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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
On Elves and Beauty and Elves on Aging.

VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 8, 6:13pm

Post #1 of 12 (4095 views)
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On Elves and Beauty and Elves on Aging. Can't Post

Possibly part of the beauty of the Elves is their inherent gracefulness and what you feel from them as well as how they look.

Would Elvish babies grow up quickly, or, more slowly than humans or dwarves because of their potentially infinite lifespan?

Do they stop physically aging at a certain point, so that they would look pretty much the same at 500 years as they would as 2,000 years?

Do they grow more powerful as they age? Especially in healing others and their connection to the White Light.

Just wondering.

Please, call me Ve.


Darkstone
Immortal


May 8, 7:32pm

Post #2 of 12 (4061 views)
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A partial answer [In reply to] Can't Post

Hard to imagine having to change diapers for a hundred years or so.

But luckily:

They learned to speak before they were one year old; and in the same time they learned to walk and to dance, for their wills came soon to the mastery of their bodies.
-The Later Quenta Silmarillion, Phase 2, Laws and Customs Among the Eldar, Part 1

Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would afterwards endure, and for some a hundred years would pass before they were full-grown.
-ibid

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 9, 1:35am

Post #3 of 12 (4051 views)
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Elven Maturity Rates [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
They learned to speak before they were one year old; and in the same time they learned to walk and to dance, for their wills came soon to the mastery of their bodies.
-The Later Quenta Silmarillion, Phase 2, Laws and Customs Among the Eldar, Part 1

Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would afterwards endure, and for some a hundred years would pass before they were full-grown.
-ibid


I don't believe that Tolkien was completely consistent on the subject of how long it took Elves to reach maturity though, to an Elf, fifty years is not much different from twenty years.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 16, 12:27am

Post #4 of 12 (3855 views)
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Thank you. I should know these things. [In reply to] Can't Post

Like Calsuri, after reading The Trilogy every year between the age of 20 and 31, I have not read not much of Tolkien for a long, long time, except to begin The Silmarillion and making an extensive outline of it so as to remember it better but stopping 1/3 of the way through, parts of Unfinished Tales, and reading here at TORN, the Timelines and B.S. I am getting back into the reading this summer, and going to see Tolkien!

Please, call me Ve.


Darkstone
Immortal


May 16, 6:56pm

Post #5 of 12 (3839 views)
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No worries! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've forgotten a lot of stuff about Tolkien as well!

(Of course in my case it's senectitude.)

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


VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 23, 8:30pm

Post #6 of 12 (3715 views)
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Gosh darnit, I should know what Senectitude means!! It sounds familiar. [In reply to] Can't Post

Need to read more. Calisuri's article struck a nerve. I suspect I suffer from reading-laziness due to modern technology.

Please, call me Ve.


Elthir
Grey Havens


May 26, 8:35pm

Post #7 of 12 (3468 views)
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maturity rates [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Would Elvish babies grow up quickly, or, more slowly than humans or dwarves because of their potentially infinite lifespan?


I think this answer depends upon how one approaches Tolkien's private writings (that is, texts never published by JRRT himself). I think Tolkien ended up imagining that the Elves grow at about the same rate as other Men, based on...



Quote
"nette meant "girl approaching the adult" (in her "teens": the growth of Elvish children after birth was little if at all slower than that of the children of Men). The Common Eldarin stem (wen-ed) wendé "maiden" applied to all stages up to the fully adult (until marriage)."


JRRT, from Vinyar Tengwar 47, texts generally dated 1967-70

And...


Quote
[They are the Númenóreans] "Thus (as the Eldar) they grew at much the same rate as other Men, but when they had achieved 'full growth' then they aged, or 'wore out', very much more slowly."


Note 1, The Line of Elros, Unfinished Tales

______________________________________

But also from posthumously published material...


Quote
"(...) Whereas on Earth to them all things in comparison with themselves were fleeting, swift to change and die or pass away, in Aman they endured and did not so soon cheat love with their mortality. On Earth while an Elf-child did but grow to be a man or woman, in some 3000 years, forests would rise and fall, and all the face of the land would change, while birds and flowers innumerable would be born and die in loar upon loar under the wheeling Sun."


Text XI, Morgoth's Ring, Myths Transformed

Three thousand years! Yet this might reflect an earlier (internally earlier) maturity rate for Elves, with the rate becoming swifter in Middle-earth.

In the same text, it's also said: "Nonetheless the Eldar 'aged' at the same speed in Aman as they had done in their beginning upon Middle-earth" And Christopher Tolkien noted in his commentary on Text XI: "I realized that it stands in fact in very close relationship to the manuscript of Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth,..."

and in that text Finrod notes:


Quote
"This I can well believe," said Finrod: "That your bodies suffer in some measure the malice of Melkor. For you live in Arda Marred, as do we, and all the matter of Arda is tainted by him, before ye or we came forth and drew our hroar and their sustenance therefrom: all save only Aman before he came there. For know it is not otherwise with the Quendi themselves: their health and stature is diminished. Already those of us who dwell in Middle-earth, and even we who have returned to it, find that the change* [*the word change was an emendation to the typescript B (only); the manuscript has growth -- footnote by CJRT] of their bodies is swifter than in the beginning. And that, I judge, must forebode that they will prove less strong to last than they were designed to be, though this may not be clearly revealed for many long years."


Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth (and see Author's note 7 on the Commentary)

This work is generally dated to about the same time (late 1950s) as Laws And Customs too -- noting that the manuscript of the debate is said to be: "very similar in style and appearance to that of Laws and Customs among the Eldar."

I have wondered then, despite the rather notable (!) change from a general 3000 years to 50 or 100 from Laws and Customs (see below for a longer passage), if these texts were not actually supposed to meld together on this point, and that the Elvish growth to maturity was, at least according to these examples, supposed to have become swifter over time, due to Arda Marred. In any case Laws and Customs reads...



Quote
"The Eldar grew in bodily form slower than Men, but in mind more swiftly. They learned to speak before they were one year old; and in the same time they learned to walk and dance, for their wills came soon to the mastery of their bodies. Nonetheless there was less difference between the two Kindreds, Elves and Men, in early youth; and a man who watched elf-children at play might well have believed that they were the children of Men, of some fair and happy people. For in their early days elf-children delighted still in the world about them, and the fire of their spirit had not consumed them, and the burden of memory was still light upon them.

The same watcher might indeed have wondered at the small limbs and stature of these children, judging their ages by their skill in words and grace in motion/ For at the end of the third year mortal children began to outstrip the Elves, hastening on to a full stature while the Elves lingered in the first spring of childhood. Children of Men might reach their full height while Eldar of the same age were still in body like to mortals of no more than seven years. Not until the fiftieth year did the Eldar attain the stature and shape in which their lives would afterwards endure, and for some a hundred years would pass before they were full-grown."



JRRT, Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, Laws and Customs Among the Eldar, Ælfwine's Preamble


This last quote seems to be the most popular in threads and on the interweb in general. Partially because it's more well known than other texts, I guess, but maybe because it appears more 'fleshed out' too.

Again I'm not certain if this citation is meant to go hand in hand with text XI (3000 years), and with a description from the Narn as well, with a much reduced rate in Middle-earth (Aman is a different story) explaining the difference . . .

. . . but in any case, noting the late date of the first citation above, it seems to me that Tolkien later altered this to have Elves grow at about the same rate as Men.

To circle round to the start of this sleep-inducer of a post Smile


squire
Half-elven


May 26, 11:12pm

Post #8 of 12 (3462 views)
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Well done! To sum up... [In reply to] Can't Post

... go not to The History of Middle-earth for counsel, for it will say both no and yes.



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.


Solicitr
Rohan

May 28, 3:04pm

Post #9 of 12 (3249 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
... go not to The History of Middle-earth for counsel, for it will say both no and yes.


I wish this forum software had a "like" button!

Smile


Solicitr
Rohan

May 28, 3:07pm

Post #10 of 12 (3248 views)
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For [In reply to] Can't Post

what it's worth, at least among the Dundedain, despite their long lives relative to other Men they seem to have matured at the same rate given Aragorn's biography: Elrond deemed him "of age" at 21 and revealed his name and lineage to him, and gave him Narsil and the Ring of Barahir.


Elthir
Grey Havens


May 28, 4:15pm

Post #11 of 12 (3243 views)
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And [In reply to] Can't Post

even by the time Arwen married Aragorn she was not yet 20 yéni old.

Wink

Or not yet 2,880 Sun Years old


VeArkenstone
Lorien

May 30, 4:01pm

Post #12 of 12 (3037 views)
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Thank you. This is so well done. [In reply to] Can't Post

3,000 years, wow! The orcs would have forced a much quicker evolutionary timeline for the Elves, or the Elves never would have survived. The Finrod text is interesting, that Elves wear down more quickly than intended as a result of Melkor's darkness. This makes sense to me. But the one that makes the most sense to me is the Laws and Customs quote of there being a 50-year difference between the maturing of Elves and Men. The Elves need at least that much longer to be carefree considering what the future may hold for them.

I have a lot of reading to get caught up on, but then would be interested in a book on JRRT's private writings, if you can recommend one, I would appreciate it.

Thank you !

Please, call me Ve.


(This post was edited by VeArkenstone on May 30, 4:04pm)

 
 

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