The LOTR Movie Site
November 12, 1999

A Few Short Words on Arwen

I've been keeping up with the news and opinions about these films, and I wonder: Am I the only one who thinks it is good that they are increasing Arwen's part?

I have loved Tolkien for since I was twelve or thirteen, when I first read The Hobbit. I have read The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion several times, once relatively recently, and each time I read them I love them more. Tolkien created a beautiful world for us, and I certainly hope the movies remain ninty-five percent true to what the Professor wrote.

However, as great as he was, Tolkien's work was not perfect.  He had the opportunity to tell a beautiful love story about Aragorn and Arwen, a story that should have been central to the plot, and he failed to do so. We know that Tolkien can show love and passion: there are many scenes between Aragorn and Eowyn, and later Faramir and Eowyn, in which powerful, meaningful connections are made. We can feel Eowyn's grief that she can never have Aragorn, and we can revel in the love that blossoms between her and Faramir. But what should have been the main love story of the work is hardly touched on. Arwen hardly appears in the book; in fact, the casual reader will not know who she is, and may even say "So who is this elf chick Aragorn is marrying?" I don't think I understood their story the first two times I read the book. A movie going audience will NEVER understand the importance of their love--that she gave up immortality for him, that he strove all his life to become the king of both Gondor and Arnor so he could have her--if it is done as it is done in the book.

I have no opinion one way or the other about her being a warrior. I guess they could have increased her part in the story without doing this, but I don't have a problem with it. Everyone seems so concerned she is going to end up being like Xena. Have a little faith in Peter Jackson. He seems to be doing very well and has stated many times he wants these movies to be closer to Braveheart than to Willow (or, one may infer, Xena).

So please, let's relax. The book is great, but it is not perfect.  Those who say it cannot be improved upon haven't really thought it out. There is nothing in existence which cannot be improved (except, perhaps, Jennifer Love Hewitt). I'm not saying they should go changing everything; the less they change the better!  I don't think this is being done to make the film more "Hollywood," or to make it into a "Blockbuster," but to help the audience better grasp the very important relationship between the heir of Isuldur and Elrond's daughter. It is too beautiful to be glossed over.