The LOTR Movie Site
April 25, 2000

In Response to John R.'s Excellent Articles
Jonathan D.

Making Arwen part of the fellowship of the ring runs completely contrary to everything Tolkien wrote in the first age. It is simply either a politically correct decision, or a ploy to get more money. (One note about this: the film makers are trying to make money, so of course they'll change what they want to make more dough -- however, this doest not mean their actions are not arrogant and false to the spirit of Tolkien)

In his article, John R. correctly and masterfully states that Arwen is a second Luthien, and that the union between Aragorn and Arwen is akin to that of Beren and Luthien.

However, putting Arwen into the fellowship would make her, not a Luthien, but an Eowyn.

Think about it: Luthien and Beren were off by themselves -- it was just them two against the power of Morgoth. The Arwen-Luthien allegory falls apart when one realizes that Aragorn is part of a select party of warriors -- it is not Mr and Mrs. Strider versus Sauron, it is the entire free world against Sauron. Elves, men, dwarves, hobbits -- .that's why they picked one person from each race. In such widely military endeavors, Elf-maidens have never joined in. Furthermore, the fellowship has a very achievable goal, with some of the best help around. It's not something that would be impossible without Arwen's help.

Luthien didn't join Beren when he went hunting for that fell wolf, now did she?
It's probably acceptable for appropriate elf maiden to join appropriate human on quest if appropriate human is all alone -- but not if appropriate human has captains of Gondor and wizards at his beck and call.

Furthermore, John R. said that "both men were given the same impossible task to win the hand of their love." Um, pardon me, but Aragorn was not told that he could not have Luthien until the Ring was destroyed. Luthien does not cast down' morgoth but put him asleep for a while.

Also, I'm afraid I have no idea where John R got the thought that Galadriel sacrificed her kingdom and life to help the Fellowship.

The fellowship WAS trying to cast down Sauron, not put him asleep, and Arwen would have been useless in such an endeavor.

It would be ludicrous to add Arwen to the fellowship -- what will she add? Magical powers? We've got Gandalf for that. Anything Arwen could do, Gandalf could to better. Who had the third ring? Not Arwen. And let me add right now that by no stretch of the imagination would an elf-maiden be wielding a weapon. Never happened -- .magical songs and powers were the way they went.

Who would be removed? Not one character can be removed from the fellowship, and still be a valid representation of Tolkien. All the various relationships and experiences of the fellowship are one of the best parts of the book, and adding or removing any character would utterly upset those carefully crafted scenes.

I'm willing to bend on various areas of the story, in order for them to make a better film. Glorfindel being replaced by Arwen: check. Boromir holding the ring for a brief while and being tempted by it: check. Hobbits getting swords from Elrond and not barrow-wight: check.

However, getting rid of Legolas, Boromir, Gimli, or just about anyone totally wrecks the story: the friendship between Legolas and Gimli is one of the best parts of the book, detailing how at least one dwarf saw the beauty of the elves (especially galadriel) and the distrust and dislike between elves and dwarves was greatly lessened. If I remember correctly, he even went over with Legolas!

Whatever Arwen would bring to the fellowship is nil compared to what Legolas brought. Boromir would probably not have even wanted to go, being very suspicious of "elf-wizardesses."

She would simply be Aragorn's girlfriend tagging along. It would really detract from her image. That would be like having Rosie Cotton tag along with Sam. I'm not saying Arwen is as powerful as rosie cotton, but that the relational difficulties would be the same.

This whole warrior-Arwen thing already makes her less of a deep character and more of a shallow character, but putting her in as part of the fellowship would do so more. It would also detract from Aragorn: he's going to tell Eowyn it's not her part to join them but he is going to let Arwen come? Bah. Also, Elrong would never have let Arwen be part of the fellowship: this is not something calling for elf-maidens to be in on: it is select group of warriors and Frodo's friends, setting off on a not-at all hopeless mission.

I just fail to understand all this talk about "how hard it is to make Tolkien's book a movie." Rubbish. I'm sure when you read Tolkien you imagined what everything looked like -- you saw in your mind's eye all the action. All that has to happen is for that to be transposed on screen.

No, it won't be exactly as you imagined it (the people may look different, various scenes may have to be cut), but it is totally possible to simply take the Lord of the Rings and put it on film. Some scenes may need to be cut, and a few more tinkered with, but you do not HAVE to change Arwen.

I challenge anyone to find something in LOTR that cannot be transposed to film without changing the book. None of this Eowyn trying to break into Aragorn's bed chamber stuff.

It bothers me when some people accuse Tolkien fans of being arrogant.' Actually, it is not the fans who are being arrogant, but those who try to rewrite Tolkien's words. And they are arrogant. They think that, after just a few years, they are better writers than Tolkien. Ludicrous. Tolkien's fans are simply defending the status quo, not trying to make changes. And, if I may add, most Tolkien fans are far more qualified to make judgments on what the true spirit of Tolkien was than the film writers.

You don't need to add Arwen to the fellowship to expand her role: Tolkien wrote a lot about their meeting in the indexes. Just because a character is out there in the hurly burly doesn't mean they are not of value or appreciated. I think Arwen is one of the most important people in the book: both for who she is and what she stands for. Even though she never sees an orc, she is much more important than, say, Hama, who actually gets to run around and fight and stuff.

In conclusion: adding an elf-maiden to a war party is totally against Tolkien. Especially if that elf-maiden is someone as important as Arwen.

Look around -- you won't find that anywhere else. The Edain did it, (Morwen and Nienor) and the Elves did not approve. The elves themselves -- nope.