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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:51 am 
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LOL! Everyone loves to use eye colors as a model because they're so obvious but they actually involve multiple alleles and the colors come from various combinations and it's messier than they like to admit in the basic genetics lessons. Case in point: my grey-eyed dad and green-eyed mom spawned a blue-eyed daughter, a green-eyed daughter, a hazel-eyed son, and a grey-eyed daughter. And you can tell just by looking at our faces that there wasn't any funny business with a mailman either. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:57 am 
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That's what hilarious: Mr. Prim has a distinctive facial type that all three kids inherited.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:21 pm 
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The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than hu[??]n.


Pretty definitive.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Did Edith Tolkien ("Lúthien") have pointed ears?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Perhaps the occasional pointed look.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Particularly when Ronald had been out carousing with the Lewis brothers.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:51 pm 
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Surely not! :shock:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:22 pm 
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So it seems that either way is legit?

I still think that the "pointedness" shouldn't have been more prominent that what's plausible for humans, or the cases of being taking for an elf are hard to explain.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:25 pm 
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They're not that hard to explain, really. The person's hair was simply long enough to cover up the pointiness (or lack thereof). Easy.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:29 pm 
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In the movies, they're always very noticeable ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:32 pm 
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But the easily identifiable ears in that case were, err, the whole point. ;)

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:36 pm 
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:rofl:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:50 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
But the easily identifiable ears in that case were, err, the whole point. ;)


I can only assume that was the filmmakers' intention.
I was just trying to think how Tolkien's elves might have looked up...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:55 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
Quote:
The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than hu[??]n.


Pretty definitive.


We might be able to update the matter in a couple of ways. Since Conrad Dunkerson wrote the essay (already linked in the thread) I think the editors of Vinyar Tengwar have confirmed the reading 'Human' with respect to Etymologies -- from which this quote is taken, the fuller version being: '(Some think this is related to the next and *lassê ear. The Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than Human).'

IIRC both the letter already noted in the thread and the Etymologies passage hail from about the same time, (very) generally the late 1930s. In the recent publication of Words, Phrases, and Passages (Parma Eldalamberon 17) Tolkien looks again (sometime after the publication of The Lord of the Rings) at the Elvish word lasse for example:

Quote:
Q lasse 'leaf' (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf'.


This is not a revision of the specific document Etymologies, but it is interesting in comparison IMO, since this description generally looks at similar words, and again even includes mention of a relationship to Elvish words for ear.

It might be interesting that when writing about lassi and etc in WPP, Tolkien did not again note a similar comparison (similar to the comparison of Quendian to Human ears back in Etymologies, I mean). Perhaps he was 'stuck' with certain published words but wanted to move away from an earlier idea, I don't know. On the other hand he might just have imagined his Elves with more pointed and leaf-shaped ears (than humans) but simply didn't write it again here, or just wanted to let the 'new' description speak for itself, as far as it went.

IIRC there is a document in which Tolkien reacts to part of an illustration by Pauline Baynes (a part depicting the Fellowship). Some of it has been published so far, but not all of it yet. I have a feeling, however, if the shape of Legolas' ears were actually mentioned in it, Hammond and Scull might have noted it in their amazing Reader's Companion. Also, in the illustration in question, Legolas' hair and ears do not show, as the Elf is hooded, so perhaps Tolkien was not inspired to write on these particular (ahem) points.

In any case I wonder what people would take from the WPP description itself, alone and without being coloured by Etymologies -- say, had JRRT published the description from WPP but never let anyone see Etymologies, for instance.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:16 am 
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It's all about the lobes. My ear lobes are not connected to my head but hang down loose. The shape of the ear is more vertical, and my son shares this trait.

My daughter pointed out to me that her and my wife's lobes are connected to their head and the ear appears to be more at a slanted angle making them pointy looking. She further points out that at that angle is is easy to make her ears "slightly pointed." In her mind this means that her and my wife have Elvish characteristics that have manifested while me and my son are just plain old human in our appearance. This is the final word she states because "she is right even when she is wrong" (she's been watching too much of the Meet the Robinson's lately).

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:53 pm 
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Conrad's essay also includes this statement:

Quote:
Finally, illustrators, including Pauline Baynes whose work Tolkien praised, have consistently portrayed Tolkien's Elves with pointed ears without any known objections from JRRT or his family.


To what illustration by Pauline Baynes does this refer (or illustrations), although granted Conrad notes 'or his family' which could then include certain illustrations made after Tolkien's passing. Anyway we now know that although JRRT generally praised the art of Pauline Baynes (I do too), he yet wrote some description concerning the Fellowship in reaction to her painting for a poster map, which it seems he did not communicate directly to the artist in any event (possibly as some of it was negative).

And I have some thoughts or questions concerning...

Quote:
Q lasse 'leaf (S las); pl. lassi (S lais). It is only applied to certain kinds of leaves, especially those of trees, and would not e.g. be used of leaf of a hyacinth (linque). It is thus possibly related to LAS 'listen', and S-LAS stem of Elvish words for 'ear'; Q hlas, dual hlaru. Sindarin dual lhaw, singular lhewig.

lasse 'leaf.' JRRT Words, Phrases and Passages


In my opinion I think this supersedes Etymologies (which does not necessarily mean it 'refutes' the idea behind Etymologies however) -- noting that Tolkien again refers to a possible relationship with LAS 'listen' and etc, as Etymologies had, but now the specific statement concerning Quendian ears is 'missing' in a sense.

I need a linguist :D


If we imagine that Tolkien no longer thought his Elves had more pointed ears than humans, could the entry in Words, Phrases and Passages represent a case of human assumption? in other words, could it intend to explain the later but wrong idea among mortals.

Or: is it reasonable to think that the Elves maybe thought that the ears of certain beasts, and their own ears, were generally leaf-like enough (when compared to certain leaves of course) -- without their ears necessarily being 'more pointed and leaf-shaped' than humans? Ancient words relating to this matter arguably arose before Elves met Men, but if we have a relationship because of the likeness of ears and certain types of leaves, is it necessarily 'true' that the Quendi had more pointed ears than Men?

Or let's say, could something similar have arisen in the languages of Men?

I'm on the fence here, meaning I don't really have a strong preference either way when imagining the ear-shape of the noble Elves of Tolkien's world (Tuor was seemingly known to be a mortal by his eyes, according to the updated Fall of Gondolin incidentally). But as over the years Tolkien did revise certain things with respect to his Elves (for one example, how tall they were in relation to Men), I wonder if he did not also later wish to further distance his Quendi from the 'Elves' of popular fancy -- but yet (if so), he was 'stuck' with certain published words in any case, and so Words, Phrases and Passages perhaps represents a way to deal with them.

It's noted in Etymologies that 'some think' this is related to next and lasse ear -- but then the reader is seemingly told why some think this, because the Quendian ears were more pointed and leaf-shaped than humans. Elfwine, who was in the mix in the late 1930s, would know this, or at least have seen the actual and true Elves in Eressëa (assuming long hair or whatever was not always an issue).

Or is this too much wriggling? And Tolkien just meant the reader to associate the shape of leaves with notions of pointy eared Elves, thus explaining the root of modern images as 'true enough' -- even if some images had taken the truth to more extreme measures (and are doing so today).

Perhaps all was said, as Voronwë noted ;)


Last edited by Galin on Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:26 pm 
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Never too much wriggling!

Quote:
I need a linguist


Where's Aelfwine when we need him? ;)

(Good post, Galin.)

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