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Old 08-28-2008, 08:14 AM   #121
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Silmaril

Yeah, what I was talking about is whether or not she had perhaps planned it for the future (I mean, I already have my funeral playlist pretty much set, and yes, Guns 'n Roses will be on it, and if that stuff isn't blasted, and I mean blasted, my vengeful spirit is coming back to haunt every single one of you). Maybe I just watched a bit too much "Six Feet Under" at an impressionable age, I don't know.

I have to say, while on one level it strikes me as weird, on another level, I totally empathize with our friend J.R.R.T. I'm a writer too, and while I'm merely a bad one, I am fanciful enough to where I could see myself pulling a similar stunt with my habibi. I think women are just as capable of idealizing and dehumanizing men, and if we weren't, the romance novel industry wouldn't be calling me with its delicious prospects of profit. It's just that men are usually lionized for that sort of thing, or else we say that "boys will be boys," (Richard bloody Ford certainly comes to mind) or "it was the times!" while women are cold-hearted shrews if we want someone purrrfect and all powerful and unrealistically devoted. Heh. Same goes for female writers who create somewhat unrealistic male characters - they're just "bad," whereas male writers get away with unrealistic female characters more easily, imho.

Above all else, this just makes me glad that I don't live with a writer.

As for Luthien, I'll always like her, though not in a way I like, say, Eowyn. What I like about Luthien's story is the sadness. Even when it's happy, it's sad.
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:17 AM   #122
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Lindale, I don't suppose he did ... but I have to say that it is a good illustration of why all fairytales end after the wedding with and "they all lived happily ever after". It seem that Tolkien loved the idea of Edith more than the reality. Basically it seems like he fell in love with about the first girl he met and had she not been so idealised and forbidden they might have got to know each other and discovered their incompatability and gone on to find more compatible partners - in fact I think Edith had become engaged to someone who might have suited her better. Arguably if Tolkien had really loved her he would have let her go at that point ...as the old saw saith....

Six Feet Under was wonderful. There was quite a lot of Queen at my uncle's funeral which was unothodox but rather fab - I think the vicar was a little startled though that might have been some of the racier anecdotes in the step-son's eulogy
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:48 PM   #123
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It seem that Tolkien loved the idea of Edith more than the reality.
Indeed. For that matter, I would say that every feeling anyone has for anyone else is actually for their internal 'idea' of that person rather than for the external 'reality' (if such a thing can even be meaningfully talked about). All that varies is the extent to which that internal idea gives a reasonable approximation of the person's behaviour.

In other words, I think Tolkien's idealization of Edith/Luthien is nothing unusual - which, I suppose, makes the story of Beren and Luthien that much more universal in its appeal.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:06 AM   #124
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It seem that Tolkien loved the idea of Edith more than the reality.
Aiwendil is right - Mithalwen has expressed a universal truth here. I find it easier to recognize it in others than in myself...

I'm sure the gender gap played a role as well. It has been mentioned that Tolkien felt most comfortable among other men of his own interests and status, and that Edith seems to have resented that fact. The expectations of men and women concerning marriage were widely divergent at that time - though perhaps today's ideas are more unrealistic. Certainly from Tolkien's writings we see that he had a highly idealized notion of what a relationship should be like - his notes on the Elves and their marriages reflect that. Edith may have had her own fantasies about marriage, and without communication, neither had a chance to live up to the other one's expectations.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:25 AM   #125
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Indeed. For that matter, I would say that every feeling anyone has for anyone else is actually for their internal 'idea' of that person rather than for the external 'reality' (if such a thing can even be meaningfully talked about). All that varies is the extent to which that internal idea gives a reasonable approximation of the person's behaviour.

In other words, I think Tolkien's idealization of Edith/Luthien is nothing unusual - which, I suppose, makes the story of Beren and Luthien that much more universal in its appeal.
All very Jungian...

If Tolkien was in love with an ideal of Edith, then it must have been strong as he managed to keep it up his whole life - he seemed as much in love with her at the end of their lives as at the beginning. Or maybe she managed to hide anything which would have made him think of her more negatively? That's something we wouldn't ever know...

However I definitely think he was an idealist and he had a dream of what the perfect relationship and family ought to be, having been denied family from a young age. So his idealism was wholly understandable. The evidence of it is right there is his own personal life and in the family lives he sketched out in his writing. The story of The Children of Hurin for example is as much a tragedy for the family life we see destroyed as for anything else lost.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:05 PM   #126
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All very Jungian...

If Tolkien was in love with an ideal of Edith, then it must have been strong as he managed to keep it up his whole life - he seemed as much in love with her at the end of their lives as at the beginning. Or maybe she managed to hide anything which would have made him think of her more negatively? That's something we wouldn't ever know...
Couldn't we also blame his Catholicism for that? A girl who's lived and been raised in a family living in a very strict Catholic manner where the Catholic Church's influence still holds a sway even in politics, I think I know what I'm talking about. Divorce is a sin. And being a very strict Cath, your idea of your spouse, if you really did not like or know them very well in the beginning, would remain idealized, much like the idea of the Virgin Mother. Could it possibly be? In my young life I can say I've seen this kind of marriage.
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:48 PM   #127
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[QUOTE=Bill Ferny;42518]Darn it! Why don’t I notice these threads when they are new? Oh well.

In reply to the opening post:



I’ll take this as constructive criticism. It’s a shame, really. Catholic moral teachings regarding sexual intercourse is a single grain of sand on the vast shore of Catholic doctrine and theology. We Catholics really have to do a better job of letting people know what the Catholic Church is all about. (In fact, I’ve found that Catholics are the least prudish Christians I know!)



I understand what you are getting at. However, there are much more obvious ways of showing the non-Christian aspects of Tolkien’s mythology. For example, his treatment of fae/hroa… a far cry from a Christian anthropology; or his treatment of free will, the fallen world, sin, and redemption - his Pelagianism is worlds away from orthodox Christian belief. Your example of an “illicit” sexual affair between Beren and Lúthien is simply too vague from the written material.



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We hear of people getting married, so forth and so on, but never is an actual wedding described. “And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings…” (RotK, VI, 5). That’s pretty brief on the description, kind of like a Tolkien battle scene, ey? The reason is, as Helen, points out by quoting HoME, the actual marriage was the sexual intercourse, not the ceremony. For Tolkien’s mythology, the romantic love between male and female constitutes the marriage. Believe it or not, but his isn’t too far from the Catholic notion of marriage. However, if marriage is determined by sexual intercourse only, then it is… well… Pelagian. Once again Tolkien proves his mythology is quite divergent from the Christianity that he practiced in real life.
~~~
I don't have anything to say in regard to Catholics because I simply do not think of that religion. Not out of indifference, but simply focussed elsewhere. From what I have found written in regard to Palagius, I have noted that almost all historic written record concerning Palagius comes from his contemporary opponents. I find that he was concerned with WILL. Not 'will' that is concerned with every passion and desire concerning physical existence. Although I believe that gifts of Nature are not evil, even the seperation of humanity into male and female was a gift of Nature, at least, one might choose to look at it in this manner, and not be completely incorrect. Dang, I only wanted to give some small defense to Palagius and I'm lecturing instead. No, I'm being really brief, so I claim innocence to the charge of lecturing.

Each one of us have at our Heart of Being that WILL which is coeval to High Divinity. We are not seperate from it. Even when we fail at making a completely conscious accord and concord with That, it is still able, through interpermeability to guide us, and it is not so difficult to learn when to know this is happening. It is knowing what to listen to inside.
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Old 08-31-2008, 04:08 AM   #128
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Yeah, what I was talking about is whether or not she had perhaps planned it for the future (I mean, I already have my funeral playlist pretty much set, and yes, Guns 'n Roses will be on it, and if that stuff isn't blasted, and I mean blasted, my vengeful spirit is coming back to haunt every single one of you)
Jeez, not one of those epic pieces that has a bare-chested Slash playing his guitar on top of a cliff, I hope...

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Luthien is idealised as the perfect woman - passive other than as meets the needs of her man for whom she sacrifices everything. I just find this completely and irredeemably horrific.
C'mon it's not like that at all! Sure she's a fool in love and acts mainly because of this but it is certainly she who wears the pants in that relationship, and it is her needs as much as it is his needs she meets. Obviously she needs no man's permission (including Beren's) to do what she will. She is very far from the stereotypical princess waiting to be rescued. Although locked up in a tower she escapes herself without any assistance from her man. What's wrong with romantic love anyway?

Beren always tries to act the man but it's all huff and puff really and the quest is a lost cause without her help. And throughout it, it's she who performs all the real marvels as Beren never do anything very productive in winning the Silmaril. Also, he drags Finrod Felagund with him to his death.
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:17 PM   #129
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I was going to go on from what I see as the Source, All Father, which is really not a term that is among common usage within my lexicon, and go on to describe the very first emanation as form consisting of substance. The vehicle, vessel, soul, all of which are considered feminine. In this light we should be seeing that the very first emanation is feminine.

Now, we would also see that Source is considered masculine. However, if substance is an emanation from source, then it is a part of source.

Now for confusion; if the vessel, vehicle, soul, or substance are feminine, then what do we say about the male physical body? It is a vessel, vehicle, soul, substance. Is it a mutation of the XX into XY chromosome and as a result immediately under attack by the Mother's immune system, and this would be the ultimate source of conflict between male and female.

Ex facto, the female started it! they picked the fight! they didn't even let the male be born, being in such a hurry to engage us in conflict.
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:21 AM   #130
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What's wrong with romantic love anyway?
Erm, begging your pardon, if ever she fell in love with the wrong guy then, she would've been evil, don't you think? Imagine if that were a son of Feanor she fell for, or someone with the temperament and overall characteristics of Feanor. What could she have done? Go to war with them? She has the potential enough for that, given her lineage and her passion. What if, she was deceived and before she knew it, even if she had a golden but naive heart, she had murdered or committed some other form of evil? Would she have gotten revenge or some sort of thing? Luckily Beren just happens to be a good guy. A really good guy who likes to follow rules. Remember Luthien was trying to persuade him to run away, but he has this strong conscience and/or sense of duty that made him pursue the quest?
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:29 PM   #131
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Luckily Beren just happens to be a good guy.
But don't you think she fell in love in Beren because he was a good guy, not to mention a strapping young lad? She certainly had little love for Celegorm and he was a looker... Besides, would you not do something you normally considered wrong to protect your lover? Would you turn your lover over to the coppers or would you tell a lie and look the other way?
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:27 AM   #132
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But don't you think she fell in love in Beren because he was a good guy, not to mention a strapping young lad?
What was her idea of good and evil? Evil, a foreign word, what Mummy Melian kept away with her Girdle? She could have battled, say, Finrod, if she thought he was standing in her way to Beren. And given what she did to Sauron and even Morgoth, she could win. But I don't even think Luthien knows too much about Elvish politics at that time. When the Noldorin messengers arrived at Doriath, Melian and Galadriel are the only women we hear who talk. Do we then assume Luthien was busy dancing and not heeding these tidings? Or she was too much of a little girl in this sense that she thought politics was a sort of "grown-up" thing she couldn't nose into? And when Beren comes into the picture, she suddenly has an epiphany, she just has to save him no matter what? It strikes me as that, from the very beginning, the whole point of Beren and Luthien is love-conquers-all.

She had little love for Celegorm, I believe, because by the time she met him she had already fallen deeply for Beren. And when Celegorm made the wrong move, imprisoning her, what kind of woman would love him back?

To protect a lover, that is a delicate issue, a very relative one. As it happens Beren is the type who would follow his duty. So off Luthien with him goes, because of great love. Do you suppose then that if Beren was a bad guy who told her to lie to Daddy Thingol, she would have done it? Now that is something I cannot answer readily: on one hand, she actually might, considering she escaped from Hirilorn and all that because of her overwhelming passion, no thoughts of the Silmarils and the fate of Arda; on the other, she may think that it is too much--lying to Thingol for someone evil will cause evil, escaping to help a good lover and escaping to help a bad lover are two different things.
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:42 AM   #133
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That whole lovesick/infatuation/craziness is just Nature's way of getting the process started. One cannot know if one truly loves another unless one has lived at least 50 or so years with the other - every other statement is just conjecture. Love isn't just when you're dating and on the wedding day or even when you've ridden off into the sunset, but all of those days thereafter. So Luthien gets a little crazy for Beren, and they get together, but after a time life shows up and they have to deal with Daddy and Morgoth and the mortgage payment and buying nappies for Dior. Both could have run away from life, but each knew that it was his/her job to help the other when things got tough. Beren - "No, we're not going to live in the woods." Luthien - "No, I'm not going to let you die after telling all of my friends that I was dating a human." That's love.

Though I have no proof to show or statistics to muddle, I would guess that just as many marriages fail when the couple has had time beforehand to check things out as for those that just show up and get hitched that day.

And what's wrong with idealization? I can see where it can be taken too far, when you get married to something so completely divergent from reality that you cannot see the obvious, (She says, "I HATE you with my entire soul, with every cell of my body, and from now until everlasting!" He hears, "She has strong feelings for me. Bliss!"), but on the other hand, I still see my wife at times as the girl that I used to carpool with, back before kids and minivans and houses and wrinkles.

And who better that Tolkien to write one's last words?
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:15 PM   #134
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Returning to the original question, though, I think that Tolkien didn't mean to hint anything sexual. The way I understood it, that moment was simply an embrace, nothing serious. You see similar things in other relationships that were entioned above - Faramir kissed Eowyn before marying her, and Sam most likely hugged Rosie. Aragorn and Arwen, being what they are, ost likely did not express their feelings in public, but there was also Arwen's dilemma of who to become - elf or human. I'm guessing that she didn't allow herself to physically express her love for Aragorn until she finally made the choice.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:00 PM   #135
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Returning to the original question, though, I think that Tolkien didn't mean to hint anything sexual. The way I understood it, that moment was simply an embrace, nothing serious.
Well, such things are all in the eye of the beholder; take, for example, these lines from the Lay of Leithian:
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In hour enchanted long ago
her arms around his neck did go,
and gently down she drew to rest
his weary head upon her breast.
To you this may be a chaste embrace, to me it's the most subtly erotic moment in all of Tolkien's works; in any case, I get a strong impression that there was nothing un-serious about that embrace.
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You see similar things in other relationships that were entioned above - Faramir kissed Eowyn before marying her, and Sam most likely hugged Rosie.
Yes, but all of these were mortal-mortal couples; the Elves took a slightly different stance in this matter. As several of the posters above us have pointed out, there simply was, by definition, no such thing as pre-marital sex for the Elves (relevant quote from Laws and Customs given by mark 12_30 in #3), since, in their eyes, it was the sexual act that made the marriage, not the ceremony (and speaking from personal experience, I feel that Tolkien had a good point here); so if Beren and Lúthien did it, they were from that moment on legally married in Elvish eyes, with or without Thingol's blessing.
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Aragorn and Arwen, being what they are, ost likely did not express their feelings in public, but there was also Arwen's dilemma of who to become - elf or human. I'm guessing that she didn't allow herself to physically express her love for Aragorn until she finally made the choice.
I think you may be right in this case - for all the fuss that is made about Arwen's likeness to Lúthien, she wasn't that much like her ancestress in character. There's just no way Lúthien would have been content with watching over Beren from afar and embroidering banners. Even given that Aragorn first fell in love with Arwen as a twen and needed time to mature, he was well in his eighties, far travelled and battle-hardened at the time of LotR, and I think Lúthien, in Arwen's place, would have insisted on going with the Fellowship (or found a way to follow them, if daddy denied her).
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:22 PM   #136
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Yeah, Luthien was more foward in this sense than Arwen
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Old 10-29-2010, 06:08 AM   #137
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I think in the notes to LACE Tolkien makes it clear that they regaraded it as a matter of honour not to present Thingol with a fait accompli..

Even though, as many of you know, I could hardly like Luthien less, she is less passive than Arwen. There is a sense that she carves her destiny while Arwen born in her image lets fate unwind. Leads to all sorts of questions (which I can not necessarily answer) about the workings of fate and destiny in the books since Eowyn who could be seen as a instrument of destiny withregard to the witch-king, has to defy the de-facto paternal authority over her to fulfil the prophecy whereas is like some cloistered heroine in a pre-raphaelite painting waiting for external events to decide her fate.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:35 PM   #138
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There's just no way Lúthien would have been content with watching over Beren from afar and embroidering banners... I think Lúthien, in Arwen's place, would have insisted on going with the Fellowship (or found a way to follow them, if daddy denied her).
Maybe, but there is another (I think) significant difference between the conditions surrounding Beren & Aragorn.

Beren had been maneuvered into accepting a "hopeless" (meaning almost everyone considered it hopeless) quest that was *INTENDED* to kill off Beren. Luthien desperately wanted to avoid that death and was willing to do practically anything to save Beren.
She was even willing, as I recall, to abandon Beleriand, her mother, her people, her father, etc and wander into the east with just Beren. It was Beren who refused that path for them.
Aragorn, on the other hand, remained high in the Favor of Elrond, and in his love. He was not "sent" on any "hopeless" quest aimed at his death far from help. Rather he was gladly and willingly engaged in a HEROIC effort to defeat Sauron and restore peace and hope to all peoples of the west. A task in which he had Elrond's whole-hearted support and aid (at least so far as Elves would aid anyone).

Also, Luthien was the daughter of a Maia and had various abilities which Arwen lacked (like the ability to sing Morgoth's whole court into slumber).

Arwen, in the books, is not reported to have much of any especial talents (at least where war is concerned). She wasn't the one who caused the Bruinen to rise - that was commanded by Elrond (it was only PJ who turned that into an Arwenian incantation). And even there, there is no suggestion that even ELROND could have caused just any river to rise - making that less useful in fighting Sauron in Mordor or Gondor.

And, finally, Beren's quest was (essentially) a one-man task (or two, with Luthien). Aragorn - once he got to the theater of action - was involved over and over in pitched battles. There is no suggestion in the books that Arwen was either an accomplished swordswoman (shieldmaiden?) or archer [or that Luthien was, for that matter - remember that she did NOT go on the final hunting of the wolf, when Beren was killed].
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:51 AM   #139
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It is also possible that Arwen was less passionate than Luthien and didn't want to give up everything she had for a man who is more than likely to die in one of the wars for the Ring. As I've said before, she probably still didn't make her choice yet.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:13 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
As I've said before, she probably still didn't make her choice yet.
It seems pretty clear (imo) from the "Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" (RoTK Apdx A) that she made her choice in 2980 when Aragorn met her again in Lorien after returning from deeds in the south.
  • Aragorn: Neither, lady, is the Twilight for me; for I am mortal, and if you will cleave to me, Evenstar, the the Twilight you must also renounce.
  • And she stood still as a white tree, looking into the West, and at last she said:
  • Arwen: I will cleave to you, Dunadan, and turn from the Twilight...
  • When Elrond heard the choice of his daughter, he was silent, though his heart was grived and found the doom long feared none the easier to endure.
I suppose it's an open question whether such a choice, once made, could be changed. Aragorn seemed to think it could. Even as he lay on his death bed he suggested Arwen should change her mind and go into the West - tho that would mean sundering their destinies BEYOND THE CIRCLES OF THE WORLD. Arwen didn't really say such a change was not "allowed", only that there was no remaining ship to take.

Interestingly, that wasn't strictly true, since Legloas built his own ship and sailed into the west shortly after.

Arwen must have been wise enough to realize ships "could" be built (if that was all that was needed). So, maybe she was really just reaffirming her choice one last time.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:25 PM   #141
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I haven't read The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, but you are probably right. Maybe Arwen just didn't want to commit herself to her choice right away as Luthien did.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:04 PM   #142
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I haven't read The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, but you are probably right. Maybe Arwen just didn't want to commit herself to her choice right away as Luthien did.
Are you saying you have not read all of Lord of the Rings?

The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen is, as Puddleglum has pointed out, part of LotR, found in Appendix A, part v. It is a substantial part of the story, one of the few parts of the Appendices that Tolkien insisted upon, when a translation threatened to ditch them. It contains probably Tolkien's most poignant part of his characterisation of Arwen. It is particularly significant because it describes events in the Fourth Age, after the War of the Ring (whereas much of the Appendices pre-date the Fellowship and War).

So it's kind of crucial to any understanding of Arwen.
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:29 PM   #143
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I've read the translation LOTR, TH, The Sil, and Narn i Hin Hurin. The transators excluded half the appendixes, for some reason. I've read LOTR and whatever else was there many times. Just a few days ago I took out the original from a library, so I'm working on it , and I'll eventually get to The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:02 AM   #144
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I'm grateful that the first time I read Return of the King it was a late 1950's hardback printing I checked out from the library and had all the Appendices. The tale of Aragorn and Arwen did seem that it should have been in the main tale somewhere, but I can understand why it wasn't.

Indeed, Arwen was likely not as bold and forward as Luthien was, but still....
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:24 AM   #145
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I'm grateful that the first time I read Return of the King it was a late 1950's hardback printing I checked out from the library and had all the Appendices. The tale of Aragorn and Arwen did seem that it should have been in the main tale somewhere, but I can understand why it wasn't.
Well, we get the abbreviated version from Aragorn at Weathertop. To me, that's one of the draws of both The Hobbit and LOTR. There are references to older tales and events that give extra depth to the books, whetting the reader's appetite to learn more.

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Indeed, Arwen was likely not as bold and forward as Luthien was, but still....
Elf/Mortal one night stands are it seems eternal bonds.
And Arwen's daddy didn't even have to lock her away to keep her from her beloved.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:00 AM   #146
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And Arwen's daddy didn't even have to lock her away to keep her from her beloved.
He was related to Aragorn who was the High King of the Dúnedain. That was Elrond's stipulation.

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Originally Posted by Rotk, Appendix A, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen
She shall not be the bride of any Man less than the king of both Gondor and Arnor.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:03 PM   #147
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I don't believe Inziladun was comparing Beren and Aragorn's respective verbal contracts with the respective fathers of their respective loves, but rather just making a joke about Arwen's apparent lack of initiative compared to Luthien.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:59 AM   #148
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Forgive me if I'm going in circles here as I admit to not having read every post in thius thread

But there is another relationship that interests me as well.

what about Morgoth and Luthien. When she danced for him, did she really just dance for him?

To come back to JRRT being Catholic, there is a Bible passage, and interestingly its one of the passages that Martin Luther and other people in the reformation decided to drop out, as such if you want to read it today you need a Catholic Bible.

In that story there is a young woman, not entirely dissimilar to Luthien, who dances for the king, flirts with him, gets him drunk on wine, and when he sleeps she draws her knife and cuts off his head and takes it (with the crown on) to her mother (I think). In the Jewish original, the sensual nature of her dance is apparently even less ambiguous but i haven't actually read that myself.
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