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Discussing: Quotes about young characters

Quotes about young characters

Hey guys,

I am working on an essay on how quickly hobbits mature, and I would like to contrast the fact that Shire-hobbits canonically reach their majority at thirty-three with when other mortal races are considering "of age". I know there is a quote about Aragorn at twenty having come early into manhood for the Dunedain. Gilraen was described as young to be marrying.

But I can't find either of these quotes. I've looked through "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" where I'm fairly sure both these quotes are, but I can't seem to find it. Can anyone help me?

Also, are there are other references to any of the different mortal races (besides hobbits), about what was considered young for them. Earlier ages very welcome.

Thanks,
Marta

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

Hi, Marta

I can help you with the quotes; they are both from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. The mention of Gilraen as too young for marriage is in the first paragraph. "To this marriage Dirhael was opposed; for Gilraen was young and had not reached the age at which the women of the Dunedain were accustomed to marry."

The second one, about Aragorn, is in paragraph six. "But when Estel was only twenty years of age...Elrond looked at him and was pleased, for he saw that he was fair and noble and was early come to manhood, though he would yet become greater in body and in mind." 

Both passages are on page 1057 of the Houghton-Mifflin 50-year anniversary edition.

Hobbit lore is not my area of expertise. Never heard anything about the maturity age of Dwarves, but it was always my impression that they lived even longer than Numenoreans, so you could surmise a longer childhood for them as well. That would mean Men mature by far at the fastest rate.

G.A. 

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

In the tale of Aldarion and Erendis, it is clearly stated that a Númeorean came of age at 25 years. I think it would have been the same in M-e (though their lifespan was somewhat shortened). I base that on the fact that Aragorn went abroad th first time with 25.

~Vil

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

"Coming of age" isn't the same thing as biological maturity--not usually, anyway. "Coming of age" usually means achieving adult status legally. There has to be some residue of that meaning in Tolkien, I think. He was too English for it not to be there. I do believe he says somewhere that the King would declare his son or daughter officially as "King's Heir" at age 25. Same idea.

Otherwise, Gilraen really couldn't have been a mother at 23 or 24, and for Aragorn to be a man at 20 would make him practically a freak. I think biologically childhood was exactly the same for Numenoreans as for "lesser men" like us. Then they aged much more slowly, till they reached old age, when it speeded up again.

What does it mean for Hobbits? Beats me.

G.A. 

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

Hi Vilwarin,

In the tale of Aldarion and Erendis, it is clearly stated that a Númeorean came of age at 25 years.

Yes, the coming of age was, indeed, considered to be 25 by the Númenóreans in the Second Age:

"It happened on a time that Vëantur said to his grandson: 'Anardilya, the spring is drawing nigh, and also the day of your full age' (for in that April Aldarion would be twenty-five years old)."

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis

I think it would have been the same in M-e (though their lifespan was somewhat shortened). I base that on the fact that Aragorn went abroad th first time with 25.

No, apparently the Dúnedain of the North considered it to be earlier, around 20. I do speculate that that was possibly because of the waning of their life-span in Middle-earth during the Third Age. Aragorn went into the Wild at the age of 20:

"2931
Aragorn son of Arathorn II born on March 1st. ...

2951
... Elrond reveals to 'Estel' his true name and ancestry, and delivers to him the shards of Narsil. Arwen, newly returned from Lórien, meets Aragorn in the woods of Imladris. Aragorn goes out into the Wild."

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

I don't know what age the Gondorians considered to be a majority. I did check the "The Tradition of Isildur" section of Unfinished Tales (Part 3, Chapter 2) to see if it mentioned an age at which the King's Heir would be taken to the Hill of Awe, but, unfortunately, no specific age was mentioned.

Hope this helps!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

I think it would have been the same in M-e (though their lifespan was somewhat shortened). I base that on the fact that Aragorn went abroad th first time with 25.

No, apparently the Dúnedain of the North considered it to be earlier, around 20. I do speculate that that was possibly because of the waning of their life-span in Middle-earth during the Third Age. Aragorn went into the Wild at the age of 20:

No, I think 25 was the age,if they had one at all. At 20 Aragron was "early come to manhood" so that was not the 'normal' age.

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

Wow, what a lot of responses! Thanks guys! Let me see if I can reply to some of them. First, GA said:

I can help you with the quotes; they are both from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Thanks for tracking that down. I've noted it.

Hobbit lore is not my area of expertise.

I can handle the hobbit-lore side of things. I've researched hobbits quite thoroughly.

Vilwarin wrote:

I think it would have been the same in M-e (though their lifespan was somewhat shortened)

Twenty-five makes sense for the Northern Dunedain at least, because as Gwynnyd points out Aragorn came early into manhood at twenty, and Giraen at either twenty-one or twenty-two was thought of as too young to marry.

The thing I keep coming back to is what it means for someone to come of age. For hobbits it clearly means that they can legally inherit on thier their own. For Soutehrn Dunedain it doesn't necessarily mean you should try to get married, unless you accept a much later coming-of-age; Boromir apparently never marries, and Faramir can propose to Eowyn without fear of breaking off a previous engagement. And it doesn't necessarily mean physical maturity as many people pre-COA are warriors and rangers.

Thanks for bringing up the Numenorean quote, btw, I wasn't aware of it.

Elena Tiriel said:

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis

Ooh, thanks so much, ET! I was going to have to go bug Vilwarin for an exact quote but you have provided this for me. I've saved it in my file of quotes, for when I actually start writing.

In a different post, Elena Tiriel said:

No, apparently the Dúnedain of the North considered it to be earlier, around 20.

I respectfully disagree on this point. Because of the quote Gwynnyd makes below, about Aragorn being early in coming into manhood, and because Gilraen's father used her age of either twenty-one or twenty-two as a reason why she couldn't get married. Regardless of whether the age of majority was a customary age of marriage, it seems like if Gilraen was legally an adult it wouldn't have fallen on her mother to convince her father. Or maybe my modern way of thinking is showing. ;-)

Anyway, given the Numenor quote you provided earlier, I think twenty-five is much more likely.

I don't know what age the Gondorians considered to be a majority.

If there's anything in canon I haven't been able to find it! I researched this a bit about two years ago when I wrote "How Many Years?", in which I posited twenty for lack of anything better canonical to hang it on.

Marta

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

No, I think 25 was the age,if they had one at all. At 20 Aragron was "early come to manhood" so that was not the 'normal' age.

Oh, interesting.... I interpreted that entire passage differently, as having two parts:

- 20 was the age of legal majority,. because that's when Elrond chose to tell Aragorn of his heritage and pass along some of the heirlooms that belonged to him as Heir of Isildur and Chieftain of the Dúnedain, AND

- Aragorn had matured physically (and emotionally?) somewhat sooner than other Dúnedain of the North, at least the ones that Elrond had met (e.g., the other Heirs whom he fostered).

But I do see that there are other possible interpretations. Interesting!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Quotes about young characters

Dwarves could reach up to three hundred years or thereabouts. They're interesting, because among things they appear not to be sexually dimorphic at all, which would have really interesting effects on their society. I really regret Tolkien not having said more about them.

 

 

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