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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Who buried Arwen?
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malickfan
Gondor

Oct 17 2012, 12:53pm

Post #1 of 30 (1079 views)
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Who buried Arwen? Can't Post

(Morbid question I know)

‘the hour is indeed hard, yet it was made even in that day when we met under the white birches in the garden of Elrond where none now walk’

‘and She went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien and dwelt there alone…’

‘..she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave…’

In the appendices it confirms that Arwen went to dwell alone in Lothlorien following Aragorn's death, both it and rivendell were suposedly deserted, the closest elves being in northern Greenwood, yet it states her 'grave' is upon Cerin Amroth. To me 'grave' suggests she was buried, digging a grave would probabaly be a several person job, and as Arwen was not mortal and close to death it seems Unlikely she would be able to dig it by herself. On the other hand almost all the elves were now gone and no mention is made of any of her kin being around (both Celeborn and her brothers were around for at least some of the fourth age).

A friend of mine suggested that 'laying herself to rest' was a way of saying the ground swallowed her up forming a grave of its own accord, even if this is true, and she did bury herself, how would the 'author' of the appendices know where her grave was? If they did know where she was going to die why didn't they go with her?

I may have just misread the text, but this has always left me a bit confused.Unsure

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 17 2012, 1:00pm

Post #2 of 30 (683 views)
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Good question! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think Tolkien literally meant 'grave', as in she was buried six feet under. I've always though of it as her final resting place - perhaps she simply laid down and went to "sleep".

At the same time, I just don't like the idea of the poor woman rotting on a hillside as meat for carrion. And I don't think Tolkien would either. Maybe there were still some Elves around in the area, or perhaps she was "buried" by a maiden or servant of Aragorn and Arwen's, or even one of their children?

Or perhaps she simply goes the Jedi way - her body fades after death? Turns to dust and blows away?

I think there are several possibilities. I just hope she didn't end up on an animal's dinner plate!

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malickfan
Gondor

Oct 17 2012, 1:07pm

Post #3 of 30 (693 views)
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Perhaps Radagast turned up on his Bunny sled? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd also like to think Celeborn turned up and shed a quiet tear before at last making his way to the havens...though on the other hand this does make him seem a bit of a coward leaving his daughter to face death alone...hmm...

‘As they came to the gates Cirdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and we was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said ‘All is now ready.’

Perhaps the most fascinating Individual in Middle Earth



DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 17 2012, 1:19pm

Post #4 of 30 (736 views)
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Arwen would've been Celeborn's grand-daughter. [In reply to] Can't Post

Though perhaps it was Celeborn who "buried" her. Tolkien never stated when he departed Middle-earth, and he would have been in the approximate area when she went to Lorien.

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Ardamírë
Valinor


Oct 17 2012, 5:20pm

Post #5 of 30 (622 views)
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Great question [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never thought about it, and I presume Tolkien didn't either. The point really is her passing and legacy and those are masterfully communicated to the reader through Tolkien's superb language. The very wording is just a delight to read. Beautiful.

The logistics, however, are probably something like this. She laid down on the hill and died. Someone found her and decided to bury her there. Then word probably spread that the Elven Queen of Gondor was buried at Cerin Amroth, and by the time the Appendices were written, the author was aware of her death and the location of her grave.

Just my two cents.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Elizabeth
Valinor


Oct 17 2012, 7:29pm

Post #6 of 30 (676 views)
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It's been discussed here from time to time. [In reply to] Can't Post

Obviously, there is no definitive answer, since that poignant passage is all we have. But here are some others' thoughts:

Dec. 2010






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Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Oct 17 2012, 7:31pm)


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 17 2012, 10:09pm

Post #7 of 30 (595 views)
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well as to practical matters [In reply to] Can't Post

leaving aside for the moment the purely romantic view. If Arwen was a Queen she probably had some handmaidens, or retinue. How else could she eat and be housed? I dont think a Queen would wander completely alone round Lothlorien, I like to think she had Elves who were with her.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Oct 17 2012, 11:28pm

Post #8 of 30 (627 views)
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I have never pictured her buried; [In reply to] Can't Post

rather, that she lay down to die (and possibly her body remained uncorrupted) and the grass and vegetation covered her.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 18 2012, 4:23am

Post #9 of 30 (575 views)
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Wasn't it John Lennon? [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to listen very closely to Strawberry Fields.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 18 2012, 4:50am

Post #10 of 30 (621 views)
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That's sort of what I always pictured [In reply to] Can't Post

And I've often wondered whether Arwen's final rest on Cerin Amroth among the niphredil and elanor is not an intentional reference to the Grimm's story of Snowdrop and its theme of rebirth. I know some etymologies have interpreted niphredil ("little pallor") as meaning snowdrop or snowflake and have associated it with the real-world flower.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

(This post was edited by Phibbus on Oct 18 2012, 5:00am)


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 18 2012, 7:05am

Post #11 of 30 (629 views)
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This [In reply to] Can't Post

I just hope the grass and vegetation covered her quick enough!

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Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 18 2012, 1:54pm

Post #12 of 30 (632 views)
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I hope that Lothlorien [In reply to] Can't Post

retained enough residual Elven power to protect her once she died. To make sure she had a respectful burial or Barrow.


PhantomS
Rohan


Oct 18 2012, 2:01pm

Post #13 of 30 (586 views)
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worth imagining [In reply to] Can't Post

Aragorn lies on a stone bed and is entombed, Arwen lays herself on the grass and dies alone- even though they are together they eventually die among their own lands if not their own people. As to how Arwen was buried it's likely she did inform Eldarion or her daughters she was coming back to Lothlorien- otherwise someone would not know that most of Lorien's people were gone! Yet there is no marker or tomb for her (Gondor style) so Eldarion might have contacted his relatives in Greenwood for help, maybe even Legolas'' group in Ithilien once he had confirmed his mother was dead. I cannot imagine Arwen not leaving behind some instructions for her son and heir.


DanielLB
Immortal


Oct 18 2012, 2:22pm

Post #14 of 30 (621 views)
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She'd buried somewhere in Germany [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone got a spare shovel? Wink

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Plurmo
Rohan

Oct 18 2012, 5:22pm

Post #15 of 30 (740 views)
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"When the mallorn leaves were falling..." [In reply to] Can't Post

There were Mallorn trees on Cerin Amroth. Their leaves covered her body and the flowers covered the leaves in the next spring.

I think this was the implicit answer.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Oct 18 2012, 6:11pm

Post #16 of 30 (573 views)
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Oh interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Quite a lovely image there. Smile

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Plurmo
Rohan

Oct 18 2012, 6:41pm

Post #17 of 30 (663 views)
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Perhaps not so lovely... [In reply to] Can't Post

In my view Tolkien wanted her to die listening to the great seas upon beaches and the sea-birds crying (the sounds Frodo listened there under the trees), tasting the bitterness of her Choice to the very end.

The tale of Arwen is not about a choice with a possibility of regret, but about a choice with the certainty of regret, built on hope, buried under flowers. It is also why Tolkien stresses that Aragorn never came there again as a living man, though he did came there again for her in the end, being then more than memory.

Her tale is full Silmarillion material. Good to read, hard to live.


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Oct 18 2012, 9:37pm

Post #18 of 30 (537 views)
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Great post. Thanks! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Oct 18 2012, 9:40pm

Post #19 of 30 (572 views)
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I always wondered this myself. [In reply to] Can't Post

I like the ideas below of her having handmaidens with her, or someone who could transmit the details that we read.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Oct 19 2012, 1:05am

Post #20 of 30 (545 views)
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It's still beautiful [In reply to] Can't Post

Sad but beautiful. Full of regret but also hope.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Plurmo
Rohan

Oct 19 2012, 1:06am

Post #21 of 30 (572 views)
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That's unfair! [In reply to] Can't Post

Had I thanked you for every great post you write instead of Lorien I would already be somewhere in the Undying Lands!Blush

You're most welcome.Smile


Ethel Duath
Valinor


Oct 19 2012, 2:06am

Post #22 of 30 (555 views)
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Oh my! Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

very buch. Blush


HiddenSpring
Lorien

Oct 19 2012, 12:19pm

Post #23 of 30 (595 views)
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Arwen's death has always striked me as surpassingly sad [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of it has to do with what you said here: even being Aragorn's wife and Queen of Gondor, she goes to the land of her people to die. But there is nothing waiting for her once she gets there, and in a way she dies isolated from both the world of men and the world of elves. I think it's a striking ending not just to LotR but to the entire legendarium. Nothing more to tell after that.

If this sounds too bleak, however, I do believe Galadriel had foreseen Arwen's passing in Lórien, and might have prepared Cerin Amroth to "take her in", as it were, as a kind of final passing of the torch between the "morning" and the "evening star" of Elven women.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 19 2012, 8:08pm

Post #24 of 30 (546 views)
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and that is [In reply to] Can't Post

a comforting thought.


Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Oct 20 2012, 12:34pm

Post #25 of 30 (505 views)
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Maybe a tree fell on her [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe a tree magically fell on her to protect her body from scavenging animals.

On the other hand, this might be what killed her in the first place.



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Radiates from his Holy Writings


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