For example:

  • Thingol calls Beren "mortal" like it's a plague to be mortal

  • Saeros insults Turin saying that Men are no better than animals.

A lot more Elves like this as well. Why do they treat Men as if they aren't worthy to be in the presence of them?

  • Elves treat everybody who dies like this. Men breed faster, and sicken and die, they fear the Valar, they are weak, and corruptible. Ditto for Dwarves. Meanwhile Elves are literally so cool that the Valar wanted to hang with them. Everything they make is crude, only orcs make worse artifacts. Yuck. Until they weary of the world, the Gift of Men is just death. Peh.
    – chiggsy
    Commented Aug 3, 2023 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


I think it's implied that some Elves show cognitive dissonance towards the Gift of Men. It's said on this page, emphasis mine:

But as the years grow long and Time wears, even the Valar will come to envy the gift of Ilúvatar to the race of Men, that of liberation from the physical world, and the inevitability of loss and sorrows that must come with this existence within Arda.

I think this is implying even the Valar, as in, Elves included, envy the fact that the spirits of men are removed from the world and return to rest with Eru, beyond even their own comprehension. It's easy to attack something you can't understand, especially when you feel like you might be missing out on something special.

My understanding is it is because of this envy, that Elves sometimes show bitterness towards the race of Men, who get to rest with the big man upstairs when all is said and done. Elves, meanwhile have to sit in the Halls of Mandos until the end of the world, and twiddle their thumbs.

  • 3
    I don't think many Elves would have been as yet envious of Men in the First Age. The "ever-mounting burden of the years" was not yet that big a deal. In the case of Saeros and Thingol I think it just comes down to pride.
    – Shamshiel
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:40
  • Alas, anything said about this is purely speculation. A good point however.
    – John Bell
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:18

Imagine you were of a different race that is immortal has better senses is faster and stronger and thinks of themselves to be more cultivated, would you regard humans as equal or as lower?

A good example here is american slavery. They thought that they are better and more cultivated thus stripping the "uncultivated" Africans of their humanity and seeing them as animals that are more useful than other animals.

  • Maybe you could explain what was so special about "american" slavery, that makes it a better example that all the other slave-holding societies in the world?
    – user14111
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:11
  • I don't think Tolkien implied this as an allegorical point. I'll explain my point of view in my answer.
    – John Bell
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 10:25
  • 1
    i did not say it is a better example, i merely stated it was a good example.
    – Eumel
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:24
  • So are you saying that Americans have better senses and are faster and stronger than Africans? As an African, I'm offended! (Tongue firmly in cheek - don't worry :)
    – Wolfie Inu
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:08
  • again i did not say that. I said elbs are are like that compared to humans. And i said Americans thought they are more cultivated.
    – Eumel
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 12:11

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