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Elrond mentions that going to The Undying Land which is west of Middle Earth allows Elves to be immortal.

Does this apply to other creatures such as Hobbits?

I know Frodo and Bilbo Baggins go there at the end of the Lord of the Rings but do they go there to die or to be immortal?

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    Actually, Arwen would have died for a number of reasons - both because of her choice to embrace mortality and because she didn't go into the West. After the marring of Arda, ALL elves slowly faded with time until they became wraiths; this is why the elves were all forced to leave for the safety of Valinor. – user3536 Dec 4 '12 at 23:51
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    Arwen says that she chooses a mortal life so that she can live with Aragorn in Middle Earth and not sail with the other elves to Valinor, and in the story of Beren and Luthien, Luthien also does this. I think that means that other elves may also have the choice to become mortal, because Luthien is fully elvish, though in her case, it may just be the fact that she loves Beren and that is why she is given the choice to remain immortal or return and become mortal. Another interesting fact is that in the story of Tuor and Idril, because in their story, Idril does not choose to become mortal, in fa – user4197 Feb 23 '13 at 4:35
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    There are clues "I will diminish and remain Galadriel and go to the West" Galadriel rejecting the ring. "You have seen him as he is on the other side" Gandalf to Frodo at Rivendell ref. Glorfindel. Sam could not believe a whole month had passed in Lothlorien. The time warp had to be be explained to the other seven. Tolkein never attempted to explain the subtle and not so subtle differences between Middle Earth and Varda. – user4221 Feb 25 '13 at 20:58
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I am delivering here a relevant portion of a forum thread concerning the immortality of mortals who pass to the Undying Lands. It seems that Christopher Tolkien used many of his father's letters to accumulate a fair body of knowledge about Middle Earth and its rules in The Silmarillion, but that some letters specific to the life and death of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins were unclear, (perhaps intentionally so - my interpretation - The whole thread is a very interesting read).

Here is the relevant passage I found:

But in this story it is supposed that there may be certain rare exceptions or accommodations (legitimately supposed? there always seem to be exceptions); and so certain 'mortals', who have played some great part in Elvish affairs, may pass with the Elves to Elvenhome. Thus Frodo (by the express gift of Arwen) and Bilbo, and eventually Sam (as adumbrated by Frodo); and as a unique exception Gimli the Dwarf, as a friend of Legolas and 'servant' of Galadriel.

I have said nothing about it in this book, but the mythical idea underlying is that for mortals, since their 'kind' cannot be changed for ever, this is strictly only a temporary reward: a healing and redress of suffering. They cannot abide for ever, and though they cannot return to mortal earth, they can and will 'die' - of free will, and leave the world. - Letter #154

Or from letter #325:

As for Frodo or other mortals, they could only dwell in Aman for a limited time - whether brief or long. The Valar had neither the power nor the right to confer "immortality" upon them. Their sojorn was a "purgatory", but one of peace and healing and they would eventually pass away (die at their own desire and of free will) to destinations of which the Elves knew nothing.

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    Well, the letters make it quite clear, that living in Valinor won't make a mortal immortal. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 9 '12 at 21:23
  • These letters are quite clear, but most of the thread delivers details that are cryptic, except to what would be a well-read Middle Earth maven. – wbogacz Jun 9 '12 at 22:06
  • Major necroing here but - "at their own desire", "of free will" - does that not mean they would otherwise - if they had no desire to die - keep on living forever ? – deg Sep 6 '17 at 20:34
  • Sounds to me like they would eventually lose the desire to live. As in, all they wanted to accomplish is complete and they're at peace with themselves and the world. – William Chambers Sep 8 '17 at 6:50
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The elves are immortal by nature and it isn't Valinor that makes them immortal (they would have lived forever in Middle Earth, too, they just go to a nicer place to live). Likewise does it not cause the mortal hobbits to live forever. It is called the Undying Lands because only immortals live there and not the other way around.

But on the other hand, this Wikipedia site says:

...only immortal beings were allowed to reside there, but the land itself, while blessed, did not cause mortals to live forever. Amongst the exceptions to this were the surviving bearers of the One Ring — Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and...

But the phrasing here is a bit unclear. It could be they were an exception to only immortals being allowed there, or they could be an exception to the fact that it didn't cause mortals to live forever.

It's been quite a long time since I read LotR and The Silmarillion, but I don't think Frodo and Bilbo were going to live forever. They just got a nice place to die.

  • How come Arwen becomes mortal by staying in Middle Earth? Is it only because she marries a man or is it because she stays in Middle Earth? – PriestVallon Jun 9 '12 at 19:35
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    Wikipedia states: "Arwen pledged her hand to him in marriage, renouncing her Elvish lineage and accepting mortality, the "Gift of Men". Elrond withheld from Aragorn permission to marry his daughter until such time as his foster son should be king of Gondor and Arnor reunited. To marry a mortal, Arwen would be required to choose mortality and thus eventually deprive the immortal Elrond of his daughter; and Elrond feared that in the end Arwen might find the prospect of death (her own and that of her husband) too difficult to bear." which suggests she will herself be mortal too – PriestVallon Jun 10 '12 at 7:49
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    @PriestVallon Ah, interresting point. But it seems it is the marriage that makes her mortal and not the staying in Middle Earth. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 10 '12 at 9:17
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    As Arwen was a half-elf, she was given the choice whether to be counted as elf, or human; she chose humanity to stay with Aragorn. (“for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter”, and “The uttermost choice is before you: to repent and go to the Havens […] or else to abide the Doom of Men.”) – Mormegil Jun 12 '12 at 9:20
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    "It is called the Undying Lands because only immortals live there and not the other way around." Yes. We tried telling Ar-Pharazôn that, but he wouldn't listen. – TRiG Dec 3 '12 at 12:38

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protected by Tablemaker Feb 25 '13 at 21:00

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