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Elven Lore Details The 'Lord of the Rings' Films Don't Tell You

April 12, 2021 112 votes 19 voters 2.4k views15 items

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If you've watched The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, you already know the Elves are a race of beautiful and enigmatic beings who live for an incredibly long time. They offer respite and advice to weary travelers, and they've also taken part in some of the most important events to occur in Middle-earth.

Just about everyone who's seen the movies knows this, but there's plenty more about Elves they don't know. You'd have to go deep into the books and lore to learn as much about the Elves as there is to know. That could take some time, but you can skip all of that for now.

This list features some of the most interesting aspects of the Elves and their lore from J.R.R. Tolkien's series.

  • 1

    Elves Aren't Considered Mature Until They Are A Century Old

    Elves don't mature at the same rate as Men, and that's due to their immortality. When they turn 1 year old, they are already able to walk and talk. They don't reach their full adult height until they are around 50.

    Another 50 years pass before they are considered adults, and from that point on, they no longer age the way humans do. In fact, they don't continue to grow old in any way. Elves can live on in their adult form for as long as they aren't killed, and their connection to Arda remains intact.

    It is possible for Elves to continue aging later in life when periods of extreme stress push them to grow beyond their normal maturation. When this happens, they grow weary of the sorrows of Middle-earth and are overcome with a strong desire to leave for Valinor.

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  • 2

    Elves Have More Than One Name

    Elves all have multiple names, and the way they get them is fairly complicated (like most things in Tolkien's Middle-earth). An Elf is given a name at birth by their anessi (father). This name reflects their parental descent. Once the Elf begins to mature, they receive their second name from their amilessë (mother). The second name reflects the skills, personality, and/or fate of the Elf.

    A third name, or epessë, is typically given later in life as a title or honor. A kilmessë, or "self-name," is a self-selected name chosen as a disguise. And following their exile to Middle-earth, an Elf chooses a Sindarin (one of the Elvish languages) name. In most cases, this is a variation on their name in Quenya (another Elvish language). An Elf's first two names are considered to be their "true names," but most are happy to be referred to by any of their names.

    Galadriel's names include Artanis (Noble Woman), Nerwen (Man-maiden), Alatáriel (Maiden Crowned with Radiant Garland), and Galadriel, which is the Sindarin version of Alatáriel and the name she is most often called in Middle-earth. You can come up with your own Elf name thanks to the Lord of the Rings Elf Name Generator, which can be found here.

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  • 3

    The Elves Of Middle-earth Speak More Than One Language

    It's well-known that Tolkien created a functional language for the Elves to speak, but the depths of his creation are far more detailed than most people realize. Tolkien was a professional philologist, and one of his favorite things to do was create languages. He developed Elvish into one language separated by multiple dialects that came from the same family of languages.

    Quenderin was the proto-language from which all Elvish dialects spawned. It was eventually divided into subfamilies, with Quenya and Sindarin being the most developed by Tolkien. By the time of the Third Age, Sindarin remained the most common language. Rúmil of Tirion created the Sarati, an alphabet and writing system, in Valinor.

    Tolkien's love of language didn't stop at simply creating languages and words for his characters to speak; he also wrote in those languages. In fact, he wrote poems in Quenya. Many related to his work, but he also translated common texts, including the Lord's Prayer (Átaremma) and others into Quenya.

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  • 4

    Elves Have Telepathic Abilities

    The Elves' telepathic abilities are touched on in The Lord of the Rings trilogy through Galadriel, but can be misinterpreted as magic. In the movies, she demonstrates her prophetic abilities when she is offered the One Ring, and can speak into the minds of the Fellowship. Galadriel has one of the Rings of Power, so some might think her abilities stem from it, but the real answer is simpler.

    All Elves have telepathic abilities, and depending on their particular strengths in that area, they can communicate via direct telepathic links. Tolkien explained this in his essay "Ósanwe-kenta," which translates to "Enquiry into the Communication of Thought." The essay describes how Elves can use the sanwe-latya (thought-opening) to communicate. Galadriel is the strongest Elf in this regard, but all Elves have the ability.

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