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  #51  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Cuckoorex View Post
I'm going by the movies, extended versions:

1. Are elvish bows enchanted, or just really well crafted? Legolas gets a new white bow from Galadriel, is that one enchanted in some way?

2. For that matter, what enchantments, if any, beyond glowing in the presence of orcs and goblins, does Glamdrig, Orcist, and Sting have?

3. When the Fellowship finds the entrance to the Mines of Moria, Gandalf can't figure out the password, then Frodo says it's a puzzle, what's the Elvish word for "friend"? Does Gimli have no clue about this secret password? Why does a Dwarven mine have a password in Elvish?

4. Not a question so much as an observation: when Theoden and Aragorn and company ride out to meet the Uruks, Gimli somehow gets horn-blowing duty? They couldn't get anyone else? Given Gimli's love of battle, wouldn't horn duty be a major letdown?
1.Well, the Elves dont understand what the Hobbits mean by "magic" but at least yes, Legolas's bow would be considered magic by most. Unbreakable bow string, never misses. I'd say +5 in D&D terms, at least.

2.They are powerful items, bane weapons for goblins. Sting was pushed by a geriatric hobbit deeply into a wood beam with no effort, and it hurt the cave troll when Boromir's sword just bounced off. And Sting wasn't even considered powerful next to Glamdring.

3. That entrance was used to trade with the local Elves.

4. Only in the film.
  #52  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:08 PM
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Thought of a couple more:

5. Who is the oldest character we encounter in the story? Shelob is supposed to be older than Sauron. Treebeard calls Gandalf "young". Galadriel seems older than Elrond, who is thousands of years old. I know the movies don't include him, but I understand that Tom Bombadil is incredibly old.

6. How strong are dwarves, elves, and wizards in comparison to normal humans? Gandalf seems superhuman in strength, Legolas pulls up Aragorn AND Gimli at Helm's Deep seemingly by himself, etc. For that matter, Aragorn in that instance holds Gimli in one hand and holds the rope with the other, no easy feat for a normal human.

7. "Swords are of no more use here" Gandalf says, then proceeds to use his sword to fight the Balrog. Ha! Just thought that was funny.
Either Treebeard or Tom, likely Tom.

Gandalf is a type of Angel. Aragorn is a Numenorean, they have advanced stats. In the books, Legolas was not shown as strong.

Their swords. Boromir's sword already just bounced off a Cave troll.
  #53  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:09 PM
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I don't think Frodo said that. Merry realizes it is a puzzle and Gandalf solves it.

And it isn't in English, the answer is "Mellon", which I think is friend in Dwarvish.



Unknown. It's either Tom Bombadil, Sauron, or one of the wizards. Treebeard makes a claim at being the oldest, but I think the Elves woke the Ents.
Mellon is Elvish.

Yes, but all those Elves have crossed the sea. Likely Tom.
  #54  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:38 PM
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From the Tale of Years in Appendix B:
And to elaborate, she's just spent 500+ years in Lothlorien before she meets him, IIRC. So no, she didn't see him as a toddler or squalling baby or such before.
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:39 PM
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The Firstborn couldn't have any cousins (or parents or grandparents or uncles or aunts) obviously, but they could certainly be uncles and aunts themselves and have nephews and nieces etc
How do you be an uncle if you have no brother or sister??
  #56  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:42 PM
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How do you be an uncle if you have no brother or sister??
Maybe the Firstborn are all considered brothers and sisters to each other?
  #57  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:42 PM
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And "Gandalf" is probably younger, as he was Olórin for a time, then probably Mithrandir before Gandalf. Not sure when he started paling around with men.
Gandalf was always Olórin the Maia, and thus predates Arda. The Elves in Middle-Earth called him Mithrandir, the Dwarves Tharkûn, and he had many other names as he wandered in his restricted guise as a grey pilgrim human man. He doesn't come to Middle-Earth until about the thousandth year of the Third Age, and that's nigh on 2000 years before the events of The Hobbit

Very few, I think, knew his true nature at the beginning of LotR:

Saruman and Radagast (and the two Blue Wizards, if they are still around)
Cirdan, Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn
Elrond's three children, and probably the other High Elves that still lived in Rivendell
Sauron (but not perhaps at the time The Hobbit is set at)
Treebeard, maybe
Bombadil ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Aragorn, eventually
Denethor, Boromir, Faramir and Prince Imrahil - there'd be a couple of educated guesses there at any rate
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Old 01-26-2019, 03:57 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks again for all the responses; it's a fascinating mythology, and I think I'm just beginning to really appreciate the level of depth and detail that is there in the books. I'll have to try again to read through, though honestly last time it felt like trying to find out who begat whom in Chronicles in the bible.
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  #59  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:59 PM
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How do you be an uncle if you have no brother or sister??
Olwe and Elwe are specifically noted as being brothers. The awakening at Cuivenien wasn't an Adam and Eve type thing - it was a long-planned first generation that sprung fully into being, siblings and all.

(and yes, I know that Tolkien played around with the idea quite a bit)
  #60  
Old 01-26-2019, 03:59 PM
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Sauron (but not perhaps at the time The Hobbit is set at)
If he didn't already know beforehand, he almost certainly realized it during the period when Bilbo and the dwarves were in Mirkwood, because Gandalf's "business away to the south" was the White Council attack on Dol Goldur, which forced Sauron to retreat to Mordor. (I strongly suspect he knew the nature of the Wizards before that, however.)
  #61  
Old 01-26-2019, 04:01 PM
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How do you be an uncle if you have no brother or sister??
You marry someone who does?
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:19 PM
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Gandalf was always Olórin the Maia, and thus predates Arda. The Elves in Middle-Earth called him Mithrandir, the Dwarves Tharkûn, and he had many other names as he wandered in his restricted guise as a grey pilgrim human man. He doesn't come to Middle-Earth until about the thousandth year of the Third Age, and that's nigh on 2000 years before the events of The Hobbit.
Right, I mean he was Olorin for millennia before Gandalf was spoken, let alone Westron existing. And being in man form changed him, I think, though I might've gotten that impression from the movies more. Certainly Saruman changed.
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:26 PM
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If he didn't already know beforehand, he almost certainly realized it during the period when Bilbo and the dwarves were in Mirkwood, because Gandalf's "business away to the south" was the White Council attack on Dol Goldur, which forced Sauron to retreat to Mordor. (I strongly suspect he knew the nature of the Wizards before that, however.)
I think it is possible that Sauron didn't know about Gandalf's true nature until he'd totally corrupted Saruman. It's not clear that Sauron even knew that the three Elven rings were still around.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:15 PM
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I think it is possible that Sauron didn't know about Gandalf's true nature until he'd totally corrupted Saruman. It's not clear that Sauron even knew that the three Elven rings were still around.
I have no firm cite to say that he did know. However, no later than the attack on Dol Goldur, he had to know that the Istari were out there, operating in cooperation with and on at least the same order of power as some old and high-powered elves. They weren't elves, and any investigation he undertook would likely convince him that they weren't of any race of Men, either--they were too long-lived and unchanging for him to even take them for Numenorean survivors.

There is this from Tolkien's notes on motivations in the Silmarillion, as found in Morgoth's Ring:
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If he thought about the Istari, especially Saruman and Gandalf, he imagined them as emissaries from the Valar, seeking to establish their lost power again and "colonize" Middle-earth....
It's not clear at exactly what point in time Sauron might have entertained these thoughts, however.
  #65  
Old 01-26-2019, 06:29 PM
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2. Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting glow when orcs are near. That is all that is said about any supernatural properties. Merry's sword from the Barrow Downs on the other hand does seem to have some magical property because after he stabs the Black Rider the narrator says "no other blade ... would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will".
I just want to throw in some geekiness about the swords (from The Hobbit, IIRC).

The swords' names in Elvish were Glamdring and Orcrist; which translates in the Common Tongue to "Foe Hammer" and "Goblin Cleaver" (orc = goblin)....and orcs called them "Beater" and "Biter". (hammers beat, cleavers bite).

The fact that Tolkien spent time on such throwaway word play pleases me no end.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:33 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks again for all the responses; it's a fascinating mythology, and I think I'm just beginning to really appreciate the level of depth and detail that is there in the books. I'll have to try again to read through, though honestly last time it felt like trying to find out who begat whom in Chronicles in the bible.
I always tell newbies: hang with it until the Hobbits get to Bree. Then you're off to the races.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:35 PM
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I was wondering why the elves in the Peter Jackson movie had Spock ears. Seems too obvious a giveaway they are elves, rather than requiring close inspection.
  #68  
Old 01-26-2019, 06:41 PM
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But Celeborn, husband of Galadriel, is described as a “kinsman” of Elwe/Elu Thingol. If the latter is one of the first awakened, how can he have kin, other than descendants?
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I genuinely don't understand what you mean here. "Kin" is just "family" where I'm from.
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Right, family. So how are they related? Cousins? Uncle and nephew? Both of those require Elwe to have parents, don’t they?
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Celeborn could have been a great*-grandchild of Thingol. Are you saying you wouldn't call that relationship "kin"?
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The Firstborn couldn't have any cousins (or parents or grandparents or uncles or aunts) obviously, but they could certainly be uncles and aunts themselves and have nephews and nieces etc
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How do you be an uncle if you have no brother or sister??
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Maybe the Firstborn are all considered brothers and sisters to each other?
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Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
Olwe and Elwe are specifically noted as being brothers. The awakening at Cuivenien wasn't an Adam and Eve type thing - it was a long-planned first generation that sprung fully into being, siblings and all.

(and yes, I know that Tolkien played around with the idea quite a bit)
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You marry someone who does?
This sequence of posts boggles me a little bit. Why is everyone ignoring markn's post? Elwe presumably had offspring, and they had offspring, and somewhere in there we presumably get Celeborn, ipso fatso (sic) kin of Elwe. What am I missing? Why is this hard?
  #69  
Old 01-26-2019, 07:01 PM
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This sequence of posts boggles me a little bit. Why is everyone ignoring markn's post? Elwe presumably had offspring, and they had offspring, and somewhere in there we presumably get Celeborn, ipso fatso (sic) kin of Elwe. What am I missing? Why is this hard?
Oi, not everyone found it hard.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:26 PM
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Gandalf and the other wizards are primordial spirits, therefore as old as time. However in corporeal form, they are "only" a little over 2000 years old, having come in around TA1000. And "Gandalf" is probably younger, as he was Olórin for a time, then probably Mithrandir before Gandalf. Not sure when he started paling around with men.
Gandalf's corporeal form was less than a year old in the second and third books/movies so he was the youngest by far.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:48 PM
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Gandalf's corporeal form was less than a year old in the second and third books/movies so he was the youngest by far.
He just rolled around in bleach for a few minutes. Meanwhile Saruman got faaaaabulous.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:32 PM
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Let me take issue with this answer only in one way: the elvish inscription had no commas.

So, when Gandalf originally reads the inscription, he reads it with the commas you have included, and parses it accordingly. But in reality, the inscription should be read without commas: "Speak (or Say) 'friend' and enter." The inscription on the door is literally telling people "Tell us you're our friend, and you can enter." Or, if you prefer, "Any friend of ours is welcome!"
Even more problematically, as has been pointed out in other venues, the inscription reads (punctuation notwithstanding):
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The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter. I, Narvi, made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin drew these signs.
This is problematic, because
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The name Moria means "Black Chasm" and was a derogatory description of the place which the Dwarves did not like, and was given after Durin's Bane took over the city in the Third Age. It is therefore a mystery why that name appears on an inscription made in the Second Age, and made in consent with the Dwarves.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:41 PM
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This sequence of posts boggles me a little bit. Why is everyone ignoring markn's post? Elwe presumably had offspring, and they had offspring, and somewhere in there we presumably get Celeborn, ipso fatso (sic) kin of Elwe. What am I missing? Why is this hard?
I figured that had already been adequately addressed. I was speculating about a specific point regarding the Firstborn. Half of what you quoted was a tangential discussion. (Good luck stamping those out in a fandom conversation.)
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:36 PM
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This sequence of posts boggles me a little bit. Why is everyone ignoring markn's post? Elwe presumably had offspring, and they had offspring, and somewhere in there we presumably get Celeborn, ipso fatso (sic) kin of Elwe. What am I missing? Why is this hard?
Because we know who Elwe's wife and and offspring were. Melian (Mrs. Elwe) was a Maia, and Luthien was their only child*, and Luthy married Beren the mortal and became mortal herself. There's no room for unknown descendants.

*I mean, I suppose they could have had more kids once he was reborn in Valinor, but that's way too late timewise to be relevant.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:44 PM
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So the Maiar and Valar are analogues to angels, right?
As with everything in Middle-earth's worldbuilding, It's Kinda Complicated.

Narratively, the Valar fill the role of pagan gods, but Tolkien wanted his world to be compatible with Christianity. So the Valar are in a weird sort of tier between gods and angels. Even in his own writings, Tolkien was inconsistent about what he called them.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:11 AM
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Even though the First Generation (by definition) had no parents, they're still organized into three tribes. In what sense, precisely, you can say that the members of such a tribe are "related", I don't know, but I don't think it's a stretch to call all of the members of one of the three tribes "kin".
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:30 AM
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As others have noted, Bombadil doesn't really fit the rest of the theology, and Tolkien included him because Tolkien loved him. So I think Bombadil really is the oldest -- in an important sense, he predated Ardu, the one God who created the world.

I spent a lot of time trying to fit Bombadil in when I was younger, and I finally decided that Bombadil is an avatar of Ardu, an avatar that has sort checked out of the running of the world outside of the little patch of ancient forest that he loved. Take it or leave it.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:46 AM
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I was wondering why the elves in the Peter Jackson movie had Spock ears. Seems too obvious a giveaway they are elves, rather than requiring close inspection.
As far as I know, in all of The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Silmarillion, Tolkien never specifies anything about elvish ears. I think, in one of the HOMES stories, a human tries to sneak into Gondolin, and his eyes are the giveaway.

As far as I can tell, the main difference between Elves and Men, is that Elf s@#$ doesn't stink. Everything the Elves do is grand, and glorious, and epic. Even when they turn evil, it's always cosmic, Darth-Vader style evil. They would never just rob a liquor store.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:36 AM
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As far as I know, in all of The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Silmarillion, Tolkien never specifies anything about elvish ears. I think, in one of the HOMES stories, a human tries to sneak into Gondolin, and his eyes are the giveaway.

As far as I can tell, the main difference between Elves and Men, is that Elf s@#$ doesn't stink. Everything the Elves do is grand, and glorious, and epic. Even when they turn evil, it's always cosmic, Darth-Vader style evil. They would never just rob a liquor store.
In a note to an illustrator somewhere, Tolkien said that elves have leaf-shaped ears. I think he considered that minor compared to the eyes, though.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:39 AM
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Regarding Celeborn's kinship, Christopher Tolkien notes in Unfinished Tales that there are some unresolved inconsistencies in the story of Galadriel and Celeborn:
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There is no part of the history of Middle-earth more full of problems than the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and it must be admitted that there are severe inconsistencies 'embedded in the traditions'.
Originally Celeborn was viewed as a Telerin elf who refused to cross the Misty mountains on the great march, and who was living in Lorien when Galadriel met him there. Galadriel alludes to this when she says "He [Celeborn] has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn." Yet the appendix presents a different story, claiming that Celeborn is a Sindarin kinsman of Thingol and lived in Lindon. There may not be a satisfactory explanation other than to just accept that there is an inconsistency here. Inventing an entire generation of first born elves who are never mentioned anywhere and who mysteriously vanished without a trace does not seem a better proposal to me.
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:27 AM
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Regarding Celeborn's kinship, Christopher Tolkien notes in Unfinished Tales that there are some unresolved inconsistencies in the story of Galadriel and Celeborn:


Originally Celeborn was viewed as a Telerin elf who refused to cross the Misty mountains on the great march, and who was living in Lorien when Galadriel met him there. Galadriel alludes to this when she says "He [Celeborn] has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn." Yet the appendix presents a different story, claiming that Celeborn is a Sindarin kinsman of Thingol and lived in Lindon. There may not be a satisfactory explanation other than to just accept that there is an inconsistency here. Inventing an entire generation of first born elves who are never mentioned anywhere and who mysteriously vanished without a trace does not seem a better proposal to me.
Dude was bigging up his background to get chicks and it got a bit out of hand.

She always seemed kinda out of his league...
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Old 01-27-2019, 10:37 AM
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Celeborn, Beren, and Aragorn all married way out of their league.

Then again, so did Tolkien.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:30 PM
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At least, by his reckoning. But you'll notice that nobody ever talks about anything Mrs. Tolkien did.

As for Galadriel and Celeborn, my guess is that all the elves of Middle Earth thought she was out of their league, and Celeborn is just the only one who worked up the nerve to actually ask her out anyway.
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Old 01-27-2019, 12:51 PM
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Because we know who Elwe's wife and and offspring were. Melian (Mrs. Elwe) was a Maia, and Luthien was their only child*, and Luthy married Beren the mortal and became mortal herself. There's no room for unknown descendants.

*I mean, I suppose they could have had more kids once he was reborn in Valinor, but that's way too late timewise to be relevant.
I see. Useful information. I'm surprised no-one thought to mention it before in this discussion, even in answer to markn+'s post. I guess I'm the only one who didn't know this by heart. And I guess no elves at that level ever had a child on the wrong side of the sheets.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:12 PM
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As for Galadriel and Celeborn, my guess is that all the elves of Middle Earth thought she was out of their league, and Celeborn is just the only one who worked up the nerve to actually ask her out anyway.
Hung like a mûmak, possibly.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:57 PM
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I see. Useful information. I'm surprised no-one thought to mention it before in this discussion, even in answer to markn+'s post. I guess I'm the only one who didn't know this by heart. And I guess no elves at that level ever had a child on the wrong side of the sheets.
If you take his "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" essay as canon, elves can't have a child on the wrong side of the sheet; having sex creates a soul-bond that's equivalent to marriage, and married elves are psychologically incapable of having affairs.
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:36 PM
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If you take his "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" essay as canon, elves can't have a child on the wrong side of the sheet; having sex creates a soul-bond that's equivalent to marriage, and married elves are psychologically incapable of having affairs.
What the perfect creature looks like to a devout Roman Catholic.
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:28 PM
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In a note to an illustrator somewhere, Tolkien said that elves have leaf-shaped ears. I think he considered that minor compared to the eyes, though.
Wouldn't it be funny if he had meant oak leaves?
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:38 PM
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Wouldn't it be funny if he had meant oak leaves?
Or palmettos.
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Old 01-27-2019, 03:43 PM
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So the Maiar and Valar are analogues to angels, right?
Some Maiar are more like fairies/nymphs - like Goldberry (frequently considered a Maia) and Melian (definitely one)

And that's leaving talking animals out of it completely...
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Old 01-27-2019, 05:27 PM
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Goldberry is a fey, not a maia. Fey are an embodiment of some part of the World. Though the category doesn't get much use by the time of LotR.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:57 PM
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If you take his "Laws and Customs among the Eldar" essay as canon, elves can't have a child on the wrong side of the sheet; having sex creates a soul-bond that's equivalent to marriage, and married elves are psychologically incapable of having affairs.
So was Celeborn Arwen’s grandpa?
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:09 PM
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Mostly covered, but I'll add some.

3). The region outside of the West Gate of Moria was once Eregion, and was home to the Noldor under the rule of Celebrimbor, the last truly great Elvish craftsman in Middle-Earth. He forged the Rings of Power. Eregion was overrun and Celebrimbor was killed in the war against Sauron in the Second Age.

Anyhoo, the Dwarves of Khazad-dum and the elves of Eregion bonded over their love of craftsmanship and were close allies. Also, Moria was the only source of mithril, which the elves greatly prized.

4). This was a change for the movie, but I'm basically assuming that Gimli didn't join the death-or-glory charge is because he was a poor horseman.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:36 PM
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So was Celeborn Arwen’s grandpa?
Yes. Celeborn --> Celebrian --> Arwen.
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:21 PM
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Yes. Celeborn --> Celebrian --> Arwen.
Huh. He always struck me as such a cipher in the scenes in Lothlorien (in the book), I had the impression that he was Galadriel’s second husband.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:38 PM
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So was Celeborn Arwen’s grandpa?
And, also, Elrond is Aragorn's many-times-great uncle, making Arwen and Aragorn very distant cousins.

Elrond had a twin brother, Elros. As both of them were great-grandchildren of Luthien and Beren, they were "half-elven," and were given the ability to choose to live as either elves or humans. Elrond, obviously, chose to be an elf, while Elros chose to be a mortal man.

In the very early Second Age, Elros took the name Tar-Minyatur, and was the first king of Numenor (the bloodline which led to the kings of Gondor, including Elendil and Isildur, and eventually to Aragorn).

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-27-2019 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:47 PM
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In the very early Second Age, Elros took the name Tar-Minyatur, and was the first king of Numenor (the bloodline which led to the kings of Gondor, including Elendil and Isildur, and eventually to Aragorn).
Bolding mine. That looks so much like minotaur, but I can never see the connection. Not like the whole Atlantis thing.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:58 AM
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Goldberry is a fey, not a maia.
You say that with authority - I'd love a cite for it definitely being the case.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:28 AM
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And, also, Elrond is Aragorn's many-times-great uncle, making Arwen and Aragorn very distant cousins.

Elrond had a twin brother, Elros. As both of them were great-grandchildren of Luthien and Beren, they were "half-elven," and were given the ability to choose to live as either elves or humans. Elrond, obviously, chose to be an elf, while Elros chose to be a mortal man.
They were half- elven from both sides, actually, from B&L and from Tuor and what’s-her-name of Gondolin.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:33 AM
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Yes. Celeborn --> Celebrian --> Arwen.
My favorite LOTR trivia, which even works for those who've only seen the movies:

Q: What's the relationship between the 2 eldest and wisest elves in Middle Earth, Galadriel and Elrond?

A: Mother-in-law.
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