Why is Arwen dying?

  • This question was inspired by xkcd #1256's Title text and refers specifically to a scene in the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The exact quote is:

    ARAGORN: (bows) My lord Elrond

    ELROND: I come on behalf of one whom I love. Arwen is dying. She will not long survive the evil that now spreads from Mordor. The light of the Evenstar is failing. As Sauron’s power grows her strength wanes. Arwen’s life is now tied to the fate of the Ring. The Shadow is upon us Aragorn. The end has come.

    (The quote is from www.ageofthering.com, The Return of the King Extended Edition Movie Script : Scene 30 ~ Andúril - Flame of the West)

    The explainxkcd page is not helpful: it refers to the IMDB faq which just explains that she "chooses to become mortal in order to wed and remain with Aragorn". We already discussed this.

    But the real question is : Why does Arwen's "strength wane" as "Sauron’s power grows"? Why is Arwen "tied to the fate of the Ring"?

    @TGnat I read the books, and I'm fully aware Peter Jackson took some liberties with is adaptation. The fact that the movie is not completely identical to the original material is irrelevant. The movie still exist and a question about something that happened only in the movie is still on-topic.

    Regarding (auto-)censorship: "quotes should be exact quotes" (accepted answer).

  • Mario

    Mario Correct answer

    7 years ago

    I think this isn't taken to be literally nor as something that happened (off-screen).

    I always considered this scene in a different way (never thought about some sickness, wound or whatever):

    • Arwen insists on staying in Middle-earth to be with Aragorn.
    • As such she won't be able to escape with the other Elves leaving to the West.
    • If Sauron wins (which might indeed be the case at that point in the story; the "end" he's referring to), he'll conquer all of Middle-earth, which would also spread his influence anywhere Arwen might go (this is the specific evil she won't survive for long).
    • As such he decides to fight, not so much for Middle-earth as a whole, nor for humankind, but for Arwen, who'd be doomed as well.

    In the end, she's dying due to giving up immortality (as jwenting already mentioned). Elrond can't change that, but he's able to prolong her life significantly by fighting now rather than just leaving her back and he's determined to do so whatever it costs.

    It's just some artistic freedom to me. It doesn't really change the story or its outcome (I assume Elrond shows up in the books as well; never got that far so far).

    Elrond plays a decently large role in Fellowship, and IIRC he shows up at the end of RoTK, although in the book his sons deliver the sword to Aragorn.

    @wes: In the book Aragorn gets the sword before he ever leaves Rivendell. The banner is what Elrond's son's deliver.

    @Satanicpuppy, right, it's been a few years since I read RoTK, thanks.

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