Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir
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Author:  Elthir [ April 3rd, 2017, 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

Back for some quoting! First, the description of Cirdan: "Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and he was grey and old, save that his eyes were as keen as stars;..." The Grey Havens

So the text says he was old, not that he looked old. Case solved ;-)

Erm... ah... well, I admit, the suggestion of the description as a whole is that he looked old. And it's interesting (to me) that Tolkien uses Cirdan's eyes to speak "against age" here, so to speak, while for Galadriel and Celeborn, for example, no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes.

Although that said, a long beard and grey hair might make an otherwise youthful looking Elf look old. Tolkien noted elsewhere that Cirdan had silver hair, so perhaps silver-grey... or if that's too much of a reach... onward to the quotes!

As Gandolorin noted, early in Tolkien's world of The Book of Lost Tales, we find at least one old looking Elf (can't recall if there's more than one at the moment). But here's some much later stuff (later 1950s) from Morgoth's Ring. This first hails from Laws And Customs: "It might be thought that, since the Eldar do not (as Men deem) grow old in body, they may bring forth children at any time in the ages of their lives. But this is not so. For the Eldar do indeed grow older, even if slowly: the limit of their lives is the life of Arda, which though long beyond the reckoning of Men is not endless, and ages also. Moreover their body and spirit are not separated but coherent. As the weight of the years, with all their changes of desire and thought, gathers upon the spirit of the Eldar, so do the impulses and moods of their bodies change. This the Eldar mean when they speak of their spirits consuming them; and they say that ere Arda ends all the Eldalie on earth will have become as spirits invisible to mortal eyes, unless they will to be seen by some among Men into whose minds they may enter directly."

The stated examples anyway, seem to me to concern certain "inner" changes (impulses and moods) of the body, and in line with this (the following explanation in the text) is the notion that with the exercise of the power of generation, the desire soon ceases, and the mind turns to other things. Elvish fading is described a few pages later, where the body becomes "a mere memory held by the fea", and a few pages later yet again, it's noted that the Lingerers who have faded may reveal their forms to certain Men "... and he will behold them in all their beauty."

Then there's author's note 7 on the commentary to the Athrabeth: "We are here dealing with Elvish thought at an early period, when the Eldar were still fully "physical" in bodily form. Much later, when the process (already glimpsed by Finrod) called "waning" or "fading", had become more effective, their views of the End of Arda, so far as it affected themselves, must have been modified."

Finrod had noted that the health and stature of the Eldar is diminished in his day, and he finds that the change of the Elvish body "is swifter than in the beginning." And I think Finrod refers, at least in part, to the very long time it took for Elves to mature "in the beginning", about 3,000 Sun Years, noted in the text Aman (the fuller maturation discussion aside for the moment). And it seems to me that any diminishing by Finrod's day would be very relative. We are still in the First Age!

The following passage is from the text Aman (hroa and fea can be roughly translated "body" and "spirit"): "Therefore, after the vitality of the hroa was expended in achieving full growth, it began to weaken or grow weary. Very slowly indeed, but to all the Quendi perceptibly. For a while it would be fortified and maintained by its indwelling fea, and then its vitality would begin to ebb, and its desire for physical life and joy in it would pass even more swiftly away. Then an Elf would begin (...) to "fade", until the fea as it were consumed the hroa until it remained only in the love and memory of the spirit that had inhabited it." However in Aman, the hroa aged only apace with the fea: "And the Eldar that remained in the Blessed Realm endured in full maturity and in undimmed power of body and spirit conjoined for ages beyond our mortal comprehension" JRRT

So what do folks think of these later stuffs, and what they say or don't say? Do Tolkien's Elves have a geriatric stage of sorts, before fading? Not impossible of course, but if so, how long is it? I grant that the change of maturation rate seems a physically demonstrable factor, but I also think Tolkien might have abandoned this idea (due to a very late note published in Vinyar Tengwar).

There's no specific mention of Cirdan or his look in these quotes, but that's maybe explained by the imagined author being (as I think anyway) Elfwine, an Anglo-Saxon mariner-- excepting the author's note, which is in Tolkien's voice of course.

Anyway, I don't easily accept the idea that Cirdan was much older than other Elves -- I mean I accept that much, but my point is, even if so, so what? So why not "easily" accept this? Well, as a reader I feel I was lead to believe that Tolkien's Elves are very old but don't obviously look old... and then, in the last chapter, I was "suddenly" asked to believe that Elves do look old at some point, and the ancient folk we've already met just aren't ancient enough. Okay, I guess. In any case, we really don't know (so far) how old Celeborn is, for example, even when checking posthumously published notes or texts.

I might go with the idea that notable hardships could cause an Elf to look older, as in Turin's tale; but I'm not sure this necessarily applies to Cirdan in some significant way, compared to other Exiles in Middle-earth. Cirdan was never imprisoned by Sauron, for instance.

So... help! Do I accept Cirdan as author-published evidence... that's some strong canon there, after all... or do I reach and reach... cough and splutter... and say that Cirdan was old, and looked old due to his long beard and [silvery] grey hair?

Sometimes it seems simpler to say that the physically demonstrable way of ageing -- for Elves in Middle-earth -- is fading, turning invisible, while a perfect memory of the body is retained, which will then be used by the Valar to reincarnate the body. And, that this fading will not occur in Aman. "Simpler" as in not adding some physically aged stage to all of that, I mean.

Anyway, sorry I didn't include more context from Morgoth's Ring. And if this post is too long, see below the "yellow line of brevity" for the short version.

yellow line of brevity __________________________ yellow line of brevity

I don't know :-D

Author:  Gandolorin [ April 3rd, 2017, 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

OK, now I'm really going to turn on the wild imagination. :psycho:

Item: Cirdan welcomed all of the Istari when they arrived in Middle-earth (about 1100 Third Age as per Appendix B of LoTR, but there is some speculation about appearance during the Second Age - when possibly Glorfindel also returned to M-e)

Item: Cirdan, original recipient of Narya, The Ring of Fire, handed it over to Olórin / Gandalf when the latter arrived in M-e.

Item: We know what Gandalf and Saruman looked like explicitly, and there is a statement that all of the Istari looked like old men from their first appearances in M-e.

Sooooo - Cirdan liked Gandalf's look, and was able to will his outward appearance (or hröa) to resemble Gandalf ...

(btw - we're not really good at sticking to thread topics, are we?) :laugh:

Author:  Findë [ April 4th, 2017, 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

This kind of discussion shows how much I still have to learn! :o But I so appreciate all of it!

Author:  Gandolorin [ April 4th, 2017, 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

Well, Elladan and Elrohir on the one side (title of the thread) and beards on the other ... I mean, I know about going off on tangents (I'm a Yoda-level master at that), but I scrolled through the (thankfully only) two pages of the thread to get my bearings ... sort of ... I think ... maybe ... :dizzy:

Author:  Hanasian [ July 7th, 2018, 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

The entries on Encyclopedial of Arda for Elrohir & Elladan...

(This entry is listed as 'complete')

"With Elladan, one of the twin Sons of Elrond, born in the early years of the Third Age. Both the brothers were dark-haired and grey-eyed, and were said to be so similar that few could tell them apart.

In the year III 2509, Elrohir's mother Celebrían was captured and poisoned by Orcs in the Misty Mountains. Her sons rode to her aid, and succeeded in rescuing their mother, but though the poison was cured, the horror of her ordeal drove her to sail into the West in the following year. The torment of their mother left the brothers with a fierce hatred of the Orcs, and they pursued them in alliance with the Rangers.

Long after, in III 2933, they rode against the Orcs with Arathorn II, the then Chieftain of the Dúnedain. An Orc-arrow struck Arathorn in the eye and killed him, leaving his young son fatherless. That son was Aragorn, who was fostered by Elrond, and within a few years he joined Elladan and Elrohir in their errantry.

In the War of the Ring, the twins acted as scouts for their father, and were sent to Lórien to confer with Celeborn and Galadriel (their grandfather and grandmother). So, when the Company of the Ring came to Lórien some months later, their errand was known there. Elrohir later joined the remnant of the Company himself: he rode with Elladan in the company of Halbarad and his Rangers2. They joined Aragorn before he passed through the Paths of the Dead, and fought beside him in the Battle of the Pelennor, and at the Gates of Mordor3.

After the War, he was present at Aragorn's coronation, and then rode north with his brother Elladan to meet their sister Arwen and escort her back to Minas Tirith for her wedding to the new King.

Little is recorded of Elrohir's later life, except that both the Sons of Elrond were known to have remained at Rivendell for a time after their father departed from Middle-earth. Ultimately, like their father and their sister, they would have had to make a choice: to depart over the Sea to the Blessed Realm, or remain as mortals in Middle-earth.

  • 1. The element rohir in Elrohir's name has the literal meaning 'horse-lord', but Tolkien is explicit that the meaning 'knight' is intended here. The same element appears prominently in 'Rohirrim', the people of the horse-lords of Rohan.
  • 2. During their ride with Halbarad, we have our only general description of the brothers' gear. They are described as wearing grey cloaks over bright mail, and we know from other sources that each bore a star-like jewel on their forehead. Elrohir, at least, also carried a silver horn. The metal used for their mail is not identified, but the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm were still producing mithril for much of the brothers' early lives, and it seems at least possible that their armour was made of that rare substance.
  • 3. In all these events, it was Elrohir rather than Elladan who passed on his father's councils to Aragorn. It is hard to be sure whether this has any significance, but on this slim evidence it appears that Elrohir was the wiser and more learned of the two brothers.

(this entry is dated 14 Aug 2002 and says that 3 updates are planned)

In the one hundred and thirtieth year of the Third Age, Celebrían the wife of Elrond bore twin sons. Dark-haired and grey-eyed, only those that knew them well could tell them apart. The first of the twins was named Elladan, 'Elf-Man' as a token of his ancestry; he was descended not only from the royal houses of the Eldar, but also from the Three Houses of the Edain.

Many centuries later, the twins' mother Celebrían went on a journey into the south to visit her own mother, Galadriel, in the land of Lórien. In the Redhorn Pass, she was captured by orcs, and tortured in their dens. Elladan rode with his brother to rescue her, but by the time they reached her she had received a poisonous wound. Though their father healed her, she would not remain in Middle-earth, and sailed into the West the following year. After this loss, Elladan and his brother Elrohir were filled with hatred of the orcs, often riding against them with the Northern Dúnedain.

In the early part of the War of the Ring, the brothers' main role was to scout the land and prepare the way for the Fellowship, but later they took a more active part. When Halbarad rode to Aragorn's aid with the Grey Company, Elladan and Elrohir accompanied them. They followed Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead, fought with him at Pelargir, and took part in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where they fought with stars bound to their brows.

After the War of the Ring, little is known of the brothers' fate. They returned to their father's house at Rivendell, and remained there even after he had passed across the Sea. Like their sister Arwen, the sons of Elrond Half-elven were granted the choice of whether to leave Middle-earth for the Undying Lands, or remain there and become Mortal as Men. Elladan had such a bond with his brother that they must surely have chosen alike, but what choice they made in the end can never now be known.

  • 1. More precisely, as Tolkien notes in his Letters, 'Elladan might be translated "Elf-Númenórean"' (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No 211, dated 1958). This is doubtless a reference to his dual descent from the noble houses of Elves and Edain.

There is another bit of discussion on the Sons of Elrond here.

Author:  Gandolorin [ July 8th, 2018, 12:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir

I have just again re-read the posts here, even Elthir's lengthy ones ... ;-)

The thought popped into my mind - call it a hypothesis (very distinct from a theory!) - that the real turning-point of the choice of the Half-elven was that given to Elros and Elrond.

Elros's choice was utterly irrevocable for his descendants. Then why not Elrond's, as JRRT's thinking seems to have been?
The twins Elladan and Elrohir were born in 130 TA, Arwen in 241 TA (stop the presses! That's 111 years apart. There's a long-expected birthday-party centering on 111 ... ah, no, I don't think I have the stamina to speculate on that ...). Aragorn laid down his life when Arwen was 2900 years old, so her twin brothers had passed the 3000 mark by then.

Or is there a (never explicitly stated) qualifier to this choice having to do with staying in the quickly-changing (quickly-decaying is not unreasonable as a synonym) part of Arda known as Middle-earth? To return to the digression found in the above posts about why Cirdan is in some writings even by JRRT decribed as old, and bearded? Like that no Elf even remotely of his age remained in Middle-earth? And those that had gone to Aman ans stayed there looked massively younger than he did?

But did the Valar make it clear to Elrond that HIS choice was nothing as irrevocable as that of his (twin?) brother Elros's? I have posted elsewhere that my opinion of the Valar in their opposition to Melkor and later Sauron is decidedly mixed - or to state it harshly, wimpy. Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen were just a bit below half as old as Elrond. Their ability to make choices at the ages they had reached was certainly well-developed. We're not talking about human teenagers, or even pre-schoolers here. But then JRRT once described himself as a monarchist (though he prerred an "inefficient monarchy", whatever that means - nothing necessarily good ...)

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