Light elves

Light elves

In Norse mythology, the light elves (Old Norse: "Ljósálfar") live in the Old Norse version of the heavens, in the place called Álfheim underneath the place of the Gods. The idea of the light elf is one of the most ancient records of elves (Old Norse: "álfr" singular, "álfar" plural) preserved in writing, as close to the prototypical idea of the elf as we might get (Nordic mythology preserved an ancient German paganism). The "light elf" designation is in contrast to the "dark elf" who is an earth dweller and may be a dwarf.

According to the early Nordic source that mentions light versus dark elves, the Nordic Eddas of the 13th century, the light elves are bright and radiant. The Edda "Gylfaginning" by Snorri Sturluson, says that they are "fairer to look upon than the sun" (Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur's translation). Snorri also stresses the great difference in both appearance and nature between them and the dark elves, known as the Dökkálfar in the following passage:

:"There are many magnificent dwellings. One is there called Alfheim. There dwell the folk that are called light-elves; but the dark-elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike the light-elves in appearance, but much more so in deeds. The light-elves are fairer than the sun to look upon, but the dark-elves are blacker than pitch."ndash , 13th century.

The light elf may have received its name and place from the Eddic references that the Álfheim belonged or was led by Freyr, god of the sun and sunlight. The placement of the elves, per Snorri, was in the heaven not quite as high as the gods, from which they could interact with the gods. Hence they were positioned between heaven and man, similar to the Semitic notion of the angels.

The "Mythology of All Races" Series points out that Snorri was the only author to differentiate light from dark elves. Because he called the dark elves "dwarves", scholars think light elves might have been "álfar" in other texts.


*" (The Fooling Of Gylfe)" by Sturluson, Snorri, 13th century Edda, in English. Accessed Apr. 16, 2007
*"Gylfaginning" in Old Norse [] Accessed Apr. 16, 2007.
*Bulfinch, Thomas (1834). "Bulfinch's Mythology." New York: Harper & Row, 1970, p. 348. ISBN 0-690-57260-3.
*Marshall Jones Company (1930). "Mythology of All Races" Series, Volume 2 "Eddic", Great Britain: Marshall Jones Company, 1930, pp. 220-221.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Light-elves —  / Light elf / Light Elves / Light Elf    The followers of Ingwë.    A name given to the Vanyar, the kindred of the Elves who came first to Valinor and dwelt long ages in the light of the Two Trees.    This is an old and rare term, used just once …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • light elves — noun a) A race of elves who live above ground and are radiant. b) A daylight dwelling elf or nature spirit (as opposed to the underground dwelling dark elves or dwarves) in Heathenry …   Wiktionary

  • Elves in fantasy fiction and games — In many works of modern fantasy, elves are a race of semi divine humanoid beings. Characteristics and common featuresModern fantasy literature has revived the elves as a race of semi divine beings of human stature who are friendly with animals.… …   Wikipedia

  • Elves —  / Elf    The Elder Children of Ilúvatar.    The first Elves awoke by Cuiviénen, the Water of Awakening in the far east of Middle earth, long Ages before the Rising of the Sun or Moon. Unlike Men, the Elves were not subject to illness or death,… …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • Elves of the Light —  / Elf of the Light    The Calaquendi.    Those Elves known as the Calaquendi, who had looked on the light of the Two Trees of Valinor before their Darkening. These were the Vanyar, the Noldor and that part of the Teleri that had travelled West… …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • Light Warriors (8-Bit Theater) — Collectively known as the Warriors of Light (or simply the Light Warriors ), Black Mage, Fighter, Thief and Red Mage are the main characters of 8 Bit Theater. Their names and appearances are based on four classes from the first Final Fantasy game …   Wikipedia

  • Elves — Elf Elf ([e^]lf), n.; pl. {Elves} ([e^]lvz). [AS. [ae]lf, ylf; akin to MHG. alp, G. alp nightmare, incubus, Icel. [=a]lfr elf, Sw. alf, elfva; cf. Skr. [.r]bhu skillful, artful, rabh to grasp. Cf. {Auf}, {Oaf}.] 1. An imaginary supernatural being …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Elves of Valinor —  / Elf of Valinor / Valinor Elves / Valinor Elf    Calaquendi, the Elves of the Light.    The Vanyar, the Noldor and those of the Teleri who came to Aman in the train of Oromë, and dwelt with the Valar in their realm of Valinor …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • Dark elves in fiction — Elves, a word from Germanic mythology, are frequently featured in Fantasy fiction. In modern fiction, particularly because of the influence from J. R. R. Tolkien s The Lord of the Rings, elves are modeled mostly after his original description:… …   Wikipedia

  • Dark Elves in fiction — Due at least partly to influence from the Dungeons Dragons role playing game, and perhaps also to the ever growing tendency toward synthesis of folklores, it is not uncommon for both Trows and Drow, along with black elves and dark elves, to be… …   Wikipedia