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Elven Characteristics

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(Androgyny)
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[[Image:Piotr Wysocki - Last Elf.jpg|thumb|''Last Elf'' by Piotr Wysocki]]
 
[[Image:Piotr Wysocki - Last Elf.jpg|thumb|''Last Elf'' by Piotr Wysocki]]
The Elves were a far more beautiful race than Men, and generally taller. Among them, those who had gone to Valinor were the fairest and had the greatest skill of body.
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The [[Elves]] were the fairest creatures in [[Arda]], a far more beautiful race than [[Men]], and generally tall (about six feet). Among them, [[Calaquendi|those]] who had gone to [[Valinor]] were the fairest and had the greatest skill of body.
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Elves had keener senses, sight and hearing than Men, were slender, graceful yet strong, but were resistant to extremes of nature, illness and disease. However many [[Noldor]] died at the crossings of [[Helcaraxe]].
  
 
=== Pointed ears ===
 
=== Pointed ears ===
 
There are no explicit references to pointed Elvish ears in ''The Lord of the Rings'' or ''[[The Silmarillion]]''. It was stated elsewhere that "the Quendian (Elvish) ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human." However, practical considerations, including a number of occasions where Men were mistaken for Elves (most notably [[Túrin|Túrin Turambar]]), suggest that the points must have been subtle.
 
There are no explicit references to pointed Elvish ears in ''The Lord of the Rings'' or ''[[The Silmarillion]]''. It was stated elsewhere that "the Quendian (Elvish) ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human." However, practical considerations, including a number of occasions where Men were mistaken for Elves (most notably [[Túrin|Túrin Turambar]]), suggest that the points must have been subtle.
  
In the ''[[Etymologies]]'' Tolkien noted the similarity between the words for "leaf" ([[lassë]], [[las]]) and "ears" ([[lasu]], [[lhaw]]) and suggested an etymological connection. This indicates that he envisioned their ears as leaf-shaped.
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There is a noted similarity<ref>{{LR|Etymologies}}</ref> between the words for "leaf" ([[lassë]], [[las]]) and "ears" ([[lasu]], [[lhaw]]) and suggested an etymological connection.  
  
 
=== Hair colour ===
 
=== Hair colour ===
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===Androgyny===   
 
===Androgyny===   
Because of their (typical) beardlessness and beauty, the Elves are sometimes perceived as androgynous. However, they were probably not meant to be so; Legolas was described in the following way:     
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Elves were mostly beardless since they grew one only during their [[Elven Life cycle|third cycle of life]] ([[Mahtan]] was an exception)<ref>{{VT|41}}</ref>. Because of their (typical) beardlessness and beauty, the Elves are sometimes perceived as androgynous. However, they were probably not meant to be so; Legolas was:     
 
      
 
      
<blockquote>''"He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship."'' (''[[The Book of Lost Tales Part 2|The Book of Lost Tales]]'' Volume 2) </blockquote>
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<blockquote>''"tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship."'' (''[[The Book of Lost Tales Part 2|The Book of Lost Tales]]'' Volume 2) </blockquote>
 
===Other characteristics===
 
===Other characteristics===
 
The Eldar could manipulate '''''[[sanwe-latya]]''''' ([[Quenya]] for "thought-opening" or "telepathy") which allowed them to communicate with thought ([[Ósanwe]]).  
 
The Eldar could manipulate '''''[[sanwe-latya]]''''' ([[Quenya]] for "thought-opening" or "telepathy") which allowed them to communicate with thought ([[Ósanwe]]).  
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Also, unlike Men, Elves were ambidextrous<ref>{{VT|49}}</ref>
 
Also, unlike Men, Elves were ambidextrous<ref>{{VT|49}}</ref>
 
{{references}}
 
{{references}}
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==External links==
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*[http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/Ears.html On the pointed ears]
  
 
[[Category:Elves]]
 
[[Category:Elves]]

Revision as of 13:02, 5 November 2010

File:Piotr Wysocki - Last Elf.jpg
Last Elf by Piotr Wysocki

The Elves were the fairest creatures in Arda, a far more beautiful race than Men, and generally tall (about six feet). Among them, those who had gone to Valinor were the fairest and had the greatest skill of body.

Elves had keener senses, sight and hearing than Men, were slender, graceful yet strong, but were resistant to extremes of nature, illness and disease. However many Noldor died at the crossings of Helcaraxe.

Contents

Pointed ears

There are no explicit references to pointed Elvish ears in The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. It was stated elsewhere that "the Quendian (Elvish) ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human." However, practical considerations, including a number of occasions where Men were mistaken for Elves (most notably Túrin Turambar), suggest that the points must have been subtle.

There is a noted similarity[1] between the words for "leaf" (lassë, las) and "ears" (lasu, lhaw) and suggested an etymological connection.

Hair colour

Elven hair colour is quite varied and complex. In general, the Vanyar were golden-haired, and the other Elves (including Noldor, Sindar, and Avari) had dark or even black hair, although some of the Teleri (including Celeborn) had silver hair. Lúthien Tinúviel and her remote descendant Arwen Undómiel, both described as the fairest of all Elves, were dark haired.

This is not the full picture, however: Finarfin, the youngest son of Finwë, and his descendants (such as Galadriel) had golden hair on account of Finwë's second wife, Indis of the Vanyar. Idril, the daughter of Turgon, had golden hair inherited from her mother, Elenwë of the Vanyar. Even the sons of Fëanor, the eldest Noldorin prince, were not all dark-haired: Maedhros and the twins Amrod and Amras had auburn hair, from their grandfather Mahtan. Fëanor's son Celegorm had blond hair, thus his epithet the Fair in contrast to his brother, Caranthir the Dark.

Additionally, a silver hair colour existed in the royal houses of the Sindar, with Thingol and Círdan both described as having silver hair. Galadriel displayed an extremely rare hair colour nowhere else observed: "silver-golden" hair, said to be dazzlingly beautiful ("blending the light of the Two Trees, Telperion and Laurelin"), which may have been a result of her unusual mixed Noldorin-Vanyarin-Telerin heritage (her mother was the niece of Thingol, and her father was a son of Finwë and Indis). Thranduil, father of Legolas and a Sindarin Elf, is described as having blond hair in The Hobbit, but his son Legolas' own hair colour is not recorded.

Eye colour

When Tolkien describes Elven eyes, they tend to be grey. This is certainly true of Lúthien (and her descendants: Elrond, Arwen and her brothers, and Aragorn and the Dúnedain). Voronwë, who guided the man Tuor to Gondolin, also had grey eyes.

Though he was half-Noldorin, Maeglin is said to have dark eyes (possibly from his father Eöl, who was not of the Noldor), while Olwë (the brother of Lúthien's father Thingol, and a Telerin king) had blue eyes. The eye colour of most other Elves is not mentioned, and so would be difficult to generalize.

Androgyny

Elves were mostly beardless since they grew one only during their third cycle of life (Mahtan was an exception)[2]. Because of their (typical) beardlessness and beauty, the Elves are sometimes perceived as androgynous. However, they were probably not meant to be so; Legolas was:

"tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgûl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship." (The Book of Lost Tales Volume 2)

Other characteristics

The Eldar could manipulate sanwe-latya (Quenya for "thought-opening" or "telepathy") which allowed them to communicate with thought (Ósanwe).

Elves apparently did not sleep but rested their minds with beautiful thoughts in reverie or looking at fair things.

Also, unlike Men, Elves were ambidextrous[3]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies"
  2. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 41, July 2000
  3. Vinyar Tengwar, Number 49, June 2007

External links