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Topic: Elves Immortality

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Jul 14, 2006
Elves Immortality

Were Elves truly Immortal? I have a quote here that may suggest otherwise...


"For the Elves die not till tile world dies, unless they are slain or waste in grief (and to both these seeming deaths they are subject); neither does age subdue their strength, unless one grow weary of ten thousand centuries; and dying they are gathered to the halls of Mandos in Valinor, whence they may in time return. But the sons of Men die indeed, and leave the world; wherefore they are called the Guests, or the Strangers. Death is their fate, the gift of Ilúvatar, which as Time wears even the Powers shall envy. But Melkor has cast his shadow upon it, and confounded it with darkness, and brought forth evil out of good, and fear out of hope. Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Ilúvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it."
The Silmarillion


This seems to suggest that Elves will die over a huge amount of time, as if they become wearied by ten thousand centuries imagine what state they would be over a hundred thousand centuries.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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you understood it wrong
it has nothing to do with 10000 centuries or 10000000000000 centuries
it is about growing weary
the Elves that grow weary, and they usually all do eventually also die
some grow weary after 3000 centuries, or 10000, or I dunno how much

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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If Elves die with age TM then they are not immortal, hence this is what Glorfindel is asking.


It does appear that Elves are not truly immortal with that quote Glorfindel, but simply last longer than all the other beings of Arda.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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if an elf would never grow weary he could, IF HE WANTED TO, live forever and ever and ever
but the Elves DON'T WANT TO LIVE FOREVER, because they grow weary
they are immortal, they could, if they wanted to, live forever, but they don't want to

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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An Elf cannot just decide "Oh I think i will grow weary now". They become wearied after long by there own existance. They become weary with Arda. No Elf can live forever as that is not what Eru has planned.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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of course this weariness has something to do with their existance, but even if they would grow weary, they could ignore it
but they chose to leave the world, they were never forced to leve the world by the weariness
it was their choice, so they were immortal

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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They were immortal, but not to the extent for living FOREVER and EVER. Eru did not plan that:


"But the sons of Men die indeed, and leave the world; wherefore they are called the Guests, or the Strangers. Death is their fate, the gift of Ilúvatar, which as Time wears even the Powers shall envy. But Melkor has cast his shadow upon it, and confounded it with darkness, and brought forth evil out of good, and fear out of hope. Yet of old the Valar declared to the Elves in Valinor that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur; whereas Ilúvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the World's end, and Melkor has not discovered it."
The silmarillion

Elves do not live Forever as Iluvatar has not planned what he has in store for the Elves after the end.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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of course they don't live forever, but they could live forever
just like the Maiar in ME
they also are immortal, but they also don't live forever
they all eventually leave the world
beeing immortal doesn't mean you will live forever, it means you could live forever

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Elves do not come into either catagory. Maiar are of Ainur race and are not part of Arda, unlike the Elves who's hroar is, hence they can only live as long as Arda can live = not forever.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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hmmm...that does indeed make sense
and, as you said, Eru didn't reveal his plans about the Elves, so we don't know what happens afterwards
perhaps te term immortsl was given in relation to Men...I mean for Men the Elves did seem immortal

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Yes as a race I suppose men are the immortal ones, rather than Elves.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I suppose your right there mos. What about Dwarves? I know they are responsible for the re-building of the Wolrd after the last Battle but I wonder where there place lies thereafter?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Dwarves can also re-incarnate, but I am not sure where they wait. They clearly don't leave the world
I think I read somewhere that Dwarves return to the rock they were made of by Aule...
So they somehow...wait to reincarnate...but I am not sure about it

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Dwarves go to a seperate chamber in the Halls of Mandos and wait until the last Battle, afterwhich they reincarnate to aid Aule in the rebuilding of the world.

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Orc captain of Morgul - Rank 5
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Elves believe that Dwarves return to the earth and stone of which they were made when they die, but Dwarves say that Aulë gathers them to the Halls of Mandos and they shall serve Aulë to help him in the remaking of Arda after the Last Battle.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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oh yeah....well said Bauglir...I had forgotten that

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Forgotten what?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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that it was the Elves who believed the Dwarves returned to the stone

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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This is actually an interesting discussion. Sorry it took so long for me to find it. I guess the answer to the question depends upon your definition of immortality. Certainly from Men's point of view, the Elves were immortal, in that time was not a perceptible factor in their deaths.

Empirically speaking their lives (body and spirit) are bound to the world and so they can only exist so long as the world does. So yes they are mortal in the sense that their lifespan is finite, though immeasurably long. That sounds right, but it seems that we are talking about the immortality of their bodies, in which case I would have to say they are truly immortal, because they can last as long as the world. If there is no world then there are no physical bodies, so they can last until it is impossible to exist.

When the debate turns to a spiritual nature, I would have to agree with MoS, in that it appears that Men are the race that is truly immortal. Though their bodies are frail, their spirits are not bound to the world.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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A fate not revealed by God is not the same as no fate however. In 1963 (Letters) Tolkien explained that neither side [Elves or Men] were fully informed about the ultimate destiny of the other. He noted that the Elves were sufficiently longeval to be called 'immortal' by Men but they were not unageing or unwearying, and regarding what the 'end of the world portended for them '... they did not know (though no doubt had theories).' Neither had they of course any special information what 'death' portended for Men.' JRRT


Note, for example, part of the Commentary to Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth...



'Therefore in the last resort the Elves were obliged to rest on 'naked estel' (as they said: the trust in Eru, that whatever He dsigned beyond the End wold be recognized by each fea as wholly satisfying (at the least). Probably it would contain joys unforeseeable. But they remained in the belief that it would remain in intelligible relation with their present nature and desires, proceed from them, and include them.' JRRT 



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I think you are talking about the destiny of the Elves after the end of the world, which they knew little, if anything about. They did however surely know what was in store for them upon the death of their bodies, at least those who lived in Valinor and I am sure they told their cousins in Middle-Earth.

Men were not as privileged, as they knew nothing of what was to become of them after the death of their bodies and less about their fate at the end of the world.

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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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that is true Celethil, but as mentioned in the Sil, the Elves and even the Ainur ended up envying Men for receiving this gift.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Celethil posted: 'I think you are talking about the destiny of the Elves after the end of the world, which they knew little, if anything about.'


Yes Celethil, I was responding to the earlier statement by MoS: 'Elves do not live Forever as Iluvatar has not planned what he has in store for the Elves after the end.'


I'll give the rest of the (first) quote I started too, since it's relevant here... 



'... what 'death' portended for Men. They believed that it meant 'liberation from the circles of the world', and was in that respect to them enviable. And they would point out to Men who envied them that a dread of ultimate loss, though it may be indefinately remote, is not necessarily the easier to bear if it is in the end ineluctably certain: a burden may become heavier the longer it is borne.' JRRT 1963 



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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That seems to settle things.


Litterally Elves are not Immortal. However according to Men they are if that makes sense...



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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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That all depends on how you define immortality. Elves last as long as the world. People in the world define mortality, and so with no world there would be no mortality to contrast. So Elves last as long as the thing that they are immortal in.

Then there is the after the end of the world allusion. It is implied that the Elves have a part in that, and I dont think that the intent of Eru was to just snuff out his First Children after the Second Music. Though if they are to follow the path of men after the Second Music then I suppose they are ultimately mortal.

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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
 
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