|All the tales of the Valar and the Elves are so knit together that one may scarce expound any one without needing to set forth the whole of their great history.|
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November, 12 2005
OK, folks-this is the general forum now for questions that don't seem to fit in any of the other threads. I'm going to sort some of the earlier posts into the appropriate forums, but it might take a while, so bear with me. I'll delete the ones that have already been reposted by their authors.
You know, I was thinking more about Denise's observation that Hethlin and Aragorn parallel each other in many ways. And while yes, they are related and are both orphans, good fighters and (eventually we hope for Hethlin) good leaders, I think the similarities end there actually. Oh wait, just realized that also like Aragorn, Hethlin was kept in the dark about her family history until she was an adult. Yeah, that's increasing the symmetry.
But I see one big difference between them, and it is that, upon coming of age, an enormous task was set before Aragorn, a seemingly impossible task. At the outset no one knew that claiming the throne could only be accomplished by destroying the Ring, but even before that became clear, rebuilding the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor must have seemed like the most far-fetched sort of pipe dream (Aragorn's pipe dream, heh heh). Yet he had to do that in order to win Arwen.
Whereas Hethlin has a 2-year commitment to train in Dol Amroth, but then she can do what she will, where she likes. I can't help but think that Aragorn would have faltered in his pursuit of the throne if he didn't have the further goal of winning Arwen. I don't think he would have given up once he was on his way with the Fellowship, but in the long years before that when his path was anything but clear perhaps he would have given that up. If he hadn't loved Arwen he might have been content to be the leader of the Dunedain. Or perhaps I'm wrong there. I've always assumed that was Tolkien's way of giving Arwen some power, by being the woman behind the man.
So, between his lineage and his love for Arwen, Aragorn's path was determined for him -- of course he had to live up to it (no mean feat!). But not so for Hethlin. Her choices will have to be guided by what she deems to be the right direction to go in. And so it seems to me that their paths are actually very different, or at least can be, depending on whether Hethlin's choices are constrained by who she ends up marrying.
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