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Thread: Elladan and Elrohir

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    Elladan and Elrohir

    Did Elladan and Elrohir (Elrond's twin sons) choose to become elven or mortal?
    I have the impression that Arwen had to give up her elvishness(?) when she didn't leave Middle Earth with her father. However, it doesn't seem like the same choice applied to Elladan and Elrohir. I always thought that they chose to be elven but left Middle Earth at a later time. I don't know that there is any textual evidence to back up what I think happened to Elrond's children.
    Does anybody else have thoughts on this?
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    I always thought Arwen gave up her immortality to be with Aragorn, not to stay on Middle-earth.

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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbrow View Post
    Did Elladan and Elrohir (Elrond's twin sons) choose to become elven or mortal?
    I have the impression that Arwen had to give up her elvishness(?) when she didn't leave Middle Earth with her father. However, it doesn't seem like the same choice applied to Elladan and Elrohir. I always thought that they chose to be elven but left Middle Earth at a later time. I don't know that there is any textual evidence to back up what I think happened to Elrond's children.
    Does anybody else have thoughts on this?
    As far as I know, the fates of Elladan and Elrohir are never described, and according to the wiki, Tolkien noted that they were allowed to "delay" their choices past the departure of Elrond.

    Personally, I expect that they chose to eventually pass into the West. If either had remained in Middle-Earth, it would have been a serious cause for concern for Aragorn and Eldarion. Any descendants of the sons of Elrond would have the same powerful blood as the royal line, and an ancestry sufficiently noble and closely-related to pose a challenge to the rule of the Telcontari in the centuries and millennia to come.
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbrow View Post
    Did Elladan and Elrohir (Elrond's twin sons) choose to become elven or mortal? I have the impression that Arwen had to give up her elvishness(?) when she didn't leave Middle Earth with her father.

    Starbrow, I agree that the impression is, in general now, that the children of Elrond were to effectively decide their fates by taking ship with Elrond, or not -- it's not the only interpretation of the following however, but in my opinion it is an 'easy enough' interpretation, let's say (noting that Robert Foster also writes: '... and since they did not accompany Elrond over Sea they seem to have chosen to become mortal' Entry Elladan, The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth).

    'But to the children of Elrond a choice was also appointed: to pass with him from the circles of the world; or if they remained, to become mortal and die in Middle-earth.'

    Appendix A, The Return of the King
    Plus (Elrond's and Aragorn's words from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen): 'That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar (...) And when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses.' Aragorn responds that the years of Elrond's abiding run short at last, '... and the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth'. Elrond answers 'Truly' but notes 'soon as we account the years'.

    Of course the option remains that 'with him' means 'as he did' or similar, but especially the conversation with Aragorn seems very much about timing to my mind. There's an interesting draft text called T4 in The Peoples of Middle-Earth, which according to Christopher Tolkien: '...was and remained for a long time the form of the Tale of Years that my father thought appropriate, and was indeed proposed to the publishers in 1954.' It reads in part (concerning Elrond's children): 2300 '(...) These children were three parts Elven-race, but the doom spoken at their birth was that they should live even as Elves so long as their father remained in Middle-earth; but if he departed they should have then the choice either to pass over the Sea with him, or to become mortal, if they remained behind.'

    Again, I realize one can work around this, but taken all together (not that Foster had this last bit to work with), again Tolkien has (in my opinion) at least left the impression that to stay in Middle-earth when Elrond departed reflects the choice of mortality. Plus it's not like Elladan and Elrohir hadn't lived a fair bit before Elrond sailed... why delay the choice yet again?


    Delaying the choice -- external chronology (or 'that pesky letter')


    In letter 153 Tolkien wrote:

    'Elrond passes Over Sea.The end of (Elrond's) sons, Elladan and Elrohir, is not told: they delay their choice, and remain for a while.'
    So it would seem that here, the sons of Elrond could delay their choice after Elrond sailed, and thus their not departing 'with' Elrond need not represent a choice of mortality. However this letter was written in 1954, and in 1955 Tolkien was still seemingly working on texts which would impact this issue -- that is, the Numenorean Kings (i) Numenor, and (V) Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen!


    Hmm, did Tolkien change his mind? Or let's say: would even JRRT have to admit that here and there his ultimately published text gives the impression that any of his children remaining in Middle-earth after Elrond sailed had chosen mortality, to escape deathlessness? I quote The Letters of JRR Tolkien like anyone else, but here we have a number of questions that could be raised I think.


    I think it's also interesting that in 1955, the end of Elrond's sons was not told in any case, even if one interprets the above passage to mean that Elrond's children must choose when Elrond leaves Middle-earth, not 'sometime' after. I add that because (but correct me if I'm wrong here), in the first edition there is no mention either way as to whether or not Elladan and Elrohir departed with Elrond. That is, if Tolkien thought a mention either way would divulge their fates, or at least arguably hint at their fates, he did not let his readers find any mention. At least not yet. Much later in the 1960s however (when one might wonder if the letter of 1954 was still in Tolkien's mind in any case), for the second edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien adds not one but at least two references to the sons of Elrond remaining after Elrond sailed.


    So if forced to choose, I tend to lean toward the sons of Elrond choosing mortality here. To my mind, despite that we do not have a direct and certain statement, even the implication of authorized text trumps a statement in a letter -- that is, in these circumstances anyway, as here we have a statement that itself may have been essentially abandoned (or 'revised' in a sense) or forgotten perhaps...


    ... however granted, possibly not abandoned or forgotten too

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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    Then I feel sorry for Elrond who lost all 3 of his children to mortality.
    'Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Lewis Carroll

    We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    I had always believed that their fate was not stated in the book due to quotes already given, but if I had to guess I would've thought they would go over seas based on their love for their mother who had already taken the ships.

    Both boys seem to have a thirst for vengeance on Orcs after their mother was tormented by them, and now that the Orc killing has been accomplished, I would guess they'd want to see her again in happier times.
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    Quote Originally Posted by HLGStrider View Post
    Both boys seem to have a thirst for vengeance on Orcs after their mother was tormented by them, and now that the Orc killing has been accomplished, I would guess they'd want to see her again in happier times.
    That's a good point (although very generally speaking there would still be orcs in Middle-earth of course), but we know that the brothers remained when Elrond sailed... so if this was their motivation I would wonder why they waited... actually in general, if they chose to sail Oversea, why not sail with Elrond? I'm sure we readers could invent some reason, like adopting the reason Celeborn stayed for a while for example (although that might be a bit redundant from an external perspective), but in any case it just seems a bit odd to me to refer to Elrond's sailing as the seemingly pivotal time of choice here...



    ... and then to say his sons remain for 'a while' and can choose later! To my mind that sort of blunts the sword, so to speak. And possibly Tolkien thought better of it?

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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    The only reason I could think of for staying behind might've been friends that they made among mortals. They were close with Aragorn and presumably his marriage to their sister would encourage their friendship. Perhaps they wanted to wait out his reign. However, mortal friends would only keep them tied to ME for a short while. When Aragorn and Arwen passed, they might then move on.

    All speculation, of course, but if I were writing it, that's what I'd have done.
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    It's reasonable that they made friends among the Dunedain of course... and I think from the time of Elrond's sailing to Aragorn's passing was around 120 years, but I would have to check that. Also I think Aragorn (just before his passing) refers to the garden of Elrond, where none now walk, possibly indicating the brothers were no longer there (nor Celeborn).

    Again I freely admit that my interpretation (mortality) is not the only possible one here of course. Perhaps Tolkien felt that 'around' the time of Elrond's sailing was close enough, and we needn't put them on the very ship with Elrond... and if the idea in the letter is intended as consonant with what I've cited, then that would seem to be the case, despite the wording or implication in the Appendices...

    ... although if they were friends with mortals, and had already lived much longer than a mortal would...

    ... there's the other side of that coin again. The Elros side, so to speak

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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    I also just remembered Arwen's line that there was no ship left that would take her at the point of Aragorn's death. I always took this to mean that since she had already chosen her fate she couldn't make the journey, but it is possible that she meant it literally and for some reason ships could no longer make the journey.

    Either way between your quote about the gardens and that, I think it is fairly safe to assume that, whatever their decision, both had already made it by the death of Aragorn.
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    Quote Originally Posted by HLGStrider View Post
    I also just remembered Arwen's line that there was no ship left that would take her at the point of Aragorn's death. I always took this to mean that since she had already chosen her fate she couldn't make the journey, but it is possible that she meant it literally and for some reason ships could no longer make the journey.
    Isn't the ship that bore Galadriel, Gandalf, Elrond, etc often called the "Last Ship" even though we have it that Legolas eventually sailed West as well, long after Elrond?

    What's up with that? Does it refer to the fact that the last of the Noldor departed on that ship, or is it just fancy imagery?
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    Re: Elladan and Elrohir

    It may be referring to the fact that Cirdan the Shipwright was leaving and would no longer be there over seeing the harbor and crafting ships to make the journey. It's possible, after the changing of the world, only specially built ships could find the way. I'd like to think, however, that Legolas knew what he was doing and didn't sail off with Gimli on a fool's errand.
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