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The Elves, I've read, are like angels, they do not share original sin, and that is why they must leave the world for the west.

I seem to remember reading that the elves were based on the Irish fiery stories. The lady of the wood (sorry I can never remember the names of Tolkiens secondary characters) in particular seems to mirror the Queen of the 'Fair folk'. Beautiful, often kind, and very, very dangerous.

I was always struck by the scenes in the wood because magic was just a part of how things were. Time passed differently, simple ropes and cloaks were somehow made wonderful, and, if I remember correctly, the Lady barely understood what Sam meant when he talked of 'Elf Magic'. Thats how the 'Fair folk' acted in legend...they were just a powerful, frightening force of nature.

I too will enjoy hearing how a new generation interprets this tale. Since reading what has been posted here, I've dug my copy of LOTR out. I thought I'd skim thru it this weekend. I wonder if I'll like it as much as I did when I was a kid.
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