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A Query: Why Are Elves so Popular? Besides Pornography?

Chewi

Moon
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
This is a topic that me and a multitude of my associates always end up talking about. "Those damn knife ears are everywhere!" I'd call out into the void! And the echo I would hear return to me shouts back "THEY'RE TEH BEST!1!" So I have my own thoughts about why elves are super popular, but I'm more interested in what you have to say about it. Why do you think elves are so popular?
 

Lala

Purveyor of Mandatory Snuggles
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Location
In your pants, probably
Because elves are the best. And I'll thank you to keep your slurs to yourself. GOOD. DAY.

Jokes aside, on the female side it's probably because they're associated with grace and poise as well as the fact that they're aesthetically pleasing. Beyond that, as you mentioned in the title, they've become a common trope in adult fantasy art and stories, perpetuated by "innocent maiden" stereotyping. All the big monsters and orcs loooove defiling sweet little elves.

I generally default to playing elves in my fantasy stories simply because I like the archetype!
 

Vekseid

Most imposing inkwell.
Administrator
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
This site is basically here because 'fuck the elves'. Elliquiy's founding role-play was Elven Maiden vs. Human Barbarian
 

xanaphia

To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Shoulder deep within the borderline
One of the most common pairings seen on here, is female elf X male orc, because both parts represent an exaggerated representations of the gender binary. Elves have idealized feminine traits: beautiful, graceful, delicate, slender. Orcs have amplified masculine traits: powerful, large, brutish, ravenous.
 

Azure-Yuki

Planetoid
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Everyone in this thread is talking about why people like to fuck elves and here I was coming in for a rousing talk about Tolkein. :/
 

Chewi

Moon
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Everyone in this thread is talking about why people like to fuck elves and here I was coming in for a rousing talk about Tolkein. :/
It's more about elves in general, but some people seem to not be interested in certain things. I know Tolkein's biggest contributor to his inspiration comes from Beowulf, so there's a lot of influence there - since there's a section that talks about how light elves and dark elves war over who gets the souls of men when they die, which could very well be where his elves and orcs came from for middle earth. But I'm just asking about elves in general and wanted second opinions on the matter. There are a lot of...sexual talks about it, even though I do not wish for this thread to be about that. But those are opinions that're being heard and I understand them. I'm meaning culturally why they're popular.

A lot of the extreme feminine and masculine juxtaposition is justified, but why do we focus so much on that? Is it the "it's not human, ergo, it is interesting" or is there something more that lies beneath it all? I'm just curious what people on here think about when they hear elves - outside of sexual content.
 

Chewi

Moon
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Not that I unappreciated the people above for taking time to post on this thread, I was probably framing the question in an unclear way.
 

Vekseid

Most imposing inkwell.
Administrator
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
For my custom fantasy setting I do have a personal take on 'elves' (the sidhe, specifically) as the undead much of insular Celtic myth hinted them as. I find it rather interesting to see vampires going the same route, slowly being "de-undeaded" as time goes on and the romantic/sexual aspects of their mythologies get played up.
 

Azure-Yuki

Planetoid
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
My guess would be that, at least in pop culture, elves are an idealized perfected version of humans. They have all the traits that make people human but just...better.

Examples:
1. The universal fear of death is basically not a thing with elves because they are either extremely long living or immortal depending on the fantasy.

2. Never appear to become sick or ill through natural causes.

3. Are almost always depicted as beautiful/flawless (depending on the elves). By contrast there are dark elves for those who need to feel edgy.

4. Typically are shown to be more in touch with nature than man and coexist with nature. They also seem to have 'figured out' how to have civilization and still be one with nature. Whereas in the real world there is the feeling that humanity as become detached to nature through are use of technology and we are actively hurting nature with what we do. Big theme in Tolkein's universe of course.

5. Elves can basically do everything humans can, just better. Elves are often seen in fantasy as being amazing archers and spellcasters.

By contrast, notice something that is NOT associated with elves. Macho styled masculinity. Elves are seen as 'perfect' but not in the muscular feats of strength way. They are usually slim and dexterous. My hypothesis is that this reflects the fact that fantasy culture is highly linked with nerd culture and that most nerds, while usually stereotypically male, were not the masculine sort of males. Or at least, male nerds did not see themselves as such. Most people who were considered nerds back in the day, usually were not the athletes and such. They valued other traits. Therefore, the elves took on traits that reflected what they valued. At least that's my theory.
 

pods6827

Star
Joined
Apr 11, 2016
There are two things that come to my mind when it comes to elves; magic and mystery. Most people I know tend to think of elves as being the most magical race, and a lot of modern fiction supports that (in D&D for example, the elf race comes with a bonus to Intelligence, which is the attribute for Wizards, as well as having some magical seeming abilities of their own). Elves are also frequently portrayed as being separate from the other mortal races, rarely interacting with them except for the occasional Elf/Dwarf conflict, or to show that the Big Bad is such a big deal that even they're preparing to fight the enemy's forces, giving them a reputation for being aloof and mysterious to races like humans.

One thing that I think has really helped the popularity of elves is that there's so many different kinds available so there's probably at least one that fits your tastes. High elves, wood elves, dark elves, the Fair Folk, space elves...The list goes on. About the only kind of elf I've never seen before is a bearded elf.
 

Chewi

Moon
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Interesting point(s) Azure, and definitely provides food for thought. To be fair, I like elves, there's just a bit of over saturation of elves and I like to believe that's the reason I go "Oh look, elves again. Imprison them with the rest." I just wish there were something more that people do with them.

I agree that they're just "better" humans, with an incredibly long lifespan and this unique coexistence with nature compared to how we see nature in the real world and all. Why has this archetype existed for so long now? I personally pin the reasoning behind Tolkein, while I adore my fantasy races we seem to be afraid to veer away from that ideal concept of "Elf > Human." Why focus on that?

You also bring up a good point, pods, but the very fact that Warhammer has SPACE ELVES - while interesting - kind of proves the point I'm making. They are everywhere, and too many people seem to not want to do anything different or outside of the norm with them apart from the previously established estimations. I get that some ideas might not...mesh with elves entirely, but I would absolutely appreciate seeing weird ones. Also...I like my elf's beard. He looks wrong without one.
 

leestud

Super-Earth
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Location
England
Elves are really popular because they make all the toys at the north pole that Santa delivers to children and children loves toys, they make cookies in trees and loads of people love eating cookies and they also make shoes while the shoemaker sleeps, shoes are very useful and a lot of people love shoes.
 

Chewi

Moon
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Elves are really popular because they make all the toys at the north pole that Santa delivers to children and children loves toys, they make cookies in trees and loads of people love eating cookies and they also make shoes while the shoemaker sleeps, shoes are very useful and a lot of people love shoes.
I approve of your reply, that was good. Ya smartass. x3
 

Saber Arturia

Top shelf
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Location
US
Elves in a general sense are very pretty humans who are just 'better' at everything more or less.
By contrast, notice something that is NOT associated with elves. Macho styled masculinity. Elves are seen as 'perfect' but not in the muscular feats of strength way. They are usually slim and dexterous. My hypothesis is that this reflects the fact that fantasy culture is highly linked with nerd culture and that most nerds, while usually stereotypically male, were not the masculine sort of males. Or at least, male nerds did not see themselves as such. Most people who were considered nerds back in the day, usually were not the athletes and such. They valued other traits. Therefore, the elves took on traits that reflected what they valued. At least that's my theory.
For some 'Masculine'/Machsimo style male elves, there's Faenor & Fingolfin from the silmarillion at least. (The latter being such a fucking badass that he gets one hell of a metal ballad about him challenging his settings version of Satan and crippling him permanently). And then there's Tyrion from the Warhammer fantasy universe setting.
 

Azure-Yuki

Planetoid
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Elves in a general sense are very pretty humans who are just 'better' at everything more or less.


For some 'Masculine'/Machsimo style male elves, there's Faenor & Fingolfin from the silmarillion at least. (The latter being such a fucking badass that he gets one hell of a metal ballad about him challenging his settings version of Satan and crippling him permanently). And then there's Tyrion from the Warhammer fantasy universe setting.
I agree with the elves from the Silmarillion. Of course, that was Tolkein's elves which he seemed to make almost as angelic. I was speaking more of what elves have become through decades of nerd culture.

And yes! Fingolfin taking on Morgoth one on one and leaving Morgoth with a limp for all time was fantastic. Damn I hope this LotR thing Amazon is doing is focused on the Silmarillion.
 

Procyonix

The Half-Brained Prince
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Location
Milwaukee
given he wrote some of the LotR in the trenches of WW1 at first, the angelic link is likely intentional. Reading his work, its very easy to see parallels to the battlefields of France he knew. But that is, after all, what most of the great literary books, especially fantasy and Sci-fi have in common: they evoke wonder in the world they create, but you can see the connection to the world you live in, and the experiences that you might have in common. I would say that it is the biggest reason Tolkien was still well known when the "modern" era of geek/nerd culture discovered him: his work is timeless if rooted in the trenches.
 
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