The LOTR Movie Site
April 12, 2000

Arwen, Bombadil, and the Role of Women
Richard Purves

Among a lot of the controversy surrounding this film it seems to me that three main 'arguments' for want of a better word, arise.

Firstly, the inclusion of Arwen in the Fellowship of the Ring. There are many reasons why this is the greatest fault ever to have emerged in the interpretation of any of Tolkien's books. For a start Arwen is the jewel of Elronds house, I very much doubt that Elrond would willingly let Arwen go on the quest, if she did it would have to be by Elrods consent only, or else what are we seeing but the Dark Lords power stretching even amongst the Elves of Rivendell??? Also, Arwen is to be wed to Aragorn, that becomes clear in The Return of the King, both when she makes the banner of the house of Elendil for Aragorn to carry into battle and when she finally weds Aragorn in Minas Tirith. Elrond had, as has been stated elsewhere in the Forum, told Aragorn that, basically, when he sat on the throne of Gondor, he could have Arwen, before that time he could not so much as touch her. One of the main reasons for Elrond saying this, I believe, is that he would not have his daughter (Aragorn's cousin many times removed, incidently), take the Doom of Man (or gift) for Strider, but rather for Aragorn, King of Gondor, of the Dunedain, and that Arwen is not permitted to be with him until he becomes the King, that really is the part Arwen plays in the book, to be Aragorn's driving force.

Right, after that rather uncoherent argument, something I've thought a little longer about, Bombadil.

It is actually essential for Bombadil to appear in the film. Without Bombadil the Hobbits are trapped and killed in the old forrest under the enchantment of 'Old Man Willow'. Even if they had got past that point, they would still have been trapped in the Barrow and killed, unless they never enter the Barrow, in which case Merry doesn't pick up his sword, and doesn't kill The Lord of the Ringwraiths, and then Gondor is overrun anyway, Bombadil is an absoute must!!!

And finnaly, the increased role of the women in the film, although I can appreciate that it was probably New Line that actually forced the issue, they're the ones paying for it all, I think that its a bad move. The whole idea is that Eowyn shows the LOTR 'Girl Power' by going secretly and helping to slay the Ringwraith. If the Lord of the Ringwraiths had discovered that a women was marching forth with the Eorlings he would have taken more precaution, heeding the prophesy, '... not by the hand of man shall he fall...', and indeed, in the book, he is killed by a woman and a hobbit, but it is the element of suprise Eowyn holds that wins the day.

While I'm on the subject, I also feel that an increased role for Sauron is pointless, I mean, its not as if the whole book isn't about him really, he is THE Enemy, you don't need to see him to fear him, as if its enough to know that even without his ring he is the most powerfull being, with perhaps the exception of Gandalf, on MiddleEarth!!!

Anyway, that may not have made much sense, but I had to get it off my chest,