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House of Finwë -discussion

Starflower

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I'm obsessed with the genealogy of Middle-earth and Silmarillion and the elves in particular. The elves are such an inbred race, especially the Noldor and the High Houses - House of Finwë is a wonderful example.

Finwë had three sons, Fëanor, Finarfin and Fingolfin. As we know, the line of Fëanor died with Celebrimbor son of Curufin but the other two lines intertwined and eventually produced Aragorn and Arwen and the two lines rejoined.

So let's discuss the many branches of House of Finwë - who's your most beloved/tragic/hated/interesting character? Who would you like to have known more about? Who's too popular and you wish people would shut about them?

Discuss!
 

CirdanLinweilin

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Maglor tragic Maglor. I am so curious about him, especially since after casting the Silmaril into the sea, Legend says that he still wanders the shores of the World, singing laments for his despair and regret.

So, if legend is to be believed, he's still singing songs of regret? For THOUSANDS OF YEARS??

Sounds excruciatingly depressing and tragic.

I do wonder, was he ever allowed back into the West?

CL
 

Starflower

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Yeah I find that interesting that his destiny is the only one left unsettled. I want to think the Valar ended up granting him mercy and allowing into the West.

But why is Curufin the only one who's specifically listed as having a child (or children? Was Celebrimbor an only child?)?
 

CirdanLinweilin

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Information on Celebrimbor from Tolkien Gateway:
The early years of Celebrimbor are not known, nor whether he was born in Valinor (and followed his grandfather into exile) or in Middle-earth.[2]. His mother is unnamed.[1]:318
It doesn't say when he was born, only "during the First Age".

Here, however, the bio on Curufin seems to contradict that:
While in Valinor, he married at some point, and had a son named Celebrimbor.[2] But Celebrimbor was unlike his father, and later on he came to dislike his deviousness and dealings with the other Noldor.
Quite a conundrum, was Celebrimbor born in Valinor or not? If he was, we can try to generate a possible time frame for his birth, if not, he would have been born in Middle-earth.

CL
 

Mirak Dagan

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From my perspective, Finwe was quite an underrated character compared to the likes of Feanor, Fingolfin, Beren and Luthien. He should've been mentioned more in the book since he was the first of the Bloodline.
 

EcthelionL

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From my perspective, Finwe was quite an underrated character compared to the likes of Feanor, Fingolfin, Beren and Luthien. He should've been mentioned more in the book since he was the first of the Bloodline.
The thing is, Finwe's death is really the starting point of the Silmarillion - before that there wasn't much to tell of the Eldar. All of the major happenings involved the Valar and the Eldar were just minor characters. Peaceful times, though they be great to live in, do not make good stories.
 

Firawyn

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I'm obsessed with the genealogy of Middle-earth and Silmarillion and the elves in particular. The elves are such an inbred race, especially the Noldor and the High Houses - House of Finwë is a wonderful example.
The Sil is honestly my weak spot Tolkien knowledge wise. I've read it, but not enough times to really know the characters enough to determine a favorite, most hated, etc. That being said, to reply to the above:

I've done a good deal of study on genetics and genealogy. As you said, the Elves were highly inbred, and it's always struck me how little Tolkien showed the impact of inbreeding within the characters. Elves, typically speaking, are intelligent, wise, long lived, with perfect health - so on and so forth. The list goes on and on, showing a race that seems on the surface to be the best and the brightest of the Middle Earth races.

I do note three things, however, that show that Tolkien was not completely blind the the impact of inbreeding.

1) Pale features, blond hair, and blue eyes are all recessive traits, genetically speaking. This means that in order to keep this the common feature between members of a family, both parents and both sets of grandparents would have to be pale, blond, and blue eyed in order for there to be an odds above 50% that the offspring would carry all of those traits. Given that Elves are nearly always described with these features, this is a perfect show of the impact of inbreeding.

2) By the end of the Third Age, Elves were leaving Middle Earth. During Lord of the Rings, Arwen becomes ill as the power of the Ring grows. While the films implied that it was the corrupted power of the One Ring, wielded by Sauron, which would cause Arwen's death. I believe that the Ring in Sauron's hands itself would not cause an Elf to die, but rather that with the power of the Ring, the immortality of the Elves would fail, reverted them near enough to human state. Without said immortality, the poor health of massive inbreeding would become readily apparent. By the time Lord of the Rings was going on, Arwen had not yet made her choice (to go with her father into the West or remain in Middle Earth as a mortal), so she was being "judged" per her elven status. The only other Elves in Lord of the Rings who seemed to not being high tailing it out of Middle Earth during the war were the bearers of the three Elven Rings of Power, which I'd imagine would give them a bit of a buffer against the rising power of Sauron.

3) Now let's look at the Númenóreans. We know they had rather long lifespans, and that Aragorn himself descended from that line. The Númenóreans were "elf friends". They were the most noble of men during the First Age. Genetics 101 dictates that there are dominate and recessive traits than can be passed generation to generation. If, given the above point regarding Arwen and her father and uncle (half-bloods who maintained immortality), we assume that this implies the mortality is a dominate gene, then it stands to reason that the Númenóreans, who were friends with the elves, likely intermarried a good deal. Those mixed marriages led to half-bloods choosing mortality then carrying on through the generations that dominate gene, gifting them with long life. The Dúnedain were the end result of this - a group of people who carried many of the positive elven traits (long life, good health, so forth), though lacking in the inbreeding that the Elves of the Second and Third Ages were so highly guilty of.

That... yes, I tend to ramble, was a long-winded commentary on my perspective on elven genetics and how it impacts them as a race. The point I was getting to is that when considering the above, I don't think it unreasonable to conclude that without the immortality holding genetic deformity (physically, mentally, and emotionally) at bay, Elves probably would have died out or mutated into monsters long before the events of Lord of the Rings ever happened. I also believe this was a contributing factor to why the Elves joined forces with the mortals of Middle Earth when dark forces were rising - perfectly aware that dark forces would nix their immorality and leave them falling to literal bits. It was self preservation that got them involved in any of it.

Just my two cents... forgive me if that was not quite "on topic", but Starflower did comment on the genetics and it is something that I really do believe is important to consider in any discussion about Elves.

-Fir
 

CirdanLinweilin

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The Sil is honestly my weak spot Tolkien knowledge wise. I've read it, but not enough times to really know the characters enough to determine a favorite, most hated, etc. That being said, to reply to the above:

I've done a good deal of study on genetics and genealogy. As you said, the Elves were highly inbred, and it's always struck me how little Tolkien showed the impact of inbreeding within the characters. Elves, typically speaking, are intelligent, wise, long lived, with perfect health - so on and so forth. The list goes on and on, showing a race that seems on the surface to be the best and the brightest of the Middle Earth races.

I do note three things, however, that show that Tolkien was not completely blind the the impact of inbreeding.

1) Pale features, blond hair, and blue eyes are all recessive traits, genetically speaking. This means that in order to keep this the common feature between members of a family, both parents and both sets of grandparents would have to be pale, blond, and blue eyed in order for there to be an odds above 50% that the offspring would carry all of those traits. Given that Elves are nearly always described with these features, this is a perfect show of the impact of inbreeding.

2) By the end of the Third Age, Elves were leaving Middle Earth. During Lord of the Rings, Arwen becomes ill as the power of the Ring grows. While the films implied that it was the corrupted power of the One Ring, wielded by Sauron, which would cause Arwen's death. I believe that the Ring in Sauron's hands itself would not cause an Elf to die, but rather that with the power of the Ring, the immortality of the Elves would fail, reverted them near enough to human state. Without said immortality, the poor health of massive inbreeding would become readily apparent. By the time Lord of the Rings was going on, Arwen had not yet made her choice (to go with her father into the West or remain in Middle Earth as a mortal), so she was being "judged" per her elven status. The only other Elves in Lord of the Rings who seemed to not being high tailing it out of Middle Earth during the war were the bearers of the three Elven Rings of Power, which I'd imagine would give them a bit of a buffer against the rising power of Sauron.

3) Now let's look at the Númenóreans. We know they had rather long lifespans, and that Aragorn himself descended from that line. The Númenóreans were "elf friends". They were the most noble of men during the First Age. Genetics 101 dictates that there are dominate and recessive traits than can be passed generation to generation. If, given the above point regarding Arwen and her father and uncle (half-bloods who maintained immortality), we assume that this implies the mortality is a dominate gene, then it stands to reason that the Númenóreans, who were friends with the elves, likely intermarried a good deal. Those mixed marriages led to half-bloods choosing mortality then carrying on through the generations that dominate gene, gifting them with long life. The Dúnedain were the end result of this - a group of people who carried many of the positive elven traits (long life, good health, so forth), though lacking in the inbreeding that the Elves of the Second and Third Ages were so highly guilty of.

That... yes, I tend to ramble, was a long-winded commentary on my perspective on elven genetics and how it impacts them as a race. The point I was getting to is that when considering the above, I don't think it unreasonable to conclude that without the immortality holding genetic deformity (physically, mentally, and emotionally) at bay, Elves probably would have died out or mutated into monsters long before the events of Lord of the Rings ever happened. I also believe this was a contributing factor to why the Elves joined forces with the mortals of Middle Earth when dark forces were rising - perfectly aware that dark forces would nix their immorality and leave them falling to literal bits. It was self preservation that got them involved in any of it.

Just my two cents... forgive me if that was not quite "on topic", but Starflower did comment on the genetics and it is something that I really do believe is important to consider in any discussion about Elves.

-Fir
Very informative, Fir! That was a good read! It really broadened my thoughts on the Elves. Gosh, the way you describe the Elvs makes me think they'd make GOT look like the Brady Bunch! (Which isn't a good thought...)

CL
 

Firawyn

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Very informative, Fir! That was a good read! It really broadened my thoughts on the Elves. Gosh, the way you describe the Elvs makes me think they'd make GOT look like the Brady Bunch! (Which isn't a good thought...)

CL
As a GOT fan myself, I concur! It's said that all writers are merely rewritten stories already told, with a new spin to help you look at a classic tale in a new way. I do find myself wondering how much GRRM was inspired by Tolkien. What made the Harry Potter series so fantastic (I am making a point here, bear with me!) was that it DIDN'T do that. It took existing tales about Merlin and a world where magic was done in secret, and Rowling expanded that concept and brought it into the modern world. This is where she and Tolkien were similar. Where she just advanced an old idea into a new era, he took classic tales and filled in details. The plot was merely an engine for him to bring to life races and cultures and legends that while he didn't create initially, he filled in the details. Elves, bringing this back to the topic of elves, may have been an old concept - he wasn't even the first to show elves as tall, and humanoid - but he was the first to give them not one language, but several. He gave them a history that linked old myths in bits and pieces like a grand, beautiful puzzle.

-Fir
 

CirdanLinweilin

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As a GOT fan myself, I concur! It's said that all writers are merely rewritten stories already told, with a new spin to help you look at a classic tale in a new way. I do find myself wondering how much GRRM was inspired by Tolkien. What made the Harry Potter series so fantastic (I am making a point here, bear with me!) was that it DIDN'T do that. It took existing tales about Merlin and a world where magic was done in secret, and Rowling expanded that concept and brought it into the modern world. This is where she and Tolkien were similar. Where she just advanced an old idea into a new era, he took classic tales and filled in details. The plot was merely an engine for him to bring to life races and cultures and legends that while he didn't create initially, he filled in the details. Elves, bringing this back to the topic of elves, may have been an old concept - he wasn't even the first to show elves as tall, and humanoid - but he was the first to give them not one language, but several. He gave them a history that linked old myths in bits and pieces like a grand, beautiful puzzle.

-Fir
Again, beautifully explained. I find myself thinking the same thing.


CL
 

Galin

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In the later scenario, the Eldar -- here meaning not all Elves but those who crossed Over Sea upon the Great Journey (plus the Sindar) -- are generally described as being mostly dark haired and grey eyed (Appendix F)*, with the notable exception of the golden house of Finarfin.

I believe that the Ring in Sauron's hands itself would not cause an Elf to die, but rather that with the power of the Ring, the immortality of the Elves would fail, reverted them near enough to human state.
Just to keep things distinct, Arwen getting ill here is also an invention of the filmmakers (I'm not really sure whether you meant otherwise in your fuller post above).

Anyway, it's not normally possible to strip away the longevity of the Elves. This hails from Eru, and even dying, Elven spirits cannot leave the World and its Time (Luthien is an exception). Also it was the natural fate, generally speaking, for all Elven spirits to await bodily reincarnation.

choice of the half-elven


There is an "early-ish" line in the Silmarillion explaining that all those with any measure of mortal blood are mortal unless "other doom" be granted to them. Christopher Tolkien did not include this line in his constructed Silmarillion, but if in Tolkien's mind the idea still held true for the 1950s and later, Elrohir, Elladan, and Arwen would have been automatically mortal fated by default...

... and in my opinion, it would have been unfair to automatically sunder Elrond and Celebrian from their children, again which is what the case would be according to this statement anyway, without "other doom" being granted of course.

Given Elros' choice of mortality however, his automatically mortal children (again if this idea held true) would not be sundered from him, at least. Ah, my ifs!

JRRT delved a bit into Elvish theories of life after the End of the World. The Elves cannot die (in the sense of leaving the World and Time) until the end of the World, and what fate awaited their spirits after that, they did not know, but had various ideas.

*I realize that this appears to include the Vanyar. That's another topic maybe ;)
 
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Yalerd

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I know it's cliche guys and gals, but I gotta go with Finrod Felagund. Maybe because I'm such a sucker for the story and lineage of the Ring of Barahir. The story of Finrod giving the ring is cool, but picture it being passed down thousands of years, through the House of Bëor, to Elwing-Elros, all through Númenor-faithful, Elendil-Dúnedain.
 

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