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Forums : How to RP a Tolkien Elf > Clans of the Elves
Ornendir (Associate) 2/4/2011 8:01 AM EST : Clans of the Elves
Posts: 1470

The elves, first children of Ilúvatar, awoke near the lake of Cuiviénen and were divided into three tribes according to the order of their awakening: Minyar (the first and least numerous), Tatyar, and Nelyar (the third and most numerous). They were eventually discovered by the Vala Oromë (though some say that Melkor got to some of them first, ergo the orcs) and were invited to Valinor. Those that accepted the invitation became known as the Eldar ("People of the Stars") and those that did not were called the Avari ("Unwilling"). The Avari, who consisted mostly of the Nelyar and some Tatyar, remained a primitive, rustic folk. The Eldar, which included all of the Minyar and some of both Tatyar and Nelyar, began the long journey west. Along the way, however, certain groups from the Tatyar and Nelyar tribes abandoned the trek

The first such major schism occurred when they reached the Misty Mountains. Those that chose not to brave their passage became known as the Nandor and remained by the Anduin under the leadership of Lenwë. Much later, Lenwë's son, Denethor, would lead a part of the Nandor across both the Misty Mountains and the Blue Mountains, settling Ossiriand (the remains of which are now Lindon) and becoming the Laiquendi ("Green Elves"). The rest of the Nandor remained by the Anduin, becoming known as Tawarwaith ("Silvan Elves") and eventually becoming intermixed with various other groups. All of the Nandor were considered Moriquendi ("Dark Elves") along with the Avari, but while the Avari were ever Avamanyar ("Unwilling People"), the Nandor were still a part of the Úmanyar ("People not of Aman") along with the Sindar (which I will discuss next).

The next schism occurred when the elves reached Belegaer, the Great Sea. Elwë Thingol became lost when he met Melian, and a good portion of his followers remained behind, eventually reuniting with their leader and becoming the Sindar of Doriath. Others remained on the shores of the Sea out of apprehension, becoming the Falathrim ("People of the Shore") Sindar. Finally, some followed the shoreline north, settling the area around Lake Mithrim and giving it its name, as they were the Mithrim ("Grey People") Sindar. Now, these three groups were all Sindar ("Elves of the Twilight") because even though they were considered Úmanyar along with the Nandor, they were not considered Moriquendi. This is because they were followers of Elwë (who alone of the Sindar had saw the Light of the Two Trees) and Melian (a Maia), and they were thus greater than the other elves that remained in Middle-earth.

The Eldar that reached Aman became known as the Calaquendi ("Elves of the Light") and were divided into three groups, with some intermingling. All of the Minyar finished the journey, becoming the Vanyar ("Fair Elves"). These were led by Ingwë and none of them ever returned to Middle-earth save to fight in the War of Wrath. Half of the Tatyar finished the trek as well, becoming the Noldor ("Deep Elves"). These were led by Finwë, whose first wife was of the Noldor and second wife (a unique circumstance among elves) was of the Vanyar, whom she rejoined after Finwë's murder by Melkor the Morgoth. Many Noldor followed Fëanor, Finwë's first son, back to Middle-earth and to exile, including Fingolfin, Finwë's second son. Finarfin, Finwë's third son, turned back and stayed to rule the remaining Noldor, though all of his children followed Fingolfin. Few of the exiled Noldor survived into the Third Age. The last group to arrive in Aman were of the Teleri ("Latecomers"). These were led by Olwë, brother of Elwë Thingol. They first lived on Tol Eressëa ("The Lonely Isle"), but later moved to Alqualondë ("The Swan Havens") on the shores of Aman. Tol Eressëa then became the home of the elves returning from Middle-earth by the Straight Road after the War of Wrath and well into the Fourth Age.

Now, most of the Avari stayed in the East and did not enter into the mythos. The elves of Mirkwood are mostly Nandor that are intermingled with and ruled by Sindar that fled east from the ruin of Beleriand to return to a more 'natural' lifestyle. Likewise were the people of Lórien, until their Sindarin leader drowned himself and the Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel (Teler/Sinda and Noldo, respectively) came to guide (though not officially rule) that people. The elves in Lindon were mostly Noldor in the north of the Gulf of Lune and Sindar and Laiquendi in the south of it. Most of the Noldor followed Gil-galad and were killed in the Last Alliance. Finally, there was a significant settlement of Noldor in Eregion, the area west of Khazad-dûm, but this was destroyed and its people scattered when Sauron revealed himself and the One Ring. The survivors fled to Rivendell and Lindon.

Characters: Vyndir Aearendil Ornendir

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