Aug
26
2013

Actually, that’s a really good question.

Why the hell was Arwen dying?  It’s not just it wasn’t in the original books; it’s that the concept is completely antithetical to the entire point of Elves in Tolkien’s works. I understand why this would peeve xkcd: I think that it’s starting to peeve me a little.

12 Comments

  • Finrod says:

    The practical answer is that Peter Jackson wanted more of Arwen in the movies. They had ideas that were worse that were cut– for example, I’m told that if you get exactly the right freeze frame you can see Arwen to one side of Gandalf in The Two Towers when Gandalf shows up with Eomer and company to rescue Helm’s Deep. That was the stub end of a part that was cut that had Arwen with a sword fighting and such.

    After all, Arwen has something like 3 lines total in the books.

    • Finrod says:

      From the wikipedia entry for Arwen:

      In earlier versions of the script (when the movies were supposed to be filmed in two parts under another production company), Arwen fought in the Battle of Helm’s Deep and brought the sword Andúril to Aragorn. Some scenes of Arwen fighting in Helm’s Deep were filmed before both the film’s writers (with Liv Tyler’s approval) reconsidered the change and deleted her with the sequence.

      • acat says:

        From the book, elves did show at Helm’s Deep, but not Arwen.
        .
        Perhaps, at that point, Jackson had gotten choke collars on his screen-“writers”.
        .
        Mew

        • Finrod says:

          Yeah, a group of Rangers and Elves joined up with Aragorn before Helm’s Deep. They went with him on the Paths of the Dead as well; it annoyed me that Peter Jackson only had Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli doing that.

    • midwestconservative says:

      Atleast Jackson didn’t do any worse. Look up all of the failed attempts to make LOTR a film, one dude had Gandalf shooting fireballs and hypnotizing Sam to go with Frodo ( Tolkien absolutely refused to let him make his movie, and he instead decided to take a crap on King Solomon’s mines)
      Another dude had Arwen as a 13 year old Spirit guide, and he also had Frodo do the nasty with Arwen. That was after Tolkien had died. The filmmaker got bored and instead made Excalibur.
      Seriously dude, it could have been a lot worse.

  • Finrod says:

    More theoretically, Tolkien states that there are two ways elves can die: they can be slain in battle, or they can die of grief, and that the latter method is not uncommon. So I suppose that Arwen’s love for Aragorn had gotten her to the place where she could no longer bear to be parted from him, and since she could not see how Sauron could be defeated, which would mean that Aragorn would die and soon, her grief began to overcome her elven immortality.

    I still think it’s a stretch, though.

  • acat says:

    Ummm, as Elrond half-elven’s daughter, she’s half-elven?
    .
    Half-elves age and either choose to die in Middle Earth or join the true elves in leaving. In her case, she chose to stay for Aragorn and .. died.
    .
    (This is buried in the ends of Return of the King … the book, not the movie, I think)
    .
    Mew

    • Spegen says:

      Agree, it is also implied by Elrond when he is trying to convince her to leave with the Elves, that if she stayed she would die.

    • jbird says:

      I think at this point you can demand Moe’s nerd card and he has to give it to you. You may choose to give it back or destroy it as you see fit.

      • acat says:

        Nah. Moe has earned his nerd card, and in many ways can out-nerd me… this just happened to fall into my wheelhouse.
        .
        Mew
        .
        .
        p.s. Not a Tolkein Society member, but I did spend part of summer vacation playing poker with a candidate.

  • Crawford says:

    She was dying? Here I thought she was just on the short list to head West.

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