19th of December 2017
The Children of Illuvatar are Elves and Men (Dwarves were created by Vala Aule, but still, Eru was the one to give them souls and free will). Elves, known as Quendi (Those, Who Speak), as that was the name they gave themselves, as they woke as first, before other races, and for this reason for a long time they did not meet any beings capable of speech. They were discovered by Orome, The Rider of the Valar, who called them Eldar, The People of the Stars.
Elves are immortal (though they can die in battle, because of wounds or exhaustion). Upon death, they come to The Halls of Mandos, but after some time, they return, in new, reborn bodies. They love the nature; trees, woods, seas, rivers, but above all else, The Stars of Varda. They are great artists and researchers of the world around them, poets, scholars, singers, chroniclers, sculptors, smiths and architects. Over their long lives, they master their crafts, and perfectly develop their talents (by contrast, humans often waste them). However, too great love of their works, and pride can be a great danger for them. (As was the case with Feanor and his Silmarils, as well as with Celebrimbor and the Rings of Power). What humans call magic, for them is an art, a craft, a science.
Tolkien describes them as similar to humans before The Fall (the original sin), possessing a close bond with Eru and the world He created, wise and curious, constantly trying to master their skills and gain more knowledge. It seems that in terms of biology, they are identical to humans, and certain differences in appearance are the result of the impact of their souls, called fëa. They can have children with Humans, but such unions happened rarely. (Beren and Luthien, Tuor and Idril, Aragorn Elessar and Arwen). In addition, there is one known union between and Elf and once of the incarnate Maia – Elu Thingol with Melian.
Just like Men and Dwarves, Elves are not homogenous group, as they are divided into many tribes, peoples and houses.
The first division happened when The Valar invited the first Elves to Valinor. Some refused – they are called Avari, which means The Refusers.
Eldar set out on The Great Journey across Middle-Earth. They are separated into three tribes:
The Vanyar, The Fair Elves – they are the ones who came to love Valinor the most. Their king was Ingwë.
The Noldor, The Deep Elves – espiecially talented in smithing, metallurgy and jewelery. Their king was Finwë, until his death at hands of Morgoth. Some of The Noldor returned to The Middle-Earth, where they took part in the long war for Silmarils.
Teleri, called Lindar, The Singers. They were the most numerous group, so they had two leaders, brothers Olwë i Elwë.
All of the Noldor and the Vanyar arrived in Valinor, but among Teleri, further divisions took place.
When their host reached The Great River Anduin, and saw The Misty Mountains, some became fearful and decided to stay. Their leader was Lenwë, and his people became known as Nandor. The Silvan Elves and the Green Elves (Laiquendi) are their descendants.
The remaining Teleri entered Beleriand, a land in the western Middle-Earth. There they built they camp, and rested.
One day, Elwe was wandering alone, in the forest of Nan Elmoth. There has saw Melian, one of The Maiar, and they fell in love. They stood silent, as if enchanted, and the trees grew tall around them, as the years passed. Some Teleri remained in Beleriand, searching for their king, while others left for Valinor. Those who reached it became Falmari, The People of the Waves, because they lived close to the sea.
The Elves who settled in Valinor and saw the light of The Two Trees are called Calaquendi, Elves of the Light, or High Elves. (It’s worth to mention that Elwe is counted among them, as before The Great Journey he came to Valinor as an envoy to The Valar).
Many years later, Elwe returned to his people, and founded the Kingdom of Doriath, with capital in the city of Menegroth, carven in rock. His folk became known as Sindar, The Grey Elves.