Different Looks

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Deviant Shadow 29/Nov/2006 at 01:33 AM
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This just came up in my mind as I was doing an anthropology project, probably a way out question, butinteresting nonetheless I find.
People from Africa, People from Europe,  People from Japan, they all look different to an extent, features wise.This happens because of  differing climate, sunlight diffusion and factors like those.

But why would it happen in the case of the Elves or the Atani ? 
I mean, the Vanyar look different from the Teleri, the House of Hador were taller and had golden hair as compared to the House of Haleth.Why this difference in overall looks ? What could the factors be ?

simpsonim 29/Nov/2006 at 03:11 AM
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Well Imle... you took to big of a difference from the RL. You took examples of different rases...from thousands of miles away.

However, there are also differences in a smaller area. Smaller differences ofcourse. like in europe, the people from the north and so on are supposed to be higher and of a big, taller statue and blonde. You know what was Hitlers goal. To kinda purify Eupore, the Germanian tribes, that is the nations that developed from germanian tribes he considered as some kind fo a supreme rase. You know like the typicall german soldier in the second world war...as a steroetype was - Tall, strong and blonde.

Same is with Tolkien probably. And don’t forget that that is fantasy and some features and characteristics are like symbols of something. Like blond hair and tallness and stuff like that...

Mithrandír 29/Nov/2006 at 04:44 AM
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Same is with Tolkien probably. And don’t forget that that is fantasy and some features and characteristics are like symbols of something. Like blond hair and tallness and stuff like that...

so do you think that the hair of the Elves symbolised something? ive never considered this possibility, but it does seem strange...

Sil 29/Nov/2006 at 06:15 AM
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This is a bit simplistic, but if Tolkien had gone for no variation, and everyone was blond or darkhaired, things would not only get a little boring but confusing. I find it quite natural that even as men are different today, why shouldn’t they have been different in Tolkien’s world? And Elves similarly.
Deviant Shadow 29/Nov/2006 at 06:29 AM
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Simpsonim, absolutely correct, but I believe you’re comparing Northern Europeans to Mediterraneans.What I meant to question was why there aren’t any radical variations between the elven kindreds or between the human ones.There might be a few minor variations such as blond hair, height, colour of their eyes etcetera etcetera, but why not a variation to the extent of that Japanese people and African people ? And if there did exist such a variation, would there be any geographic factors in Tolkien’s world which influenced this differnce ?

Purringwethil ( Nice name *g* ) , you’re right, it would be terribly broing to have everyone looking similar, but I questioned why there wasn’t a greater variation, as with humans.

Nan-Tathren, the blond hair of the Vanyar, as Simpsonim rightly guesses, probably signified their purity ( by which I mean their unwavering loyalty to the Valar ) or their position as the highest kindred in the hierarchy.
Boromir88 29/Nov/2006 at 08:08 AM
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but why not a variation to the extent of that Japanese people and African people?~Imle

I think the point simpsonim was trying to make is that the Japanese and Africans are two different races, so their features and characteristics may be drastically different.  Where the Elves are the same race, therefor there’s not any big significant differences.

Perhaps this will explain a bit better...comparing the Japanese to Africans would be like comparing Elves to Dwarves...would you agree?  They are both two different races.  One can sit here and list several differences between Dwarves and Elves (just as one could between Japanese and Africans) because they are two entirely different races.

Comparing the Teleri to say the Noldor would be like as simpsonim gives like comparing Scandinavian Europeans to Mediteranean Europeans.  As both the Teleri and Noldor are of the Elven Race...and the Scandinavians compared to say Italians are both of the Caucasion race.  So there differences in features wouldn’t be drastically different.

Deviant Shadow 29/Nov/2006 at 08:47 AM
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Not really Boromir, the word ’ race ’ is used rather incorrectly by our anthropologists.Everyone is of the same race, that is ,the human race, it’s just that the places in which welive have made it necessary for us to adapt to them.In the same vein, human ’ races ’ as they are called would be more aptly called ’ kindreds ’ as with elves.

So what I meant to question was, how come there’s no variation within the elven race to the extent that there is in humans.
For example, take the difference between the Men of Rohan and the Haradrim, they’re drastically different, yet they’re not considered to be different races......
Harlondir Helcaraxë 29/Nov/2006 at 06:03 PM
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I think the lifestyle as well as the location also make a difference. The people of Rohan and Harad lived in completely different regions. The Rohirrim had come from the North, and they had a very different lifestyle from the Haradrim. So though both are Men, they are different.
Deviant Shadow 29/Nov/2006 at 08:40 PM
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Point made, everyone, I understand now ! Thanks !
KingODuckingham 29/Nov/2006 at 08:53 PM
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Is the point really made? There were elves that lived in drastically different regions too. Like, Valinor and ME. Were there any large physical differences between those groups? What about between eastern dwarves and western dwarves? (those not so much, I would imagine, they still would have similar lifestyles overall) We know there are some fairly significant differences in the three strains of hobbits running around ME. Why not with elves and/or dwarves?
simpsonim 30/Nov/2006 at 03:12 AM
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Ah Imle - I think I got what you were trying to ask and  I agree with your answer to Boromir.

It’s kinda like this... smaller area smaller differences in climate and so on makes smaller differences - if you translate that to ME you get kinda this...

Noldor and Vanyar
= norther europeans and meditarranean europeans (they both lived on teh same continent and not to far away) but...

Eldar and Avari = Europeans and (asiates or africans) (they lived far away in different souroundings and different climates on different parts of the world)

So, the difference between the Noldor and the Vanyar are just some hair colors and/or eye colors and maybe smaller difference in hight or whatever (like between europeans) while the difference between all of Eldar and the Avari is much more bigger (like between racial differences among humans in RL) There are examples in the books but I don’t know them now by heart. I think that Avari were smaller and had darker skin *cause of being in dark and later hiding in woods or whatever*

THere is the same difference between men to. Between Rohirrim and Gondorians (small) and between the easterlings and gondorians (big)

I wish I could present you some quotes but I guess you’re just gonna have to believe me

Deviant Shadow 30/Nov/2006 at 03:42 AM
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You hit the nail on the head simps ( I do hope I can call you that , and I can’t think of any other nickname *g* )! And I most certainly will believe your superb explanation, thanks. And nice to meet you !

To your question KingODuckingham, I’d answer this : There were infact huge differences between the elves who migrated to Valinor and those who remained in Beleriand/Middle Earth.For example the difference between the Noldor and the Sindar.You question can be aptly explained by this quote :

In many parts of the land the Noldor and the Sindar became welded into one people and spoke the same tongue; though this difference remained between them, that the Noldor had the greater power of mind and body, and were the mightier warriors and sages, and they built with stone and loved the hill slopes and open lands.
But the Sindar had the fairer voices and were more skilled in music, save Maglor son of Feanor, and they loved the woods and the riversides.

This is the best example I can give you of differences among elves.As for dwarves, I really don’t know.Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me in lore will answer your question.....
Sil 02/Dec/2006 at 05:14 AM
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Not just that the Vanyar tended to be blond/e and the Noldor tended to be darkhaired and grey eyed. I seem to remember hearing that Feanor’s twin sons were redhaired. Mutation, perhaps, or a reflection of their characters? Stereotypically, redhaired people are firey by nature as well as hair colour, and the Twins did appear to be thus.

And Imle, thanks - it used to be Purrsephone. My current rather cool ruler seems to think it’s really funny to hang these kind of names on me *g* and I do everything she tells me to...
Deviant Shadow 02/Dec/2006 at 12:50 PM
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Red hair ? Amrod and Amras ? Interesting theory Purringwethil/Purrsephone ! Give me a day or two and I’ll check on it ! I’ve never heard this one before but if you’re right it might explain the overall temperaments of the Seven Sons of Feanor.And yes, it was probably mutation, as far as I know Nerdanel was dark-haired too.

Your cool ruler Purr ( Hope I can call you that, it’s a nickanme that’ll probably survive any name changes you might have *g* ) ? Moggy or Dark Lord Scaryman ?
Arvellas 02/Dec/2006 at 03:54 PM
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Interesting topic.  Simpsonim’s post makes it all very clear, what with the variations of different Elven kindreds and their geographic situations.

This subject also brought this quote to mind:
"They {Elves of Mirkwood} differed from the High Elves of the West, and were more dangerous and less wise.  For most of them (together with their scattered relations in the hills and mountains) were descended from the ancient tribes that never went to Faerie in the West.  There the Light-elves and the Deep-elves and the Sea-elves went and lived for ages, and grew fairer and wiser and more learned, and invented their magic and their cunning craft in the making of beautiful and marvellous things, before some came back into the Wide World."~The Hobbit: Flies and Spiders
Here we see cultural differences and, it seems, at least one physical difference, (being fairer) caused by geographic separation.

We also see differences in the Godorians and Rohirrim, because even though at the time of LOTR their countries are right next to each other, the Rohir of old lived in the Vales of Anduin, whereas the Gondorians are descended from the Numenoreans, and the Numenoreans in turn can be traced back to the Men of Beleriand.  Because the people of these two nations developed so far apart, not only are there noticeable physical differences (Gondorians being taller and having dark hair, whilst the Rohirrim tend to be blonde) but the Gondorians seem to have some virtue that makes them nobler than other Men.  I would guess that that has to do with their living in Numenor and their kings being part Elven.

Deviant Shadow 03/Dec/2006 at 08:13 PM
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Nice quote Arvellas! Wish I’d found that one, it explains the difference much better than mine does.
And you know, I’ve been wondering as to why most Gondorians have dark hair.I don’t have UT handy right now so I can’t produce a quote, but it goes like this :

Aldarion had blond hair and blue eyes, as did Queen-Almarian his mother.When Erendis is described in The Mariner’s Wife, she is said to have ’ beauty of a kind seldom found in Numenor.’ In that she was dark haired and grey-eyed, for her people came from Beor’s house.
So, if Erendis’s grey-eyed, dark haired beauty was rare, does that mean most Numenoreans were blond-haired? If so, then the big question is - why did the Gondorians go from becoming mostly blond to mostly brunette?

And yes you’re absolutly right Purr! Amras did have red hair, though I’m not sure about Amrod.Thanks for bringing this up, I had no idea the twins were redheads.I checked in the Encyclopedia of Arda, and here’s the quote from there :

Dates Born during the Years of the Trees. Slain in the assault on the Mouths of Sirion in the last years of the First Age
Race Elves
Division Noldor
Family House of Fëanor
Pronunciation amra’s
Meaning From Ambarussa, ’russet top’, referring to his red hair

Aikanár 06/Dec/2006 at 06:40 PM
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One thing that I’d like to add would be this. Tolkien never intended for the part of ME that we’re all familiar with to be the whole world. It was moslt intended to be a sort of european tale if you get my meaning. I don’t think he wanted to put in the whole world with all the races
Sil 07/Dec/2006 at 03:51 PM
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Imle- actually, I’m known as "Kitty" colloquially, even before I started to RP a giant Cat in Mordor. My cool rulers? Well, Moggy is cool, and so is Tarín (a.k.a Dark Lord Scaryman, Tarthoniel, etc, etc) but it’s Tarín I’m sworn to in her guise as Thuringwethil. Both super cool.

I’m pretty sure that if one of the twins was redheaded, both were, although it doesn’t say they were identical, I don’t think. If it was BoLT that I read it in, it does mention their dual redheadedness...

Were not also the Southrons darkskinned? There are certainly descriptions of "swarthy men" around in Tolkien.
Qtpie 07/Dec/2006 at 08:51 PM
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Kitty: Here you go .

’Dark faces. We have not seen Men like these before, no, Smeagol has not. They are fierce. The have black eyes, and long black hair,...’ The Two Towers: The Black Gate is Closed

’For a moment he caught a glimpse of swarthy men in red running down the slope some way off with green-clad warriors leaping after them,...’ The Two Towers: Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbits