Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
On elves and beauty
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 2, 7:41pm

Post #1 of 27 (4403 views)
Shortcut
On elves and beauty Can't Post

I was in that moment of half-asleep half-awake waking up stage this morning. The sun was barely peeking through the blinds and curtains, and I had a sudden random thought (not as bizarre as some others I've had waking up, but still)...is there such a thing as an ugly elf?

Now, I know elves are supposed to be fair and beautiful of face and song and dance with starlight in their eyes, but hear me out. Luthien, Galadriel, Arwen, etc are renown for their beauty even amongst elves (and Luthien, her voice and dancing as well). If all elves were uncommonly beautiful, then why would these three lovely ladies stand out so much?

Conversely, it is said that Feanor's wife, Nerdanel, was a surprising choice because she was freckled and red-haired and not considered very pretty by her peers (or am I misunderstanding that part? I'm in the middle of selling my house and am not sure where my copy of the Sil is at the moment). As in, why would a mighty elf lord and craftsman want such a Plain Jane?

Which leads to my question. Elves as a whole race are considered fair (which in Tolkien's day was a euphemism both for light skinned and also for beauty). But is it possible that some human/mortal women are prettier than some of the "plainer" elven ladies? Is there a potential overlap here between the two races? And that even amongst elfkind, there were still standards of beauty that not all elves were able to achieve?
Which lends itself to another, but less serious question- what kind of elven cosmetics do you think they had access to, and did they use them? Tongue

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


(This post was edited by Cirashala on May 2, 7:43pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 5, 12:41pm

Post #2 of 27 (4190 views)
Shortcut
Those mall-rat elf-girls hanging around the cosmetics counter [In reply to] Can't Post

What a great question to come in that transitional stage between sleep and wakefulness. My questions that time of day tend to be more like "are we out of coffee?" and "why did the neighbor's car alarm go off again at 5 am?"

I was struck by your cosmetics question because I'm a guy and no, don't use 'em, and really don't think about them, but when I imagine Elven beauties, yes, they have makeup on and out-beauty all the pretty human beauties on Oscars night. Just my image of them--radiantly, ethereally beautiful. So in my head canon, the most beautiful human ever would only ever equal but not surpass Elven beauty.

But do or can Plain Jane Elves exist? Hmmm. I would be inclined to say there aren't any, based on my impressions from LOTR and The Hobbit. What does give me pause, however, are the cracks in Elvish perfections revealed in the First Age, and in particular I'm thinking of The Children of Hurin where a simple-minded Elf in Doriath proves to be a key witness in Turin's favor, but the witnessing needs to be coaxed out of her. What's this, an Elf who is not one of the Wise? I thought they were all wise? And beautiful? And good? So my conclusion is that if they're not all wise, then they're not all beautiful. But if I stick to LOTR, every Elf in Rivendell and Lorien in my mind comes from a modeling agency.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 5, 3:38pm

Post #3 of 27 (4173 views)
Shortcut
Good insight :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Meh-luckily my neighbors aren't early risers and I am. However, they have sometimes stayed up til late singing loudly and off-key just twenty feet away from my bedroom window doing karaoke while drunk when I'm trying to go to sleep Pirate Thank heavens we're moving to acreage (closing on or before June 11) where it's much quieter...I don't like living in the city, and am thankful we've reached the point where I can sell my house and get the farm we've always wanted (we're building our house ourselves this summer).

Equal but never surpass- yeah, I can buy that Smile There is a point though, I think, where one has to acknowledge that to have long lashes, pretty color eyes, skin without blemish, and long smooth curls and tall and slender and comely-shaped lips and nose is something that would be near-perfect beauty, which would describe Luthien. Flawless.

Which logically would indicate that, if Luthien and Galadriel and Arwen were considered flawless even amongst elfkind, then it would be logical to assume that other elven women did have flaws? And if so, if there was flaws within elven beauty that would make these ladies so renown in their flawlessness, then would that indicate that elves had varying degrees of beauty, just like mortal women?

Now, that being said, I would argue that all elves are pretty, but not all elves are beautiful. I don't think there would be an elf alive that had a wart, or extreme acne, or a deformation of some kind, or sunken-in eyes or bulbous noses, and certainly none of them would be overweight or obese due to their elvish vitality and one can assume efficient elvish metabolism. So by mortal standards, all elves would be very pretty to them, because they're used to seeing flaws such as acne, wrinkles, frizzier hair, crooked noses, deformation, sunken-in eyes, warts, etc- all those flaws that make us, well, human.

And remember- the novels were written from a hobbit's perspective (save the Sil, but it's somewhat unclear exactly what perspective it is from- human/Edain, or elf- as it reads like a historical textbook almost of the FA and prior). So wouldn't it stand to reason that, from a hobbit's eyes, all elves are pretty/beautiful purely because their flaws, as it were, aren't as noticeable for them as it would be to other elves? Even minor imperfections could still render an elf pretty to the eyes of a hobbit, even if it doesn't mean said elf is flawless like the infamous three beauties.

Also keep in mind- what elf ladies do we see in TH and LOTR? We see Arwen and Galadriel, which are the primary focus of the characters, with other elves either in the background or elven men, not women. And by human standards, elven men would be fair/beautiful because they don't have the scruffiness (due to lack of beards) and related appearance of human men, who are less concerned about physical appearance than women. They are not likely very tan (men would spend more time in the sun than women, but I imagine elves don't really tan much, but also don't burn), they won't have the earlier wrinkling and effects of weathering/exposure on the skin than human and hobbit men do, they would heal from wounds faster and won't scar (and men who have seen frequent battle, or lived in the wild, or farm, etc would likely have at least some scars from mishaps or tramping through brambles, etc).

One would assume that elven noble ladies are likely more beautiful because high-status elven men would, with exception to Feanor, select their wives based on beauty, as well as other attributes, so the most pretty elven maids would be more likely to be wed by noble elven men. So Galadriel's maidens (aka those who serve in waiting to the most noble lady in the land) and Arwen's maidens would be of noble stock themselves, which would mean that they're more likely to be more beautiful than their plainer non-noble counterparts (though this isn't a 100% thing, but beautiful parents do tend to beget beautiful children more often than not). If the hobbits didn't see too many non-noble elves, then their perspective would be skewed in this fashion.

In a nutshell, we have to look at what perspective/whose eyes we are seeing elves through, AND which elves we are seeing as well. Elven men are arguably fairer than human men, due to the effects of weathering and age and premature aging from the weather not being apparent on them, as well as a distinct lack of scruffiness due to not having beards (note- it is often taken as canon that elves are completely hairless save eyebrows and heads by fans, but I do not think this is true. Less hair maybe, or less thick, but Tolkien never says elven men don't have body hair, just that (with exception to Cirdan) they don't have actual beards). So elven men would undoubtedly be perceived as more beautiful and fair than human/mortal men.

As for elven women though, the only women the hobbits encounter are noble women, with Arwen and Galadriel being the most beautiful of them and the most flawless. We don't see too many common class women, or at least it isn't directly implied. I think that elven women could indeed have beauty flaws just like mortal women- they're just not as flawed as human women could be. Not tanned, not wrinkled from years exposed to the sun, more even eyebrows and straighter noses, slender and taller, eyes that are not sunken in, more youthful over time (which youth often = beauty amongst mortals), longer hair, possibly brighter eyes, etc.

Which means that if a mortal woman were to be able to achieve the basics- somewhat symmetrical face, fair skin that doesn't suffer much from the sun (either through lack of exposure, or like me just simply pale as a ghost and can't tan if you paid me a million dollars...), semi-decent complexion (ie not covered in wrinkles, acne, pock marks, dark circles under eyes, or freckled excessively, etc), hair that is somewhat manageable and long and has curls, longer eyelashes, pretty eye and hair color (as perceived by common standards of beauty in ME), taller and more slender, and no deformations or major skin ailments and decent figure, then I can see that she may be comparable to elves in beauty- just not the most beautiful of elven women. (And note-I didn't say she had to be flawless to compare to an elf woman, just considered pretty or very pretty amongst mortals). Kind of like how Eowyn was still perceived as very beautiful by the hobbits as well, though she was mortal and undoubtedly not completely flawless.

So all told, I agree with your final conclusion- that there is a general stereotype of elves when it comes to beauty, wisdom, song, strength, weapons prowess, dance and movement.

And from a hobbit's eyes, no doubt every elf is drop dead gorgeous with a fine voice and dancing skill and weapons mastery simply because the ones they encountered happen to have those attributes, or at least are prettier and better than hobbits at that sort of thing (one could also argue that there is a bit of idolization on the hobbits' part when it comes to elves, because of how "exotic and mysterious" they are to hobbits. No doubt they already, from their tales and stories, assumed that all elves were that way, so that's what they saw when they encountered them and were more than a little starstruck during their time in elven realms. I imagine that if they really lived among them for a time, like Bilbo eventually did, that they would begin to see the variations in appearance and skill amongst elves that elves already see amongst themselves, and alter their perception of elves accordingly).

But as the Sil proves, there is still much variability amongst elves as well, and one can logically come away with the conclusion that those attributes that are not 100% confirmed to exist in all elves (unlike immortality unless slain, adulthood between 50-100 years old, little signs of aging, etc) may not all be present in every elf in ME.

Which leads me to conclude with this little poem:

All elves are passably pretty, but not all elves are beautiful.
All elves are tall, but some are taller than others.
All elves have a voice, but not all elves can sing.All elves can muster weapons at need, but some are better than others.
All elves can administer first aid, but not all elves are renown healers.
All elves have long hair, but not all elves have light in their hair.

BUT

All elves can walk on snow.
All elves are immortal.
All elves can be slain.
All elves are beardless (except Cirdan, that weirdo).
All elves are slender.
All elves have excellent sight.
All elves have sharp hearing.
And all elves are highly bemused at how they're perceived by bumbling, inexperienced, starstruck hobbits who can't tell them apart and think they're drop-dead gorgeous supermodels Tongue


My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 5, 6:57pm

Post #4 of 27 (4158 views)
Shortcut
That makes sense to me [In reply to] Can't Post

And thanks for the poem. And I hope your housing inspection goes well so you can close!


Quote
Now, that being said, I would argue that all elves are pretty, but not all elves are beautiful.

Immortality is a great guard against wrinkles, obesity, liver spots, etc. And I appreciate your reasoning that Elves don't have major flaws like buckteeth or warts on their noses, but can have more minor flaws. There's still a tight range, so Luthien would be a supermodel with her makeup on, and Mr and Mrs Smith-Elf would be like models with no makeup on, still youthfully attractive.




Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 5, 8:45pm

Post #5 of 27 (4145 views)
Shortcut
Youthfully attractive [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I can definitely agree with that Smile I think that would be an excellent way to put it- that they would all be pretty, if not very pretty, by mortal standards BUT not flawless- unless you're Luthien, Arwen, or Galadriel Wink

But to a hobbit's eyes, I can imagine that they're so starstruck that ANY elf they meet is no doubt gorgeous lol. It brings that element of exotic and mysterious, I think. But could Eowyn hold her own (at least in her youth) to a random Jane Doe elf? Probably, and I'm sure there are other human women who would be accounted beautiful as well, or be perceived as at least pretty or passable by elves (Aegnor and Andreth come to mind). But could she hold her own to Luthien? Pfft not even close.

Since we do only have humanity as a reference though, one must wonder just exactly what Luthien would have looked like, because even Liv Tyler in all her Arwenesque beauty and CGI enhancements would, by Tolkien's standards for Luthien, not even be close...how do you improve upon already just about flawless (I mean that in the way Arwen was depicted on film, not that Ms. Tyler is truly flawless because we all have flaws. Though she is/was in LOTR still very, very beautiful in appearance on camera, by today's standards and with all her makeup and CGI touchups).

Still wondering if elves did, in fact, have makeup of some sort though- ya know, just for those special occasions Wink I can imagine they saw their own personal flaws (however minute) as glaringly obvious as we do ours, even if no one else bothered to notice them (I would say not see them, but as we've firmly established elves are by no means blind Tongue).

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 5, 11:25pm

Post #6 of 27 (4132 views)
Shortcut
Here's a thought, seriously [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe Elves didn't need makeup because they sorta had it built-in, which I'm not articulating very well, but my idea is that they didn't need lipstick because their lips were already glossy and red, or eye makeup because their eyes were already dazzling. What spurs this thought is how some fairy tales I vaguely remember would describe the beautiful maidens in them: having natural ruby-red lips or "snow white" skin.

It is just a thought. I wouldn't think Luthien any less beautiful if her ladies-in-waiting or maidservants gave her a touchup here and there before she went out singing and dancing.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 6, 2:43am

Post #7 of 27 (4123 views)
Shortcut
No, I get you [In reply to] Can't Post

It was just a thought I had as well, as far as elvish cosmetics were concerned.

For example, Nerdanel supposedly had ruddy skin, and it was considered less comely. So...she can't be the only elf maid who had that problem or other perceived problems, which makes one wonder if they would have concocted something to help cover that perceived blemish up to look prettier (in the elves' eyes). Since they are immortal, one could conceivably presume that maybe they did on occasion. Nowhere NEAR the extent of makeup nowadays, but just a little bit of touch up, as you put it.

As to beauty, I'm not saying women have to wear makeup to be beautiful- far from it. In fact, I rarely wear makeup myself, and it bothers me when women can't bear to leave the house without their face all done up and hair perfect. I think they would be beautiful without it as well, just like I think all women are naturally beautiful. For me, beauty is not in the face (though some women are no doubt really beautiful in face) but rather in the heart. If a person (man or woman) has an ugly heart, then to me they are ugly regardless if they're a supermodel or covered in warts. Conversely, if someone has a good heart, then they're beautiful regardless if they're a supermodel or covered in warts. The HEART is what matters to me most, not appearance (though it is nice if the two coincide with one another, but it isn't a necessity in my eyes).

I'm just approaching the question from a cultural standpoint, rather than a personal one. In ME culture as a whole, it is seemingly perceived that (with exception to Annatar, and a few others) the taller/more fair/more beautiful one is, the more wise and good-hearted they are. It's an archaic way of thinking, I think, but that is the general way the cultures in ME think. Elves are the fairest race because they are supposedly the least tainted of heart, and the ugliest race are orcs because they are completely tainted of heart.

So one would logically assume that, if beauty is commonly equated with being the best and the brightest, then even amongst the racial groups women especially (given that their appearance, more so than men, is prized highly as a virtue) would take that extra effort to look even more beautiful than they already perceive themselves to be-at least in a formal gathering (aka getting all dressed up, including hair and makeup).

So the end conclusion I came to is- yes, all elves are beautiful compared to other races, but some amongst their people are more beautiful than others, which, given cultural attitudes, might lend itself to at least some basic cosmetics to hide one's own perceived flaws and make them more desirable to elvish men (at least, before they're married. I bet after 10,000 years of marriage women won't care as much as they would in the courtship phase).

But as Tolkien never really discussed foundation colors and rouge, I guess it's all speculation at this point, as far as makeup is concerned Wink

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


CMackintosh
The Shire

May 6, 10:20am

Post #8 of 27 (4086 views)
Shortcut
Aren't you forgetting Luthien's daily mudbaths? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, just had to say that! Wink

Just two points: Tolkien says they're not supernatural but far closer to nature than us mere mortals, so I take it that means in this context the elvish women are a lot closer to the influences that would erase deformities. Or in other words, their DNA is a lot better at self-correcting that ours is.
Secondly, they are "baptised" spirits, so to speak; Tolkien has christened them for the purposes of his fiction, so their self-definition is "shared", one might say, between their DNA and their non-material existence. They do walk in a perpetual halo, if you remember the four friends' meeting up with Gildor Inglorion in the Shire.
just my 0.02c's worth. Don't spend it all at once. Wink


Solicitr
Rohan

May 6, 4:40pm

Post #9 of 27 (4041 views)
Shortcut
Well, [In reply to] Can't Post

Gildor and co. were Noldor; and so had that Valinor Juice going.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 6, 6:16pm

Post #10 of 27 (4034 views)
Shortcut
Elves Gandalf - swipe left or right? ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

As a moderately middle-aged elf hiding out among you mortals for only 3,000 years I've noticed that your standards of feminine beauty change all the time. Doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe it's a game designed so that women can't win it?

In any case, I wonder whether you're confusing attractiveness with beauty - a horse, sunset, beech tree or piece of music can be beautiful, without anyone fancying it.

I wonder whether Frodo's reactions to Goldberry* , Arwen and Galadriel have a lot of a reaction to beauty rather than attractiveness in them - his descriptions seem pretty chaste to me, compared, say with some other writers (or at least, amusing parodies of them).
Anyway that's all from me - I've several thousand years of tra-la-la-lallying to catch up upon.

__*yes, Captain Pedantic, if you turn up - I know Goldberry's probably or definitely not an elf. But Frodo jaws the floor when he sees her and not, I think, from lust.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


squire
Half-elven


May 6, 7:49pm

Post #11 of 27 (4027 views)
Shortcut
Oath breakers, why have you clicked? [In reply to] Can't Post

I clicked on your link to "at least, amusing parodies of them" as I do like amusing parodies. I was faced with this, in a box on the screen on top of the article you linked to:

"HuffPost is part of Oath. Oath and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Oath will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Oath and our partners to use your data..."

Honest. Honest and off-putting. I guess I'll miss those amusing parodies, this time around. Thanks for the thought, though.

I have always wondered that a hobbit or a dwarf should find an elf or a human or a river-sprite sexually attractive. I say sexually in, as you say, a chaste way - in the end, Frodo / Gloin are males who are mesmerized by their instinctive attraction to or appreciation of females of other man-like races. I should have thought the differences in build, height, hirsuteness, etc. would get in the way of the effect Tolkien obviously wants to believe in in these cases.



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.


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 6, 9:39pm

Post #12 of 27 (4010 views)
Shortcut
Gandalf, you're due for a colonoscopy [In reply to] Can't Post

That link for body types through history was missing the colon after https, so it wasn't working, but this should. (Sorry, Wiz; don't mean to dogpile you about your links.)


noWizardme
Valinor


May 7, 7:59am

Post #13 of 27 (3959 views)
Shortcut
"To enrich the Zuc, and have pizza", of course [In reply to] Can't Post

What? You aren't a fan of handing every server your cookie jar so that the local pizza place can be in touch and our modern cyber-barons can "accidentally" let you data out to some Oaf who will try to manipulate you into voting Plutocrat or Reptillian? Wink

Me neither - so I'm sorry I sent you somewhere that made you feel uncomfortable. At least you got to turn back before entering the Paths of the Data. (Of course, picking out the Zuc is probably a bit unfair - they all do it; Facebook just got caught. As a tangent, I'm a bit surprised that you saw any 'honesty' there - such notices began popping up all over the internet for EU-based consumers after some legislation was passed in Brussels. I'd got the impression that didn't happen in the USA, maybe because of some Amendment about the right to bare- knuckle capitalism or something. )

But anyway, I wander off the subject - the joys or frustration, or very existence of surveillance capitalism are hardly within the scope of this board. If you want to read some of this "like a male writer" stuff, maybe google that phrase and look for more sites with which you feel more comfortable. But it may not be worth it, and the relevance to a Tolkien discussion is to point out writers describing a character mostly as a collection of secondary sexual characteristics & their effect on the viewer. Potentially appropriate if that's how the observing character sees other people, potentially makes me give up on the story if I conclude that's how the author sees people. I don't see Tolkien doing that. Frodo's reactions to Goldberry*, Arwen, Galadriel seem to me to have a lot of wonder in them, and if only I'd thought of it in time, I could have entitled my post...
Not all those with wonder have lust.

I never think of these things in time...
And, BTW, I agree - shouldn't non-hobbit ladies strike our heroes as grotesque giants with weird bald feet? Instead, I suppose, Tolkien is inserting his own imagination about beauty, so some of them end up looking like Mrs Tolkien (which is rather sweet).
__*Still not an elf, probably

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


May 7, 8:00am

Post #14 of 27 (3956 views)
Shortcut
I. Should. Not. Post. ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the fix.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7, 2:24pm

Post #15 of 27 (3927 views)
Shortcut
Seek for the Link That Was Broken. In TORN it dwells. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Half-elven


May 7, 2:45pm

Post #16 of 27 (3930 views)
Shortcut
"Suddenly, in walked a buxom x-ray technician" [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a remark I remember from college days long ago when some women at my university were describing/mocking how men write about women. The point being that the real focus is how good the woman looks rather than that she knows a thing or two about conducting x-rays. Maciliel made a similar game with Tolkien character descriptions where female virtues are used as the standard to live up to (how did 6 years go by???).

PS. Those cookie warnings became universal after that EU ruling, on American as well as Euro websites, or at least any American site that kept up with best practices and legal rulings. I thought the EU's intent was good, but a little naive, because it's just another box you click to get rid of without reading, like End User License Agreements, etc.


squire
Half-elven


May 7, 5:26pm

Post #17 of 27 (3911 views)
Shortcut
"...who knew a thing or two about seeing through clothing." [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sorry I missed that RR thread of Maciliel's, it's a good Tolkien topic. Thanks for that.

I imagine I'm in the minority, but the EU's effort has had its effect with me. Almost always when a link informs me I'll be hearing from their 'trusted partners' for the indefinite future, if that's OK with me, I shut it down and move on with my life. The links are, after all, simply entertainment.



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.


Darkstone
Immortal


May 8, 2:21am

Post #18 of 27 (3846 views)
Shortcut
Cross-Race Effect [In reply to] Can't Post

All Elves are beautiful to Humans. (At least until you really get to know them.)

Some Elves are ugly to other Elves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-race_effect


.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Solicitr
Rohan

May 8, 4:21pm

Post #19 of 27 (3778 views)
Shortcut
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

You wouldn't believe the catty things Arwen said about Galadriel behind her back!


Darkstone
Immortal


May 8, 5:39pm

Post #20 of 27 (3761 views)
Shortcut
And... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I'm sure Arwen calls her "Granny" right at the most inopportune moments.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 8, 6:45pm

Post #21 of 27 (3760 views)
Shortcut
Put this response on the wrong board, sorry. [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe part of their beauty is what you feel from them in addition to their physical beauty. Can see a bit of that light they carry, but can really feel it.

Please, call me Ve.


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 8, 8:39pm

Post #22 of 27 (3753 views)
Shortcut
I can definitely buy that! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm a Christian (protestant), and I've seen a distinct light in the eyes of those who love Jesus deeply and completely. There are some people where you just know that God is with them, and can feel Him very closely when they are near you or speaking to you. It's hard to describe, but you can really feel and see that light within someone- a light of absolute hope, peace and joy Smile

I am SURE that Tolkien paralleled the concept of light from God when he wrote his novels, and that the idea originates from his own personal faith and beliefs. The elves are (for the most part, though by no means are infallible) closest to Eru of the children since Man and Hobbits and Dwarves are more tainted by the shadow than the elves are (again, not without exception, but as a general rule).

I think you may well be right. They're certainly physically ageless and keep the appearance of their youth very well, and are fairer in general than the other races, but I've always adopted the stance that if there is pure, unadulterated light within someone (as I described above) then they are made more beautiful because of it, even if their actual physical beauty is flawed in some way.

Conversely, there are some people who you just know are purely evil, and who make you terrifed or just feel extremely cold and frightened and uneasy around them. There is no light within them, no love, no hope, peace or joy (my father's abusive stepfather comes to mind. You instantly felt a chill just walking into that room, and you could feel the sheer evil within it, and he didn't have to move, say a word, or even blink but it was very, very distinct and one of the most terrifying things I'd ever felt in my life. And I didn't even know he was abusive then and I was just a child, but you could feel that cold evil in that room. One of the many reasons I will never drink myself-he was an alcoholic).

I am 100% certain that Tolkien drew upon these parallels of light and shadow/darkness within his stories from his Catholic faith and beliefs, because they so parallel Christianity (others who are Christians will no doubt understand what I am saying above). God is light, and without Him all else is darkness, and those who walk with Him are filled with the light of the Holy Spirit from within, whereas those who fall away and walk with Satan are filled with darkness- it's not something you can see per se, like a flashlight blinding your eyes, but I believe our spirits within are aware of it-hence my feelings of joy and hope and peace around those who are in love with the Lord (not in a romantic way, but love Him with all their hearts), and my feelings of terror and coldness when I was around my abusive father's abusive stepfather (the cycle broke with me, I no longer have contact with my father and my grand-stepfather died mixing alcohol and prescription drugs many years ago).

Everyone is free to believe what they will, and I respect those whose beliefs differ from my own, so this is not meant to offend anyone.

But as Tolkien was Catholic, and his stories reflect this (more or less depending on what part of the narrative, but there's definitely that undertone within it that's distinctly from the author's faith or inspired by said faith), it is logical to make the conclusion that the light within elves comes from their mostly untainted fea, or spirit, that was granted to them by Eru.

I think Frodo hit the nail on the head when he said that a servant of the enemy would "look fairer and feel fouler". With the One Ring, I think Frodo became more spiritually aware of the light and darkness within others, and he could sense the light that was within Aragorn, as one faithful to Eru, and the darkness that was within the Nazgul, the servants of Sauron and by extension, Melkor/Morgoth. And the darkness within the Nazgul was so strong that even others who were ignorant of Eru and light still felt that cold, terrifying chill when they were around which further illustrates that the soul, or in ME the fea, can still sense the light and the darkness even if the owner of the fea did not understand WHY they felt it, just that they did.

So elves are still physically youthful and beautiful, BUT not flawless. However, the light that shines within them and from their eyes is good (with a few exceptions) and it's that LIGHT that both draws others to them, and also that ENHANCES their beauty to a level that mortals find breathtakingly beautiful. BUT only with the One Ring actually on his finger does Frodo see the true, pure light that is otherwise (mostly) unseen by others in its full strength and glory (or in darkness, lack thereof).

Yup, perhaps we've solved the puzzle here Smile

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 10, 10:24am

Post #23 of 27 (3707 views)
Shortcut
I must admit that I have tried to think of an ugly Elf [In reply to] Can't Post

And I can't. I can only think that maybe one was mentioned and the attractiveness was missed out on. Perhaps one of the sons of Feanor was not totally good-looking. Curifin, possibly?


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


May 10, 8:54pm

Post #24 of 27 (3699 views)
Shortcut
Was this mentioned? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't seem to recall it?

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 16, 12:37am

Post #25 of 27 (3525 views)
Shortcut
I agree with you. I am positive that Tolkien's religious beliefs [In reply to] Can't Post

carried over into his writings. Light vs. dark, good vs. evil, and there is a distinct feeling of both that can be felt both in his books and in our lives here. I have always loved the idea that the Elves were so closely connected to the White Light of Forever that they could summon it to feel close to the Creator, and to heal themselves and others. I am so glad Peter Jackson included this idea in his films and did it pretty well.

Please, call me Ve.

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.