Thread: Best bits.
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:42 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
...even if I haven't quite reached Hui's stage of acceptance on the Arwen-replacing-Glorfindel front...
Heh. I realised last time watching the film that Glorfindel isn't really a character - he's worldbuilding. If you want to show off the background mythology, the power of those who have seen the Light of the Trees, and how much mightier the elder Noldor are than the likes of Legolas; and especially if you want to be able to point to all that and say "even Glorfindel - even Glorfindel, who drove off the Nine singlehanded - couldn't blast his way into Mordor..." for all these things, Glorfindel is a fantastic tool.

But as a character? As someone to show on screen and make us root for? Nope. He shows up, does his thing, then vanishes entirely from the story.

In contrast, Arwen is someone we should be rooting for - there's a whole love story for her and Estel in the Appendices, Tolkien clearly cared! - but we never get a chance. I think she appears once when Frodo sees her, and then not again until her wedding? She's not a character - certainly not a successor to Luthien the Nightingale - and as Elessar's beloved she really should be.

So yes, I accept that putting her in is strictly better than using Glorfindel, for movie purposes, and I admired the fact that Frodo's first view of her is clearly an "unseen world" version (she switches clothes, hair, and language when we go back to 'objective' view). Does that mean it was a good solution to the problem? Nnnnot really. What they did was give her an inconsistent characterisation - she's mostly this visionary type who taaalks reeeally sloowly, but we're introduced to her by her riding around yelling at Nazgul and waving a sword.

Ironically they could have fixed this by keeping her a bit more Glorfindel. Let her heal Frodo enough that he can ride by himself, and she can stand with Aragorn to drive the Nazgul into the river - then do her little bit of magic to call it to rise. It would give us the "look how powerful some elves can be" effect, while also showcasing the difference between her and her boyfriend - and would let Frodo have his "by Elbereth and Luthien the Fair!" line back, lending it added potency by the presence of Luthien's stunt double.

That would have been entirely consistent with their later characterisation of Arwen-as-sorceress/seer (maybe she rode out because she sensed them coming!), and would hew closer to the book.

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