The LOTR Movie Site
November 13, 1999

Essay on the Arwen Situation
David Bass

If Peter Jackson does indeed decide to cut the role of Eowyn in the new films, then that would leave us with only two main characters that are women. Those two would be Arwen and Galadriel. Personally, I think that the LOTR trilogy is void enough of females without Jackson’s intervention. The female characters that do appear in the trilogy, however, are each different and unique. If they cut Eowyn from the film, and try and make Arwen some sort of warrior princess, lover of Aragorn, gentle woman, and a dozen other things that you absolutely cannot mix into one person, then the movies, at least where females are concerned, are doomed to the garbage dump of cinematic history.

First, let’s look at the obvious facts here. If they cut Eowyn, who will take Merry to the battle at Minas Tirith with the Riders of Rohan? Arwen? I didn’t know she was part of the Eorlingas. It will be a pretty large plot twist if Jackson can pull that one off without making it look utterly stupid in the eyes of his audience. If Arwen travels with the Company of Nine, whom will they leave out? Or will they decide that ten is a better number? Is there really anyone in the company of the Ring that you would trade for Arwen? Especially if she wasn’t the character that Tolkien originally intended her to be. Heck, since Jackson appears to be so crazy about the role of Arwen, why don’t we toss out Frodo himself and let Arwen be the new Ringbearer? Another good thing to note is how is the Witch King supposed to be defeated if Eowyn isn’t there? Also, why would Eomer rally all of his forces because he thinks a lady he’s never seen before in his life is dead? That will be an interesting one to see Jackson get through, but I’m sure he’ll find a way is that’s the case.

I’m certainly not crazy about casting Liz Tyler as Arwen; from the start I was kind of against it. Now that Jackson is thinking about expending her role, it feels even worse. I’m sure that most of us weren’t happy with the choice of Tyler, but we could live with it as long as she was kept to the role Tolkien intended for her. In the original LOTR trilogy, Arwen hardly even talks at Rivendell, so what makes Jackson think that by his expanding the role he’ll be able to make it better? My advice to Mr. Jackson is to go with Tolkien’s original plot and characters. You're taking on one heck of a responsibility by trying to produce a successful LOTR trilogy, Mr. Jackson, and my advice is to stick with what the true master wrote. I understand that this will never happen since the producer is only thinking about his bank balance, and not sticking with what really counts, but it’s worth pointing out at least.

I know I sound severely critical of both Peter Jackson and the way he must interpret the LOTR trilogy, but I’m really rather optimistic about the new LOTR movies. Aside from the casting of Liv Tyler as Arwen, I am very pleased with the job he’s done. I am, however, not getting my hopes up for these new movies since I might be in for a disappointment. And if the movies are great, then I’ll be happily surprised along with everyone else. I truly hope that Jackson knows what he’s getting into, and every day I find myself hoping that he will make a great cinematic performance of the greatest novel that nearly three generations of human beings have ever known.