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We have questions about who was the last Elf in Middle-earth and about Elvish children. This is about the continuity of family trees.

The family trees seems very well established. It appears as if all Elves are adults. However, checking the answers to the 2nd linked question, it seems like Elves were still procreating. To explain further, if there are Elvish children who don't appear as children, we wouldn't know if they are still procreating or not. As such, it would not be clear as to whether — during the fading of the Elves — young Elves were still being born or if the reproduction of the Elves had stopped once they had begun to fade: after the destruction of the Ring.

My question is:

  • Who is the last elf to be born in Middle-earth?

Edit notes:

My initial question had three guiding questions about Elves conceiving children during the latest stage of their existence in Middle-earth. All these guided questions were connected on the same theme: Elvish children. The questions are as follows:

  • Were any Elves, conceived by two Elven parents, born after the destruction of the Ring?

  • If yes, were there any pregnant or nursing Elves who departed for the West? This is to ask if Elves were still procreating while they were fading.

  • If the answer to the second question is no, then who was the last Elf born in Middle-earth?

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    do you mean the last 'full' elf born in Middle Earth? (ie - thus removing Arwen from the equation, being that Elrond is half-elf) or is elf in this usage considered those who have the option of journeying to the undying lands - regardless of their parentage? (thus allowing for Arwen [not saying she is the answer]) – NKCampbell Oct 19 '20 at 14:33
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    @OrangeDog, is it not that Arwen chose the race of Men therefore Eldarion wasn't granted that choice. Similar to Elros and his descendants., i.e. once the gift of death was accepted it couldn't be taken away. – Edlothiad Oct 19 '20 at 15:02
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    The answer to your question is rather simple. 1. We don't know 2. We don't know 3. Arwen is the last mentioned in the Tale of Years. The mention of pregnancy is incredibly rare in Tolkien's legendarium. As were mentions of births of non-"famous" people – Edlothiad Oct 19 '20 at 15:04
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    Question is really unanswerable. Tolkien doesn't really address the question of children and babies, though he did consider the nature of Elvish childhood. To determine the last Elf born in Middle Earth, we'd have to a) know where all the Elves live in Middle Earth and b) be certain that they've all left. There's quite a lot of Middle Earth that is left unexplored. I think it's pretty plain he was focusing on the "northwest of the world". He also focuses on the particularly heroic -- the great and the least -- who actual get things done rather than on some random Elf family far far away. – elemtilas Oct 19 '20 at 15:14
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    It was the aptly named Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film. – Spencer Oct 19 '20 at 21:15
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The short answer is that the last elves born in Middle-earth were probably from a group that we never heard anything about, but there is no way to know for sure.

Questions about this, about the long-term fate of Middle-earth, pretty much cannot have canonical answers, because Tolkien did not publish anything about goings-on beyond the beginning of the Fourth Age of the Sun, and his views about the entire cosmology changed fundamentally over time.

At an early stage, Tolkien thought of his fantasy settings of Beleriand and Middle-earth (a name partially calqued from Midgard) as an alternate mythological history of the real world, possibly as as retold to Ælfwine, an Anglo-Saxon who had found his way to the the isle of Tol Eressëa, at the edge of Elvenhome. The ages would continue up to the present, and just as the First Age ended with the overthrow of Morgoth, and the Second and Third Ages terminated with great defeats of the second dark lord Sauron, there would be further dark lords and further wars. Tolkien suggested that the Second World War, with the defeat of Nazi Germany and the dawn of the nuclear age, might mark the boundary between the Sixth Age of the Sun and the Seventh.

As late as the 1960s, Tolkien was still thinking about having The Silmarillion as a fictional primordial history of the Earth. However, he realized that the early stages of the story would have to be completely revised, to account for the well-established facts that the Earth was very old, and it has been orbiting around the sun for its entire existence. Tolkien made stabs at reworking things this way, but he apparently decided that, since the story of the lighting of the world (first by the lamps, then by the trees, from which were created the stars, and finally the sun and moon) was such a fundamental part of the mythology he had created, he could not really do away with it without discarding most of the creative edifice he can created. So he decided that Middle-earth was completely fictional world—not the past of our universe, but still similar in some ways, so that the lessons of Middle-earth might be applicable in our world.

In the original conception, Tolkien wanted the cosmology he created to be consonant with other European folklore, especially northern European folklore. Elvish beings (potentially both light and dark) are an important element in many European myths, and Tolkien made them a central focus of his stories. By Tolkien's time, the era of the elves was over—and had been over for a very long time. Yet there were still old tales of fairy circles, of people being put to sleep, of the Wild Hunt—leftovers of the mythic age that had persisted for a long time, even through the ages in which mankind had dominated the world.

In Tolkien's stories, most of the elves had departed, via the Straight Road, to the Undying Lands, but there were always the Avari, or the Unwilling—those who had never responded to the summons of the Valar and embarked upon the Great Journey. By the heyday of mankind, those were the only elves left for humans to meet, and over time, we met them less and less. Tolkien explained this as the elves gradually fading away; although they were immortal, they lacked the vibrancy to exist forever in Middle-earth. The elves of human folktales were the last, not quite faded Avari, and as the very last of the Avari finally did fade, their influence on the world came to an end.

However, Tolkien wrote practically nothing about the Avari. (I believe he mentions the name of one of the Unwilling, and that is it.) We know essentially nothing about them after they were left behind at Cuiviénen after the War for Sake of the Elves. Presumably, the Avari continued to live and reproduce for a long time before the last of them faded away, but we no nothing about this quantitatively. I think the last elves born in Middle-earth were thus Avari, but it is impossible to say when those births happened. At some point, the last lingering elves would lose the potency to procreate, as part of their fading, but there is no information about when that actually occurred.

Moreover, after Tolkien gave up the conceit that Middle-earth was the mythic past of our world, things became even trickier. As I said, I think the last elves born in Middle-earth were Avari, who were still there after the second departure of the Eldar. However, after Tolkien changed his mind about the cosmology, there was no longer any fundamental reason to insist that the Avari had to have remained a (somewhat) thriving community into the Fourth Age and beyond. Because they did not need to stick around to become the fae that bedeviled premodern man, the Avari could actually have been wiped out entirely—perhaps even in the Elder Days, before the War of Wrath and the overthrow of Melkor. In that case, the last born elves in Middle earth would clearly not be Avari, but we do not know who there were instead.

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  • It seems that, possibly temporarily, Eöl was an Avar in "Quendi and Eldar". Tolkien Gateway lists Morwë and Nurwë as Avari. So, yes, they are not exactly prominent! – David Roberts Oct 21 '20 at 5:55
  • On another point, don't the concept of 'Ages' (First, Second, etc) come from a later period in the development, namely post-Ælfwine frame story? – David Roberts Oct 21 '20 at 5:57

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