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Thread: Arwens life tied 2 ring?

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Elrond tells Aragorn that Arwen's life is tied to ring the of power. I don't understand how this works. First, Elrond, is over 3000 years old, cause he fought in the battle on the plains of Dagorlad on the hills of mount doom in the beginning of the movie, where they sum up alot of events in like 5 minutes. But he doesn't get on the boat to the west with the rest, and his life is not decided by the ring, or is it? He doesn't seem to be dying, but still seems to be immortal? I read that Arwen was over 2000 years old when she first meet Aragon, so she is just a little younger than her father. Anyways, Elrond tells Aragon that she is dying and that she will not long survive the evil that spreads from mordor. The light from the even star is failing, and as Sauron's power grows, Arwens weakens, and then says her life is tied to the fate of the ring. Was Elrond just generalizing, cause obviously everyone is going to grow weaker if the rings survives and everyone would be in a fight for their lives if Sauron gets it back. But is she truely tied to the ring, cause i don't understand how this works, cause the way i understand it, she would die if the ring doesnt. What would of happened if frodo failed, and the ring didn't get destroyed, would she of died? I also didn't understand the thing with the Arwen and Elrond. They are not from middle earth from what the extras said, and they are thousands of years old. If Arwen stays and doesn't go on the boat, does she give up being mortal, or is Elrond talking about the mortal lifes close to her that will die? They didn't really cover a lot of this stuff, or i didn't catch it. I just didn't understand why these things would effect Arwen and not Elrond?
Arwen's life is not physically tied to the fate of the Ring, but what Elrond meant is that she intends to stay in M.E and share Aragorn's fate - and that fate is pretty much guaranteed to be death if Sauron gets the Ring back.

I suppose in a way every creature that lived in Middle-Earth at the time of this hideous evil and attempt to cover the earth in second darkness , all of their lives were tied to the Ring, but only because they could at any time be erased from the face of Middle-Earth by one of Sauron's henchmen. But Lady Arwen chose a mortal's existance, therefor instantly facing a mortal's death,the being removed from the circle of the earth at any time. She could have become ill in a way that no one not even dada could have saved her, or crushed in a fall, anything that faces we mortals. The Ring itself could not determine her lifespan. Ultimately all things were in the hand of Illuvatar and as Gandalf intimated to Frodo, Biilbo was meant to find it and so too were you.' Just meaning that the strange encounters and things unforseen that happened in all lives on Middle-Earth including Arwen were ultimately in the hands of the Creator. So I don't know about it.

There are many , many issues here...some which I am not at all sure about....

The first thing to say is that they changed things from the the film they were flirting with the idea that Arwen somehow passed her "life essence" to Frodo...this idea , as far as i remember, what was not in the book.

At the ford of Bruinen , when it appears Frodo is dying, Aren says..."whatever Grace is given to me..let it pass to him.."

This idea was not in the book..Arwen was not even at the Ford Of Bruinen.

The idea seemed to be that Arwen gave up her immortality so that Frodo could live.....but later on it seemed they were suggesting she gave up her immortality by staying with Aragorn in Middle Earth, but I am not sure even this is correct...??

I think maybe people are getting confused with the fate Beren & Luthien.....Luthien chose to be mortal, so that she could be with Beren, and go wherever mortals go when they die.

But my understanding was, this was not the fate of Arwen....

My interpretation from the Book was that Arwen's tragedy was that Aragorn would die, but she would continue to live through all the ages of the world alone....

In the film , they seemed to get in a real muddle with minute Elrond is saying that Arwen

is dying...the next minute we see a vision of Aragorn's future, (presumably Hundreds of years in the future) ..and not only is Arwen apparently still alive & healthy, but she looks as young as ever....which is correct....but how does it tie in with Elrond saying she is dying?.....and how does it tie in with the general perception that she has somehow become "mortal"?......

Have I got confused here ?...have we all got confused...?

I don't know about the film, but since the book has been raised, Arwen was Half-elven and given a choice of fate, just as her brothers were. She always had this choice before her -- unlike Luthien, who yet was given the chance to escape deathlessness.

Arwen chose a mortal fate because of Aragorn, and ultimately died after he did, in Lothlorien.


The short version anyway

Yes, I think I understand now, Galin; you are right....i think it was the film that confused me....they have gone for this idea of Arwen passing her "life force" to Frodo..I dont think that idea was in the book...?

thanks for straightening me out, Galin......

Yes, I think I understand now, Galin; you are right....i think it was the film that confused me....they have gone for this idea of Arwen passing her "life force" to Frodo..I dont think that idea was in the book...?

thanks for straightening me out, Galin......

Hey Guys......111 posts....I am Eleventy-one today!! is also my real birthday....spooky??....mmm 19...getting old now.....hey, do I get a cake??...haha.....

The only think in the book that suggested or hinted that Arwen had anything to do with passing anything on to Frodo was when she gave Frodo a gem to wear around his neck to comfort him in those times after he had lost the ring when he still "wanted" it (the book implies the ring is like a highly addictive drug) - and Arwen implies that she is giving Frodo "her" spot on the boat into the West.

But this is not anywhere near the idea that Arwen gives the elvish part of her life-force to Frodo to save him at the fords of Bruinen.  When Frodo gets on the boat to go West he's not going into eternal life like Gandalf and the rest of the Elves who are on the same boat.  Frodo and Bilbo are going West in order to be healed from the influence of the ring - think of it as a sort of advanced detox - something that couldn't be done in Middle-Earth - and then they will die and go wherever regular mortal hobbits and men go when they die, just as they would have had they both stayed in Middle Earth.  

In the book, Elrond is "half-elven" (he's really a mixture of human, elf, and maia) and has been given the choice to take on the immortal life of the elves or the mortal life of Men.  (He chooses elvish life, his brother chose Human life - albeit he gets a longer life span than most "regular" humans - and Aragorn is a many-generations-removed descendant of this brother.)  

I'm not sure why, but Elrond's children (who are called "half-elven" but whose mother is fully elvish) also get a version of Elrond's choice, while Elrond's brother's children get no such choice.  Arwen and her brothers will have elvish long-life in Middle Earth so long as Elrond is in Middle Earth - but when Elrond decides to head home into the West, then his kids have a choice to make: either they go West with him and remain immortal Elves or they stay in Middle Earth and live very long, but eventually mortal, Human lives.

Thanks, Elannoraine... I think this is the most concise summary so far.....another example of where they changed things in the film & confused everybody.....I sound like I am morphing into a purist...haha...I must say though, Aragorn's "funeral" scene in the film...where Arwen is grieving for him...that is spookily well done....

P.S. Elves are "from" Middle Earth if you go back to the very beginning of Elves in The Silmarillion.  But they got invited to go live and make their home in the West before Humans and Hobbits and Dwarves ever showed up in Middle Earth.

At the time of the Lord of the Rings story, some Elves had gone West and stayed; Some had gone West, stayed for a while, and had came back for various reasons (These are High Elves - like Galadriel and Gildor and Glorfindel); Some hadn't yet gone West in the first place (like Legolas).

Elrond's eventually planning to move West (his wife has already gone West), but he's not actually from there - he's never been there - although some of his ancestors have been there.

Yes, the Elves awoke originally by the water of Cuivienin ?...don't think i have spelled it right?,,,,and the first thing they saw were the stars of Elbereth...(this was before the Sun & Moon were created)...therefore they always loved starlight more than anything else......ahh. I love this so much....

I'm not sure why, but Elrond's children (who are called "half-elven" but whose mother is fully elvish) also get a version of Elrond's choice, while Elrond's brother's children get no such choice. 


There have been theories concerning this. Tolkien once wrote (in a letter):

'Elrond chose to be among the Elves. His children -- with a renewed Elvish strain, since their mother was Celebrian dtr. of Galadriel -- have to make their choices.' '''


But does Tolkien intend this added bit about renewed Elvish strain to explain why they have a choice? or is he merely adding this information? For myself, if Tolkien meant this to explain why, I don't see why that should matter really, as they would still have a measure of mortal blood in any case.


I base my theory on a bit of text written from the mid to later 1930s Quenta Silmarillion (a description that wasn't used by Christopher Tolkien however, for his edited Silmarillion published in 1977), which states that all those of mortal blood -- in any measure -- are mortal unless other doom be granted to them. I take this to describe the natural state, an edict of Eru, so to speak.

Thus my theory: Elros' choice restored the natural order -- default mortal, as he and all his children had a measure of mortal blood. However if Elrond's children were default mortal, as they should be, also having a measure of mortal blood, they would have been automatically sundered from Elrond and Celebrian -- which doesn't seem very fair; that is, the choice of an immortal fate should not (I think) come with such a high price.


Thus Elrond's children are extended the choice, while the children of Elros cannot choose -- and no one with mortal blood is necessarily denied a mortal fate, and no one is automatically sundered from their parents. Arwen's choice was very difficult, but it was still a choice. 

Well, it works for me so far!

Tolkien refers to Arwen and Frodo at least a couple times in his letters. In one he briefly notes that Frodo can pass Oversea by the 'express gift of Arwen', but in a later letter he delves into this more, noting (the body of the letter and Tolkien's own footnote are here edited for brevity):


'Arwen was the first to observe the signs, and gave him her jewel for comfort, and thought of a way of healing him.* (...)

*[author's footnote] 'It is not made explicit how she could arrange this. She could not just transfer her ticket on a boat like that! (...) what is meant is that it was Arwen who first thought of sending Frodo into the West, and put in a plea for him to Gandalf (direct or through Galadriel, or both), and she used her own renunciation of the right to go West as an argument (...) No doubt it was Gandalf who was the authority that accepted her plea. (...)'


'It is clear, of course, that the plan had actually been made and concerted (by Arwen, Gandalf and others) before Arwen spoke. But Frodo did not immediately take it in; the implications would slowly be understood on reflection (...) When Arwen spoke (in TA 3019) he was still young, not yet 51, and Bilbo 78 years older. But at Rivendell he came to understand things more clearly. The conversations he had there are not reported, but enough is revealed in Elrond's farewell III 267.'



From letter 246 I think (but one of them anyway).


Possible spoiler alert concerning The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-Earth series.


Incidentally and off topic: it was noted in the thread that the Elves awoke before the Sun and Moon existed. This is hardly untrue according to The Silmarillion account, of course, but in my opinion, when Tolkien later characterized the Silmarillion as a Mannish account he was hinting that this was the Mannish version of things...

... while the Elvish version -- in my opinion revealed in the Awakening of the Quendi (an Elvish child's tale mingled with counting lore, published in The War of the Jewels) -- has the first Elves simply awakening at night, and thus again, awakening to the stars overhead, even though the Sun already existed.


Interestingly, for a later edition of The Hobbit, Tolkien removed a rather direct reference to Elves existing before the Sun arose, though The Lord of the Rings would continue to contain references to a more vague 'Twilight' in any case.

Arwen mentions in ROTK to Frodo that she had made the choice of Lúthien, and all the bitter & sweet that comes with it, yet in the Appendices Aragorn still suggests to her that she can leave for the Grey Havens and apparently pick up her immortality again.

This always seemed peculiar to me.

To me as well Vir (if I may shorten Virumor that is!). And to my mind, Arwen's response to Aragorn isn't exactly crystal clear, though maybe it wasn't meant to be.


I think it undermines the importance in some measure, or the 'magnitude' perhaps (or some better word I know exists and can't think of right now), of her choice, if Arwen were truly able to change her mind at this point; and moreover (despite a letter that speaks to the contrary) I think the author-published text at least implies that the choice was to be made at the time of Elrond's departure...


... if not earlier. And so I believe that all of Elrond's children, sadly for him, Celebrian and others I guess, escaped immortality; or let's say I lean that way still. 

The Appendix also mentions that Arwen "became cold & grey" after Aragorn's death and "the light dozed in her eyes". This could be interpreted that after her 120 years were up, old age caught up with her?

Maybe JRRT hadn't planned all details on the Aragorn-Arwen relationship yet while he was busy writing LOTR (and indeed, their romance is quite understated and is very easy to miss for the non-attentive reader, since the few hints are quite subtle).

i decided to pick this thread to ask for help, anyone who can assist me will be my friend forever. For about a month now every time I log in to Planet-Tolkien there is sort of a white flash, then everything is frozen. Strangely enough I find I have to wait until the bottom of my screen fills with blue on the names that come at the bottom for the chat thingy. When and only when each name goes blue can I move anything and then I can only go to the next step , say picking a forum. It instantly freezes again and once more I have to wait for the names at the bottom to turn blue before it unfreezes every thing. Always at the bottom of the screen there is a message that says 'Planet-Tolkien not responding.' then it will again unfreeze and I can then only click reply and yet again it all freezes until the names at the bottom turn blue.

This has drastically cut down my contributing. It can take about fifteen minutes to make one comment. This never happened before in all the years I have been a member of this glorious site. And it does not happen anywhere else I go to on the internet, ever.

If someone, anyone has a suggestion I would be so very grateful of help. Thank you in advance.

Hi Lee Lee.  This sounds strange indeed.  A similar thing happened to me a while ago on another site and it turned out to be a malicious bug.  If you have Norton or Macafee or another anti virus package do a full scan asap.  I got it in time and now alls ok!  Hope you are too...

Brego, thank you so very much. I will do that as soon as possible. It is utterly exhausting and to take nearly fifteen minutes to do one comment is so ridiculous. But in the end Planet-Tolkien is worth it. Smile Smilie

Good Luck Lee Lee!

Re Arwen, one would need to say that everyones life was tied to the ring, Dwarf, Elf or Man as Saurons plan for domination would have wiped out all that the free folk hold dear.

The books relationship between Elrond, Arwen and Aragorn is written with a very 19th century sensibility which does not really translate to present day values.  I kind of understand what PJ was trying to say in the films however it is confused by two scenes which are hard to decipher. 1- Arwen's prayer for Frodo after the destruction of the nines horses in Bruinen. & 2 - Aragorn's vision in the Palantir regarding the death of Arwen. I think that these scenes were to simplified & altered and caused confusion to both LOTR's readers or non.  I think its in the editing.

I believe I may be of assistance dear Leelee! Smile Smilie

The slow loading may be caused by a few things. If you have not yet solved the issue I suggest doing the following:

Delete your temporary internet files. You can do this manually by finding the temporary files and simply deleting them or you can download a handy little program called Ccleaner. It will also fix any registry errors your computer may have. Smile Smilie ( )

Try that and if it does nothing contact me Via pm and I'll help you solve the issue Smile Smilie


Good to see you!

The idea that Arwen's fate is tied to the Ring is not in the book, therefore you shouldn't accept it as Tolkien's idea. In fact, it's quite the opposite: Arwen would only be able to join Aragorn in marriage and mortal fate if Sauron is defeated and Aragorn becomes King. If the Ring fell into Sauron's hand, Arwen would probably be allowed to evacuate with other elves to the West, or she might choose to die with Aragorn anyway.

This is true Widespace however Arwen, I think that once Arwen had made her choice, a choice made by her heart, not her mind, she would not have been allowed on ship to travel the straight road. Also there is some evidence throughout the books that Arwen did give her place up for the sake of Frodo as she knew that the only healing he could receive for his wounds of heart, mind and body were in the blessed realm. There Is a section in TROTK in Many Patings where Arwen has a conversation with Frodo in the high court of Minas Tirith where this is confirmed.

Hello, fellow Middle-Earthians.  I'm new to the Planet, but old in my love of Tolkien.

This matter of Arwen dying unless the Ring is destroyed, and Elrond's journey to Dunharrow to deliver Andúril to Aragorn... well, it's one of the biggest whoppers pulled by Peter Jackson & Co. (Eru bless them) and to this day I don't know why.  Did it add anything?  For me it was good enough like the Professor put it together, but maybe that's just me.  On the other hand, what about the arrival of the Dúnedain warriors (The Passing of the Grey Company), one of the parts I have always loved best; not to mention the brothers Elladan and Elrohir, which brings me to a related question for this thread: do we know for sure what choice the twins made?  Did they stay a while and then cross over sea with their grandad Celeborn?  Or with Cirdan, who was maybe the last to go?  Or even with Legolas and Gimli?

... which brings me to a related question for this thread: do we know for sure what choice the twins made? 


Hello and welcome!

On this point, in my opinion (and based on text published by the author himself specifically), I think the sons of Elrond chose to escape Deathlessness. Sadly enough for Elrond perhaps.

Although I can't use the word 'certainly' here for example, to my mind Tolkien implied the choice of a mortal death for Elrond's sons.


Hail Marghana!  Agreed on the silliness of the delivery of Aduril to Aragorn. And good question about the twins.  Ill throw in another possibility.  Perhaps one stayed and one sailed, as with their Father and Uncle, ages before.  I love Tolkien's seeming fascination with twins.

Scandalous concept, Galin!  Do you think they would actually be resigned to never again seeing Celebrían?  I sort of thought that maybe they would stay a while to keep Arwen company, and then eventually go to the long home.  Just imagine poor Elrond!

And Brego, you are so right about the Professor's fascination with twins.  This came right home to me when I found out that the Lord of Imladris and the first King of Númenor were twin brothers.  And the idea of them splitting up, like their elders, hadn't occurred to me at all.  I always considered them as a unit, somehow, but there you are with the precedent.  Haunting, like everything elvish.

By the way, what do you think of the way Elladan and Elrohir were portrayed in the fan film Born of Hope?

Scandalous concept, Galin! Do you think they would actually be resigned to never again seeing Celebrían? 


That's a tough call I admit, but yes I lean that way... even though I can't find my nice and wordy fuller opinion at the moment!

I can note the seemingly inevitable citation from one of Tolkien's letters that almost always finds its way into this matter: in it Tolkien will note that after Elrond sails his sons remain for a while and delay their choice (not revealing their choice in any case) -- but due to details included in my ('lost' for now it seems) fuller argument, I don't think the story ends there.


Not sailing with Elrond (the following can be employed as a sleep aid)


Robert Foster writes: '... and since they did not accompany Elrond over Sea they seem to have chosen to become mortal.' Entry Elladan   (entr

Well who is Robert Foster? and anyway it's 'Foster' not Tolkien Galin! that's just a secondary source. Maybe so, but Christopher Tolkien actually recommends Foster's Guide to Middle-earth in general, and I think Foster is on to something here. 


I think this entry is not simply based on the sons not sailing with Elrond, but arguably also Elrond's and Aragorn's words from the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen: 'That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar (...) And when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses.'

Aragorn responds that the years of Elrond's abiding run short at last, '... and the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth'. Elrond answers 'Truly' but notes 'soon as we account the years'

Earlier in the N. Kings section of Appendix A it is also noted that the children of Elrond had the choice to pass '...with him from the Circles of the World; or if they remained to become mortal and die in Middle-earth.'

Of course the option remains that 'with him' means 'as he did' or similar, but especially the conversation with Aragorn seems very much about timing to my mind. There's an interesting draft text called T4 in The Peoples of Middle-Earth, which according to Christopher Tolkien: '...was and remained for a long time the form of the Tale of Years that my father thought appropriate, and was indeed proposed to the publishers in 1954.' It reads in part (concerning Elrond's children):

2300 '(...) These children were three parts Elven-race, but the doom spoken at their birth was that they should live even as Elves so long as their father remained in Middle-earth; but if he departed they should have then the choice either to pass over the Sea with him, or to become mortal, if they remained behind.'

Again, I realize one can work around this, but taken all together (not that Foster had this last bit to work with) Tolkien has (IMO) at least left the impression that to stay in Middle-earth when Elrond departed reflects the choice of mortality. 


Then there is the letter where Tolkien actually states that the sons delayed their choice after Elrond sailed. Hmm, a bit annoying to my position, but letter 153 was written in 1954, and in 1955 Tolkien was still working on texts which would impact this issue -- that is, the Numenorean Kings (i) Numenor, and (V) Part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. 

And in 1955 Tolkien published The Return of the King, and true to one part of letter 153, the end of the sons of Elrond was not told...


... but much later, in the 1960s, did Tolkien finally 'tell' of their end in the revised edition of The Lord of the Rings? Maybe so, if not in certain terms. And letter 153 would likely be a distant memory by this time for JRRT. And (and to anyone: please correct me if I'm wrong about this, I'm not 100 percent positive), in the first edition of the book, there was no mention either way as to whether or not the sons of Elrond sailed with Elrond.

But in the 1960s Tolkien added not one but two references to The Lord of the Rings illustrating that the sons of Elrond had not in fact sailed with Elrond. Hmm, going back to Appendix A...


So that's my somewhat wordy fuller argument. I could probably write up a longer version

I enjoyed both Born of Hope and athe Hunt For Gollum Morghana. I'm also hoping for more.... Re the twins, I thought they were ok. I however imagine them as taller, highly intelligent and as handsome as Arwen is beautiful. There is a terrible Xbox game I have "battle for mIddle earth" in which the twins make an appearance.

"Maybe JRRT hadn't planned all details on the Aragorn-Arwen relationship yet while he was busy writing LOTR "

Actually, Arwen had not been "invented" up until Tolkien was writing the battle of the Pellenor Field. She is almost an after-thought. When Aragorn arrived with the Black Fleet and unfurled the black standard, Tolkien suggested that the tree and stars on the flag were crafted by Elrond's daughter, called Finduilas. A bit later Tolkien suggested that Aragorn and Finduilas should marry after he becomes King. And only then the name was changed to Arwen. Then Tolkien had to go back to the earlier chapters and "write" Arwen in and develop the whole affair between the two.

Do you have a source for that information?

I like the idea of Aragorn and Finduilas marrying, it would make sense from a political standpoint as well.

It is likely Tolkien "invented" Arwen to mirror the Beren & Lúthien union.

In one of the Appendices Tolkien mentions that after Aragon's death, Arwen eventually went to live in what was left of Lothlorien (where they had originally met) and served by a few "maidens,"  (after all she was the Queen),  she died and was buried there.   

Yes Amon Galas, truly heartbreaking, the scene in the film as well as the info in the appendices capture the futility and heartbreak Arwen felt after the death of King Ellesar, her beloved husband. They really show the outcome and fruition of her long doomed decision. The scene of her walking through the now grey and decaying forest always manages to move me greatly.