Elrond or Elros?

OK, at the end of the First Age, the Peredhil or Half-Elven, are given an irrevocable choice of kindreds: To become forever one of the Firstborn, the Elves, or to become one of the Followers, ie: Men.

The Elves are bound to Arda, the world, and will live as long as Arda exists. Their bodies may die, but their spirits then go to the Halls of Mandos to wait until the End. Barring accident, death in battle, or death from world-weariness (in a few cases), they are effectively immortal. In addition, they are strong, beautiful, wise, cultured, and in all respects superior to Men.

Men are mortal. They will die at the end of their lifespan (which in the First Age was quite long by our standard, although not by that of the Elves) and their spirits, not being tethered to Arda, go somewhere else, and not even the Valar, the Gods, know where that is or what fate awaits them, although it is thought that at the End of Days they will return to join with the Firstborn, the Valar, the Miar, and the Ainur in making the Great Music with Ilúvatar.

The Peredhil, Elrond and Elros, were given the choice. Elrond chose to become one of the Eldar, and a master of lore and wisdom. Elros chose to become one of the Edain, and became King of Numenor and father of all the Kings of the West, including, ultimately, Aragorn Telcontar.

Right. So with that all out of the way: You are given the choice of kindreds. Which do you choose?

In my youth, this was a no-brainer. The Elves are strong, wise, live forever and are in every way cooler than cool.

Now, at fifty-plus, I lean the other way. Immortality sounds great at first, but, having experienced a significant chunk of eternity, I can see that it would become an enormous burden, one I am not willing to assume. So, I choose the choice of Elros, to be a Man, and, ultimately, to die and quest beyond to wherever Man’s spirits go.

How about you?

Well, I’m fifty-three, and I still choose Elrond and the Eldar. I mean, the best qualities of the Edain seem to have been in their similarities to the Elves. Why settle for being almost as good as the Elves when you can be the real thing?

Tired of immortality? Sail to the West.

You’re still immortal when you sail to the West, except then you have to put up with being around people who are Better Than You all the time. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Gift of Men, really, is a gamble. Elves have it good in Arda, but Arda is all they’ll ever have. Men go on to something More.

I am not prepared to make this choice.

There’ll be Pie in the Sky in the Sweet Bye-and-bye?

Sorry, I don’t buy it in any religion, Tolkien’s or real world.

That’s stupid. You can “buy” Elves That Live Forever, Rings That Make You Invisible and Corporeal Angels Sent to Guide Mankind in a fantasy world, but you can’t buy the concept of an afterlife in the same world?

I understand if you don’t buy it in the real world, but it seems sortof absurd to draw the line there in Middle Earth. It’s not “religion”. This isn’t some “believe and be saved” thing. This is just what happens to the Race of Man when they die. In Middle Earth, it’s fact, no belief required.

Or they go on to something less. The fact is no one knows so your choice is between a known quantity or a crapshoot.

I’d take immortality. I don’t think you’d ever run out of things to see in our world, much less Tolkien’s. I suppose it’s possible that Man gets an amazing reward during the interval between death and the End of Days but it might be miserable too and I’d rather not take my chances. When we’re all singing around Illuvatar it’s not like I’m going to feel hosed if Man had a better time than I did.

I’d say that history has proven that Elrond made the better choice. Time and time again men have become jealous of the elves and tried to obtain immortality by various means; I haven’t seen any sign of the elves being jealous of man. They seem pretty content with their lot.

I seem to recall somewhere it is said that, ultimately, even the Valar will grow to envy the Gift of Men. World-weariness seems inevitable, given Eternity.

I think that the elves that became jealous of man were corrupted by Sauron and turned into orcs.

I’ll go with the elves and combat the burden of eternity with forgetfulness.

I thought, technically, that elves weren’t immortal, as their spirits would cease to be when Arda finally is destroyed (by whatever means).

It’s the Gift of Illuvatar to Men. He’s THE Divine Being, and clearly, He thinks it’s something pretty special. I’m pretty sure that thousands of years in a purgatory or whatever don’t qualify.

Ah. But that isn’t a choice. If you are an elf you can do that for a while, but then the world weariness sets in. Long term you have to go to the undying lands where nothing changes, or you have to use magic to hem yourself into a small land where you are protected from the world “like a fly in amber.”

I’m with Elros, a few hundred years is plenty of time. Then move on.

Queen asked … “Who wants to live forever?” :cool:

Me for one.

I found it fascinating that Tolkien could actually make this seem like a dilemma! In the hands of a lesser writer, the choice of mortality or immortality would seem like a no-brainer. But good old JRRT was able to spin-meister death into “The Gift of Man” and make it seem equally attractive. The dude was good…TRM (who would probably have gone with Elrond)

I choose Elfishness. Screw death.

Elros, every day of the week.

Imagine having to live forever listening to your in-laws. :eek:

Not that I’m encouraged at this point to go visit the Undiscovered Country…

For those who want a more serious discussion:

Think carefully - what is the incentive to strive for achievement if you have forever to accomplish anything you want?

‘That is a fair lord and a great captain of men,’ said Legolas. ‘If Gondor has such men still in these days of fading, great must have been its glory in the days of its rising.’

‘And doubtless the good stone-work is the older and was wrought in the first building,’ said Gimli. ‘It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.’

‘Yet seldom do they fail of their seed,’ said Legolas. ‘And that will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for. The deeds of Men will outlast us, Gimli.’

‘And yet come to naught in the end but might-have-beens, I guess,’ said the Dwarf.

‘To that the Elves know not the answer,’ said Legolas."

I side with Elros and the Edain. I suspect the sex is better, even if it does eventually end.

BTW, Mortals in the 1st age didn’t have appreciably longer lifespans. Beor his own self just made 90 or so, IIRC.

It was only in Elros & his descendants that we saw some mortals living hundreds of years.