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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
What happens if an Elf's spouse dies?

thatlldo
Registered User

May 22 2013, 3:19pm

Post #1 of 20 (333 views)
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What happens if an Elf's spouse dies? Can't Post

Here's what I think I was able to glean from Laws and Customs of the Eldar...

* Most elves are married to begin with.
* In the natural order of things, you're supposed to be married happily forever and not die of violence.
* If you're an elf and you DO kick it due to violence, your body fades/dissolves/decomposes away and your spirit goes West.
* If your spouse kicks it due to violence, you're still married to him/her and won't remarry.

I'm leaving out the question of Elves who die of sadness or whatnot, because that's a whole other thing. :P Let's stick to the simple battle-dead!

So what I'm wondering is this... if an Elf is widowed, what happens to the living spouse? Would he or she still hang around Middle Earth, or would he/she freak out and be compelled to go west ASAP, chasing the dearly departed?

I am mostly interested in average Silvan elves on this, but I haven't found much in the way of examples and I'll take what I can get. I would appreciate your thoughts and theories!


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 22 2013, 3:34pm

Post #2 of 20 (206 views)
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Separation [In reply to] Can't Post

They don't seem too concerned with separation. I specifically think about those who willfully separate for a time. Elrond's wife Celebrian left 500 years before him, and Celeborn stayed for a while after Galadriel left. I imagine the other elves are probably similar. They'll go whenever they're ready to go, but don't necessarily mind the separation.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 22 2013, 3:36pm

Post #3 of 20 (213 views)
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mae govannen! [In reply to] Can't Post

 
mae govannen, thatldo...

good questions... this is also an area that is of great interest to me. thanks to morgoth's ring, this is what i've been able to glean...

it is natural for elves to marry, but not all of them do, for various reasons. when they bond, it is for as long as their hroar (bodies) endure. if a spouse dies, it resides in mandos for a time before coming back. it is reborn among its kin (not necessarily close kin) and grows up ignorant of its original identity, until a certain point in development, when all the memories of its former life gradually re-integrate. this same fea, in a new hroa, is now considered to have four parents.

the fea also re-embodies to secondary parents in such a place and time that it will be almost inevitable that that fea will meet its former spouse. at that time, the fea can decide whether to make the marriage bond anew with the spouse, or not (most do, but perhaps some, like aredhel, choose not to do so).

the widowed spouse remains where he or she is. perhaps some of them may decide to journey west to aman to be reunited (eventually).

with the silvan elves, i think the picture gets more complicated, because they're spread out all over the place, making for some interesting scenarios re which kin will be the new parents to the re-embodied fea -- those on the mainland? those in aman? the teleri were the most sundered kindred, making the mechanics of re-embodying the most complex.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 22 2013, 3:41pm

Post #4 of 20 (193 views)
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Rebirth [In reply to] Can't Post

Mac, as far as I'm aware, the idea of elvish "rebirth" was ultimately abandoned, though I'll have to look into it again to be sure. The latest idea, I think, is more along the lines of "rehousing" the fea in a rebuilt hroa.

Others may be able to shed more light on this, but if not, I'll be back at some point after looking into it.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 22 2013, 3:46pm

Post #5 of 20 (191 views)
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i'm pulling [In reply to] Can't Post

 
everything here from morgoth's ring...

given all tolkien's writings, the ideas he set aside, and the ideas he re-embodied (!), it's hard to determine/impossible to determine what the working model is (just ask christopher!)

so, if they are being rehoused... where does this take place? valinor? in a glade? in mandos? what's the age of the new "house"? toddler years? teenage years? years in which they'd be able/likely to reproduce?


cheers : )

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 22 2013, 3:52pm

Post #6 of 20 (185 views)
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Glorfindel [In reply to] Can't Post

is the specific example of what I'm thinking. He got rehoused as he was when he died. I don't know that it's ever stated where this happens, but I'd assume it happens in Mandos right before they are released. I'll have to read through the Glorfindel papers in The Peoples of Middle-earth today, because that's where I think the rehousing idea comes from and the rebirth idea is canned.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 22 2013, 3:58pm

Post #7 of 20 (178 views)
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have not [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i've not read peoples of m-e... digging my way through morgoth's ring.... fascinating stuff.

the rebirthing clearly is +super+ messy, in terms of execution. rehousing seems simpler, but is +not+ without problematic issues either.


cheers : )


.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 22 2013, 4:11pm

Post #8 of 20 (182 views)
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HoME [In reply to] Can't Post

Have you read the rest of HoME and are now on Morgoth's Ring, or did you just pick that one up? Either way, make sure you go onto The War of the Jewels when you're done with it, and then onto Peoples.

I was never a fan of rebirthing precisely because of it's extreme messiness. I can't think of any problems with rehousing, though. By the way, this is the idea present in the story of Miriel. She's ultimately rehoused into the same body still lying in Lorien.

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 22 2013, 4:16pm

Post #9 of 20 (172 views)
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dabbling [In reply to] Can't Post

 
read unfinished tales, then the next two when they came out.

picked up morgoth's ring recently.

miriel always seemed a special case.... because of the way she left her hroa.

rehousing is less messy, but also seems more mechanical..... i'm envisioning strange scenarios.... where the body comes from.... does it magically appear in mandos and the spirit pops into it.... what is the age of the body... do they have lifeless bodies stacked about... even for a few minutes, before the fea goes into it...

thanks for the recommendations. : )


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


May 22 2013, 4:28pm

Post #10 of 20 (164 views)
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The Avari [In reply to] Can't Post

If memory serves, there is more variety in the customs of the scattered tribes of the Avari. There may well be some exceptions to the standard practice of Elves not remarrying. However, I can't think of any examples of Tolkien documenting such exceptions.

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


Ardamírë
Valinor


May 22 2013, 4:29pm

Post #11 of 20 (163 views)
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More thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

If you've read Unfinished Tales, then you've basically read all of CoH Smile I'll admit, though, it's wonderful to be able to read the whole thing straight through.

As for rehousing, like I said, I'll have to dig through Peoples again. As I recall, the fea remembers its former hroa and is able to recreate it with the help of the Valar. Something like that. I'll get back to you! Smile

"...not till now have I understood the tale of your people and their fall.
As wicked fools I scorned them, but I pity them at last.
For if this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men,
it is bitter to receive." -Arwen Undómiel




IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

May 22 2013, 8:13pm

Post #12 of 20 (146 views)
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Finwe Remarried [In reply to] Can't Post

 Miriel gives birth to Feanor and then goes to Mandos. Finwe marries Indis and has more sons. And that caused some trouble didn't it?


Elthir
Gondor

May 23 2013, 2:44pm

Post #13 of 20 (118 views)
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Elvish rebirth rejected [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes the idea of Elvish rebirth -- reincarnation as baby Elves -- was rejected, twice. This is noted in Morgoth's Ring [I believe there is a brief section on later concepts of Elvish reincarnation], and again in the late texts on Glorfindel in The Peoples of Middle-Earth [the notion of Elves being reborn as children, if noted at all, was to be noted or implied to be an incorrect Mannish idea].

I believe the idea that the fea could rebuild its own hroa from memory was rejected as well -- or at least the later Glorfindel texts do not note or imply this -- and CJRT had to correct himself about this in notes to the Glorfindel texts.


(This post was edited by Elthir on May 23 2013, 2:50pm)


Escapist
Gondor


May 23 2013, 3:51pm

Post #14 of 20 (109 views)
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concerning Glorfindel [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it reasonable to assume that his fate and return (in all his glory) is the model that all elves follow? Should specific notes about him be used to debunk other cases / writings about the matter under the assumption that this situation is handled in a uniform fashion?


Elthir
Gondor

May 23 2013, 3:59pm

Post #15 of 20 (105 views)
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There is text in Morgoth's Ring too... [In reply to] Can't Post

... and the Glorfindel texts speak generally about Elven reincarnation, while also describing Glorfindel's particular circumstances.

That he was a rebel Noldo for example, is specific to Glorfindel, and part of Tolkien's consideration that he was banned from bodily return to Aman [at least at the time of his death].


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 4:08pm

Post #16 of 20 (99 views)
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so... [In reply to] Can't Post

 
so... what happened to all the exiled who died....?

did they just hang around in mandos, clogging up the works? in morgoth's ring, tolkien speaks of prolonged, houseless fear as being an unnatural state.

did they hang about in mandos for an alotted time, then somehow reappeared on the mainland?


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


CuriousG
Valinor


May 23 2013, 5:47pm

Post #17 of 20 (95 views)
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Well, Finrod [In reply to] Can't Post

was an Exile and minor leader of the rebellion and part of the kinslaying--long list of guilty roles. Yet he was reborn in Valinor and rejoined with his parents. Was it because he morally redeemed himself by giving his life to save Beren? Maybe, but what about other Exiles who did noble things, and which noble things count as redemption and which don't? Or is it good enough to sit in Mandos awhile, contemplate your sins, and then get released to Valinor, which you're able to go to anyway if you're reborn in Middle-earth?


Elthir
Gondor

May 23 2013, 6:54pm

Post #18 of 20 (81 views)
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timeline [In reply to] Can't Post

Glorfindel's death was relatively late in the First Age, but he was given his identical body back before the ban was lifted. Tolkien goes into the reasons why, but here I'll sum up:

Glorfindel being one of the Etyangoldi (Exiled Noldor), was banned from bodily return to Aman at this point however, as the War of Wrath was yet in the future, if not that relatively far off, and the Noldor in general were still under the Ban.

But Glorfindel, after his purging of any guilt he had incurred in the rebellion, was released from Mandos and Manwe restored his body, an exact copy of his former hroa, the details of which had been stored in the memory of Glorfindel's fea.

His judgement had also considered that Glorfindel had been a reluctant Rebel and had had no part in the kinslaying at Swanhaven. Glorfindel was an Elda of high and noble spirit, and importantly, his sacrifice was of vital importance to the designs of the Valar (although he cannot have known this).

He was then permitted to dwell in the Blessed Realm, and 'for long years' he remained in Valinor, in reunion with the Eldar who had not rebelled and in companionship with the Maiar. His spiritual power had been greatly enhanced by his self sacrifice, and at some point, probably early in his sojourn in Valinor, he became a follower and friend of Olorin (Gandalf).

Glorfindel remained in Aman 'no doubt at first' by choice, Gondolin was destroyed 'and all his kin had perished' and were still in the Halls of Waiting, but his long sojourn was 'no doubt' also in accord with the wishes and designs of Manwe.


(This post was edited by Elthir on May 23 2013, 7:00pm)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


May 23 2013, 6:56pm

Post #19 of 20 (83 views)
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we just don't hear about them [In reply to] Can't Post

 
but i wish we had a few more examples, so that we could extrapolate.

i imagine that the halls of mandos are infinitely capable of handling any number of fear.

(pulling just from morgoth's ring...)

there's a waiting period in mandos (as there is for all; some, like perhaps caranthir, reside longer than someone like nimrodel).

before being rebodied, the fea must be wanting to take up its old life. and then mandos must agree. then manwe and varda give their blessing. and then it happens.

but if an exiled noldo dies before the ban is lifted... do they stay unhoused until the ban is lifted? or are they rebodied and sent back to the mainland? do all the exiles (before the ban is lifted) by rule stay in mandos, and only a few of them get exceptions (finrod, glorfindel)?

are the exiles judged by different measures? someone like caranthir vs. someone like an elf child that just followed its parents to the mainland? i still don't understand why, other than the kinslayers, the rest of those who journeyed are considered somehow in error, so that they have to abide by the ban.



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Elthir
Gondor

May 25 2013, 12:48pm

Post #20 of 20 (70 views)
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Finrod and other matters [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
but if an exiled noldo dies before the ban is lifted... do they stay unhoused until the ban is lifted?




Generally speaking I think so. Outside of the question of repenting and being allowed to return to bodily life, I think they had to wait at least until the Ban was lifted. In my last response we have JRRT noting that Glorfindel's kin were still in the Halls of Waiting -- it's not specific to your question perhaps, but it is notable [to me] that one of the problems Tolkien decided to overcome was that Glorfindel was an Exile -- who were not allowed to return to Aman in physical bodies.

I think if Glorfindel was rehoused after the ban was lifted he still could have returned to Middle-earth before the removal of Aman from the Circles of the World [these texts were essentially to answer the question about whether or not there were two Glorfindels or one], but in any case Tolkien didn't go there.



Quote


... do all the exiles (before the ban is lifted) by rule stay in mandos, and only a few of them get exceptions (finrod, glorfindel)?




Glorfindel seems to be treated as an exception as I read the texts. Again see my last response where I note Tolkien referring to the reasons why Glorfindel was rehoused despite being an Exile. As for Finrod, although an exceptional Elf in my opinion and possibly another exception too... well, I wonder... do we know for certain that he returned to Aman before the Ban was lifted?

I'm not sure the line in question necessarily illustrates that Finrod was rehoused before the end of the First Age. I think we are supposed to glean that death for him in Middle-earth was not the end of his bodily life -- again, despite being an Exile he was rehoused, and given his noble spirit, probably earlier than most I would say, but not necessarily before the Ban was lifted...

... unless I wrongly remember the quote and context here?

 
 

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