Elvish skin colour?
#1
I know Mr. Martinez discussed this (quite strongly) in a blog-post already but I had a few clarifications I wished to discuss in light of the ongoing fight about this with the Rings of Power being released.

I always assumed Elves (and Dwarves, while we're on the topic) would be, largely, like their human counterparts (i.e. dark in regions humans were dark and lighter-skinned where humans were likewise).  The only hole in this belief, however (as pointed out to me): Elves, being immortal, wouldn't evolve like humans.  What's more, they're less affected by the climate (as we see when Legolas prances around in light clothing in a snow storm).  I honestly have no answer to this save that they may have started out a variety of colours.  But, then, why were all of the Noldor "fair-skinned" (except ruddy Mahtan, apparently)?

I heard somewhere that the Easterlings of Beleriand called the Elves they knew "white fiends" but I cannot find a reference for that.  This would still play into my own assumptions, however (leaving almost all Avari and many Silvan out of this conception).

Eöl is named "dark elf" but no specification on WHY (beyond, perhaps, his demeanor).

If anyone has any other passages or thought I'd appreciate them.
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#2
I think Eöl was described as bent or stooped and dark. 
In this case the environment shaped him.
I think he was bent because he spent so much time smithing and he was dark because
he lived in a dark forest with no sunlight.
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#3
(September 12th, 2022, 01:37 PM)gzhindra Wrote: I think Eöl was described as bent or stooped and dark. 
In this case the environment shaped him.
I think he was bent because he spent so much time smithing and he was dark because
he lived in a dark forest with no sunlight.

Wouldn't that make him paler?
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#4
It depends on how you interpret dark elf. Perhaps Tolkien meant evil elf?
Orcs are described as black as coal. Tolkien does not say why but i think it is
implied because they lived underground and before the sun was created.
The story is mythological so it does not have to follow modern scientific concepts.
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#5
The 'Dark Elves' were those who, neither themselves nor their ancestors, ever went to Aman and saw the light of the Two Trees. These would include the Avari who refused to even start the Great Journey, and groups of the Teleri who left the Journey along the way and never arrived in Aman while the Trees lived, such as the Nandor and the Sindar.

The distinction "Dark Elf" does not imply either darker coloration, nor any moral taint given that the Valar had no right to command the living embodied Elves to come to Aman to begin with. The difference basically ended with being in Aman in the Ages of the Trees, or not, and the ramifications of that fact.

Added: In the particular case of Eöl, IIRC he got that sobriquet in part because he was in fact a Dark Elf by the above definition (whether Nandor, Sindar, or Avari is uncertain; JRRT seems to have started by characterizing him as an estranged Sindarin prince and moved toward classifying him as an early-arriving, particularly talented Avarin Elf.)
Moreover, his moods, his dark galvorn armor, and his dwelling in the deep shade of Nan Elmoth contributed to that perception.
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#6
Tolkien's elves were an amalgam of mythical characters from Norse and Irish myth, and maybe a bit of eastern European folklore thrown in (depending on which scholars' guesses you want to consider).

They weren't intended to represent any kind of human ethnic "race" in the sense that the white supremacists are using them. Tolkien gradually introduced variations into his character descriptions, including elvish skin, hair, facial features, etc. The "lovely elves" and "beautiful people" gradually came to include less lovely stereotypes.

Even Gandalf, whose name means "elf of the wand (or staff)", is meant to have been mistaken for an ancient elf by northern men who had no idea of who the Valar and Maiar were. So he is an example of an "unlovely elf".

There is no reason why there cannot be black-skinned Elves in Middle-earth. Tolkien didn't forbid them. He simply didn't get around to including them. Had he been more faithful to Norse mythology, he WOULD have included specifically black-skinned elves (and dwarves). But he did invent elves who weren't fair-skinned. In fact, Aredhel's pale white skin was considered exceptional (a fact overlooked by all the "elves must be white-skinned" arguments).
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#7
(September 14th, 2022, 10:22 AM)Alvin Eriol Wrote: The 'Dark Elves' were those who, neither themselves nor their ancestors, ever went to Aman and saw the light of the Two Trees. These would include the Avari who refused to even start the Great Journey, and groups of the Teleri who left the Journey along the way and never arrived in Aman while the Trees lived, such as the Nandor and the Sindar.

The distinction "Dark Elf" does not imply either darker coloration, nor any moral taint given that the Valar had no right to command the living embodied Elves to come to Aman to begin with. The difference basically ended with being in Aman in the Ages of the Trees, or not, and the ramifications of that fact.

Added: In the particular case of Eöl, IIRC he got that sobriquet in part because he was in fact a Dark Elf by the above definition (whether Nandor, Sindar, or Avari is uncertain; JRRT seems to have started by characterizing him as an estranged Sindarin prince and moved toward classifying him as an early-arriving, particularly talented Avarin Elf.)
Moreover, his moods, his dark galvorn armor, and his dwelling in the deep shade of Nan Elmoth contributed to that perception.

The Silmarillion describe's Eöl as a Teleri elf, so i do not think that he qualifies as moriquendi.
I dont know what Tolkien intended, but there is something strange about Eöl.
Why was he stooped because he spent time smithing?
The Elves are normally described as highly resistant and unaffected by physical challenges.
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#8
(September 15th, 2022, 06:32 AM)gzhindra Wrote: The Silmarillion describe's Eöl as a Teleri elf, so i do not think that he qualifies as moriquendi.
I dont know what Tolkien intended, but there is something strange about Eöl.
Why was he stooped because he spent time smithing?
The Elves are normally described as highly resistant and unaffected by physical challenges.

All the Moriquendi were either Avari or subgroups of Teleri who remained in Middle-Earth. These groups e.g. Sindar, Nandor, Falathrim, acquired their own particular names, so that "Teleri" seems to have come to refer 'by default' to those who went to Eressëa and Aman.

Eöl was indeed an odd duck, and I think JRRT did indeed wish to depict him as a loner and misfit by Elven standards.

I think the phrase "stooped by his smithcraft" meant that when he donned his galvorn armor it (the "smithcraft", i.e. the product rather than the activity) was so heavy it made it difficult for him to stand straight at all times. Elves were 'resistant' and had per JRRT strength and vitality when young, and extraordinary control over their own bodies, but they weren't supermen!
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#9
Alvin i found this on Tolkien gateway:
The special title "Dark Elf" given to Eöl of Nan Elmoth seems to refer to his personal aversion to the light of the Sun rather than his heritage:

I thought that Teleri counted as calaquendi?
I think that the terms calaquendi, moriquendi, avari etc, are poorly defined by Tolkien.
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#10
(September 15th, 2022, 06:32 AM)gzhindra Wrote: Why was he stooped because he spent time smithing?
The Elves are normally described as highly resistant and unaffected by physical challenges.

I think the implication was that despite such things he was still stooped, implying how much time he spent bent over his work.  i.e. He was a fanatic who spent ALL of his time bent over working.

(September 15th, 2022, 12:07 PM)gzhindra Wrote: I thought that Teleri counted as calaquendi?

Teleri was the name of the third clan at it's outset from Cuiviénen.  Man factions splintered off but one could (theoretically) call ALL those factions "Teleri" those, eventually, it was usually applied only to those who made it to Aman.

(September 15th, 2022, 06:32 AM)gzhindra Wrote: The Silmarillion describe's Eöl as a Teleri elf, so i do not think that he qualifies as moriquendi.

Tolkien toyed with the idea of making Eöl a Tatyarin Avari elf, which would have made him more like the Noldor (which might have explained why his hair was so dark).

(September 14th, 2022, 11:39 AM)Michael Wrote: They weren't intended to represent any kind of human ethnic "race" in the sense that the white supremacists are using them.

Is that an argument they're actually making?  That they actually represent a human race?   Huh

(September 14th, 2022, 11:39 AM)Michael Wrote: There is no reason why there cannot be black-skinned Elves in Middle-earth. Tolkien didn't forbid them. He simply didn't get around to including them.

I know a handful (Caranthir, Mahtan, Nerdanel) were described as ruddy.  It seems like he didn't specifically include any descriptions beyond that though.  I've always agreed that they could be black-skinned, but (as stated earlier) simply assumed they would from the same regions as humans of like skin.
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#11
Sorry for vanishing for so long. I was without a computer for a while.

I admit I don't understand all the arguments made by white supramacists who hijack Tolkien for their propaganda (not to mention Norse mythology). Tolkien advocated diversity in his fiction, a fact often conveniently overlooked by his critics. He did constrain himself by writing from a northwestern European perspective, but not to the point of making all the good guys white skinned and all the bad guys dark skinned. Quite the opposite, but it's a real struggle to get people to stick to the facts of the books rather than the facts of their beliefs.
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#12
Gzhindra, you are confusing “Calaquendi” (elves of the Light) with “Eldar” (elves of the journey).

Calaquendi were all Elves who actually completed the journey to Aman (with Elwe Thingol included in their number because as one of the three original emissaries chosen by Orome he did actually visit Aman).

Eldar were the Elves who began the journey, whether they completed it or not.

Avari chose not to begin the journey.

The Eldar were subdivided into the Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri. All of the first two groups completed the journey, as did many of the Teleri. However, a significant subset of the Teleri did not complete the journey, splitting off from the original host to settle in Beleriand. These subsets are Eldar, because they started the journey, but also Moriquendi, because they never finished it and witnessed the light of the Trees.
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