The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


About this entry:

  • Updated 27 January 2016
  • Updates planned: 1


Those of mixed Elven descent

Broadly, a term for any person with one parent who was an Elf, and the other of another race. That other parent belonged, in almost every known case, to the race of Men (indeed, there is only a single exception: Lúthien had a father who was an Elf, and a mother who was a Maia).

The term is used most commonly for the offspring of the Elf Idril and the Man Tuor: that is, Eärendil and his progeny, including his sons Elrond and Elros. These are given the special term 'Half-elven', and were each given the choice of whether to be granted the immortality of the Elves or the life of Men.

There are few other Half-elves outside this line, and none who can be definitively given the title. One such possibility was Dior, the son of Lúthien and Beren, and another was Eldarion son of Arwen and Aragorn. Both Lúthien and Arwen had chosen to become mortal, and it is therefore open to question whether their children were strictly Half-elves. It is notable, however, that Dior's daughter Elwing was given the same choice as the Half-elven - though this may be due to the fact that she travelled with her husband Eärendil to the Undying Lands, rather than depending on her own line of descent.

Another branch of Half-elves and their descendants was to be found in Gondor among the line of Imrazôr the Númenórean. He wedded an Elf-maid, Mithrellas, and his children would therefore have been Half-elves. From his son Galador descended the line of the Princes of Dol Amroth, though the blood of the Elves had thinned by the time of the War of the Ring a thousand years later. Nonetheless the ancestry of Imrahil, the Prince at that time, remained evident at least to the Elf Legolas.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2016. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.