Those annoying Elven issues

How come Lúthien was an elf but mortal, and Tuor a mortal but immortal? What’s going on …?

In Tolkien’s world there is a big difference between *race* and *mortality*.

While the vast majority of elves are immortal, there are cases where the Valar grant them mortality – and remember that in Tolkien’s mythology, mortality is always seen as a gift. There are also cases where mortals are granted immortality.

These special cases are generally associated with otherwise doomed love, a chance for lovers to live their lives together until the end:

– Lúthien and Arwen were granted mortality to live out their lives with Beren and Aragorn, respectively
– Eärendil, Elwing and Tuor became “numbered among Elven-kind”, presumably a nice way of saying they became immortal.

Then there are murkier waters, such as the elves of the Peredhel line. Take Elladan, Elrohir and Arwen. They were 24/64th Telerin, 12/64th Mortal, 11/64th Noldor, 10/64th Sindar, 5/64th Vanyar and 2/64th Maiar. Not quite half-elves as their title suggests, instead 50/64th (or 78.125%) Elven!

However, as they are counted among Elvenkind, they have innate immortality, unless otherwise changed (in Arwen’s case).