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Arwen's Fate

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<< The Grace of the Valar

Peter (cont.): … so that the horse would come to trust him and come to recognise him and know who he was, because, you know, Viggo just didn’t want to be on camera with an animal that was completely alienated from him: he wanted to actually have that connection and make it part of the character. (beat) [Arwen’s Choice] Arwen’s storyline was a problem, for the obvious reason that it doesn’t exist in the book, other then the concept exists that an immortal Elf loves a mortal Man; and we wanted to create a story for Arwen, and we make so much of the fact that the Elves are leaving Middle-earth – you know, that’s referenced several times throughout the movies – and that they’re taking the Ships to Valinor, which is their Paradise over the Water; and we just thought, “Well, you know, why don’t we crank up the tension by having Arwen, sort of, ordered to take the Ship as well?” There’s no way you can create a greater conflict between Aragorn and Arwen than have them permanently separated. So that’s really the basis of this; and we spent so much time talking about an immortal Elf and a mortal Man, one growing old and one staying young, that we thought it was a powerful thing to actually visualise: that you can talk about it all you want, but to see imagery of that actually occurring, which was one of the primary motivations why we created this scene here, [Elrond: “He will come to death…”] which again was directed by Fran.

Philippa: This was about wanting to use some of the most beautiful writing, I think, that Tolkien does in his books, as much as anything. What we discovered in going to the appendices and developing Arwen’s story is that her story is not just a story about a woman kept apart from the man she loves, it is also the story of a daughter: confronting the fate that she must choose between her father and the man she loves – and her people and the man she loves. This is where this came from, and this is honouring, actually, the very fact that Elrond, although we’ve taken it further in the films in him trying to almost get her on the Ships, is not happy about this, and does warn, in fact, warn Aragorn off her in the book, in the appendices. This language that we’ve given to him is actually a description of the moment of Aragorn’s death in the appendices, and that was a moment that we wanted to honour.

Fran: Mmm. But it came about because a man wrote a letter to us: he was a big Tolkien fan and he said, you know, “I’m so pleased that these films are being made,” and then, he said, “I particularly love the passage: and there he lay, an image of the splendour of the Kings of Men in glory undimmed until the breaking of the world,” and he said, “It doesn’t get any better than this,” or something like that; and I thought, “God, that’s the most glorious piece of writing. You’re so right, it would be fantastic to try and use it in the movie.”

Philippa: But before that, actually, Liv herself had foreshadowed this moment as one of her favourite moments and [Fran: Oh, yeah.] [?maligned] the fact that she… that we would never get to see that moment, and as soon as she said that, of course, your brain starts ticking over and thinks, “Well, maybe…” So those two things came together. (beat) What this does is show the truth behind what she will have to face and endure, that it will be bitter in the end. (beat) So just remember, if you were going to put these in chronological order, that would be one of the last things you see, because that is the truth of [Fran: Hmm.] how the story ends.

Fran: [in agreement] Mmm.

Peter: Yeah, I mean it does. [Philippa: Mmm.] It’s not just a fantasy, that is – actually happens in the book, doesn’t it?

Philippa: Yeah.

Peter: Because Aragorn and Arwen spend the rest of their lives together – or the rest of Aragorn’s life together – until he dies, so it is very sad. (beat) One of our very early drafts had a Lothlórien sequence, didn’t it, where Arwen and Elrond both went to Galadriel to get some advice.

Philippa: Mmm.

Peter: And I remember, we filmed some shots of Cate Blanchett for that scene, and we ended up using them in the scene that comes up next, which was the, sort of, the montage sequence.

Philippa: That was about – as much about establishing that the Elves –. Haldir coming from Lothlórien, wasn’t it?

The Story Foreseen from Lórien >>

The Lord of the Rings and its content does not belong to me, it is property of the Tolkien Estate;  the commentaries transcribed here, as well as the images used, are the property of New Line Cinema.