news culture From Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to Rings of Power, the series: Are Elves really immortal?
Whatever one thinks of the new Lord of the Rings-inspired series, the highly publicized and heavily guarded launch on Amazon Prime Video has the merit of bringing Tolkien’s work back to the fore. Not only its most famous stories but all its mythology, essential to understand the particularities of this universe that fascinates us so much!
The launch of the series Rings of Power created a very wide audience who wanted to explore Tolkien’s world through works other than The Hobbit hope The Lord of the rings. And yet The Silmarillion is undoubtedly the most important work of all to deepen your knowledge around the genesis of Tolkien’s world, You really need to glean from all the author’s stories if you want to better understand the laws that govern this universe.. Among the most interesting questions about the people of Arda, there is this question that often comes to the table: are the Elves really immortal?
- The Firstborn, immortal beings?
- Death to the Elves!
- Are elves really dead?
- The denial of immortality
The Firstborn, immortal beings?
There are many things that can mislead us on this subject, the doubt is maintained by the fact that the question is actually more complicated than it seems. on The Silmarillion and Tolkien’s other stories (eg The Book of Lost Stories hope Unfinished Tales and Legends), Elves are often cited as beings dedicated to immortality, in direct opposition to “mortal” Humans. who woke up later, with the rays of the sun. It should not be forgotten that the Elves are the eldest of the Sons of Ilúvatar, the Firstborn of all mankind after the creation of the world. In the prologue of the series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of PowerGaladriel says that in these times of peace:
We have no words for death because we think that our happiness will never end. We thought our light would never go out.
And yet, Elves are not eternal and disappear sooner or later. The manner in which many of them die is clearly explained by Tolkien throughout his works. It should be understood that, in addition to their extraordinary longevity, Elves are not susceptible to the same afflictions as Men and that their absence occurs only in certain circumstances.
Death to the Elves!
But then, how can the Firstborn die? The real danger for the Elves is to receive a serious wound that cannot be recovered.. If they can heal wounds that would kill a Human, they can still be beaten and killed in battle. Many were heroes of Elvish birth who lost their lives on the battlefields that opposed them to the darkspawn sent by Morgoth and his servant Sauron in the Ages of Middle-earth.
And what about those Elves whom Morgoth tortured and corrupted until they became Orcs. ? Because this is the version that Tolkien gave in The Silmarillionalthough the author does not elaborate enough on this point which nevertheless raises many questions.
However, there is another mortal danger for the elders of the Sons of Ilúvatar. Tolkien really pointed that out Elves are sometimes affected by such deep grief or such overwhelming grief that they “die of grief” and see their spirit carried to the caves of Mandos…
Are elves really dead?
Here we can ask ourselves if we really need to talk about “death”. When an Elf’s spirit is sent to the caves of Mandos, it is purified and enters a cycle of reincarnation. It finally accesses a completely immaterial form. and may be invisible to mortal eyes.
but under no circumstances do Elves die of old age or disease. They have almost no effect on them. Elves are especially touched by the great weakness of other people, and especially “Mortal Men condemned to death”, sensitive to many evils that do not affect the life of an Elf. Their life cycle is different from humans, the Elves only stop aging after a hundred years and travel to the Immortal Land in the west, forbidden by other people. It is said that the Elves who live in Middle-earth will sooner or later be taken to the realm of Valinor and sail away from the Gray Havens never to return.
The denial of immortality
The elves escaped grief or fatal harm eventually sailing westward to reach the shores of Valinor, Undying Lands of the Blessed Realm of Aman. We will understand better, from there, as far as it goes Galadriel’s (temporary) refusal to reach Valinor in the series Rings of Power The Elves, starting with High King Gil-galad but also Elrond, couldn’t think of it.
Elrond’s case is more interesting because as a Half-Elf, he has the right to choose between the fate of the Elves and the Men. And if he chooses immortality, his brother Elros instead chose to reject it, becoming the first king of Númenor under the name Tar-Minyatur alongside the Edain (those of the Men who fought Morgoth’s armies during the First Age). The island of Númenor was offered to them as a reward to the Valar and it was from Elros that the line of Númenorean kings descended.
Examples of Elves refusing immortality remain in any case rare in Tolkien’s work. Mentioned in legends Luthien Tinuviel, who agreed to become mortal to bring Beren back to life by singing a song so beautiful and sad that it moved Mandos. A destiny that also chooses to follow Arwen Undomielthe daughter of Elrond, who also sacrificed her immortality for the love of Aragorn.