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Pointed Ears?


Sep 25 2012, 3:16pm

Post #1 of 9 (724 views)
Pointed Ears? Can't Post

the Elves by Genetic Code have
Pointed Ears..
so do Hobbits?

I don't recall that in the Book
yet in the Movie I was pretty surprised!
Does this mean hobbits have some Elvish Genome
in their Blood?

I'm not any Tolkein Expert
so it could be something
Interesting to research..
That has always kinda bothered me.

Beweidered Bemused Bomby

Forum Admin / Moderator

Sep 25 2012, 3:30pm

Post #2 of 9 (521 views)
I found this on Wikipedia [In reply to] Can't Post

From the Appearance section:

"Tolkien does not describe Hobbits' ears in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, but in a 1938 letter to his American publisher, he described Hobbits as having "ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'".

Looks like someone on the production (I'd like to think Philippa Smile) read more than just the required amount of literature.


Sep 25 2012, 7:04pm

Post #3 of 9 (478 views)
And interestingly ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been doing a bit of reading myself, and I hadn't realised that Elves having pointed ears isn't mentioned in LOTR, TH or Silmarillion either! Interestingly, it's first mentioned in The Lost Road (HoME).

Edit: Though, I expect geordie to correct me! Smile

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(This post was edited by DanielLB on Sep 25 2012, 7:04pm)

Grey Havens

Sep 27 2012, 1:56am

Post #4 of 9 (465 views)
Etymologies not the last(o) word? [In reply to] Can't Post

That's right, in Etymologies. But now we have a similar something that's much later than Etymologies. As you note, one of the most often quoted passages on Quendian ears is found in The Lost Road, The History of Middle-Earth Volume V, and reads in part:


LAS1- *lassė leaf: Q lasse, N lhass; Q lasselanta leaf-fall, autumn, N lhasbelin (*lassekwene), cf. Q Narquelion [KWEL]. Lhasgalen Greenleaf (Gnome name of Laurelin). (Some think this is related to the next and *lassź ear. The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human).

LAS2- 'listen'. N lhaw 'ears' (of one person), old dual *lasu -whence singular lhewig. Q lar, lasta- 'listen'; lasta 'listening, hearing' - Lastalaika 'sharp-ears', a name, cf. N Lhathleg. N lhathron 'hearer, listener, eavesdropper' ( *la(n)sro-ndo ); lhathro or lhathrando 'listen in, eavesdrop'.

But now we have something post-Lord of the Rings, from Words, Phrases and Passages, posted here to compare with the older Etymologies entry...


Q lasse 'leaf' (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf'.

Obviously the comparative statement to human ears does not appear in this later look at words derived from LAS- and (now) SLAS-.

Does something 'missing' by comparison to a later, similar text, constitute a revision? You decide Wink

It's a wholly new document (Etymologies was abandoned), and maybe Tolkien just didn't think of repeating this detail, or perhaps he wanted the matter to be left more vague. The 'thus possibly related' bit is still there, but again there's no explicit comparison to Human ears, and no explicit statement describing Quendian ears, in the much later look at these words.

(This post was edited by Elthir on Sep 27 2012, 2:01am)


Sep 27 2012, 7:23pm

Post #5 of 9 (400 views)
When I met Tim Kirk [In reply to] Can't Post

at one of the ORC conventions, he told me he was the first artist to put pointed ears on a hobbit. So I'm thinking that just as Howe & Lee have had an influence on how we imagine Middle-earth to be (as Peter Jackson did, too), that we can thank Mr. Kirk for the hobbity ears :)


I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

TORn's Observations Lists
Unused Scenes

(This post was edited by grammaboodawg on Sep 27 2012, 7:26pm)

Michael Martinez
The Shire

Sep 28 2012, 5:43am

Post #6 of 9 (393 views)
JRR Tolkien was the first [In reply to] Can't Post

The first hobbit ears drawing was by the hand of Tolkien himself in the illustrations he did for THE HOBBIT in 1937 and Bilbo has pointed ears.

However, despite the mightiest of efforts from many corners of the world, no Tolkien fan has yet managed to put pointed ears on even a single Tolkien elf.

Author of Visualizing Middle-earth, Parma Endorion, and Understanding Middle-earth.



Sep 29 2012, 3:19am

Post #7 of 9 (332 views)
True :) [In reply to] Can't Post

I think he meant commercial artists. He seemed quite proud of the fact :)


I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

TORn's Observations Lists
Unused Scenes

Registered User

Sep 29 2012, 11:39pm

Post #8 of 9 (354 views)
Links to essays on the subject [In reply to] Can't Post

You can find good online essays about the issue here:

Michael Martinez: 'Do Tolkien's Elves Have Pointed Ears?'http://middle-earth.xenite.org/...es-have-pointy-ears/

Conrad Dunkerson: Do the Elves in Tolkien's stories have pointed ears? http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/Ears.html

Grey Havens

Sep 30 2012, 11:25pm

Post #9 of 9 (385 views)
Human [In reply to] Can't Post

The two essays are slightly out of date regarding the word Human, as according to Vinyar Tengwar 45 (Addenda and Corrigenda to
the Etymologies)...


LAS1- [for;] [?human] [read:] Human.

Which I (hopefully correctly) take to mean that the word 'Human' is now confirmed.

And of course both essays also predate Tolkien's Words, Phrases And Passages, if one thinks the commentary there is relevant anyway.


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