so my main beef with elves is not so much about the elves themselves, but the way that Tolkien (and, by extension, the narrative) favors them. I identify a lot with Andreth, who in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, spits out: “We may be ‘Children of Eru’, as ye say in your lore; but we are children to you also: to be loved a little maybe, and yet creatures of less worth, upon whom ye may look down from the height of your power and your knowledge, with a smile, or with pity, or with a shaking of heads” (Morgoth’s Ring 308).
Tolkien himself confirms this, that he gave to his Eldar “the artistic, aesthetic, and purely scientific aspects of the Humane nature raised to a higher level than is actually seen in Men” (Letters 236). Elves embody of all the best of humanity—the wisdom, the creativity, the joy and beauty—supposedly untainted by humanity’s uglier sins. What’s more, they exist on a scale that dwarfs most men; only epic heroes such as Aragorn and Beren can hope to match.
and it just…it’s unfair. It’s so fucking grating, if you don’t buy into it at the start, because these are the fuckers who made Silmarils and slaughtered their kin and took each other captive and went to war and denied the valar and we are supposed to consider them greater than dwarves and men and orcs, because….why? they’re good at arts and crafts? they’re immortal? they make great music?
no reason is ever given for why elves are better. They just are.
they own the story, and the history, and the culture, everything is theirs—even gondor measures worth on an elven scale, how like the elves are you, how sindarin are you, how numenorean—the narrative loves Faramir over Boromir because Faramir is like the elves; Dol Amroth is better than Minas Tirith because they speak Sindarin like breathing; The Hobbit likes Thranduil better than Thorin (despite the similarity of their fixations) because Thranduil is an elf.
Bilbo—who undergoes this terrible harrowing journey to reclaim Erebor with companions whom he has learned to love and trust—Bilbo doesn’t want to return to Erebor, when he is old and grey. He doesn’t want to see the halls that his friends have built, the great dwarvish kingdom that Thorin died for finally restored to its former glory—
Bilbo wants to go to Rivendell. Because who would want to go to some dwarf’s cave when you could stay with the elves?
But we’re supposed to love them, because they are beautiful, and we are supposed to agree to this standard of measurement because why not, and when you are in this for anyone else—the Edain or the dwarves or the hobbits or the orcs—you want to scream because one of those groups is special because they were made to be, and the others just sort of struggled along, inventing semaphores and mills and languages and trade routes and mining techniques and farming techniques and genetic experimentation (apparently)
but Tolkien doesn’t care, because the elves sing about stars, and the natural world does what they want because they ask, and why wouldn’t you love these creatures who have had all the aces before they even started playing
why would you choose anyone else