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Old 12-23-2013, 07:45 PM   #1
Andsigil
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Elves and the Elements

I may be thinking of non-canonical references here, but I seem to recall that elves aren't affected by the elements like the other races are(?).

So, this quote from The Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor:
"Therefore Feanor halted and the Noldor debated what course they should now take. But they began to suffer anguish from the cold, and the clinging mists through which no gleam of star could pierce; and many repented of the road and began to murmur, especially those that followed Fingolfin, cursing Feanor, and naming him as the cause of all the woes of the Eldar."
tells me that either the elves were affected by the elements, or that the level of cold in Helcaraxë goes up to 11.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andsigil View Post
I may be thinking of non-canonical references here, but I seem to recall that elves aren't affected by the elements like the other races are(?).

So, this quote from The Silmarillion: Of the Flight of the Noldor:
"Therefore Feanor halted and the Noldor debated what course they should now take. But they began to suffer anguish from the cold, and the clinging mists through which no gleam of star could pierce; and many repented of the road and began to murmur, especially those that followed Fingolfin, cursing Feanor, and naming him as the cause of all the woes of the Eldar."
tells me that either the elves were affected by the elements, or that the level of cold in Helcaraxë goes up to 11.

Any thoughts?
Elves do seem to have more resistance to cold– c.f. Legolas wearing only “light shoes” on Caradhras; I believe that's what started the “fanon” idea that they don’t feel cold at all, under any circumstances– which is certainly not the case, as you’ve just demonstrated.

Mind you, fanon tends to attribute all kinds of random special powers and Mary-Sue-Race traits to Tolkien’s Elves anyway, so maybe it’s just another example of that.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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I think the Elves were the most resistant to elemental factors, as well as physical injury. Several First Age instances, such as the amputation of Maedhros's hand, and the fact that Beleg of Doriath was the sole survivor of the battle on Amon Rûdh, would seem to bear that out.

Interestingly, in the passage about Legolas's shoes cited by Nerwen it is also noted that Legolas didn't make much imprint in the snow. I wonder if the unique nature of the closeness of the Elves to the natural world, as they are "tied" to Arda, would account for that, giving them a certain immunity from physical pain and discomfort.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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I think the Elves were the most resistant to elemental factors, as well as physical injury. Several First Age instances, such as the amputation of Maedhros's hand,
Not to mention the fact that he was hanged on the slopes of Thangorodrim for years, presumably exposed to volcanic effects and mountain weather at its worst.

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Interestingly, in the passage about Legolas's shoes cited by Nerwen it is also noted that Legolas didn't make much imprint in the snow. I wonder if the unique nature of the closeness of the Elves to the natural world, as they are "tied" to Arda, would account for that, giving them a certain immunity from physical pain and discomfort.
So, what are we to make of the elves' journey across Helcaraxë and all of the elven casualties, then? Is it reasonable to assume that there was supernatural cold to which the elves succumbed, or were all of the deaths due to shifting ice and drowning, polar bears, killer whales, etc?
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Elves do seem to have more resistance to cold– c.f. Legolas wearing only “light shoes” on Caradhras; I believe that's what started the “fanon” idea that they don’t feel cold at all, under any circumstances– which is certainly not the case, as you’ve just demonstrated.
Inziladun, above, expanded a bit further on what I was wondering in my original post. His points, and my example of Maedhros's hanging, raised more questions for me than answers.
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Old 12-23-2013, 11:06 PM   #6
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So, what are we to make of the elves' journey across Helcaraxë and all of the elven casualties, then? Is it reasonable to assume that there was supernatural cold to which the elves succumbed, or were all of the deaths due to shifting ice and drowning, polar bears, killer whales, etc?
You give a forced choice there. I think it’s more reasonable to assume they have greater resistance to cold, but not total immunity– i.e. what I said originally.
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:23 AM   #7
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You give a forced choice there. I think it’s more reasonable to assume they have greater resistance to cold, but not total immunity– i.e. what I said originally.
True, I did. Given the elves' greater resistance, then, Helcaraxë must have been worse than anything we have in either of the poles right now?

I suppose that the crossing is another one of those parts of The Silmarillion that I wish Tolkien would have written more about.
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Old 12-24-2013, 08:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Andsigil View Post
So, what are we to make of the elves' journey across Helcaraxë and all of the elven casualties, then? Is it reasonable to assume that there was supernatural cold to which the elves succumbed, or were all of the deaths due to shifting ice and drowning, polar bears, killer whales, etc?
I think "supernatural" enhancement might indeed have been a factor.

In ROTK Appendix A we are told of a race of Men who live in the far north of Middle-earth and appear to live like the Arctic Inuit, the Lossoth. They lived on the Cape of Forochel, and were said to be

Quote:
....a strange, unfriendly people, remnant of the Forodwaith, Men of far-off days, accustomed to the bitter colds of the realm of Morgoth.
Morgoth, representing the opposite of the Fire of Ilúvatar, would have had more affinity for cold, and indeed the cold could have been a strategic weapon itself, making his stronghold more secure. The Lossoth, even after millenia, apparently still connected the cold of the area with evil, and even gave the Witch-king some credit for contributing to it.
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Old 12-25-2013, 11:48 PM   #9
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Elves had greater control over their bodies which were hardier than Men's especially so as time went on.

It is said in Morgoth's Ring that, "in their earlier days death came more readily; for their bodies were less different from the bodies of men, and the command of their spirits over their bodies less complete." [p. 218] The dominance their spirits had over their bodies increased through time and they became a memory held by their spirits, they became deathless.

The Elves seemed to be nevertheless effected by different elements in Arda, like those introduced by Morgoth, such as death absent of violence to their physical bodies, see Míriel.
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