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Arwen Evenstar couldn't cross the sea, but Legolas and Gimli could?

Registered User

Sep 29 2012, 5:39pm

Post #1 of 9 (1903 views)
Arwen Evenstar couldn't cross the sea, but Legolas and Gimli could? Can't Post

Aragorn, prior to passing away, insisted that Arwen go over the sea but she reiterated that it's impossible since no ship would bear that journey. So how did Legolas and Gimli do it around the same time?


(This post was edited by smoothbutta on Sep 29 2012, 5:43pm)


Sep 29 2012, 5:54pm

Post #2 of 9 (1231 views)
Arwen, Gimli and Valinor [In reply to] Can't Post

Arwen chose to stay behind in Middle-earth and take upon the fate of men. Mortals were denied passage into Valinor, with a very few exceptions (*), and when she married Aragorn, she gave up both her immortality and her ticket to Valinor. Had she tried to sail to Valinor, I imagine the ship would have carried on going around, until it reached the eastern shores. She couldn't sail to Valinor, and thus no ship could bear her.

(*)On the other hand, some mortals, including Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli were allowed to sail to Valinor (or atleast to Tol Eressea). The Hobbits were Ring-bearers, which is enough of a reason. Gimli sailed to Valinor due to a helping hand from Galadriel. Legolas builds a ship after Aragorn's death, and they both sail off.

I wonder though, had Arwen gone with Legolas and Gimli, what would've happened? ....

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(This post was edited by DanielLB on Sep 29 2012, 5:55pm)


Sep 29 2012, 7:15pm

Post #3 of 9 (1155 views)
We don't know that Legolas and Gimli got there, just that they sailed. [In reply to] Can't Post

In any case, Arwen made an irrevocable choice to be mortal. The consequence is not only that she cannot now go to Valinor, but also that at some point in the future her spirit can be reunited with Aragorn's. This is presumably the future she faced when she gave up her life on Cerin Amroth. Had she chosen to retain her Elven heritage, she could have gone to Valinor, at the cost of being separated for all eternity from Aragorn.

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Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Sep 29 2012, 7:18pm)


Sep 29 2012, 7:48pm

Post #4 of 9 (1142 views)
Thanks Elizabeth. :-) Let's imagine she changed her mind ... [In reply to] Can't Post

And that Legolas and Gimli did reach Valinor. Would she have been turned away?

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Sep 29 2012, 11:02pm

Post #5 of 9 (1230 views)
From all the indications, the choice was irrevocable. [In reply to] Can't Post

And I suspect that any ship with an ineligible passenger would not have found the Straight Road.

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Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

The Shire

Oct 4 2012, 8:21pm

Post #6 of 9 (975 views)
Those who are called [In reply to] Can't Post

To needlessly extend this discussion...

The Silmarilion describes a calling that starts out as a simple invitation to Valinor and seems to become an inherit spiritual yearning of all Elves to continue the journey that was begun by their people in the First Age. So for Legolas, this trip is understandable. With dwarves and hobbits it gets a little more tricky. What's their fate? That seems to be up for grabs. There is a mention that dwarves believe that upon death their spirits go to the same hall of Mandos as the elves. Then they are possibly reincarnated in their descendants. This suggests that even after dying the dwarves remain in Arda. So perhaps Valinor is not off limits for them. For men, at least, it is clear that they cannot come to the undying lands. They are mortal and upon death leave the realm of Arda.

So the way I see it, Arwen, as a descendant of Elrond, was blessed with the option to choose her fate. Her inability to go was due to the fact that she had rejected the calling of the elves and accepted the fate of men.

Sorry if I get some terms/names wrong. I'm new at this.


Oct 5 2012, 7:11am

Post #7 of 9 (1014 views)
A nice synopsis. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think everyone (including Tolkien) is unclear about dwarves. But I definitely agree with you about Arwen. To me, the important point (as I said above) is not what she's giving up (Valinor, her parents) as what she's gaining (the possibility of eternity with Aragorn).

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Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

Grey Havens

Oct 5 2012, 12:42pm

Post #8 of 9 (1056 views)
returning Dwarrows [In reply to] Can't Post

The 1977 Silmarillion notes that aforetime the Elves in Middle-earth held that dying the Dwarves returned to the earth and stone from which they were made: '... yet that is not their own belief. For they say... (...) They say also that the seven fathers of the Dwarves return to live again in their own kin...'

Tolkien had once noted that Dwarven reincarnation was achieved after the manner of the Quendi, which at the time meant rebirth into their children, but JRRT had a notable change of mind later, and found it problematic that this sort of reincarnation would mean a different body for the same spirit (with respect to the Elves and Elvish, the same fea, roughly translated 'spirit'). Tolkien certainly rejected this mode of rebirth for Elves -- they would still be 'reincarnated' but not by rebirth as babies again, but would be given exact copies of the former body (the memory of this retained by each Elvish fea)...

... and Tolkien seems to have found this mode not acceptable for Dwarves as well. In Last Writings Tolkien mused...

'... the reappearance, at long intervals of the person of one of the Dwarf-fathers, in the lines of their kings -- e.g. especially Durin -- is not when examined one of rebirth, but the preservation of the body of a former King Durin (say) to which at intervals his spirit would return.'


Oct 11 2012, 4:51pm

Post #9 of 9 (1175 views)
I think it's strongly implied that Gimli reached Valinor. [In reply to] Can't Post

Appendix A: "...Legolas followed at last the desire of his heard and sailed over Sea...We have heard tell that Legolas took Gimli Gloin's son with him because of their great friendship...If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West [the Valar] should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel: and it may be that she, being mighty among the Edlar, obtained this grace for him."

I think for an Elf to go "over Sea" means going to Valinor, not taking a cruise, and it seems that if they seek it, they will find it. Though this passage is written as part of the hobbits' Red Book of Westmarch, and they weren't in Valinor to confirm the arrival, I would still take it as a reflection of Tolkien's views. Not meaning to quibble. It's just that the way the book is written, I don't see any doubt that Gimli and Legolas reached Valinor.

As for Arwen, I wholly agree that any ship she was on would not have been allowed to take the straight path to Valinor, and she knows that herself. Had she been with Legolas and Gimli, they would have had to drop her off somewhere if they were to make it to their goal.

Some Tolkien rules just can't be bent or broken. One would think that Melian, as a divine being, would be free to follow Luthien's spirit if she wished, but she cannot. That's a very poignant point when Luthien comes back to Doriath as a mortal: "But Melian looked in her eyes and read the doom that was written there, and turned away; for she knew that a parting beyond the end of the world had come between them, and no grief of loss has been heavier than the grief of Melian the Maia in that hour." For that matter, after Thingol dies, Melian doesn't join him in the Halls of Mandos and isn't able to get him out (as Luthien succeeded with Beren), and he doesn't appear to be reincarnated anytime soon, leaving her to "muse upon her sorrows in the gardens of Lorien, whence she came..."


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