Silmarillion Read-Along discussion

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daily lifes of elves

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth | 3 comments This is not really for any prompt or bingo card; this is me being curious about elves, and I'd like to know how you think about this..

First of all, their appearnace:
Do you think elves would dye their hair? Is that accepted/appropiate? I know it's possible to make dye from natural ingredients, and after living so long some elves might got bored and wanted to try something new..?
And if they did dye it, how long would it stay that way? With us, humans, the roots of our natural haircolour come back after a month or so.. but would that also be the case with elves? (regarding their immortality and slow aging and such)

Secondly, (still I think some elves eventually grew bored or so) would there be elves that wear make-up? Not too much, but lightly? I can think of some who might, but I'm not sure if it would be a thing..

Thirdly on the army of elves: Would there be anything like conscription, because there're not many other jobs (and elves always seem to have at least some knowledge of fighting/battle/strategics, some more than others) Most elves are warriors or hunters (see Tauriel, Legolas) others Kings or Lords but what of the rest? are they just free to walk around, they don't have jobs?
This is possible, but that raises the question 'how do they pay for food or a house?' Or do they get housing and food for free from their lord/lady/king/queen?

And what about schooling? Is that free as well? Probably there'll be private schooling of princelings and such, but do other young elfings also enjoy education? And if so, what subjects are they taught? Do they work in classes? Are there seperate school buildings? Or do their parents educate them (home schooling)?

These are just a few questions on my mind. Feel free to share your tought and leave question of your own!

oh-my-leglesslegolegolas (teamainur)


message 2: by borchielein (new)

borchielein | 3 comments Those are some interesting questions.
The job question is one I've often thought of. I wonder how life was in Beleriand. We see a lot of Elven kingdoms that are kind of in a hiding place (Rivendell, also Lothlorien and Mirkwood, Gondolin, Menegroth). But let's say in Hithlum. Are there Elves who just live in rural villages scattered all over Hithlum? Farmer Elves? Eventually they need to get food somewhere...


message 3: by Anelise (new)

Anelise Golin stampfer | 5 comments Very intersting subject!!

Tolkien sais the ELves were extremely beautiful, so much so that even the Valar were in awe! Personally I can't imagine them doing anything to try to be even more beautiful. Though they might do something to their hair and face to try to be different (not only from others but just from their previous selves, you know, in the "getting tired of my pretty face" sense).

Education is a fasinating theme because Elves are interested and want to learn a lot according to Tolkien. They are at first in awe of the world. Surely the first Elves just learned from experience and I think they sat around and shared their knowledge. Slowly maybe some of them became "experts" in some areas and then passed it on to the others if these showed interest. I mean, Elves are not in a hurry to learn things because they have all the time of the world (literally) so I can't see them schooling children in a certain amount of years or anthing. I believe parents and family members would just teach young Elves as they grow interested in certain things and also send the youngsters to learn more from others in fields they might not be experts themselves.


message 4: by Beth (new)

Beth | 3 comments I think you're right on education; why rush their children in learning, and going to school? They have (in priniciple) all the time of the world. Surely they'd be though some basic knowledge, but like you said, family and friends would just wait for the young elves to show interest in a subject, or come to them with questions.

I have another question though (completely different from education): death
As said in the silmarillion, if elves die, they go to the halls of mandos and sometimes they come back into the world again, but when an elf dies, does the rest of his kin burn the body? or bury it? Are there graveyards? Or do they get their own tumb (like aragorn in arwen's vision? - see films) or is the body left for nature to have it? Because the elves well know that it's the spirit that leaves, but do they care for the body? Are there any mourning rituals? (surely wearing black)

And also on marriage: Is it okay for an elf to divorce? or re-marry once widowed?


message 5: by John (new)

John Biles | 1 comments History of Middle Earth has a lot of info on Elven things which didn't make it into the major published works, though there are a lot of things which are left open because Tolkien didn't think of them / didn't care about them.

Tolkien to my knowledge never passed judgement on the issues of: hair dying, makeup, or exactly how Elven armies are selected. Though in the last case, I get the impression that Elven armies tend to be feudal in style where you swear to a lord and come when he calls.

Tolkien never did give a specific answer on schooling but I get the general impression that Elves were tutored by Friends and family or might go to study with someone specific.

As for food and farming-- There's some serious problems with how exactly Elves fed themselves at all before the Rising of the Sun, outside Valinor, because normally moonlight isn't enough to sustain plants. Eventually, Elves invent Lembas and that is made from grains which would have to be farmed, so I would assume some Elves farm.

The elves do bury the dead, which will show up later in the Silmarillion, but I don't think we have a lot on mourning rites.

Feanor's father Finwe was allowed to remarry after Miriel died, as seen in chapter six. The Silmarillion itself never makes it clear if this is generally allowed, but then, normally, the dead return after a while. In later writings (in HoME), Finwe was a special case and it said Elves never divorce or remarry, except in unusual circumstances. But that's in unpublished works and you're free to ignore it.


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