1. stampman
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    stampman Member

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    A Different Kind of Elf

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by stampman, Dec 10, 2015.

    I am looking to create a new kind of Elven race for my fantasy world. They aren't immortal, but they do have two to three times longer than humans. Rather than looking entirely human with just some pointed ears, they have gold and violet eyes (gold rimmed violet irises), slightly upturned noses, and are quite thin. They're carnivores, and as such have sharp teeth; it's also worthy of note that they prefer their food live when possible, such as small rodents or birds that they consume whole. Now, given all this, would you call them elves? Or are they too far out of the norm to be considered such? And what would you define an elvish race as?
     
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  2. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Historically, the Elben were known as those who lived along the Elbe river. They are human and they are fair (blond). Nose mythology makes no distinction between them and dwarfs save the dwarfs are black (dark haired) and lived on the Rhine.

    I've never understood the desire to pervert classic mythology and bastardize the pagan religions. From my research, the "elfish race" is simply the Germanic tribes of early Europe. (Sorry no pointed ears.) BUT seeing as I am the type of person who not only read the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda (these are heavily Christianized, so naturally scholars also have to rely on other sources), but archeological and social anthropology journal articles that cover the topic, I'm an outlier. (I've even named King Hakon in my current WIP.)

    The eyes you describe kind of remind me of Graceling eyes, though the rest of the beast seems more bat-like to me. I don't know why, you never said they fly, are nocturnal, or anything, that was just the image that came to mind.
     
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  3. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most anything I have read about elves was in a comic/book series called Elf Quest. I have only read a few of them but my wife has been a fan for 30 some years now.
     
  4. stampman
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    stampman Member

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    I'm still working on a culture, but the main conflict in my world doesn't stem from just a war but cultural misunderstandings. The races of man, namely the Phaltians (think Romans with a touch of medieval Europe thrown in), think of the elves as barbaric for their customs of eating live animals and what they see as a totalitarian government, while the elves frown on man because of their keeping slaves and constant infighting. Humans live in elven cities, and vice versa, but each face prejudices within the respective cultures.
     
  5. Bradley Parr
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    Bradley Parr Member

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    It really depends on how much you are wanting the reader to accept them as an Elvish race, personally I can believe what you are describing as Elves should you tell me that is what they are. I mean this is a fantasy book, so the rules are negotiable to an extent. If you want the readers to be able to clearly define this race as Elves, then you need to create them in the image that has already been set. On the other hand, if this is not your number one goal, then doing an alternative take on them is completely fine.
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    What norm? Some of us were alive prior to Peter Jackson stamping the appearance of elves into the current culture.

    I remember when the Silvan Elves were brought to visual fruition as this:

    [​IMG]

    It's not a video game; it's a story. Minor make-up changes like eye-color and how thin/heavy they are don't make them something else unless you make them something else. If they are called (and seen as) elves in your story, by the poeple(s) in your story, then elves they are in your story.
     
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  7. Ceridwen83
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    Ceridwen83 New Member

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    I just finished a book where elves had glowing red eyes, pointed teeth and where very pale and thin. That's how she saw elves and while I read her book they were elves. As a reader it does not bother me I pick up someone work to play in their playground :)
     
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  8. Martin515
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    Martin515 Member

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    What's an elf anyway? It aggravates me when people conform to the Tolkien/Jackson version because they think it is correct. What about Santa's Elves?... The Elves and the shoemaker?...

    If you are writing Fantasy, then you are presumably creating the world and the races within it. Why would you Middle-Earth all over it? Be original, I really like your take on elves!

    The only question I see here is whether you call them "Elves" or come up with your own name for this race... and that is entirely up to you. No-one holds the Trademark rights to "Elves" (as far as I know!)
     
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  9. Kinzvlle
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    Kinzvlle Active Member

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    As said before, the story is you`rs and the world is you`rs to design. So they don't conform to LOTR guidelines, they don`t need to. Originality is a good thing, whether or not to refer to them as elves well that`s up to you. What I'm working on currently has a variation of elves mentioned in it. These elves while not quite as different as you`rs they aren`t Legolas. Their more migratory native people, the ones that haven`t been relocated and are mentioned are more or less, guerilla fighters attacking and burning caravans and nay one else passing through their woodlands. There also known for their brutal executions of half-elves. Not the most original idea in the world but also possibly not what everyone sees as elves but they are because I said so. It sounds narcissistic to say that last line out loud but my point is elves are what you make them. You're concept, here is very interesting and if you want them to be elves that's what they are. That`s probably one of the appeals of the fantasy genre I suppose the freedom of world making you are allowed.
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your story, your elves. These aren't far enough from the norm that I'd think they should have been named something else.
     
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  11. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    For the record, that version was kinda shitty. And the Elves were described as beautiful. I think.
     
  12. Bolu Kai
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    Bolu Kai Member

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    Personally, I think that your elves can be whoever and look however you want. There is no right or wrong way to create an elven race. I have this one mythological bestiary that defines Orcs as creatures who lived in water (oceans I believe). There wasn't much of a physical description but they seemed nothing like the now staple look that we know from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Orcs we know live on land, are ugly, and were born out of the ground. Define them however you want for you story. there are plenty of other examples, trolls are one. I have seen so many different version of trolls in video games, books, and movies. The only thing telling us that Elves should look or act a certain way is popularity. If Lord of the Rings weren't popular, what would elves and orcs look like? What would be the norm? Define your own norm.
     
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  13. Welwordion
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    Welwordion New Member

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    I tend to create "alternative" version of races so this post title appealed to me, however I have to reign in my predecessors a little bit, usually if you name something "Elves" you do it because you want to somehow draw on existing associations, tropes or exspectations and yes sometime to contrast these exspectations. However in this particulary case here, I ask myself the question what is the purpose of naming these creatures elves? From the description the only thing slightly adhering too previous images of elves seems to be longevity and parts of their looks.
    Considering that using a label also brings the trouble of diffusing exspectations my recommendation would have been to name them differently.
     
  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    You've got a point but I think this example isn't too far.
     
  15. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    They sound more like what I think a Blood Elf would be. However I love the description and would want to read more about this race!
     
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  16. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Elves were around far before Tolkien's LOTR.

    Think of evolution when making your race. Why do they have longer ears? What traits would they develop based upon habitat and diet? What tools would help them advance? Not all groups of humans reach the same advancements, why we share information.
     
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  17. Bolu Kai
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    Bolu Kai Member

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    I like this approach! That is a great way to look at race/creature development. It has me thinking already!

    On the topic of Elves being around before Tolkien's world, I think too many people forget this and let a popular description of elves guide their version.
     
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