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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 4:22 pm 
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Given how little we actually know about all the previous kings in Aragorn's line, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they had some healing gift. After all, they came from Elros Halfelven. Elrond was held to be a powerful healer, why wouldn't his brother have been? Why wouldn't that gift have carried on through the long line? With Aragorn the line of the Halfelven was restored, the kindred united again. I think he had that innate power, and it was increased by Galadriel's gift. Maybe increased is the wrong word, maybe "focussed" is a better word. (Maybe it's even spelled right?)

Also, and I'm sure someone will correct me in this, was there not some suggestion that Aragorn could have healed his mother's despair and weariness had she chosen to be healed?

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 4:35 pm 
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Good point, vison. Aragorn specifically states that Elrond is the eldest of the line and has the greatest healing power. And Elrond's son's labor long through the night along with Aragorn to heal those stricken by the black breath.

As for Aragorn being able to heal his mother, I think the only thing that is stated (in Appendix A):

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'"This is our last parting, Estel,my son. I aged by care, even as one of lesser Men; and now that it draws near I cannot face the darkness of our time that gathers upon Middle-earth. I shall leave it soon."

'Aragorn tried to comfort her, saying: "Yet there may be a light beyond the darkness; and if so, I would have you see it and be glad."

'But she answered only with this linnod

Onen i-Estel Edain, u-chebin estel anim
(I gave Hope to the Dúnedain, I have kept no hope for myself.'),

and Aragorn went away heavy of heart. Gilraen died before the next spring.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 9:48 pm 
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Fascinating thread.

Faramond wrote:
The short answer is that the [heirs of Isildur] that came before [Aragorn] weren't great enough of do something as daunting as reassert the Kingship over Gondor. There likely would have been a struggle with the House of Stewards and the existing power structure in Gondor, one they would not have been successful in.


I have a slightly different take here. I think the heirs of the Northern Line were great enough to refrain from claiming the crown, knowing that to do so would result in a civil war and a great harm to Gondor. Had they tried, the King would have come as a destroyer, not a healer.

As has been said here, Aragorn is able to come as a healer in the sense of reparing the wounds of war, rejuvenating the failing city of Minas Tirith, reclaiming lost lands of the Empire. And also in a more narrow sense of healing the wounded.

Another point that I didn't seem mentioned here (forgive me if I missed it) is that Aragorn's "specialty" is the sickness of the Black Breath, which is untreatable by conventional medicine. The coming of the King - Estel - hope - is the one thing that overcomes the ultimate in despair and dread.

Voronowe wrote:
And when Ioreth says in response to Gandalf question about whether she has heard the strange tidings that have come to the City: "All I hope is that those murdering devils do not come to this House and trouble the sick" is she referring to just the forces of Mordor, or to all of the men who were fighting?


That came up in Teremia's thread on TORC. I tend to think she was talking about the forces of Mordor, otherwise the wounded soldiers she was tending would qualify as "murdering devils" themselves. Surely she is not so dense as to forget that the swords of the soldiers were the only thing that could stop the Enemy from killing everyone in the city.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:16 pm 
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What it boils down to, in the end, to use a rather homely phrase, is that Aragorn's betrothal to Arwen was the final requirement of his/the plan to reestablish the kingship.

In the long years whilst the stewards reigned, there must have been heirs of Isuldur who had all the qualities that Aragorn had, yet they never sought the throne. (As far as we know? I only know what's in my copies of LOTR, so I might well be wrong.)

The difference was that Aragorn was to marry Arwen. This meant much more than just their "love". Galadriel certainly "approved" of Aragorn, it was she who dressed him as "fine as an elf lord" in Lórien, after all. Elrond's part was different, but unlike the idiotic movie portrayal of Elrond as some mean suburban Dad who doesn't like his daughter's boyfriend, book Elrond's "dislike" of Aragorn was no such thing. He only understood fully what it all meant, all the ramifications of these two marrying: it meant the end of the world as he knew it, and it meant his beloved daughter would die as a mortal. He could have no other objection to Aragorn. He'd brought the man up, after all, and not only that, Aragorn was his kin.

So Elrond made a deal with Aragorn: you become King of Gondor or you don't marry my daughter. But it was just as true to say: you won't be King unless you marry my daughter. Poor Elrond. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place!

The marriage with Arwen was necessary to fulfill the prophecies. The prophecies were pretty specific, too, since the Black Breath was actually mentioned.

So even though we are told, somewhere, that Tolkien once thought of marrying Aragorn to Éowyn, that could never have been so. I don't think I'm stretching "the truth" here, either.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:48 pm 
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vison wrote:
But it was just as true to say: you won't be King unless you marry my daughter.


Vison, I'm not sure I follow you here, although you did set me thinking along some very interesting (to me) lines.

Unlike PJ's compressed timeline, a good call for the movie IMO, Aragorn finishes his work before Arwen makes here entrance. He wins the military campaign, gives Frodo a shot at destroying the Ring, is crowned as King of Gondor, and at last locates the sapling of the White Tree. IOW, he completes all the great tasks of healing that he alone could achieve, and it is now only left to him to be a wise and strong ruler. Only then Arwen arrives to the City.

Certainly, an Elven princess is more impressive than a tomboy from Rohan. But the prophecy is "the hands of a healer" and does not add "who's married to a beautiful Elf". ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:11 pm 
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To be perfectly honest, I find it hard to explain what I meant by that, but there you are.

Marriage to Éowyn would have been.....just a dynastic and political move. Marriage to Arwen puts Aragorn/Elessar up where Elendil was, as the heir of Númenor, descended from Beren and Lúthien. Now, when Elros established the realm of Númenor - forgive me, I'm a little iffy on all this - wasn't that the beginning of the Second Age? And the Third Age began with the first fall of Sauron and the establishment by Elendil of a kingdom in Middle Earth? Or was the Third Age held to begin solely with the fall of Númenor and the escape by Elendil and his sons? With Isuldur ascending the throne? All around the same time, anyway.

So the Fourth Age began with the reuniting of the Lúthien/Beren kin. I always thought that was important and necessary. I also thought the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen was "foreordained" since he met her and fell in love with her long before he actually began his ascent to the throne although by then he knew his past and his possible destiny. Elrond, with the foresight of his people, such as it was, probably knew from day 1 of taking Aragorn into his house that this was coming. Although Elrond wished that Arwen could go to Elvenhome with him, would he have done as much as he did for anyone other than Arwen's possible future husband? It is all mixed up together in the story and in my mind.

Anyway, that's how I see it, sorry it's so disjointed.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:21 pm 
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We need Ath to explain it. Alas, she is basking in sun.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:34 pm 
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Not muddled at all, vison. It makes perfect sense to me.

From a note to Letter 153

There were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain: Lúthien and Beren, Idril and Tuor; Arwen and Aragorn. By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half-elven were reuinited and the line was restored.

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"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:59 am 
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But there is a lot more then that that needs to be said.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:11 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
But there is a lot more then that that needs to be said.


I'm all ears. 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:45 am 
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Unfortunately, I do not have the words. :|

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:16 am 
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Neither do I ;)

I can add something about the healing power of kings, though:

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The origins of the belief in this miraculous power are very obscure: all that is certain is that the claim was being made in both France and England in the early twelfth century, and that it had developed in some way from miracles reputed to have been performed by Robert the Pious in France and Edward the Confessor in England in the first half of the eleventh century. Once established the belief proved to be astonishingly tenacious, and it might have seemed to a far-sighted observer in the late eleventh century that the novel claim of miraculous power combined with the ancient semi-priestly character of the king heralded a very extreme form of royal ascendancy in the political sphere. R. W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages


So, yes, the annointing of kings with oil goes back to the Old Testament, and the implication that they stand in the place of God, or are chosen by God, is part and parcel with that. But the idea that "the hands of the king are the hands of a healer" was new in the twelfth century. Interestingly, the attitude that coronation was a sacrament (or nearly so) was going out of vogue about this time...so the ideas are really not connected.

C. S. Lewis used the idea of 'royal touch' curing diseases in his Till We Have Faces. But in that story, it is merely folklore - the touch of the princess does not cure anyone. In fact, her presumption of trying to cure people by touching them brings down the wrath of the goddess on her.

But if you have to choose a 'version' of the idea that is acceptable to modern minds, I prefer Tolkien's ;).

Keep in mind that the plant athelas, known to the Numenoreans, is particularly efficacious against the Black Breath. Aragorn knows this, but that lore is forgotten in Gondor (well, except for the rhyme). So, is Aragorn using supernatural jewel-enhanced elf-powers, or simple herblore? While I will say that his healing ability certainly has a touch of the miraculous about it, I think Tolkien intentionally left in the more mundane "natural" explanation of superior herblore.

The line "and so shall the rightful King be known" speaks of a people who do not have a King (or are at least confused about who their king should be). I would think that the rhyme came about during the Kinstrife or later, and was the expression of a people hoping and longing for their "true King." The fact that the rhyme mentions the Black Breath, athelas, and the King means that it is surely a bit prophetic. Though I imagine that the name 'kingsfoil' was given based on the rhyme, the inspiration could have been the other way around.

Elrond had fostered the heir of Arvedui in Rivendell since the destruction of the North Kingdom (as well as Valandil, infant son of Isildur, during the Last Alliance). What made Aragorn unique was the early death of both his father and grandfather, leaving him fatherless in Elrond's care (actually, that would make him a *lot* like Valandil...even if Elrond claimed Aragorn most resembled Isildur's eldest son, Elendur (who was most like Elendil)). I do not think that Elrond's foresight showed him the danger of introducing Arwen to Aragorn until after the damage was done. He does not speak as one who knows in the Appendix, but rather as one who fears the outcome that he only now sees. But even then, he does not think the 20 year old Aragorn has any chance ;) [and so it may well seem to her...].

I think that Elrond certainly saw a connection between Aragorn re-establishing the kingdom and marrying. But I do not think it was essential that he marry Arwen. The line of Lúthien can never die out, but Aragorn could have married some other Numenorian girl and still fulfilled his destiny (ie, Lothiriel of Dol Amroth, who married Éomer...though she was likely a bit too young for him!) By marrying Arwen, he acheives a higher destiny (uniting the sundered branches of Eärendil's house), but that was a 'bonus' beyond rebuilding Gondor.

Tolkien did consider marrying Aragorn off to Éowyn...but only before he invented the character of Arwen ;). Basically, when the story got to Rohan, their was the king's niece standing by his throne, and when they beheld each other in the light of day....the groundwork for romance was set! It was only later that he realized that wasn't what he had in mind. At least, that is my understanding of the history of LotR as explained by people who have actually read HoME ;).


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:05 am 
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Hey MithLuin, great to see you here. :hug: Nice post.

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Neither do I ;)


That was a thinly (or perhaps not so thinly) disguised call to Athrabeth, who had made some wonderful posts on the subject at TORC, but I couldn't remember where.

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Tolkien did consider marrying Aragorn off to Éowyn...but only before he invented the character of Arwen ;). Basically, when the story got to Rohan, their was the king's niece standing by his throne, and when they beheld each other in the light of day....the groundwork for romance was set! It was only later that he realized that wasn't what he had in mind. At least, that is my understanding of the history of LotR as explained by people who have actually read HoME ;).


There was quite a bit discussion of Éowyn's history in Éowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan

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Some background

There was a medieval tradition of anointing the new King with sacred oil as a part of the coronation ceremony, to mimic the anointing of King David. In France the practice started with Clovis (496) when he was converted and anointed by the Archbishop of Reims. An ampule of sacred oil was miraculously delivered by a dove (the Holy Spirit?) for Clovis. There were other venues and other anointers than Reims and its Archbishop, but the venue was revived for an anointing by Pope Stephan (816). Archbishop Hincmar and his immediate successors promoted the idea and Pope Urban II institutionalized it in 1089. The legend says the same ampule of oil was used for all anointings.

The only comments I can remember about the anointing relate to the continuation of a biblical tradition, conferring kingship.


The Arthurian stories don't connect well with the King as a healer. Gawain, Tolkien's favorite knight, was a healer and is sometimes considered to be the Celtic god Lug, or a solar god. In The Crown (German 13th century), Gawain finds the Grail and restores the health of the King and the kingdom.

Most Arthurian referencs to healing and the King are of this nature. The health of the kingdom is dependent on the health of the King. The King himself is not a healer.

Galahad, son of Lancelot and Elaine, also seems to have some healing ability. In the Vulgate Cycle (Prose Lancelot circa 1230), Galahad is instructed by Jesus to heal the Fisher King.

Gawain, in the early stories, was sometimes referred to as the Perfect Knight, a status taken from him for his amorous adventures by the Church, and Galahad was considered the most virtuous knight.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:02 am 
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vison wrote:
So Elrond made a deal with Aragorn: you become King of Gondor or you don't marry my daughter. But it was just as true to say: you won't be King unless you marry my daughter.


Voronwë wrote:
We need Ath to explain it. Alas, she is basking in sun.


Well, a very long time has passed since I first came across this thread whilst sitting in a little internet cafe down in Mexico. I made a mental note to post something when I got home.........um.....yeah, right....."mental" does seem to be the operative word here. :suspicious:

And I'm not sure that what follows actually explains anything, but for what they're worth, here are some thoughts on vison's thoughts:

I have no doubt that Aragorn could have become the King of Gondor without cleaving to Arwen, but I wonder if he could have become the King of Men, which is his greater destiny. Aragorn wedding Éowyn would most definitely fulfill the requirements of the tale as a “stand alone” heroic romance, but LOTR is not, IMO, quite such a tale. It is connected, deeply and essentially, to the mythical history of the Elder Days. That this connection evolved as the story evolved is undeniable, but the ultimate fates of Elrond, Galadriel, Arwen and Aragorn are rooted in The Silmarillion, and in order to be truly meaningful within Tolkien’s universe, must “bear the fruit” nourished by those roots, deep and ancient and sustaining.

I think it’s very important to consider that even after Aragorn has been crowned by his people, he doesn’t t send for Arwen, but awaits some other sign that he is worthy enough to take her as his Queen. For all his “superstar genes”, Aragorn’s lineage is not as high and noble as Arwen’s, who is descended by a mere handful of generations from not only the greatest among the Eldar and Edain, but also from the angelic race of the Maiar. It’s easy to forget (or not be aware) that Arwen is more closely tied to the original Kings of Númenor than Aragorn, for she is, after all, the granddaughter of Eärendil and the niece of Elros. Her union with Aragorn not only ensures the continuation of the Eldar bloodline within Men along with the strengthening of the divine strain of the Ainur, it also essentially rejuvenates the bloodlines of the Edain from the First Age (from her great-grandfather, Tuor and great-great-grandfather, Beren). In these ways, I think, Arwen is far, far more than just "a beautiful Elf”. ;)

What Aragorn yearns and seeks for, of course, is the rebirth of the White Tree of Gondor, and the discovery of its off-spring on the slopes of Mindoluin becomes Gandalf’s last act of guidance to Elessar as his friend and counselor. As Arwen’s lineage in the book is only outlined in the most rudimentary fashion, so too is that of the White Tree, but the heritage of both reaches far back to Valinor in the Beginning Days, and the symbolic importance of both becomes more meaningful when one considers that heritage.

The sapling of the White Tree that Aragorn finds is descended from Nimloth The Fair, which was given to Elros of Númenor as a token of friendship and alliance by the Eldar of Tol Erresëa. That tree grew from the fruit of Celeborn, which in turn, came from Galathilion, made by Yavanna herself in the image of Telperion, “The Eldest of Trees” and the source of the first sacred light of Valinor…..impressive, to say the least.

Aragorn has fulfilled the prophesies of Men, commanding the Dead and healing the stricken; he has been acclaimed by his people as their King. He is the rightful King of Gondor, and yet he knows that he must attain something more than all this in order to fulfill his own truest, most personal desire, as well as to fulfill a destiny that is not contained solely within the southern realm. I think this goes beyond the bestowment of the Kingship of the Northern realm of Arnor (which is officially, and suitably, done by Elrond when he brings him the Sceptre of Annuminas) to something far more sacred and profound: the blessing of the Valar, as the Powers of Arda and the representatives within Eä of Eru himself. This blessing, I think, is what he finally receives as the sapling of Nimloth flourishes and blossoms; this is the sign of his worthiness to unite with Arwen in order to become, together, the “renewers” of their race, as the Firstborn depart forever and the Dominion of Men begins.

Aragorn may have the pure blood of Westernesse running in his veins, and can rightfully trace his line from the Kings of Númenor to those of Gondor and Arnor, but his greater doom is bound to his love of Arwen. Arwen may have the noblest blood of the Edain and Eldar running in her veins, and can rightfully trace her line from the gardens of Lórien in Aman to those of Rivendell and Lothlórien, but her greater doom is tied to her love of Aragorn. Together, they become something quite new in the story of Arda – a manifestation of estel born out of unwavering love, trust, and sacrifice that will be a foundation for the new Age to come, both physically and spiritually.

To me, it seems fitting that one can find similarities in the gifting of the first White Tree to the people of Númenor and the “gifting” of Arwen to the people of Middle-earth. Both have roots that run deep in Time, both echo, through their birthright, the first blessed Light of Aman, both are living symbols of the bond between Valar, Eldar and Edain, In revealing itself to Aragorn, the sapling of Nimloth elevates the new King of Gondor to a higher level than all his forefathers since Isildur, who saved it from the malice of Sauron and the destruction of Westernesse; in choosing to cleave to Estel, Arwen elevates him beyond “mere” Kingship to that of “Renewer”. Without her by his side, without the two of them becoming one through marriage, Aragorn would have no hope of attaining this greater destiny. Like their shared ancestors, Beren and Lúthien and Eärendil and Elwing, their love has a power beyond the understanding of either kin. :love:

At least, as vison said, that’s how I see it. 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:49 am 
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Rarely, if ever, has such a long wait been so worthwhile.

:love: :bow: :love:

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In these ways, I think, Arwen is far, far more than just "a beautiful Elf”. Wink


Now if only that were made clear in the actual text of the book...I am with JRRT himself on this: the failure to intergrate the Appendix A material is the most significant flaw in LOTR. Putting it in after the fact is like trying to explain why a joke is funny.

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Ax, that's not exactly what Tolkien said, if I am recalling properly. I think he just said that the Aragorn/Arwen material is the most important part of the appendices, but that it was not possible to incorporate it into the text with significantly changing the hobbit-centric nature of the narrative.

Nonetheless, I certainly understand what you are saying. However, for me at least it works, because I tend to look Tolkien's work as a whole rather then looking at the individual pieces. When I am reading the LOTR narrative, the experience is colored by my knowledge of the appendix material and indeed how the whole history fits together.

Judged by the standards that literary works are judged, I concur with your assessment. Judged by the (arguably higher) standards that mythic works are judged, I do not.

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I agree that as a part of the larger Story, separating it out isn't as problematic, although it's still far from ideal. And yet I am ambivalent about giving JRRT a pass on this. As a maker of myths, not to mention tongues, the man had a gift...as a writer pure and simple, he had limitations.

Here's my problem with the idea of the hobbitcentricity keeping the Arwen material out: it doesn't keep the rest of the High Romance material out. There are dozens of informative allusions to events and personages less important to the story from before Rivendell to the end of FOTR (the closing of the window of opportunity) as opposed to the scattered mysterious and guarded ones we get to Arwen and Aragorn's relationship, of which there are (so far as I can tell) three, none of which comes close to being explicit.

And there are such good, natural moments for pieces of it to come out, too...

I think he just got tired of revising. Which I fully understand, trust me.
;) And if it weren't for the addition of Éowyn fairly late in the game, it probably wouldn't be as noticable. But as it stands, you have the main character in the main subplot acting in a manner that only an extremely careful (and, dare I say it, ex post facto) gleaning of the text can explain.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:41 pm 
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For Meli. ;)

As I said early in this thread, it could go in many different directions. There is certainly much that can be said about Aragorn. ;) For now, I'm just going to repeat these wise words of my friend Athrabeth, because I love them.

Quote:
Aragorn has fulfilled the prophesies of Men, commanding the Dead and healing the stricken; he has been acclaimed by his people as their King. He is the rightful King of Gondor, and yet he knows that he must attain something more than all this in order to fulfill his own truest, most personal desire, as well as to fulfill a destiny that is not contained solely within the southern realm. I think this goes beyond the bestowment of the Kingship of the Northern realm of Arnor (which is officially, and suitably, done by Elrond when he brings him the Sceptre of Annuminas) to something far more sacred and profound: the blessing of the Valar, as the Powers of Arda and the representatives within Eä of Eru himself. This blessing, I think, is what he finally receives as the sapling of Nimloth flourishes and blossoms; this is the sign of his worthiness to unite with Arwen in order to become, together, the “renewers” of their race, as the Firstborn depart forever and the Dominion of Men begins.

Aragorn may have the pure blood of Westernesse running in his veins, and can rightfully trace his line from the Kings of Númenor to those of Gondor and Arnor, but his greater doom is bound to his love of Arwen. Arwen may have the noblest blood of the Edain and Eldar running in her veins, and can rightfully trace her line from the gardens of Lórien in Aman to those of Rivendell and Lothlórien, but her greater doom is tied to her love of Aragorn. Together, they become something quite new in the story of Arda – a manifestation of estel born out of unwavering love, trust, and sacrifice that will be a foundation for the new Age to come, both physically and spiritually.


:love: :love: :love:

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