🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Elves' ears and other nonsense...

Turgon

Ghost-King of Gondolin
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
1,341
Reaction score
7
Location
Manchester, England.
Okay, I've been away from the forum for a few weeks now doing a bit soul-searching, night after sleepless night I've been tossing and turning in my bed - one question going round and around in my head...
Do elves actually have pointed ears? I can't remember reading that they have anywhere... can somebody enlighten me please?
 

Taran

Registered User
Joined
Apr 1, 2002
Messages
55
Reaction score
0
well....Tolkien might or might not have intended the Elves to have pointed ears (i heard somwhere that the had ears the shape of leaves, but i don't know how true that is)> Most people picture them with ears b/c in most cultural lagends of elves (Russian, German, Irish, Welsh...) they have pointy ears.
 

LadyGaladriel

Lady Of The Golden Wood
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
315
Reaction score
2
Location
Lorien!!!!
I think it is borne into society pycse(sp) that elves and Pixes have Pointy ears! also i think folklore ect is to blame
 

Elbereth

Star Queen of Valinor
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
1,024
Reaction score
2
Location
Just west of Middle Earth..(aka: NJ)
Now this is an assumption...not fact...but I think the origins of the Elves's pointy ears could be from one of Tolkien's sketches.

In addition to being a very gifted author...Tolkien was also a very talented artist as well and drafted various illustrations to accompany his story. Now I've looked through the book "The Art of Tolkien" and saw several drawings of the elves with pointy ears...but I can't remember if Tolkien drew the pictures or not...I'll look into that soon and get back to you.
 

shadowfax_g

Registered User
Joined
Mar 21, 2002
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Location
Perth
I don't remember if I've read about elves' ears ever, but I also believed they had pointy ears. Not sure where the idea came, probably from the images of most RPG.
 

Halasían

Dunedain Ranger
Joined
Dec 16, 2001
Messages
824
Reaction score
295
Location
The Shadows of Annúminas
The thought that elves had "pointy" ears is pretty much an asumption. The debate seems to be 'how pointy' are Middle earth elves ears? I see artists and cosplayers with a varying degree of pointyness with the ears. I tend to favour the lesser pointed ears. When they liook like daggers or something sticking out of the head so much that birds could land on them, they don't portray Middle Earth Elves to me.

Take these interpretations of Luthien... subtle pointed ears vs serious pointed ears
 

Elthir

Registered User
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Messages
1,019
Reaction score
482
The debate exists, I think, as Tolkien himself never published anything describing Elven ears -- while other popular depictions of pointy-eared Elves or Fairies exist, the idea possibly helped in the 1900s by illustrators like Arthur Rackham for example (which isn't a knock on Rackham or any illustrators). Tolkien's published descriptions rule out wings and smallness, but he leaves ears (no pun intended) an open question.

This debate often includes posthumously published texts unearthed in The History of Middle-Earth series and Tolkien's letters, and now PE17, but these are -- again in my opinion -- often enough quoted without the context of date (if PE17 is included at all), and at least generally speaking, Tolkien's conception of the Quendi changed over the years -- even including the physical characteristic of height, for example.

With respect to Tolkien's art (mentioned in the thread), none of his own illustrations -- made public so far at least -- answer the question with certainty. JRRT's illustration of Beleg and Gwindor is hard to certainly interpret on the matter, but even if it was clear, to my mind, the early date of the illustration is another factor -- not to mention that Tolkien seemed to re-characterize this illustration as fit for something concerning The Lord of the Rings.

Who then, do Beleg and Gwindor "become" ;)
 
Last edited:

Thread suggestions

Top