FAQ / Where do Elves go after they die

To the Halls of Mandos.

As soon as they were disbodied they were summoned to leave the places of their life and death and go to the Halls of Waiting in the realm of the Valar.

There, in those Halls, they had to pass a certain period of time and their far was being "purified" and when the Valar decided that it was enough, they re-embodied the fa and let it back to the "material" world, but only by the free will on behalf of the soul - fa itself.

.... none are re-born or sent back into life unwilling ...

The length of time that they dwelt in Waiting was partly at the will of Nmo the Judge, lord of Mandos, partly at their own will. The happiest fortune, they deemed, was after the Waiting to be re-born, for so the evil and grief that they had suffered in the curtailment of their natural course might be redressed.

Now... all the above was valid only if the fa of the Elf willingly followed the summons of Mandos. But we learn of cases when the far of dead elves refused this "kind invitation" . And as Tolkien explains:

... the fa unbodied would flee in terror of the Shadow to any refuge - unless it were already committed to the Darkness and passed then into its dominion. In like manner even of the Eldar some who had become corrupted refused the summons, and then had little power to resist the counter - summons of Morgoth.

... and wander houseless in the world, unwilling to leave it and unable to inhabit it, haunting trees or springs or hidden places that once they knew....

For the Unbodied, wandering in the world, are those who at the least have refused the door of life and remain in regret and self-pity. Some are filled with bitterness, grievance, and envy. Some were enslaved by the Dark Lord and do his work still, though he himself is gone. They will not speak truth or wisdom.

It was pre-ordained that the privilege to be re-born and given a new body was granted only to those far which followed the summons of Mandos. Those which refused however still were desperately desired new bodies and thus it came to those occasions when "The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully".


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of death and the severance of fea

                           and hrondo [> hroa].(23)                       

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