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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
*Spoilers* Question about Tauriel, Silvan elves, Thranduil


Nov 11 2013, 2:09am

Post #1 of 9 (1844 views)
*Spoilers* Question about Tauriel, Silvan elves, Thranduil Can't Post

I was thinking about Thranduil’s line stating he would not allow Legolas to pledge himself to a lowly Silvan elf. I was a bit surprised by this for I personally thought Legolas’ mother might be Silvan. I also wonder why the Sindar would adopt the language and customs but not marry. ??Unsure
Then I came across this today as I was rereading Tolkien’s Letters.
He states “the promise made to the Eldar (High Elves – not to other varieties, they had long made their irrevocable choice, preferring Middle-earth to paradise) they would always be able to leave Middle-earth and pass on the Straight Road.”

Does this mean the Silvan elves could not go to Valinor?Shocked For they did choose not to continue West and stay in Middle-earth. Or is this only referring to the Avari?
Also, if a Silvan elf died was he/she summoned to the Halls of Mandos? (if passage on the straight road was denied to them?)

If yes could this be the reason Thranduil is against Legoals pledging himself to a Silvan elf? For if he did he is doomed? Somewhat like Arwen’s story?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for thou are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!

Fredeghar Wayfarer

Nov 11 2013, 8:54am

Post #2 of 9 (780 views)
Interesting question [In reply to] Can't Post

I too like the idea of Legolas' mother being Silvan, as that would make him of both kindreds of the Woodland Realm (Silvan and Sindar). But Tolkien never mentions Legolas' mother so we don't know. It's possible that Thranduil wouldn't want his son to marry a Silvan Elf, in the same way a human king wouldn't want his son to marry a commoner. They're part of his realm but of a lower social class.

As for that quote, I'm not sure what to make of it. I don't remember anything in the stories stating that the other kindreds of Elves were forbidden from taking the Straight Road, just that some of them chose not to. After the War of the Ring, didn't almost all the Elves depart over sea for Valinor? Since the quote specifies the Eldar (which includes the three original kindreds and their descendants), I assume the "other varieties" are the Avari.

All Elves that were killed were summoned to the Halls of Mandos. If I recall, everyone was, even Men. But Men's souls pass on to their unknown final reward, while Elves' souls linger in Valinor until the end of the world, as they are bound to Middle-earth.


Nov 11 2013, 9:15am

Post #3 of 9 (797 views)
Thranduil could go to Valinor, or at least to the Lonely Isle. [In reply to] Can't Post

All elves can go to Valinor, and almost all of them do eventually; but it is also down to whether they want to.

After the last defeat over Morgoth (War of Wrath), the bane over the Noldor was nulled and the Valar decided to permit all the Elves to be able to go back to Valinor (either to Tol Eressea and/or to Aman) and even those who stayed in Middle-earth during the Third and Fourth Ages (Galadriel, Celeborn etc). Legolas was able to sail to the East because of aiding the Ringbearer.

"And when they came into the West the Elves of Beleriand dwealt upon Tol Eressea, the Lonely Isle, that looks both west and east; whence they might come even to Valinor. They were admitted again to the love of Manwe and the pardon of the Valar; and the Teleri forgave thier ancient grief, and the curse was laid to rest."

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 11 2013, 11:57am

Post #4 of 9 (714 views)
Persumably [In reply to] Can't Post

The souls of the Sindar if they die go to the halls of Mandos so I would expect that they would be permitted to dwell in Valinor. But thinking about it, why would many want to? Valinor isn't their home, never has been. Most would have been happy to live out their lives in the woodland trees.


Nov 11 2013, 1:23pm

Post #5 of 9 (916 views)
That's a good question! [In reply to] Can't Post

You are referring to Letter #154, to Naomi Mitchinson. Quoting from the Letters is not always convincing as a proof, but here, neither of the caveats apply: this letter was sent (some of the collection are discarded drafts), and it was written at 1954, immediately after LotR was published.

Nevertheless, it seems to be wrong - for this contradicts Haldir's words in Lothlorien, in which he wistfully regrets the lack of mallyrn beyond the Sea. It appers that Haldir fully expects to pass over the Sea if the war ends successfully. Which means one of the three:
1. Either that Haldir realises that he will be seperated from the Lord and Lady, and is pining in lieu of them.
2. Or that like all other Silvan Elves we meet, Haldir is actually a Sindarin prince in disguise. But how would that fit with Rumil and Orophin, his brothers, being unable to speak in the common tongue, and using Silvan among themselves?
3. Most probably - Tolkien simply goofed (in his 1954 letter). This happens even to him; although so soon after going over the final proof galleys is quite surprising.

Even if this letter is in error, it clearly shows that soon after writing the appendices, in which Legolas is said to have finally passed across the Sea in FA 120 from Pelargir, Tolkien considered Silvan Elves to have forfeited the privilege of leaving Middle-earth. And Legolas was not considered one of them, whatever his mother was.

As to whether PF, Ph. & F. have read this letter and taken it into account - who can tell?


Nov 11 2013, 4:32pm

Post #6 of 9 (652 views)
If that's the case... [In reply to] Can't Post

...then why doesn't Celeborn go instead of just hanging around Middle-earth moaning about how he hopes Aragorn's "doom be other than mine, and your treasure remain with you to the end."

I've never understood that.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

(This post was edited by RosieLass on Nov 11 2013, 4:32pm)


Nov 11 2013, 5:13pm

Post #7 of 9 (646 views)
I've always understood it as ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never seen it as moaning. Celeborn stayed in Middle-earth because although Lothlorien became diminished, he wasn't yet ready to leave Middle-earth. He was still in love with the trees and the forests, and the remaining Galadhrim probably swayed him too. I've always understood it that he simply didn't want to leave.

Who knows what Galadriel's last conversation with Celeborn was about. Did "use well the days" influence him? And what does "your treasure remain with you to the end" mean, to Celeborn (Galadriel, Celebrian, or Lothlorien)?



Nov 11 2013, 5:30pm

Post #8 of 9 (660 views)
Galadriel, I assume. [In reply to] Can't Post

Since the only "treasure" that Aragorn has that is comparable is Arwen.

I dunno. Wishing that his treasure would stay with him always because she's leaving and he's not allowed to follow her seems more tragic than losing her because he just doesn't want to go yet. They're both immortal, so it's not like he'd never see her again, if the latter is the case.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Nov 11 2013, 8:47pm

Post #9 of 9 (594 views)
It seems to be generally assumed that Legolas's mother was Sindar [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I've seen some speculation that Thranduil's queen might have been a Sylvan Elf, but that seems to be the minority view.

I believe that all Elves go the Halls of Mandos when their physical forms perish, but only the Eldar can take ship into the West.

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


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