I'm wondering if in the Lord of the Rings (and others of J. R. R. Tolkien's works) the differences between elves and half-elves were clear enough that an elf meeting an half-elf would be immediately aware of their origins, and vice-versa. From what I understand, half-elves looked pretty much like regular elves, but perhaps elves have some sort of sixth-sense in this matter?


Half-elves, as a species, don't actually exist in Tolkien.

However, those of Elven blood are obvious to Elves, at least going by the one example we have, that of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth:

At length they came to the Prince Imrahil, and Legolas looked at him and bowed low; for he saw that here indeed was one who had elven-blood in his veins. 'Hail, lord!' he said. 'It is long since the people of Nimrodel left the woodlands of Lórien, and yet still one may see that not all sailed from Amroth's haven west over water.'

(Return of the King, The Last Debate)

It is not known how Legolas was able to tell this.

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    The Galadriel and Celeborn material in Unfinished Tales confirms the Elven ancestry of the Lords of Dol Amroth via Imrazór the Númenórean, who dwelt in Belfalas, and the Elven-lady Mithrellas (she was a Silvan Elf). – user8719 Feb 4 '15 at 0:18

Half Elves look like humans to elves and like elves to humans. Males are able to grow beards, which is something elves are unable to do.

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    Can you provide any citations for this? And... er, can you change the username? – FuzzyBoots Feb 4 '15 at 0:14
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    Do you have any sources for this thing you just made up? – Nerrolken Feb 4 '15 at 0:14
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    That might be true for elves in Dragonlance and the like, but LOTR elves are quite different. – System Down Feb 4 '15 at 0:28
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    @SystemDown - in fairness it may not have been immediately obvious to User41428 that the question was specific to LotR since it's only present in a tag; otherwise it looks pretty generic. Since User41428 is a new user, looking at tags to identify which canon a question refers to may not have been an obvious thing to do. – user8719 Feb 4 '15 at 0:30

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