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Isabeau's Journal

 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.

Radbooks wrote: The discussion about Arwen has me sort of confused because everyone thinks she changed her mind about her choice and I guess I've never read it quite that way. I see someone who is beginning to grieve over a beloved husband who is leaving and is asking him to stay when he clearly could have stayed for at least some time longer. I don't think she regrets her choice, just wants more time with her husband which is a pretty natural thing.

Speaking only for my part in that discussion, the problem I have with that part of Arwen's story is her apparent lack of faith that she will join Aragorn in whatever fate awaits Men, and/or her apparent fear that what comes after death will be less than what they shared in Middle Earth. As written it almost seems as if she'd signed away her immortality without fully grasping what would come of it.

Sure it was a time of sadness, if for no other reason than the fact that she must briefly say goodbye to Aragorn, and then say goodbye to her children (for the time being) in order to join her him. And not knowing exactly what lies ahead is going to produce anxiety, of course. But it was Aragorn's time to go, she'd had more than 100 years to prepare herself for the inevitable. To put on him the burden of asking him to stay a bit longer (why? so that in a few more years' time the same anxiety and sadness will have to be faced?) suggests a person who doesn't really appreciate the Gift of Men, and/or is too wrapped up in her own feelings to perceive what is necessary for her spouse. Which doesn't ring true to me given Arwen's wisdom, courage and grace in other circumstances. I see it as a weak point in Tolkien's narrative. But that's just me. I suppose that interpretations will vary according to one's perspective on the nature of love, the afterlife, and probably other existential matters as well.

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