Two lovers, two souls, two different perspectives. Love may bind them as strong as it will, and keep them together forever, but their own views on a certain situation may influence the survival of the same.
Our inner struggle can overcome pure feelings and unconditional wants. To overshadow something as benevolent and far-reaching as a strong loving relationship should be considered a sin.
Love is not one-sided and it doesn`t reside in only one person. It develops in an entity of its own, existing in a constant flowing state between two lovers. Even if one side is struggling from within, love does not falter. One`s own insecurities and fears do not influence its flow. It can recuperate and strengthen. It has the power to heal the soul.
Arwen chooses a path laid by Lúthien. One that stirs the heart in powerful ways. Lúthien chose mortality only to have her beloved Beren brought to life and for them to spend a lifetime together. Her choice in her mind was not a hard one. If Beren had stayed dead, she would have died of grief beside him.
The choices provided her were, in her mind, not choices at all, because there was only one thing she wanted. Arwen`s decision is the same as Lúthien`s. A solid decision made in entirety out of love for Aragorn. A love so strong and encompassing that it might be beyond Elrond`s comprehension.
A solemn farewell
On the morning of the Fellowship`s leave from Rivendell, Aragorn attempts to exit without Arwen noticing. His want to leave without a farewell may make him seem cowardly. But from a different perspective, the impossible task of leaving his beloved without actually communicating it may be perceived as him not wanting to go through with it.
His insecurities and fear of the future were brought to the foreground by Elrond`s request. With Elrond`s reasoning, he might have succumbed to what was asked of him, without concurring with him.
Arwen: “Is this how you would take your leave? Did you think you could slip away at first light – unnoticed?”
Aragorn: “I will not be coming back.”
Arwen: “You underestimate your skill in battle. You will come back.”
Aragorn: “It is not of death in battle that I speak.”
As Arwen approaches him playfully scorning him for leaving without a farewell, he moves forward avoiding her eyes, knowing what she would see in them if she met his eyes. He resigned himself to never coming back again. To come between a father and his daughter is a futile effort. Therefore, he could only extrapolate himself from the whole situation by simply leaving.
A moot argument
Arwen: “What do you speak of?”
Aragorn: “You have a chance for another life…away from war…grief…despair.”
Arwen: “Why are you saying this?”
His words are not his, for he is only extending the argument that Elrond made. On the other hand, it is his will to have her never be hurt by anything in the world. The Undying Lands offer that protection. And as is her kin that is leaving, she should follow suit.
Arwen`s expression turns serious as she grasps Aragorn`s countenance. This meet is not playful anymore, from one moment to another it becomes a matter of great importance and sadness to her.
Aragorn: “I am mortal. You are Elf-kind. It was a dream Arwen. Nothing more.”
Arwen: “I don`t believe you.”
Fear of losing
When our beloved gives any inclination of leaving, our hearts sink. It is a unique feeling that stirs the utmost fear of abandonment, leaving us speechless and stunned. For a second our muscles lock up, our heart stops and our breath is nowhere to be taken from.
The fear presents itself almost immediately although we may not be able to recognize it. The power of it leaves us feeling crushed, trembling and staring in disbelief at this person who has taken the whole world from under our feet.
For obvious reasons and fuelled with Elrond`s argument, Aragorn rationalizes his decision for leaving. It is a weak argument he provides her with. He has known the difference between them all his life, so naturally, it cannot be taken seriously. The dreamlike state he was lulled in, did not stop him from loving her, and it is a weak excuse now.
She knows him too well to believe his words, which is exactly why she reacts the way she does. She does not let his argument crush everything she feels for him and their relationship, for she is certain he is who she wants and their relationship is strong enough to survive anything.
He remains stout. His emotional state doesn`t sway in the face of her disbelief.
We are good at blocking all sorts of painful emotions to fulfill a task or a purpose of some kind. And in order to attend to his mission of leaving her, he must do the same. It is self-protection. If he keeps himself emotionally steady enough before her, then his leaving might not hurt him as bad, or he might be able to suppress his feelings indefinitely.
From experience, I know that this particular self-protection strategy does not work long term, and sooner or later the feelings I have been suppressing boil to the surface ripping open old wounds, begging to be felt and dealt with. However, in this particular situation there isn`t much he can do if he wants to obey Elrond, but deny himself future happiness with his beloved.
Aragorn: “This belongs to you.”
Arwen: “It was a gift. Keep it.”
She gave him her heart with the Evenstar jewel as a representation. As long as he held on to this necklace, her heart will belong to him. Although taken aback with his gesture, she, in her undying faith in their love, leaves the jewel in his hand. She doesn`t dwell on his action of returning her gift, but only states her will for him to keep it.
The decision she made does not change with this current turn of events. Her love for him does not dissipate because of his fears. She is certain in her feelings towards him and nothing can ever change them.
In a world of heartbreak, she is a single beacon of undying love. She cannot but believe in them, even though his faith might falter. Her strong will and confidence leave him with no choice. She is self-sacrificial towards her feelings for Aragorn.
There isn`t a hindrance she wouldn`t overcome for the one she loves. Staying behind while the rest of her kin take their ships to Valinor, thereby rejecting her immortality for the chance at a long human life with the man she loves proves, that no feat is hard enough for her to take if it means spending her days with Aragorn.
Only a memory
Éowyn: “My lord?”
Aragorn: “She is sailing to the Undying Lands with all that is left of her kin.”
The last Aragorn knows of his love is her departure for Valior, for Elrond`s prediction will come to fruition, now that he has done his part in leaving Arwen. He is resigned with the idea of never having to lay his eyes on her face again. It was the price he pays and the pain he suffers.
He loves her too much to let her stay and suffer if the outcome turns bad. And so the most logical thing is for her to leave. The void this leaves in his heart is something that resolves itself after the War of the Ring.
As their journey to Helm`s Deep move ever closer to its finishing point, so does an unexpected Warg scout ambush change the fate of many Riders of Rohan. Among them, Aragorn`s own life reaches its end. Read on in my next post.