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Old 07-26-2005, 09:10 AM   #1
Turgon Philip Noldor
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Thumbs up Arwen's Love for Aragorn... like His love for us.

I’d like to talk about the sacrifice that Arwen made to be with Aragorn, and the likeness of the sacrifice Jesus made. Obviously Arwen had the opportunity to leave Middle Earth, leave all the war and pain behind. Also one must consider the possibility that all would be lost, that Sauron would take the Ring and no thing on Middle Earth could stop him. She risked the pain, and all the other risks of her staying, to stay and wait for Aragorn. This shows great love! She might have died while waiting for the battle to end and the Ring be destroyed so she could be reunited with Aragorn. She knew the risk; she knew she might not even see him again. She risked all that to be with Aragorn. She had the opportunity to be in paradise, but she stayed in Middle Earth, with overwhelming anxiety, waiting. She set aside her immortality to be mortal, so she could be with Aragorn and he could be with her. She exhibited extraordinary love. I have said before that Lord of the Rings is very similar to an allegory. Arwen’s love is very similar to the love of one who existed in reality, Jesus. Jesus set aside his immortality and took flesh to come and live among us. He suffered so that our sins could be paid for. He died so we could truly be in his presence, here on earth, and so that we could be with him in heaven after our death. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16, NKJV- He died and suffered so much pain so that we (mankind) could be together with Him in paradise. All he asked was that we accept his gift, that we truly accept him as savior.
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” –Romans 10:9, NKJV- So as you see, Arwen loved Aragorn greatly, and Jesus loved us very greatly too. I don't mean to offend anybody by posting this. I'll ask a simple question, what do you think about this. That might not be very simple and it might be to broad a question. But I would like some feed back from other Lord of the Rings fans.

-Turgon-
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Last edited by Turgon Philip Noldor; 07-26-2005 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:41 PM   #2
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Pipe Undómiel of Nazareth?

I don't see how that post could be offensive per se, although it does tend to veer away from Tolkien and into the realms of evangelism and questionable theology. Of course, Tolkien's ardent Roman Catholicism is well known and needs no repetition here, and there is undoubtedly a strong element of altruism in Arwen's love for Aragorn. However, I think that Tolkien himself would have been quick to point out that Arwen loves Aragorn as a husband and that she is forced to choose between two sacrifices: to be separated either from her family and people or from the man she loves, either separation being eternal and irrevocable. The choices and the need for a decision are ultimately imposed by a greater external power, whereas Christ's incarnation and sacrifice are the voluntary acts of a being that possesses complete freedom of will and action.

As a philologist and student of medieval literature, Tolkien was required to be familiar at least with the more important works of early and medieval Christian philosophy. It is reasonable to suppose that he was intimately familiar with the old Vulgate Bible, and his Latin was of a standard that would have allowed him to dispense with a translation. I know just enough to know that Tolkien, who was by no means a theologian, knew a great deal more about Christian thought and doctrine than I ever will. Having said that, I find it very doubtful that Arwen is intended to be compared with Christ, and even my limited understanding of Christian philosophy suggests that there is a fundamental difference between even the highest form of erotic love and that between God and the Christian. It would also be extremely questionable to compare any sacrifice made by one of Tolkien's characters with that of Christ: even the passions of the saints, prompted as they are by a deep love of Him, are only emulations of His sacrifice in their literary context.

All of which is but to behave as the Elves and answer both 'yes' and 'no'. The question entails a discussion which requires a great deal of specialist knowledge, and it would seem to belong more in the field of theological enquiry than Tolkien criticism. I would say, though, that the love between any two people, fictional or otherwise, is both like and unlike the love of God; but since that is beyond human experience they can never be the same. I expect that Tolkien would have said much the same thing, albeit with a lot more authority and a few juicy Patristic quotations.

Arwen's rôle as a source of nobility as a part of Tolkien's professed theme of the sanctification of the humble could well be relevant here, although it's too late for me to discuss it now. If she directly brings her husband closer to Eru, she might be compared more closely with Christ, although never equally.
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Last edited by The Squatter of Amon Rûdh; 07-28-2005 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Of course it's "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" and more fool me for forgetting. Hopefully the statement I've replaced that with is less tenuous than it looks.
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Old 07-28-2005, 05:26 AM   #3
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If you believe that love between people stems from the gift of divine love, then pretty much any romantic relationship can be viewed through the prism of Christ's sacrifice.

Having said that, I seriously doubt that there exists a strong intentional parallel between Christ and Arwen.

Though it's interesting to consider it in these terms.

By the same token, for example, one could say that Eowyn committed herself to a similar type of sacrifice, when she agreed to let go of her feelings for Aragorn and commit herself to Faramir and the greater good (not that I'm a big fan of the resolution of Eowyn's situation).

Perhaps Arwen's situation is simply more obvious, because it involves losing immortality.
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Old 07-28-2005, 08:54 AM   #4
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Christ's sacrifice was offered to save people from sin and bring them to eternal life. I cannot see where Arwen's sacrifice brings Aragorn eternal life. Nor can I see what sin she saves Aragorn from, unless it is ... well, let's not go there. I cannot see any hint that Aragorn would have failed in his quest had it not been for Arwen. Nor does she herself 'conquer' death in ultimately rising from it. In fact, she is lost to history, as is poignantly told in the Appendix.

Are there any parallels between Christ and Arwen other than the general choice to foresake eternal life (which is not truly eternal anyway, as elven existence is limited to Arda's existence)? Do we see a harrowing of Mordor done by Arwen? Does she have her temptation by Sauron on the mountaintop? Does she have a Lazarusiel or Lazarusion?

Lest anyone thing me too sardonic here, let me quickly suggest that 'allegory' requires greater correlation than vague similarity of one main point. Further, Tolkien himself rejects allegory in the forward to LotR.

If there is an archetypal 'meaning' to Aragorn's and Arwen's relationship, it ressembles more closely that of the struggling hero who himself undergoes great trial, to be rewarded finally with marriage with the great goddess. Given that Arwen's character is given few actual actions and that most of her actions are devoted to inspiring Aragorn to greater effort in his journey to earning the kingship, I would say that Arwen's character is too passive to prefigure Christ, who after all undertook several specific actions before his final Passion.

Arwen is Aragorn's reward, rather than salvation, I would say.
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Old 07-28-2005, 10:54 PM   #5
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You have all made a very good point. I also realize that this was not a very good or fair comparison. Though if Tolkien was a Christian, could his religion have affected his books a little. And it is pretty obvious to me too that Tolkien did not intentionally make this similarity. I have also read his note when he said he did not like allegories. So probably did not make any part of this book alike to the Bible, not intentionally at least.
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Old 08-04-2005, 08:58 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Oh, wow!

Oh, my goodness! This totally brings new thoughts to my mind. Awesome topic, Turgon.

I am so tired that I haven't read hardly any of what's been said on this thread, but I did read a bit of your first post. You compare Arwen to Christ, which is understandable for someone who doesn't quite understand things entirely...

Aragorn is Christ, if you see what I mean. He was the King who was in exile for so long and had to wait until a certain time until he could come into his own. Won't go into to that...

Arwen...Arwen is the Bride of Christ. She waits faithfully through the long years, staying pure and righteous. I hadn't seen any of that until just now, so I don't have much to say on it, but I think that's how it is. She is the Christain that will seperate her from the others, from all others, so that she can go to Him when the time comes at the end. It's all very theological and I don't think anyone wants to hear about it, but I think, since you asked about it, you might've liked such an input.

Goodnight, all.

- - Folwren

P.S. If someone else has already said this, then, oh well.
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:10 PM   #7
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Yes... but it is true that you can not really fairly compare Arawen and Christ, or any fictional character and Christ. It does seem however that Tolkien (whether intentionally or not) made Arwen a lot like Christ. Though I'm sure you could point out a lot of things about LOTR that are similar to the Bible, since Tolkien was an Christian himself, even though he said that he didn't like allegories.
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:25 AM   #8
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Yes, Arwen - if she is a picture of the bride - will be much like any picture written of the Christ because the Bride is to be like Him. Tolkien would not put his symbol of Christ into such a little used character. Besides that, it's almost obvious that it's Aragorn that was written to be like Christ.

As I said last night when I wasn't thinking clearly, I had never seen Arwen as anything symbolic until you mentioned it. Although you got the mark off a little bit (in my opinion), you were close. She is much like a Christ like figure would be, except for the fact that she's not a man, she remains in the back ground, and she doesn't become King. However, she is pure, she leaves the others and does not follow the paths that seemed the best and the paths that most people took, but forsake all to go to Aragorn, and she gets married to him, too, when he becomes King.

So, yes, all those good things that I just mentioned are very much like what you see Jesus as. But the Bride of Christ is to be like him in whatever way she can. The Bride here on earth has to do with everyone who will forsake everything (including their own families) to be like Him and at the end of time, when he is declared King of all, go and be 'married' to him.

Does anything of this make sense? I'm sticking pages and pages, and hour and hours of thought, theology, and learning into less than a page's worth of something.

As for Tolkien not wanting to make his books allegorical (sp), then you have to consider it as God given and assume that Tolkien might not have understood everything he put into his books. I doubt that is the case because you really can't do so much without meaning to, but it is a possibility.

And...these are all very hastily written thoughts that are not entirely developed, so if you all disagree, say you do and why and maybe I could clear things up.

- Folwren
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Old 08-08-2005, 04:20 AM   #9
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So, yes, all those good things that I just mentioned are very much like what you see Jesus as. But the Bride of Christ is to be like him in whatever way she can. The Bride here on earth has to do with everyone who will forsake everything (including their own families) to be like Him and at the end of time, when he is declared King of all, go and be 'married' to him.
That allegory makes sense, I think. And "Aragorn the Christ" is not a stupid allegory. The lost and awaited king whose way is dark... Anyway, this is a bit off-topic, so I shouldn't probably speculate it anymore.

Overall, I can see similarities between Arwen and Jesus, but I can also see unsimilarities.
I wait for new ideas...
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