The LOTR Movie Site
November 15, 1999
Enlarging the Parts
of the Arwen-Aragorn Relationship
I am not too happy about Liv Tyler being cast to play Arwen. For one thing, the film has
to remain beautiful and attractive to people of all times, so casting a currently
fashionable face to play the lovely Lady of Rivendell won't achieve equally pleasing
effects throughout the ages. However, the choice has been made.Yet, Peter Jackson might
still have some small time left to decide how he will tackle Arwen's part in the story.
Much of his choices will depend on his willingness to remain true to the SPIRIT of the
story. In other words, he can increase her on-screen time, but must do so in such a way
that the character remains Arwen and not a newly created one.
This requires an understanding of who Arwen is and not just what she is capable of, but
also of what she will and will not do. cannot claim to understand her, but from the idea I
got from the book, I believed her character to be more like that of Luthien than Eowyn. If
fight she must, her style would be more of singing magic spells to lighten the darkness,
than brandishing a sword.
But I do not believe that Tolkien ever meant her to fight - she is a noble, gentle, wise
lady. Powerful, yes, but in a different way from Eowyn, more like Galadriel. I love the
different characters of all three of the main females (as well as those of every male in
the story for that matter), which is why I believe they must remain separate and not be
merged. If Mr. Peter Jackson is considering to merge Arwen and Eowyn's characters (which I
do not think he), by all means, make Arwen whatever you wish - a sword-bearing,
Ringwraith-smiting shieldmaiden. I would not be too worried, as the film would become so
different to the story, that I would not be upset since the original and eternal story
would remain intact in Mr Tolkien's book. But it is the slight yet important changes that
worry me most, because of what the film could have become and did not, that it was so
close to the original and fell.
However, if Mr Jackson decides to keep the roles of Eowyn and Arwen separate (and both
present) in his films, then I believe it is no good having two shieldmaidens, as it is
less likely and makes them too similar. (One might then begin to wonder whether it was
just looks that made Strider choose Arwen over Eowyn, if they become so similar in
character). Also, Eowyn has her motives for physically joining the battle - Arwen,
according to the book, does not (but resists in her own way). However, Mr Jackson is very
bright and I am sure he could come up with enough reasons for her to do so. Yet I have
come to believe he would then alter her character too much - which is ever a threat when a
part must be made larger.
But how else can Mr Jackson accomplish enlarging the Arwen-Aragorn and Arwen parts?
Someone had already (brightly) suggested that in the Appendix there is a simply beautiful
section on just how they first met. There are so many ways to show flashbacks to this past
even right in the middle of the films (like when Aragorn is on the Hill of Cerin Amroth).
I also believe that the main love story that develops in the time frame in which the tale
is set, is that between Faramir and Eowyn, as that of Aragorn and Arwen already exists. If
Mr Jackson wishes to stay as close to the original as he can, then he must treat these two
cases as such, and not make a new story where Aragorn first meets Arwen in Rivendell when
Frodo comes there with the Ring.
I wouldn't know if I am a Tolkien purist or any such I just know that I liked the book the
way it was written and the way I misunderstood it. And I would wish that Mr Peter Jackson
would retain the SPIRIT of the book, regardless of any changes that he would make.
Happily, there could be every hope of it being so.