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Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings » Long-haired Legolas? (Page 5)
Author Topic: Long-haired Legolas?
Galin
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quote:
The White Hand wrote: 'I said earlier that he'd have short brown hair;...'
What you said earlier was: 'But of all this, not one mention was made of Legolas having long or descript hair, so it would therefore be like most Elves, i.e. short and dark.' And with respect to the Boromir passage you write...

quote:
'... but here "dark" seems to mean much "black" for our purposs.'
If the Boromir reference to dark hair is part of a clear instance of inclusion-omission, then 'dark' hair should be assumed to be absent for Legolas, according to your rule.

quote:
Most Elves would seem to have medium-brown hair of this brown color, unless noted otherwise; (...)
It would appear that Legolas isn't dark-haired or golden-haired by your application of inclusion-omission. But here you seem to say Legolas is medium brown haired -- that is, you're claiming that Legolas is not light brown haired or dark brown haired, but medium brown haired -- as you say, like most Elves not otherwise mentioned.

Just want to be clear about what colour hair you're proposing here for Legolas and most Elves not otherwise noted.


Incidentally, what about Madomir's point concerning the Boromir citation and hair length?

[ 12-11-2010, 08:21 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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The White Hand
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quote:
It would appear that Legolas isn't dark-haired or golden-haired by your application of inclusion-omission. But here you seem to say Legolas is medium brown haired -- that is, you're claiming that Legolas is not light brown haired or dark brown haired, but medium brown haired -- as you say, like most Elves not otherwise mentioned.
Just want to be clear about what colour hair you're proposing here for Legolas and most Elves not otherwise noted.

Correct, he'd be medium-brown haired.

quote:
Incidentally, what about Madomir's point concerning the Boromir citation and hair length?

It seems that "long" would men "longer than shoulder-length."
Here, it's safe to read that Legolas' hair was shorter than shoulder-length; and the color was neither dark brown nor golden, but in-between. Just your average male Elf, which fits in accord on why he wasn't described as being particularly otherwise-- just as Gimli wasn't described as looking different from most Dwarves.

[ 12-12-2010, 02:16 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Galin
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quote:
Galin wrote: 'It would appear that Legolas isn't dark-haired or golden-haired by your application of inclusion-omission. But here you seem to say Legolas is medium brown haired -- that is, you're claiming that Legolas is not light brown haired or dark brown haired, but medium brown haired -- as you say, like most Elves not otherwise mentioned. (...)'

The White Hand responded: 'Correct, he'd be medium-brown haired.'

So not dark brown haired or black haired (or golden-haired) according to your inclusion omission. Let's look at some descriptions.

Concerning the Eldar, Appendix F generally describes that their locks were dark save for the House of Finarfin. Moreover Quendi And Eldar notes: 'In general the Sindar very closely resembled the Exiles, being dark-haired, strong and tall...'

And looking at the Exiles or Noldor (JRRT, Words, Phrases, Passages, p. 155): 'The Noldor were generally hróva or morna [these Elvish words are noted] 'morna black of hair: hróva 'dark, dark brown' In another entry JRRT seemed to think absolute black was not the case (same source): 'The predominant colour of Noldorin hair was very dark brown (no Elf had absolute black hair: morna)'

Yet JRRT appears to revise that no Elf was black of hair (morna) in The Shibboleth of Feanor, dated 1968 or later. For example, there Finwe has 'black' hair (note 19). Or concerning Urundil (note 61): 'His hair was not as dark or black as was that of most of the Noldor, but brown, and had glints of coppery red in it.' And again, the Sindar were said to have very closely resembled the Exiles, including being dark-haired, which agrees with the published description that the Eldar were generally dark-haired.


quote:
Galin wrote: 'Incidentally, what about Madomir's point concerning the Boromir citation and hair length?'

The White Hand responded: 'It seems that "long" would men "longer than shoulder-length." Here, it's safe to read that Legolas' hair was shorter than shoulder-length; and the color was neither dark brown nor golden, but in-between. Just your average male Elf, which fits in accord on why he wasn't described as being particularly otherwise-- (...)'

According to the texts, the average Elda of Middle-earth was dark-haired -- dark brown haired or black haired.

And what might be 'safe' to read is one thing, but that doesn't really engage much with Madomir's point in my opinion. If you're going to claim that the Boromir description is a clear example of inclusion-omission, then what it includes is both 'dark' hair and specifically shoulder-length hair, not 'long hair' -- as you described the rule, if something is mentioned specifically then it's assumed to be absent (and so on).

Even by your inclusion-omission rule Legolas can have long hair as far as the Boromir passage goes. And using the Boromir description, your rule seems to ask others to agree that Legolas isn't dark-haired, but again I note JRRT's descriptions here of the Eldar, Noldor and Sindar.

[ 12-12-2010, 04:13 AM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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The White Hand
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You're confusing texts, with con-texts.
To begin with, most Elves are not Noldor.
Likewise, dark can mean "black," or simply "not gold" according to context. Clearly, Legolas's hair was not as dark as Elrond's or Boromir's (both of whom got it frrom their relation to Numenor), but also was not golden like Glorfindel's.
And most of the Elves of Rivendell would likewise not have such dark hair, or it wouldn't be worth mentioning for Elrond-- who again, was not of the same heritage.
Finally, again LotR is superior canon over the rest you mentioned.

quote:
If you're going to claim that the Boromir description is a clear example of inclusion-omission, then what it includes is both 'dark' hair and specifically shoulder-length hair, not 'long hair' -- as you described the rule, if something is mentioned specifically then it's assumed to be absent (and so on).

If excluded, yes. And so Legolas would not have long or dark (i.e. black) hair. Thranduil is expressly stated in The Hobbit as having golden hair, so why would Legolas's hair necessarily be dark?
While Celebrindal's hair was silver and Elrond's was dark, Arwen also had dark hair via her likeness to Luthien, but that's definitely not a hard-and-fast rule; after all, a maian bloodline would likely run truer than a standard Elvish bloodline on one side.

quote:
Even by your inclusion-omission rule Legolas can have long hair as far as the Boromir passage goes.

Actually, no he can't, since it was omitted. Boromir's hair was longer than the others present, and so it was specifically mentioned; therefore to exclude Legolas if he had even longer hair, would be an aberration.

quote:
And using the Boromir description, your rule seems to ask others to agree that Legolas isn't dark-haired, but again I note JRRT's descriptions here of the Eldar, Noldor and Sindar.

Those are descriptions from non-canon, while in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings we're told that Thranduil was among the Sindar who travelled eastward from Lindon 'before the building of the Barad-dûr'. And The Hobbit states that Thranduil was golen-haired.

Again, published material supersedes non-published; therefore not all of the Sindar were dark-haired-- and again, the context of "dark" is relative-- in this case either to golden hair (as with Glorfindel or the other golden-haired Elves), or to brown (as with Elrond and Boromir's hair).

[ 12-12-2010, 07:57 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Galin
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quote:
The White Hand wrote: You're confusing texts, with con-texts.
I disagree. Let's see...

quote:
To begin with, most Elves are not Noldor.
I never said most Elves were Noldor in any event. Onward...

quote:
Likewise, dark can mean "black," or simply "not gold" according to context. Clearly, Legolas's hair was not as dark as Elrond's or Boromir's (both of whom got it frrom their relation to Numenor), but also was not golden like Glorfindel's.
If by 'context' you mean your inclusion-omission proposal, well, you used that to claim that Legolas' hair isn't black or even dark brown... but 'medium brown'.

But then we have Tolkien's own descriptions to consider...

quote:
And most of the Elves of Rivendell would likewise not have such dark hair, or it wouldn't be worth mentioning for Elrond-- who again, was not of the same heritage.
Most of the Elves of Rivendell were Noldor (this detail published in The Road Goes Ever On), who by Tolkien's own description were generally black or dark brown haired. And that's the very point of the quotes, because they help show that your ideas about Legolas or certain Elves -- gleaned from your ideas about context or inclusion-omission -- are arguably problematic compared to Tolkien's own descriptions.

quote:
Finally, again LotR is superior canon over the rest you mentioned.
What I posted concerning the Eldar, Noldor and Sindar doesn't conflict with The Lord of the Rings. In fact it goes nicely with the Eldar being generally dark haired (Appendix F).

So why toss out Words, Phrases and Passages? Especially since you can't prove that JRRT was following this inclusion-omission rule (and as you apply it) in the first place.


quote:
Galin wrote: 'If you're going to claim that the Boromir description is a clear example of inclusion-omission, then what it includes is both 'dark' hair and specifically shoulder-length hair, not 'long hair' -- as you described the rule, if something is mentioned specifically then it's assumed to be absent (and so on).'

The White Hand responded: 'If excluded, yes. And so Legolas would not have long or dark (i.e. black) hair.

There's no "i. e. black" in the text: that's your claim and your injection of meaning here. What is included is the word dark -- why did you claim that Legolas (along with the average Elf if not described) has medium-brown hair and not dark brown hair?

Were you yourself not avoiding the word dark because it was mentioned specifically?

quote:
Galin wrote: 'Even by your inclusion-omission rule Legolas can have long hair as far as the Boromir passage goes.

The White Hand responded: 'Actually, no he can't, since it was omitted. Boromir's hair was longer than the others present, and so it was specifically mentioned; therefore to exclude Legolas if he had even longer hair, would be an aberration.

Please point out where the text reveals that Boromir's hair was longer than anyone else's hair present.

quote:
The White Hand wrote: 'Those are descriptions from non-canon, while in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings we're told that Thranduil was among the Sindar who travelled eastward from Lindon 'before the building of the Barad-dûr'. And The Hobbit states that Thranduil was golen-haired.

Again, published material supersedes non-published; therefore not all of the Sindar were dark-haired-- and again, the context of "dark" is relative-- in this case either to golden hair (as with Glorfindel or the other golden-haired Elves), or to brown (as with Elrond and Boromir's hair).

Appendix F was published by Tolkien, which states that the Eldar were dark-haired but for the golden house of Finarfin. I take this as a general enough statement, and exceptions can occur. It's not my claim that this or the statement in Quendi and Eldar means 'all' the Sindar were certainly dark-haired, but we are dealing with an unknown in Legolas, an Elda, and you added 'the average Elf' who is not described otherwise, and so on...

... and so the statement that the Sindar very closely resembled the Exiles, including being dark-haired, is quite notable for consideration here in my opinion.


And as far as the other sources I raised: again, I'll go with Tolkien's own descriptions over your suggestions. And 'inclusion-omission' is not just a rule that you can't prove Tolkien was following, but a rule which has led you (at least) to suggest that Legolas (among others not described) should be 'medium brown haired' -- while I invite readers of the thread to consider Tolkien's own descriptions concerning the Eldar, Noldor, and Sindar, that I already provided.

[ 12-15-2010, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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The White Hand
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Galin wrote:

quote:
Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist s Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context cope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context Blah blah bah twist twist blah twist scope-shift ignore-context.
"I'll go with Tolkien's own descriptions over your suggestions."

Of course, and what a conicidence that they're the very the ones that you put in his mouth.
I've been patient with you this long, but now it appears that "Pearls before swine" doesn't do it justice. Mr. Jackson, may I call you Peter? It doesn't matter, I wish to call you nothing but a cab.

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Galin
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quote:
Of course, and what a conicidence that they're the very the ones that you put in his mouth.
Anyone with the sources I noted (and quoted) can find Tolkien's own descriptions of the hair of the Noldor and Sindar.
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The White Hand
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And anyone who's as intellectually dishonest as you, can likwise "prove" any conclusion they like, no matter how dead-opposite the narrative meaning.
You completely ignored my example of a Golden-haired Sindar, i.e. Legolas's father Thranuil.

[ 12-12-2010, 09:50 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Galin
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quote:
And anyone who's as intellectually dishonest as you, can likwise "prove" any conclusion they like, no matter how dead-opposite the narrative meaning.
Well, my answer to this general accusation is the thread itself.

quote:
You completely ignored my example of a Golden-haired Sindar, i.e. Legolas's father Thranuil.
In response to your example: I'm aware that during the writing of The Hobbit Tolkien described the Elven-king of Mirkwood as golden haired -- though at this point The Hobbit wasn't necessarily part of Middle-earth, and JRRT was years away from imagining that an Elf named Legolas was to exist in The Lord of the Rings.

And years away from noting that Legolas and Thranduil were to be Sindarin or noting that the Eldar were mostly dark-haired in Appendix F. And even more years away from writing Quendi And Eldar, where Tolkien noted specifically that the Sindar were dark-haired, resembling the Noldor in this way.

Of course Tolkien never revised this golden-haired detail in The Hobbit. He never revised the detail that implies Gandalf couldn't read runes on a sword as well -- except, for example, Tolkien did revise this much in his most thorough revision to make The Hobbit more in accord with The Lord of the Rings. But Tolkien was advised to abandon this new version well before he got to the golden haired (by this time) Sindarin king in Mirkwood. Not that JRRT necessarily would have revised this golden Sinda of course, but the external scenario is worth noting I think.


So that never happened in any case, and accepting Thranduil's description, this example shows that the statement in Appendix F can be considered a general enough statement, as I've always considered it, especially noting the exceptions.

General enough, yet since we are dealing with an unknown as far as hair colour for Legolas, that the Sindar were dark haired and said to resemble the Noldor in this -- and the fact that it is general and thus arguably quite sweeping -- is notable for the thread in my opinion. I don't imagine Celeborn is dark-haired either, but this doesn't mean I toss out Appendix F or Quendi And Eldar when considering this unknown regarding the Sindar or Legolas (and JRRT even noted that silver hair was not common among the Sindar).


So to anyone still reading this, again, compare what Tolkien said about the Eldar and Noldor and Sindar -- to TWH's 'medium brown' and etc. (about the average Elf that hasn't been described).


What TWH hasn't commented on again is the matter of Beleg -- after I pointed out that he appears in more than the 1977 Silmarillion anyway. And also TWH (or anyone) hasn't responded to my request yet to read more about this rule...

... a 'rule' TWH still hasn't proven that JRRT was following in any event []

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Roll of Honor pi
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Wouldn't Tolkien have been surprised at the amount of hairsplitting [] his readers would undertake?
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Galin
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And if we are are going to split hairs, just be careful of those used in Elven bows.
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Hamfast Gamgee
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Would Searos have been dark or light-haired, however? I settled upon brown myself!
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The White Hand
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quote:
Wouldn't Tolkien have been surprised at the amount of hairsplitting his readers would undertake?
Wanting to know what a main character looks like, is not exactly arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin (it's 5, BTW []

However Tolkien knew from the deplorable cultus that drowning movie-fans will grasp at a straw, and weave a tangled web with it; they've got their story and they're stickin' to it, literate or no.

But while he did that one should never start an argument with someone by buys ink by the barrel, he couldn't have known about the internet and how it doesn't even need ink... ergo non-stop tomes against what Tolkien said in plain English, putting words in his mouth (such as "The Hobbit wasn't necessarily part of Middle-earth, and JRRT was years away from imagining that an Elf named Legolas was to exist in The Lord of the Rings, so I can claim anything I want").

Words are like prisoners: you torture them enough, and they confess any answer you want.

[ 12-14-2010, 03:51 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

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Archer
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TWH
quote:
There's a rule called "inclusion-omission," which says that if something is mentioned specifically, then it's assumed to be absent in cases where it's omitted.
quote:
Actually these are the standard rules of English writing and grammatical interpretation, for those who've attended post-graduate studies in them, like Prof. Tolkien and myself-- unlike pulling exact ratios out of absolutely nowhere.
Galin
quote:
And also TWH (or anyone) hasn't responded to my request yet to read more about this rule...
That's most certainly because there is no "rule." You might call the idea of inclusion by omission, at best, a rhetorical strategy or device. But it is stylistic, not mechanical (as are grammar and punctuation) and therefore not a rule.

Rules seldom (and by seldom I mean never) apply to style. A creative writer needs flexibility to make his narrative flow (no pun intended) and come alive. If Tolkien's style and rhetoric were always dictated by his having to strictly follow the same "rule" every time he wanted to conjure a particular image, i.e., "short" hair, he'd be a poor writer indeed. Tolkien wrote from a natural ability to shape words and phrases into wonderful, evocative pictures, the way every good writer does. He didn't need a constrictive "rule" to show him how to do this, as if he was merely painting by number or connecting the dots. [] Yes TWH, this is coming from someone with a post-graduate background in English; try not to wet yourself.

Galin
quote:
at this point The Hobbit wasn't necessarily part of Middle-earth
TWH
quote:
But while he did that one should never start an argument with [blah blah blah. . .] what Tolkien said in plain English, putting words in his mouth (such as "The Hobbit wasn't necessarily part of Middle-earth, and JRRT was years away from imagining that an Elf named Legolas was to exist in The Lord of the Rings, so I can claim anything I want")
Tolkien's words :
quote:
. . .the Hobbit was originally not part of [the world mythology] at all
[]

TWH
quote:
Words are like prisoners: you torture them enough, and they confess any answer you want.
That part, at least in theory and practice, you got right.

[edited for clarity]

[ 12-14-2010, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Galin
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quote:
Galin wrote: 'In response to your example: I'm aware that during the writing of The Hobbit Tolkien described the Elven-king of Mirkwood as golden haired -- though at this point The Hobbit wasn't necessarily part of Middle-earth, and JRRT was years away from imagining that an Elf named Legolas was to exist in The Lord of the Rings. (...)' (snip of rest of response)
First off: thanks Archer for showing that I'm not 'putting words' into Tolkien's mouth (by giving us Tolkien's own words) -- and also for your response concerning this 'rule' that The White Hand has injected here. I'm glad to see you still about too.

For the thread: note I even included necessarily there because I know there are other opinions concerning this matter, despite what JRRT said himself. And yes, it's my hardly controversial (!) opinion that Legolas (of Mirkwood) was years away from being imagined when JRRT wrote The Hobbit. The White Hand is free to disagree there, if he or she wants.

As to what I'm 'claiming' or not in the thread, again see my own posts. TWH posted that I ignored his or her example of a golden-haired Sinda, so I responded. I was quite aware that there are exceptions to Appendix F's description of the Eldar in any case.

:shrug:

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Archer
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Of course you have a rather more layered argument concerning the niggling variables of Legolas's hair than what I was highlighting, Galin. I just wanted to respond to some of the more blatant deviations from fact that TWH was claiming.
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Galin
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Noted and appreciated Archer.

I wonder what our long lost Witch-king would think of inclusion omission.

This thread just isn't the same without him []

[ 12-14-2010, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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Tigranes
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Fear not, for He (Who Must Not Be Named) has many guises. I hear he is currently active by means of his wright hand.
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Madomir
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quote:
Rules seldom (and by seldom I mean never) apply to style. A creative writer needs flexibility to make his narrative flow (no pun intended) and come alive. If Tolkien's style and rhetoric were always dictated by his having to strictly follow the same "rule" every time he wanted to conjure a particular image, i.e., "short" hair, he'd be a poor writer indeed. Tolkien wrote from a natural ability to shape words and phrases into wonderful, evocative pictures, the way every good writer does. He didn't need a constrictive "rule" to show him how to do this, as if he was merely painting by number or connecting the dots.
[] Thank you Archer, well said. This sums up what at least one point I've been trying to make in this thread, 'cept you did the whole 'clear and concise' thing with it []

Writing is an art. You can't regulate art.

BTW, nice to see you around again, don't be a stranger []

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Galin
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quote:
Would Searos have been dark or light-haired, however? I settled upon brown myself!
Well, if his hair isn't described anywhere -- I'm not sure as I didn't check -- but if so, the Silmarillion word on Saeros seems to be that he was Nandorin.

As noted, the rather general picture of the dark haired Eldar can have exceptions. The other matter is arguably the term Eldar. Generally speaking now, and without going into all the complexities, technically, going by what JRRT had published, in my opinion he left it somewhat open concerning hair colour with respect to the 'Non-Eldar' or East-elves. Here are some 'definitions' of Eldar:

quote:
'... and Eldar, the name of the Three Kindreds that sought for the Undying Realm and came there at the beginning of Days (save the Sindar only)' (...) '... and among them the Eldar were as kings, who now are gone: the People of the Great Journey, The People of the Stars. They were tall, fair of skin and grey-eyed, though their locks were dark, save in the golden house of Finrod; and their voices...'

The Return of The King, Appendix F

Some editions now note that this passage refers to the Noldor, but that really refers to a draft passage, concerning which Christopher Tolkien notes that his father carefully remodelled (the draft) to refer to the Eldar. Tolkien would even revise this passage later without altering this point (for whatever reason), revising 'Finrod' here for the second edition in the 1960s.


I have found that enough websites (or posts in threads) define Eldar by the published Silmarillion, not The Lord of the Rings necessarily (or at least not noting the wording there).

Compare:

quote:
Eldar 'According (...) It came however to be used to refer only to the Elves of the Three Kindreds (Vanyar, Noldor, Teleri) who set out on the great westward march from Cuiviénen (whether or not they remained in Middle-earth), and to exclude the Avari. (...)'

The Silmarillion

I think that agrees with Quendi And Eldar, while...

quote:
Eldar 'The Elves of the Great Journey out of the East to Beleriand'

The Children of Hurin

To me this better agrees with The Lord of the Rings, although (in any case), internally the word Eldar appears somewhat fluid.

Interesting that CJRT would choose this wording later []

[ 12-15-2010, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: Galin ]

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