The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Elves awoke some three ages before the first rising of the Sun; Men awoke in the first year of the Sun.
Location
Elves awoke at Cuiviénen, and Men at Hildórien; both races spread far and wide throughout Middle-earth and (in the cases of the Amanyar, Númenóreans and a few others) beyond it
Races
Other names

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  • Updated 27 November 2016
  • This entry is complete

Two Kindreds

Elves and Men

A collective name given to the two branches of the Children of Ilúvatar, the Firstborn Elves, and Men, the Aftercomers. The Elves remained bound to the World while it existed, so appearing immortal in the eyes of the other Kindred, mortal Men. In other respects the Two Kindreds were somewhat similar, and indeed they were combined on more than one occasion. Dior was the son of a Man and an Elf, Beren and Lúthien, and so had blood from both kindreds in his veins, and the same was true of Eärendil the son of Tuor and Idril. It was Eärendil who succeeded in sailing into the West and pleading for mercy from the Valar, not for Elves or Men alone, but for the Two Kindreds together.

Elves
The Firstborn
The Elder Children of Ilúvatar were the first of the Two Kindreds to awake into the World. The first Elves awoke on the shores of Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening, in ancient times long before the first rising of the Sun. At that time the Two Trees still shone in Valinor, but Middle-earth lay in darkness, so the Elves were born into a twilight under the stars. They were discovered by the Vala Oromë, who led many of the Elves on a Great Journey into the West. Thus the Elves became divided into the Eldar (who set out on that journey) and the Avari, who chose to remain behind in the lands where they had awakened.
Men
The Aftercomers
Men, the Younger Children of Ilúvatar, awoke millennia after the Elves as the Sun first rose into the sky (and indeed they are sometimes called Children of the Sun, having never known the long darkness before its rising). Unlike the immortal Elves, Men are subject to death, and thus their spirits can leave the Circles of the World while the Elves remain bound to Arda until its ending. Men first appeared in the land of Hildórien in the distant East of Middle-earth, but many of them travelled westwards. Among these were the ancestors of the people who would join the Elves in their wars against Morgoth, a people who became known as the Edain. These Edain in turn gave rise to the Dúnedain, the Men of the West, who dwelt on the island of Númenor until its Downfall, and later founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor in Middle-earth.

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