Henneth Annun Reseach Center

Character Bios


Other Names: (Elder) Children of Ilúvatar, Quendi, the Children of the Stars, the Elder People, the Fair Folk, High Elves

Location(s): Aman, Arda

Race/Species: Elf

Type/Kind: N/A

Title(s): the Firstborn

Parents: Eru Ilúvatar (creator)

Siblings: n/a

Spouse: n/a

Children: n/a

* Quendi ("those that speak with voices") is the original name for the Elves (of all kinds).

"The dealings of the Ainur have indeed been mostly with the Elves, for Ilúvatar made them more like in nature to the Ainur, though less in might and stature..."

"But the Quendi shall be the fairest of all earthly creatures, and they shall have and shall conceive and bring forth more beauty and all my Children; and they shall have the greater bliss in this world."

"Whereas the Elves remain until the end of days, and their love of the Earth and all the world is more single and more poignant therefore, and as the years lengthen ever more sorrowful. For the Elves die not til the world dies, unless they are slain or waste in grief; neither does age subdue their strength, unless one grows weary of ten thousand centuries; and dying they are gathered to the halls of Mandos in Valinor, when they may in time return."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days

"...in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar. By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, Water of Awakening, they rose from the sleep of Ilúvatar; and while they dwelt yet silent by Cuiviénen their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven."

"In the beginning the Elder Children of Ilúvatar were stronger and greater than they have since become; but not more fair, for though the beauty of the Quendi in the days of their youth was beyond all other beauty that Ilúvatar has caused to be, it has not perished, but lives in the West, and sorrow and wisdom have enriched it."

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor


Eldar - the people of the stars, those who followed Oromë on the westward road
Avari - the Unwilling

The three kindred of the Eldalië are:
Vanyar - the Fair Elves, the beloved of Manwë and Varda; led by Ingwë
Noldor - the Deep Elves, friends of Aulë; led by Finwë
Teleri - the Sea Elves; led by Elwë and Olwë

Calaquendi - Elves of Light, those who passed into the West in the days of the Trees
Úmanyar - those who never came to the Aman and the Blessed Realm; they are elves who were lost during the journey or who turned aside
Moriquendi - Elves of the Darkness; the Úmanyar and Avari

Of the Teleri, there were:
Sindar - the Grey-Elves, the Elves of Twilight; led by Elwë and Melian
Nandor - "those who turned back", from among Olwë's host, they turned aside from the journey westward, led by Lenwë
Eglath - the Forsaken People, those of Elwë's people who searched for him (as he stood enchanted after meeting Melian) and were left behind when Ulmo and Olwë would not wait
Falathrim - the Elves of the Fala, who were persuaded by Ossë to remain in Middle-earth when Ulmo took the remaining Teleri to Valinor; led by Cirdan

Of the Nandor:
Laiquendi - the Green-Elves, who "kept themselves by wariness and secrecy" after the death of Denethor, son of Lenwë
Silvan - Wood(land) Elves, those who never passed west but remained along the Anduin and in Greenwood.


"They passed slowly, and the hobbits could see the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes. They bore no lights, yet as they walked a shimmer, like the light of the moon above the rim of the hills before it rises, seemed to fall about their feet."

"...for Elves (even more than hobbits) could walk when they wished without sound or footfall."

The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, III - Three is Company

"His speech and clear ringing voice left no doubt in their hears: the rider was of the Elven-folk. No others that dwelt in the wide world had voices so fair to hear."

The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, XII - Flight to the Ford

In neither The Hobbit nor The Lord of the Rings does Tolkien give any clue to the answer to a question that has been fiercely debated among his readership: Did his Elves have pointed ears?

The nearest thing to an answer that one can give is founded in the linguistic elements in Tolkien's invented languages. In the "Etymologies," a kind of dictionary of Elvish word relationships that Tolkien maintained for his personal use in the 1930s, which is now published in volume five of the History, The Lost Road, he notes in regard to the stems LAS{1} from lassē = "leaf" and LAS{2} "listen" (lassē = "ear") that there is a possible relationship between the two in that Elven "ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped" than human ones. All that can be said, then, is that certainly at one time (probably in the mid-1930s) Tolkien held this view.

Tolkien's own artwork does not provide any further clues, for in the only drawing in which he depicts elves, they appear as very small figures, and features such as ears are not visible. See the drawing Taur-na-Fúin in Artist (No. 54).

The Annotated Hobbit, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Ch 8, Flies and Spiders, Note 11

Ying, 01.08.03
added quote: Elena Tiriel 23Feb05

Related Library Entries

Characters Search


View all Bios

Character Bios

Full Text Search