What I have discovered in my reading since is, perhaps, the most freeing of all. The majority of my previous posts come from the perspective of being perplexed as to the peculiar attributes of Elves as they are portrayed in the game Dungeons & Dragons, and branching out from that into professional writing.
My confusion came from a bias towards Elves as portrayed in The Lord of the Rings. I underwent a study of comparative literature and analysis of game rules to arrive at an answer. As an author, it is crucial to understand the nature of your characters so that their interactions make sense. Both of my previous conclusions could be correct. Many things may be true at the same time. I take comfort and pleasure in writing this because it’s a staple of the era of fiction that inspires me. Something happens in fiction and the author offers two, three, or four possible explanations.
What I have discovered is that the peculiarities of elves as portrayed in D&D are very strongly based upon themes and motifs out of folklore. The peculiar immunity to the paralysis of a ghoul could easily be explained by the ancient view of elves as spirits themselves. Contrary to popular mythology, the strange immunity to sleep spells and not needing to sleep aren’t derived from Legolas’s strange abilities as described in The Lord of the Rings. They come from the Lai of Tydorel, which ascribes the insomnia of its protagonist to having had an elven father.
It all boils down to world building. I prefer my games based upon literature, but I have finally traced the weirdness of D&D elves to our folklore. Thus, the confusion ends and I am truly free to write my own take, having traced these things to their sources. It all makes sense, in context. Knowledge is power, world building is a fine art, and this is my final word on the subject.
And now I have my own Elves to bring to life. I wish you well and hope to see you back here very soon.
(The above illustration is taken from the cover of Into the Borderlands from Goodman Games. I believe it is fair use. However, if I am mistaken, please let me know and I will remove it without hesitation.)