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Of Elven Love Life

Mithrellas.Dagoranna

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As I have read a quote from www.tolkiengateaway.net that:
"Extra-marital sex would be against their nature because they can "read at once in the eyes and voice of another whether they be wed or unwed";

My questions are:

1.so are the elves always have their love on the first sight?
(Which I find not fun, you know why.)

2.what if a pair of elves who have engaged, can they have sex? Even they haven't married yet.

3. Can a pair of elves kiss? Or cuddle to each other even they have not engaged. But those romatic acts are not leading to sex, you know like to show their love or care.

Maybe thats all for the topic. Thanks.
 

Galin

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"As I have read a quote from [Tolkien Gateway] that: "Extra-marital sex would be against their nature because they can "read at once in the eyes and voice of another whether they be wed or unwed";"

This statement ["read at once in the eyes and voice..." and so on] does not appear in the revised version of the source text however, indicating that Tolkien rejected it in my opinion. Here's some sections of the revised text:

"Even when in after days, as the histories reveal, many of the Eldar in Middle-earth became corrupted, and their hearts darkened by the shadow that lies upon Arda, seldom is any tale told of deeds of lust among them."

And according to the laws of the Eldar a betrothal was bound to stand for one year at least, and could be revoked in this time, but...

"(...) Such was the law; but the right of revoking was seldom used, for the Eldar do not err lightly in such choice. They are not easily deceived by their own kind; and their spirits being masters of their bodies, they are seldom swayed by the desires of the body only, but are by nature continent and steadfast." JRRT Laws And Customs Among The Eldar

"1. so are the elves always have their love on the first sight?"

Can you rephrase this question please? I'm not wholly sure what you mean here.

"2. what if a pair of elves who have engaged, can they have sex? Even they haven't married yet."

The act of sexual bodily union meant that an Elven couple was married.

"3. Can a pair of elves kiss? Or cuddle to each other even they have not engaged. But those romatic acts are not leading to sex, you know like to show their love or care."

This is not addressed (in this text anyway) if I recall correctly, but I would think or guess so.
 
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Azrubêl

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Nice questions! I think it would have been interesting if Tolkien had developed some more love stories where we could see answers to these questions. Beren and Luthien is too much of an epic tale of pure, earth-shaking love to really get into the details that you're getting at in my opinion, but I think he could have developed the ideas you're asking about better if he wanted to. I GUESS that means he didn't want to. Of course, I don't expect him to make "sexy-elf fantasy fiction" AT ALL. Just that he could have shown some more into the psychology of what goes on between the elves when they are in love.

The elves by nature marry one partner in life (unless in the rare circumstance the partner dies, there is an example of them getting remarried). I think something we can know is the way the elves are very much different from humans. They are very ideological and "lofty", like the Hobbits in LOTR express when they first encounter elves. So, I think that there's something to be said about the purity of the elves where they are not "promiscuous", in a way that really doesn't apply to humans as much.

Obviously, Tolkien held monogamy to be ideal, so I think he wove that into his mythology a lot. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with being non-monogamous, if they are doing it according to their values and not just hedonistically.

Maybe we can make sense of the elves by considering when two kids of old enough age fall in love. There's going to be a very innocent nature to it, where I could see elves kissing in courtship, but not desiring sex.

I don't think all elves fall in love at first sight, just some of the examples that Tolkien gives where it is part of the story!
 

Mithrellas.Dagoranna

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"As I have read a quote from [Tolkien Gateway] that: "Extra-marital sex would be against their nature because they can "read at once in the eyes and voice of another whether they be wed or unwed";"

"1. so are the elves always have their love on the first sight?"

Can you rephrase this question please? I'm not wholly sure what you mean here.
I mean, in the quote it says "read at once in the eyes and voice of another whether they be wed or unwed."

I am going to give an example.
If an ellon sees an elleth for the first time, he have not talked to her. Just catch a glimpse. Will he love her at his first sight? Following the quote. Or maybe if the ellon heard the elleth's voice for the first time. Can the love at first sight happen?

"2. what if a pair of elves who have engaged, can they have sex? Even they haven't married yet."

The act of sexual bodily union meant that an Elven couple was married.
So you mean, they can have sex once they are married? Whyyyyyy.... I already hoped that your answer will be "they may. And blah blah blah,."

So, sex after marriage, not after engagement. Right?
 
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Azrubêl

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I mean, in the quote it says "read at once in the eyes and voice of another whether they be wed or unwed."

I am going to give an example.
If an ellon sees an elleth for the first time, he have not talked to her. Just catch a glimpse. Will he love her at his first sight? Following the quote. Or maybe if the ellon heard the elleth's voice for the first time. Can the love at first sight happen?
I think that the quote is more a description of the high awareness and idealistic romantic nature of elves. I doubt Tolkien would say that for EVERY elf, they only fall in love at first site.

So you mean, they can have sex once they are married? Whyyyyyy.... I already hoped that your answer will be "they may. And blah blah blah,."

So, sex after marriage, not after engagement. Right?
I mean, that's my impression of how I think it would usually would go! Maybe some of them didn't. I think humans in Middle-earth would be a completely different story.

Then again, humans marrying immortal elves and an elf marrying a Maia are pretty outside the box in terms of sexual expression lol
 
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Galin

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I think the "eyes and voice" quote was rejected by Tolkien, as noted in my "blah blah blah" above.

;)

In any case, I don't think this statement had to do with love at first sight, but rather: Elf A would know that Elf B is married to some other Elf, simply by Elf B's eyes and voice. In other words, there can be no deception about this, unlike with mortals.

"So, sex after marriage, not after engagement. Right?"

For the Eldar, sex means marriage; that is, once two Elves have sex, they are married.

Thus there can be no sex before marriage.
 
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Mithrellas.Dagoranna

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I think the "eyes and voice" quote was rejected by Tolkien, as noted in my "blah blah blah" above.

;)

In any case, I don't think this statement had to do with love at first sight, but rather: Elf A would know that Elf B is married to some other Elf, simply by Elf B's eyes and voice. In other words, there can be no deception about this, unlike with mortals.

"So, sex after marriage, not after engagement. Right?"

For the Eldar, Sex means marriage; that is, once two Elves have sex, they are married.

Thus there can be no sex before marriage.
Oh my gawd. Thank you so much!!
This helps me alot.
Okay so here is the thing.
I have been making a fanfiction.
And i try very hard to stick to the notes from Tolkien.

Maybe some of you dont like fanfics. Thats fine by me. Just to make it clear. Because, i will ask you guys more questions.

Thanks alot!!
 

Galin

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No problem. We love questions :D

Here's the longer description from JRRT, if it helps.

"But these ceremonies were not rites necessary to marriage; they were only a gracious mode by which the love of the parents was manifested, and the union was recognized which would join not only the betrothed but their two houses together. It was the act of bodily union that achieved marriage, and after which the indissoluble bond was complete. In happy days and times of peace it was held ungracious and contemptuous of kin to forgo the ceremonies, but it was at all times lawful for any of the Eldar, both being unwed, to marry thus of free consent one to another without ceremony or witness (save blessings exchanged and the naming of the Name); and the union so joined was alike indissoluble. In days of old, in times of trouble, in flight and exile and wandering, such marriages were often made."

JRRT, Laws And Customs Among the Eldar
 

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