The LOTR Movie Site
September 21, 2000

Bastardizing LOTR vs. So-Called 'Purism'
Mark S.

Congratulations, Max B, you have made a perfect demonstration of how to completely miss the point!

Those commentators who express their angst at Jackson's insistence on "chicks in chink" (Arwen as a warrior) do so for highly justifiable reasons.
One can have a lot of fun making a movie in which Delilah rescues Samson from having his hair cut off - but isn't that fiddling with the story? One can have even more fun making a movie in which a pro-active Juliet tells her father to go jump in a lake and so she grabs a sword, goes down to the plaza, and intervenes in the quarrel between Tybalt and Mercutio. And after that maybe Juliet could lecture the Capulet and Montague household's men on what a pack of testosterone-driven, narow-minded, sexist-pig dimwits they all are?! Maybe we should have Juliet pumping iron, running a major international corporation and drinking straight scotch too - lest we think that women who don't emulate traditional masculine roles are somehow inferior?! But wouldn't all that be changing the plot... and the characters... and all the messages that those characters embody and convey?

Jackson's decision to put a sword in Arwen's hands is a major error! It is a complete disruption of everything that Arwen signifies. It is a complete misreading of the text. It is NOT artistic interpretive adventurousness - it is a complete 'kiss the backside' of the politically-correct rabid feminist lobby.
If Jackson wants to make a timeless masterpiece, his Arwen-as-warrior has just defeated that purpose entirely.

Arwen's "passivity" need not necessarily imply that she is some "teary-eyed maiden in waiting".  That your fiance is fighting for his kingdom does not mean you have to ride out there and get your hands bloody with him. Arwen is the embodiment of the unions of Maia, Sindar, Noldor and Mortal bloods. She is the archetype of all that the Elves so tragically love and admire; she, like it or not, is the "evenstar" of her race - the loss or capture by Sauron of her we do not risk on a battlefield! Who is say that Arwen just sat on her great backside and let everyone else die around her just so she could she could one day lounge on a great big throne all day? Ask any woman whose partner has gone to war if she did that! Tell me who's the sexist and purist now!? Let Eowyn do the fighting if she feels she must - that is what mortal shieldmaidens of cultures who admire martial prowess and aggrandize battle do.

Tolkien knew exactly what he was doing keeping Arwen clear of the Pelennor Fields - 'a man of his times' arguments be damned! He was a genius writing a timeless masterpiece that will be read, studied and admired for centuries yet. Tolkien didn't need to have every women in his story exhibiting martial prowess - isn't wanting that just a reflection of the Twentyfirst Century Western World's exulatation of violence and traditional masculine roles over the feminine?
Jackson's 'chick in chink' depiction of Arwen is crass, vulgar, and insulting to women everywhere. Having Arwen on the battlefield suggests that only women who fight like men are to be valued. It, therefore, tacitly suggests that all non-military, non-aggressive, traditionally 'feminine power role' actions are valueless. Women should not feel they have to do what men traditonally do to be valued, honoured and taken seriously. To think this is to refelct the inverted and twisted values of the screwed up 70s who taught us all that only masculine activities are exciting and valuable. Jackson's military Arwen is a reflection of this mind-set.

So who are the elitists, sexists and men-of-their times now?