Elves are a type of human-shaped supernatural beings in Germanic mythology and folklore. In medieval Germanic-speaking cultures, Elves seem generally to have been thought of as beings with magical powers and supernatural beauty, ambivalent towards everyday people and capable of either helping or hindering them. However, the details of these beliefs have varied considerably over time and space, and have flourished in both pre-Christian and Christian cultures.
The word Elf is found throughout the Germanic languages and it seems it was originally to have meant "white being". Reconstructing the early concept of an elf depends largely on texts, written by Christians, in Old and Middle English, medieval German, and Old Norse. These associate Elves variously with the Gods of Norse mythology, with causing illness, with magic, and with beauty and seduction.
The Elves are usually contrasted in two types: the Dökkálfar (Døkkálfar "Dark Elves", singular Døkkálfr) and the Ljósálfar ("Light Elves", singular Ljósálfr); the former dwell within the earth and are most swarthy, while the latter is "fairer than the sun to look at". This light and dark duality may have originated from Christian influence, importing the concept of good and evil, representing angels of light and darkness. A kenning for the sun in Norse poetry is Álfröðull, "elven wheel".
The Elves are divided into two subraces; the Light and Dark Elves. The Light Elves are luminous beings that wear white robes, and the Dark Elves are winged insectoid-like beings typically wearing martial clothes.
While they are intelligent and civilized beings that possess their own architecture, spoken and written languages, the Light Elves and Dark Elves have been at war for eons, always fighting over control of the Light of Alfheim, a conflict that has lasted so long that neither side has secured a permanent victory. Because of such eternal war, the Elves are an isolated race, rarely interacting outside of their home realm.
However, despite the eternal conflict in their home realm, the Light Elves seem to have had some notable presence in Midgard. A gateway of their design was guarding the entrance to the River Pass which leads to the Lake of Nine where Týr's Temple rests.
They also had a now abandoned outpost near the aftermentioned temple which was submerged by The World Serpent over a hundred years ago.
Light Elves were also among the races that assisted in the construction of Týr's Temple, presumably being the ones who designed the solid light bridges and the ones who granted the Light of Alfheim that powers the Realm Travel Bridge.
Despite their dislike for outsiders, the Vanir Freyr was one of the few Gods welcomed by the Light Elves, being even accepted as their Lord and building him a temple where the Light of Alfheim shines. The Light Elves seem to have grown dependent on the Vanir God, believing that only Freyr can help them secure perpetual peace.
It seems Freyr's disappearance was what tilted the balance against the Light Elves and in favour of the Dark Elves by the time Kratos and Atreus arrived at Alfheim, and after they recovered the Light of Alfheim thanks to the aftermentioned Gods, their first order of action was to search for their missing Lord.
Powers and Abilities
Both Elf races have the ability to fly, however, each race's method differs; the Light Elves can levitate, while the Dark Elves use their membrane wings.
It's unknown how efficient the Light Elves are in warfare if they do warfare at all since the Dark Elves have been the only ones shown to use weaponry and be hostile against the travelling Gods who arrived at their realm.
All Dark Elves use spears that can detonate blasts on impact and are capable of shooting energy beams, thus being effective at both short and long distance. Such spears can also shoot hazardous mines to the ground which detonate with blinding energy.
And unlike most creatures that Kratos and Atreus have encountered in their journey, they are intelligent fighters that can coordinate their attacks and effectively use their numbers at their advantage.
Some Dark Elves who possess bright wings are called "Summoners", using staffs apparently fueled by magic capable of calling in reinforcements.
Known Types of Elves
- Dark Elf: The foot soldiers, the most numerous portion of the Dark Elf army. Stronger variants include:
- Svartáljǫfurr: Their King, the strongest Dark Elf.
- Dark Elf Lord: The strongest Dark Elves after Svartáljǫfurr. Oddly, most are found in Midgard.
- Dark Elf Summoner: Bright-winged staff holders that can call reinforcements.
- Dark Elf Warrior: Stronger variants of the foot soldiers, capable of producing blinding shockwaves with their weapons.
- The Light Elves: Luminous beings that claim to be the rightful owners of the Light of Alfheim.
- The Dark Elves have two cinematic finishers; one consists of Kratos lariat them in the face, grab their spears, knocking them to the ground and impaling their chests with it and twist to break their spine, the other is similar, but Kratos throws their spears at them instead of impaling them.
- As mentioned above, the Light Elves have yet to be seen engaging in any type of warfare, no Light Elf has been seen raising arms even to defend itself, nor carrying weapons or armour of any sort. However, a scroll found inside Freyr's Temple mentions a "sword of legend" gifted to them by Freyr, and one of the shields Kratos can use is the "Shining Elven Soul-Shield" said to be crafted by the Light Elves.
- The "sword of legend" mentioned in the scroll may be the fabled "Sumarbrandr", the magic sword Freyr gave to his servant Skírnir for Gerðr's love in Norse Mythology. The sword is said to be capable of fighting on its own "if wise be he who wields it", thus not requiring the wielder to be proficient in combat to use it.
- Their ability to craft shields but not using them may be a trait shared with the Dwarves, who are experts at weapon and armoursmithing but are poor fighters.
- In a similar vein to the above, another shield Kratos can use is the "Dökkenshieldr" that is said to be wielded by the strongest Dark Elves, yet no Dark Elf (not even their King) has been seen using shields of any type.
- Mimir stated that while all Elves live in Alfheim, the Aesir can't tell the difference between the Dark Elves and the Dwarves, thus they call the realm of the Dwarves Svartalfheim, which means "Land of the Dark Elves", even though there has never been any Dark Elf in the realm of the Dwarves.
- During the E3 trailer, two Elves could be seen.
- After the fight against the Draugr, a prototype Light Elf who was wearing slightly darker coloured robes could be seen in the background. When Kratos came close to him, he flew off.
- After killing the Troll, a prototype Dark Elf who had less armour and looked far more insect-like could be seen flying off in the background.
- The sound the Dark Elves' spears produce when planting a hazardous mine is similar to the sound of the Spear of Destiny.