The Origin of Man

The most common and incorrect assumption about Men is that Men of Arda are just like us. Like the Elves, their appearance and strength is based upon their genealogical past. Like the Elves, they have a beginning that is carefully planned out.

Men share weaknesses with us, and some of their strengths outmatch our own.

  • Men are easily slain by wounds, illness, and old age (104 S). Their mortality is a gift and a blessing from Eru Ilúvatar (42 S).
  • They have magical powers that are very limited, and we know very little about them. The Drúedain seem to have the most active and noticeable magic, which will be covered on the section about the Drúedain later on (379 UT).
  • They are capable of telepathy, but Tolkien wrote that it is excruciatingly tiring for Men, even with the help of a Palantír. Telepathy isn’t a very useful tool, and as seen with Lord Denethor, telepathy can be misleading as well. A far grater power, such as a Maia, can easily turn telepathy against the weaker man, showing him what the Maia wishes the man to see, not what the man searches for. This makes telepathy in Middle-earth with evil Maia all over the place, a very dangerous activity (411 UT).
  • Men are given the ability to dream beyond the world and to shape their lives not in accordance to the Music of the Ainur (41 S).

When they awoke in Hildórien by the first sunrise (103 S), they separated themselves into three races according to appearance and strength: the people of Hador, the people of Haleth, and the people of Bëor.

The People of Hador

These people are blond, (with rare, brunette exceptions) fair skinned, tall and gray or blue eyed. Please note the lack of red hair.

Special powers/traits: They are known for their love and talent for horses (307 PME).

Where they are found in the Third Age: In Rohan and Dale.

Which language(s) they speak: In the First and Second ages they spoke Sindarin. In the third age they adopted Westron, but the language didn’t change from that point. It is replaced by Old English in the books. They also spoke the younger Westron that is used for dealings with the rest of the world (308 PME).

Famous People of Hador: Éomer, Éowyn, Théoden

The People of Bëor

These people are shorter and broader than the people of Hador, darker skinned, with brown or gray eyes, and brown or black hair (and rare blond exceptions). The men who went to Númenor became taller, fairer skinned, and their life spans were lengthened by hundreds of years. They were given Númenor because they aided the Elves and the Valar in ridding the world of Morgoth.

Special powers/traits: They are steadfast and loyal. As a rule, and don’t often break promises (308 PME). The Men who went to Númenor are gifted in telepathy.

Where they are found in the Third Age: In Gondor, Harad, and Bree.

Which language(s) they speak: They first spoke Sindarin and Quenya, when they were given Númenor they adopted their own language, Adûnaic. When they came back to Middle-earth in the Second Age, Adûnaic changed and became Westron. In the Third Age, they speak Sindarin and Westron. The Haradrim their own language that we know next to nothing about, and the other people of Bëor that didn’t go to Númenor speak Westron.

Famous People of Bëor: Aragorn, Berúthiel, Denethor

The People of Haleth

These people are a race unto themselves. They are short, but not as short at the dwarves, very broad and strong, beardless on the most part, (a few men manage to grow a thin goatee) black haired, brown-skinned, deep voiced with pleasant, rolling laughter, deep-set eyes, flat noses, black eyes, and their eyes glow red when they are in the blood-lust of battle (377-8 UT).

Special powers/traits: They have a matriarchal society, are incredible trackers, and a strange power with carving. They build watch-stones that are in likeness of themselves; so perfect that they can be mistaken for real people. These watch-stones are magical, and will attack those who try to harm the house they protect. However, what hurts the statue hurts its maker (377-82 UT).

Where they are found in the Third Age: Drúwaith Iaur and Dunland (384 UT)

Which language(s) they speak: They speak their own language, speaking Sindarin or Westron only when dealing with peoples beside their own folk (309 PME).

Famous People of Haleth: Aghan, Ghân-buri-Ghân, Haleth

Half Elves

Elves have only married into one race of Men, the Men of Bëor, and this has occurred only four times: Lúthien and Beren, Tuor and Idril, Imrazor and Mithrellas, Aragorn and Arwen. Every time, the male of the couple is a man and the woman is an Elf.

Special powers/traits: Manwë decides if the children are mortal or immortal or given the right to choose. This decision is hereditary, which is how Arwen was able to choose mortality. Once the choice of mortality has been made, the descendants are given no choice and are mortal. Even when mortal, Half-elves have extraordinarily long lives (249 S).

The Only Half-elves: Dior, Eärendil, Eldarion, Elrond, Elros, Galador, Gilmith, The Daughters of Aragorn and Arwen

In Conclusion

Men, like everyone in Tolkien’s creation, (with a possible exception of Tom Bombadil) have an explained origin and ordered sense to their race. You cannot randomly make up new races of men because it would conflict with the history painstakingly thought out before hand. Half-elves are extremely rare and all are accounted for. Men of Arda are not us; they are a species apart.

Sources

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