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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Union between Elves and Mortals

Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 16 2013, 4:02am

Post #1 of 24 (985 views)
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Union between Elves and Mortals Can't Post

Technically there were only 3 unions of Elves and Mortals in Tolkien's world : Luthien and Beren, Idril and Tuor, and Aragorn with Arwen. My question is: Why in each of these unions it was always the husband mortal and the wife Elven? Why no union where the husband is Elven and the wife mortal? Even with Thingol and Melian, we see that the the wife is the higher order. Was there a reason why Tolkien never did choose the other way around?

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"

(This post was edited by Eowyn3 on Feb 16 2013, 4:04am)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Feb 16 2013, 5:08am

Post #2 of 24 (707 views)
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There are two other instances I can think of. [In reply to] Can't Post

One is from the Unfinished Tales. I believe her name is Mithrellas, though I can't remember for sure. I totally don't remember the guy's name. I think it was a forced union.

The other was actually just pining that never resulted in anything. And this one was actually an Elf man and a Human woman, Aegnor and Andreth. It's talked about somewhat in Morgoth's Ring, but not a lot.

I'm sure others could give you much more information. I'm too tired at the moment to be of much help. Sorry Evil

There's a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall and the bells in the steeple, too.
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird is popping out to say coo-coo (coo-coo, coo-coo).


CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 16 2013, 6:28am

Post #3 of 24 (684 views)
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And another [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the way that Elven blood got into the veins of the human nobility of Dol Amroth was from a human male and an elven female.

No idea why the woman is always the more divine of the two. Maybe it's traditional: you have fairy princesses in stories, but not fairy princes, so the magic should lie with the lady?


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 16 2013, 11:46am

Post #4 of 24 (594 views)
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Imrazor the Numenorean [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it was Mithrellas, a hand-maiden of Nimrodel who married Imrazor, as told in UT. I didn't get the idea it was a forced marriage, though - forced by whom? Anyway, through that union an elven bloodline pops up in a variety of surprising places - Imrahil is a descendant of Imrazor; that's explained - but then so are Boromir and Faramir, his sister-sons.

And Theoden. And Eomer and Eowyn; through Theoden's mum Morwen of Lossarnach; Steelsheen as she was called by the Rohirrim. For she was also a kinswoman of Imrahil.

BTW - Tolkien didn't say there were only three unions of Men and Elves; he said Men and the Eldar, who are a specific branch of elf-kind. And no, I don't know why the male is always a Man and the female an elf - tho' I guess it might all come back to that woodland glade in Roos in Yorkshire, back in 1917 or 18, when Edith sang and danced for her returned soldier.


(This post was edited by geordie on Feb 16 2013, 11:47am)


Felagund
Lorien


Feb 16 2013, 12:03pm

Post #5 of 24 (608 views)
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the Dol Amroth connection and other thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, Mithrellas is right. She was a Silvan elf, part of Nimrodel's party that made its way to Edhellond on the Bay of Belfalas. She was separated from Nimrodel and ended up being taken in by the local lord, Imrazôr the Númenórean, with whom she had two children - Galador and Gilmith. Don't have the text to hand, but I recall too that the union wasn't a happy one - Mithrellas runs off one night.

Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth at the time of the War of the Ring, is a descendant of Galador. From there you have Legolas' remark about Elvish blood running in the veins of the House of Dol Amroth.

And then there's Turin. He seems to have held a certain attraction for Elven women - Nellas of Doriath and Finduilas of Nargothrond both fell for his sociopathic charms but, like Aegnor and Andreth, no Elda-Atan marriage came of this.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 16 2013, 2:43pm

Post #6 of 24 (561 views)
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Now I vaguely remember that. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's been 10 years since I read UT and History of ME. I recall that the prince Imharil has Elven blood and in ROTK it is told how the blood of Numenor runs true on Denethor and Faramir, but I did not remember the details. Thank you guys for this great info. Keep it coming while I can go back and read the original texts again.

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 16 2013, 5:36pm

Post #7 of 24 (586 views)
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Tolkien's View of Women [In reply to] Can't Post

Which has probably been discussed a lot here. Tolkien had a high view of women in that he saw them as spiritual and different than men. Better in some ways. A short post like this can't do justice to this argument but Tolkien has an "unfallen" (as in Adam and Eve) view of women. All of his women characters are strong. Most of them are of a higher order than the men.
Manwe is the King of Arda but he is never more strong than when Varda is with him. And it is Varda who is revered and called upon by the elves. It's all very interesting.


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 16 2013, 7:45pm

Post #8 of 24 (560 views)
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Very interesting! [In reply to] Can't Post

And I like that about him anyway. Quite progressive for Tolkien's times I would think.

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 16 2013, 10:27pm

Post #9 of 24 (531 views)
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Good memory... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
One is from the Unfinished Tales. I believe her name is Mithrellas, though I can't remember for sure. I totally don't remember the guy's name. I think it was a forced union.

The other was actually just pining that never resulted in anything. And this one was actually an Elf man and a Human woman, Aegnor and Andreth. It's talked about somewhat in Morgoth's Ring, but not a lot.

I'm sure others could give you much more information. I'm too tired at the moment to be of much help. Sorry Evil



And CuriousG wrote:

Quote

I think the way that Elven blood got into the veins of the human nobility of Dol Amroth was from a human male and an elven female.



Both were the same elven lady--Mithrellas, a silvan elf of Lorien who was wed (it is said) to a Númenorean mariner, Imrazor of Belfalas. Mithrellas bore him two sons--one of which was Galador, the first Lord of Dol Amroth, then she slipped away and was seen no more (as J.E.A. Tyler writes in The Complete Tolkien Companion).

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 17 2013, 3:37am

Post #10 of 24 (539 views)
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legends [In reply to] Can't Post

In the first edition the three unions were between 'High Elves and Men' -> revised by JRRT to (second edition) 'Eldar and Edain'.


As for Mithrellas, I think this information tends to be taken as a bit 'too factual' sometimes. Granted, can Legolas be wrong when he looks at Imrahil? One wouldn't think so, I agree. But that noted, if I recall correctly Tolkien is always careful to report this legend of Elvish blood as a legend, or a story; a legend within a legend I guess.

And Tolkien, in a late note, even adds that in some versions the lady was Nimrodel herself, although adding that this was less probable than Mithrellas. But even with Mithrellas, why does Tolkien construct the legend so as to have the Elf disappear after bearing children? Hmm.

Maybe it's a good way for a rumour to start, from a mannish perspective anyway, that the mother of these children was a 'fairy wife'... a tale that in time cannot be proven or disproven, as she is gone.


And the founding of Dol Amroth is another matter: according to an author's note to Cirion and Eorl (Unfinished Tales) the founding of Dol Amroth may go well back before Galador (son of Mithrellas according to the legend), with the name 'Dol Amroth' being applied much later.

This is a late note, but if I read the description correctly, in a very late note (December 1972 or later) Tolkien again refers to Nimrodel in any case, with: 'The legend of the prince's line was that one of the earliest fathers had wedded an Elf-maiden: in some versions it was indeed (evidently improbably) said to have been Nimrodel herself. In other tales, and more probably, it was one of Nimrodel's companions who was lost in the upper mountain glens.' which again, considering 'one of the earliest fathers' here, seems to imply that the line started nearer the drowning of Amroth instead of much earlier.

With respect to these accounts Christopher Tolkien notes: '... the two statements can only be reconciled on the supposition that the line of the Princes, and indeed the place of their dwelling, went back more than two thousand years before Galador's day, and that Galador was called the first Lord of Dol Amroth because it was not until his time (after the drowning of Amroth in the year 1981) that Dol Amroth was so named.'


Skipping over the further difficulty of an Adrahil mentioned here, Christopher Tolkien also notes that while his explanations to reconcile the seemingly variant accounts are not impossible, they seem less likely than there being two distinct and independent traditions of the origins of the Lords of Dol Amroth.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 17 2013, 3:46am)


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 17 2013, 6:20am

Post #11 of 24 (528 views)
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Cinderella? Rapunzel? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
No idea why the woman is always the more divine of the two. Maybe it's traditional: you have fairy princesses in stories, but not fairy princes, so the magic should lie with the lady?


I think there are several girls who were of ordinary birth (though, of course, incredibly beautiful) who ended up with princes.








CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 17 2013, 2:44pm

Post #12 of 24 (485 views)
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I was thinking of the magic part [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems that the princesses usually have a magical dimension to them, more often than the men do. "Fairy princess" is a common term, but "fairy prince" isn't.


PhantomS
Rohan


Feb 17 2013, 5:57pm

Post #13 of 24 (486 views)
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blood glorious blood [In reply to] Can't Post

Imrahil replies to Legolas by saying that the Elves had walked in his lands a long ago; earlier he is shown with his knights, all looking alike with grey eyes and tall bearing; perhaps it's not a direct line of descent? He and his knights are portrayed as being very truly Numenorean, it might be that he is not the only one descended from Elves (arguably he's the first Dol Amroth man Legolas meets in the city) and more mixing was possible as Elves had lived there while Gondor flourished. Legolas doesn't say anything about Faramir or Boromir who both should have some kind of Elf-blood recognition through their mum, oddly enough.


sador
Half-elven


Feb 17 2013, 6:23pm

Post #14 of 24 (496 views)
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There is also the story of one of the Tooks who had a fairy wife... [In reply to] Can't Post

That was, of course, absurd. Smile


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 17 2013, 9:06pm

Post #15 of 24 (465 views)
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I never read that one. [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you remember what book it was? And yes, that does sound absurd!

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 17 2013, 9:14pm

Post #16 of 24 (457 views)
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That's interesting, [In reply to] Can't Post

about Aegnor and Andreth. I'll have to pull out Morgoth's ring and re-read. With Mithrellas, we are still talking about Elf lady and Mortal man. But that is at least one.

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 17 2013, 10:43pm

Post #17 of 24 (459 views)
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Actually, it is in 'The Hobbit' [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Do you remember what book it was? And yes, that does sound absurd!



It is a story told of the Tooks.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 17 2013, 11:18pm

Post #18 of 24 (448 views)
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I never took that very serious, [In reply to] Can't Post

because of the way it's worded. To me it has always meant just Hobbit- gossip. It does say right there that it's absurd. Is it said in any other Tolkien work in a more serious way?

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


geordie
Tol Eressea

Feb 17 2013, 11:20pm

Post #19 of 24 (460 views)
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Well, not so much a story really. [In reply to] Can't Post

What Tolkien wrote was this - 'It had always been said that long ago one or other of the Tooks had married into a fairy family (the less friemdly said a goblin family)...'
(ch.1, An Unexpected Party)

That was in the 1st and 2nd editions; Tolkien dropped the 'goblin' part later.
.


Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 17 2013, 11:36pm

Post #20 of 24 (455 views)
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Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

I have 3 copies of The Hobbit (don't ask why), but my oldest copy is a 4th edition hardcover from 1978. I guess the wording is a little different. It does not say anything about goblin and it makes the whole thing sound very much like an absurd Hobbit-gossip.

On my version it says-"It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was of course, absurd, but certainly there was something not entirely hobbitlike about them...

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


squire
Valinor


Feb 17 2013, 11:47pm

Post #21 of 24 (465 views)
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Tolkien revised the passage in 1966. [In reply to] Can't Post

He did it in order to get The Hobbit a bit more in line with the world of The Lord of the Rings. I did some research into this revision a few years back, so pardon me if I give the link rather than rewrite it or cut and paste it here. But in brief, along with recounting the textual history of the change, I speculated a bit on just why Tolkien included this weird detail in the first place, and kept it in modified form in the revised Hobbit when he could have just gotten rid of it. The conclusion (not surprisingly, I hope) takes us right back to the subject of this present thread!



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Eowyn3
Rivendell

Feb 18 2013, 12:31am

Post #22 of 24 (448 views)
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Thank you for the link [In reply to] Can't Post

Very impressive and well researched article. I hope others will read it too.Smile

" He has just as much reason to go to war as you do. Why can he not fight for those he loves?"


sador
Half-elven


Feb 18 2013, 4:22am

Post #23 of 24 (482 views)
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Neither did I. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Feb 21 2013, 8:21am

Post #24 of 24 (449 views)
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Simple answer really [In reply to] Can't Post

any married man knows that his wife is his better half.

Tolkien just elevated this further with his elven/human pairings.

Another elfy girl that I do not think has been mentioned is Finduilas and her affection for Turin. If he had been sensible and properly responded to her attention much tragedy would have been averted.

 
 

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