In Norse mythology, a half-elf is the offspring of an elf and a human
Half-elves are usually much like their elven parent in appearance. They are handsome folk, with the good features of both races. They mingle freely with every race, being only slightly taller than the average elf (5' 6" on average) and weighing about 150 pounds.While they do not have all the abilities of the elf, they are still somewhat resistant to sleep and charm spells and are adept at finding hidden objects. Half-elves also have infravision up to 60' from their elven parent. Of all the demi-human races, half-elves have the greatest range of choices in character class.
In other contexts The concept was borrowed by English author J. R. R. Tolkien for his fantasy writings, who in turn popularized the concept in the field, which recurred in other writings and related material such as role-playing games. Unlike the case in some other fantasy worlds, Tolkien's Half-elven or Peredhil are not a distinct race per se, being only comprised of a few related individuals throughout history.
Writers have often featured Half-elves for their combination of human strength with elvish wisdom and have often been portrayed as outcasts from either society. Half-elves in fantasy are often categorized as anti-heroes.
Half-elves are featured in Dungeons & Dragons and related material. The main character of the initial Dragonlance (badass) series, Tanis Half-Elven, is a half-elf, as befits his name.
The main protagonist of Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara is a half-elf, Shea Ohmsford. The Ohmsford heroes and heroines of the subsequent books are all descended from him, and later so are the Elven royalty of the Elessedil family.
In the video game Tales of Symphonia, there is a long-running theme of discrimination against half-elves to the point at which the main villain, Mithos Yggdrasill, feels it necessary to build a new planet for them. In its sequel, Tales of Phantasia, half-elves are still discriminated against, but their discrimination seems to play a lesser role than it did in Symphonia.
Some other fantasy stories call beings who are half-human and half another race (usually an elf) halflings; the term in Tolkien's legendarium pertains only to hobbits, a different group of creatures.