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Rings of Power: Why does Celebrimbor look like an old elf when elves don't age? Are elves really immortal?

by Maky Jonas 3 months ago in movie / tv / literature
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I will try to explain everything you need to know about elven life, immortality and the way of aging.

Source: Amazon Prime

Elves are generally considered magical creatures in fantasy. On the planet Arda, where the tales of J. R. R. Tolkien's takes place, elves are the first humanoid creatures to live in Middle-earth.

The elves awoke there in the Age of Trees as the first children of the god Eru Ilúvatar. Their awakening began the First Age of Middle-earth. They called themselves Quendi (those who speak) because they knew nothing and no one who spoke like them.

Elves can die despite "immortality"

Elves are immortal in the sense that they never grow old and die of old age. Their aging stops by the time they reach their prime age. After that, they don't change and look the same. Even disease can't kill them, but the tip of the blade can.

They can also die when they lose the will to live, which is what happened to Arwen after Aragorn died. When the elves die, they are taken to the Halls of Mandos, where they await judgment. After a time, they either reincarnate into the same bodies they lived in before and find themselves in Valinor, or they wait in the Halls until the end of time in case they have displeased the Valar.

Source: Amazon Prime/Warner Bros

It's different with humans. Those after death wander to another hall where they are judged by a Valar named Mandos, who also judges elves. Humans, however, do not reincarnate back. Their souls travel to an unknown place. The fate of their souls is unknown, but the god Eru Ilúvatar had plans for their afterlives. Tolkien called it the Gift of Men, but we don't know the true nature of the story. All we know is that it was a gift to men who did not have the same advantages as the elves in life or after death.

The life of the elves is divided by three cycles

What happens to elves during their lives and how exactly do they age? We divide the lives of elves into three basic cycles. The first is birth and adolescence. They are born much like humans. Pregnancy lasts a full year and conception takes place similarly to humans. Within the first year of birth, elves can talk and walk.

They still look like children at 20 (at least in human terms), but they are mature and sensible. They reach physical maturation and "puberty" around the age of 50. However, they do not become adults until they are 100 years old, when they begin the second stage of life.

Source: Amazon Prime

After their 100th birthday, they no longer age physically, but this is not the rule. After this age, they become more aware of the nature around them and more stress can affect their appearance. The hardships of Middle Earth as a whole have a negative effect on their life energy.

Thus, after 100 years, the elves begin their immortal lives. Many begin to devote themselves to crafting and honing their skills. Eventually, among the elves we find talented blacksmiths, musicians, sculptors, and a host of other artists and craftsmen, not to mention their skills in dueling.

Few elves make it to the third cycle of their lives. Either they die of various injuries, or they tire of life. Some have died of grief or lost the will to move on, others have gone to Valinor. Across the movies and Rings of Power series, we've only seen one such elf so far, and even that one hasn't spoken. He was at the very end of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, when Frodo, Gandalf, and the elves left for Valinor.

Source: Amazon Prime/Warner Bros

His name is Círdan. He left Middle-earth as one of the last elves in the Fourth Age, and was the original holder of the Ring of Power of Narya before giving it to Gandalf. Círdan built the ships that the elves used to leave Middle-earth for Valinor. He grew a beard in his third life cycle, but otherwise his appearance remained unchanged.

Why does Celebrimbor look like an elder elf in the Rings of Power series?

So why does Celebrimbor in the Rings of Power series look significantly older than the other elves? In my opinion, it's just a visual and rather unfortunate device. The creators of the series are probably counting on the fact that the viewers don't have the books loaded, or that they need a visual aid.

Source: Amazon Prime

It's possible that they wanted to portray Celebrimbor as a born and experienced elf of an important house, so they used an established cliché in stories where such roles of wise and respected advisors are played by older actors, and overall these characters are older. In my opinion, however, this would be a rather amateurish reason. Firstly, for the very fact that it is a tired cliché, and secondly because elves aren't supposed to age and they all look relatively young.

The creators thus had the perfect opportunity to bypass clichés just where it was particularly appropriate. One hopes that the series doesn't portray the younger-looking elves (Elrond, Galadriel) as the sensible ones who warn of the threat, while the older ones (Celebrimbor, Gil-galad) are the clichéd "seniors" who refuse to accept the possibility of danger. It also seems odd because Galadriel is actually older than Celebrimbor.

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About the author

Maky Jonas

Passionate learner, reader, gardener and of course content writer. On all that I am morning person and coffee lover. I am interested in too many things, maybe even too much for my own good.

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