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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Immortality of Elves

September 30
Topic:  The Immortality of Elves
AelKennyr Rhiano
Bryster Shan
InyaRay Oktomica
Fifi Wickentower
Vixyn Felisimo
topaz Seriman
Artemis Yuhara
Lihan Taifun
Tuatha Shippe

Vixyn Felisimo smiles, shading her eyes against the glare and wondering if her eyes will adjust.
My Lord, looks we we are two of the luckiest elves in Arda to be in the presence of such beauty.
Vixyn Felisimo closes her eyes relying on sharp hearing instead, and thinks of the shadowed passages of the Underdark
Tonight's topic is the Immortality of Elves. People describe elves as "immortal", yet they can be killed (no comments yet?)
If I may... The mistake is in thinking that Elves are invulnerable. We are 'long-lived'.
Amortal, perhaps... immortal, no.
How do elves describe themselves?
Perhaps a definition of "immortal" would be in order.
But we seem 'immortal to such as Edan.
If I may be geeky a moment? The word the elves use for themselves is "ilfirin", which would be better translated "unfading", not affected by old age and, generally not by disease. Elves do not die of "natural causes"
But in the 3rd age did they not acknowledge that it was there powers that were fading?
They did
The inability to prevent Lorien from falling to the ravages of time.
Would that affect their own life span?
Good question.
and by the Third Age, many of the older elves were feeling "tired", though probably more in an emotional than physical sense, I would guess
After 3000 or more years.
Maybe more like "seriously bored"
They were willing to hand over middle earth and accept that the age of man had arrived.
Is there no place for the immortal among the mortal... ?
meaning ...?
perhaps they had to go...
because of the humans?

What do we know that can kill an elf?
Weapons certainly.
Being forced to watch the entire third season og Gilligan's Island? That would kill *anything*!
InyaRay Oktomica nods
Elves have thrown themselves into rivers as suicide
Someone's been reading The Children of Hurin.
I don't remember anything about Gilligan's Island in Children of Hurin
Thank goodness.
Though we don't really know evrything that happens in the dungeons of Utumno
What would make an elf want to commit suicide?
loss of the light that is their ultimate nourishment
as men encrouched more, the vibrations lowered
Speaking of light, I think I will turn the sky to nighttime. The Sun hasn't been invented yet. We can have proper starlight.
lovely idea
Vixyn Felisimo sighs with relief and opens her eyes to the welcomong Night
There you go, dear.
Feanor's mother died of depression, or exhaustion of spirit
Beautiful! ((the stars... not Feanor's mother dying, that is))
Soo...elven immortality.
With weapons ... I would guess that a wound that doesn't kill quickly won't be fatal at all?
That would depend, wouldn't it?
I don't think elves get infected wounds
Would depend on what?
Well...thinks... I guess if I were to think of another type of literature, the story of the "Fisher King"
go on
They would never die of sicknees or pestilance
He had a wound that never was not mortal...but I could see that were an elf to suffer such a wound, he or she may choose to end their lives rather than live for untold centuries, with such a wound that never heals.
Could spells kill elves?
I believe I once killed an elf with a vile curse...
There is I beleive no mention of 'spells'.
I am also mindful of when Elrond spoke to his daughter about choosing to love and live with the mortal remember?
But he only wared that Aragorn would die before she did.
And she would fated to life in a fading world.
yes....that is why I think an elf would not choose to live with a wound that would never heal
And she, being partly human herself, had the choice to take mortality, and the human path
Alone and without the company of her kin.
Nor would they choose life that was debilitating in any way.
Was it Maedhros, who lost a hand?
How so was Arwen partly human?
Her father, Elrond, was one of the "half-elven" brothers, grandsons of Luthien Tinuviel. Elrond chose the elven path, and his brother Elros chose to be human, and became the first king of Numenor. (which makes Arwen's father and Aragorn's ancestor brothers)
Thank you. I hadn't known that.
Who was the happier I wonder? in their time
Yes, the elves didn't seem to enjoy their immortality much
They were shocked as to how 'frail' humans appeared.
So if an elf does not choose to end his life or does not receive a mortal they live forever?
or at least an age?
Yes. They were to live until the end of the earth.
Noticing that should a plague appear humans died very quickly and by the time humans had beome knowledable in the ways of the Elves, they died.
But is that really true, ageless?
"Until the end of the earth" makes them still more finite than the Ainur
That was as Eru made them.
Or just the elves who were born at the waters of the awakening?
I thought all elves
By that, I mean to ask...elves do give birth to children, correct?
Yes they give birth.
Plenty of examples of elven children
Then they are not ageless.
and the children grow up
For their children do not spring from their parents, like Athena from Zeus. Elves do age
Or they would be born grown
AelKennyr Rhiano nods at Fifi
They don't wear out with age, like humans do
Yet how far can one age ?
If human reached their prime and stopped aging they would be about 30-35?
25.... 55... 105...
The human life span, it is believed, has a max of 125 years.
so with elves . . the same only they don't 'deteriorate
Aragorn was said to be 'long-lived', and yet he was not Elven.
He was of Numenorian ancestry, Dunadan. and he was a decendant of Elros
Bryster Shan nods.
If there was no decay then life would just go on
You speak as if long life was a curse forthe Elves.
I don't think it was.
It is said death was a gift to man... so one wonders
I think sometimes the elves envied humans
But I think....yes. I was about to say that.
Yes, I think they envied the humans and I think, in some ways the Ainu envied the elves
Besides the mysterios destiny after death for the humans
And the humans either envied all or were oblivious
well, humans!
Fifi Wickentower: makes a sound

So, when elves do die ... their spirits go the the Halls of Mandos in the Blessed Lands, and they say their spirits can return. I don't know of any examples of elves returning,though
If they returned, thougth, they would be someone new, right? So, how would we know they returned?
In a new race?
As elves, I would think
idk about that, but a new body and identity
Would they know they were elven ?
So elves reincarnate -- and to what purpose?
I guess for the same reason that people today believe in reincarnation.
Well, I guess there is some speculation that the Glorfindel of Elrond's house was the same Glorfindel of ... the hidden city, I forget what it is called ... Gondolin!

um, yes, reincarnation
All the children are new elven spirits?
For all intents and purposes . . if elves live longer thanany one else in the 'world' they would seem to be ageless, especially if they did not visibly grow old
AelKennyr Rhiano nods
such a fascinating thing ... time..
And if that is what they know ie: those around them - family etc stayed in their prime (once reached), then would they not live their lives as if

What do you think, Lihan? Do you think tolkien's elves reincarnated?
You don't hear about many who did. I wonder whether they chose their next lives in the Blessed Lands, though. Then we wouldn't hear about it. And, how many elves would want to go back to Middle Earth? Especially the Noldor, who mostly realized that leaving had been a mistake.
How do the Teleri feel?
All those deaths in the Kinslaying? Would they want to come back?
Tolkien says little about the Teleri after the kinslaying.
The focus of the story moves to Middle Earth after that. You are off camera
So we have to extrapolate. I can see, though, given the Teleri love of the seas, their history of travelling, that they would grow curious about the world about them, in time, and perhaps may explore once more
That makes sense, Ael. Curious elves must expand and explore.
So I think, if any elven race explored middle earth in later ages, it may well be the Teleri.
The Halls of Mandos must get very boring after a while.
They do not sound incredibly appealing..
That was my thought too . . .it is the sea that connects . . . the common boundary
So I think that the Teleri would fade last of all the elves.
And the Teleri probably didn'thave as many bad experiences as the elves in Middle Earth, so you might still be "fresher", less burnt-out.
AelKennyr Rhiano smiles....
Because they are close to the sea and air. Tthe inland elves were losing their lands to men
Watching the humans lose or destroy what they had built.
heart breaking
such wayward children.. the humans
I do think their hearts were broken
yes . . and the vibrational quality suffered . . if the elves were to survive they had to match the lower vibration, which was toxic, or leave . .as the quality of life became denser.
not life for them i would think
And knowing their own part in the troubles of the world didn't cheer them up any
To give way is heroic, in such a case
Yes! To know when to step back is a gift
and make room for the next generation
InyaRay Oktomica imagines the sail of the last Teleri ship... in the mist
evolution or, erm elfolution *ducks*
I have been posting our discussions, so you can catch up on what you miss

So, Lihan, after humans come to middle earth, do you see any of the elven races interacting with them?
There was a lot of interaction, in the first 3 ages. At least "detectable interaction". Plenty of humans in the Silmarillion. By the beginning of the 4th age, most of the elves had left. But, as you said, who knows what Teleri sailors might find on their explorations?

wb Lihan
Did you solve everything while I was gone?
yes... but then we forgot the question.
The air is sweet
Well, there will be a gap in the transcript, so the anwers will be lost.
Aas. And we ended world hungry...poverty...
Well, that's a good start :-) Feed them all starlight. Very nurishing
Let them eat starlight
Is that like 'let them eat cake?"
Well, it works for elves :-(
Only an Ainur would prefer it to a real hardy meal.

Do you want to continue this discussion next week?or another topic?
Do we still have the link to "everything Tolkien wrote about sex"? mariage customs of the elves
I like anything with enthusiasm...take your pick
I am not an Elf, mind you.
Nor am I, but feel oddly comfortable lol
Perhaps the differences between the different elves?
That's good - differences between elves :D
I'm terribly curious
I think my husband should hear this
Fifi Wickentower: *seems to hear more with floppy ears.
My ears are not floppy.
But mine are lol
The hair . . . tried to hide but
Are you looking at my ears??
Would I do that?
I saw you
Does it ever actually say that elves have pointy ears? I mean, everyone knows they do ...but, does it ever say?
I like them either way, really
I have only seen it in descriptions in folklore tales
Of course we do...wiggles his ears.
One has to have some other kind of ear to compare to . . round ears or square
Bunny ears, or teddy bear ears
No-one ever says men have round ears
But men say elves have pointy ones
And . . of course, Ainu only have ears when they want to lol
Puma's are kinda pointy.
So are mine
Depending on the form they choose at the moment
Me too
Perky ears!
Trying to model ourselves after elves
Probably as many differences as there are in noses
Elves are always considered beautiful, though
AelKennyr Rhiano smiles a little
A luminious, etheric beauty
Faery have pointy ears too..but small ones. wanna see?
well i'll have to poof my hair...i'll show you later