--- In mythsoc@y..., stephen@s... wrote:
> I don't see any evidence for Michael's "young maiden" theory. 'No
> age' don't mean young/virginal/nubile. And Arwen's brothers are
> described as "neither young nor old". Cate Blanchett is a
> in my opinion.
Well, we can begin with Aragorn's chant about Beren and Luthien:
As Beren looked into her eyes
Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies
He saw there mirrored shimmering.
Tinuviel the elven-fair,
Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her shadowy hair,
And arms like silver glimmering.
When Aragorn explains the poem to the Hobbits, he says:
"...Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was the daughter of Thingol,
a King of Elves upon Middle-earth when the world was young; and she
was the fairest maiden that has ever been among all the children of
When Legolas tells the Company of the Ring the story of Nimrodel, he
"'Do you hear the voice of Nimrodel?' asked Legolas. 'I will sing
you a song of the maiden Nimrodel, who bore the same name as the
stream beside which she lived long ago....'"
When the Company of the Ring meets Celeborn and Galadriel at last,
"The chamber was filled with a soft light; its walls were green and
silver and its roof of gold. Many Elves were seated there. On two
chairs beneath the bole of the tree and canopied by a living bough
there sat, side by side, Celeborn and Galadriel. They stood up to
greet their guests, after the manner of Elves, even those who were
accounted mighty kings. Very tall they were, and the Lady no less
tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad
wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the
hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign
of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for
these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the
wells of deep memory."
"No sign of age was upon them". Well, that is not "young maiden",
and what I wrote was:
"In the book, both Galadriel and Arwen have the appearance of young
It may be that I see young maidens because the Elven women described
before Galadriel were maidens, and she bears "no sign of age", except
for whatever is in the depths of her eyes.
She is, of course, described as "fair" and "beautiful" throughout her
Yet, for me, the clincher has always been Elrond's words to Aragorn
in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen":
"'But Elrond saw many things and read many hearts. One day,
therefore, before the fall of the year he called Aragorn to his
chamber, and he said: "Aragorn, Arathorn's son, Lord of the Dúnedain,
listen to me! A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the
height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil, or to fall into
darkness with all that is left of your kin. Many years of trial lie
before you. You shall neither have wife, nor bind any woman to you in
troth, until your time comes and you are found worthy of it."
"`Then Aragorn was troubled, and he said: "Can it be that my mother
has spoken of this?"
"` "No indeed," said Elrond. "Your own eyes have betrayed you. But I
do not speak of my daughter alone. You shall be betrothed to no man's
child as yet. But as for Arwen the Fair, Lady of Imladris and of
Lórien, Evenstar of her people, she is of lineage greater than yours,
and she has lived in the world already so long that to her you are
but as a yearling shoot beside a young birch of many summers. She is
too far above you. And so, I think, it may well seem to her. But even
if it were not so, and her heart turned towards you, I should still
be grieved because of the doom that is laid on us."
"` "What is that doom?" said Aragorn.
"' "That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of
the Eldar," answered Elrond, "and when I depart, she shall go with
the, if she so chooses."
I cannot imagine that Galadriel alone should not possess "the youth
of the Eldar". Aragorn, when he was twenty, thought Arwen was no
older than he when he first met her:
"` "No," she said, and looked up at the Mountains that rose in the
east. "I have dwelt for a time in the land of my mother's kin, in far
Lothlórien. I have but lately returned to visit my father again. It
is many years since I walked in Imladris."
"`Then Aragorn wondered, for she had seemed of no greater age than
he, who had lived yet no more than a score of years in Middle-earth.
But Arwen looked in his eyes and said: "Do not wonder! For the
children of Elrond have the life of the Eldar."
"`Then Aragorn was abashed, for he saw the elven-light in her eyes
and the wisdom of many days; yet from that hour he loved Arwen
Undómiel daughter of Elrond."
So, a woman of mature years who has retained her beauty, or even
grown more beautiful (and I think Goldie Hawn certainly looked better
in the early 90s than in the late 60s, but maybe I'm just starting to
move on in years) isn't completely out of place. But Tolkien's Elven
women definitely have "the youth of the Eldar", and may seem like
very young women to twenty-year-old awestruck men.