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Old 10-27-2022, 05:22 AM   #1
Victariongreyjoy
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Unfair criticism of ROP Eldar.

Seen many complaining about their short hair and the lack of the otherworldliness, ethereal about them.

I will adress the first complaint: Short hair.

If you look closely of all the elves represented in the show, the majority have thick to medium to long hair. Very few have buzz cut like Arondir. Here is a picture of all the elves I consider having medium to long hair:



The second complaint: Lack of otherwordliness
That is simple to answer. The 3rd age elves were fewer and were basically in isolation from anyone, so for the eyes of any mortal beings they will feel otherwordly and ethereal. Also all elven rings were present and contributed to magical vibe in their realms and themselves. 2nd is a different age where elves were a normal sight to see.
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Old 10-27-2022, 05:40 AM   #2
Mithadan
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Regarding the short hair of the Eldar portrayed in RoP, I was reading the expanded version of the tale of Turin's stay in Doriath and note Saeros' comments when Turin returned from the north marches. Saeros teased Turin for his long, unkempt hair and encouraged him to avoid having his hair cover his ears. This implies that some Elves had short hair.
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Old 11-01-2022, 12:04 AM   #3
Snowdog
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Pipe

The shorter hair on elves in Rings of Power doesn't bother me as much as it did at first. They seemed to portray them well enough. They could have styled the ears much better though.
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Old 11-01-2022, 05:39 PM   #4
Michael Murry
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"long" hair for elf guys and "longer" hair for elf girls

Unfair Criticism?



Possibly not.
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Old 11-01-2022, 06:24 PM   #5
Michael Murry
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I tried to lampoon this Elvish-warrior "hair" thing eleven years ago.

Quote:

06-28-2011, 07:39 PM
TheMisfortuneTeller
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"I'm five feet two,
With eyes of blue,
With brown hair to my shoulders --
A manly elf
So full of self
The ladies say he smoulders."

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Welcome to the Monkey House

"Legolas and Tauriel"

You-Know-Him

He's six feet two,
Has eyes of blue
And blonde hair to his buttocks --
An action elf
Right off the shelf,
Direct from Sears and Roebuck's.

You-Know-Her

She's five feet eight
With eyes of slate
And hair down past her shoulders.
A killer elf,
Pure Death herself,
With breasts as big as boulders.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2011
Oh, well. Perhaps I can at least draw some poetic inspiration from further discussion of these weighty matters.
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Old 11-01-2022, 06:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Regarding the short hair of the Eldar portrayed in RoP, I was reading the expanded version of the tale of Turin's stay in Doriath and note Saeros' comments when Turin returned from the north marches. Saeros teased Turin for his long, unkempt hair and encouraged him to avoid having his hair cover his ears. This implies that some Elves had short hair.
I thought this was an interesting catch, and looked at the passage today to refresh my memory. However, upon reading the actual source in COH, I have to argue against such a definitive conclusion. I'll quote the text here for reference:

Quote:
Thus three years passed, and in that time Turin came seldom to Thingol's halls; and he cared no longer for his looks or his attire, but his hair was unkempt, and his mail covered with a grey cloak stained with the weather. But it chanced in the third summer after Turin's departure, when he was twenty years old, that desiring rest and needing smithwork for the repair of his arms he came unlooked for to Menegroth, and went one evening into the hall. Thingol was not there, for he was abroad in the greenwood with Melian, as was his delight at times in the high summer. Turin took a seat without heed, for he was wayworn, and filled with thought; and by ill-luck he set himself at a board among the elders of the realm, and in that place where Saeros was accustomed to sit.

Saeros, entering late, was angered, believing that Turin had done this in pride, and with intent to affront him; and his anger was not lessened to find that Turin was not rebuked by those that sat there, but was welcomed as one worthy to sit among them.

For a while therefore Saeros feigned to be of like mind, and took another seat, facing Turin across the board.

'Seldom does the march-warden favour us with his company,' he said; 'and I gladly yield my accustomed seat for the chance of speech with him.'

But Turin, who was in converse with Mablung the Hunter, did not rise, and said only a curt 'I thank you'.

Saeros then plied him with questions, concerning the news from the borders, and his deeds in the wild; but though his words seemed fair, the mockery in his voice could not be mistaken. Then Turin became weary, and he looked about him, and knew the
bitterness of exile; and for all the light and laughter of the Elven-halls his thought turned to Beleg and their life in the woods, and thence far away, to Morwen in Dor-lomin in the house of his father; and he frowned, because of the darkness of his thoughts, and made no answer to Saeros. At this, believing the frown aimed at himself, Saeros restrained his anger no longer; and he took out a golden comb, and cast it on the board before Turin, crying: 'Doubtless, Man of Hithlum, you came in haste to this table, and may be excused your ragged cloak; but there is no need to leave your head untended as a thicket of brambles. And maybe if your ears were uncovered you would heed better what is said to you.'

Turin said nothing, but turned his eyes upon Saeros, and there was a glint in their darkness. But Saeros did not heed the warning, and returned the gaze with scorn, saying for all to hear: 'If the Men of Hithlum are so wild and fell, of what sort are the women of that land? Do they run like the deer clad only in their hair?'
It is possible that Saeros means that Turin's hair is too long, and the standard of a good hairstyle is short-cropped hair. However, I think that an equally likely read is that Saeros takes issue not with the length itself as with the untidiness - long hair can be jagged or trimmed, can be messy and flying in all directions or combed neatly, kept out of the face by combing or with braids or various devices. The flip side to this is that it can still very easily fall over the ears - but then again, Saeros's jibe is at his overall state of unkeptness, and the ears comment can be interpreted in the same spirit - him exaggerating any trait to show his scorn. I think both are valid interpretations, but it's not a slam dunk. Personally, I imagine Turin's hair to be kinda like Movie!Aragorn's, which actually makes it shorter (but messier) than what I imagine most Elves to have.


This is actually an interesting book foray - what do the texts say about male hairstyles; I distinctly recall that some wore braids - so at least some had longer hair. But when it comes to RoP, I feel like the hairstyles are the least of the show's problems.
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Old 11-02-2022, 03:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
It is possible that Saeros means that Turin's hair is too long, and the standard of a good hairstyle is short-cropped hair. However, I think that an equally likely read is that Saeros takes issue not with the length itself as with the untidiness - long hair can be jagged or trimmed, can be messy and flying in all directions or combed neatly, kept out of the face by combing or with braids or various devices. The flip side to this is that it can still very easily fall over the ears - but then again, Saeros's jibe is at his overall state of unkeptness, and the ears comment can be interpreted in the same spirit - him exaggerating any trait to show his scorn. I think both are valid interpretations, but it's not a slam dunk. Personally, I imagine Turin's hair to be kinda like Movie!Aragorn's, which actually makes it shorter (but messier) than what I imagine most Elves to have.
He does immediately go on to imagine the women of Hithlum going about "like the deer clad only in their hair", which - aside from not being likely to make him many friends among the friends and family of Luthien the Nightingale - suggests that "hair long enough to act as a cloak" is at least unusual.

NoME has a whole chapter called "Hair", but it's half a page long. It says that "Ingwe had curling golden hair. Finwe (and Miriel) had long dark hair, so had Feanor and all the Noldor, save by intermarriage..." Again, there's ambiguity: a literal reading implies that long hair is a genetic trait, and full-blooded Noldor were literally incapable of cutting theirs. More likely is that "and all the Noldor" refers to the colour, not the length.

Even taken literally, I think the only RoP character who would violate this is Celebrimbor, assuming he is actually Noldorin (remember that Tolkien also wrote of him as Gondolindrim, and there's even a late text making him a Teler of Aman!). Elrond is only fractionally Noldor, Finrod only a quarter, Arondir is presumptively Sindar/Nandor, and Galadriel and Gil-Galad have long hair anyway.

hS
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Old 11-02-2022, 05:33 AM   #8
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He does immediately go on to imagine the women of Hithlum going about "like the deer clad only in their hair", which - aside from not being likely to make him many friends among the friends and family of Luthien the Nightingale - suggests that "hair long enough to act as a cloak" is at least unusual.
But hair long enough to act as a cloak is unusual even for women, if you think about it. Consider the picture of BlanchetteGaladriel earlier in this thread - her hair there is long by any standards, and yet it wouldn't even cover her waist. So is Saeros implying that "if men's hair is so long, how long must a woman's be?" - or, is what he actually saying, "you are all wild and unkept, how high can we raise the bar on wildness?". "Clad only in hair" doesn't mean that the hair is actually long enough to serve as a garment, but just there to underscore that there is no other garment (and relate this to the previous insults). That's the whole point. He's not saying their dress is unusual, he is calling them utterly uncivilized and lacking dress. It's like the old joke about people wearing Adam and Eve's costumes. Besides, long hair for women isgenerally considered a good attribute. Honestly, I never read it to imply hair length, and while I see that as an interpretation for the taunts directed at Turin's person, I don't see that here at all.
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Old 11-02-2022, 07:47 AM   #9
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But hair long enough to act as a cloak is unusual even for women, if you think about it. Consider the picture of BlanchetteGaladriel earlier in this thread - her hair there is long by any standards, and yet it wouldn't even cover her waist. So is Saeros implying that "if men's hair is so long, how long must a woman's be?" - or, is what he actually saying, "you are all wild and unkept, how high can we raise the bar on wildness?". "Clad only in hair" doesn't mean that the hair is actually long enough to serve as a garment, but just there to underscore that there is no other garment (and relate this to the previous insults). That's the whole point. He's not saying their dress is unusual, he is calling them utterly uncivilized and lacking dress. It's like the old joke about people wearing Adam and Eve's costumes. Besides, long hair for women isgenerally considered a good attribute. Honestly, I never read it to imply hair length, and while I see that as an interpretation for the taunts directed at Turin's person, I don't see that here at all.
I kind of agree that he's mostly on about looking a mess, but the fact that he has two back to back comments about long hair says something about his attitudes towards it. I just can't tell whether it's "your hair is too long" or "all hair is long, you should take care of it."

hS
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Old 11-02-2022, 09:21 AM   #10
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It may be that Elvish grooming standards included long hair combed behind or around the ears, like Alan Lee portrayed it (and thus PJ's movies). Turin's here was more like Tom Hanks' in Castaway. Note that Saeros casts a comb on the table., not a pair of shears
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Old 11-02-2022, 09:43 AM   #11
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( . . .) However, I think that an equally likely read is that Saeros takes issue not with the length itself as with the untidiness - long hair can be jagged or trimmed, can be messy and flying in all directions or combed neatly, kept out of the face by combing or with braids or various devices. The flip side to this is that it can still very easily fall over the ears - but then again, Saeros's jibe is at his overall state of unkeptness, and the ears comment can be interpreted in the same spirit - him exaggerating any trait to show his scorn. I think both are valid interpretations, but it's not a slam dunk. ( . . .)

That's how I read this passage: we have the comb plus "untended as a thicket of brambles."

A thicket of brambles gives me an image of a wild, matted thickness that's difficult to pass through -- and thus the "jibe" being that even sound cannot easily penetrate Turin's hair: "And maybe if your ears were uncovered you would heed better what is said to you."

In short, it's not about length to me, but brambleness
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Old 11-02-2022, 07:39 PM   #12
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It may be that Elvish grooming standards included long hair combed behind or around the ears, like Alan Lee portrayed it (and thus PJ's movies). Turin's here was more like Tom Hanks' in Castaway. Note that Saeros casts a comb on the table., not a pair of shears
This was my thought exactly - that if anything, the meaning was "brush/braid/clip your hair back". Then, ever my own devil's advocate, I thought that perhaps the reason that he threw a comb and not scissors was that he happened to have a comb, and did not happen to have a pair of scissors on him at that time. Who is to say that if a pair happened to be lying at hand he wouldn't have tossed that too, or even instead? And then I wondered why he was carrying a comb on him in the first place. And though it was first a humorous thought, it's actually a serious question: why would a courtier carry a comb around in the king's dining chamber, or anywhere in the palace, really? Was there any precedent to medieval figures of state carrying tools for personal grooming in their pockets or purses, like girls carry lipstick? Would he even have a purse on his person? Perhaps that is the more enlightening detail in terms of the customs of Doriathrin Eldar. Perhaps it was the norm to have basic toiletries always on hand, even when dining in the king's hall. Seriously, how does the guy just have a spare comb on him?
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Old 11-04-2022, 12:51 PM   #13
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This was my thought exactly - that if anything, the meaning was "brush/braid/clip your hair back". Then, ever my own devil's advocate, I thought that perhaps the reason that he threw a comb and not scissors was that he happened to have a comb, and did not happen to have a pair of scissors on him at that time. Who is to say that if a pair happened to be lying at hand he wouldn't have tossed that too, or even instead? And then I wondered why he was carrying a comb on him in the first place. And though it was first a humorous thought, it's actually a serious question: why would a courtier carry a comb around in the king's dining chamber, or anywhere in the palace, really? Was there any precedent to medieval figures of state carrying tools for personal grooming in their pockets or purses, like girls carry lipstick? Would he even have a purse on his person? Perhaps that is the more enlightening detail in terms of the customs of Doriathrin Eldar. Perhaps it was the norm to have basic toiletries always on hand, even when dining in the king's hall. Seriously, how does the guy just have a spare comb on him?

Well, maybe I'm old-school, but back in my day American men nearly always carried a pocket comb (remember Fonzie?)
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Old 11-04-2022, 04:07 PM   #14
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Well, maybe I'm old-school, but back in my day American men nearly always carried a pocket comb (remember Fonzie?)
I'm not quite old enough to say in "my" day--nor am I American--but during my childhood in the 90s, I definitely remember my grandfather having a comb in his pocket at all times. And as someone with rather useless hair that I put nothing into, I could probably do with the habit myself--though that pocket space has been ceded to the cellphone, I fear.

Still, cellular service in Menegroth is notoriously bad, so perhaps Saeros had the pocket space.
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Old 11-04-2022, 05:09 PM   #15
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Given the fan-fiction propounded in ROP, the combs are evidently cast Mithril, to mantain Elvish hirsute body and bounce.
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Old 11-04-2022, 07:52 PM   #16
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Mithril or otherwise, are we concluding that it was routine practice for Elves to fix up their hair a few times a day? For whatever reason the idea seems to tickle me. I'm just envisioning Saeros touching up the cowlicks with a bronze mirror in the lavatory...

ETA: as an unofficial "poll of opinions", I googled Saeros fan art. The vast majority portrays him with long hair, a couple pictures have him with shoulder length-ish hair. In every case his hair is at least as long as Turin's, and usually longer. Oh the irony.
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Old 11-08-2022, 06:58 PM   #17
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Regarding Elven Hair:

"All the Eldar had beautiful hair (and were especially attracted by hair of exceptional loveliness), but the Noldor were not specially remarkable in this respect, and there is no reference to Finwe as having had hair of exceptional length, abundance, or beauty beyond the measure of his people."
PoMe, Shibboleth of Feanor

In a discussion of the meaning of Finwe's name (fin = hair in this iteration), specifically references Finwe's hair as not exceptionally more long or abundant than the hair of the other Eldar (who all had beautiful hair).

"But most it was their wont to sail in their swift ships upon the waters of the Bay of Elvenhome, or to walk in the waves upon the shore with their long hair gleaming like foam in the light beyond the hill."
Morgoth's Ring, Later Quenta Simarillion 1
The Teleri (who are Eldar) had long hair.

"Finwe (and Miriel) had long dark hair, so had Feanor and all the Noldor, save by intermarriage..."
NoMe, Hair
The Noldor (who are Eldar) had long hair.

"In general the Sindar appear to have very closely resembled the Exiles, being dark-haired, strong and tall, but lithe. Indeed they could hardly be told apart except by their eyes; for the eyes of all the Elves that had dwelt in Aman impressed those of Middle-earth by their piercing brightness. For which reason the Sindar often called them Lachend, pl. Lechind ‘flame-eyed’."
WotJ, Quendi and Eldar
The Sindar, who are Teleri (who have long hair) in origin, look like the Noldor, who have long hair.

"Their gleaming hair was twined with flowers; green and white gems glinted on their collars and their belts; and their faces and their songs were filled with mirth. Loud and clear and fair were those songs, and out stepped Thorin into their midst."
The Hobbit, Flies and Spiders
The Silvan Elves, who are Teleri (long hair) in origin, have hair long enough to twine flowers into.

The Song of Aelfwine
"There blowing free unbraided hair
is meshed with beams of Moon and Sun,
And twined within those tresses fair
a gold and silver sheen is spun,
As fleet and white the feet go bare,
and lissom limbs in dances run,
Shimmering in the shining air:
such loveliness to look upon
No mortal man hath ever won,
though foam upon the furthest sea
He dared, or sought behind the Sun
for winds unearthly flowing free.
O! Shore beyond the Shadowy Sea!
O! Land where still the Edhil are!"
Lost Road, FNII
Long hair for Elves implied by them unbraiding it and letting it blow freely in the wind.
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Old 11-16-2022, 09:29 PM   #18
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Well thought out, Tar Elenion. But interpretation of JRRT's writing is necessarily in the "eye" of the reader (am I mixing... something?). Years ago, I visualized Elves as wearing Prince Valiant-style coifs. Later, I may have wavered between carefully groomed and shorter and shoulder length. It depends upon my mood. However, all should agree that Strider's hair was a long, unkempt mess. And maybe there is an analogy there to Turin?
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Old 11-19-2022, 05:39 PM   #19
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I am afraid I seem to have developed an earworm.

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Gimme a head with hair
Long, beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming
Streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there (hair)
Shoulder length or longer (hair)
Here, baby, there, mama
Everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair)
Grow it, show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair
I let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
I return you now to your regular Tolkien channel.
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Old 11-19-2022, 06:18 PM   #20
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Bęthberry, Someone I was with was just singing that song a few days ago.

Returning to the topic at hand, and, perhaps a bit more serious than my last post, some pertinent information from Vinyar Tengwar Vol. 6. VT, refering to the "Etymologies," lists three words in Quenya for "hair," locse, (hair), finde (braid or tress), and fasse (shaggy). I do not know if this supports or negates anyone's views regarding the length of the hair of male Elves.
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Old 11-19-2022, 07:29 PM   #21
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Will it Stop by Itself?

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Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I am afraid I seem to have developed an earworm. ... I return you now to your regular Tolkien channel.
Good catch. I had a similar experience remembering the Broadway musical "Hair" as well as the eponymous song by the Cowsills in the late 1960s. Very "Woodstock" and counter-culture. Of course, THE CULTURE struck back with "Okie From Muskogee," by country-and-western singer, Merle Haggard:

Quote:
...
We don't make a party out of lovin';
We like holdin' hands and pitchin' woo;
We don't let our hair grow long and shaggy
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.
...
But as we know, times and the ambient Culture change. Fast-forward a few decades and the country-and- western "outlaws" like Willie Nelson sport long hair -- braided and/or scruffy -- which would have made them right at home in San Francisco of the late '60's.

How any of this relates to Elvish hair styles over millennia of time -- static. evolving, or cyclical -- I cannot say. In the present circumstances, as presented in the Rings of Impotence television series, Elvish "males" like Elrond, Celebrimbor, Finrod, and Gil-Galad, for example, look rather effeminate, if not gay, with their "less long than Legolas" hair styles, although they might have looked that way no matter how long or short their tresses.

Anyway, not to worry, because -- circling back to our opening earworm -- The Cowsills said to just let it grow:

Quote:
Down to here
Down to there
Down to where you never have to cut it
'Cause it stops by itself
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Old 11-19-2022, 10:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Bęthberry, Someone I was with was just singing that song a few days ago.

Returning to the topic at hand, and, perhaps a bit more serious than my last post, some pertinent information from Vinyar Tengwar Vol. 6. VT, refering to the "Etymologies," lists three words in Quenya for "hair," locse, (hair), finde (braid or tress), and fasse (shaggy). I do not know if this supports or negates anyone's views regarding the length of the hair of male Elves.
Funny how music can both age us and unite us.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Murry
How any of this relates to Elvish hair styles over millennia of time -- static. evolving, or cyclical -- I cannot say. In the present circumstances, as presented in the Rings of Impotence television series, Elvish "males" like Elrond, Celebrimbor, Finrod, and Gil-Galad, for example, look rather effeminate, if not gay, with their "less long than Legolas" hair styles, although they might have looked that way no matter how long or short their tresses.
Shaking my head loose from the earworm, I should add some more historical precedent. First, the gentlemen of the 18th century with their architecturally significant wigs--monarchs, philosophers, and the American "Founding Fathers", none of whom were I think particularly or specially important to Tolkien.

Of the top of my head I cannot recall any significant passages about hair in Old English literature or in Middle English lit either (that does not mean there aren't any which might relate) but there is one very significant passage which Tolkien no doubt knew very well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 Cor 11:14-15 KJV
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
That smacks quite clearly with how Galadriel is depicted in LotR, but it also provides [Mithadan with some leaway about the length of hair amongst male elves.

EDIT: I would be remiss for failing to add the obvious symbolism of hair in the difference between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers in the English Civil War.
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Last edited by Bęthberry; 11-20-2022 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 11-19-2022, 10:13 PM   #23
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Beware the lee shore, indeed.

It seems likely that there is no conclusive answer to be found here.

While CSN sang "almost cut my hair, happened just the other day..." I do not feel that is canon...
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Old 11-20-2022, 02:08 PM   #24
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While CSN sang "almost cut my hair, happened just the other day..." I do not feel that is canon...
I'm not so much necessarily interested in what is canon as in the ways that Tolkien used hair symbolically, not as individual or idiosyncratic adornment, but to tap into cultural or social or class or gender status.

And that brings us to whether the Harfoots have hairy feet. I can't recall. Disa of course as a non-canonical character does not have a beard.
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Old 11-25-2022, 11:32 AM   #25
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Tolkien illustrated both Beleg and Gwindor, and thus we can see the long hair.

Okay, it's an early-ish painting, but still. Although I'm guessing, in any case, that some will say these characters were in the wild in the scene depicted, and JRRT maybe took that into account.

So erm, there's that
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