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Minas Tirith Forums » Lord of the Rings » Half elven? (Page 2)
Author Topic: Half elven?
Alcuin
Guard of the Citadel
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quote:
Alcuin posits that Dior was a Man because Luthien chose to be of Man-kind.
Then we could state that Arwen, Elrohir, and Elladan were Elves because Elrond chose to be of Elven-kind. But we know this isn’t true (at least of Arwen).

That arrow has a good point.

The Sindar of Doriath took Dior as their rightful king after the Dwarves slew Elu Thingol in their argument over the Silmaril: hence Dior’s sobriquet, Eluchíl – “Elu’s heir”. Dior was “half-Elven” because his mother was Elven (half-Maiar). They may have considered him an Elf; but since he died soon after, at an age the Elves must have considered little more than a child, they never found our whether he was mortal by nature (i.e., like Men) or not.

My point about Dior is that Dior was mortal. This is hard to dispute.
  1. Lúthien was mortal when Dior was born.
  2. Mandos observed in the Council of the Valar (debating what to do about Eärendil and Elwing) that descendents of both Men and Elves were treated as Men. This was not presumption on his part: Dior had already been killed in the rape of Doriath by the Sons of Fëanor. Dior’s spirit must already have come to Mandos and departed Arda, as do all the spirits of Men.
  3. The extended conclusion to draw from Mandos is that, regardless of Dior’s lineage, Dior departed Arda like a Man, therefore he was “legally” (i.e., did his fëa remain in or depart from Arda) a Man.
  4. Dior’s sons Eluréd and Elurín, Elwing’s brothers, were likewise dead: they must also have arrived at Mandos and departed Arda.
  5. Having witnessed the fates of Dior, Eluréd, and Elurín, Mandos was under no illusion as to whether these people were mortal. Mortals are of the kindred of Men. He naturally assumed Elwing was, too.

Singularly among Men, Beren’s spirit lingered in Mandos, refusing to depart until it beheld the spirit of Lúthien. That Beren’s fëa could do this must have indicated to Mandos and Manwë that something unusual was afoot in the union of Lúthien and Beren.

Lúthien took on the “Gift of Men” to remain with Beren forever, but this was at the time considered a singular event. Tuor later took on the life of the Eldar, or so it was believed; and Arwen took the choice of Lúthien. Tolkien never explains the other two events except to say that there were three of them in all. Note that each of these three unions of Elves and Men involved a crossover in the fate of one of the members of the union: Lúthien crossed over to join with Men, Tuor crossed over to join with Elves, and Awen crossed over to join with Men (to her grief, as Elrond foresaw).

So when Mandos peremptorily declared in Council that Elwing, daughter of Dior and sister to Eluréd and Elurín, was mortal and of Man-kind, he wasn’t merely giving his opinion: he was rhetorically making a statement of fact. The Elves recited the key portion of the debate (Silmarillion, “Of the Voyage of Eärendil…”); the bolding is mine to highlight key points in Mandos’ disagreement with Ulmo, who himself broke the rules laid down by Manwë to help Tuor and send him to Gondolin.
quote:
[A]fter Eärendil had departed (the Council of the Valar), … Mandos spoke concerning his fate…: “Shall mortal Man step living upon the undying lands, and yet live?” But Ulmo said: “For this he was born into the world. …Is he Eärendil Tuor’s son of the line of Hador, or the son of Idril, Turgon’s daughter, of the Elven-house of Finwë?” Mandos answered: “Equally the Noldor, who went willfully into exile, may not return hither.”

But when all was spoken, Manwë gave judgment, and he said: “In this matter the power of doom is given to me. The peril that he ventured for love of the Two Kindreds shall not fall upon Eärendil, nor shall it fall upon Elwing his wife, who entered into peril for love of him; but they shall not walk again ever among Elves or Men in the Outer Lands. And this is my decree concerning them: to Eärendil and to Elwing, and to their sons, shall be given leave each to choose freely to which kindred their fates shall be joined, and under which kindred they shall be judged.”

The Council was determining not only how to respond to Eärendil’s message, but also how to dispose of Eärendil and Elwing (in the legal sense: “to attend to or settle”) who, as Mandos points out, may not legally enter Valinor. The case against Elwing did not involve the Noldor, since her heritage was a mix of Sindar, Man, and Maia; but she was nevertheless “breaking the law”. Interestingly, the Vala who argued in their favor was Ulmo, who himself broke Manwë’s decree by assisting Tuor, as already mentioned.

Finally, concerning Elrond’s children and their gift of choice: So far as I know, Tolkien never explains why Elrond’s children were permitted to choose while Elros’ were not. It certainly became a sore point with the Kings of Númenor! However, if you consider the union of Arwen and Aragorn part of Eru’s plan rather than some artifact of Manwë’s decree, and consider that Manwë was effectively Eru’s viceroy in Arda, of his own volition bound to his Master’s will, then extending the choice to Elrond’s children makes perfectly sound sense; otherwise, I think that part of the storyline cannot be satisfactorily resolved.

Reading Manwë’s decision in this way means that Arwen was an Elf, but the extension of her father’s choice to her meant that she could choose the fate of Men, marry Aragorn, and pass from Arda to be with him. As an interesting side-note, Elrond retained the right to renounce his choice and take on the fate of Men, too, at least until he departed Middle-earth. (In financial terms, his decision had an embedded put.)

BTW, the percentages you quote are equal to the fractions in the table.

[ 11-29-2015, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Alcuin ]

From: formerly New England (sigh) | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Flammifer
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My point about Dior is that Dior was mortal. This is hard to dispute.
1. Lúthien was mortal when Dior was born.

All is disputable.
My point was that if Dior was mortal (Man) because Luthien chose to be of Man-kind then Arwen, Elladan, and Elrohir should have been Elves as they were born after Elrond chose to be of Elven-kind; but as I said this is not true! as we know Arwen (for one) chose to be of Man-kind.

Finally, concerning Elrond’s children and their gift of choice: So far as I know, Tolkien never explains why Elrond’s children were permitted to choose while Elros’ were not.
He needn’t explain, but I believe he did:
Letter 153:
quote:
The view is that the Half-elven have a power of (irrevocable) choice, which may be delayed but not permanently . . . Elros chose to be a King and ‘longaevus’ but mortal, so all his descendants are mortal . . . Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children – with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrian dtr. Of Galadriel – have to make their choices.
He’s telling us that a Peredhil (Elros) choosing to be of Man-kind will have mortal (Man) descendants (no Choice).
But a Peredhil (Elrond) choosing to be of Elven-kind will have Half-elven descendants that have to make The Choice.
Man = no choice
Half-elven = choice

. . . As an interesting side-note, Elrond retained the right to renounce his choice and take on the fate of Men, too, at least until he departed Middle-earth.
Most convenient.
Elrond: “Hmm, I think I’ll be an Elf for a few thousand years and then a Man for a few hundred.”
Elros: “Hmm, they have given me a live span of 500 years as a Man. I think I’ll shoot for 499 and then change into an Elf.”

Seriously, the above quote uses the word “irrevocable”.
And as Arwen says in the Appendix:
quote:
’”Nay, dear lord,” she said, “that choice is long over. There is now no ship that would bear me hence, and I must indeed abide the Doom of Men, whether I will or I nill: the loss and the silence. . . .”
BTW, the percentages you quote are equal to the fractions in the table.
After all that we agree on everything . . . [] []

From: East Bight | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Alcuin
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quote:
My point was that if Dior was mortal (Man) because Luthien chose to be of Man-kind then Arwen, Elladan, and Elrohir should have been Elves as they were born after Elrond chose to be of Elven-kind; but as I said this is not true! as we know Arwen (for one) chose to be of Man-kind.

You quote Tolkien’s Letter 153 yourself, O Flammifer, and answer your own question. (Thank you, because I could not immediately locate the citation.) It doesn’t matter what you said or what I said about Elrond’s children: it matters what Tolkien said about them. Elrond’s children were also given their father’s and uncle Elros’ choice.

Perhaps your beef is that this is unfair to Elros’ descendents, the Kings of Númenor. They certainly thought it was unfair! In fact, they went so far as to invade Valinor over the dispute. For that matter, even Arwen complained about her choice just before Aragorn died, as her father Elrond foresaw.

I don’t know what to tell you that will satisfy you. The ambassadors from Valinor tried to reason with Tar-Atanamir: he wasn’t satisfied, either. He wanted to choose for himself, but he didn’t get to. Do you want to invade Valinor, too?

As for Elrond’s choice being “irrevocable”, it only became irrevocable when he left Middle-earth. Until then, it could be counted “delayed”. As long as he remained in Middle-earth, he could change his mind. There is a citation for this among Tolkien’s writings. If I run across it, or remember where I saw it, I’ll post it for you; but I’m not hunting for it.

And I don’t think Elrond’s children having a choice had anything to do with Celebrían’s being Elvish. I think it is properly seen as part of Eru’s plan to renew and refresh the Kings of Men by reuniting the “long-sundered branches of the Half-elven ... [so that] their line was restored” (preamble to Appendix A) at the beginning of the Fourth Age. Arwen was able to renounce her Elvish immortality, marry Aragorn, and with him raise a family. The Eldar Days were gone forever, but she remembered and embodied them to a new generation, possibly even two generations, that knew her personally; and she passed along that which her father and grandmother (Galadriel) taught her. Were she unable to renounce her Elvish nature and take on Aragorn’s mortal nature, she’d have been unable to help him restore the line. (And Aragorn would’ve married Éowyn, and Faramir would’ve been sad – or changed his name to Lancelot.)

─╫─

Added in edit:

I read through some material. Tolkien does say in several places (or his editors – mostly his son, CJR Tolkien – repeat in several places) that Elrond’s choice was “irrevocable”. I do recall that at least in one place, Tolkien wrote that Elrond could change his mind; but even if I can find it, that’s only one citation against several “irrevocable” citations. I concede that point, Flammifer; if I find the one outlier, I’ll post it in this thread.

I still hold that extending the “choice of the Half-elven” to Elrond’s children is not because their mother was Elven. Manwë’s judgment overturning Mandos’ declaration was derived from his meditation upon Eru: if you will, revealed to him in prayer. That makes extending Elrond’s choice to his children ultimately attributable to Eru, not Manwë, though Manwë bore responsibility for expressing it and, to whatever extent required, executing it.

[ 12-23-2015, 10:53 AM: Message edited by: Alcuin ]

From: formerly New England (sigh) | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Flammifer
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Greetings O Alcuin,

You quote Tolkien’s Letter 153 yourself, O Flammifer, and answer your own question.
I, er, um, had a question?
I re-quoteLetter 153 here for ease:
quote:
The view is that the Half-elven have a power of (irrevocable) choice, which may be delayed but not permanently . . . Elros chose to be a King and ‘longaevus’ but mortal, so all his descendants are mortal . . . Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children – with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrian dtr. Of Galadriel – have to make their choices.
Perhaps your beef is that this is unfair to Elros’ descendents, the Kings of Númenor.
I don’t recall having a “beef” (a little harsh) over Elros’ descendants having no choice.

I don’t know what to tell you that will satisfy you.
Um, er, well, satisfy me about what?

As for Elrond’s choice being “irrevocable”, it only became irrevocable when he left Middle-earth.
You have admirably conceded that The Choice was “irrevocable” once made (whether in Middle-earth or West of the Moon and East of the Sun).

Yes, you may have read some older marginalia scrawl somewhere that Tolkien mused about giving The Choice somewhat of a childish do-over (a Second Choice, or Second Chance); but I’m sure the idea was quickly discarded as untenable and bizarre.

I still hold that extending the “choice of the Half-elven” to Elrond’s children is not because their mother was Elven.
No disagreement Alcuin. I view The Choice as simply a device used by Tolkien to add interest; but could say that all things come from Illuvatar.

Apologies if I’ve been a little curt.
And Happy Yule to you and yours!

From: East Bight | Registered: Jun 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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