I don't think I've ever found an estimate of how many Gliders there were before Blue Mountain fell or how many elves lived in the Sun Village when there was still a Sun Village. I would guess around 100 Gliders and maybe a few hundred Sun Folk? What do you guys think? (Was this mentioned in the Wolfrider's Guide to the World of Elfquest?)
Gliders I'd say... about 20-30, maybe a few more.
We have the following confirmed ones:
That's 15, + an unspecified number of other Gliders (you can try to Count the number floating around the Great Egg for a more exact number).
The population in the Sun Village is a lot more difficult to estimate, simply because the population, unlike in Blue Mountain, changes drastically over the years.
I think there would have had to be more than a few dozen Gliders. If you look at all the background characters in Blue Mountain (OQ/S@BM) with different outfits, it's more than 150. It's possible I may have duplicates in there somewhere, but unless Wendy was careless about repeating characters when they should have been in a smaller population (and she's not careless about anything, so I doubt that's the case), there would have to be more Gliders.
Unnamed background Sun Villagers number closer to 500, but again, there may be some duplicates in my notes. (I saved picture clippings of all the background characters throughout the series, because I'm OCD like that. I would never be able to give up counting things like the Wolfriders. xD)
I recall now that, similarly, readers have said Hogwarts seems to have a relatively small student body compared to what it should have been for a 7-year school encompassing the entire UK, and J. K. Rowling said that was because she only named a small number of students in Harry's year. Maybe there's a similar sort of perception bias going on here.
Why do we care about estimating the populations of Sorrows End and Blue Mountain? Most of those characters would have been nameless and bg characters anyway- so how could anyone ever tell?
What a sad thing to ask, Lunakat. They were characters! They had names and personalities and histories!
Sadachbia said: What a sad thing to ask, Lunakat. They were characters! They had names and personalities and histories!
Exactly, Tavie. Most of them were just filler.
Okay fine. If you're going to be like that, allow me to repeat something I said earlier
Sadachbia said: because I'm OCD like that
Even without the OCD, why not muse about nameless background characters? It's just for funzies.
Yeah, like Tam said, if I want to pick some to give non-canon names and flesh out a little, I don't want to go overboard and write up names and tragic backstories for 1000 Sun Villagers only to hear Wendy state that there were never more than 500 at any given time.
I also need to note that none of us always wear the same clothes and always wear our hair the same way, and I would assume that it's the same thing with elves. So there are likely to be fewer background characters and not more!
Tam said: Even without the OCD, why not muse about nameless background characters? It's just for funzies.
Elwing said: I also need to note that none of us always wear the same clothes and always wear our hair the same way, and I would assume that it's the same thing with elves.
There's still nothing wrong with general musings about the populace of different tribes, regardless of whether or not the character appears once in a background shot or has a small cult following. *chuckles* Of course there's a difference between the two, but it's irrelevant here. The question is simply what was their population number? Not how many characters are worth counting. ;)
RedheadEmber said: I think there's a difference between some character who maybe appears once in a background shot, and a character - like 'the Baker' - who's became almost a memetic bystander.
Tavie said: The Baker is the Figwit of Elfquest!
Was there an Elfquest novelization, maybe an "Against the Wind" volume, that mentioned an early Elf tribe splitting up because it was just too big?
When I try to estimate the number of Elves in a tribe, I look at the size of their shelters, their resources, and any pictures of the entire tribe gathered in one place (Go-Backs standing outside when Rayek collapses the lodge, for example.)
Blue Mountain has an inexhaustible source of wild game and fish, and an unlimited shelter. They also receive tribute from their human worshippers, but Winnowill has to feed her human pets. I figured there weren't that many Gliders, because they stopped breeding, and because they only needed a few rockshapers, hunters and craftspeople to maintain their way of life.
Our fist view of the Sun Village reveals a cluster of garden plots, rather than fields stretching to the horizons. There are no huge grain silos, or large-scale pottery works. I don't think there were ever more than fifty Sun Folk, and the Final Quest population count is about the norm. (See everyone gathered for mourning in the Palace in FQ#1.) Kahvi threatened their well at one point, suggesting they have only one source of drinking water.
It may sound odd, but since we Trolls live underground, we tend to think about the subject of sewage treatment. Even with rockshapers, there is a limit to how much effluent one's living space can absorb, without contaminating the water supply, and without everyone having to take a long walk exposed to enemies and elements.
Whether Elves wear animal skins, animal fibers or vegetable fibers, clothing uses up land and resources. They do have moth fabric (silk), but I don't see big groves of mulberry trees in the Sun Village, nor do I see huge flocks of sheep or goats.
I also think there hasn´t been that many Sun Folk, considering their environment. They only have this little oasis to feed them, and thus there was game outside the village, they still seemed to be rather farmers than hunters. I think it´s walso said that there hadn´t been any recognition since around 500 years before the Wolfriders arrived, so I guess their environment and way of life just couldn´t feed much more back then (with fewer hunting).
Also, the Village never seemed so big anyway. Even if 5 elves share a hut, it would still mean 30 huts for 150 elves, but we only ever see just a few, maybe around 10.
I think the Gliders could have been a little but not so much more than the Sun Folk.
I recall Wendy saying once (but I'm not sure where) that there were only about 40 elves in the Sun Village. And that she said she'd drawn too many children in the Village in "Journey to Sorrows End." Remember, we only see a handful of huts, two of which are Savah's and Leetah's. (See "Rogue's Challenge.") So, even assuming multiple elves share the other huts (as seems implied elsewhere, though I'm not sure where) there still can't be more than a few to several dozen.
manga said: So, even assuming multiple elves share the other huts (as seems implied elsewhere, though I'm not sure where) there still can't be more than a few to several dozen.
As I recall, it was was "Come to our hut, Rayek." "No, ours! Ekuar too!" (The second speaker always struck me as very astute. He should have gone with her! :)>- )