The LOTR Movie Site
June 18, 2000

More Arwen, Yes, As Long As It's More of Arwen
Mark S.

The present outrage over the extension of the role of Arwen in Jackson's interpretation of LOTR might be a fuss all over nothing.

I know there have been rumours that Arwen might be set as a warrior princess, but where would that leave Eowyn? No, I think somebody somewhere got their wires crossed.

For a start, think like a director. Jackson is cluey enough to know that throwing a sop to the politically correct diehards out there (by making a female character into a parody Amazon) might win a few new fans - but it will simultaneously alienate millions of others. Not only will the film lose the decorum and grandeur it MUST have, but it could very likely become an embarrassment for the rest of his career.

Let's be real, here. Tolkien wrote a fantasy epic that succeeds because it resounds with the archetypal images we all have about gods, demons, heroism, self-sacrifice and magic among dozens of others. One warrior princess (Eowyn) is enough to satisfy the archetype of the warrior princess. Two, is overkill. Jackson (I hope) is not a fool. He will not trivialise the character of Arwen into something inappropriate, irksome and redundant. She is an archetypal image of great importance in herself. Arwen is a tragically sublime figure; as has been pointed out already by Ron W. Her decision to forego immortality is one that poignantly throws our own mortality into stark relief. She, the Undomiel, stands as the final farewell of the Eldar in Mortal Lands. Her passing is the final note in the Middle Earth saga; ours are now indeed the Days of Mortal Men.

But should we see more of Arwen, then?

Yes, we should indeed.

I've often felt that Tolkien robbed himself of a great opportunity by not pursuing the love interest between Aragorn and Arwen. Perhaps he felt he had already covered it with the parallel lives of Beren and Luthien in the Silmarillion, and how beautifully done that was, too! But if audiences are to really sympathise with the Elves - how their love of Middle Earth is ultimately hopeless - we need to see an elf suffer. If audiences are to sympathise with Aragorn - how all his sufferings and sacrifices might come to naught should Arwen, at the end, renege on her decision to join her life to his - we must know the height of his nobility and the depth of Aragorn and Arwen's love. (Otherwise who cares what a pair of richie royals are panicking about... what about poor old Frodo, hey?!)

This means Jackson will have to pick his way through every line of Tolkien's prodigious writings to find every paragraph, phrase or word that speaks of the love and lives of Aragorn and Arwen before Aragorn left Rivendell - and put it on film. There is material enough a-plenty here for a movie in itself, I am sure, but Jackson must select and edit with the finest of discretions.

One can imagine whole scenes where Arwen and Elrond agonise over her choosing to join her destiny to Aragorn's. What IS it to surrender immortality? Would all the love and glory a mortal man can have, compensate for the loss of eternal life? Could anyone so deeply in love make a rational decision at that point in time... even if they were over two thousand years old?

How many women in the audience who have ever been in love with a man everyone says is "beneath them", will feel their hearts moved by Arwen's dilemma? Isn't there at least half of the world in the audience who will to some degree painfully understand Arwen?

Yes... more of Arwen, please. More indeed.

But please, one Eowyn is plenty.