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Old 12-04-2021, 09:08 PM   #27
Blossom of Dwimordene
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Originally Posted by Hui
Tolkien's final view of the generations of the Quendi borders on ritualistic. He decided that (at Cuivienen at least) they had a very specific pattern to their lives. To take the 24th generation as an example (Ingwe, the parents of Finwe and Elwe, and the last to be complete before the March): each member would marry at age 108, have their first child a year later, and then have other children - typically just the two, though Elwe's family shows that three was possible - at 48 year intervals.
So, somehow, this piece of information entered my sleep-deprived thoughts as I was returning home from a night call, and perhaps I was still under the influence of work, but I started wondering if this somewhat prolonged reproductive cycle might be the reason that half-Elven children tend to be single children - I was obviously thinking of Dior and Earendil; I thought, perhaps the couples can't have more children because the Elf's physiology prevents them from having more kids within a reasonable mortal timespan. However, I immediately thought of some counter examples. Nimloth had at least 2 pregnancies (are Elured and Elurin twins? Make it 3 if not), and Arwen, aside from Eldarion, had some number of unnamed daughters. I don't remember the timelines exactly, but I have a feeling that they did not wait the standard 48 years. You could argue that Arwen had already chosen to become mortal and was already subject to mortal physiology, but Nimloth did no such thing. Two possible conclusions that I draw from this: the 48 year gap is not a physiological limitation but more of a social norm or custom; or else Tolkien might not have thought about his latter generations when he was planning the former.

(I still find the idea of timed generations absurd. It belongs to the group of concepts that I choose to ignore when daydreaming Tolkien. But maybe the absurdity is what makes me keep thinking about it, trying to find a way to comprehend it.)
You passed from under darkened dome, you enter now the secret land. - Take me to Finrod's fabled home!... ~ Finrod: The Rock Opera
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