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Elves with beards

Ossiriand Blade

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I have always imagined Elves as being exclusively non-follicle yet there is a line on the penultimate page of LOTR that throws me every time I read it "As they came to the gates Cirdan the shipwright came forth to greet them.Very tall he was,and his beard was long"Now you cannot get much more Elvish than Cirdan,so presumably all other elves shave daily? it kind of spoils the impression of agelessness and immortality for me.Shaving and beards to me seem redolent with the passage of time and much better suited to men and dwarves(come to think of it Orcs are pretty clear skinned too?)I cant think of any other references to elvish beards but something at the back of my mind tells me there might be something about the Wood Elves in the Hobbit?
 

Ståle

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Cirdan was probably the oldest Elf still alive(he might even have been one of the Elves that awoke at Cunuvien(spelling?), so he can have been as old as 15 000 years. (9000 Year of the Trees, plus 6000 after). Perhaps it just comes with REALLY old age.

Or he was a freak of nature. Everyone's guess, really.
 

bunnywhippit

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Maybe they could choose to have beards?

I've not read anything yet that could give a solid answer to your question, Ossiriand.

I'm having a look in The Hobbit (i've just realised how short that book is!) and nothing jumps out at me, i'm afraid.
 

Tar-Elenion

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In a depiction of Beleg, JRRT drew him with what looks like a beard (see JRRT: Artist and Illustrator).
In a note in the Marquette archives (published in Vinyar Tengwar) JRRT stated that Nerdanel's (Feanor's wife) father had a beard, and that Elves could grow beards though not normally until their 'third cycle of life'. There is no mention of what 'cycles of life' are.
 

Cian

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From Unfinished Tales

"In a note written in December 1972 or later, and among the last writings of my father's on the subject of Middle-earth, there is a discussion of the Elvish strain in Men, as to its being observable in the beardlessness of those who were so descended (it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless); and it is here noted in connection with the princely house of Dol Amroth that 'this line had a special Elvish strain, according to its own legends' (...)."
That said, note Tar-Elenion's post on the matter.
 

Gnashar_the_orc

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A possible answer

I must say I haven't even noticed that part you are referring to. The only answer I can give you is that Cirdan was PROBABLY a half-elf (i.e. half-elf half human). Hence, immortal but of human characteristics as well-built and facial hair. That is to my knowledge that only answer.
 

Lantarion

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No, I'm afraid Círdan was either a Noldo or a Teleri, full out. Half-Elves weren't very common in the days of Beleriand, and I think ELrond and Elros are among the few ones who are mentioned or who had great power (I don't think Gil-galad was a half-elf, but I'm not sure..).
I like the idea about the 'cycles of life', and I think that is the most probable answer.
 

Nocturno

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Cirdan, the excentric

Naah, I agree with Stale, in that Cirdan was at the moment the "elfest" elf around in Middle Earth. He was a contemporary of Vanwe, Finwe, Elwe and Olwe themselves!!
No human blood could be in him, because he was around when men hadn't even woke up to the world!
I think he rather chose to grow a beard and voila.
:)
I also think that when elves chose to grow a beard it was with the purpose of wearing it!
I can't imagine an elf shaving.
I wonder if Cirdan was a bit excentric. After all, he resisted Valinor's call for ages, even though he kept coming and going from it!
Picture this: Some elves couldn't even look at the sea without getting the strong call to get into a ship and depart forever.
Cirdan just arrived with his cargo of elves, said hello and actually came back for another hundred years!
An elf like that could very likely grow a beard, put a ring on his nose and wear a tatoo of Manwe on his belly!:D
 

Cian

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Círdan was a Teler (singular).

According to a tradition among the Sindar of Doriath, Círdan's original name among the Teleri was, in archaic form, Nówé, original meaning uncertain.

According to info found in HoMe anyway~
 

Ossiriand Blade

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I think Cirdans affiliation with the sea could be something to do with it,seafarers and beards seem to go together and I have seen pictures of the Valar Ulmo depicted as a bearded Neptune character,perhaps JRRT wanted to put across an impression of an "ancient mariner" type and relaxed any rules he had about Elves.
 
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Tar-Elenion

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Originally posted by Cian
Círdan was a Teler (singular).

According to a tradition among the Sindar of Doriath, Círdan's original name among the Teleri was, in archaic form, Nówé, original meaning uncertain.

According to info found in HoMe anyway~
I think it was David Salo who once mentioned that Nówé, was pronounced 'KNOW'- 'WAH'. ;)
 

Cian

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Was that David Salo the Ark-aeologist? or the linguist? ;)
 
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Bucky

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I got the impression Elves had no beards & I never laid eyes on anything D&D.

>>>he might even have been one of
the Elves that awoke at Cunuvien(spelling?), so he can have been as old as
15 000 years. (9000 Year of the Trees, plus 6000 after

Where did you get those numbers?

I got the impression that the time of the 3 Ages Melkor was held in captivity & The Noldor spent in Valinor were far greater than 9000 years. Like thousands & thousands.

And, yes Cirdan awoke with the first Elves.

And by 'Vanwe', I suppose you meant Ingwe of the Vanyar......
 

Tar-Elenion

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Originally posted by Bucky
I got the impression that the time of the 3 Ages Melkor was held in captivity & The Noldor spent in Valinor were far greater than 9000 years. Like thousands & thousands.
The first Elves Awoke in Year of the Trees (YT) 1050.
The Noldor arrived in Aman in YT 1133.
They began their return to Middle-earth in YT 1495.
One year of the Tree is a little less than 9.6 years of the sun.
So the Elves first awoke about 4200 or so (sun) years before the Darking of Valinor, and dewlt in Aman for some 3400 years or so before the revolt of the Noldor.
And, yes Cirdan awoke with the first Elves.
Can you back that up, or is it a personal interpretation? :)
 

Legolam

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I'm sure I've read somehwere (possibly on this board :confused: ) that Cirdan was the only elf to have a beard. I always imagined elves as pretty clean shaven anyway.
 

Nocturno

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It is very puzzling why JRRT left so much to our imagination, but maybe it's just the way he meant his work to be.
You can hardly know if he meant the elves to have beards or not. He describes only Cirdan with this long beard, but is completely vague on any other's description.
I think he was more fond of describing internal parts of his characters.
We know of the nobility of Aragorn, but will never know if he had a beard or not.
Or we know of the fire within Fëanor but no much more than his jet black hair.
They could all wear Zapata-like moustaches for that matter!
 

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