This is a second update to some of the ideas discussed in my review of ROTK and the update I wrote to include people’s responses. A lot of people wrote to me about the scene where Elrond tells Aragorn that Arwen is dying. I sadi that it diminished Aragorn by making his motive for saving Middle-earth personal (ie doing it for love) rather than heroic (ie doing it for the common good of all). Other people disagreed:
Barbara wrote: “Arwen’s fading forces _Elrond_ to reforge the sword, and it’s this _sword_ that is the last missing piece of symbolic motivation that Aragorn needs to enter the Paths of the Dead and follow _his_ path from there. It’s not Arwen who really matters in this scene, it’s the sword.”
Lossefalme wrote: This is in response to a point brought up in your “ROTK Review: Updates and Corrections”
Elrond: “I bring hope to mankind.” Aragorn: “I save none for myself.”
For me, this exchange brought to mind a conversation between Aragorn and Gilraen as told in the appendices. Gilraen tells Aragorn that she will soon die, that she cannot face the gathering darkness. Aragorn tries to comfort her.
“But she answered only with this linnod: Onen i-Estel Edain, u-chebin estel anim” – English translation: ‘I gave Hope to the Dunedain, I have kept no hope for myself.” [And in the Extended Edition of FOTR, we even see Aragorn tracing the inscription on his mother’s tomb – which is this line, surely – Tehanu]
“So, I took it not as having to do with Arwen, but as an acknowledgement of his mother, and, more importantly, Aragorn signifying to Elrond that he has now made the commitment to live up to his destiny and will accept his place as king (or die trying). By doing so, he finally gains Elrond’s approval,” says Lossefalme
Katrelya made a good point:
“At first, I thought the scene with Arwen on her death bed – which isn’t in the book – detracted from the story. However, it showed Elrond’s unconditional love for her, as opposed to Denethor’s possessive love for his dying son Faramir, which is in the book, of course. This scene provided the audience with Elrond as a foil for Denethor. Elrond is willing to finally let go of Arwen; Denethor wants to keep Faramir with him, even if it means killing him! Elrond, of course, is the wiser of the two dads. Ultimately, both Elrond and Denethor let their children go. “
Which reminds me – on my last viewing, I finally caught the expression on Elrond’s face at the coronation scene, where Arwen leaves his side and goes to Aragorn. It’s a complex mixture of pain and love and bittersweet acceptance, and it backs up what Katrelya said about Elrond being willing at last to let his beloved child go, despite the pain it costs him.
A few people have written in with suggestions for great paintings that seem to have inspired some of the shots in ROTK. Kathe writes, “I totally agree, as Faramir goes to his doom, down through the incredible set of M.T. the images are between Italian and Dutch early to mid renaissance – the faces and film tint and lighting and the colors of the clothing- great!”
Denethor eating while Faramir rides to his doom reminded Odile of this very disturbing Goya painting of Saturn eating his children. [More] Carla thought that the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian I found by Rubens is most similar to the 7th image downhere She said, “I knew this one looked familiar it reminded me of a shot of Frodo I see everyday (it just so happens to be my desktop background) Though not actually seen in any of the films, it made a quick appearance in the Two Towers preview (seen in the shot by shot analysis on your site. They share almost identical expressions…beautiful.”
That’s great, but I’m still looking for more!