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Half-elven (Sindarin singular Peredhel, plural Peredhil), are the children of the union of Elves and Men. Half-elven are not a distinct race per se; rather, they were fertile offspring as the result of a union between Elves and Men. There are four recorded unions of the Eldar with the Edain.

In the First Age, Lúthien married Beren and Idril married Tuor.[1][2] These two lines of Peredhil were then joined by the marriage of Eärendil and Elwing. Eärendil and Elwing were the first to receive the choice of fates which passed to their line. Their sons, Elros and Elrond, chose different fates and the line was sundered until the end of the Third Age.

In the end of the Third Age, when Arwen Undómiel wed Aragorn II Elessar,[3] a distant descendant of Elros Tar-Minyatur, it united the long-sundered lines of those descended from both Elves and Men. There is also mention of an Elven bloodline in Prince Imrahil[4] via the old tale of Mithrellas and Imrâzor.[5][6]:220-2



Jenny Dolfen - Descendants of Thingol

The first bond between Elves and Men was the marriage of Beren Erchamion and Lúthien Tinúviel, from which a single son, Dior Eluchíl, was born. Dior Eluchíl wed Nimloth of Doriath, and the two of them had three children: twin sons Eluréd and Elurín, and daughter Elwing the White. Dior wore the Silmaril which passed to him from his mother, Lúthien, and this awakened the oath of the Fëanorians.[7] Eluréd and Elurín were abandoned in the woods outside Doriath by the vengeful servants of Celegorm in retribution for their father's killing of their master; they were never found, even when Maedhros Fëanorion searched for them.

The next bond came about through the union of Tuor son of Huor and Idril Celebrindal, from which another son, Eärendil, was born. Eärendil and Elwing begat another pair of twin sons: Elrond Peredhel and Elros Tar-Minyatur. Elros chose the fate of Men, and thus bore no more descendants bearing the title of "Half-Elven," but his brother Elrond chose the fate of Elven-kind.

Elrond wed Celebrían, daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel, and bore three children: twin sons Elladan and Elrohir, and daughter Arwen Undómiel. Aragorn and Arwen were parents to a son, Eldarion, as well as at least two daughters, thus leaving a remnant of the proud Elven lineage even after the Firstborn had long passed over the sea and out of time and memory. Though these children were long-lived, like Númenóreans had been and Eldarion ruled for at least 100 years,[8] they were mortal.

Of the half-elves, Eärendil and Elwing were specifically given a choice in their fates when they journeyed to Valinor with a Silmaril to beg pardon for the Noldor and plead the plight of Elves and Men to the Valar. Only after that event was the choice passed to their children.[9] The half-elven of this line were given a choice to be counted as one of the Eldar (Elves), thus being immortal, or one of the Edain (Men), thus being mortal. There is no evidence that any other mixed bloodline shared in that choice of fate. There is evidence that other, later half-elves did not as the children of Mithrellas, Galador and Gilmith, were enobled but mortal like their father, as were their descendants.[4]

Līga Kļaviņa - Family

While Eärendil was truly half-elven, his Adan father, Tuor, had been granted the fate of the elder race.[2] Elwing and her father, Dior, were not truly half-elven as they were descendants of the divine bloodline of Melian. However, all three of them, Dior, Eärendil, and Elwing, bore a Silmaril, before the choice of fates, which was a hallowed jewel that would not have suffered the touch of mortals.[10] While the following specifically states: "in the dawn of years Elves and Men were allies and held themselves akin . . . and in the glory and beauty of the Elves, and in their fate, full share had the offspring of elf and mortal, Eärendil, and Elwing, and Elrond their child," it does not necessarily exclude Elwing's father and brothers or Elrond's brother, Elros, prior to his choice.[11]

It may have been Tolkien's intent that once the choice was decreed for the specific line of Eärendil and Elwing, any born after that time with mortal blood in their veins, would be mortal. In an older version of The Silmarillion, when Manwë spoke his judgment to Eärendil, this line appeared: "now all those who have the blood of mortal Men, in whatever part, great or small, are mortal, unless other doom be granted to them."[12] That part of the judgment did not appear in the 1977 edition.

The half-elven lines

Those who through indirect textual evidence (sharing a divine heritage and/or handling the Silmaril unscathed) are counted among the Eldar are bold faced; those who chose to be counted as an Elda rather than an Adan are italicized; those who were counted among the Edain (or who had not made the choice either way) are not. Their actual mathematical descent from elves is in a fraction in parentheses.

The important members of the half-elven lines were:

Eärendil would rather have chosen the kindred of Men, but he chose the Elves for his wife Elwing's sake, who chose the Elves.[9] Eärendil's fate was special; however, he was not allowed to stay in Valinor, but had to sail the heavens in his ship Vingilótë. The Silmaril of Beren and Lúthien on was bound on his brow, to shine brightly as a sign of hope for Middle-earth. Elwing resided in a white tower built northward on the borders of the Sundering Sea and met him upon his return.[9]

Elwing's father, Dior, was the son of Beren and Lúthien, and he and his children with the Elf Nimloth of Doriath: Eluréd, Elurín, and Elwing were of the three-fold races: Edain, Eldar, and Maiar. Dior and his wife were slain in the Second Kinslaying, Elwing escaped, and the fate of Eluréd and Elurín is not known.[13] Elwing was given her choice of kindred and chose the Eldar.

  • Elrond, son of Eärendil and Elwing. (9/16)

The heirs of Elrond, including Arwen Undómiel, also had the free choice of kindred, therefore Arwen could choose to be counted amongst the Edain even though her father had chosen to be counted as Elven. The heirs of Elros were not given this choice, but their lifespan was enhanced many times that of normal Men. In later times, the Númenórean Kings, descendants of Elros, regretted their forefather's choice, and this helped lead to the downfall of Númenor.

  • Elros, also son of Eärendil and Elwing. (9/16)

Arwen, daughter of Elrond, married Aragorn, distant heir of Elros, and thus the two Half-elven lines were merged in the Fourth Age. Their son Eldarion and their daughters were not counted as Half-elven, but rather as Dúnedain restored.

They were bound to not make their choice until their father had set out to depart from Middle-earth; the texts do not reveal their final choices. However, like Arwen, until the choice was made at the time of Elrond's departure, his children "shall live with the youth of the Eldar."[14]

See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 338, (dated 6 June 1972)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Silmarils and the Unrest of the Noldor"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Men"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"