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