Today has been a good day. I have managed to get my hands on not only The Book of Lost Tales but also Morgoth’s Ring. Specifically, the section entitled ‘Of the Laws and Customs Among the Eldar’. Which has sparked various thoughts regarding mine and @elenothar ‘s ongoing Lord of the Rings/Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them worldbuild. See below for some of my musings!
Canonically, Eluréd and Elurín were six or seven years old when the Second Kinslaying descended upon Dorianth. However, it is also canonical that elvish children mature at a vastly slower rate then do humans; assuming that the twin followed elvish developmental patterns (they did have human ancestry), they might have had the physical appearance of three to four year old children. Little more then toddlers. That - really puts it into perspective. Tolkien also states that Eldar mentally mature at a much faster rate then do humans, but trauma and mental and physical shock could have induced psychogenic amnesia. (My knowledge of psychogenic amnesia is strictly obtained from wiki, so there is every possibility that I might be wrong).
Newt and Theseus would have been children. They might have seen their parents die; they would have been taken from all that was familiar and driven into the wilderness to die of cold and hunger. They would have had nothing left but each other - Graves tries not to think about it. Newt and Theseus have spent literally years trying not to think about it; their earliest recollections - of fear and hunger and darkness - are not particularly pleasant ones. The twins have - mixed feelings about their lack of memories of what transpired before. Prior to the revelation of their heritage, the temptation of knowing their true backgrounds was a factor - but. But even if it had been a possibility, they weren’t sure if they wanted to know who they were before the gap in their memories. The twins had foster-parents that they loved among both humans and the avari; they know who they are. They like who they are.
Despite it not being strictly necessary, apparently there are uniquely elvish wedding traditions. …Newt, for one, wouldn’t care about a traditional ceremony. Percival, on the other hand - well, he might not particularly mind either (Graves is practical; it’s one of his defining characteristics) but he might also feel that Newt deserves every courtesy and honor that he can bestow. Namely, a year-long betrothal, as jointly agreed upon/announced by the families of the spouses-to-be, and the exchange of silver rings - which are later swapped for gold in the actual ceremony.
…Newt’s only known family (at that time) is Theseus; Graves, on the other hand, doesn’t have any blood kin remaining; however, the House of Elrond has always regarded him as both a longstanding ally and family in some vague, undefined way. (He’s been a constant of their respective childhoods, served and watched and guarded them all these years…) As such, Graves goes to the only member of Elrond’s family he admires for their practicality, fellow-feeling, and capability not to spread around the news that he’s getting married.
…which means that the marriage is formally agreed upon approved by Theseus and Arwen. The latter is delighted. The former somewhat less so. (His brother! His little brother is getting married! Newt politely asks one of the wolves-not-wargs-why-would-you-think-
they’re-wargs? to sit on him until he calms down) Newt thinks this is all very silly, but it makes Percy happy, so why not?
A marriage feast followed by the actual ceremony is also traditional; in this case, the ‘feast’ in question was a picnic in the middle of Mirkwood forest, and the ceremony was officiated by Radagast instead of the parents of the spouses - considering that none of said parents were actually living, and getting the knot tied by a Maia is definitely something. Apparently, it’s tradition among the Noldor for the parents to give their new offspring-in-law a ‘jewel upon a chain or collar’; Arwen, acting on Graves’ behalf, might give Newt a pretty necklace or something.
…of course, none of the above is strictly necessary considering that apparently it’s the wedding night that is the actual act of marriage, with everything else being ceremonial and not really needed. I’m choosing to believe that there’s some kind of mutual intent needed between the parties in question to forge said marriage. Or is casual sex just - not a thing among elves?
With regards to Gondolin - I wonder what House Graves belonged to? I’m tempted to say he was a guard/soldier in the House of the King, considering his canonical rank in MACUSA - the seat of power. Individuals in said house consisted of “the King’s family and bodyguard.“ Then again, he could be a member of the House of the Wing - “The bodyguard of Tuor, and the smallest house.” If Graves was a member of either House - that could also be one reason why he sticks close to the descendants of Turgon/Tuor (in addition to his sense of duty); they’re basically the only semi-family he has left.
…I’m actually pretty sure he was a member of the House of the Wing, seeing as how The Book of Lost Tales states that the member of the House of the King basically stayed with Turgon to the last and died alongside him. Also, there’s a pretty good likelihood that the House of the Wing might have had one of the highest survival rates of the various populations in Gondolin - considering how they basically followed Tuor, and how Tuor was the one who led the evacuation.
“Mighty was the array of the house of the king and their colors were white and gold and red, and their emblems the moon and the sun and the scarlet heart…” That’s the House of the King. The House of the Wing - “All these wore wings as it were of swans or gulls upon their helms, and the emblem of the White Wing was upon their shields.” I wonder if Graves has any physical remembrances - any tokens, or badges of office, or anything from that time?
Just - Graves. Graves, looking out over the walls of Gondolin during what was supposed to be a holiday, and seeing the plains teaming with dragons and fire-serpents, orcs and balrogs. Being there when the northern gate fell and the orcs poured into the city, killing everyone in their path. He saw the House of the Hammer of Wrath die to a man; he might even have seen Ecthelion slay Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. He ran with the rest of the survivors across the plains, in that last desperate rush - and there’s a strong likelihood that he witnessed Glorfindel’s last stand.
Also - @elenothar , remember how we talked about just how many elves survived the Fall of Gondolin? The Book of Lost Tales says that 580 survived to resettle at the Mouths of Sirion. I looked up some speculation online - apparently, Gondolin was able to field an army at least 10,000 strong in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, meaning the city had - about 30,000 people, maybe?
…meaning about 2% of the population of Gondolin managed to escape.
…Graves can sympathize with Newt to a rather large extent regarding his spouse’s disinclination to listen or sing about his family. Graves was present at some of the events that elves love to sing about - the fall of Gondolin, the battles of Ecthelion and Glorfindel, the death of the House of the Hammer - they’re not good memories.
I’m so here for the idea of Graves being sort of unofficially adopted by the House of Elrond. Arwen is delighted when he asks her about standing with him at the wedding - she knows Graves well enough to realise what a huge show of trust that is. (Elladan and Elrohir are definitely not going to hear the news from her, though it’s inescapable that they’ll eventually find out and start the teasing.) Newt, though he usually finds jewelry impractical, always wears the small chain that Arwen gives him on behalf of Graves. It’s in the shape of a wing because of Graves’ house. Graves as part of the House of the Wing actually makes a lot of sense to me - plus I really like the assocation of him with birds (you know, some kind of proud bird of prey?). I think he may wear a discrete wing embroidered on his cloak, maybe, but generally he doesn’t advertise who he is and where he comes from. But he can’t bear to be entirely without reminders - he not only feels he owes Gondolin and all his fallen kin that much, but it’s also a part of him.
… Oh man, do you think he might have some ridiculous helmet with wings stashed away somewhere? He never wears it, of course, didn’t even like wearing it back in Gondolin unless it was an official function and he had to. Tuor probably teased him about that. Given that Tuor only arrived in Gondolin fairly close to its end, maybe Graves was a high-ranking guard and member of the House of Kings before his arrival and Turgon assigned him to Tuor and the newly formed House of the Wing as a sign of his favour and trust in his new son in law? After all, his daughter’s husband should have the best security bar the king’s. Or did the House of the Wing already exist and just shifted its responsibilities to Tuor?
I didn’t even think of the fact that Graves would know Glorfindel (have seen him die) before now. Maybe that’s part of the reason he’s drawn to Rivendell? Actually, wouldn’t Glorfindel be a good choice to come to the wedding as well? He’s not kin, but he is one of the very few survivors of Gondolin that Graves knows about who hasn’t returned across the sea.
2%. Jfc. Sometimes I forget that all of the Silmarillion is pain.
Graves has been a longstanding ally of Elrond’s family since before Elrond himself was born; he served Turgon, Elrond’s great-grandfather, Tuor, Elrond’s grandfather, Eärendil, Elrond’s father - who himself probably regarded him as a close friend and surrogate uncle. Graves is loyal - and he’s been a constant in Elrond’s household for a very long time. Tuor probably released his men of all obligation to him and his House a long, long time ago - but Graves still stayed. I’d imagine that there’s little that Graves would ask that the house of Elrond would not willingly give him. Which might be one reason they were so worried when he started to go on longer and longer trips in the wilderness, looking for a fight, for a challenge, for something. And it’s also another reason that Arwen would be honored and delighted to help the elf who had given everything for her family and never asked for a thing in return.
…of course, it turns out that Graves really is family when the truth of his husband’s background becomes known. He’s literal Elrond’s uncle-in-law now - Arwen and the Twins probably start calling him that immediately.
I was under the impression that the emblem of the House of the Wing was more along the lines of a swan-wing, but a bird of prey sounds - quite suitable for Graves. I also now have the sudden mental image of Graves having a cloak shaped like a pair of folded wings that he keeps stuffed in the very back of his closet. It can keep company with that ridiculous winged helmet - which he hates, but can’t bring himself to throw away. Considering that Morgoth’s forces attacked on a holiday - a day when everyone would be dressed in their most ornate, ceremonial wear - there’s a high likelihood that said helmet is the one that he wore during the Fall of Gondolin and carried to the Mouths of Sirion.
…perhaps the fact that said attack took place during that time meant that Graves was lucky (?) enough to be carrying/wearing the more formal heirlooms of his family, meaning that they weren’t lost when the City fell. He was probably shocked when Orcrist and Glamdring turned up again; he never thought he’d see those again in his lifetime. Also, didn’t we speculate that his own sword was - nothing spectacular or out of legend, but a good sword that’s been with him through many battles - and yes, it glows blue in the presence of orcs.
I like the headcanon that Graves transferred from the House of the King to the House of the Wing! I don’t know much about the size of the latter, except that it’s mentioned to be the smallest of all the houses. Google-fu doesn’t provide any answers on that front either, but - well. Tuor led them (except for the guards he left with his wife and child) through the thick of the fight; I wouldn’t be surprised if they sustained heavy casualties. I also wonder just how many survivors of lost Gondolin remained in Middle Earth during the time period of The Lord of the Rings? The Havens, where most of them ended up at, were destroyed by the Feanorians; I don’t - think many survived. Honestly, I’m surprised that more of them didn’t seek the Sea when the option was presented to them. As it is - Graves lost his city, what remained of his family, and most of the people that he knew during the Fall of Gondolin, and he’s had to sit and watch as war, sorrow, and time whittled away the few survivors. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the few members of the House of the Wing - maybe the last member - on this side of the Sea.
Graves and Newt probably keep their wedding/betrothal quiet - not because they care about what other people think of them, but because it simply isn’t in either of their natures to make a production out of it. And it really, really isn’t anyone else’s business. Although once the Noldor custom of providing necklaces as a gift is explained to the Scamanders… well. I now have the mental image of Theseus showing up sometime after the wedding and handing Percival a necklace, apologizing that it took him so long - he wasn’t aware of the custom before Arwen explained it to him, and it took him a while to save up for something nice. Theseus actually commissioned it from the Dwarves - it’s a silver warg’s tooth, or something along those lines, and might also make for a weapon of last resort.
Apparently Thingol’s emblem - which might be the one the Scamanders could claim by right by right of descent (they wouldn’t. They actually literally run away whenever anyone suggests as much - although I wouldn’t be surprised if Graves’ winged cloak and helmet share the space in the back of the wardrobe with a cloak emblazoned with said heraldry) - was a “winged moon on black surrounded by stars”. Odd coincidence.
I don’t think Glorfindel and Graves are particularly close - they knew one another in Goldolin by sight, but they never really talked or moved in the same circles. In Rivendell, they’re on a more equal level, and help coordinate the defense of the valley - and, rarely, they might sometimes just sit and remember. But they’re still not friends, or at least not close enough that Graves would invite him to his wedding - either that, or he simply didn’t trust the ex-Head of the House of the Golden Flower not to keep his mouth shut.