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No. 70: Vulcans, Romulans, Countrymen...

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Vulcans, Romulans, Countrymen...

First | Previous | 2016-05-25 | Next | Latest

Strip by: Ian Boreham

title: Handy guide to pointy ears in fiction

The page contains stylised images of fictional characters with pointy ears, from various sources.

Vulcan (Spock), Romulan: Almost the same. Romulan ears are probably a bit rougher, since evil = ugly, right?

Na'vi (Neytiri)

Tridactyl (Yoda)

Peter Pan. Why does Peter Pan have pointed ears? Is that why his parents abandoned him?

Vampire (Nosferatu), Werewolf

The world of Harry Potter:
Goblin (Griphook), House-Elf (Dobby). House-elves are so downtrodden, even their ears point down.

Middle Earth:
Hobbit (Bilbo), Gollum: Both are just a tinge pointy.

Middle Earth elves and half-elves (elf fraction shown). {A family tree of various human, elf and maia interbreedings, with an indicative ear icon of varying pointiness shown for each person.
Beren (0), Luthien (1/2. Other half maia), Idril (1), Tuor (0), Nimloth (1), Dior (1/4), EƤrendil (1/2), Elwing(5/8), Elros (9/16), Elrond (9/16), Celebrian (1), Aragorn (~0), Arwen (25/32), Eldarion (~25/64)

The Legend of Zelda:
Link, Zelda

A young man with cat ears, captioned "Oooookay..."
A helmeted warrior with very long, horizontal pointy ears protruding from around his temples, and a long-haired woman with even longer ridiculous horizontal pointy ears, captioned: "Oh, come on, Japan... What the heck??

The author writes:

I know there's been a deeply-felt need for a chart depicting fictional ear-pointiness for some time. You're welcome.

I still can't quite work out the crazy long horizontal (or occasionally drooping) pointy ears from Japanese comics and animation. Some of them look like they'd require special doorways if the owners wanted to come through without turning their heads. In fantasy stories, I'd expect many of them to be shortened due to battle injuries. They'd be impractical in crowds, when hugging, or when trying to listen for hoofbeats. They'd get frostbiten. And they just look weird, not beautiful. If anyone reading this has acquired such ears as a body modification, I take it all back, but please post a picture in the forum.

As for the Tolkien elves: did they have pointy ears? I was convinced for a long time that they didn't, since the published work described the elves simply as beautiful people. But there are a few comments in Tolkien's correspondence that suggest they did have pointy ears.

Did the maiar have pointy ears? How could a maia and an elf reproduce anyway? Does that make Luthien a half-maia, and does she get special powers? When a part-maia, part-elf dies, what happens to the parts - do they all end up at the halls of Mandos?

Would a child of a human and an elf have half-pointed ears? (For purposes of my chart, yes!) When Elros chose to live as a human, did his points shrink or flake off? As Elrond got older, did his ears get pointier?

Is ear pointiness a recessive gene? Please read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin%27s_tubercle so we can discuss it at the next class.

Drawn in Inkscape.