Amazon's Arwen Problem

So I have been thinking about what Amazon will probably do with the new Middle-earth TV show. Assuming they follow through with TheOneRing.Net's announcement that the show will be about young Aragorn they'll have to introduce Arwen at some point.

Most of the adventure shows I can think of -- of those that have come out in the last 10-12 years -- used really young cast members. The stars could pass for late teens or early twenties regardless of the actors' true ages.

The appeal is obvious, and it would align with Tolkien's own description of Arwen. She had the life of the Eldar and probably looked like she was about 18-20 years old. But she wasn't a big part of Aragorn's life for many years. He met her on the day he learned his true heritage, was smitten with her, and then went off to become his own man. When he met Arwen again many years later she had not changed but he was more mature.

How do you handle this in a television show? Do they bring in some non-descript actress for 1-2 episodes and then that's the end of Arwen? Or do you change the story line in some way so as to follow her AND Aragorn?

I imagine they might try a split cast. Aragorn and Arwen meet up early in the series and then she "follows" him from afar with Elvish magic. That would be premature according to Tolkien's timeline, at least in that he says in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" that she only did this after they plighted their troth in Lothlorien. I suppose only a purist would care.

She could also go adventuring with him, or her brothers. There is nothing in the books that would forbid Arwen from occasionally riding out with Elladan and Elrohir. She need not fight orcs and big monsters, but she could.

So how do you fill up all these characters' stories? I would guess there will be intrigues in the White Council. Arwen could play a role in those, going back and forth between Rivendell and Lothlorian. Maybe she would visit Isengard, or have suspicions about Saruman.

Arwen could also visit Lindon from time to time, too. There is, in fact, a lot that an Elvish lady could accomplish during Aragorn's wandering years. But how would the writers of such a dual-arc series keep the audience interested in the characters? Everyone knows they'll eventually get married. Will Aragorn and Arwen have to toy with romance in other directions? Does Arwen perhaps have an ill-fated Elven love?

I cannot imagine a show about young Aragorn without Arwen. She was one of his primary motivations. It's not Aragorn's story if he doesn't meet Arwen and long for her love.
I agree with what you say, especially about Arwen needing to be featured. First, from a cynical point of view, this would help Amazon to draw in the female audience that "Game of Thrones" has and that the "LotR" and "The Hobbit" (books and movies) do not (because of a general lack of female characters).

Second, because Arwen is ripe for this role; we have a good picture of who she is and what she looks like, but a virtual blank slate as to her doings. I like your idea that she could go on errantry with her brothers. She could also go to Balin's colony in Moria as an emissary from Lorien. Perhaps she was among those who discovered that Sauron had sent some Ringwraiths to re-occupy Dol-Guldur? If so, then perhaps that is why she is in Rivendell in 2951 - she was sent as a messenger bringing tidings of this event from Celeborn to Elrond.

Speaking of Moria, Aragorn's journey through there ought to be featured. There is a question of 'why' he went there at all that has been bandied about on this forum for decades (and that I definitively settled with my 2 story fan-fic...ROFL!). This is a question that is ripe for Amazon to explore. Did Arwen or Galadriel have a foresight that Aragorn would need this experience later? Or did Celeborn have a Thingol-like moment? Did he send Aragorn to Moria hoping that he would die, thus ridding himself of an unworthy (in his eyes) suitor for his granddaughter's hand, much as Thingol sent Beren on the Quest for the Silmaril?

Even if the series is Aragorn-centric, I hope that they will also watch the movements of Gollum and a few other characters (Beorn, perhaps?) at the same time.

One interesting question is whether they will try to rehabilitate one of Peter Jackson's most horrible gaffes in his "Hobbit" trilogy: the estrangement of Thranduil and Legolas. In the movie, we see Thranduil telling Legolas to seek out 'Aragorn', nevermind that Aragorn is 10 years old at the time(!). Yet Legolas shows up at the Council of Elrond as the messenger of Thranduil. How was this rift healed? Amazon could easily ignore this, but it would be a cheap and easy way to introduce an familiar character into their story.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
I strongly suspect that the narrative inconvenience of the canon (Aragorn’s essentially solo errantry) will simply be ignored in favor of a story structure in which Arwen adventures alongside Aragorn, if Amazon chooses to include Arwen as a major character. It even has a sort-of canonical precedent in Luthien’s participation in the quest of the Silmaril.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
I don't know why those elf kings dislike men so much, it is not like she was being courted by an orc or a dwarf . I always thought the whole reason why Celeborn didn't want Arwen to stay and marry Aragon was because she would die without hope. There should be a romance between them so it won't look like an arranged marriage and other romances as well.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
Then again, they could throw Aragorn in with some female ranger who falls in love with him and try to keep the audience guessing about how much he might reciprocate her feelings. We could call that the Eowyn Problem because I think it would grow old quickly.
:::rimshot::: But then, isn't Aragorn the embodiment of the "Arwen Problem", because, from her point of view, he grows old quickly? Or should we give it it's proper place in the canon, and call it the "Beren" problem?
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Michael Wrote:Then again, they could throw Aragorn in with some female ranger who falls in love with him and try to keep the audience guessing about how much he might reciprocate her feelings. We could call that the Eowyn Problem because I think it would grow old quickly.

Are you suggesting that the Heir of Isildur had some ::ahem:: children born on the wrong side of the blanket, during his errantry in Rohan and Gondor, and places unknown?
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
I wasn't thinking that Aragorn need become involved with anyone romantically, at least not to the point of going well beyond Tolkien's strong implication that he only ever was intimate with Arwen. But obviously the Tale of Years leaves a lot of room for playful speculation. They could do an Eowyn-style love story, where some woman falls for him, pines for him, and eventually has to let go of her feelings for him. They could resolve it in some other way than just having her fall in love with the next guy.

Tolkien took some criticism over the way Eowyn and Faramir fell in love. But he pointed out that it was wartime and anyone who has read about true life wartime romances knows they did/do happen very quickly. Even in peacetime people can unexpectedly fall head over heels in love. I think Eowyn and Faramir work as a love story.

So Aragorn could be paired with another warrior lady who has to find her own path, which may not lead to where anyone expects.
Remember the books, Arwen was at first hesitate about Aragorn but she fell in love with him when he wore elf clothes. Maybe they can elaborate on that. It might be me, but it is like being impressed by a man wearing blue jeans or Sombero or something culturally like kimono.
That's a good point. I suppose they could set the storyline around the time Aragorn visits Lothlorien and is reunited with her. So they could bob in and out of Lothlorien for a couple of seasons, gradually falling in love, and dealing with Sauron's minions.
In my opinion, if they focus on the time that Aragorn and Arwen were re-united in Lothlorien post-errantry and "plighting their troth", they ought to cover Aragorn's journey into/through Moria. As I posted here previously, and even wrote a fan-fic about, I believe that his journey took place at about this time.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion

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