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17707RE: Denethor's beard? (Was RE: Tolkien on Elf beards)

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  • Merlin DeTardo
    Jan 5, 2007
      I was searching for something else when I stumbled on this
      interesting old post, but I can't find that there was ever any follow-
      up on one small point, by Michael Martinez or anyone else:

      "...Denethor sports a long white beard..."

      Was Denethor bearded? I didn't know that, and I can't find a
      reference to it in The Lord of the Rings. Does anyone have a

      I know of a website that purports to list the eye and hair colors
      (including beards) of all the characters in LotR, The Hobbit, The
      Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales:


      but even if that site is completely accurate, merely not listing a
      beard color for Denethor doesn't mean there is no beard, only that
      its color is not given in the text of those books.

      Is Denethor described as having a beard elsewhere? In LotR drafts,

      I did read an interesting short essay on Denethor about a year ago
      that noted that his face is described in more detail than most other
      characters in LotR:


      Nothing there about a beard (or lack of one), however.

      -Merlin DeTardo

      >>--- Mysthoc message #6263
      >>--- On Aug 7, 2002 6:17 pm, "michael_martinez2" <michael@...> wrote:
      >>This whole "bearded Elves" issue has caused a great deal of
      discussion through the years. Happily, it can all be resolved with a
      few citations....which I am unable to provide, because I'm about to
      leave work and don't know when my Internet access at home will be
      restored. Still, here is what I can recall on my own. Treat it as a
      rough summation of the facts, subject to correction at a later time.

      >>The passage in UNFINISHED TALES is found in the chapter on
      Galadriel and Celeborn and is in one of the appendices. It concerns
      Prince Imrahil's Elvish ancestry, and Christopher Tolkien paraphrases
      some late-life essay of his father's. Many readers have taken this
      as the final word in Elf beards.

      >>But it's not. A couple of issues back, VINYAR TENGWAR published
      some additional material for "The Shibboleth of Feanor". In one of
      the notes associated with this material, JRRT writes that Nerdanel's
      father was remarkable for having grown a beard in the Second Cycle
      (of his life).

      >>The reader is left to infer that all male Elves normally grow
      beards when they reach their Third Cycle (no clues, yet, as to what
      defines a cycle of life). Cirdan, by inference (rather than
      implication, since the note does not mention him), must have long
      since reached his Third Cycle by the end of the Third Age.

      >>Since Denethor sports a long white beard, and since the statue of
      the Gondorian king by the crossroads (where Frodo, Sam, and Gollum
      watch the army from Minas Morgul pass by) has a beard, it must be
      accepted that Dunadan men DID grow beards, but perhaps because of
      their Elvish ancestry (THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH says that the
      Stewards were "ultimately of royal origin"), some of the Dunedain did
      not grow beards until THEIR Third Cycle (or some Dunadan/half-elf
      equivalent of the full Elvish Third Cycle).
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