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Old 08-20-2019, 10:23 PM   #41
Johnny1A.2
 
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Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

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Originally Posted by Irish Wolf View Post
You can harp on your own, or on one of the major fantasy groups like Tolkien elves.

In Tolkien, the Eldar die of accident or violence, but are immune to disease and aging.
Actually, that may not be quite true. I was recently reminded of this, the Elves are immortal, but they do seem to age...a little...very slowly, after reaching physical maturity.

Cirdan, for ex, was one of the oldest Elves. Of the three great Elda lords left in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age (Elrond and Galadriel are the other two), he's vastly the oldest. He was part of the original migration of the Eldar westward, before the First Age. He was contemporary with King Finwe, King Thingol, and can remember the time before Thingol married Queen Melian, even by Elvish standards he's been around for a looonng time.

And he looks it, at least somewhat. Most male Elves are beardless, he has a white beard. He actually looks older than the other Elves.

That suggests to me that the Elves do age, very, very, very slowly, in time with the aging of the world.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:37 PM   #42
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Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Actually, that may not be quite true. I was recently reminded of this, the Elves are immortal, but they do seem to age...a little...very slowly, after reaching physical maturity.

Cirdan, for ex, was one of the oldest Elves. Of the three great Elda lords left in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age (Elrond and Galadriel are the other two), he's vastly the oldest. He was part of the original migration of the Eldar westward, before the First Age. He was contemporary with King Finwe, King Thingol, and can remember the time before Thingol married Queen Melian, even by Elvish standards he's been around for a looonng time.

And he looks it, at least somewhat. Most male Elves are beardless, he has a white beard. He actually looks older than the other Elves.

That suggests to me that the Elves do age, very, very, very slowly, in time with the aging of the world.
That's not entirely accurate. Galadriel was one of those who initially left Valinor with Feanor, and urged the Eldar to move eastward across Arda (she loved the forests). She was among the eldest of the surviving Eldar. As for beards, Tolkien never mentioned any facial hair among the Eldar at all - that was more a matter for the Second-Born, it would seem, not the First.

The Eldar do grow weary of the world, which is why they see Eru Iluvatar's gift of death to Men as just that, a gift. Men need not hang around endlessly in life after all joy is gone, but can choose to pass onward to whatever Iluvatar has prepared for them, while Elves must endure until called back to Valinor. (They still live in Valinor, but in a state of endless bliss, the state that Feanor and his followers turned their backs on in order to follow after Melkor's theft of the Silmarils.) Originally, in fact, the Edain of Numenor would live until life began to grow tiresome, then choose to pass after ensuring their successors were properly trained. It was Sauron who began reminding them of the fear of death that Morgoth had trained in them in the beginning, causing the kings of Numenor to insist on clinging to life as long as they possibly could.
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Old 08-21-2019, 04:19 PM   #43
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Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

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That's not entirely accurate. Galadriel was one of those who initially left Valinor with Feanor, and urged the Eldar to move eastward across Arda
She was. Círdan, however, was involved in the previous migration that carried Galadriel's grandfather and great-grandfather to Valinor in the first place. He was a contemporary and friend of her great-uncle Elwë Thingol.

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As for beards, Tolkien never mentioned any facial hair among the Eldar at all
Not never: very seldom, but at least once. Grab your copy of The Return of the King and open it to the last few pages of the last chapter, "The Grey Havens". The tenth-last paragraph begins as follows.
As they came to the gates Círdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and he was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars;…
I'll note further that Tolkien seldom mentioned the beards of Men either. Strider must have had one, as must Boromir, but they aren't mentioned that I recall. When Men's beards are mentioned it is usually "his beard was…", not "he had a beard", so I assume that a lot of characters actually had beards that weren't worth mentioning, just as I assume characters were wearing clothes between the ankles and the waist, though those are seldom mentioned either. Tolkien's style for describing characters tends to go straight to the impressions and social implications of their appearances, bypassing specifics and cultural signifiers (which the readers might not be able to interpret anyway).
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:25 PM   #44
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She was. Círdan, however, was involved in the previous migration that carried Galadriel's grandfather and great-grandfather to Valinor in the first place. He was a contemporary and friend of her great-uncle Elwë Thingol.



Not never: very seldom, but at least once. Grab your copy of The Return of the King and open it to the last few pages of the last chapter, "The Grey Havens". The tenth-last paragraph begins as follows.
As they came to the gates Círdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and the was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars;…
I'll note further that Tolkien seldom mentioned the beards of Men either. Strider must have had one, as must Boromir, but they aren't mentioned that I recall. When Men's beards are mentioned it is usually "his beard was…", not "he had a beard", so I assume that a lot of characters actually had beards that weren't worth mentioning, just as I assume characters were wearing clothes between the ankles and the waist, though those are seldom mentioned either. Tolkien's style for describing characters tends to go straight to the impressions and social implications of their appearances, bypassing specifics and cultural signifiers (which the readers might not be able to interpret anyway).
I don't have a cite for it off-hand, but I do seem to recall from somewhere that many of the Dunedain lacked beards. But I could be wrong about that because I'm wracking my brain and can't recall where it came from.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:54 PM   #45
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I don't have a cite for it off-hand, but I do seem to recall from somewhere that many of the Dunedain lacked beards.
There's an indirect mention in Unfinished Tales that one of the very last things Tolkien had written about Middle-Earth (never published) was that the Dunedain did not have beards, because of their descent from Elves. But then, Cirdan had a beard, just to be contradictory to other implications that Elves are beardless.

Tolkien was mostly nonspecific on the question, I think. Other than dwaves, he rarely mentions beards -- but that doesn't necessarily mean they were absent. Some people take the phrase "fair of face" to mean "beardless", rather than merely "attractive".

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Old 08-22-2019, 10:00 PM   #46
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There's an indirect mention in Unfinished Tales that one of the very last things Tolkien had written about Middle-Earth (never published) was that they Dunedain did not have beards, because of their descent from Elves. But then, Cirdan had a beard, just to be contradictory to other implications that Elves are beardless.
That might be the source.

But it has its own issues, of course. Most of the Dunedain were not descended from Elves, after all. The royal family (and eventually through them some of the nobility and probably a few commoners) had Elvish and Ainurin blood, but most of the commoners were of pure Mannish descent.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:06 AM   #47
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Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

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But it has its own issues, of course. Most of the Dunedain were not descended from Elves, after all. The royal family (and eventually through them some of the nobility and probably a few commoners) had Elvish and Ainurin blood, but most of the commoners were of pure Mannish descent.
The mathematics of genealogical collapse are rather surprising, and by the time of the War of the Ring the Dunedain had had over thirty generations in Middle-Earth. They were probably all descended from Elendil, in the same way that everyone with European descent is descended from Charlemagne. And given the small initial population of Númenor the three thousand years that they lived there were probably enough to make the Númenoreans all descendants of Elros, and therefore of Idril and Elwing. Certainly many of the Númenoreans who survived the destruction of the Land of Gift (whether in ships or in Middle-earth) will have been descendants of Elros.

They won't have had much Elvish ancestry, with only one part-Elvish ancestor in their initial gene-pool, but they would likely have had about the same proportion at every level of society. And by the time of the War of the Ring there will be a substantial proportion of the human population of the West and South who are descended from Faithful or Black Númenoreans, and therefore of Elros, and therefore of Elvish royalty.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:26 PM   #48
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The mathematics of genealogical collapse are rather surprising, and by the time of the War of the Ring the Dunedain had had over thirty generations in Middle-Earth. They were probably all descended from Elendil, in the same way that everyone with European descent is descended from Charlemagne. And given the small initial population of Númenor the three thousand years that they lived there were probably enough to make the Númenoreans all descendants of Elros, and therefore of Idril and Elwing. Certainly many of the Númenoreans who survived the destruction of the Land of Gift (whether in ships or in Middle-earth) will have been descendants of Elros.

They won't have had much Elvish ancestry, with only one part-Elvish ancestor in their initial gene-pool, but they would likely have had about the same proportion at every level of society. And by the time of the War of the Ring there will be a substantial proportion of the human population of the West and South who are descended from Faithful or Black Númenoreans, and therefore of Elros, and therefore of Elvish royalty.
True enough. It would be limited a bit by intra-familial marriage (the Line of Elros often married cousins) but it would still hold.

It also fits with JRRT's comments to the effect that one reason the Beren/Luthian and Tuor/Idril marriages were allowed/fated was to introduce the strengths of the Elves into the Mannish race (and vice versa, though that matters less to us).
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Old 09-01-2019, 06:38 AM   #49
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They won't have had much Elvish ancestry, with only one part-Elvish ancestor in their initial gene-pool, but they would likely have had about the same proportion at every level of society.
But the vast majority of them, including the royals, probably inherited no genes whatsoever from that ancestor. And a gene rendering you beardless doesn't seem like a great candidate for one that increases your reproductive success enough to competitively fix in a population either.

Not that I expect Tolkien would have thought of that. The genetics of "race mixing" were certainly a hot topic during his life, and one he cared about enough to write some fairly angry letters about the Nazi delusions on it, but almost everything about it in the popular consciousness was (and for the most part still is) nonsense.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:47 AM   #50
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Default Re: Elven maturation and population growth

"Race mixing" is a very different kettle of fish to species mixing. Not that any of that matters for overtly magical creatures like elves and even heroic human populations. That whole half elf thing of getting to choose whether to follow the fate of man or elf means even early 20th century genetics may not exist in Tolkien reality.

But even deleterious genes can get easily fixed in small populations. LotR world never seemed very populated to me.
Also bad or neutral genes can go along for the ride with some truly beneficial genes which I'd assume elves would pass on.
Some recent analysis suggests we inherited some negative genes from neanderthals along with the useful immune system ones, for example.
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