Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Theoretical Elvish maidens in LoTR (was Re: Digest Number 659)

Expand Messages
  • Michael Martinez
    ... sign of ... specifically ... reasonable choice ... Theory, hm? Well, we can begin with Aragorn s chant about Beren and Luthien: As Beren looked into her
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 12, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In mythsoc@y..., stephen@s... wrote:
      > I don't see any evidence for Michael's "young maiden" theory. 'No
      sign of
      > age' don't mean young/virginal/nubile. And Arwen's brothers are
      > described as "neither young nor old". Cate Blanchett is a
      reasonable choice
      > in my opinion.

      Theory, hm?

      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
      this world...."

      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,
      Tolkien writes:

      "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
      brief appearances.

      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.
    • Michael Martinez
      ... I think I know what you mean, but so far, Liv Tyler has not disappointed me in any the movies I ve seen her in. As for wisdom and intelligence, I
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 12, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In mythsoc@y..., "Ginger L. Zabel" <glzabel@u...> wrote:
        > My only concern is that Liv Tyler won't be able to pull off
        > the "look." Arwen, though age-less, is a woman who has waited years
        > for the man she loves. That type of waiting gives a woman a
        > different look about her.

        I think I know what you mean, but so far, Liv Tyler has not
        disappointed me in any the movies I've seen her in. As for wisdom
        and intelligence, I personally do not judge those by eyes but rather
        by ears (ear lobes, to be exact -- but that's an old joke not worth
        explaining), balanced mightily by how one behaves.

        Liv will do just fine by me. Like the Stones used to sing, you can't
        always get what you want. :)
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.