In Rohan, Aragorn was joined by some of his kinsmen, Rangers from the north. With them were the two sons of Elrond Half-Elven:

‘I have thirty with me,’ said Halbrad. ‘That is all of our kindred that could be gathered in haste; but the brethren Elladan and Elrohir have ridden with us, desiring to go to the war.’

Two nights later, Aragorn led this company, plus Legolas and Gimli, through the door to the Paths of the Dead, a dread place:

The company halted, and there was not a heart among them that did not quail, unless it were the heart of Legolas of the Elves, for whom the ghosts of Men have no terror.

The sons of Elrond haven’t gone missing. Elladan at least is still there:

Aragorn had brought torches from Dunharrow, and now he went ahead bearing one aloft; and Elladan with another went at the rear.

Either there is something deeply subtle about the nature of Elladan and Elrohir, or Tolkien made a mistake. Which is it?

All quotes from Book Five, Chapter II, “The Passing of the Grey Company”.

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    Likely of note, Legolas was the only "full" Elf present, Elladan and Elrohar are "half-elven". – NominSim Dec 7 '12 at 23:08
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    Quite possible that being part of the rear-guard is just as dangerous as being in the vanguard of the group. – JW8 Dec 7 '12 at 23:59
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    @JW8. The issue is that Tolkien explicitly says that Legolas was the only one not afraid. – TRiG Dec 8 '12 at 1:21
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    @Lexible It's not quite that simple. Put briefly, choosing to be counted among Men was "permanent": your descendants were Men, period. Choosing to be counted among the Eldar was "temporary"; your children also could choose. The original choice was given to both Eärendil and Elwing, who both chose the Eldar, which is why Elros and Elrond both had a choice as well. Elros chose Men, "closing" that branch of the Half-Elven. As Elrond chose the Eldar, so the choice passed to his three children as well. Arwen chose; Elladan and Elrohir had not yet chosen by the end of the book. – chepner Sep 7 '19 at 14:45
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    (One way of looking at it is that the Half-Elven were Eldar by default, but could at any point "switch" to Men, but that choice was irrevocable. You can accept the Gift of Eru, but you cannot give it up once received... Tuor excluded. Like I said: not simple.) – chepner Sep 7 '19 at 14:46

Yes, both twins were afraid of the dead. Since both had the same parentage, exactly, both were equally susceptible to fear of ghosts of the dead. Only Elves do not feel fear from the ghosts of dead men. Remember that Legolas was the only full Elf present at that point in time. This is why the twins were not fully Elven:

  • Elrond was "half-Elven"
  • Elrond's wife, Celebrían, was all-Elven, as the daughter of Galadrial and Celeborn
  • Elrond and Celebrían were the parents of the twins, Elladan and Elrohir
  • The twins' great-great-grandmother, Luthien, was half Elf and half one of the Maia (a type of spirit)

This means that the twins were at most 75% Elven. Including Luthien, Elladan and Elrohir were 73.5% Elven, 23.5% human, and 3% Maiar.

Also note their names. Elrohir is elf-knight or elf-rider. That doesn't indicate much. But Elladan means elf-man, which is more indicative of being only part elf. There is a lot of detailed information about the twins, including a family tree and comparison with the movie LOTR. I used that as a source for parts of my answer, which is specific to the book, not necessarily the movie.

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    Now that is interesting. I hadn't noticed the other occasions on which the sons of Elrond were listed separately to both elves and men. – TRiG Dec 9 '12 at 17:21
  • @TRiG ;o) Tolkien did not include the twins when referring to any given group of elves, or of men. Whether that was deliberate or not, I'm not certain. Ansereg dot com is a rather excellent resource; he thinks it was probably deliberate, and I am inclined to think so too. – Ellie Kesselman Dec 11 '12 at 11:57
  • Elrond was not precisely 50% elven. His father, Earendil, was a half-elf. (Son of Tuor and Idril), but his mother, Elwing was the son of Dior and Nimloth. Nimloth was elf, while Dior was the son of Beren and Lúthien, thus being 25% Maiar, 25% Elven and 50% Human. This would make Elwing 12.5% Maiar , 62.5% Elven and 25% Human, so Elrond was only 37.5 % Human. Of course, this race-percent calculation is rather pointless. – b.Lorenz Jan 18 '17 at 16:47
  • And if you're Half-Elven you get to choose whether to be counted as Elf or Man - so actual lineage ratios may not be relevant anyway. – OrangeDog Apr 28 '17 at 12:43
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    -1 Tolkien was explicit that Elves and Men were the same species, and did not differ biologically but spiritually. There is no "73.5% Elven" in Tolkien, and the Elrond's children are 100% Elven, as they were not given the choice between Elvish or Human fates. – Lexible Aug 4 '19 at 6:17

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