In The Chronicles Of Amber series, Corwin states that he lived for 300+ years on Earth, and Oberon, his father, lived for thousands of years. How long do the Amber nobility live? Do they die of old age?

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    The question you probably want is the last one, do they die of old age. The answer is no. May 19, 2017 at 13:49
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    Is is because they are immortal, or because they do not live to old age and kill each other? Can you provide a quote to support it?
    – TimSparrow
    May 19, 2017 at 13:50
  • Immortal? Hum, they can die but Old Age is not one of them. May 19, 2017 at 13:51
  • By using the word 'Immortal' I mean that they do not die of natural causes, including old age, like the Middle-Earth elves
    – TimSparrow
    May 19, 2017 at 13:53
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    I tried doing a quick Google Search and got white noised to death. The Amber and Chaos group regenerate very fast. So if one can over whelm that regeneration then they can be killed. If they do not successfully negotiate the pattern they die. As an example Corwyn has his eyes burned(?) out thrown in a cell and regenerates his eyes over time. So no, Old age is not one of the ways they can die. If they jump in a Volcano? Hum, I would think they would die. May 19, 2017 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


Poetically described as 'centuries without end', but not truly endless on an infinite time scale. Long enough that the life of a man equates to but a 'brief span' (and without factoring in the whole time differential between worlds)

As I stood on a hilltop and the evening began around me, it seemed as if I looked out over every camp I had ever stood within, stretching on and on over the miles and the centuries without end. I suddenly felt tears come into my eyes, for the men who are not like the lords of Amber, living but a brief span and passing into dust, that so many of them must meet their ends upon the battlefields of the world.

Nine Princes in Amber - Chapter 6 (p. 127-128)

They do however seem to age, as they are born, they have a childhood, and they grow old. Though they will not 'die in bed', (of old age), as Corwin jests at the possibility

While I had often said that I wanted to die in bed, what I really meant was that in my old age I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love.

Guns of Avalon - Chapter 6 (p. 136)

Benedict, the eldest Prince of Amber, has been alive and well for several millennia, and is yet still in his prime.

"I fear Benedict. He is the Master of Arms for Amber. Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategy?

- The Great Book of Amber - (p. 204)

The lifespan of a Prince appears to be potentially limitless, as they are essentially immortal. Practically however, they are not invulnerable to being slain, and since a not insignificant portion of them will die from plots, assasination, or battle before reaching their 5,000th year, their life expectancy is on the order of "several millennia" to "multiple ages of the world" the latter/upper end defined by Oberon and Dworkin as Kings.

I think TimSparrow summed it up best, by referring to Tolkien and his description of elves:

"(they) die not till the world dies, unless they are slain or waste in grief (and to both these seeming deaths they are subject).”

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    Immortality is a common theme in Zelazny's works, which is ironic in that he died well before his time. In Amber, the princes are archetypes of the Major Arcana as well as royals (Corwin is Death, for instance), so they are potentially immortal in more than one way.
    – docwebhead
    Jul 19, 2017 at 16:41
  • @docwebhead, can you elaborate on the princes as the Major Arcana?
    – zeta-band
    Jul 19, 2017 at 18:32
  • @docwebhead yeah, Z died, but his trump is still kicking
    – user68762
    Jul 19, 2017 at 22:52
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    Sure, there are many possible mappings, and literary criticism is always debatable, but in general, it's theorized that Gerard is Strength, Julian the Chariot, Brand the Magician, Fiona the High Priestess, Random the Fool, Oberon the Emperor, Amber the World.
    – docwebhead
    Jul 20, 2017 at 1:40
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    (Stupid 5 minute limit!) There's also the appearance of the Hanged Man and the Wheel of fortune in Guns of Avalon. Zelazny had more than the surface meaning in almost everything he did. Folks who say Amber is just a zippy adventure have caught only the first layer. I hope @Nahiri is right; Z wrote himself into Amber's basement as 'Roger'. I hope he's happy there in the Real World.
    – docwebhead
    Jul 20, 2017 at 1:55

In the fifth book, the hero and narrator is recognized by 'little people' throwing an end-of-the-worlds party as 'the Archangel Corwin.' And there as a faint Biblical undercurrent running beneath the series' cosmological mix of Celtic, Norse and Hindu influences. The Amber royals are very long-lived though not immortal. Oberon, the patriarch, has some gray in his beard to show for having been around for a half dozen millennia or more, making the grandsire Dworkin 10,000 or more years old.

Dworkin is showing his age by the end of the fifth book, ancient, oscillating between senility and preternatural wisdom, stooped and bowed by too many centuries, yet still alive. Based on this information, fifteen millennia might constitute the 'natural' lifespan of a prince or princess of Amber.

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