I am trying to figure out the early history of men. After reading just LOTR and its appendices I have several questions revolving around which groups are which: Edain, Dunedain, Numenorians, and Elf-friends.

If I understand correctly:

  1. The Edain are the first three houses of men [edit: to associate with elves]
  2. Two Edain (Tuor and Beren) marry into the Elvish lines Noldor (Idril) and Sindar (Luthien). All of the offspring of these two marriages are called Half Elves or Peredhil. At some point in time all of the living Peredhil are give the choice to become either elf or man.
  3. After the War of the Great Jewels, which some Edain help the Eldar, these Edain are rewarded with their own land: Numenor.
  4. Elros (a Peredhil) chooses to become man. He becomes the first king of Numenor.

LOTR, Appendix F; 1. "Of men":

After the overthrow of the Dark Power, in which Beleriand was for the most part drowned or broken, it was granted as a reward to the Elf-friends that they also, as the Eldar, might pass west over Sea. ... Most of the Elf-friends, therefore, departed and dwelt in Numenor.....These were the Numenoreans, the Kings of Men, whom the elves called the Dunedain.

... Most of the Men of the northern regions of the West-land were descended from the Edain of the First Age, or of their close kin.... Of this kind were the peoples of the upper vales of Anduin: the Beornings, and the Woodmen of Western Mirkwood, ... Men of Long Lake and of Dale. .... the folk known in Gondor as Rohirrim.

So my questions:

  1. What happened to the Edain who didn't marry into the elvish lines? Did they not all go to Numenor? Did they eventually become the Northmen?

  2. Is Elros the only half-elf to choose mortality (besides Arwen)?

  3. Did all the half-elves who chose mortality go to Numenor? Did any non-half-elf (i.e. full human) Edain go to Numenor?

  4. What about the half-elves who chose elfdom? Where do they go? I think I read that Rivendell was a haven for half-elves who chose elfdom.

  5. Depending on answer to #1, are all Numenorean descendants of Elros?

  6. Are the Dunedain and the Numenoreans the same group just two different names?

Sorry for asking so many questions. I just finished the book and I've written down a lot of questions.

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    I like the quality of research you've shown here, but usually it works better to ask several separate questions instead of one, multi-pronged question. This ensures the answers you get properly address all your points. You can edit this question down to a couple -tightly-related questions, then post new questions asking what you edited out of this one. – user1027 Apr 27 '13 at 2:34
  • And then you can also use the same or similar lead-in for all of the separate questions. You can also link to the other questions, which helps draw attention to your many questions. Welcome to the Sci-fi Stack Exchange, this is a great first post you've made! – user1027 Apr 27 '13 at 2:36
  • ok, split off the obviously non-related questions here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/34748/… I think all of the remainging questions go together. They are about the splitting up of one tightly mixed group. I'm also willing to get partial answers =P – tir38 Apr 27 '13 at 2:58
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    "The Edain are the first three houses of men." <- Are you sure this is true? I was under the impression they're just three houses that chose to associate themselves with the Elves, and that there were plenty of other men (whether in "houses" or not) at that time. – einpoklum Dec 19 '17 at 18:32
  • yes @einpoklum you're right. I've update my original question – tir38 Dec 20 '17 at 20:17
up vote 6 down vote accepted

What happened to the Edain who didn't marry into the elvish lines? Did they not all go to Numenor? Did they eventually become the Northmen?

The First Age ended with the fall of Angband and the drowning of Beleriand. The island of Númenor was raised from the Sea by the Valar as a gift for the Edain. Númenor was a place where the greatness of men was preserved for a while.

All members of the First and Third Houses of the Edain who wished could move there, and a greater part did. There is no relation between marrying an Elf and being allowed to go to Númenor.

Is Elros the only half-elf to choose mortality (besides Arwen)?

Arwen's brothers, Elladan and Elrohir, were one fourth men. I don't believe it is known what their choice was. From Letter 153: "When she wed Aragorn she made "the choice of Lúthien". Elrond’s sons, Elladan and Elrohir delayed their choice, left untold in the story."

Did all the half-elves who chose mortality go to Numenor? Did any non-half-elf (i.e. full human) Edain go to Numenor?

At the time Númenor was founded there were only two half-elves, Elros and Elrond. Elros became the first King of Númenor. All other Edain where fully human.

What about the half-elves who chose elfdom? Where do they go? I think I read that Rivendell was a haven for half-elves who chose elfdom.

Elrond became Lord of Rivendell. He was the only half-elf there. His children (Arwen, Elladan and Elrohir) were three-quarter-elves ;) There are too few half-elves to speak of them as a class.

Depending on answer to #1, are all Numenorean descendants of Elros?

As said above, I think many Númenoreans were unrelated to Elros.

Are the Dunedain and the Numenoreans the same group just two different names?

At the end of the Second Age, the formerly flat Earth was made into a globe. Númenor was sunk in that cataclysm. A few Númenoreans escaped, and founded two Kingdoms in Exile: Arnor and Gondor.

The Númenoreans who survived the sinking of Númenor were called the Dúnedain, literally the "men of the west". So the Númenoreans of the Second Age became the Dúnedain of the Third Age.

I'm not sure why you think there were more half-even than just Elrond and Elros. As you say, the only two elf-man marriages were Tuor/Idril and Beren/Luthien: their descendants, Elwing and Earendil, married each other, so the elven descent was just contained in their children, Elrond and Elros. (Note that these 'half-elven' also had a component of Maiar blood, since Luthien's mother was Melian the Maia.)

The other Numenoreans were just the rest of the descendants of the Three Houses, and were all fully men and had no elven blood. Elrond was the only half-elf at Rivendell, or indeed anywhere else. Having chosen to be a member of the Eldar, he sailed to the West at the end of LoTR, and presumably lived there forever.

And yes, Dunadain means "men of the West", in other words, [those descended from] the Numenoreans.

I note that you've tagged this question with "Lord of the Rings", which implies you haven't read The Silmarillion, where a lot of this is explained in much greater detail. Unfinished Tales also contains a large section on the history of Numenor itself.

Edited after comment Dior was father of Elwing, Elurin and Elured: the latter two were killed and didn't have any descendants. Arwen, Elrohir and Elladan were the children of Elrond, and made the choice when Elrond went over Sea; they all chose to be counted among Men.

And yes, only the descendants of Elros had Elvish ancestry, but as Mike points out over the course of 6,000 years that likely has grown to encompass most of the population of Gondor.

  • Elrond may have been the only "half-elf" (although as you mention, he was actually half human, 3/8 elf and 1/8 Maia), but Arwen, Elladan, Elrohir, and probably the entire population of Gondor (through the line of descent from Elros) had varying mixtures of human and elvish descent. – Mike Scott Apr 27 '13 at 9:22
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    In the case of Elrond and Elros, being human or elven wasn't about blood or percentages of ancestry. It was about choice. Elrond was Half-Elven in name, but 100% Elven in essence, once he made his choice. Likewise Elros being Human. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Apr 27 '13 at 11:10
  • not that this is 100% correct lotrproject.com but I'm guessing that Dior, Elurin, Elured, Elwing, Earendil, Elros, Elrond, Arwen, Elrohir, and Elladan were all half-elven. I know some of the back story about what happened to Elwin and Earendil, but what about the others? Were they given the same choice? – tir38 Apr 28 '13 at 18:39
  • So, if some of the pure-human Edain became the Numenoreans, then only the descendants of Elros were elvish ancestry? All other Numenoreans were just human? – tir38 Apr 28 '13 at 18:43
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    My recollection is that ALL the ones who removed to Numenor were rewarded with long life many times the length of normal men, so their long lifespan is not due to being elvish by birth but rather their service. However the line of Elros had longer life expectancy even so. – horatio Apr 30 '13 at 20:29

After reading The Silmarillion, I can answer some of my own questions.

Are the Dunedain and the Numenoreans the same group just two different names?

Same group two different names. Quoting The Silmarillion:

Then they went up out of the sea and found a country fair and fruitful, and they were glad. And they called that land Elenna, which is Starwards; but also Anadune, which is Westernesse, Numenor in the High Eldarin tongue.

This was the beginning of that people that in the Grey-elven speech are called the Dunedain: the Numenoreans, Kings among Men.


Did all the half-elves who chose mortality go to Numenor? Did any non-half-elf (i.e. full human) Edain go to Numenor?

As @Daniel and @Andomar said, Elros was the only half-elf to choose mortality and he becomes first king of Numenor. A lot (most?) of the Edain alive in middle earth go to Numenor. Some do stay in Middle Earth. What becomes of them isn't spoken about in The Silmarillion.


What about the half-elves who chose elfdom? Where do they go? I think I read that Rivendell was a haven for half-elves who chose elfdom.

This is exclusively Elrond. His tale after the forming of Numenor is told somewhat in Akallabêth and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


Depending on answer to #1, are all Numenorean descendants of Elros?

No.

Depending on answer to #1, are all Numenorean descendants of Elros?

Maybe. Many men emigrated to Numenor along with Elros the first king. Many of those men did not have, children, and many had chi families which died out after a few generations. But many or most of those men would have descendants lasting until the fall of Numenor, and a good fraction of those men would have descendants among the Dunedain who colonized Arnor and Gondor.

With so many thousands of men colonizing Numenor, there would be many families descending in the male line from father to son to grandson from those first colonists.

Thus the vast majority of Numenoreans were not descended from Elros in the male line from father to son.

However, a large proportion of the Numenoreans might have been descended from Elros if descent in both male and female lines is counted. Many of the Numenoreans would be descended from son to daughter to son to son to daughter to son to daughter to daughter... and so on from Elros.

In the three thousand years that Numenor lasted, ALL the Numenorens would have been become descended from Elros if their generations had been as short as those of modern men. Because the Numenorean generations were several times as long as normal human generation, I am not so sure that all Numenoreans were descended from Elros.

But by the time of Lord of the Rings everyone in Gondor should have been descended from Elros many times over, though I do not know if anyone in Gondor could actually trace his ancestry back to Elros.

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