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Old 08-12-2013, 04:37 PM   #1
Odysseus
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"A shadow and a thought" interpretation?

I know this has been discussed on here before but I didn't really find any answers that to me felt definitive. Why does Aragorn say in him Eowyn loves "only a shadow and a thought"? I've heard two contrasting theories which, in short, revolve around whether aragorn is truly a glorious, noble king or whether he is something else, and the former is merely Eowyn's idealistic view of him. Though, surely, aragorn IS truly a king? I mean technically that is what his bloodline would have him become.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that, I may be mistaken, but only the elves (aside from gandalf) seem to recognise aragorn for what he is destined to become (a king). Legolas says to boromir at the council that aragorn is "no mere ranger", but instead the heir to the throne of Gondor. Then shortly before the conversation between Eowyn and aragorn takes place, Elrond basically tells Aragorn to stop his ranger act (arguably his lesser self) and answer his true calling as king of Gondor. Finally, Arwen clearly sees him in the same light as her father, something which other have said he only really ever shows to her.

So, potentially, this lesser man that Eowyn sees is merely his shadow (though this too is problematic since many agree that Eowyn is actually only drawn to aragorn for his king like nature) Again, this may be pure coincidence and I haven't read the books in many long years so I may have it wrong, but does anyone think there's some truth in this?

Anyway, enough rambling, can I get some views?
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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I think the films may have confused your memory of the books. Aragorn avoiding his destiny is a film gimmick. In the books there is nothing lesser about Rangers save among those who are ignorant of who they truly are. Aragorn has spent seventy years preparing for this momemt.

I think the shadow and thought comment is quite straight forward if you look at the context. the comparison is not with a different aspect of Aragorn but with her brother whom she truly knows and so loves a reality. Eowyn feels a strong reaction to Aragorn because he was a catalyst against the despairing passivity of Theoden's decline. she loved what he represented not the man himself. This does not mean Aragorn is unworthy of her love.
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Old 08-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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Welcome to the downs btw sorry if the above isntt what you wanted.There is a section to discuss the film versions.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:04 PM   #4
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I think the films may have confused your memory of the books. Aragorn avoiding his destiny is a film gimmick. In the books there is nothing lesser about Rangers save among those who are ignorant of who they truly are. Aragorn has spent seventy years preparing for this momemt.

I think the shadow and thought comment is quite straight forward if you look at the context. the comparison is not with a different aspect of Aragorn but with her brother whom she truly knows and so loves a reality. Eowyn feels a strong reaction to Aragorn because he was a catalyst against the despairing passivity of Theoden's decline. she loved what he represented not the man himself. This does not mean Aragorn is unworthy of her love.
Ahhh, you're right, I forgot the context layed out in the book (the bit about her brother now seems to give clearer meaning to his statement). However, I must ask, if the comparison to her brother is so crucial to understanding aragorn's response, why did they not include it in the film?
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:34 PM   #5
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However, I must ask, if the comparison to her brother is so crucial to understanding aragorn's response, why did they not include it in the film?
Who can say why they made the decisions they did? But the filmmakers regularly cherry-picked bits and pieces of the original dialogue and repurposed them without maintaining their context or meaning. Whether that is because they didn't understand or just wanted some pithy-sounding phrases is really something we can only speculate upon, isn't it?
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
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Who can say why they made the decisions they did? But the filmmakers regularly cherry-picked bits and pieces of the original dialogue and repurposed them without maintaining their context or meaning. Whether that is because they didn't understand or just wanted some pithy-sounding phrases is really something we can only speculate upon, isn't it?
True enough I suppose. I think there's a lot to squeeze into a film which even now runs far longer than most. Not to mention, and I don't mean to sound conceited or snobbish, but the trilogy has to be made available to an extremely wide audience, not all of whom are going to be that willing to delve deeper into the films more complex parts. A shame nonetheless.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:47 PM   #7
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Éowyn never saw him, nor Faramir for that matter, as lesser men than they were. In Appendix A it is said:

"he seemed to men worthy of honour, as a king that is in exile, when he did not hide his true shape."

When they went to Edoras and she looked on Aragorn, "she now was suddenly aware of him: tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hiding a power that yet she felt." [TTT, p. 141]

Although, at Rivendell Boromir doubted his ancestry, albeit, the kings were lost to the South Kingdom for many years.

Now at the Hornburg he appears to have revealed himself to the enemy as they were talking crap, "So great a power and royalty was revealed in Aragorn as he spoke to the Uruk-hai, as he stood there alone above the ruined gates before the host of his enemies, that many of the wild men paused and looked over their shoulders to the valley, and some looked up doubtfully at the sky." [171]

The Dúnedain who are like Aragorn are perceived by Éowyn to be pretty special, "for no mightier men had she seen than the Dúnedain and the fair sons of Elrond;" [RotK, p. 60] Earlier in the book they are compared to Aragorn, "stout and lordly men they are, and the Riders of Rohan look almost as boys beside them; for they are grim men of face, worn like weathered rocks for the most part, even as Aragorn himself;" [52-53]

The same thing happens when she meets a Dúnedan of the South Kingdom, Faramir, she saw him "and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle." [265] Recall how they were as kids to the Dúnedain of the North and likewise Faramir is above them.

In the end, Aragorn did not run from his purpose. He had been fighting against Sauron at least since his 20s, helping out other kingdoms under various guises. Arwen had even wrought a banner for him as the king before he would become so.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:53 PM   #8
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Éowyn never saw him, nor Faramir for that matter, as lesser men than they were. In Appendix A it is said:

"he seemed to men worthy of honour, as a king that is in exile, when he did not hide his true shape."

When they went to Edoras and she looked on Aragorn, "she now was suddenly aware of him: tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hiding a power that yet she felt." [TTT, p. 141]

Although, at Rivendell Boromir doubted his ancestry, albeit, the kings were lost to the South Kingdom for many years.

Now at the Hornburg he appears to have revealed himself to the enemy as they were talking crap, "So great a power and royalty was revealed in Aragorn as he spoke to the Uruk-hai, as he stood there alone above the ruined gates before the host of his enemies, that many of the wild men paused and looked over their shoulders to the valley, and some looked up doubtfully at the sky." [171]

The Dúnedain who are like Aragorn are perceived by Éowyn to be pretty special, "for no mightier men had she seen than the Dúnedain and the fair sons of Elrond;" [RotK, p. 60] Earlier in the book they are compared to Aragorn, "stout and lordly men they are, and the Riders of Rohan look almost as boys beside them; for they are grim men of face, worn like weathered rocks for the most part, even as Aragorn himself;" [52-53]

The same thing happens when she meets a Dúnedan of the South Kingdom, Faramir, she saw him "and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle." [265] Recall how they were as kids to the Dúnedain of the North and likewise Faramir is above them.

In the end, Aragorn did not run from his purpose. He had been fighting against Sauron at least since his 20s, helping out other kingdoms under various guises. Arwen had even wrought a banner for him as the king before he would become so.
Yet again my very vague memory of the books has clouded my judgement. Thanks, that was really informative. So I suppose you too would agree that the shadow reference was merely aragorn explaining that her love for him could not be genuine because she did not know him as she knew her brother, yes?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:05 PM   #9
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I suppose so. I forget the film version. I do remember an extra where she finds out he's like 90 years old which is kind of funny. I can't really say what his intention was when Aragorn said that since I do not recall it. However, in the books, she recognizes the air about Aragorn, and she was of Númenórean descent as well since her grandmother was kin to the Prince of Dol Amroth. So she, her brother Éomer, her mother Théodwyn, Théoden and his deceased son Théodred were all of Dúnedain descent.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:21 AM   #10
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Good poiints Belegorn, and that is in the context of Tolkien showing the Rohirrim aspowerful warriors. They aren't a bunch of peasants wth pitch forks who will be cowed by sight of a sword.

as for what was left out of the films...well dont get me stsrted. for myself i would haveliked more character development and shorter battle scenes and fewer scenes of Frodo gawping into space but even when they came out I was not the target demographic.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:13 AM   #11
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....when they came out I was not the target demographic.
You mean the disturbed, illiterate 12 year-old demographic?
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:23 AM   #12
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You might very well say that , I couldn't possibly comment.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:28 AM   #13
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I remember seeing the first movie and instantly realized along with my friend, how many people never even read the books. It was the scene when the Hobbits were smoking weed and everyone thought it was the weed people in our world smoke, hahahahahaha
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:27 AM   #14
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I remember seeing the first movie and instantly realized along with my friend, how many people never even read the books. It was the scene when the Hobbits were smoking weed and everyone thought it was the weed people in our world smoke, hahahahahaha
Errr... actually plenty of people who read the books manage to draw that inference, too.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:28 AM   #15
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The Aragorn from Peter Jacksons 'The Murder of: The Lord of The Rings' actually looks like some dopey stoner; he would of been better suited with a bong is his hand when he was sitting in the corner of 'The Prancing Pony' smoking.
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