan.
However, I do not think it was ever the intention for "free love" to be common between the races. Otherwise, why don't we indeed see more examples? Why are the Eldar/Man unions we do encounter presented as such major events, with relatives of the parties being far from sanguine about it? Why aren't their cases of marrying between Men, Dwarves (ugh), and even Hobbits (ahh!)?
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Old 03-16-2016, 02:28 PM   #11
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I never said it was elf/man hooks ups were common, it's so rare for several reasons: most people realise it's a stupid idea, the races live separately so there's less interaction and so less chance for love to appear, members of a race probably don't find members of other races attractive... doesn't mean it couldn't happen from time to time. Aegnor and Andreth, Mithrellas and Imrazor, these are the unhappy accidents love sometimes causes.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:04 AM   #12
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I do not think that the Elves and the Edain were that seperate from one another.

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many young and eager men of the Edain went away and took service with the kings and.lords of the Eldar. Among them was Malach son of Marach, and he dwelt in Hithlum for fourteen years; and he learned the Elven-tongue and was given the name of Aradan.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:25 AM   #13
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It's probably worth pointing out that when Legolas speaks to Imrahil, he says "'It is long since the people of Nimrodel left the woodlands of Lórien, and yet still one may see that not all sailed from Amroth's haven west over water."

Imrahil replies "So it is said in the lore of my land [...] yet never has one of the fair folk been seen there for years beyond count."

So regardless of what actually happened, Legolas himself seems to think it's the Mithrellas option. He appears to perceive a trace of "the people of Nimrodel" in Imrahil. Of course he might have just been guessing.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:51 AM   #14
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It's probably worth pointing out that when Legolas speaks to Imrahil, he says "'It is long since the people of Nimrodel left the woodlands of Lórien, and yet still one may see that not all sailed from Amroth's haven west over water."

Imrahil replies "So it is said in the lore of my land [...] yet never has one of the fair folk been seen there for years beyond count."

So regardless of what actually happened, Legolas himself seems to think it's the Mithrellas option. He appears to perceive a trace of "the people of Nimrodel" in Imrahil. Of course he might have just been guessing.
Quite right.

To assume that the line of Dol Amroth did not have elvish blood in its origins is to assume that Legolas was entirely mistaken in his analysis of Imrahil. I don't believe this is a sustainable notion. Elves knew elvishness when they saw it. The only time I can think of when an elf was (briefly) mistaken on this point was when Voronwë first met Tuor and momentarily thought he was an elf...but realized his mistake almost immediately.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:09 AM   #15
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The only time I can think of when an elf was (briefly) mistaken on this point was when Voronwë first met Tuor and momentarily thought he was an elf...but realized his mistake almost immediately.
This brief mistake can be accounted for by the fact that the elf in question had recently survived a shipwreck which had drowned all his crewmates.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:30 AM   #16
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I think that Tolkien's "only three unions" really referred to the Pereldar, those who were descended from Edain and Eldar; Mithrellas, as a Silvan Elf, would not have been counted as Eldar.

Or, at least, it's arguable.

Tolkien used the Pereldar wording through much of his drafts, so it's certainly possible that this concept was what (possibly erroneously) survived into print.

On the immortality question - in The Lost Road, as of just before writing The Lord of the Rings, in the final full narrative of Earendil's voyage, the Valar debated what was to be done with him. His Elven blood was raised, but Mandos said something along the lines of "Any mortal blood makes one mortal" (I don't have the books with me). And Manwe sought the advice of Iluvatar and for this case only was given the authority to issue a choice to Earendil and his immediate family. That the Choice was passed to Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen makes things a bit more complicated, but given that the implication from Tolkien's worldview was that accepting the Gift of Death was the "right" choice, it could be argued that this was so that their parents could not withhold the Gift of Eru from them. And once the "right" choice was made, no further choice need be given.

Again, though, much is up to personal interpretation, but that particular interpretation seems coherent to me and forms my personal interpretation.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:39 PM   #17
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Quite right.

To assume that the line of Dol Amroth did not have elvish blood in its origins is to assume that Legolas was entirely mistaken in his analysis of Imrahil. I don't believe this is a sustainable notion. Elves knew elvishness when they saw it. The only time I can think of when an elf was (briefly) mistaken on this point was when Voronwë first met Tuor and momentarily thought he was an elf...but realized his mistake almost immediately.
We can also look at this from a story-external point of view: if Imrahil didn't, in fact, have Elvish ancestry, why include that dialogue at all?
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Old 04-07-2016, 06:34 AM   #18
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Maybe to give Imrahil a singular nobility among those who arrived to aid Minas Tirith, and a fairness even bordering on Elvishness, whether or not Legolas was correct?

I agree it seems odd to think that Legolas might be wrong, but for example when Turin reached full manhood he was (The Children of Hurin): "in truth the son of Morwen Eledhwen to look upon: tall, dark-haired and pale-skinned, with grey eyes, and his face more beautiful than any other among mortal men, in the Elder Days. His speech and bearing were those of the ancient kingdom of Doriath, and even among the Elves he might be taken at first meeting for one from the great houses of the Noldor."

Granted it says "at first meeting" here, but on the other hand we don't know what the eventual give away might be with Turin, who never claimed to be an Elf. When Tuor first enters Gondolin his eyes give away his kin, but earlier in the Narn Turin is described as bright-eyed as well, and I note he is compared to the Noldor here, whose eyes (at least early in their Exile anyway) were so notable that the Sindar called them Lechind "Flame-eyed" (Quendi And Eldar, War of the Jools).

Also Morwen was dark-haired and tall (The Children of Hurin) "and for the light of her glance and the beauty of her face men called her Eledhwen, the elven-fair..."

Legolas appears to have just met Imrahil when he notes the story ("at first meeting"), and even Imrahil stamps that this is the lore of his land, and I don't think (if I recall correctly), that Tolkien ever refers to this matter outside of the context of a legend, suggesting variant traditions concerning who the Elf maid was, if "improbably" Nimrodel herself.

Another thing is that after Mithrellas (of the Silvan race) bore a son and daughter, at some point she "slipped away by night and he saw her no more"... seems a bit odd for a mother to do this, and we are given no reason for the disappearance. But this does, somewhat conveniently in a way, take early care of the living proof of Elvish blood in the line, noting too that Mithrellas would not die as a mortal.

Sounds a bit like a good way to explain that the (Unfinished Tales): "... house and kin of the Lord of Dol Amroth was noble by blood as they were fair in face and mind."

So again, while I agree it's hard to think Legolas could be wrong about this, I'm not sure I should be certain he was right.

Or something else!

Edit: by the way, Happy Birthday Nerwen (I just noticed)

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Old 04-07-2016, 09:11 AM   #19
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So again, while I agree it's hard to think Legolas could be wrong about this, I'm not sure I should be certain he was right.
On balance, I think the evidence suggests that he probably was.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:47 PM   #20
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We can also look at this from a story-external point of view: if Imrahil didn't, in fact, have Elvish ancestry, why include that dialogue at all?
Well if Imrahil was a close relation of Elendil then he would have Elvish ancestry, but through Elros.

1.Turin, Tuor and even Aragorn are all described at times as looking more like Elf Lords than men. I am sure if Legolas had met either Turin or Tuor he might mistakenly assume they had Elvish blood. If they could be mistaken for full Elves, then I it's even more likely Elves, had Dior not been the only exception at the time, would assume the same for them.

2.Mithrellas actions seem contrary to most Elves, who were very close to their childen. Apart from Miriel I can't think of any other example of Elves abandoning their children.

3.Thirdly as Gwindor said elves and men have only married to result in some great purpose and if we are speaking strictly that has only happened twice in recorded history. Beren/Luthien and Tuor/Idris. It's not the sort of thing fate (Eru) permits except for some great reason.

4. As previously stated Elvish blood alone would not be enough for the Princes to be the second greatest nobles in Gondor. Even in the case of Elrond and Elros they were the rightful chiefs of the House of Hador, the House of Beor and possibly the House of Haleth too.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:52 PM   #21
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There was no Choice: that applied only to Earendil, Elwing and their descendants, not to all offspring of Elves and Men. Otherwise, a "one drop" rule applied.


While the text of the War of Wrath chapter dated only from 1937, and was itself just a revision of the end of QN, it is the case that Tolkien had it included in the LQII amanuensis typescript ca 1958, and, more significantly, emended it throughout to take name changes etc into account (e.g. Eonwe for Fionwe), so it appear that this text still had at least some validity after the Lord Of the Rings was published.
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:26 AM   #22
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We can also look at this from a story-external point of view: if Imrahil didn't, in fact, have Elvish ancestry, why include that dialogue at all?
Well if Imrahil was a close relation of Elendil then he would have Elvish ancestry, but through Elros.
1.Turin, Tuor and even Aragorn are all described at times as looking more like Elf Lords than men. I am sure if Legolas had met either Turin or Tuor he might mistakenly assume they had Elvish blood. If they could be mistaken for full Elves, then I it's even more likely Elves, had Dior not been the only exception at the time, would assume the same for them.
But you see he had already met Aragorn without being all OMG U R TOTES A ELF!!!111!! That suggests a greater significance to me.

Anyway, I'm inclined to think WCH may have the right of here:
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There was no Choice: that applied only to Earendil, Elwing and their descendants, not to all offspring of Elves and Men. Otherwise, a "one drop" rule applied.
This would make it irrelevant whether the Mithrellas story is meant to be true or just a family legend.
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Old 04-10-2016, 09:54 AM   #23
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But you see he had already met Aragorn without being all OMG U R TOTES A ELF!!!111!! That suggests a greater significance to me.
He had met Aragorn knowing his history and probably when Aragorn was worn by travels. We are told that when Aragorn and Arwen were betrothed

But Aragorn was grown to full stature of body and mind, and Galadriel bade him cast aside his wayworn raiment, and she clothed him in silver and white, with a cloak of elven-grey and a bright gem on his brow. Then more than any king of Men he appeared, and seemed rather an Elf-lord from the Isles of the West. And thus it was that Arwen first beheld him again after their long parting; and as he came walking towards her under the trees of Caras Galadhon laden with flowers of gold,1 her choice was made and her doom appointed.

By that description Aragorn could easily be mistaken for an Elf.

Imrahil's description and appearance is to give the reader an indication of how great Gondor was and still is. He is after all the highest noble in the country and virtually an independent ruler.
Quote:
Quote:
Anyway, I'm inclined to think WCH may have the right of here:

This would make it irrelevant whether the Mithrellas story is meant to be true or just a family legend.
I was not discussing Mithrellas, but the case of Dior and his sons. Mithrellas of course would not have a choice, because the decision had already been made. Dior on the other hand died before a decision had been made and I suspect he may have been given a choice or even assumed to be an elf considering his history.

To further drive home the point. Look at the description of Turin, who didn't even have a drop of Elvish blood.

'But you are kingly,' said she, 'even as the lords of the people of Fingolfin; I would I had
a brother so valiant. And I do not think that Agarwaen is your name, nor is it fit for you,
Adanedhel. I call you Thurin, the Secret.'


But Turin was young, and only now reached his full manhood; and he was in truth the son of Morwen Eledhwen to look upon: tall, dark-haired and pale-skinned, with grey eyes, and his face more beautiful than any other among mortal men, in the Elder Days. His speech and bearing were those of the ancient kingdom of Doriath, and even among the Elves he might be taken at first meeting for one from the great houses of the Noldor.

If someone with no Elvish blood could be mistaken for a Noldor Lord straight from seeing the Trees, then I don't see why not so with Imrahil when the same is said of Aragorn.

Last edited by cellurdur; 04-10-2016 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:16 AM   #24
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cellurdur, I'd address your points and all that, but... there's this:
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I was not discussing Mithrellas, but the case of Dior and his sons. Mithrellas of course would not have a choice, because the decision had already been made. Dior on the other hand died before a decision had been made and I suspect he may have been given a choice or even assumed to be an elf considering his history.
This entire thread has been about Mithrellas and the implications of Imrahil's possible descent from her. Were you by any chance meaning to post in the Dior thread?

And Galin, belated thanks for the birthday wishes!
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:55 PM   #25
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cellurdur, I'd address your points and all that, but... there's this:

This entire thread has been about Mithrellas and the implications of Imrahil's possible descent from her. Were you by any chance meaning to post in the Dior thread?

And Galin, belated thanks for the birthday wishes!
Unless someone moved my post I am sure my post WAS IN the Dior thread. It seems you accidentally quoted my Dior post in this thread.

Other points that support my argument is that Turin, Tuor and Aragorn were all raised amongst elves. It's true they had the necessary genes to resemble Elves, but Men resembling elves is more than just genes. The Numenorean's at their zenith became virtually indistinguishable from Elves and Tolkien put this down to untainted land of Numenor and the Elvish lifestyle they adapted too.

I would imagine it's a very similar, but to far lesser extent case with Imrahil. Dol Amroth recently had Elves live there. They more than anyone else in Gondor probably still adhere to Elvish way of life. Hence why Imrahil has such a close resemblance to an Elf, but Boromir and Faramir do not.
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Old 04-15-2016, 07:38 PM   #26
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Unless someone moved my post I am sure my post WAS IN the Dior thread. It seems you accidentally quoted my Dior post in this thread.
It's the post I was replying to- #23 in this thread. So I'm not sure what's happened.
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Old 04-16-2016, 03:33 AM   #27
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This looks Half-Elfy

Galador also had a sister, Gilmith (Starmist) and so, we also do not know how 'half-elfy' Dol Amroth's people became because of transmission of Efly-ness from Gilmith'sdescendants.

I'm not sure the Choice of the Peredhil was available to Galador, and I've argued elsewhere that, because Imrazor was of Numenorean heritage, we are after the era after the Decree of Mandos.

Some limit the Choice of the Perdhil soley to the children of Elrond, due to the wording citing Mandos. I've always seen the decrees symbolically, not quite as literally as worded, and about the unions of the two races. So, for example, we don't know that Gilmith chose the Edain.

Imrazor, was fairly controlling a male, I seem to recall, in the mythology where Mithrellas seemed more like a prisoner or captive of him. Some say this means Gilmith was unlikely to choose Elvendom, but I do not think this follows. As a rebelling daughter, (presumably like any teen, and repelling a pushy father), she may well have found her way to the Elven peoples in the lands around.

Fast forwards - Imrahil and generations on.

It seemed to me very unlikely that after the many generations from Mithrellas that Imrahil should have been as 'Elvish' as he obviously seemed. What was it I read somewhere about the 'Elvishness' being about Imrahil not growing a beard (anyone have any ideas?)

However - my reading is that it was unlikely he had the Choice of the Peredhil available to him. I also am not fully convinced his line ever did - but mostly convinced.

This seems all very Half-Elven Foundation-ish.....
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