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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Of the Unionof Elves and Men
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HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell

Mar 22 2014, 11:55pm

Post #1 of 53 (448 views)
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Of the Unionof Elves and Men Can't Post

Of the three confirmed unions of elves and men, only in one are both partners in the couple allowed to become immortal.

Beren-Luthien (female elf becomes mortal and dies)
Elessar-Arwen (female elf becomes mortal and dies)
Tuor-Idril (man becomes immortal and lives happily ever after with elf maiden)

Any reason why Arwen and Luthien had to become mortal and not Idril? Arwen's end seems very tragic to me as she dies alone and forsaken (and probably forgotten).

If I recall correctly, there was some special dispensation for Tuor... but why not far the others?


Cillendor
Lorien


Mar 23 2014, 6:34am

Post #2 of 53 (299 views)
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I can't speak for Tuor, [In reply to] Can't Post

but for Lúthien and Arwen, it comes down to choice.

When Beren died, Lúthien died as well and pleaded before Mandos to let them both return. Mandos deferred to Manwë, who granted her the choice of living in bliss apart from Beren or sundering herself forever from her kind and joining herself to the race of mortal Men. She chose the latter.

Arwen's choice is different, yet similar. She was the daughter of Elrond Half-elven, to whom and his children had been given the choice of which Kindred to follow. Elrond chose that of the Eldar, and for some reason his children were also given this gift. But the children of his brother Elros were not given that choice (which, as you may know, caused some problems later on).


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Mar 23 2014, 3:45pm

Post #3 of 53 (270 views)
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Earendil and Elwing don't count? [In reply to] Can't Post

Earendil was granted immortality, although if he and Elwing were to return to mortal lands then both would become mortal.

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


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 23 2014, 4:06pm

Post #4 of 53 (267 views)
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It's about time they got organized [In reply to] Can't Post

A Union is a great idea - plenty of grievances to discuss with the Valar!

PS: HeWhoArisesinMight, it is not unusual for Reading Roomposts to acquire a facetious subthread, often marked with the smiley by the post title. Such fun & games co-exists with more serious discussion, because of the way that the forum software allows one ot spawn subthreads at any point and isn't intended as a mark of disrespect for the topic. Angelic

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 23 2014, 7:07pm

Post #5 of 53 (260 views)
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Well, I'm going to be THAT guy and bring this topic up... [In reply to] Can't Post

What about the defeated prospect of Andreth and Aegnor in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth? Does it count as 'canon' to you, even though it was only in the unpublished notes of the Home, Volume X: Morgoth's Ring? The Silmarillion was technically pieced together from many notes and contradictory versions, while the Athrabeth seemed to have more inner cohesion in narrative structure and general form.

In the Athrabeth it was theorised by Finrod that the union would bring grief to both while Andreth, a mortal woman, would die first, leaving Aegnor, Finrod's brother, alone. So it would be an inversion of the typical 'lesser/mortal man ensnares an immortal fair maid' found in Beren and Luthien, Aragorn and Arwen, Tuor and Idril, and by a stretch Faramir and Eowyn or Melian and Thingol.

Thoughts??

Link to previous Athrabeth discussion and summary for those who need to brush up.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


EomundDaughter
Lorien

Mar 23 2014, 7:54pm

Post #6 of 53 (253 views)
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Thought I read that Tolkien did not [In reply to] Can't Post

mean the elves to be immortal because they could be killed and/or die from a broken heart.....they just never aged and could live a very long time as long as their luck held out...
Arwen was surrounded by her children and grandchildren when she decided to go away alone and die...always thought she owed it to her family to stay to the end with them...


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 23 2014, 11:53pm

Post #7 of 53 (239 views)
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I agree with you about Arwen. [In reply to] Can't Post

She could have lived long and given much to her children and grandchildren. Of course, we do not know how soon after Aragorn's death she took off for Lorien... maybe it was many years later, and she felt she had given all she could. And if Aragorn was right, that after death there is "more than memory," perhaps they were reunited.

As for Elven immortality: in the Blessed Lands there were few threats, so presumably they would not suffer much from violence and grief. But in any case, a "dead" Elf's fea or spirit went to the Halls of Mandos, and had the potential of being restored to a new body (a process about which Tolkien was never entirely clear or consistent). They were said to be "bound" to Arda as long as it existed, whether in bodies or not, so for all practical purposes they were immortal.








HeWhoArisesinMight
Rivendell


Mar 24 2014, 12:26am

Post #8 of 53 (236 views)
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Unless Valinor is a right-to-work-state [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
A Union is a great idea - plenty of grievances to discuss with the Valar!

PS: HeWhoArisesinMight, it is not unusual for Reading Roomposts to acquire a facetious subthread, often marked with the smiley by the post title. Such fun & games co-exists with more serious discussion, because of the way that the forum software allows one ot spawn subthreads at any point and isn't intended as a mark of disrespect for the topic. Angelic


No offense taken... it was pretty funny, and although I've just started posting to TORN, I have been reading it for a very long time Smile


Elthir
Gondor

Mar 24 2014, 12:14pm

Post #9 of 53 (220 views)
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Elven reincarnation [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
But in any case, a "dead" Elf's fea or spirit went to the Halls of Mandos, and had the potential of being restored to a new body (a process about which Tolkien was never entirely clear or consistent).



In a sense that's true, but on the other hand I think we can find enough clarity within each conception, and at least a measure of consistency here; and enough clarity with respect to the external chronology to be able to confidently point to Tolkien's last known idea here.

Not that you said we couldn't, and I know you were just giving a brief response there Smile

Elvish Reincanation version A: Elves were reincarnated by being reborn into their children.

Tolkien imagined this concept for many years, starting, it would seem, with The Book of Lost Tales and persisting until after The Lord of the Rings was published. As this is a period spanning decades he is arguably 'consistent' in some measure here, although he finally rejected this notion, no doubt. And he rejected it in part because [he thought] the fea of an Elf should be unique to its hroa, which cannot be the case if an Elf is born again to new parents.

Middle Muddle: Tolkien rejects A for the idea of the Elvish fea [roughly 'spirit'] containing a precise memory of its hroa [roughly 'body'], but there is some grey area here, for example, concerning who can restore the body.

Tolkien ultimately lands on...

Elvish Reincarnation version B: the valar restore the hroa of the dead Elf when a given Elf has been deemed ready for bodily restoration. The body is an exact version of the former body [thus the unique fea is wholly in concert with it], based on its memory as held within the fea.

Thus the idea of the fea retaining a precise memory of the hroa survives into the final idea -- it survives from what I'm calling [but not completly describing] the 'middle phase' or Middle Muddle.

So I think the first conception is fairly straightforward, at least generally speaking [I mean rebirth as an Elf is an easy enough idea even if things could get complicated about when this Elf 'knows' and remembers he or she already had a former life] and a long held consistency there at least.

And clarity within the second: I mean, in my opinion the idea is explained with as much clarity as the reader needs, as I think a detailed exposition on how the Valar restore the body, other than employing the information from the fea, is not really necessary. And it's clear that Tolkien rejected the long held idea of A and ultimately landed on B. And B can be found in 'Last Writings' [Glorfindel texts and notes] so we can be fairly certain there was nothing later.

So there was some 'mist' here, yes; and there is arguable inconsistency in that JRRT moved from one concept to the next, but on the other hand the late idea, firmly replacing the earlier notion, is about as good as we ever get with respect to ideas never published by the author himself.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Mar 24 2014, 12:27pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Mar 24 2014, 12:57pm

Post #10 of 53 (224 views)
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Arwen died soon after Aragorn [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
She could have lived long and given much to her children and grandchildren. Of course, we do not know how soon after Aragorn's death she took off for Lorien... maybe it was many years later, and she felt she had given all she could. And if Aragorn was right, that after death there is "more than memory," perhaps they were reunited.



Apparently Arwen left for Lorien quite soon after the death of Aragorn. She died the following winter.

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


EomundDaughter
Lorien

Mar 24 2014, 1:32pm

Post #11 of 53 (207 views)
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Another question here... [In reply to] Can't Post

since Arwen chose to stay and become mortal....she could have died before Aragon....Would he have left in grief at that time to die after saying goodby to their children?....if not...why not?


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 24 2014, 6:08pm

Post #12 of 53 (198 views)
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Responsibilities? [In reply to] Can't Post

If Eldarion wasn't yet ready to assume the throne, he would have had to stay on to fulfill his responsibilities as King. But, also, characters have their own priorities, like we do, and just because Arwen was so grief-stricken she no longer wished to live without her husband we don't know that Aragorn would have reacted the same way, even though he clearly loved her.








IdrilLalaith
Rivendell

Mar 25 2014, 4:33am

Post #13 of 53 (180 views)
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Getting back to the original post [In reply to] Can't Post

It's never definitively stated that Tuor gets a special dispensation. Tolkien says that it's implied (although not stated) that Tuor became immortal (that's in Letters somewhere). He never really delves into why Tuor may have been given this dispensation other than that he was counted among the Eldar whom he loved.

When you think about it, Tuor never actually lived among mortals. He was raised by Sindarin Elves and then lived in Gondolin. The only time he lived among men was when he was enslaved by the Easterlings. Whether this is a "valid" reason for such a profound exception is debatable, but it is interesting.

To comment on the situation with Arwen, remember what she gave up for Aragorn. She's mortal now and her family is immortal. She will die and her spirit won't go to the Halls of Mandos. While mortals have hope for what lies beyond death, Arwen certainly wasn't raised to think about that. She will never see her mother, father, grandparents, and (possibly) brothers again. Pretty depressing.


Elthir
Gondor

Mar 25 2014, 12:05pm

Post #14 of 53 (178 views)
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certainty [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
While mortals have hope for what lies beyond death, Arwen certainly wasn't raised to think about that. She will never see her mother, father, grandparents, and (possibly) brothers again. Pretty depressing.



Although I agree about what the belief is, in general, I think the idea should not be expressed so certainly though: Arwen will, in potential, be sundered from her mother and father for example, and that is still an ingredient that makes her decision a major decision. Unless I'm mistaken, Tolkien prefers to put things in the context of what Men believed, and what Elves believed, and when he speaks as himself...

'It is in any case neither side was fully informed about the ultimate destiny of the other (...) But what the 'end of the world' portended for it or for themselves they did not know (though they no doubt had theories). Neither had they, of course any special information concerning what 'Death' portended for Men. They believed that it meant 'liberation from the Circles of the world', and was in that respect to them enviable. And they would point out to Men who envied them that a dread of ultimate loss, though it may be indefinitely remote, is not necessarily the easier to bear if it is in the end ineluctably certain: a burden may become heavier the longer it is born.' JRRT 1963 Letters


The Elves had various theories concerning what Eru had in store for them, after the End of time and their 'ultimate death' [some of these are revealed in Morgoth's Ring], and if I recall correctly, according to Finrod at least [Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth] there was at least one theory in which the children would be united in some sense. Finrod describes his vision of Arda remade with the Eldar completed but not ended, abiding in the present forever, '... and there walk, maybe, with the Children of Men, their deliverers'


In any case the Quendi needed estel, just like Men, concerning life after [ultimate] death...

... and of course Finrod did not certainly know, and the End of time is a long time away, in potential Smile


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 25 2014, 2:06pm

Post #15 of 53 (173 views)
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Cerin Amroth and a reunion with a revenant? [In reply to] Can't Post

I recall a line from the Lorien chapter where it says that Aragorn and Arwen met in Lorien on Cerin Amroth, and that they talked, and once they descended, Aragorn left and 'never more came there as a mortal man' (emphasis mine).

Maybe that hinted at a possibility of return as a spirit? If not, maybe it is just another layer of myth in the ME universe. Arwen going there to reunite with a memory/ghost of Aragorn, is just about as satisfying as her going there, being dissapointed, and dying to join him. It works either way for me.Smile

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


IdrilLalaith
Rivendell

Mar 26 2014, 3:01am

Post #16 of 53 (159 views)
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Definitely agree on the possibility [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking about the separation more on an emotional level than a philosophical one. While Arwen certainly would have been aware of the hope the Eldar hold--and presumably she had the same hope--hope isn't always enough in a situation like that.

In some ways, it almost seems like the fate of the Elves is more difficult--they get to live for thousands of years and then (potentially) just stop existing. Although I suppose it's the same for men, only with a shorter lifespan. I guess because Tolkien did dwell on the hope of mortals more than on the hope of Elves, it seems like more of a reasonable hope.


In Reply To
Maybe that hinted at a possibility of return as a spirit? If not, maybe it is just another layer of myth in the ME universe. Arwen going there to reunite with a memory/ghost of Aragorn, is just about as satisfying as her going there, being dissapointed, and dying to join him. It works either way for me.Smile


That's a really interesting idea, actually. Is there any case of "ghosts" within M-e that weren't tinged with evil or misfortune?

I feel like any kind of spirit (aside from the Maiar) was typically either a cursed human, as in the case of the Paths of the Dead, or a phantom of Morgoth or Saruon. Anyone have any examples of the contrary?


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 26 2014, 7:59am

Post #17 of 53 (160 views)
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How about Gandalf? [In reply to] Can't Post

What was he on his return? As he said to Gwiahir:

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'Twice you have borne me, Gwaihir my friend... ...Thrice shall pay for all, if you are willing. You will not find me a burden much greater than when you bore me from Zirak-zigil, where my old life burned away.'









Elthir
Gondor

Mar 26 2014, 12:41pm

Post #18 of 53 (146 views)
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Gandalf the ghostly [In reply to] Can't Post

But he never said 'boo' even once! Ghosts cannot help saying boo, at least now and then, as far as I know.

Granted Quenya words do not usually begin with this sound, but that leaves us with Sindarin and Westron, so my vote is: 'no ghost'.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 26 2014, 8:21pm

Post #19 of 53 (143 views)
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I do not think so.... [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think of the Elven ability to 'walk in memory' IIRC. Perhaps the bond of memory was enough for her? Or did she lose that becoming mortal? Maybe the memory of Aragorn's willing release helped her die without pain and bitterness? Hope and Memory are equally as important as Hope in memory. That is what faith and trust is: Hope, maybe irrational, based on past good experiences that allows for the unpromised expectation of good in the future.

Well we don't know for sure, and I am not sure I want to!! It is much more interesting as it is and allows for such great discussion!!

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Mar 29 2014, 5:15pm

Post #20 of 53 (128 views)
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A bitter pill [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
She could have lived long and given much to her children and grandchildren. Of course, we do not know how soon after Aragorn's death she took off for Lorien... maybe it was many years later, and she felt she had given all she could. And if Aragorn was right, that after death there is "more than memory," perhaps they were reunited.


Arwen was aware that the time was inevitable (Aragorn’s death); yet when it came (Aragorn’s choice) Arwen blanched, “Would you then, lord, before your time leave your people. . . .”
Her love for Aragorn was so great that she would, even now, have him for just a while longer; and she learned “…the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive.”; yet she knew in her heart the answer to her question and we can hope that after death there is “more than memory”.

Tokien says in Letters 345 that Arwen had abandoned her Elvish rights. This assumedly would incl. immortality. So could she have lived long? Probably for many years, yet I believe as “…the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter…”, very very soon after Aragorn’s passing she would leave Gondor for Cerin Amroth.

BTW Tolkien in Letters 181 that he considered The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen the most important part of the Appendices. (Interesting)

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Mar 29 2014, 6:11pm

Post #21 of 53 (118 views)
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She died the following winter. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the paragraph you refer to could be interpreted that way...... or not? Unimpressed

From World's End then he turned away,
and yearned again to find afar .
his home through shadows journeying,
and burning as an island star . . .

-Bilbo Baggins


Elthir
Gondor

Mar 29 2014, 6:41pm

Post #22 of 53 (117 views)
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Arwen, if you need a sleep aid [In reply to] Can't Post

 
It seems to me that as one of the Pereldar, Arwen lived like an Elf (including long life), thought enough like one, looked like one, and even carried the potential to remain within the World and its time, like all other Elves. In places she is accounted as an Elf (Three Unions for example), and seems to me to be so essentially Elvish, that considering her an Elf is correct…


… except where one might focus on how she is not technically a true Elf! but one of the Pereldar. That is, by blood-measure and the fact that she is given a choice of kindred for instance, she can also besaid not to be an Elf (see the last quote below from JRRT),


If you’re having trouble sleeping, here are some (not all) collected passages. I actually didn't check my first edition for the passages from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, so if they differ please let me know...


__________


Published in 1955 (though again, the following hail from a revised edition): Tale of Aragorn and Arwen Arwen speaking: 'Do not wonder! For the children of Elrond have the life of the Eldar.' I'm tempted to note that she doesn't simply say she is an Elda here... but has 'the life of the Eldar' rather, and the context seems to be to inform Aragorn that the Children of Elrond are long-lived like the Eldar.


But in any case Aragorn saw 'the elven-light in her eyes and the wisdom of many days' and she is the Evenstar 'of her people' as well,and counted as an Elda with respect to the Three Unions; and Elrond says to Aragorn: 'And it is not fit that mortal should wed with the Elf-kin' referring to his daughter.


Arwen is obviously exceedingly fair, and reminds of the Elven beauty of Luthien! And even Elladan and Elrohir are marked as 'fair and gallant as Elven-lords.' (Passing of the Grey Company). On the other hand, being as fair as an Elf, or looking like and Elf (Turin) doesn't make one an Elf (not sure if researching the light of one’s eyes will truly alter the general point in any case), and living long as an Elf would arguably give one the wisdom of many days.


Anyway, Elrond further notes that so long as he abides here 'she shall live with the youth of the Eldar', and Arwen notes that in the West lies the land of 'my people and the long home of all my kin' the writer adding that she loved her father dearly. And: 'But Arwen became as a mortal woman, and yet it was not her lot to die until all that she had gained was lost.'

letters


1963 Hammond and Scull note: 'She was not yet weary of her days' -- In his unpublished letter to Eileen Elgar, begun 22 September 1963, Tolkien suggests that Arwen could have surrendered her life at the same time as Aragorn, but she as not yet prepared to do so. Although she had become mortal, by nature she was still Elvish, with the long view of life held by that immortal race, to whom 'the gift of the One to Men... is bitter to receive'. Hammond and Scull, The Lord of the Rings, A Reader's Companion, p. 701


I certainly don'tdoubt the scholarly skills of Hammond and Scull to reproduce Tolkien's thoughts accurately here, but technically the only actual quoted section in this entry seems to be the ones I highlighted in blue. Anyway, later Tolkien rather directly states:


1972 (letter 345): 'Arwen was not an Elf, but one of the Half-elven who abandoned her elvish rights.' Ok not an Elf here -- by blood-measure certainly not a regular Elf (technically), and a regular Elf also do not get to choose the fate of his or her spirit.


So in short... what was the question again Smile


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 29 2014, 7:01pm

Post #23 of 53 (125 views)
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She is 78.13% Elven [In reply to] Can't Post

As a great boon to all of us, Ruxendil_Thoorg has calculated exactly how "Elven" Elrond is.

And thus by Daniel LB's calculation, Arwen is:
Elrond = 56.25% elf
Celebrian = 100% elf
Arwen = 78.13% elf (and roughly 3.13% Maia, 18.75% Man)








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 29 2014, 7:04pm)


Bracegirdle
Grey Havens


Mar 29 2014, 9:49pm

Post #24 of 53 (111 views)
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Who's Peredhil ? [In reply to] Can't Post

  
In case you missed the recent thread:
Thingol (E) + Melian (A) = (Luthien (EA) = 50% Elf, 50% Ainur).
Luthien (EA) + Beren (MM) = (Dior (EAMM) = 25% Elf, 25% Ainur, 50% Man).
Dior (EAMM) + Nimloth (EEEE) = (Elwing (E5, A, M2) = 62.5% Elf, 12.5% Ainur, 25.0% Man).
Elwing (E5, A1, M2)+ Earendil (E4, M4) = Elrond (E9, A1, M6) = 56.25% Elf, 6.25% Ainur, 37.50% Man. Slightly over 1/2 Elven but, yes, still semantics-wise a Half-elven and Elrond is still “all-Elrond”. . .

One step further:
Elrond (E9, A1, M6) + Celebrian (E16) = (Arwen, Elladan, Elrohir (E25, A1, M6) = 78.125% Elf, 3.125% Ainur, 18.750% Man).



Quote
It seems to me that as one of the Pereldar, Arwen lived like an Elf (including long life),

I assume you mean 'Peredhil' (S: Half-elven).
So Arwen was 22% more Elvish than Elrond.
But as your last paragraph states, "she abandoned her Elvish rights." Which I assume as she states herself her right to "sail", and (probably) her immortallity.

When she accepted The Choice of Luthien she didn't change into a Dwarf or an Orc - she is still an Elf (Peredhil if you like) (what else?) without the rights of an Elf (as Tolkien says).

Anyway, long life or not, in her deep grief she chose The Doom of Men very soon after Aragorn died.

And I'm rambling.......time out! Unsure
Yeah! What was the question?


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Mar 29 2014, 10:35pm

Post #25 of 53 (106 views)
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What interpretation? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I think the paragraph you refer to could be interpreted that way...... or not? Unimpressed



There is nothing that is debatable; Tolkien is quite clear:

Quote

'But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent.

'There at last where the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest apon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea.'



In a different post, you wrote:

Quote

So Arwen was 22% more Elvish than Elrond.
But as your last paragraph states, "she abandoned her Elvish rights." Which I assume as she states herself her right to "sail", and (probably) her immortallity.

When she accepted The Choice of Luthien she didn't change into a Dwarf or an Orc - she is still an Elf (Peredhil if you like) (what else?) without the rights of an Elf (as Tolkien says).



In making the same choice as her uncle Elros, Arwen did give up her immortality for the fate of mortal-kind. She might have lived many more years if she had taken solace in her children instead of giving in to grief; however, Arwen had already lived as an Elf for two thousand years. She probably would have lived only a few more decades; or another century or so at most. The same is probably true of her brothers.

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

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Mar 29 2014, 10:45pm)

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