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The lifespan of people in Gondor and Dol Amroth in the late Third Age

Victariongreyjoy
Rivendell


Oct 20 2017, 7:40pm

Post #1 of 16 (1887 views)
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The lifespan of people in Gondor and Dol Amroth in the late Third Age Can't Post

How long were their lifespan and do they age slowly than ordinary humans? The reason I ask, is because Denethor during the War of The Ring, was 89 before he died. But he looks like he was more in his late 50's or 60 than closer to 90. So perhaps the little numenorean blood they have could prolonge their youth and age?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 20 2017, 10:58pm

Post #2 of 16 (1849 views)
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Blood-lines [In reply to] Can't Post

It depends on how pure the Dúnadan blood-line is. The Dúnedain of Gondor were subject to shorter life-expectanies than their kin in the North due to mixture with other Men, though they were still living longer than common Men. Aragorn actually lived longer than even most of the Dúnedain of the North of his time.

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Oct 20 2017, 11:53pm

Post #3 of 16 (1845 views)
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In Appendix A (v), [i]The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen: [In reply to] Can't Post

  Aragorn says, ...to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middle-earth, but also the grace to go at my will, and give back the gift.

He was 210 yrs. old. That would make the average age of Man about 70 of which it seems he may be referring. Yet, being the last of the Numenoreans and King of the Reunited Kingdom was he not given special dispensation and a longer lifespan than even those of mixed Numenorean blood?

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Victariongreyjoy
Rivendell


Oct 20 2017, 11:55pm

Post #4 of 16 (1842 views)
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Compared to men from Dale and Rohan [In reply to] Can't Post

Even though the gondorians have shorter life span then the dunedain of the North, they lived longer than for example men from Rohan and Dale?


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 21 2017, 3:08am

Post #5 of 16 (1830 views)
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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Even though the gondorians have shorter life span then the dunedain of the North, they lived longer than for example men from Rohan and Dale?


I believe so, yes. Though we probably wouldn't see much difference in the general population of Gondor and the Men of the North. And the Druedain (Woses, for example) were supposed to have had a much shorter lifespan, often not living much past their fiftieth year.

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."


FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 21 2017, 12:09pm

Post #6 of 16 (1772 views)
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Denethor looked old to Pippin [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Denethor during the War of The Ring, was 89 before he died. But he looks like he was more in his late 50's or 60 than closer to 90.

In the chapter Minas Tirith, Pippin compares Denethor and Gandalf side by side:
“Denethor looked indeed much more like a great wizard than Gandalf did, more kingly, beautiful, and powerful; and older.” [my bold]
So for Pippin, Denethor looks older than Gandalf (although Pippin realises “by a sense other than sight” that Gandalf is much older than he looks). I don't know if you're thinking of how Denethor looks in the movie, but if so I think the younger appearance may have more to do with movie preferences than Numenorean blood - after all the movie chose not to make him kingly, beautiful and powerful-looking either... But that's another story!


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



squire
Half-elven


Oct 21 2017, 1:19pm

Post #7 of 16 (1768 views)
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But didn't Denethor also remind Pippin of Aragorn? [In reply to] Can't Post

Pippin saw his carven face with its proud bones and skin like ivory, and the long curved nose between the dark deep eyes; and he was reminded not so much of Boromir as of Aragorn. - LotR V.1

Granted, this doesn't address the question of age so much as family resemblance, but Pippin's first impression given here hardly conveys to the reader a man who seems older than Gandalf. And as Aragorn says to the hobbits when they first meet him, "I am older than I look," suggesting that to the hobbits he does not look all that old.

So: 1) Gandalf is described at the start of the book as "an old man ... [with] a long white beard and bushy eyebrows..."
2) We meet Aragorn at Bree, older than he looks, which is apparently late middle age, perhaps ("dark hair flecked with grey").
3) Denethor, on first sight, reminds the hobbit of Aragorn as compared to Boromir. And 'skin like ivory', though evocative of a pale, smooth, and slightly translucent surface, hardly hints of wrinkles or age-spots!
4) In their next meeting, the hobbit now sees Denethor as older than, not just Aragorn, but Gandalf. He only recognizes his error by listening to his feelings rather than relying on his eyes.

I would argue that, rather like the way every leading noblewoman in Tolkien is blessed with "incomparable" beauty, or how the Ring seems to grow and shrink to fit or slip from a finger as needed, the apparent age of any particular man of wisdom and years is relative to the moment of introduction or reference in the story. As Gandalf puts it at one point, appearances in Middle-earth are a function of morality, not physical facts: "Saruman could look like me in your eyes, if it suited his purpose with you."



squire online:
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Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 21 2017, 3:29pm

Post #8 of 16 (1730 views)
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The Waning of the Dúnedain [In reply to] Can't Post

In LotR Appendix A, Tolkien wrote about the lifespans of the Dúnedain:


Quote
It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line that, though their power departed and their people dwindled, through all the many generations the succession was unbroken from father to son. Also, though the length of the lives of the Dúnedain grew ever less in Middle-earth, after the ending of their kings the waning was swifter in Gondor, and many of the Chieftains of the North still lived to twice the age of Men, and far beyond the days of even the oldest amongst us. Aragorn indeed lived to be one hundred and ninety years old*, longer than any of his line since King Arvegil; but in Aragorn Elessar the dignity of the kings of old was renewed.


That figure for Aragorn is off by twenty years. As previously noted, he actually lived for two hundred and ten years to the day. Tolkien has this to say in his entry on Eldacar, twenty-first King of Gondor:


Quote
After the return of Eldacar the blood of the kingly house and other houses of the Dúnedain became more mingled with that of lesser Men. For many of the great had been slain in the King-strife; while Eldacar showed favour to the Northmen. by whose help he had regained the crown, and the people of Gondor were replenished by great numbers that came from Rhovanion.

This mingling did not at first hasten the waning of the Dúnedain, as had been feared; but the waning still proceeded, little by little, as it had before. For no doubt it was due above all to Middle-earth itself, and to the slow withdrawing of the gifts of the Númenoreans after the downfall of the Land of the Star. Eldacar lived to his two hundred and thirty-fifth year, and was king for fifty-eight years, of which ten were spent in exile.


Ecthelion II was the last of the Ruling Stewards of Gondor to die of natural causes. Tolkien does not provide us with the year of his birth but tells us that he ruled from 2953 to 2984 until his death.

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Oct 21 2017, 3:42pm

Post #9 of 16 (1727 views)
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At the end of the Third Age [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Even though the gondorians have shorter life span then the dunedain of the North, they lived longer than for example men from Rohan and Dale?

Yet we must not confuse Gondorians with Dunedain. Gondorians is a generalized term for all the peoples of Gondor. Many (if not most) would have a lifespan (as Aragorn intimates on his deathbed) of 70 years IMO. Only those Gondorians of (at least some) Dunedain blood would have a longer lifespan than the ordinary man, such as those from Rohan or Dale. Would not farmers, sheephearders etc. or most of the commoners of Gondor fall into this 70 year lifespan range?

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Victariongreyjoy
Rivendell


Oct 21 2017, 4:18pm

Post #10 of 16 (1722 views)
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Faramir's bloodline [In reply to] Can't Post

Faramir became 120 years before he died, so his bloodline of stewards perhaps had a decent numenorean blood. If Denethor hadn't been killed during the war of the ring, he would probably exceeded over 100 years I guess. The same goes for Boromir.
But I find it strange that Imrahil from Dol Amroth, a place where supposed to have a strong numenorean genes, just lived to 100 years old.


squire
Half-elven


Oct 21 2017, 4:26pm

Post #11 of 16 (1722 views)
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Does Tolkien address appearance vs. actual age? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just wondering, since that was the topic I was exploring following FarFromHome's post.

Aragorn says he would "wither and fall from my high seat unmanned and witless" if he chose to die of old age. Does that mean, at the end of his long life (190, 210, or whatever years) he was still outwardly a middle-aged man, as he was during the war of the Ring - at the end of which he is described as dark-haired? Would he undergo a very rapid aging process only after he'd chosen not to give up his life as he was doing: white hair, wrinkles, fallen posture, lack of stamina, poor faculties, etc.?



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'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 21 2017, 4:45pm

Post #12 of 16 (1713 views)
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King Elessar at the end. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien doesn't get very specific; my impression is that Aragorn at the end of his life was showing at least some physical signs of old age. He was not yet feeble and his mind was sound, "yet at last he felt the approach of old age and knew that the span of his life-days was drawing to an end, long though it had been."

When Arwen asks, "Would you then, lord, before your time leave your people that live by your word?" Aragorn replies: "Not before my time... For if I will not go now, then I must soon go perforce. And Eldarion our son is a man full-ripe for kingship."

"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."


Bracegirdle
Valinor


Oct 21 2017, 5:16pm

Post #13 of 16 (1704 views)
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Looking at the tree [In reply to] Can't Post

Imrahil's father lived to 93 yrs. His grandfather to 111 yrs.

I think the Dunedain blood ran approximately the same in Imrahil as in say, Faramir.
I suppose we must consider the difference in people in the Third Age just as the differences today.
Today the average age of a man is in the neighborhood of 75, but many die at 70 and many live to 95 or more. (Would Faramir be in this latter group?) Considering this, it doesn't seem a stretch that Imrahil died at 100 yrs. Yes, I believe it's stated that the princes of Dol Amroth had strong Numenorean genes. But does this necessarily mean stronger? I don't know...

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




Bracegirdle
Valinor


Oct 21 2017, 6:03pm

Post #14 of 16 (1700 views)
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Aragorn was special, oh so special [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Aragorn says he would "wither and fall from my high seat unmanned and witless" if he chose to die of old age. Does that mean, at the end of his long life (190, 210, or whatever years) he was still outwardly a middle-aged man, as he was during the war of the Ring...


Yes IMO. Should we consider that bodily he retained a middle-age appearance at 210 years? I think, why not? Yet he felt the oncoming of an unrelenting dementia and had the grace to take that long sleep. And when he says to Arwen, 'I must go soon perforce' what might that mean to a 210 year-old man - one year, 10 years, perhaps 40 years?

Reminds me (as I enter that unrelenting stage) of today's miraculous medical ways of keeping the folks alive beyond their God-given time, to spend their last years in a wheel-chair staring out the window of an old-folks home. As Aragorn -I choose NO perforce! A mind wasted is a terrible thing...

*soapbox off*

‘. . . the rule of no realm is mine . . .
But all worthy things that are in peril . . . those are my care.
For I also am a steward. Did you not know?'

Gandalf to Denethor




FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 21 2017, 6:21pm

Post #15 of 16 (1703 views)
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And Faramir reminded Sam of Gandalf! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love your comment about appearances in Middle-earth being "a function of morality", as you so neatly put it. I think it's fair to say that these apparent "family resemblances" are complex and perhaps shifting, depending amongst other things on what the character whose eyes we are seeing through is thinking about at the time.

Your quote of Pippin's first impression of Denethor strikes me as a fascinating reflection on Aragorn's own appearance - does he really have the "carven face with its proud bones and skin like ivory, and the long curved nose between the dark deep eyes" that Pippin sees in Denethor? I don't recall anything quite like this ever said about Aragorn himself. When the hobbits first meet Aragorn, of course, they aren't impressed with his appearance at all! What strikes me particularly is that Pippin's other description of Denethor, the one I quoted earlier, stresses that he looks "kingly, beautiful and powerful" - age is almost an afterthought as Pippin tries to reconcile the evidence of his eyes with the "sense other than sight" that is providing what we might call the "moral" resemblance. I would think it's the kingly, beautiful and powerful part of Denethor's appearance that is reminding Pippin of Aragorn, maybe Aragorn as he appeared at the Argonath, “Strider, and yet not Strider; for the weatherworn Ranger was no longer there. In the stern sat Aragorn son of Arathorn, proud and erect...”

I also think that relative ages tend to shift in Middle-earth as well, in fact I've always suspected that the hobbits' slightly longer life-span than ours is a way to keep us off-balance in our ability to pin them down to any particular age, so that sometimes they can behave with child-like innocence and other times with mature wisdom (their height also adds to the child/man confusion of course!). Maybe the same can be said for the life-spans of Men too, so that you can never be sure how characters would match up with people of the same age in our own world. So I'm not wedded to the idea of trying to pin down age-related characteristics for Middle-earth characters at all, seeing as how their very ambiguity seems to be a part of the effect that Tolkien is going for.


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Oct 21 2017, 6:35pm)


No One in Particular
Rivendell


Oct 31 2017, 1:58am

Post #16 of 16 (1353 views)
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Ol' man Denethor [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Denethor during the War of The Ring, was 89 before he died. But he looks like he was more in his late 50's or 60 than closer to 90.

In the chapter Minas Tirith, Pippin compares Denethor and Gandalf side by side:
“Denethor looked indeed much more like a great wizard than Gandalf did, more kingly, beautiful, and powerful; and older.” [my bold]
So for Pippin, Denethor looks older than Gandalf (although Pippin realises “by a sense other than sight” that Gandalf is much older than he looks). I don't know if you're thinking of how Denethor looks in the movie, but if so I think the younger appearance may have more to do with movie preferences than Numenorean blood - after all the movie chose not to make him kingly, beautiful and powerful-looking either... But that's another story!


Denethor may have looked older than he "ought" to have looked for a Numenorean nobleman of his age and relative health. He had been under a lot pf physical, mental, and emotional stress in recent months (or even years!), to say nothing of the strain using the palantîr had put on him.

Between the War, the palantîr, Boromir's death, and his estrangement from Faramir, he was under a metric crap-ton of stress, which will age a person.

While you live, shine
Have no grief at all
Life exists only for a short while
And time demands an end.
Seikilos Epitaph

 
 

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