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The Half-elven and their "option"

Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Feb 22 2013, 12:46pm

Post #1 of 17 (538 views)
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The Half-elven and their "option" Can't Post

I was wondering about this - is there any info on exactly how much elven blood one needs to be afforded this choice between belonging to the race of men or the race of elves? Arwen was 3/4 elvish, but was still able to choose to be counted among men. So would this also mean that the early descendants of Elros also had the option? Obviously I'm not talking about Aragorn and his immediate ancestors, as their elven ancestry came from millenia before their time.


Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 22 2013, 3:45pm

Post #2 of 17 (343 views)
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The desendants of Elros [In reply to] Can't Post

If I remember correctly, all of Elros's descendants were mortal. They were no longer counted as Half-Elven and thus not given the choice. Their lifespan was much longer than that of normal Men, though.


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 22 2013, 3:57pm

Post #3 of 17 (332 views)
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From and quick reading [In reply to] Can't Post

of LOTR and TS Elros's descendants were all mortal, thus their downfall for wanting to wrest immortality from the Valar. Elrond's children had a choice to make once Elrond decided to leave ME. All of them choose a mortal life. All of Aragorn and Arwen's children were mortal.


DanielLB
Immortal


Feb 22 2013, 4:04pm

Post #4 of 17 (327 views)
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Tolkien doesn't really give a definitive answer on which decision Elladan and Elrohir chose. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 22 2013, 4:04pm

Post #5 of 17 (361 views)
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Elladan and Elrohir [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the choice they made is not stated explicitly, so we don't know for sure if they chose mortality or not. The could delay their choice, and remained in Middle Earth after Elrond and Galadriel sailed for the Undying Lands. We know of Arwen's choice, of course, and her and Aragorn's children were indeed mortal.

Might have to check in more detail about the twins... Wink


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 22 2013, 4:49pm

Post #6 of 17 (325 views)
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My understanding [In reply to] Can't Post

is that Elrond's children had to choose when he departed from Middle Earth. It is possible that they choose immortality but then why hang around Rivendell with Celeborn? As you say there is nothing explicit in the text but it "feels" as if the twins chose as their sister did.


Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 22 2013, 4:57pm

Post #7 of 17 (360 views)
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Tolkien apparently said... [In reply to] Can't Post

... that the twins were allowed to delay their choice. They still had to choose at some point, but he did not state when. I believe that it is more common to assume that in the end they chose to become mortal, like Arwen did.

But on the other hand, Elrond and Galadriel were not really the last to sail for Valinor, were they? Legolas sailed after Aragorn's death. Celeborn, I think, did at some point, too. And there still were other elves left, such as Thranduil (whatever happened to *him*?) and te elves in his kingdom.


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 22 2013, 5:24pm

Post #8 of 17 (326 views)
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the choice [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think the choice had to do with measure of blood, at least not wholly, but it was given as a special dispensation to Earendil and Elwing, and to their children, and it's my opinion (based on a bit of text, although 'oldish' text and not taken up into the 1977 Silmarillion) that the potential choice of an Elven fate must include the right of extension (of choice) to the children...

... in other words: one may chose a mortal or 'immortal' fate, but inherently that 'offer' must include that a choice of an Elven-fate will also extend the choice to one's children. This is based on a line from the Quenta Silmarillion (Lost Road version): that all who have a measure of mortal blood are mortal, unless other doom be granted to them.

So if that holds true, any choice of immortality would (I think) automatically sunder parent from child in this circumstance. In other words: who would chose immortality if their children did not also at least get the choice?

Anyone with mortal blood cannot be denied escape from the World and its time (death), so they cannot be automatically Elven in fate... but yet without a choice they would be automatically mortal in fate, and thus automatically sundered from Elrond and Celebrian, possibly (for all they certainly knew) for all time.

Which seems a long time Wink


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 22 2013, 5:29pm)


CuriousG
Valinor


Feb 22 2013, 7:39pm

Post #9 of 17 (303 views)
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Yes, it seems that parents make part of the choice for their children, and it's one way. [In reply to] Can't Post

Since mortal death is really "the Gift of Iluvatar" to Men, the Valar say they can't withhold it, even when Men want them to. But they admitted that it got murky with the half-Elven.

Earendil wanted to be mortal, but Elwing chose to be Elven, so they both were Elven. Dior was half-Elven but not given a choice, and it seems the choice started with Earendil and Elwing.

Elros chose to be mortal, hence giving the Gift of Iluvatar to his children which can't be revoked. Or in other terms, dooming them to death.

By choosing to be Elven, Elrond keeps the choice alive for his children, but once you choose mortality, as Arwen did, you can't go back to being Elven, and her mortal children had no choice.

I believe it says in the Appendix on Aragorn & Arwen that Elrond's children had to choose to leave Middle-earth with him or remain behind and be mortal. Since his sons remained behind, mortality appears to be their choice.


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 23 2013, 3:29am

Post #10 of 17 (324 views)
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that annoying letter 153 [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I believe it says in the Appendix on Aragorn & Arwen that Elrond's children had to choose to leave Middle-earth with him or remain behind and be mortal. Since his sons remained behind, mortality appears to be their choice.




I agree, I think Elrond's sons chose mortality too. Concerning that, I note Elrond's and Aragorn's words from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen: 'That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar (...) And when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses.' Aragorn responds that the years of Elrond's abiding run short at last, '... and the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth'.

Elrond answers 'Truly' but notes 'soon as we account the years'. Earlier in the N. Kings it is also noted that the children of Elrond had the choice to pass '...with him from the Circles of the World; or if they remained to become mortal and die in Middle-earth.'

Of course the option remains that 'with him' means 'as he did' or similar, but especially the conversation with Aragorn seems very much about timing to my mind. Or let's put it this way: wouldn't Tolkien have realized what this (naturally enough) implies? considering that as far as he knew, the general public was never going to see 'letter 153' in any event.


The popular citation here is rather from something Tolkien never published, letter 153, which notes that the fate of the sons of Elrond is not told, and they 'delay their choice' and remain for a while -- remain after Elrond sails. So this information arguably colours how one reads sailing 'with' Elrond, along with other description from Appendix A.

But it appears that this letter was written before Tolkien had finished working on the Appendices -- the Appendices which include the description that I think at least generally implies a mortal choice by not sailing when Elrond did. Again, Tolkien could hardly have been unaware of this I think, and Robert Foster also makes this tentative conclusion, based on what JRRT himself published.

It's interesting that (as far as I know to date anyway), it was only in the revised Second Edition of The Lord of the Rings (of the 1960s) where Tolkien added not one but two references to the sons of Elrond remaining after Elrond sailed. I'm not sure the reader even knew this much when the book was first published, as one reference to Elladan and Elrohir remaining had occurred in the abandoned Epilogue, and so did not get published.


So I wonder if in this case The Letters of JRRT might actually be something Tolkien didn't want readers to see. For all we know, Tolkien might have decided that the sons of Elrond could not 'delay' their choice after Elrond sailed (as in the letter), and the letter is just an abandoned concept before Tolkien sat down to really write the texts in question -- the timing is close here, and I welcome corrections if it can be shown that this section of the Appendices surely preceded this letter.

Of course, it's also possible that despite all this 'and when I depart...' or '... to part either with you or with Middle-earth' doesn't really mean they can't stay a bit longer, with the meaning being a bit looser with respect to time; but on the other hand, it's not like the sons of Elrond didn't already have a long time to make their decision!


In any case, JRRT never could have anticipated that this description would become public knowledge, but he knew Appendix A would. That said, perhaps this letter offers another way to look at the choice of the Pereldar? Another section reads...


'Earendil is Túor's son & father of Elros ... and Elrond, their mother being Elwing daughter of Dior, son of Beren and Lúthien: so the problem of the Half-elven becomes united in one line. The view is that the Half-elven have a power of (irrevocable) choice, which may be delayed but not permanently, which kin's fate they will share. Elros chose to be a King and 'longaevus' but mortal, so all his descendants are mortal, and of a specially noble race, but with dwindling longevity... Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children – with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrían dtr. of Galadriel – have to make their choices. ....' JRRT Letter 153


Is Tolkien simply digressing here and pointing out that there is a renewed Elvish strain because of Celebrian -- then adding that the children have to make their choices? Or is he implying that that's why (or part of why) they have to make their choices?

Hmm.


PhantomS
Rohan


Feb 23 2013, 3:42pm

Post #11 of 17 (293 views)
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The choices made [In reply to] Can't Post

The ones who had the real choice were Earendil and Elwing, but their children were also extended the choice because it would apparently close the loop on who was Elf and who was Man. Hence Elrond chose to be an Elf and lived among the High Elves and Cirdan while Elros chose to be a Man (their reasons are never revealed). His descendants are not Elves- his early descendants are actually among those who embraced mortality the best; Aragorn's death is modeled on the likes of Vardamir and the other early lords of Numenor, Men who embraced death as a returning of a gift. It's no coincidence the Valar kept them on a new island rather than give them permission to live with the High Elves in the West.

It only got really hairy later on in Numenor's existence, but even the later kings didn't use their Elvish heritage as an excuse, rather the unfair proximity to the Undying Lands without actually able to be there.

Arwen is given the choice because she is Elrond's daughter and thus the Half-elven question remained with her and her brothers; more pertinent with her because she was marrying a mortal man, something the Valar were probably biting their nails over since Beren and Luthien's time. With Arwen choosing mortality like her uncle there should be no more Half-Elven around; it's likely her brothers also chose the same route, though curiously Celeborn seems to stop over at their place before sailing West himself- they might have waited for him, since they didn't necessarily have to wait for Elrond to leave to make the choice.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 23 2013, 9:37pm

Post #12 of 17 (237 views)
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No, I don't think that that is quite right... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't think the choice had to do with measure of blood, at least not wholly, but it was given as a special dispensation to Earendil and Elwing, and to their children, and it's my opinion (based on a bit of text, although 'oldish' text and not taken up into the 1977 Silmarillion) that the potential choice of an Elven fate must include the right of extension (of choice) to the children...

... in other words: one may chose a mortal or 'immortal' fate, but inherently that 'offer' must include that a choice of an Elven-fate will also extend the choice to one's children. This is based on a line from the Quenta Silmarillion (Lost Road version): that all who have a measure of mortal blood are mortal, unless other doom be granted to them.

So if that holds true, any choice of immortality would (I think) automatically sunder parent from child in this circumstance. In other words: who would chose immortality if their children did not also at least get the choice?

Only those who have not already chosen mortality get to choose. The children of a half-elven who chooses to become mortal are not considered half-elven themselves but mortal Men (unless the other parent is elven or a half-elven who has chosen immortality).

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


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 24 2013, 2:26am

Post #13 of 17 (220 views)
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can you clarify [In reply to] Can't Post

What do you think it not quite right about the section of my post that you quoted?


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 24 2013, 5:24am

Post #14 of 17 (258 views)
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I thought that I was perfectly clear; however... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What do you think it not quite right about the section of my post that you quoted?



I think that you are wrong in assuming that the children of a half-elven who chooses to be mortal can be, themselves, considered to be half-elven. That does not seem to be the case. Those who choose mortality bear children that are also mortal. Those children are not half-elven unless their other parent is elven.

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


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 25 2013, 1:06pm

Post #15 of 17 (198 views)
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my idea [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I think that you are wrong in assuming that the children of a half-elven who chooses to be mortal can be, themselves, considered to be half-elven.




But my opinion above expresses the idea that a potential immortal choice must include that the children of the chooser are extended the choice as well, otherwise Elrond's children, still having a measure of mortal blood, would be automatically mortal and automatically sundered from their parents (I stress automatically here, because in the end, as I interpret things anyway, his children all chose mortality in any case, sadly enough for Elrond and Celebrian).


The potential mortal choice need not however, as anyone with even a small measure of mortal blood has a mortal fate (again according to Quenta Silmarillion of the 1930s). Thus Elros' children receive no choice, no 'other doom' is granted to them, as the 'edict of Eru' (as I call it) has been restored, and there will be no automatic sundering of parent and child.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 25 2013, 1:09pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Feb 25 2013, 3:23pm

Post #16 of 17 (202 views)
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You forget something... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But my opinion above expresses the idea that a potential immortal choice must include that the children of the chooser are extended the choice as well, otherwise Elrond's children, still having a measure of mortal blood, would be automatically mortal and automatically sundered from their parents (I stress automatically here, because in the end, as I interpret things anyway, his children all chose mortality in any case, sadly enough for Elrond and Celebrian).


The potential mortal choice need not however, as anyone with even a small measure of mortal blood has a mortal fate (again according to Quenta Silmarillion of the 1930s). Thus Elros' children receive no choice, no 'other doom' is granted to them, as the 'edict of Eru' (as I call it) has been restored, and there will be no automatic sundering of parent and child.



In Lord Elrond's case this is a non-issue. He chose to live as an Elf, so his children do inherit the choice of the Half-elven. His brother, Elros, chose to live as a Man and so his children were denied the choice of the Half-elven and were considered mortal. Likewise, the children of Arwen and Aragorn would be mortal. I think that part of the key here is that a Half-elven needs to choose between mortality and immortality before he/she settles down into marriage and children.

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


Elthir
Gondor

Feb 25 2013, 10:04pm

Post #17 of 17 (222 views)
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Still not clear here, so I'll break things down a bit... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
In Lord Elrond's case this is a non-issue. He chose to live as an Elf, so his children do inherit the choice of the Half-elven.




And this fits right in line with my post: the choice of immortality should come with an extension to the children.



Quote
His brother, Elros, chose to live as a Man and so his children were denied the choice of the Half-elven and were considered mortal.




As I also said, Elros chose mortality and his children need not be extended the choice, and were not.



Quote
Likewise, the children of Arwen and Aragorn would be mortal. I think that part of the key here is that a Half-elven needs to choose between mortality and immortality before he/she settles down into marriage and children.




Do you mean I forgot this part? Within the context of my post Elrond's children would still be mortal no matter who he married (according to the quote in the 1930s Silmarillion, as I described). Thus, the choice of 'immortality' would come with a notable price built in if his children were not granted other doom.

Of course Elrond married someone who shared his fate, but their children still had a measure of mortal blood, and without the choice they would be automatically mortal (in fate) according to this text, if not granted other doom (the Choice).


I'm not trying to be difficult here but I still fail to see what you have been noting as problematic, because it doesn't seem to be that the line in the 1930s Silmarillion should not be considered in this equation, which I'm aware some people might not agree with. No problem if someone doesn't, but that doesn't seem to be part of your responses so far.


(This post was edited by Elthir on Feb 25 2013, 10:10pm)

 
 

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