Friday, February 14, 2014

Romance of the Rings


Truthfully, I'm not usually interested in reading romance novels, and for the most part I avoid books that seem to relationship-heavy. However, I do love reading Tolkien,  from The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit to The Silmarillion. So in honor of Valentine's Day and great books,  here are my favorite Tolkien couples.

1. Luthien Tinuviel and Beren Erchamion

Luthien and Beren are the greatest romantic couple of Middle Earth. She's the most beautiful of all the Children of Iluvatar, and he's a mortal man who goes on the boldest and most dangerous quest anyone ever dared before to win her hand. Tolkien mentions Luthien and Beren several times in LOTR and The Hobbit, then tells the full story in The Silmarillion. I love this story because Luthien ends up being just as powerful as Beren. She uses her power to save her beloved from one of Sauron's deepest dungeons and then disguises them both so they can break into Thangorodrim. When Beren dies, she dies of grief, but sings so beautifully of her lost love that Mandos, the lord of the dead, takes pity on her. She and Beren return from death to live in Middle Earth once more for a short time. In a real life romantic gesture, Tolkien based Luthien on his beloved wife, Edith, who once danced for him in a woodland glade after he returned from WWI. The names Beren and Luthien are carved on the Tolkiens' gravestone.

2. Aragorn and Arwen

In their own way, Aragorn and Arwen seem to re-enact the tale of Beren and Luthien, who are the ancestors of them both, but with a happier ending. Despite the wishes of her father, Elrond, who is understandably reluctant to have his beloved daughter become mortal when she marries Aragorn, Arwen chooses to stay with her beloved in Middle Earth. Aragorn becomes the King of Gondor and Arnor to win her hand, and Arwen becomes his queen.


3. Eowyn and Faramir

This romance is hinted at in the movies, and elaborated in the books. Sick from the Witch King's death curse and broken-hearted from Aragorn's rejection, Eowyn meets Faramir as they're recovering from their injuries together. They slowly fall in love and eventually get married. I love their story because it shows that sometimes people find true love after their hearts have been broken. Although Eowyn had loved Aragorn, she recovers from his rejection and finds the person she's really meant to be with.


4. Earendil and Elwing

Earendil is the famous mariner of Middle Earth, and Elwing is his wife. He build a great ship and sailed around the world, looking for a way to Valinor, so he could convince the Valar (angelic beings) to rescue Middle Earth from Morgoth. But while he was away, the sons of Feanor attacked the Arvernien to steal Elwing's silmaril. Elwing threw herself off a cliff into the sea to keep from being captured. But instead of dying, the lord of the sea turned her into a white bird. Elwing flew over the sea until she found her husband's ship. Exhausted, she fell through the air, but Earendil kept her safe, until to his surprise the beautiful white bird turned back into his wife. Together, Earendil and Elwing sailed to Valinor and convinced the Valar to save men and elves from Morgoth. I like this couple because they worked together and helped each other to save Middle Earth.

5. Melian and Eru Thingol

Melian was a Maia (a sort of angelic being) who met Eru Thingol, an elf king, in a forest. They fell so deeply in love that they stayed in the forest together for years, just staring in each other's eyes. Afterward, they ruled the elven kingdom of Doriath and had a daughter, Luthien Tinuviel.


6. Tom Bombadil and Goldberry

Tom Bombadil and Goldberry are a mysterious couple who live in the middle of a great forest, and seem to have great powers. The hobbits meet them in the LOTR. While no one is quite sure what kind of beings they are (there are tons of theories) it's clear that they love each other deeply.


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