Pathway through forest

Leaving Rivendell

 The Evening Star

Ngil cennin eriel vi                    I saw a star rise high in the 
Menel aduial                             Evening sky,
Glingant sui mîr                        It hung like a jewel, 
Síliel mae.                                Softly shining.

Ngil cenning firiel vi                 I saw a star fade in the 
Menel aduial                             Evening sky,
Dûr, dûr i fuin                            The dark was too deep and so light died, 
Naenol mae.                             Softly pining.

An i ú nathant                           For what might have been, 
An i naun ului                            For what never was,
A chuil, anann cuiannen         For a life, long lived
A meleth, perónen                    For a love, half given. 

Text by Philippa Boyens
Sindarin Translation by David Salo

A dreamlike apparition on a forest path, the last of the Elves leaving Middle-Earth. They have served their purpose and leave the fate of the land to the race of Men. Men will either prosper or wither, it all depends on the last battle that is ahead of them, the War of the Ring. 

Although leaving Middle-Earth is a concept of great respect and duty for all Elf-kind, there is one whose duty to her heart has a much greater meaning.

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The last journey

Take her by the safest road. A ship lies anchored in the Grey Havens. It waits to carry her across the sea. The last journey of Arwen Undómiel.

Lord Elrond

For all those who walk along the path to the Grey Havens, with a look of serenity and righteousness, Arwen`s expression is that of numbness, blankness and overall sadness. 

There is nothing for you here….only death.

Lord Elrond

A bleak future riddled with death and sorrow is all that remains for her if she stays, or so her father told her. The logical choice is to follow her kin and a fulfilling rest of her immortal life. Only this is not what she wants for herself. Even though the outcome might a bleak one, it does not soothe her heart, for she is leaving it behind with Aragorn. 

The vision

As they glide along through the forest, more of a vision than reality, Arwen`s eyes turn to follow the footsteps of a boy running alongside the convoy. He runs towards someone, happy, excited to see the person waiting for him.

As he steps onto the stone porch, there with his arms wide open and a smile wider than we have seen thus far awaits Aragorn. His hair is silver-grey as is his beard. He spins around with the little boy in his arms, a picture-perfect image of a happy family, with only a mother missing. 

The little boy focuses his eyes on Arwen`s face. She is still, unblinking, and suddenly aware of the missing piece of the puzzle. The Evenstar necklace around the boy`s neck says it all: she is what is missing. Her eyes well up with tears. It is a pleasant part of her future that is flashing before her eyes. She has been given only the conclusion of her life and Aragorn`s, and all that Elrond said about it will come true.

But here, now, shines a light of hope that not all in her future is grim and lifeless. This little boy is the representation of all the good that awaits her if she stays, and thus she turns around and heads for Rivendell.

The confrontation

Arwen: “Tell me what you have seen.” 

Elrond: “Arwen.”

Arwen: “You have the gift of foresight. What did you see?”

Elrond: “I looked into your future, and I saw death.” 

Arwen: “But there is also life. You saw there was a child. You saw my son.”

A confrontation ensues as Arwen arrives at Rivendell. There is something her father had been hiding from her, a vital part of her future, a child born onto her and Aragorn. A perfect mixture of a king of Men and Elf-kind. She argues with her father fervently, standing for her want of realizing a future that he already foresaw. Had he told her the truth, she would not have left Rivendell with the others. 

However, not disclosing this particular information, and presenting her with only the ultimate result of her staying behind, he influenced her decision to not leave. He has lost faith that anything good will result after the War of the Ring. Elrond sees it all as hopeless and therefore pointless. The only right course of action, in his eyes, is to leave the shores of Middle-Earth, for whatever may come, death is certain. 

Almost gone, but not lost

Elrond: “That future is almost gone.” 

Arwen: “But it is not lost.” 

Elrond: “Nothing is certain.” 

Arwen: “Some things are certain. If I leave him now, I will regret it forever. It is time.” 

Elrond turns his back as Arwen confronts him with his own undisclosed visions. As he isn`t certain that this particular vision will come to fruition, he lets it go, as if it were but a dream. 

Arwen, on the other hand, had been given a boost of hope and happiness that she longed for. All this time she has not laid eyes on Aragorn, her hope and faith in him have been weaning. Her heart never doubted the love it felt for Aragorn, but a future together was left a mystery.

The only feeling she would leave Middle-Earth with besides her love for Aragorn would be guilt and regret. There is only one thing she can now do, cling to her love and newly risen hope of a reunion with her love. 

Even though their future is not certain and it will ultimately cause her pain, the pain of leaving him while a beautiful foresight of happiness still remains is not something she wants to endure. Hope and faith are all she can now hold onto. 

Iron over fire
Photo by Joni Gutierrez on Unsplash.

Reforge the sword

From the ashes a fire shall be woken. 
A light from the shadow shall spring. 
Renewed shall be blade that was broken. 
The crownless again shall be king.

By the request of her daughter, Elrond commissions the blacksmiths to reforge the sword that once rid their lands of Sauron. Now, it will bear the name of Andúril and will help Aragorn fight against many foes. 

Becoming mortal

Elrond: “Your hands are cold. The life of the Eldar is leaving you.”

Arwen: “This was my choice. Whether by your will or not there is no ship now that can bear me hence.”

A book falls out of Arwen`s hands as the leaves cover the ground beneath her feet. Her fingers are not her own, her own touch is strange to her. A look of surprise takes over her face. This is something she has not yet experienced in all her years. Immortality is leaving her body, now she feels human. Now she is bound to the fate of all other peoples of Middle-Earth. 

Lord Elrond`s face shows worry and sadness. He did not want her daughter exposed to all the elements as the rest of the human race. He wanted to protect her, but alas, the choice was hers. 

She has given up that which defined her all her life, which tied her to her kin, that which promised her eternity. Arwen has given it all up for love. 

The world of Men is at a precipice. With King Théoden unwilling to aid his fellow Men, Gandalf takes Pippin with him to warn Denethor of the oncoming war. 

Read on in my next post. 

Feature photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

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