How and why does elves 'become lifemates'?
Of course lots of elves become lifemates as a direct result of Recognition:
Savah tells Rayek that Cutter and Leetah are immediatly upon their joining.
Teir is referred as Ember's lovemate when he rushes in to dismantle the war-machines, but once they've recognized she calls him 'Lifemate'.
Joyleaf and Bearclaw were together as lovemates for many years before finally recognizing and becoming lifemates.
In 'Discovery' Leetah refers to Brill as "she who is to become your lifemate".
But what about those couples that aren't recognized?
Redlance is referred to as Nightfall's lifemate in EQ1, in 'By Any Other Name' they're referred to as being lovemates, so in those relatively few years between that story, and EQ1 Redlance and Nightfall must've made a conscious decision to become lifemates.
Dewshine and Scouter spends several years together raising Windkin in Sorrow's end, and by the time of the HY stories leading up to 'Shards' they've begun referring to each other as 'lifemate' - that is, until Scouter recognizes Tyleet and he goes back to referring to Dewshine as 'lovemate', until all three of them begins referring to each other as 'lifemate'.
Pike refers to Skot and Krim as "my new Family" right from the time the elves arrive in the New Land.
Clearbrook and Treestump are moving in together as soon as the Thorny Mountain Holt is being made - though that could of course be simple a case of 'friends living together', but they seem to be rather lifematey to me already at that time, mere days after Clearbrook released One-Eye's body. (Of course if One-Eye had survived they may have become a three-mating. ;) )
So, some un-recognized couples seem to have 'become lifemates' in a relatively short period of time, while others were together for such a long time that they essentially 'grew into' lifemates.
Which leads to another question: Given the amount of time they were together, could it be argued that Kahvi and Tyldak had essentially become lifemates by the time Tyldak died?
And what about Shuna and Ikopek? Did she accept his proposal and then they just went "Yay! We're married!" ? Or did they have some sort of "wedding ceremony"?
Could the lifemate/lovemate term depend on a closeness or connection between souls?
RedheadEmber said: Or did they have some sort of "wedding ceremony"?
I think y'all are thinking about this too hard. *laughs* I don't think there's anything that happens that makes two elves become lifemates...Recognition is still no guarantee, considering Dewshine and Tyldak, Graywolf and Willowgreen, and Dodia and Door. Recognition does increase the chances of it happening, though.
Without Recognition...and even with...I think it's just a conscious decision on each elf's part, and their reasons for when and why they make that decision are different. For Dewshine and Scouter, they were lovemates for so long, and there are a few instances in canon where they talk about why they remain lovemates instead of lifemates. The gist seems to be that there's less pressure. Even though they probably knew they'd be together for life, labeling it as such was too restrictive for them...until they grew to embrace the label. For Nightfall and Redlance, maybe they just felt that they'd outgrown the lovemates label, or that it didn't quite describe who they were. Who knows.
For Kahvi and Tyldak, I think that we, as readers, could lump them in to the lifemates category...but I think that the label as they consider it for themselves would be too restrictive as well. And I think it might go against what I consider Kahvi's general view on life. She was so focused on what was happening in the moment, that planning for later just wasn't a big concern. Lifemating implies that one is planning for quite a long-term commitment, and I feel like Kavhi was too adventurous and curious for that kind of label.
Tam, I agree with you about long-term commitments. It's a paradox of Elf life, though, that they have long lives and short memories.
Embala said: The Scene on the last page of DISCOVERY made me think of some kind of ceremony.
http://elfquest.com/comic_viewer.php?fd=/gallery/OnlineComics/DISC/_ElfQuest - The Discovery_page=1#_118#
Tam said: For Dewshine and Scouter, they were lovemates for so long, and there are a few instances in canon where they talk about why they remain lovemates instead of lifemates.
I like your explanation, Tam.
RedheadEmber said: But in HY11, when they are bathing in the stream, Dewshine calls Scouter 'Lifemate'...
Embala said: I like your explanation, Tam.
Tam said: You must have stopped reading my post before I said they later embraced the "lifemate" label
RedheadEmber said: However, what confused me is the fact that - at least for a period - after Scouter recognized Tyleet they're referring each other as 'lovemates' again, while Dewshine calls Tyleet "sweet friend", then they all decide to just call each other what they are; lifemates.
Something I've been thinking about for a while. There seem to roughly speaking be three types of Lifemating:
1. Those who are together because of Recognition:
Cutter and Leetah, Strongbow and Moonshade, Skimback and Sandsparkle, Scouter and Tyleet, Dart and Serrin (as well as Tyleet and Dewshine, and Dart and Talmah, indirectly)
2. Those who were together before Recognition:
Teir and Ember, Bearclaw and Joyleaf
3. Those who are together without Recognition:
Skot and Krim and Pike, Scouter and Dewshine, Treestump and Clearbrook
Of course there are some that are vague/open for contest.
Are Sunstream and Brill 1 or 2? They were lovemates for an unknown time before Recognizing, but they hadn't actually met each other physically.
Are Redlance and Nightfall 2 or 3? They had Tyleet as a result of forced Recogniton, but does that count?
With others we simply don't know whether they were together or not before Recognizing.
And then there are the special category of:
Those who are not together despite Recognition:
Tyldak and Dewshine, Door and Dodia
Well, here's my guess, based on the names we've seen for such activities so far:
A furmate is someone you roll in the furs with. Basically, you meet at an orgy or some similar activity- glance at each other and catch one another's eye- your sexy gazes say "oh yeah- I'm down for that!" And then you retire to engage in said activity. This may only happen once or twice (as with Skywise and Yun's mother).
How does this happen? Go ask your father.
A lovemate is someone you roll in the furs with on a regular basis. You probably also care about this person in a way that makes them more special to you than just any other elf. Maybe there is love, or maybe just some really strong liking happening- but either way, you love dancing the horizontal tango together. You are probably not exclusive- and/or not fully committed to being in this relationship for life. But for Now, it's good.
How does this happen? Fur-mating multiple times until the affection just develops. For more information, go ask your mother.
A lifemate is someone you are in it for life with. You might not be exclusive, but you are in it for the long haul (however immortal or near-immortal you both may be)- and have no intention of breaking this up.
How does this happen? I think that two elves just decide that's how it's going to be. They either recognize, and it happens naturally- or they choose it. Shuna appears to do it a more traditional, human way- with formal proposals and a ceremony. But the elves, Sun Folk aside, don't really seem to have marriage ceremonies, so I imagine- one elf (let's say Nightfall) asks another elf (let's say Redlance) "Mind if I call you 'lifemate?'" And then that elf (Redlance) says "By Freefoot's fine fanny- let's do it!"
I love your way to put it in words, lunakat. Pretty much the way I see it, too.
I would say Nightfall and Redlance are in #2. They Recognized...it just didn't produce a cub until Leetah intervened.
Interesting breakdown lunakat.
Makes me Wonder if you got put 'Lovemates' into different sub-categories. Or 'Furmates' for that matter.
RedheadEmber said: Makes me Wonder if you got put 'Lovemates' into different sub-categories. Or 'Furmates' for that matter.
Who you recognize and/or make a baby with may or may not coincide with any of those. That's just biology. The others all involve choice.
That's the point of my breakdown. There were the four "main categories" for Lifemating, and then the "extra category" of those who Recognized but didn't become Lifemates.
I can think of at least one Lovemate sub-category:
Lovemates who've been together for so long that they could be considered lifemates, but where one of them would put a spear through you if you suggested that:
Tyldak and Kahvi.
RedheadEmber said: That's the point of my breakdown. There were the four "main categories" for Lifemating, and then the "extra category" of those who Recognized but didn't become Lifemates.
I suppose Furmates would be called Mothfabricmates in Sorrow's End.
And sometimes they're just Whatever happens-to-be-around-that-is-soft-to-lie -down-in-mates
Here's a thought. The English dialogue we get is a translation. So perhaps what the elves are thinking and saying is more complex and fine-grained, as might reflect the intimacy and mutual knowledge of psychic people who live unforeseeably long lives.
So these terms -- lovemate, lifemate, furmate -- are not transliteral terms representing formal romantic institutions that the elves adhere to. They're shorthand approximations, for the reader's benefit, of vocalized concepts that are vague, yet intimately patterned from one partner to the next.
Perhaps the elves have 1000 words for lovers, or 1000 timbres or cadences to infuse a word with deep meaning; like Inuit precipitation, all the English reader needs to know is that the snow is soft, hard, or so hard it hurts.
Wonder if there ever has been anyone accidentally using a "wrong" term of endearment. The only sort-of situation I can think of is in Shards 16 where Ember takes a moment to see if the 'Lovemate' endearment from Mender still fits.
Of course the only pair where it might be a problem is Kahvi and Tyldak and my perception that Kahvi wouldn't like to be considered anyone's Lifemate, no matter how much she loves the person. Just imagine:
Tyldak: Kahvi, Lifemate.
Kahvi: What did you just call me?
Tyldak: *Realises his mistke* nothing...
Kahvi: What did you just call me?
Tyldak: *Hides behind Windkin* Help me out here.
Windkin: Sorry, you're on your own! *Flies away*
Kahvi: I'm not anybody's Lifemate, beautiful bird, not even yours. And I thought Windkin got the flying bit from you!
Rob said: all the English reader needs to know is that the snow is soft, hard, or so hard it hurts.
Slightly related thought, and I didn't want to create yet another random new thread.
During the Interview Podcast Wendy talked about how some fans tend to look at Recognition as the elf version of true love, which it really isn't.
There are plenty examples of Love without Recognition working just fine:
:-\" >:D :D
Recognition without Love on the other hand:
With Door and Dodia probably being the extreme example...