references about elven hair being long from Tolkien's works

Odola

Well-Known Member
I allow myself to cite the references after "Echthelion of the Fountain" from Youtube - it would be a pity if the information and sources gathered by him there were lost and some here might find those valuable. As this question occured in context of the RoP series, I do post it here. [All the ephasis added below is mine].
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
"Echthelion of the Fountain" from Youtube:

"There is strong evidence in favour of long haired elves by Tolkien. I'm adding these quotes in again.

"Ingwë had curling golden hair.
Finwë (and Míriel) had long dark hair, so had Fëanor and all the Noldor,
save by intermarriage which did not often take place between clans, except among the chieftains, and then only after settlement in Aman.

Only Finwë’s second son by Indis had fair hair, and this remained generally characteristic of his descendants, notably Finrod.
Elwë and Olwë had very pale hair, almost white.
Melian was dark, and so was Lúthien."
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Hair
"

[1)] The Noldor had long hair


"All the Eldar had beautiful hair (and were especially attracted by hair of exceptional loveliness), but the Noldor were not specially remarkable in this respect, and there is no reference to Finwe as having had hair of exceptional length,
abundance, or beauty beyond the measure of his people.
"
The Peoples of Middle-earth - "The Shibboleth of Feanor"

[2)] Finwe's hair was no longer than other elves


Of the Teleri: "But most it was their wont to sail in their swift ships upon the waters of the Bay of Elvenhome, or to walk in the waves upon the shore with their long hair gleaming like foam in the light beyond the hill"
Morgoth's Ring - The Later Quenta Silmarillion part 1

[3)] The Teleri had long hair


"Their gleaming hair was twined with flowers"
The Hobbit - Flies and Spiders

"The Loremasters also supposed that reference was made to the hair of the Sindar. Elwe [Thingol] himself had indeed long and beautiful hair of silver hue, but this does not seem to have been a common feature of the Sindar, though it was found among them occasionally, especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwe (as in the case of Cirdan).
In general the Sindar appear to have very closely resembled the Exiles, being dark-haired, strong and tall, but lithe. Indeed they could hardly be told apart except by their eyes; for the eyes of all the Elves that had dwelt in Aman impressed those of Middle-earth by their piercing brightness. For which reason the Sindar often called them Lachend, pl. Lechind 'flame-eyed
"
The War of the Jewels - Quendi and Eldar

[4)] The Sindar (Teleri in origin) look very similar to the (long haired) Noldor "The Exiles"


"To Legolas she gave a bow such as the Galadhrim used, longer and stouter than the bows of Mirkwood, and strung with a string of elf-hair."
The Fellowship of the Ring - Farewell to Lorien


[5)] We also have Tolkien's own illustration of Beleg and Gwindor (Flinding) both with long hair."
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

If I find any additional references, I will add them here.

"... had long dark hair, so had Fëanor and all the Noldor,"
"Only Finwë’s second son by Indis had fair hair, and this remained generally characteristic of his descendants,"

This clearly excludes Celebrimbor from the fair-haired Noldor, if he is understood as Noldo and the grandson of Feanor (which he is in the series) he should have dark hair - a blonde Celebrimbor would be fine if he were a Teleri (which was one of the concepts, but not one the series adopts) - and a distant kin of Thingol.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I too did an extensive search through the HoME...

From the wordlists:
Pigtails - goldogrin cingrafindl
Long tresses
Locks
Braids
Plaits
Ringlets
Tressures, hairnets
Shaggy hair
Curls

Wild growth hair (mablung)
Cloudy hair, long, cut the hair above her ears (tinuviel)
Long hair (Elwe)
Hair Fountain of gold (Idril)
Long hair (Celegorm)
Long hair (Olwe)
Long hair (Falmari)
Long hair, great plaits, braided with gold (Fingon)
Long dark hair (Finwe, Feanor)
No hair of exceptional length beyong the measure of his peoole (Finwe)
Strong, stiff hair, rising from his head like flames (Aegnor)
Long and bright (Celeborn)
Hair beyongbthe helmet (Glorfindel)
Long hair (Finwe and Miriels people)

rosy cheeks and tangled hair (cottage of l8st play)

Unbraided long hair (varda)
Cut short golden hair (Vana)
Short hair, neither long nor short hair ( danuin, Fanuin)
Bluish silber hair (Ulmo)
Longhaired legions (Of ulmos folk)
Endless hair (Uinen)
Long haired, wolfish (Thu)
Shoulder long hair (thuringwethil)
Long hair (gandalf)
Gems in his hair (Melkor)

Tangled hair, unshorn, long, black (Turin)
Long hair (Aerin)
Unbraided hair (idril)
Shagged hair, golden brown (beren)
Long hair (nazgul)
Tow-haired (ruffians)
Flowing hair (Rohirrim)
Braided upon shoulders (Theoden)
Long braided hair (easterlings)
Long braided hair (Eowyn)
Shorn upon her neck (Eowyn)

Matted hair (orcs)

Long shaggy hair hung over forehead (Trotter), also:dark!
Close, curly hair (hobbits)


Falmari and Noldor in general have longer hair, but only eight male elves (Elwe, Celegorm, Olwe, Fingon, Finwe,Feanor,Celeborn,Glorfindel) are described in detail to have long hair. However they do have different hairstyles… tresses, curls, locks,braids, plaids, ringlets,shaggy hair even ringlets, and female elves bind their hair upin style of a crown whennthey do athletic feats or even go to battle -which some do in times of need if they are not yet mothers.

Some elves also adorn their hair with plaids of gold, gems and the silvan elves with flowers and the Falmari might use shells and pearls.

I could not find any refrenence to shorter hair apart from thralls or Luthien who in a situation of dispair cut her hair about her hears-and quickly started to grow it long again. The Elves of Doriath wore their hair well groomed and shorn, but still long.

The only elf whose description makes me think of shorter hair is Aegnor whose hair was stiff and spiky and stood up like flames which makes me think of a celtic haircut.

On his illustrations Beleg has very long hair beneath his shoulders ,HOWEVER Tolkiens red and green father christmal elves DO have somewhat shorter hair AND one illustration of a swanboat beneath taniquetil might show a steersman who has only neck or chin long hair so... long hair might be somewhat relative, Finwe is stated to have not had extremely long hair beyond his peoples norm so... for a modern age guy like Tolkien, writing in the 1920ies-70ies... maybe neck or chin long hair still counts as "long hair".

Historically in many times warriors had long hair as sing of pride and manlyness but bound it up for practical reasons or wore the infamous mullet... shorter at the front and long in the back.you can see that with many ancient near eastern, old greek, germanic and celtic warriors... and later in medieval times too. Thats where Tolkien drew that from i guess. So... it is not necessarily impractical, and elves are fond of longer hair though... maybe in different degrees of length and according to situation in different styles.

However Glorfindel died because a balrog grabbed him by his long hair which was hanging out from under his helmet so... their pride and vanity seemingly sometimes won over their sense for practical use.But they certainly knew ways to bind up their hair in need and their women did that frequently.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
An interesting Question arose on YT while i wrote this (to a person who for no reason reacted agrressive towards me because he thought i would somehow push the idea of short haired elves or defended Amazons quite ugly pompadour-elf hairstyle choices...)

What exactly does "long hair" mean?

I write this because of Finwe and Aegnor, as a person who has quite some experience with punk hairstyles i know hair cannot be above a certain length to stand up like Aegnors very special cut,though this can still be considered quite long if done right with the right "tool" and "stuff". The ancient Celts used "sapo" and chalk for a similar effect. And Finwe... he has long hair but nor exceptionally long so... elves seem to have standards of different length too! Some have extremely long hair, others not so...

I was told, quite ruff, my Lúthien and Vána quotes were irrelevant...
I don't think so! I found it fascinating Luthien stopped about her ears like "this far, not any further, even if i need as much hair as possible to weave my magic cloak!" And the aspect of sacrifice connected with Vana's haircut...

Now what is long hair? By which standard? By standard of a man living in the 1920ies chin or necklenght might already be considered quite long.., even by medieval and antique standards many men actually wore their hair quite short and neck length was considered quite long, even for medieval germanic or celtic men!

Now i only know ONE original Tolkien illustration of an elf, that is Beleg and he has very long hair, beyond shoulder length!

The only shorthaired elves i know of Tolkien ever drew were the father christmas elves!

Now there is ONE single painting, of a swanship beneath Taniquetil in which theres a vague figure of an elf who looks almost like a christmas elf... and it is a bit unclear... but he might have just shoulder or necklong hair.
 
Last edited:

Odola

Well-Known Member
Here is info missing.

but only eight male elves (Elwe, Celegorm, Olwe, Fingon, Finwe,Feanor,Celeborn,Glorfindel) are described in detail to have long hair.
Yes, Finwe is explicitly described as having long hair, but also as not being an exception among his people, so all other Noldor seem to have a least the same hair lenght as him or longer except for "exceptions" - but those would be rare and not a rule.

And you left out: "As in the name Gil-Galad 'star of radiance' given to Finwain, last High-King of the Eldar, because of the radiance of his silver hair, armour and shield... from NoME - as you listed hair description not including lenght-info above, too - so this should have be mentioned too.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Oh i deliberately left out colour... most elves have dark hair anyway, those who haven't: vanyar and their kin among the Noldor golden of course, some among the noldor are red or auburn, some among the Teleri silver haired, a few blondes too seemingly. That's pretty much it.

Feanor has long (like Finwe), raven-black hair.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Are the characters on Tolkien's laketown illustration meant to be elves or men? They could be men, but some of them use a swanboat and some move the rafts, which might indicate elves, just as their funny clothing which resembles his christmas elves and the swanship steersman...

Now these people seem to have chin or necklong brown hair..

His dwarf sketches have breast-long beards but only chin or necklong hair.
 

Eryn Lasgalen

New Member
Very impressive amount of evidence you both have gathered!
There's a reason why long elven hair is so ingrained in our imaginations. I find it difficult to think of them otherwise.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
But that one entry had no lenght-info - only colour:



But I assume it is long?
Oh because it was just notes taken.

his long hair fell down as foam ... In this manner the Dweller of the Deep, whom the Noldor name Ulmo, ...

Must have missed that line, it is unfinished tales though, not strictly HOME, i do not have that one as searchable document by my side.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I guess in theory shorter haired elves would be thinkable...
But that example of Luthien seems to imply they take such great value in their hair that shortening it causes them actual pain. Not beyond the ears! There are limits!

Theres a reason Morgoths servants shaved their thralls, it was clearly to humiliate them.

The Vana example makes me speculate however if some few extremely pious elves might cut their hair as a sacrifice and symbol,of modesty for example.Similar to monks maybe? I could see that with some Vanyar maybe... or lets say, i could understand the symbolism behind such an act.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I guess in theory shorter haired elves would be thinkable...
But as exception, not a rule. And mostly not among tose elve that we do see.

I can imagine Elrond keeping his hair short for a time to commemorate his loss of Elros.


Theres a reason Morgoths servants shaved their thralls, it was clearly to humiliate them.

I could see that with some Vanyar maybe... or lets say, i could understand the symbolism behind such an act.
O.k. but I do not thinl elves need modesty much as immodesty is not really their problem. Do their even have a word for it?
And our Noldor are not really anywhere near monastic attitude.

One could argue Celebrimbor might shorten his hair as a sign of repentance for his line's misdeed. But
1) is repentance even a thing among elves?
2) he does not seem repentant in his ambition and pursuit of greatness
3) most other random elves have short hair in the series too
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Oh our Noldor TOTALLY should have long hair! The more proud and arrogant a character probably the longer is his hair, with tresses and gold in-woven! Such persons clearly should have hair far beyond shoulder-length!

For others such as Finwe i'd be okay with "modest" shoulder length, and some elves such ay maybe Saeros and some doriathrin nobles "shorn", that is neck or chin-length to show off their "cultivatedness" ,"civilized manners" and "sophistication".But their king of course is above that and allowed very long hair too;)

Other elves like the Falmari and Silvan i do not know. I'd be okay with varying lenghts of hair as long as it is still long enough to flow in the wind and to have flowers inwoven
 
Last edited:

Odola

Well-Known Member
Other elves like the Falmari and Silvan i do not know. I'd be okay with varying lenghts of hair as long as it is still long enough to flow in the wind and to have flowers inwoven
Remember that some Silvan elves use their hair to make bow strings. So long enought to be used for that, too, as I doubt their ladies would sacrifice theirs for this purpose.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
So at last 80 cm, that is a pretty precise hint! And is extremely long hair... even for a smaller "elf" like me it's down to my waste, down to the tocks for somewhat smaller people already...
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Interesting! How long is that bow? I calculated for a 3' bow, but as i see i didn't realize he didn't need the full length. He has shoulderlong hair and possibly even somewhat shorter hair would've still worked..
 
Last edited:

Odola

Well-Known Member
Interesting! How long is that bow? I calculated for a 3' bow, but as i see i didn't realize he didn't need the full leng4h. He has shoulderlong haur and posdibly even somewhat shorter hair would've still worked..
But afterwards his hair was short. So an elf had to have the dispossble lengh to cut off and still have some spare left on his head to look presentable.
 
Top