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  1. #1
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    How does a half-elf choose to be mortal or immortal?

    So, i know that half-elven were given a choice to be one of the elves, or men, but i just wonder how does they do that?

    The only choice was mentioned was Earendil. He made his choice in front of Manwe, in Valinor, so i can imagine that the great Valar touch his "magic ward" on Earendil's head and "Pooop!!" he became an elf with those fancy pointed-ears (lol). But what about other half-elven? Do Valar meet them in their dream and ask them: "ok which kin you want to be?" If so, when? When they reach adult age? When they marry (another elf or human)? Could a half-elf chose to be elf, but then fell in love with a mortal and said: "Sorry gods, suddenly i think elf is gay, i want to be a mortal."? But somehow, it still doesnt sound right to me.

    Probably it doesnt like an immediate choice...

    At first i thought probably they need to go to Aman and live there a while to become an elf. If they stay in middle-earth, they can live longer other human, but finally the power of the elf will fade and they getting old and die.

    But then i remember Elrond and his sons have never been there untill after the war of the ring, but age doesnt effect on them and they are still counted as elves.

    Then i thought, ok, probably you need to live in the elven realm if you are a half-elf. Some kind of "magic" there would keep your elf-blood's power from fading. Example Arwen, when she lived in Rivendell, she's an elf, like her brothers, but when she married Aragorn and moved to Minas Tirith, she became a mortal.

    So what is your theory?

  2. #2
    Not only Earendil. Tolkien stated clearly that Earendil, Elwing, Elrond, Elros, and Elrond's children were given a conscious choice of kindred. Choice granted by the Valar empowered by Eru himself in this matter.
    So all they had to do was decide.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 24 2013 at 09:33 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Not only Earendil. Tolkien stated clearly that Earendil, Elwing, Elrond, Elros, and Elrond's children were given a conscious choice of kindred. Choice granted by the Valar empowered by Eru himself in this matter.
    So all they had to do was decide.
    Yeah, but the problem is how. I think you missed the point of my post. When i have to made that decision? When i come to adult age? When i get married? How Valar know which kin i chose? I have to pray to them, or they visit me in dream and ask me? What if i decided to be an elf, but yet married a mortal, live in middle-earth all my life and never ever set foot in Aman?
    Last edited by Hiritier; Jun 24 2013 at 09:38 AM.

  4. #4
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    the power of the word

    there's a concept used in sociology/anthropology. what this characters did can be classified as performativity(the capacity of speech and gestures to perform an identity). their election make them what they chose. like when you are marriied when you say i do ..ect..if you want to know more about this concept read Judith Buttler ......though shes a messy writter .
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiritier View Post
    Yeah, but the problem is how. I think you miss the point of my post. When i have to made that decide? When i come to adult age? When i get married? How Valar know which kin i chose? I have to pray to them, or they visit me in dream and ask me? What if i decided to be an elf, but yet married a mortal, live in middle-earth all my life and never ever set foot in Aman?
    Earendil, Elwing, Elrond and Elros were actually asked to make a decision on the spot so to speak.
    Earendil and Elwing made it in Aman before the Valar. Elrond and Elros were presented with the question after the War of Wrath.
    Elrond's children made their final choice by deciding whether to leave Middle-earth for Valinor.

    The final transition is made directly by the will of Iluvatar when you make a conscious choice. There's no second chance and no other way.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 24 2013 at 09:44 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Earendil, Elwing, Elrond and Elros were actually asked to make a decision on the spot so to speak.
    Earendil and Elwing made it in Aman before the Valar. Elrond and Elros were presented with the question after the War of Wrath.
    Elrond's children made their final choice by deciding whether to leave Middle-earth for Valinor.

    The final transition is made directly with the will of Iluvatar when you make a conscious choice. There's no second chance and no other way.
    I see... But what if Arwen decided to leave Middle-earth after Aragorn died? Can she still be immortal?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiritier View Post
    I see... But what if Arwen decided to leave Middle-earth after Aragorn died? Can she still be immortal?
    No. As I said, the decision is made once and for all. She made it by refusing to accompany her father and brothers. After that she no longer had any options.

  8. #8
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    Sound crude. Elrond could delay a few more decades for his daughter. After all, Arwen and her brothers had delayed their decision for thousands years, why not few more decades to wait for Aragorn's death? My only guess is Valar pop in their dream and said that they have to make that decision NOW!!! Thanks for the answers tho

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiritier View Post
    Sound crude. Elrond could delay a few more decades for his daughter. After all, Arwen and her brothers had delayed their decision for thousands years, why not few more decades to wait for Aragorn's death? My only guess is Valar pop in their dream and said that they have to make that decision NOW!!! Thanks for the answers tho
    You are missing the point. The problem with your idea is that you can't have the best of both worlds. The 2 kindreds were made different for a reason (ask Eru what that is) and the half-elven chose one or the other. Your suggestion is cheating by living a mortal life and then returning to the Elves. You cannot cheat Iluvatar and there is a reason for this (ask him again). So it wouldn't have worked like this.

    Arwen wasn't choosing the when, but the who. Her immortal family or her mortal husband. Not both.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 24 2013 at 10:11 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    You are missing the point. The problem with your idea is that you can't have the best of both worlds. The 2 kindreds were made different for a reason (ask Eru what that is) and the half-elven chose one or the other. Your suggestion is cheating by living a mortal life and then returning to the Elves. You cannot cheat Iluvatar and there is a reason for this (ask him again). So it wouldn't have worked like this.
    I know :P, thats why im trying to find out a "mechanic", a "rule" for this. Like "You have to made decision when you come to x age", or "you have to live in Aman for y years"... you know, to avoid those half-elves "cheating" :P

  11. #11
    The only mechanic is the conscious choice. Immortal family or mortal husband. Tough but necessary.
    Elrond leaving was only the manifestation of that choice, its visible effect if you will. Arwen would still have to become mortal if she wanted to live her life with Aragorn even without that particular event.

  12. #12
    Also, the choice wasn't necessarily between an immortal or mortal life. Rather, it was for an immortal or mortal fate. An example would be Arwen, who chose a mortal fate. She didn't die of old age, or disease, she died of grief after Aragorn's death. She could have lived for hundreds or thousands of years longer, should time allow. This would be where her choice came into effect; because she chose a mortal fate, her soul would have departed with the souls of man, not to the Halls of Mandos with the elves.
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  13. #13
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    This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the Immortal family — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the Mortal husband — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes...

  14. #14
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    There is no "mechanic" so to speak. There is no ceremony, no ritual. Only a handful of beings have ever had that decision to make, and thus it is a special event, invoked by Manwe, with Illuvatar's blessing (only he is capable of that sort of thing). In short, it is Eru reaching in and making whatever adjustments are necessary. Things just are.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoyKashka View Post
    There is no "mechanic" so to speak. There is no ceremony, no ritual. Only a handful of beings have ever had that decision to make, and thus it is a special event, invoked by Manwe, with Illuvatar's blessing (only he is capable of that sort of thing). In short, it is Eru reaching in and making whatever adjustments are necessary. Things just are.
    This QFT.

  16. #16
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    How does a half-elf choose to be mortal or immortal?
    I have a better question: how do you test whether your choice actually made it through?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darmokk View Post
    I have a better question: how do you test whether your choice actually made it through?
    Most likely they just knew somehow, also Elves reached a "presevation state" so probably if they didn't sense any illness or sickness after a decade or two meant they were in fact immortal or the contrary if gray hair started to appear and their physical condition decayed after their peak would mean they were mortal.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Most likely they just knew somehow, also Elves reached a "presevation state" so probably if they didn't sense any illness or sickness after a decade or two meant they were in fact immortal or the contrary if gray hair started to appear and their physical condition decayed after their peak would mean they were mortal.
    It'd probably be a lot easier than that. Elves had keener senses than mortals, for a start - wouldn't those would become dulled? And if not, then Elves felt the cold much less than Men did. Elves didn't tire anything like so readily as Men, either. So one way or another I think there'd be some readily perceptible change for a Half-elf who became mortal.

    One thing, a Half-elf who chose to be mortal would still live a very long time - Elros lived to be something like five hundred years old, if I remember rightly, so they might have to wait ages for the 'grey hairs' test to work

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    It'd probably be a lot easier than that. Elves had keener senses than mortals, for a start - wouldn't those would become dulled? And if not, then Elves felt the cold much less than Men did. Elves didn't tire anything like so readily as Men, either. So one way or another I think there'd be some readily perceptible change for a Half-elf who became mortal.
    Yep your right somehow I forgot about it, yes elves do have keener senses.

    One thing, a Half-elf who chose to be mortal would still live a very long time - Elros lived to be something like five hundred years old, if I remember rightly, so they might have to wait ages for the 'grey hairs' test to work
    Completely agree, I stand corrected no gray hairs and yes he did live 500 years (elros), maybe they would get weariness of thw world? the instant they become mortal?...Im not sure they ever loose the pointy ears.
    Last edited by Al.; Jun 25 2013 at 09:27 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiritier View Post
    I know :P, thats why im trying to find out a "mechanic", a "rule" for this. Like "You have to made decision when you come to x age", or "you have to live in Aman for y years"... you know, to avoid those half-elves "cheating" :P
    I think something you may be confused about is the nature of "half elves". Having such a choice is not normal. It is not something that automatically happens if you are part Elf and part Man. The choice of the half Elven was given only to a select group, a certain family, as a reward for Earendil's great actions. No one else gets to choose. The choice is in its self an exception to the rule. There is no mechanic for it.
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  21. #21
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    Fionnuala is correct. Only five people in the history of Middle-Earth ever got such a choice: Elrond, Elros, Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen.

    Elros chose to be reckoned among Men. His offspring had no further choice to make - they were Men thereafter, and mortal. Their long lifespan had nothing to do with Elvish blood - it was a reward from the Valar granted to all Numenoreans for the valor of the Edain in the First Age.

    Arwen chose "the choice of Luthien" - to share in Aragorn's fate and pass from the Circles of the World to whatever unknown destiny awaits the souls of Men. Their offspring were reckoned among Men, had no further choice, and were mortal.

    Elrond chose to be reckoned among Elves, although he never forgot his kinship with the descendants of Elendil and after the fall of Arthedain, chieftains of the Dunedain were fostered in Rivendell. He passed over the Sea at the beginning of the Fourth Age.

    The sons of Elrond had a choice to be reckoned among Elves, and pass into the West with their father, or to be reckoned among Men and be mortal. Tolkien never specified their choice, although he implied they chose to be counted among Elves, and although they remained in Middle-Earth after Elrond's departure, this was merely a delaying - in time they would sail into the West.

    The Lords of Dol Amroth were descended from an Elf-maid who married a Man of Gondor. She had no choice to become Mortal and, in time, left Middle-Earth. In spite of Elven blood, the Lords of Dol Amroth were Men, and Mortal, with no choice given them to be otherwise. This is the only canonical occurrance of marriage between Elf and Man outside the ancestry of Earendil. We have to assume such matches are extremely uncommon and that, should they occur, the offspring are mortal Men, period - no extended lifespan, no heightened senses. Just mortal Men, perhaps fairer in appearance than most.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aestivan View Post
    Elros chose to be reckoned among Men. His offspring had no further choice to make - they were Men thereafter, and mortal. Their long lifespan had nothing to do with Elvish blood - it was a reward from the Valar granted to all Numenoreans for the valor of the Edain in the First Age.
    I beg to differ there, as the Kings were apparently extraordinarily long-lived even by Numenorean standards. Being descended from Elros seems to have made a difference.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aestivan View Post

    The Lords of Dol Amroth were descended from an Elf-maid who married a Man of Gondor. She had no choice to become Mortal and, in time, left Middle-Earth. In spite of Elven blood, the Lords of Dol Amroth were Men, and Mortal, with no choice given them to be otherwise. This is the only canonical occurrance of marriage between Elf and Man outside the ancestry of Earendil. We have to assume such matches are extremely uncommon and that, should they occur, the offspring are mortal Men, period - no extended lifespan, no heightened senses. Just mortal Men, perhaps fairer in appearance than most.
    I do not count this as canonical since it only appears in Unfinished Tales and is only a note that is specifically written in language suggesting it is an unverified legend.

    And I agree with Radhruin. The offspring are indeed mortal and united to the fate of Men, but I don't think this or the choice given to Earendil and his family alters the physical reality that such people have mixed physical characteristics. For instance, Elrond is numbered among the Elves and for all intents and purpose is an Elf, but I doubt very much that being given the choice to unite himself with the fate of the Elves changed him physically. He was probably like that, Elven in appearance and nature, from his birth. The same with all the others. There does seems to be a very strong tendency for the half Elven to have Elven characteristics. Perhaps the reason Elros chose differently was because he was physically and spiritually more like Men than Elves and thus felt more kinship with them. Since this is something Tolkien doesn't go into in detail we can't really understand the physical realities of how Elven and human genetics mix. It seems likely to me that it varies individually.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fionnuala View Post
    I do not count this as canonical since it only appears in Unfinished Tales and is only a note that is specifically written in language suggesting it is an unverified legend.
    Its like an exception of the rule, but seems it did happen.

    And I agree with Radhruin. The offspring are indeed mortal and united to the fate of Men, but I don't think this or the choice given to Earendil and his family alters the physical reality that such people have mixed physical characteristics. For instance, Elrond is numbered among the Elves and for all intents and purpose is an Elf, but I doubt very much that being given the choice to unite himself with the fate of the Elves changed him physically. He was probably like that, Elven in appearance and nature, from his birth. The same with all the others. There does seems to be a very strong tendency for the half Elven to have Elven characteristics. Perhaps the reason Elros chose differently was because he was physically and spiritually more like Men than Elves and thus felt more kinship with them. Since this is something Tolkien doesn't go into in detail we can't really understand the physical realities of how Elven and human genetics mix. It seems likely to me that it varies individually.
    I agree, elves and men are like different species so yes the offsrping could be elves or man in characteristics, but there is a possibility they could have both elf and man characteristics it also happens in genetics,

    For example, I could see combinations like these:

    Half-elf that has the tallness of a man but has the eyes of an elf maybe pointy ears.
    Half elf that has the tallness of an elf but has the eyes of man and hair of the house of haleth (Blonde)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aestivan View Post
    Fionnuala is correct. Only five people in the history of Middle-Earth ever got such a choice: Elrond, Elros, Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen.
    Actually there were two more people who got the choice: The parents of Elrond and Elros - Earendil and Elwing.
    From Silmarillion:

    "[Manwe] said: 'In this matter the power of doom is given to me. [...] And this is my decree concerning them: To Eärendil and Elwing, and to their sons, shall be given leave each to choose freely to which kindred their fates shall be joined, and under which kindred they shall be judged.'
    [...]
    Then Eärendil spoke to Elwing: 'Choose thou, for now I am weary of the world.' And Elwing chose to be judged among the Firstborn Children of Illuvatar, because of Luthien; and for her sake Eärendil chose alike, though his heart was rather with the kindred of Men and the people of his father."

    (Both Eärendil and Elwing were of mixed parentage: Eärendil was the son of Tuor (Man) and Idril (Elf), while Elwing was the granddaughter of Beren (Man) and Luthien (half-Elf, half-Maia.) There is no indication that Elwing's father Dior, the son of Beren and Luthien, were ever given any choice in this matter but then he was killed while still fairly young.)

 

 
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