- “For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him when he departs to the Havens: for mine is the choice of Lúthien, and as she so have I chosen, both the sweet and the bitter.”
- ―The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
Arwen was the Half-Elven daughter of Elrond and Celebrían. She was often called Arwen Undómiel or "Evenstar".
In marrying Aragorn II Elessar after the War of the Ring, she became Queen of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor, and like Beren and Lúthien before her, she united Elf and Man in peaceful love and harmony, in the process becoming mortal.
Arwen was born in TA 241, to Lord Elrond and Lady Celebrían of Rivendell. Like her father and brothers, she had the right to choose between immortality or mortal life. She lived most of her life in Rivendell and Lothlórien interchangeably.
Aragorn and Arwen
During Aragorn's twentieth year, he met Arwen for the first time in Rivendell, where he lived under Elrond's protection. Arwen, then over 2700 years old, had recently returned to her father's home after living for a while with her grandmother Galadriel in Lórien. Aragorn fell in love with Arwen at first sight, and at first mistook her for Lúthien, thinking he had fallen into a dream.
About thirty years later, the two were reunited in Lórien, where Arwen reciprocated Aragorn's love and they "plighted their troth" (promised themselves to each other) on the mound of Cerin Amroth, Arwen choosing to become mortal and to stay in Middle-earth with Aragorn, and giving up the chance to sail over the sea and live forever in the Blessed Realm. Arwen never broke faith with Aragorn, even when he went to war. While the War in the South raged on, Arwen wove a banner for Aragorn, which would become his standard after he became king.
Before taking the Paths of the Dead, Aragorn was met by a group consisting of Dúnedain, and Arwen's brothers, Elladan and Elrohir. They brought to him a banner of black cloth: a gift made by Arwen, and a sign that encouraged him to take the difficult path. When the banner was unfurled at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields to reveal the emblem of Elendil in Mithril, gems, and gold, it was the first triumphant announcement of the King's return.
After the War
Arwen arrived at Minas Tirith after Aragorn had become King of Gondor and Arnor, and they married on Midsummer's Day in the year TA 3019, after the end of the War of the Ring. She became Queen of the Reunited Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. After marrying Aragorn, she bestowed upon Frodo Baggins a gift: her place on the ships to Valinor. She bore Aragorn's son, Eldarion, and several unnamed daughters, some time during the Fourth Age.
The name Arwen means "Noble Maiden", from the Sindarin word ar(a) ("royal, noble") and wen ("maiden"). Her epessë Undómiel means "Evenstar", from the Quenya Undómë ("evening twilight") and el ("star").
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
Arwen Undomiel was portrayed in The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King by the American actress Liv Tyler. In the The Fellowship of the Ring, it was she who met Frodo and bore him across the Ford of Bruinen, instead of Glorfindel, and wielded the sword "Hadhafang", which does not appear in the books.
She was not mentioned or featured in Ralph Bakshi's earlier film The Lord of the Rings.
Behind the Scenes
In The Two Towers movie by Peter Jackson, Arwen was originally supposed to appear with the host of Elves and fight at Helm's Deep alongside her lover, Aragorn. This was later cut from the film.
Arwen was voiced by Sonia Fraser in The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series) was voiced by Kath Soucie in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game). In the fan film The Hunt for Gollum, Arwen made an appearance and was played by Rita Ramnani. (The Hunt for Gollum (2009) In The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Arwen is a playable hero through a DLC. (The Lord of the Rings: Conquest) In (The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.) You can visit her in Rivendell and even take on a side quest to locate Mithril to help her make Aragorn's banner.
Arwen was described to be the most beautiful of the last generation of High Elves in Middle-earth, and was even said to bear a remarkable resemblance to her ancestress, Lúthien. Tolkien described Arwen as following:
- “In the middle of the table, against the woven cloths upon the wall, there was a chair under a canopy, and there sat a lady fair to look upon, and so like was she in form of womanhood to Elrond that Frodo guessed that she was one of his close kindred. Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark hair were touched by no frost, her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things that the years bring.”
- ―The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
Arwen was the youngest child of Elrond and Celebrían; her elder brothers were the twins Elladan and Elrohir. Through her father, she was the granddaughter of Eärendil the Mariner (the second of the Half-Elven), great-granddaughter of Tuor of Gondolin, and therefore a direct descendant of the ancient House of Hador. Arwen was also a descendant of King Turgon of the Ñoldor through her great-grandmother, Idril. Through her mother, she was the granddaughter of Lady Galadriel and the great-granddaughter of Finarfin. Éomer of Rohan said that the Lady Arwen was more fair than the Lady Galadriel of Lórien, but Gimli son of Glóin thought differently. Through both of her parents Arwen was a direct descendant of the ancient Elven House of Finwë. Furthermore, Arwen was a descendant of Beren and Lúthien Tinúviel, whose story resembled hers. Indeed, Arwen was held to be the reappearance in likeness of her ancestress Lúthien, fairest of all the Elves, who was called Nightingale (Tinúviel).
Arwen was a very distant relative of her husband Aragorn. Aragorn's ancestor, Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first King of Númenor, was her father Elrond's brother, who chose to live as a man rather than one of the Eldar. This means that Aragorn also has very distant Elvish ancestry. Elros died in SA 442, some 3240 years before Arwen was born.
Arwen eventually became Queen of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor when she married Aragorn, who was of the line of the Kings of Arnor.
After the War of the Ring ended, Arwen and Aragorn produced the future heir of the throne, Eldarion.
By Arwen and Aragorn's marriage, the long-sundered lines of the Half-elven were joined. Their union also served to unite and preserve the bloodlines of the Three Kings of the High Elves (Ingwë, Finwë, and the brothers Olwë and Elwë) as well as the only line with Maiarin blood through Arwen's great-great-great grandmother, Melian, Queen of Doriath, and also on Aragorn's side, through the line of kings of Arnor and Númenor to Elros, Elrond's brother, whose great-great-grandmother was also Melian.
Powers and abilities
Differences from the source material