LotR Question (spoilers)

I’ve never read the books, though I probably will after seeing the movies. I got the impression from the films that the elves are sort of heavenly creatures, what with their immortality and all. At the very end of RotK, they were taking Frodo, Gandalf, and Bilbo away on a ship that was leaving Middle-Earth. Where exactly was the boat going? The dialogue seemed to suggest that the elves were not actually Middle-Earthlings, so to speak.

Fill me in on the creatures of Tolkien’s world. I think I understand the men and the hobbits, but where were the dwarves and elves from? Are there other creatures in Tolkien’s world that did not appear in the films? That is all. Thanks in advance.

Gee - Don’t know where to start - except you can go to this wonderful web site for the Encyclopedia of Arda, an online reference to Tolkien’s Middle Earth: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/

It will tell you about Illuvatar who created the eldest (the Elves), and the Valar, who created the Dwarves, and about the Blessed Realm that the Elves sail off to, along with the Ringbearers (who are going there to heal before they die)… If you go to the site you will find this is probably inaccurate, but oh well.
And there were other creatures in Middle Earth that weren’t in the film - dragons, shape changers, huorns (barely in the films), barrow-wights, and Tom Bombadil.

Enjoy the books.

In an extremely simplified explanation (I’m sure the Mercotan will be in to inform you better), the Elves had saved a spot for the Ringbearers (Frodo, and later, Sam) in Tol Eressa, a place outside the circle of Middle Earth, where Frodo could heal and later die in peace, rather than in the anguish he continued to feel both physically (the Morgul blade in his shoulder) and spiritually (his emotional/spiritual well-being after a demanding quest).

Well, now I’ve gone and confused myself, as I’d love to further explain the difference among the Grey Havens, Tol Eressa, and Valinor, why Frodo got a spot but the others didn’t, etc, etc…

Here’s waiting for QtheM.

Still waiting for the hard-core Tolkien geeks, but what the lesser geeks haven’t mentioned is why the Elves are leaving. The three elven rings (held by Galadriel, Gandalf, and umm Elrond I think) were tied to the One Ring’s power, and once The One was destroyed, they could no longer maintain their havens in Rivendell and Lorien. Frodo’s quest was quite the catch-22 for them, since they were doomed no matter if Frodo succeeded or failed – which is why they were already packing up and leaving as early as FOTR.

Hope I got most of that right. :slight_smile:

Non book-readers wouldn’t know this, but that’s what I assumed when I saw his beautific smile at the end of ROTK when he leaves Middle-Earth. He looked sad, haunted and worn-out right through saying goodbye to his friends, but then brightened visibly as he looked to the ship and started walking away with Gandalf. When he was on the ship and he turned to smile at his friends, you could tell the healing had already started. He wasn’t sad anymore, and the haunted quality had left his face. He looked at them with love, and smiled in peace and happiness. I loved that smile, I loved it! It was a wonderful touch by Jackson and Wood.

[non-technical explanation] The implication is that there is an Undying Land, removed from the sphere of the earth (OK, the Middle Earth.) So the elven boats won’t sail around the planetary curve, but in a straight line off the sphere to the Undying Lands… where all is bliss an happiness and singing songs and there is no death or disease.

This .gif is the best I can find for you right now. I got it from a post on another message board [sub](Khazzad-dum, about halfway down.)[/sub], so I’m not sure to whom it actually belongs.

Thank you Buckleberry Ferry!

KGS, you got most of that right. Additionally, the Noldor (the most powerful of the Elves in Middle-Earth at this time) had previously lived in the Blessed Realm and been exiled during the First Age, after which most of them were pardoned and given leave to return whenever they liked. They’d been clearing off in dribs and drabs ever since the Last Alliance when Sauron was previously overthrown and lost the Ring, and when their last High King, Gil-galad, was killed. But what with the practically indefinite lifespan of the Elves, there was no tearing hurry to take ship, and so some of them were dragging their feet enjoying the simple, rather rustic, pleasures of Middle-Earth and probably reminiscing nostalgically for the great days of Nargothrond and Gondolin.

so if ole whatshisname had tossed the ring when elrond told him to, the elves would have left sooner? would that be the only difference in middle earth?

what would the result been if whatshisname (something with an i?) had destroyed the ring eons ago?

also once the elves go off, could people move into the vacant cities? i would love to have an elf house.

Galadriel was one of the few Noldor to fall madly in love with Middle Earth way back when Elves were first checking out the lands besides Valinor in the First Age (many elves never even left Valinor). She went through a lotof crap to get there, too. During the Third Age, she used her ring to maintain Lothlorien, but once the One Ring was destroyed, she could not maintain the glamour any longer, and so had to leave. Ditto for Elrond and Imladris/Rivendell. So yeah, you could technically move into the “Elf houses” of Lorien or Rivendell, but they wouldn’t be enchanted, nor as enchanting, as they were back in the day of the Rings. Arwen goes to Lorien to die, actually, many years after Aragorn dies.

The Elven Rings of Power were free of evil, forged before the One Ring by Celebrimbor, an Elven smith who was instructed by Sauron but not tainted by him. The three Rings (originally held by Gil-Galad, Galadriel, and Cirdan, later by Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf) enabled the Elves to stay in Middle Earth and “ward off the decays of time and the weariness of the world” as Tolkien says in The Silmarillion . Sauron made the One Ring afterwards in order to bring the Elves under his power, but it didn’t work. The Elves kept the location of the Rings secret and never used them “openly,” but only to maintain their little nooks of Elven bliss and peace.

This is not entirely clear to me, but I think that when Isildur had his chance to destroy the One Ring, things could have still been OK for the other 3 Rings of Power and the Elves could have remained in Middle Earth without the threat of the diminution post-War of the Rings. Sauron would have been nothing but a “shadow of malice in the wilderness” and there would have been no need for the secret nature of Imladris and Lothlorien. Elrond and Galadriel took over these hidden havens with their Rings during the Third Age, during which there really weren’t that many Elves left in Middle Earth anymore; Sauron really did a job on them (and the Numenoreans, or High Men, from which Aragorn is descended) during that last war at the end of the Second Age.

I’m sure someone will correct me if the above is wrong, and if so, I am very interested in being further enligtened on this subject (spoken like a true Tolkien geek…)

Caution: This is a LONG-ASS post…

Okay…Arda (the world on which Middle-Earth exists) was sung into existence by Eru Iluvatar (God, basically) and certain of the Ainur (angels and spirits). Fourteen of the most powerful Ainur (fifteen if you count the bad guy) and many more lesser spirits entered Arda to help guide and shape the Music.

The fourteen most powerful Ainur were named the Valar, and the lesser spirits were Maiar. The fifteenth Ainur was Melkor, who coveted the Music and wished to shape it to his will. He spoiled the shaping of Arda in large and small ways, eventually harrying the other Ainur to form a refuge in the West which they could guard against him. So they raised high mountains around that land (the Undying Lands, including the region of Valinor where most of the Valar lived) and basically left Melkor to rule the rest of the world for the time being while they awaited the Elves, who had been foretold by the Music.

Arda was in darkness, with only the stars to light her, so Yavanna and Nienna, two of the Valier (the female Valar), created Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees. Telperion had silver flowers, which shone with a white light. Laurelin had golden fruit, which shone bright. The Trees glowed in alternation, 12 hours of silver light, a mingling of a few hours, then 12 hours of golden light, which mingled into silver again.

Soon Orome, the huntsman of the Valar, encountered the Elves, who had just awakened in the cove of Cuivienen, and encouraged three of them to accompany him back to Valinor as ambassadors. The three, Finwe, Elwe, and Ingwe, entered Valinor and beheld the Two Trees. They were returned to the Elves’ awakening-spot and convinced most of their people to join them on a trek to the West, to live in Valinor with the Valar in the light of the Trees. There was a significant minority which refused to go with them, and stayed behind. These were the first Avari (the Unwilling). As the Elves marched, the other Valar brought battle to Melkor to make the way safe for them. They captured him and brought him chained to the Throne of Manwe, the chief of the Valar, for judgment. Manwe, not having an understanding of evil, showed Melkor mercy and ordered him to remain chained for three ages of the Trees.

As the Elves progressed westward, they came to the Misty Mountains and, knowing they had to cross them, many turned southward to follow the Anduin. These were the beginnings of the Silvan Elves, who formed the populations of the elvenkingdoms of Mirkwood and Lorien. The bulk of the Elves continued across the mountains. They divided into three groups, the Vanyar, the Noldor, and the Teleri. Ingwe led the Vanyar, the Light-Elves, because they were ever the most eager to live in the light of the Trees and learn wisdom from the Valar. Finwe led the Noldor, who fell somewhat behind the Vanyar, being fascinated with the way that Arda was constructed, and the stones and metals and jewels that made her up. The Teleri, led by the brothers Elwe and Olwe, lagged farthest behind.

Eventually, the Vanyar and Noldor were carried across the sea by the Maia Osse, and entered the Undying Lands. The Vanyar settled in Valinor proper, closest to the Trees and the Valar. The Noldor settled mostly in the pass of the Calacirya, in the city of Tirion, where they were taught great secrets of smithing and creation by the Valar Aule.

The Teleri lagged behind, as always, and ended up settling for quite a while on the shores of Beleriand, because their leader Elwe had disappeared in the dense forests of the region. Elwe had come across the Maia Melian, and was enchanted by her beauty to the point of entering a hypnotic trance for YEARS. Melian, for her part, fell in love with the Elf as well. While Elwe was trapped by Melian’s beauty, Olwe reluctantly allowed a portion of the Teleri to be carried to the West by Osse, but the Elves begged him to ground the island on which they travelled in the bay outside the pass of Calacirya, so they could see the light of the Trees but also be close to the sea they had learned to love.

The Teleri who stayed and searched for Elwe became the Sindar, the Grey-Elves, who are sometimes classed with those who had never seen the Light of the Trees and sometimes are considered to have inherited some of the wisdom of the Eldar (the Elves who had gone to Valinor) because of their leadership by both Elwe and Melian.

The actual Silmarillion is a whole other epic and kind of beyond the scope of the OP’s question, so I’ll leave it for another thread.

As for the Dwarves, Aule (that Vala who got so chummy with the Noldor) had grown impatient to see the Children of Iluvatar, so he created a race of people himself, but couldn’t animate them. They were just lifeless shells. When Iluvatar questioned him about his experiment, Aule obediently laid the 7 Dwarf-fathers before Him to judge and to do with as he wished. Iluvatar valued Aule’s trust and obedience and agreed to breathe life into the Dwarves, but not until the Elves had awakened, as the Elves were in the Music as the Firstborn of the Children of Iluvatar. So Aule placed the seven Dwarf-fathers in widely separated caverns to awaken after the Elves had come forth.

Nicely summarized, jayjay. One minor nitpick tho. You could have used the ë key more often. Or once even. :smiley:

One pointless trivia question before I go: Remember the Vala named Alkar? (I’ve got to stop mucking around in HOMES. I’m getting just too geeky!)

Quadgop, just a quick hijack–be proud, I bought The Silmarillion. I’ll be reading it ASAP, as I’ve other books I’m required to read at the moment. Thanks so much for prodding me to get it!

I know, I know…I can never remember the Unicode for the damn umlauted e…

And you know I’m an Established-Canon Geek. We’ve discussed my tragic lack of HOMES before… :stuck_out_tongue:

Good Luck Buckleberry, I bought that book about 6 years ago and read it through for the first time about 2 months ago. Took me ages to get into it but having said that, once I did, I thought it excellant and am now in the process of gathering Christopher Tolkiens Books so that I can read more of the history and writings of Middle Earth.

Sorry for the hijack… I would reply to the OP but JayJay pretty much covered said everything I would have.


By Fëanor, I think I’ve got it!


jj & QtM, youze guyz need to go out for some beers, hit on some chix, listen to some rock & roll–you know, like get a life! :):):):slight_smile:

I wish I had the discipline to learn all this stuff and memorize it, but no, I’m just another dilettante.

NCUM, in my life I’ve performed aerobatics in a P-51 Mustang 100 feet over a lake, done ridge soaring near the Cali coast, and crashed an open-cockpit aircraft and (sort of) walked away from it. I had my SCUBA mask implode when I was 70 feet underwater off the coast of Curacao. I’ve engaged in exquisite technological work as I tried to figure out why my ski brake wouldn’t retract on my ski while I was stuck on a double diamond run outside of Banff. Professionally I’ve re-animated people who were legally dead, and performed medical research on convicts. (ok, it was just a study to see how many of the new inmates had hepatitis C, but it’s still research on convicts!) And back in my drinking days, there was no such thing as some beers, I went out for all the beer (and single malt scotch). As for rocking, I’ve seen Springsteen from the 5th row in a 500 seat venue. I won’t mention chix 'cuz my daughter posts here too.

At this stage of my life, I enjoy quiet contemplation at times. :smiley: