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Minas Tirith Forums » Reference Material » Legolas' Age (Page 2)
Author Topic: Legolas' Age
Thingol of Doriath
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There are other examples of Elves accomplishing great feats at an early age... Finduilas, Idril, Dior, Elwing even Lúthien to an extent. Gil-galad and Elrond were also relatively young at the beginning of the Second Age.

They all seemed to reach maturity way before the age of 3000!

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Q
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Even if Legolas wasn't as ancient as my "awakening of the elves in Greenwood" theory puts some of it's inhabitants, he could have been a recent child of the king. Does the giving of bows to elves have anything to do with their age? To say nothing of giving out swords. The act of handing out a specially crafted sword seems to be a privailage reserved only for the ancient....this never happened with Legolas. If this is the case, than Aragorn was obviously "older", in a sense, before his time. I could be wrong...what do you think?
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Thingol of Doriath
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quote:
The act of handing out a specially crafted sword seems to be a privailage reserved only for the ancient
Where do you get this from? Make it up, did you?

quote:
If this is the case, than Aragorn was obviously "older",
Impossible... Aragorn was in his 80's during the War of the Ring, while Legolas had, according to himself, seen oaks grow from acorns to trees. So he had to at least be a couple of centuries old.

[ 05-03-2006, 04:14 AM: Message edited by: Thingol of Doriath ]

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Q
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Bilbo obtained his sword through plundering the plunderers and relying upon chance circumstances; a short person gets a short sword...how often does that happen in Lotr?

Bilbo then gave the same sword to Frodo. This was not on special request from elven smiths, because if it was originally intended for an elf, the fact that hobbits eventually got hold of it means that it is a left-over.

Infact, all of the hobbits were given swords, but the fact that they were hobbits and not elves clearly means that elves were given swords at different times in thier lives. Legolas would be less than the four hobbits in elf years...if they were 30 in hobbit years than he would be 25 in hobbit years, and thus not old enough to receive his single-most important/heavy sword yet.
It doesn't work the opposite way though...that the hobbits would have to be 30 in elf years (or "of age") to receive their swords, because 30 in elf years is somewhere in the thousands, which hobbits could never reach. I'm trying to state that the Hobbits were given swords before Legolas, even though he was older than them in quantity, because he wasn't as old as they were in elf years. It would be the same if you tried to compare men with elves...some men get heavy swords earlier than elves because, like the hobbits, they are older in men years than a particular elf who is younger in men years (thus the part about Aragorn being given a heavy sword before Legolas).

How about women? Eowyn, the youngster, wasn't given a sword...she took a sword for the battle of the Pelanor Fields. Try and argue that she would be given a sword later and your faced with the problem of her breaking one. She slew the witch-king and simultaneously broke the sword that she borrowed. Since she broke it there would be no other sword given to her in a ceremony of the Rohirrim, because she had a chance to be given this sword that she took, but she broke it before a ceremony made it official.

Aside; who would want a broken sword anyways? (snicker)

So, in all, it takes elves a longer time to progress through the stages of arrow (this wouldn't be difficult without the bow), bow, and longknife, before being given a heavy sword through the act of ceremony.

Think of the time which it took for Feanor to make all of his precious ornaments in Aman. Three whole ages...and no sword among them (probably because they didn't need them yet).

[ 05-04-2006, 12:55 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

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Thingol of Doriath
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Good grief... I can't even be bothered to try and read your post... it has nothing to do with the subject of the thread. And it makes no sense, as usual. []
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Q
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Wasn't I right about Feanor? And that lifelong swords were something given to elves once they were well beyond the age of maturity? Forget that theory, as I can't prove it's validity.

On another note...Legolas was young enough to witness the lifetime of a tree from acorn to wrinkled old creeker, but not old enough to observe the change in something which would take longer to form. A hill for instance, or the growing darkness in Mirkwood (which would have started after the days of Sauron's fall during the days of the last alliance)...why does he never mention these things?

Another point is that he surely wasn't older than Gandalf, which is only about 1000 years in ME time, or else he would have led the company. I could be wrong about this last part though.

[ 05-05-2006, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: MANDOS ]

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Galin
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quote:
Here's a great quote from the immortal Nimruzir.

AFAIK it takes at least 3,000 years for an elf to grow to maturity (e.g. approx equivalent of 21 human years of age - see ratio of Elven year 144 Coronar to 1 Yen).

Morgoth's Ring; Section XI cited here:
'On Earth while an elf-child did but grow to be a man or a woman, in some 3000 years, forests would rise and fall, and all the face of the land would change, while birds and flowers innumerable would be born and die in loar upon loar under the wheeling Sun.'

Legolas at 500 is equal to about a 3 1/2 year old human child in comparison. Assuming the minimum age of 21 here... it's a safe bet that Legolas was born no earlier than the beginning of the Third Age. This makes his statement of witnessing many an oak rising from acorn to ruinous age a little clearer.'

I wonder if the far longer rate might reflect an earlier maturity rate for Elves, and that in Middle-earth, the rate became swifter. Before the section Nimruzir quoted, in the same text, it is also said: 'Nonetheless the Eldar 'aged' at the same speed in Aman as they had done in their beginning upon Middle-earth'

Inyerestingly, Christopher Tolkien noted in his commentary on Text XI:'I realized that it stands in fact in very close relationship to the manuscript of Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth,...' and in that text Finrod notes:

quote:
'This I can well believe,' said Finrod: 'That your bodies suffer in some measure the malice of Melkor. For you live in Arda Marred, as do we, and all the matter of Arda is tainted by him, before ye or we came forth and drew our hroar and their sustenance therefrom: all save only Aman before he came there. For know it is not otherwise with the Quendi themselves: their health and stature is diminished. Already those of us who dwell in Middle-earth, and even we who have returned to it, find that the change* [*the word change was an emendation to the typescript B (only); the manuscript has growth -- footnote by CJRT] of their bodies is swifter than in the beginning. And that, I judge, must forebode that they will prove less strong to last than they were designed to be, though this may not be clearly revealed for many long years.'
So maybe this rate diminished in Middle-earth.

[ 10-15-2010, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Halion
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Maybe. What do you make of this quote from note 1 to 'The Line of Elros'?
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Galin
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That quote helps raise that I am also waiting to see if a citation turns up where it's stated that the Elves grew (to adulthood) at the same or similar rate of Men. I thought I saw someone post it 'somewhere'.

Eluchil has informed me that it isn't from Vinyar Tengwar -- or wasn't in the issues available when I asked him. I am now waiting for one more issue of VT to be published to buy Vol 5 in full, as I already have VT 5a (issues 41-46), but not 5b (issues 41-49).

Anyway, perhaps Tolkien later thought it would just be easier to keep track of things if the Elves grew to adulthood as seemingly implied in this note. The 'other' quote (if it exists!) with its date, if known, and context would be nice here, but I am truly beginning to think I dreamt it.

[ 10-15-2010, 01:22 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Mithrennaith
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Galin, you could buy VT Special Series 3 ('Eldarin Hands, Fingers and Numerals'), since that contains precisely issues ##47-49, so you can then start buying single issues with #50 when that emerges. At least that's what I did.
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Galin
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Hmmm, maybe, since I'm going issue by issue at 51 in any case.

But I keep thinking the day I order 47-49, 50 will be published soon enough after... just because that's what will happen.

[]

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Mithcoriel
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On the subject of young elves...if that chronology they posted in another thread is correct, Feanor was 329 when he died. That's pretty young, no?
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Roll of Honor Varnafindë
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Fëanor died very soon after arriving in Beleriand, while his sons and other relatives lived on for centuries after him - so in a sense he died young.

But the chronology doesn't allow for the years of the Trees in Valinor being of a different length than the years of the Sun in Middle-earth - probably mostly because Tolkien had different versions of the difference.
So if all had been converted to years of the Sun (for comparison), Fëanor might have been a lot older.

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Galin
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Feanor was much older, as 1 Valian Year = 9.582 Sun Years. He was older than the whole First Age of the Sun. The other possible figure for Valian Years is much higher, at 1 VY = 144 SYs (equal to the Elvish Long Year as published in The Lord of the Rings, incidentally).


Anyway, at least we know the chronology of Annals of Aman was written (at the time) with the smaller figure in mind.

[ 07-31-2010, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Mithcoriel
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Oh ok....so, if someone was born one year before someone else during the time of the trees, that means he's 144 years older? (But for the other two ages, a year means a year?)
Feanor, if I remember correctly, was 21 when his first brother was born. So he's actually 21*144=3024 years older than his brothers??

And we don't know which of these figures is correct, the 144 years or the 9 years?

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Galin
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When Tolkien wrote The Annals of Aman (a revision of earlier annals) in the early 1950s, the figure was 9.582. So at least we know that the chronology there was imagined with the lesser number. There is a later text titled Aman in which Tolkien seems to be musing about a much larger number.

quote:
'In recording the events in Aman, therefore, we may as did the Eldar themselves use the Valian Unit*, though we must not forget that within any such 'year' the Eldar enjoyed an immense series of delights and achievements which even the most gifted of Men could not accomplish in twelve times twelve mortal years.'

*4 'We may... use the Valian unit': in other words, presumably, the old structure of dates in the chronicle of Aman may be retained, although the meaning of those dates in terms of Middle-earth will be radically different. See note 5.' CJRT, Myths Transformed, Aman, Morgoth's Ring

In note 5 Christopher Tolkien confirms the number 144, and with respect to a new idea concerning the Awakening of Men, notes:

quote:
'... Placing the event 'after or about the time of the sack of Utumno, Valian Year 1100' (see pp. 75, 80), a gigantic lapse of time could now be conceived between the 'arising' of Men and their first appearance in Beleriand.'
Hmm. Wandering around, I found this on the interweb, from http://lalaith.vpsurf.de/Tolkien/Time.html

quote:
But alas: a late statement found in MT (but belonging to AF) says that ultimately, one Valian Year corresponded even to "twelve times twelve mortal years" (MT). This finally toppled the chronology of AA: it is entirely inconceivable that the Noldor would have spent about 700 years to leave Valinor. So the remark that "we may, as did the Eldar themselves, use the Valian unit" (MT) is certainly not referring to the entries of AA as a footnote suggests, but rather to the mathematical definition of the Valian Year. Hence, if the same structure still applied, with 1 Valian Year = 144 solar years we obtain:

· 1 Valian Day = 52.596 d = 1,263.304 h

· 1 Valian Hour = 4.383 d = 105.192 h

That's one person's opinion anyway. The footnote referred to here seems to be the one (noted above) by Christopher Tolkien, although he employs 'presumably' in any event.

[ 10-15-2010, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Galin
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quote:
Feanor, if I remember correctly, was 21 when his first brother was born. So he's actually 21*144=3024 years older than his brothers??
If you choose to do this and the numbers are correct (didn't check myself) it's interesting to note that it appears to have taken about 3,000 years for an Elf-child in Aman to grow to be a man or a woman -- again, according to the text Aman at least, from which 1 VY = 144 SYs hails.

That concerns that specific detail at least. I've never tried plugging in 144 into AAm as it stands (replacing the earlier, lesser number) to see what results with respect to various matters, although off the top of my head, for example Maedros would have been captive by the wrist for a very long time (already arguably long by mortal standards using 9.582).

[ 10-15-2010, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Hamfast Gamgee
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I do find some of this a wee bit far fetched. I mean if one Valar year equals so many thousand middle-earth years, then how old does that make, say, Elrond? That would make him roughly 2 and a half in Elven Valrian terms, but he doesn't act like a 2 and half year old! And percisely how is it possible for an Elf to change his rate of growth so much in simply travelling from Valinor to Middle-earth?
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Galin
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Well, in the text Aman one Valian Year = 144 Sun Years (not thousands) and it's in this text in which the Eldar, 'in the beginning' at least, seem to have taken 3,000 years to grow to be a man or woman. Anyway (I keep in mind that) Tolkien also noted (notes to NKE 'neter, kanat, enek'), author's note 1:

quote:
'C.E. ? netthi. C.E. tth > Q., T. tt; S. þþ > þ. nette meant 'girl approaching the adult' (in her 'teens': the growth of Elvish children after birth was little if at all slower than that of the children of Men). The Common Eldarin stem (wen-ed) wendé 'maiden' applied to all stages up to the fully adult (until marriage).'

JRRT (italic lettering is my use for emphasis here), from Vinyar Tengwar 47, texts generally dated 1967-70

Which is quite late in any event.

[ 10-15-2010, 12:30 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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