We all know Arwen as someone who fell in love with Aragorn, a man who happens to be the descendant of the Line of Elros, so she decided to become a mortal.
However, it wasn’t always so cut and dry. It was a very special case – much like Beren and Luthien in the First Age – where Lúthien, an elf, fell in love with the mortal man Beren, and thus, Lúthien became mortal and was destined to die eventually.
Prominence of unions between Elves and Men
There were a total of 4 instances of this in Tolkien’s Legendarium – starting with of course, Beren and Luthien, then Tuor and Idril, Eärendil and Elwing, and finally, Aragorn and Arwen.
While it is true that at marriage, Arwen became mortal, joining her husband’s “expectation of life,” and also that her love of Aragorn was a huge factor in her decision, it actually extends much further than that (NoME).
What does it mean to be half-elven? + choices
Half-elven is simply the children of a union between Elves and Men – though they are not a distinct race.
Arwen, like her father Elrond, is half-Elven and thus, she can choose between a life of a mortal man or a life of an elf, much like Elrond was.
While there were four instances of Elf and Mortal romances, there were many instances of Elves being able to choose a mortal life, as children of such unions can choose to do so as well.
It started with Beren and Lúthien, who wed in the First Age – the first bond between an elf and a man. They bore Dior Eluchil, who wed Nimloth of Dóriath. Dior and Nimloth had three children, twins Eluréd and Elurín, and then Elwing, who later went on to marry Eärendil, who was truly half-Elven as the son of Tuor and Idril.
However, Eärendil eventually chose the life of the Elves for his wife Elwing, who had the same choice as well.
Elrond, the son of Eärendil and Elwing, is also half-Elven as well. He wed Celebrian the daughter of elves Celeborn and Galadriel, and had three children, twins Elladan and Elrohir and daughter Arwen – and she and Aragorn eventually had a son Eldarion.
Thus, Arwen like her father Elrond had the choice to be an Elf or a mortal human – though they did and were able to choose different paths.
Elrond chose to live among the Elves and eventually founded Rivendell, while his brother, Elros, was also half-Elven and chose to live among the Men, much like Arwen.
Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for next week when we will be talking about the love story, relationship and eventual marriage of Arwen and Aragorn.