The river drags Aragorn`s body to an embankment. Upon the rocky surface, Aragorn`s spirit seems to have left his body, leaving him for dead. But then, at the right moment, Arwen`s mirage appears before his eyes. She leans over, kissing his lips, thereby transferring the grace of the Valar onto Aragorn to protect him.
A helping breath
The love shared between Arwen and Aragorn surpasses distance and even death. It would be cliche to say that she is his guardian angel, but it wouldn`t be a false statement. At every precipice, every doubtful moment and every crossroads, she is there by his side, providing him with the strength needed to continue onward.
Aragorn, in his final hour, can see her clearly, as if she were here next to him. This strong connection between them gives their relationship a spiritual dimension, not usually seen in relationships. They are not simply bound by the will of their hearts, but by their spirits as well. As Aragorn`s spirit wanes, so does Arwen`s rise to aid his. There will come a time when Aragorn will return the favor.
Loyalty in time of need
Aragorn was noble in his act of setting Brego free, as his master came to death. He recognized the horse’s attitude and concluded he needed freedom from the torture and pain he had endured. Brego took his freedom happily following his own path.
Now, it appears, his path had brought him to his savior. As he gently nudges Aragorn to consciousness, bringing his shoulders down to the ground next to him, thereby showing him respect and aiding him at the same time, Brego makes it easier for Aragorn to mount him and bring him to Helm`s Deep.
The gratefulness of an animal is perhaps one of the purest emotions one can experience. To save an animal from cruelty, pain, or in this instance restraint, leaves the animal feeling forever grateful. What this, in turn, brings the human is loyalty.
Loyalty is the trait with which an animal shows its gratitude. This scene is no different. Brego has returned the favor of saving his savior, but their friendship doesn`t end there, for Brego will be a faithful companion through many more unsavory situations.
As Brego takes Aragorn to Helm`s Deep, we continue with Arwen. She aided Aragorn in the most crucial moment. She was there when he needed her most. Now, her time has come. Elrond interrupts her thoughts.
Hope and belief
Elrond: “It is time. The ships are leaving for Valinor. Go now…before it is too late.”
Arwen: “I have made my choice.”
Elrond: “He is not coming back. Why do you linger here when there is no hope?”
Arwen: “There is still hope.”
As she has told Aragorn on more than one occasion, hope is always alive. And indeed it is. Until the darkness overtakes the entire Middle-Earth, all are welcome to partake in hoping, for sometimes it is all we have left. If there is a belief in a positive outcome, no matter how dim the situation might appear, it is our right to hope.
This is what brings us forward, what gives are souls a purpose and a goal. Without believing in something positive occurring, we may as well forfeit now. Which is exactly what Elrond is doing.
He has the gift of foresight, but as Gandalf, himself said: “even the very wise cannot see all ends”. Even if we were given a glance into the future, there would still be the possibility of change. For all of us influence our communal future. On an individual scale, every minute decision we make in our lives influences not only our fate but that of others as well.
One heartbreaking perspective
The problem with Elrond, however, is that even in a positive outcome of the War of the Ring, he can only pinpoint sadness and grief.
If Aragorn survives this war, you will still be parted. If Sauron is departed and Aragorn made king and all that you hope for comes true, you will still have to taste the bitterness of mortality. Whether by the sword or the slow decay of time Aragorn will die. And there will be no comfort for you. No comfort to ease the pain of his passing. He will come to death, an image of the splendor of the kings of Men in glory undimmed before the breaking of the world.Elrond
The outcome of Aragorn becoming King and renewing Middle-Earth leads him to see that he will come to death, which is only logical since he is mortal.
The beauty of life
Elrond, however, fails to mention the beauty, the possibilities and the happiness that his daughter will be able to enjoy for many years to come with the man she loves. He fails to acknowledge the love that will only blossom as the years go by.
The world will suffer no grief and sadness it once felt. All people of MIddle-Earth will be able to live in peace and plenty, enjoying their lives without fear or sorrow. A new order will be established, now that Elves and Dwarves are mending bridges between their two races. There is no telling what miracles await after the final victory. But this is not in his vision. Of course, there is death and grief, for death is a part of life.
To be mortal is to feel and experience all that life or death brings. To dwell on the negative is to be negative towards any kind of change. Just because there is an endpoint to a life, doesn`t mean that life is not worth living. On the contrary. It means it should be experienced to the fullest, letting your emotions and inner beauty shine as brightly as possible.
A disheartening foresight
But you, my daughter, you will linger on in darkness and in doubt as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Here you will dwell bound to your grief under the fading trees until all the world is changed and the long years of your life are utterly spent. Arwen, there is nothing for you here, only death.Elrond
His arguments are true but incredibly depressing. Elrond focuses on what her life will be once her beloved has died, once all she loved had gone. The endpoint of her beloved Aragorn`s journey is given as a rational argument for leaving Middle-Earth. What about all the years she would have spent together with him in love and bliss? He is focusing all her attention on the fact that Aragorn is mortal.
Being presented with only one side of a story, and a depressing one at that can only leave a person in pain and sadness. Arwen cannot bare having Aragorn die, and not live without him. I do not believe she pities herself for living alone after his death, but for losing Aragorn in the first place.
But Elrond, as an authority figure in her life, presents her with a sequence of events that only present the sorrowful side of the choice she is about to make. This leaves her broken, breathless, with tears running down her face.
An emotional plea
Elrond is using these arguments to protect his daughter from the same pain he felt when he lost his beloved. In a paternal sense, it is a noble argument. However, to present anything without an alternative can also be seen as coercion, which he exploits to his fullest by asking “Do I not have your love?”
His last plead for her to leave for Valinor can be seen as emotional blackmail. In other words, he thought, if you love me you will do as I ask of you. And, of course, loving her father as she does, she accepts his arguments.
This is a no-win situation for Arwen. If she leaves Middle-Earth, she leaves the love of her life behind without ever having to see him again. But, if she stays, she is leaving her father, disowning him in a way. No matter what she decided she won`t be able to satisfy either wants of her heart.
You have my love father.Arwen
Arwen leaves Rivendell as if in a daze, numb, in grief and sorrow. She looks as if detached from her own feelings, lifeless. She moves in splendor, as Elves do, but there is no energy behind her footsteps. There is no will of her own moving her forward, only the will of her father and the fate of her people.
The sense of belonging is not her own, if it were there would be no question about her leaving Middle-Earth, she would have done it on her own. However, seeing her now, solemn, numb, only a follower, forsaking all of her spirit, her integrity, and her belief.
The world is changed. I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air. The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saruman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed. The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor the last free Kingdom of Men. His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the Ring is close.Galadriel
As Elrond beholds Arwen leaving Rivendell, Galadriel invades his thoughts with the current state of the world. She consequently introduces the situation in which Frodo finds himself. Read more in my next post.
Featured photo by Jong Marshes on Unsplash.