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Old 08-11-2004, 12:55 PM   #1
Thenamir
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Had Arwen sailed for elvenhome, whither Aragorn?

I am posting this thread at the insistence of Estelyn Telcontar. Please refer any complaints to her.

At any rate, Esty was commenting on the speculative nature of a particular thread here which I shall not name, but which, IMO, was a waste of bandwidth. I said "if you're going to discuss something speculative, then why not make it something interesting? Like, "What would have happend to Aragorn had Arwen indeed decided to sail for Elvenhome instead of choosing mortality? What kinds of choices would Aragorn have made? Would he have the guts to tough-out the war with Mordor if he'd had no hope of marrying her with his victory? With the obvious attraction between him and Eowyn in the books, would he have still resisted her advances?"

I, of course, have my opinions, but I'd like to submit this to the vox populi of the Downs before I set a direction with my own verbosity. Fire away when ready!

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Old 08-11-2004, 05:46 PM   #2
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Well, I have always considered Aragorn to be "beyond" us, more noble than any of us could hope to be. I believe this sentence sums it up:

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They [Aragorn and others] are our superiors. We are meant to view Aragorn as a lord..etc
-- Credenda/Agenda, Flotsam, Volume 14, Issue 2

So, taking that "definition" of Aragorn, I don't believe that he would have been put off doing his duty by the fact that Arwen decided to go to Valinor. It would have been against his nature, against his nobility.

Of course, the knowledge that Arwen awaited him at the end was definitely a bonus, but I don't think that he would have been deterred from battle.

As for Eowyn, I think he had a definition of love so strong that he could not violate it by marrying Eowyn, a woman he did not truly love.
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:18 PM   #3
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I agree with Imladris here. Aragorn definitely wouldn't have abandoned his friends and chosen not to fight simply because he couldn't be with his love at the end of it all. If anything, this might even have fuelled him on further and given him more incentive to beat Sauron.
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Old 08-11-2004, 06:37 PM   #4
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Thenamir -

Split up Aragorn and Arwen.....tell me it ain't so!

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What would have happend to Aragorn had Arwen indeed decided to sail for Elvenhome instead of choosing mortality? What kinds of choices would Aragorn have made?
This is an extremely interesting "what if" that's worthy of being closely examined. So good for Esty! But before we get hacking away at the exact query you've raised, I'd like to put forward another question directly tied to this, which I think has even wider repercussions.

Whatever changes Arwen's refusal would have made to Aragorn or his kingship, these actually pale in comparison to the enormous impact that such a decision would have had on the human race as a whole, even extending to the music of Eru itself. To put it bluntly, the marriage of Arwen and Aragorn represents the culmination of certain ideas and developments that were present since Creation. It is a critical theme in Tolkien's story. If you or I were to pull on that thread so that it unravelled, you would not only be changing Aragorn's destiny, you would be changing the entire destiny of the human race as Tolkien and, by implication, Eru envisioned it.

Let me back up a minute. From the very beginning, Elves were regarded as the "Firstborn" and Men as the "Followers". In the original music, it was intended that eventually Elves would fade and that Men would take their place. Repeatedly in the Letters, Tolkien tells us that Elves and Men represent difference aspects of the Humane. It is Elves who are the true subcreators, who represent....

Quote:
the artistic, aesthetic, and purely scientific aspects of the Human nature raised to a higher level than is actually seen in Man (Letter 181)
Again in Letter 153:

Quote:
....Elves are certain aspects of Men and their talents and desires, incarnated in my little world. They have certain freedoms and powers we should like to have, and the beauty and peril and sorrow of the possession of these things is exhibited in them...
It is the end of the Third Age. The Elves sail West. The beauty of Lorien recedes and we are left with only memories. Every creature other than man, certainly all those connected with the realm of faerie, departs or fades. When I read the final chapters, I am often left with a sense of overwhelming sorrow. But what makes this bearable, what makes LotR a book we remember, is that Tolkien takes the story beyond this sadness to sew tiny seeds of hope or estel. Thus, we have the mallorn tree blossoming in the Shire and Elanor born with hair of gold, symptomatic of the fact that the creativity of the Elves is still with us.

The single glowing symbol of this is the bodily and spiritual union of Aragorn and Arwen. The promise of Beren and Luthien has been reaffirmed. The Firstborn have departed but they have left the gift of subcreation that, however dilluted, has been passed down in our own bloodlines.

Take away Aragorn and Arwen and you might as well rewrite the entire legendarium! As Tolkien says in Letter 153:

Quote:
The entering into Men of the Elven strain is indeed represented as part of the Divine Plan for the ennoblement of the Human Race, from the beginning destined to replace the Elves.
*************************
Stepping back and looking at the personal implications, I think you're right. If Arwen had packed her bags and departed for the Havens, or perhaps if the two had never met, Elessar would likely have ended up with Eowyn. And what a turn of events! It would not have worked. Tolkien is very certain about this, describing Eowyn's first feelings for Aragorn as a "theme of mistaken love". (Letter 161)

I love Eowyn. I actually find her more understandable and compelling than Arwen. But the Eowyn who fell in love with Aragorn was someone grasping at straws. She fell in love with a shadow, perhaps a dream of what a man should be. But I don't believe she saw or understood the real Aragorn who would have been her mate. Once married, the reality would have hit. And I shudder to think of what might have happened.

Yes, Aragorn had enough inner gumption to pursue goodness with or without Arwen. I believe he would have made it through the Ring War with Gandalf's guidance as well as his own realization of what Sauron represented. But once the war was over, once peace had come, it would actually have been harder to keep on the path. The pressures would have subsided. His marriage to Eowyn would have been a disaster, and he could more easily have fallen prey to some of the less admirable quality traits that we've seen in some of the earlier kings--those of Numenor, Arnor, and Gondor.

If Elessar wins the war, it is Arwen who helps to define the peace: themes of fertility and tranquility and the creativity of the Elves. (Frankly, in traditional literature, that is often the role that women play. ) So Arwen's presence is essential for the era of peace and goodness that was to ensure. Get rid of her and I see Gondor falling down the slippery slope once more, even with Elessar's rule.
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Old 08-11-2004, 07:24 PM   #5
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Um, excuse me if I'm completly wrong here, but didn't Aragorn think Arwen was dead after Elrond's little visit before he went on the paths of the dead? Its been a while since I've read ROTK in its entirety, so I'm not sure if that's the book's version or PJ's.

Anyway, I think Aragorn would have went to Mordor and fought, but he may have been.... (how do I say this?) less careful with himself if he didn't think there was his true love waiting for him. Yes, Aragorn is an idealized version of mankind, but he was still a man who had a heart that could break. If Arwen left, I truely think Aragorn's heart would have broke, and he would have fulfilled his 'duty' to mankind and fought at Mordor, but his heart wouldn't have been anywhere near the battle.
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Old 08-11-2004, 08:27 PM   #6
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Lhundulinwen-- Nope, that's all movie-version. The movie has that whole "Oh no, Arwen's fate is tied to that of the Ring" thing going on, but in the book none of that happened and Elrond never went to Dunharrow. Aragorn had Anduril since leaving Rivendell with the Fellowship.

You do make a good point about Aragorn not being as motivated to fight. I have no doubts that he would not have abandoned his friends, but he would only have matters of honor and what is right to fight for, not love.
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encaitare
The movie has that whole "Oh no, Arwen's fate is tied to that of the Ring" thing going on, but in the book none of that happened
I posted something about this in this thread in the movie forum: Arwen and the One Ring
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Old 08-12-2004, 05:49 AM   #8
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Aragorn might have not been as careful with his life if Arwen had chosen to leave him. He would have gone to battle and fought bravely, since his allegiance to Gondor and the good guys was something separate from his love for Arwen, even the latter motivated him in everything he did. Maybe he would have been even more brave than usual, and reckless, taking too many risks, eventually maybe getting himself killed.
As for what he'd do afterwards, once he returned safe and victorious to Gondor, I don't think he would have married Eowyn. The movie makes a good point in him not encouraging Eowyn even when he thought he'd never see Arwen again. I see him as marrying someone as noble as he is, out of duty for his people, feeling more respect and kindness towards his wife. Maybe someone from Prince Imrahil's kin, someone with Elvish ancestry, to pass on the fertility and creativity represented by this race, that Child of the Seventh Age talked about.
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Old 08-12-2004, 02:13 PM   #9
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It seems, Maerbenn, that I was not specific enough! I checked out the thread and I do agree that yes, her fate was tied to the Ring, but then again so was that of everyone else in Middle-earth. I meant that she wasn't exactly dying because Sauron was growing stronger.
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Old 08-12-2004, 03:36 PM   #10
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Silmaril

I think that Aragorn would have gone on with saving the world. But as for marrying Eowyn, I doubt it. She and Faramir fell in love and became "engaged" before Aragorn's marriage to Arwen.






oh, I almost forgot.... I can't let this go without a correction.
Quote:
Aragorn had Anduril since leaving Rivendell with the Fellowship.
*ahem* Encaitare, Aragorn had Anduril even before meeting the Hobbits in Bree! If you remember, this happened while they were in Bree...
Quote:
He drew out his sword, and they saw that the blade was indeed broken a foot below the hilt. 'Not much use, is it Sam?' said Strider. 'But the time is near when it shall be forged anew.'
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Old 08-13-2004, 09:49 AM   #11
Estelyn Telcontar
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I can't help but wonder about the "hope" factor in Arwen and Aragorn's relationship. In Appendix A, he says to her:
Quote:
Yet with your hope I will hope.
Would he have lost hope without her? And she watched over him in thought on his journeys - was she able to protect him in some way? Would he have found an untimely end without her help?
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Old 08-14-2004, 02:34 AM   #12
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Silmaril

Will Arwen in this question leave for Valinor during the War of the Ring, or after, together with the rest of the Elves?

If she leaves only in the end: Aragorn and Arwen would not have ended up together, but that does not stop Arwen from hoping that eventually the War would be won...and with that hope Aragorn would fight on.

Otherwise: With Arwen in a whole new world altogether (relatively), Aragorn would lose the hope he holds on to in her...but still continue the battle with evil, finding hope somewhere else. But this would not be as strong as the hope he and Arwen have together.

If the West still wins in the end, Aragorn would reclaim the throne of Gondor...and rule in grief. That is, until he finds someone else to love, which I highly doubt is possible. But if he does not marry, how would the line of Luthien linger? It was said that her lineage would never be broken.
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:23 AM   #13
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elronds_daughter said...

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*ahem* Encaitare, Aragorn had Anduril even before meeting the Hobbits in Bree! If you remember, this happened while they were in Bree...
Well, technically it was still Narsil then. Aragorn only renamed the blade Anduril after it was reforged.
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Well, technically it was still Narsil then. Aragorn only renamed the blade Anduril after it was reforged.
true. But, technically, it's still the same sword. Giving it a different name does not change the properties of the metal. But I do see your point.
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:17 PM   #15
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Giving it a different name does not change the properties of the metal.
Indeed you are correct there. Ah, technicalities. We never seem to tire of them.
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Old 08-24-2004, 07:08 AM   #16
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Aragorn's the man who was so in love with Arwen. So if he didn't get this girl, he still couldn't abandon Gondor just for a stupid elf maid. If he did, then Gandy would beat him on the head with a staff. Also, the people of Gondor were so excited at the ROTk, maybe theuy'll kill Aragorn ....

But then again, I don't think Aragorn could abandon Gondor just because Arwen went to the eldamar thing.He might've ended up with Eowyn.
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Old 08-24-2004, 11:35 AM   #17
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I really can't see Aragorn and Eowyn together... Faramir and Eowyn are just meant for one another. Eowyn's "love" for Aragorn was pretty much just holding him in high esteem and admiration, because she longed for the freedom and glory he had. And Aragorn was never interested anyway.
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Old 08-25-2004, 05:05 PM   #18
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I agree absolutely that Aragorn would have never given up in the middle of the war, even if Arwen had suddenly changed her mind.

But I strongly believe his fate could be quite different if he got turned down before the war really started and he had to make his intentions clear. I mean he would have hardly claimed the throne without a good reason. He had been fighting against the Enemy with the Rangers. Besides, his ancestor’s claim for the crown of Gondor had once been rejected (I mean Arvedui the last king of Arnor) and noone dared – or cared – to claim it again. So imho Aragorn wouldn’t make such a claim other.

Anyway, it was Elrond’s idea, as being a King’s father-in-law is better than a vagabond’s
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Old 08-26-2004, 09:31 AM   #19
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Eowyn's "love" for Aragorn was pretty much just holding him in high esteem and admiration, because she longed for the freedom and glory he had. And Aragorn was never interested anyway.
true.
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