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I am sure Elrond is half-elven, so Arwen is too. I recall something saying Argorn was half-elven as well. Shouldn't half-elves not have to become mortal to marry each other?

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Check out previous questions like Of Half-elven and mortal life or Why can Arwen decide her mortality, which deal with the issues of half-elves and mortality. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jun 5 '14 at 13:49
I also would like to add that Aragorn is not Half-elven, but a descendent of Elros an Half-Elven that choose to be a included in the race of Men. Note that Elros was Elrond brother. –  Nuno Freitas Jun 5 '14 at 14:05
If we assume that each step in Aragorn's family tree from Elros represents a generation of Aragorn's ancestors, and that Elros was the last ancestor who had a significant amount of Elven blood in him, and that Elros was exactly 50% Elf, then Aragorn is 99 generations removed from a half-Elven ancestor. Elros' great, great, great grandchild would have been less than 1% elf. By Aragorn's time, he would be like 1/1,000,000,000,000th elf. –  Wad Cheber May 30 at 1:21
I found a claim that Aragorn is 64 generations removed from Elros; the point remains the same. He isn't half-Elf, he is the great, great, great... [pretend I said "great" 59 more times] grandson of a half-Elf. –  Wad Cheber May 30 at 1:29
If Elrond is half elven then Arwen would actually be three-quarters elven (assuming her mother is a full elf) Not half-elven like her father. –  TylerH May 30 at 19:58

2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Saying that someone is "half-elf" is a way of saying that they have an elven parent and a mortal one. Elrond fits into this category (his mother, Elwing, was an elf; his father Earendil was a human). But one is not thereby "half-human, half-elf" - one has to choose between being an elf and being a human:

"... Elrond Half-elven, who chose, as was granted to him, to be numbered among the Eldar; but Elros his brother chose to abide with Men." (Silmarillion chapter 34; page 254 in my edition)

Thus, at the time of the War of the Ring, Elrond is quite definitely an elf. Arwen gets that same choice.

But Aragorn is quite definitely a human; he's a descendant of Elros. Thus, he is going to die; and Arwen makes the choice to die as well, that is, to be under the Doom of Men, in order to be with him. It is only at the very end of her life that she sees what's involved with this and regrets it:

"If this is indeed, as the Eldar say, the gift of the One to Men, it is bitter to receive." (Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, p. 1038 in my edition)

She doesn't seem to ever reconcile herself to it.

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This is mostly correct, but Earendil as the son of Tuor and Idril was definitely Half-elven himself too, and the choice is restricted to the offspring of Earendil and Elwing and only to their offspring; note Manwe's words in the 1937 Silmarillion: "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...". So the offspring of Imrazôr and Mithrellas didn't have the choice: they were human and mortal by default. –  user8719 Jun 5 '14 at 14:23
Thanks; I was going only by LotR and the 1978 published Silmarillion, which are the only books I have and have read closely - I haven't read all of the History of Middle-earth. –  Matt Gutting Jun 5 '14 at 14:29
So why did Arwen get to choose also instead of being bound by Elrond's choice, while the descendants of Elros did not? (Maybe that should be a separate question) –  Travis Christian Jun 5 '14 at 14:50
@TravisChristian - I don't believe that Tolkien ever said so explicitly, but from the evidence it seems that the choice to be mortal is irrevocable for you and and your descendents, whereas the choice to be an Elf can always be changed. –  user8719 Jun 5 '14 at 15:18
The only comment I can see about this is in the Akallabeth: "The Valar indeed may not withdraw the gift of death, which comes to men from Iluvatar, but in the matter of the Half-elven Iluvatar gave to them the judgement; and they judged that to the sons of Earendil should be given choice of their own destiny." –  Matt Gutting Jun 5 '14 at 15:31

As half Elves, Elrond and his brother Elros had to choose between being mortal men or being immortal Elves. Elros became a man, Elrond became an Elf.

But to the children of Elrond a choice was also appointed: to pass with him from the circles of the world; or if they remained, to become mortal and die in Middle-earth. For Elrond, therefore, all the chances of the War of the Ring were fraught with sorrow.
-The Return of the King, Appendix A, "The Numenorean Kings"

So it isn't that loving Aragorn itself requires Arwen to become a mortal; staying in Middle-earth after Elrond departs will make her become a mortal.

As for Aragorn being a half-Elf, he isn't. See the answer to this question to see just how little Elven blood ran through Aragorn's veins. He was something like 0.00000000000000000677% Elf.

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