*elves

Yes, but when is someone going to tell me more about the wild-eyed winged halla-y creature with extra forelegs?

I think one of my favourite moments in BotFA is when Dain and the Iron Hills dwarves immediately prepare to fight the Orcs, whereas Thranduil and the elves are hesitating.  

In my opinion, that is the very thing that really sets the races apart.

technically we know that Elves did not suffer accidental death in Valinor very often, because in early drafts Fëanor says ‘first Elf to die in Valinor’. Then Tolkien remembered he’d killed off Miriel and changed Fëanor’s line to ‘first slain in Valinor’.

so at least when he was writing that, he didn’t imagine any Elven deaths other than Miriel (and Finwë, which Fëanor doesn’t know about yet) in Valinor.

but gosh, that just does not make a ton of sense. Elves are more resilient than mortals, yes, but could there really have been no accidents in the course of the settlement of an entire continent? I assume that a badly built stone cathedral collapsing in on an Elf will in fact kill them, and there must have been some badly built ones before they learned to do them well.

and also I am really entertained by a sort of Addams-Famlly Valinor where Elves died in accidents all the time and it just wasn’t that big of a deal. Practicing archery, accidentally shoot their friend in the heart? “I’m so sorry man! I’ll come pick you up in Lórien.” Practicing tree acrobatics, snap your neck? “Hey, Lord Námo, I’m so sorry, I know it’s the fourth time, but I’m gonna land that trick one of these days - you should just go ahead and reinforce my spine so I don’t bother you any more -” Go duel one of the dinosaurs? Why not? You only live literally as many times as you can talk Mandos into bringing you back to life. 

hypertext • inventing languages

For about as long as humans have had ideas on how language works, we’ve been thinking about inventing new ones from scratch. Centuries ago, we made mystical languages for angels or monsters to speak. (These days, it’s elves and aliens.) For a while, people figured they could design a single, simple language everyone on the planet could agree to speak. (This hasn’t entirely worked out.) Don’t even get us started on writing systems like Blissymbolics.

Feel like stepping down the rabbithole of constructed languages? Start with any of these:

  • Xu Bing’s Book from the Sky might look like Chinese, but the artist spent years designing and hand-cutting “false” woodblock characters to print. (Smarthistory video)
  • A former DMV employee, inspired in part by a French prog-rock band, invents a new language. Then things get strange. (New Yorker)
Children of the Sun, Children of the Moon

For the most part, Tolkien’s playing it kind of fast and loose with the sequence of early events in The Silmarillion. But there are two moments he made very sure to line up just right: the first rising of the moon, and the first rising of the sun. The moon rose first, and Tolkien says: 

Even as the Moon rose above the darkness in the west, Fingolfin let blow his silver trumpets and began his march into Middle-earth, and the shadows of his host went long and black before them.

Feanor’s host had already arrived in darkness, but still the elves continue to be associated with the moon. Part of this is because they were already associated with nighttime - when the elves first awoke, the first thing they saw were the stars. Which makes it all the more significant when Tolkien times the first rising of the sun with this event: 

At the first rising of the Sun the Younger Children of Iluvatar awoke in the land of Hildorien in the eastward regions of Middle-earth… The Atani they were named by the Eldar, the Second People; but they called them also Hildor, the Followers, and many other names: Apanonar, the After-born, Engwar, the Sickly, and Firimar, the Mortals; and they named them the Usurpers, the Strangers, and the Inscrutable, the Self-cursed, the Heavy-handed, the Night-fearers, the Children of the Sun.

Tolkien uses a lot of beautiful symbolism in his writings, but I think the use of the sun and the moon in The Silmarillion is some of his best. It was certainly no coincidence on his part as an author, but even within Middle Earth I think Iluvatar left very few things to chance or coincidence.


SOURCES: The Silmarillion

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GIFSET REQUEST MEME | anonymous asked → tolkien + most attractive

Such is the nature of evil. Out there in the vast ignorance of the world it festers and spreads. A shadow that grows in the dark. A sleepless malice as black as the oncoming wall of night. So it ever was. So will it always be. In time all foul things come forth.