The 15 most powerful elves in the lord of the rings, ranked

      151

This story is part of a group of stories called
*
What MAY or MAY NOT be a view of Valinor, in a promotional image for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series. Image: Amazon Studios

Bạn đang xem: The 15 most powerful elves in the lord of the rings, ranked

In the far west of Middle-earth, there is a continent called Aman (or at least there used to lớn be, but we’ll come back lớn that), that was shaped by Middle-earth’s gods, the Valar, as the best place in the world for elves.

At the dawn of time, Middle-earth’s supreme creator god, Eru Ilúvatar, created the Valar lớn be the caretakers of the world, and to shape its form into one that would be good for Ilúvatar’s next creations, Elves. (Men were also in the blueprints for Middle-earth, but not for some eons later.) The Valar were not powerful enough khổng lồ turn all of Middle-earth into a paradise, so after they made all the birds, & fish, & animals, và the mountains, and valleys, and rivers, và oceans, và most of the stars … they focused on crafting an elven homeland in the far west.

And when they found the first elves, they spent a long time gaining their trust và guiding them lớn Aman, with some factions of elves choosing khổng lồ stay behind at various pinch points like mountain ranges & ocean shores — leaving a tidy trail of different elven cultures for Tolkien to play with during the course of The Silmarillion, his history of the pre-Lord of the Rings Middle-earth.

On the continent of Aman, the elves và the Valar founded a nation called Valinor. Valinor is Asgard, & it is Valhalla; it is Heaven, và it is, in some ways, Eden. And within Valinor is the domain name of Mandos, Middle-earth’s god of the afterlife. The Halls of Mandos are a system of great caverns và underground halls lined with god-woven tapestries depicting all of history. When elves die, their spirits travel to the Halls, where they rest for a time as disembodied shades. Most of them are then returned khổng lồ corporeal form và rejoin all the other elves living in Valinor.


*
Image: New Line Cinema

Xem thêm: Các Loại Máy Cắt Cỏ: Cập Nhật Bảng Giá Honda, Mitsubishi, Máy Cắt Cỏ Thương Hiệu: Nhật Bản

Most elves “return lớn life” without much drama, but Mandos has the power to deny an elf corporeal khung if they were a particularly bad person in life. & if an elf lacks the will khổng lồ live again — which has happened at least a few times — they remain as a sad, disembodied shade in the Halls of Mandos until the kết thúc of time or until they feel better, whichever happens first. Their families và friends can visit them, but it’s not very fun.

So yes, if an elf is killed in battle, her death will separate her from any loved ones she has on Middle-earth as her spirit travels to lớn Valinor to lớn be re-embodied. But her elven friends & family know they’ll see her again eventually. And “eventually” is not hard khổng lồ wait for when you literally live forever. Any amount of time you spend apart from your loved one is, by definition, is a blip on the road of infinity.

Human spirits also travel to the Halls of Mandos upon death, but they vì not get to lớn stay, & nobody knows where they go except Mandos & Ilúvatar himself. Spooky! & very interesting that Tolkien’s own mythology is one in which humanity has no guaranteed afterlife of any kind.

Many elves traveled to Aman in the early days of Middle-earth & made it their trang chủ — some elves, like Galadriel, were simply born và raised in Valinor, the realm of the gods, which is part of the reason she’s such a stand-out badass compared to lớn the other elves in The Lord of the Rings.

But whether they’ve been to lớn Valinor before or not, all elves go there when they die, & all elves can leave Valinor and sail to the rest of Middle-earth if they want — though that hasn’t happened particularly often in Tolkien’s work, and when it has it’s usually a big deal.

So you can just ... Sail to lớn elf heaven?


*
Image: New Line Cinema
Not anyone. Not anymore. In the time of the War of the Ring, Middle-earth was a globe. But when Eru Ilúvatar created Middle-earth, it was flat. What happened in between starts with an island country called Númenor (which is likely lớn play a major role in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series).

Thousands of years before the War of the Ring, the human kingdom of Númenor was founded in the ocean between Aman và the rest of Middle-earth, under the leadership of Elrond’s twin brother Elros. See, Elrond & Elros were descended from such mixed parentage — multiple half-elven ancestors và one literal demigod — that the Valar threw up their hands and allowed the twins and their parents to choose their own fate: Immortality or mortality.

Elros was the only thành viên of their family who chose khổng lồ be human, & he was the first king of Númenor, from which Aragorn’s family line và the people of Gondor descended. (This is why Aragorn looks so good for an 87 year old: It’s the power nguồn of elvish blood.) But many generations later, Númenor fell under the sway of a black sorcerer who encouraged many on the island to spurn the Valar in favor of worshipping a dark god.

Yes, it was Sauron, back in the days when he could take physical form. The Dark Lord had convinced the last king of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn, that if he built an armada to invade Valinor he could plunder the secrets of the gods and win immortality for humanity — a website of lies & manipulations.

As Ar-Pharazôn’s fleet phối foot upon the continent of Aman, the Valar called on Ilúvatar to stop the invasion, as they were forbidden from harming his children. And boy did Ilúvatar stop it.

Middle-earth’s creator god cracked the plate of the world in two, snapping the continent of Aman off like a Kit-Kat bar & drowning Ar-Pharazôn’s fleet & the island of Númenor beneath the churning seas. The remaining piece Middle-earth was bent into a sphere, và any humans who tried to lớn sail to Valinor again… well, I’ll let Tolkien say it, as he does in The Silmarillion:

Those that sailed furthest mix but a girdle about the Earth và returned weary at last lớn the place of their beginning; và they said: ‘All roads are now bent.’ <...> yet the were permitted still lớn depart & to come to lớn the Ancient West <...>, if they would. Therefore the loremasters of Men said that a Straight Road must still be, for those that were permitted lớn find it. And they taught that, while the new world fell away, the old road & the path of the memory of the West still went on, as it were a mighty bridge invisible that passed through the air of breath and of flight <...> và traversed Ilmen which flesh unaided cannot endure <...> to lớn Valinor.

“Ilmen” is the elven word for the upper atmosphere of Middle-earth, through which the stars, sun, & moon pass. So, thanks to lớn Sauron, the elven afterlife is technically in space now.

Frodo và Bilbo sailed west with the elves, does that mean they’re immortal?

Tolkien wasn’t really explicit about that, but probably not. Immortality is a facet of the Elven race, not something conferred by Valinor itself. It’s probably better to lớn think about Frodo và Bilbo (and Sam and Gilmi)’s invitations khổng lồ board a boat at the Grey Havens as the gift of a very, very nice retirement in recognition of services rendered to lớn the safety of Middle-earth & thus the goals of the Valar.

What vị the Grey Havens have to vì chưng with all of this?

The Grey Havens are in a region of Middle-earth called Lindon. In the bản đồ at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, it’s a coastal region all the way on the western side of the map.

But in the map of Tolkien’s Silmarillion, which largely takes place before the destruction of Númenor, Lindon is a tiny wedge of space beyond the map’s last eastern mountain range. Ilúvatar’s wrath drowned all of the lands that feature in The Silmarillion, turning Lindon into beachfront property overnight — & into the closest ocean shore khổng lồ Valinor.

So, shortly after that cataclysm, surviving elves in Middle-earth — mainly a faction who had originated in Valinor và traveled back to lớn the main continent thousands of years before for reasons that pretty much cosplay the core plotline of The Silmarillion — founded the Grey Havens as an ocean port specifically for sending ships over the Straight Road back to lớn Valinor.

Still, many of those elves hung around for a long time afterwards. At that point, they’d spent a lot of time struggling for peace in Middle-earth, & they felt tied to lớn the land và their allies there. But on an immortal’s timescale, nothing lasts forever except your own lifetime. By the era of the War of the Ring, many of the elves in Middle-earth were starting to lớn feel a little obsessed with the western sea.

Even Legolas, born in an elven society where no one had ever actually been khổng lồ Valinor, talked about feeling an instinctual calling lớn travel there in The Return of the King. Well, actually, he thanh lịch about it, but that’s elves for you:

Grey ship, grey ship, vì you hear them calling.The voices of my people that have gone before me?I will leave, I will leave the woods that bore me <...>Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling,Sweet are the voices in the Lost Isle calling,In Eressëa, in Elvenhome that no man can discover,Where the leaves fall not: land of my people for ever!’

Why does Arwen have lớn give up her immortality to marry Aragorn?

We’ve covered how Tolkien’s elves are functionally immortal because their souls go to another country và get new bodies. But here’s the other important thing about them: Tolkien’s elves are monogamous. Và I don’t mean culturally. If The Lord of the Rings were a science fiction setting, we might điện thoại tư vấn it a biological imperative.

Elves mate for life và do not remarry. (With the exception of literally one elf, one time, & — this sounds lượt thích hyperbole but you have khổng lồ trust me — he was also the guy who made the worst decision in elven history.) Once an elf engages in reciprocated love with someone, that’s it. If he cannot be with that person he will thua kém the will to live, die, and become a forever-shade in the Halls of Mandos. Elves do not move on.

Elves và humans have fallen in love only a handful of times in Middle-earth’s history, and It’s always a big deal, because all humans die. Arwen and Aragorn’s romance was greatly enlarged in the movies from its frankly miniscule presence in Tolkien’s novels, và it makes Elrond seem lượt thích a harsh dad who disapproves of his daughter entering an interracial relationship.

But elven monogamy provides the context lớn the way he cruelly forces Arwen to lớn confront the idea of Aragorn’s eventual death. If she loves him, he will eventually die, and she will pine for him forever as a shade in the Halls of Mandos. If she loves him and is separated from him, the exact same thing will happen. But if she doesn’t really love him, there’s still a chance she won’t die.

Elrond, whose twin brother chose mortality, is the rare elf who has actually experienced the grief of losing a family thành viên — and he needs lớn know if he’s going to thua kém his daughter, too. Elrond’s insistence that Aragorn seize his kingly destiny isn’t just about making sure his son-in-law can provide for his daughter in a manner worthy of her. It’s because no daughter of his is going to lớn give up eternal life in a god-crafted paradise for a sweaty ranger in the woods.

But she might give it up for heir khổng lồ his brother’s legacy and the king of all good Men.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings did not devote time khổng lồ unpacking the exact nature of elven immortality, or of elven romance, but that doesn’t mean those details were ignored. Take Arwen and Aragorn’s reunion scene in The Return of the King.