From Tolkien Gateway
John Howe - Arwen.jpg
"Arwen" by John Howe
Biographical Information
PronunciationS, [ˈarwen]
Other namesUndómiel (Q: "Evenstar")
Elerondiel (Q)
Elrenniel (S)
TitlesLady of Rivendell
Queen of Elves and Men
Queen of Gondor
LocationRivendell, Lothlórien, Reunited Kingdom
LanguagePrimarily Sindarin[1]
BirthT.A. 241
RuleT.A. 3019 - Fo.A. 120
Death1 March Fo.A. 121[2] (aged 2,901)
Cerin Amroth, Lothlórien
Notable forBeing granted the Gift of Ilúvatar
HeritageHalf-elven father, Elf mother
ParentageElrond and Celebrían
SiblingsElladan and Elrohir (twins)
ChildrenEldarion and several daughters
Physical Description
Hair colorDark[3]
Eye colorGrey[3]
ClothingGrey raiment with girdle of silver leaves;[3] silver and blue mantle[4]
GalleryImages of Arwen
"Frodo saw her whom few mortals had yet seen; Arwen, daughter of Elrond, in whom it was said that the likeness of Lúthien had come on earth again; and she was called Undómiel, for she was the Evenstar of her people."
The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"

Arwen Undómiel, often called Arwen Evenstar, was one of the half-elven, married to Aragorn II. She was the daughter of Elrond and Celebrían.[4]

She was considered to be the fairest of the Children of Ilúvatar in the Third Age, resembling Lúthien of the First Age who would never again appear in Ëa. Her romance with Aragorn was reminiscent of that between the Man Beren and the Elf Lúthien. Like Lúthien, she rejected her Elven immortality to marry Aragorn and die with him.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Evenstar by Anna Lee

Arwen was born in T.A. 241 and was the younger sister of Elladan and Elrohir.[5] From her mother she inherited the Elfstone.[6] As one of the half-elven, she shared the right of her father to choose her fate. She lived most of her life in Imladris, or in Lothlórien with her grandparents.[4]

Her father fostered the sons of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, who were the exiled Heirs of Isildur.[7] It was in T.A. 2952 when she returned from Lothlórien to Rivendell when she met a young foster-son of her father, Aragorn. The young Dúnadan fell in love when he first saw her, though as he was still a youth, Arwen did not return his love.[4][5]

Elrond insisted that Arwen could not marry Aragorn until he became king of both Gondor and Arnor. Whether Arwen chose to marry him and become mortal, or remain with her kin as one of the Elves, she would be parted from either Elrond or Aragorn forever.[4]

Arwen in Rivendell, art by Abe Papakhian

It was not until they met many years later in Lórien that Arwen returned Aragorn's love, and in T.A. 2980 they plighted their troth on Cerin Amroth. Aragorn gave her the Ring of Barahir.[4][5]

In the years leading up to the War of the Ring, the Misty Mountains and all lands eastward became dangerous, and at the request of her father, Arwen returned to Imladris in T.A. 3009.[5]

Arwen was later reunited with Aragorn when he brought the Hobbits to Rivendell during the War of the Ring. She was present at a feast attended by Frodo. Later that night, she and Aragorn spoke together.[3] When the Fellowship departed and Galadriel offered them her gifts, Arwen's Elfstone, given from Galadriel to Celebrían, and Celebrían to Arwen, was the gift for Aragorn. He would wear the Elfstone ever after.[8] This giving held the function of a wedding gift from the family of the bride to the groom, foretelling his marriage to Arwen.[9]

Arwen wove the standard of Elendil for Aragorn from black cloth, decorating it with mithril, gems and gold. She sent the banner with her brothers and a group of Rangers of the North to Aragorn before he took the Paths of the Dead, thereby inspiring him to take the difficult path.[10] The banner was unfurled at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields to triumphantly announce the King's return.[11]

King and his Queen by Janka Latečková

After the defeat of Sauron, Aragorn was crowned as King of the West and the new Reunited Kingdom; on that day Arwen and her father departed for Minas Tirith. On 20 May they reached Lothlórien where they stayed for a week before Arwen resumed with her escort. On 14 June she met her brothers and together they went to Edoras where they stayed two days before continuing to Gondor.[12]

Queen[edit | edit source]

Arwen arrived to Minas Tirith on 1 Lithe and wed Aragorn on Mid-year's Day,[12] being the third union of Elves and Men. Arwen chose a fate different from her father's and did not sail to the West. Instead, she gifted Frodo, as the Ring-bearer, passage in her stead, as she foresaw that his burden would not be lifted. She also gifted him a necklace with a white gem. [13]

As Queen of Gondor, Arwen maintained a close connection with Gondor's allies, as did her husband. In Fo.A. 15 they visited the Hobbits outside the Shire and she took as a maid of honour Elanor Gardner, daughter of Samwise Gamgee.[14] She was mother of one son, Eldarion, and at least two unnamed daughters. After Aragorn's death, Arwen departed from Minas Tirith and returned to the abandoned Lothlórien. There she stayed for a time until she gave up her life in Fo.A. 121 at Cerin Amroth, and was buried there.[4]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Arwen means "Noble Maiden" in Sindarin, from ara- ("noble") and gwenn ("maiden").[15] Tolkien remarked that it also means "greatly blessed" in Welsh.[16]

The Quenya form of her name is not entirely certain, but in his Quenya greeting, Aragorn refers to her again as "Arwen" (Arwen vanimelda, namárië!).[8] This suggests that the form Arwen itself is also coincidentally a valid, or at least understandable, Quenya calque (using ar-, stem Arwend-).

Other names[edit | edit source]

Her epessë, Undómiel, means "Evenstar", from Undómë ("evening twilight") and el ("star").

She is also given the names Elrenniel and Elerondiel, both meaning "Daughter of Elrond" in Sindarin and Quenya respectively.[17]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Arwen was a very distant cousin of Aragorn. By their marriage, the long-sundered lines of the Half-elven were joined.[18] Their union also served to unite and preserve the bloodlines of the kings of the three kindreds of the High Elves as well as the only line with Maia blood through Arwen's great-great grandmother, Melian.

b. Y.T. 1230
b. Y.T.
b. F.A.
b. F.A. 472
b. Y.T.
F.A. 470 - 506
d. F.A. 506
b. Y.T. 1362
b. F.A.
b. F.A. 503
b. F.A. 503
b. S.A. 300
b. F.A. 532
F.A. 532 - S.A. 442
b. T.A. 130
b. T.A. 130
T.A. 241 - Fo.A. 121
Aragorn II
T.A. 2931 - Fo.A. 120
Fo.A. 1 - 220

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

While writing the drafts of The Lord of the Rings the character was named Finduilas; only during the final proofreading in 1949 Tolkien changed the name to Arwen.[19]

Tolkien considered to postpone the birth of Arwen from T.A. 241 to T.A. 341 , or even in T.A. 421[20], to increase the interval between the birth of the twins and the birth of Arwen where the parents were at rest, and he assigned the error in dates to a "probable scribal origin" (with the inversion of numbers 241/421).

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Arwen in adaptations
Arwen at the Ford of Bruinen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Arwen does not appear in this film.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

Arwen is voiced by Sonia Fraser.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Arwen appears in Rivendell after the Council of Elrond. She has a brief dialogue with Aragorn, and recites several lines from the Riddle of Strider. No voice actress is specified, but it is likely Kath Soucie.

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

Arwen is played by Liv Tyler. Various additional scenes pertaining to Arwen are inserted, some of which deviate from the books and some of which seem to be inspired by The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen.
In the first film, she rescues Frodo Baggins from the Black Riders at Bruinen, thwarting them with a sudden flood, summoned by an incantation. In the book, it was Glorfindel who put Frodo on horseback and sent him alone to flee the Black Riders, and Elrond and Gandalf arranged the flood. Also, in the book, Frodo defends himself against the Black Riders, whereas in the movie Arwen defends him. Arwen wields the sword Hadhafang,a non-canonical sword that belonged to her father.
There is a scene in which Aragorn has a dream about Arwen in which they kiss, a scene where Arwen has an argument with her father about leaving for Valinor, and a scene where she actually departs for Valinor and then changes her mind and returns when she sees a vision of her future son, Eldarion.
In addition, towards the end of the cinematic trilogy she apparently becomes sick, seemingly as a result of her forsaking her immortality. Elrond takes the reforged Narsil, now Andúril, to Aragorn at Dunharrow, and tells him that her fate has become bound with the One Ring, and that she is dying. However, no explanation is ever given for these statements. It is possible that Elrond's comments of her dying is simply a metaphor of her becoming mortal, and that he is not implying she has a connection with the Ring, but that Arwens decision to stay means that her future, like the other free peoples of Middle-Earth, now rests on the destruction of the ring. Later, after the Ring is destroyed, Arwen is present at Aragorn's coronation without any signs of illness.

2003: Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series):

The voice of Arwen is provided by Slávka Halčáková. She only appears in person in the third series (season) of the adaptation, during the events of The Return of the King, but is alluded to earlier.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Arwen can be found in a gazebo overlooking the path from Rivendell into the Misty Mountains. Her roles in the game was initially small, and her only significant interaction with the player was the passing of Elessar's banner that she made for Aragorn and bid the player to deliver to Halbarad. After the downfall of Sauron, her prominence increases as Elrond and his household travel to Minas Tirith for her wedding. On their way towards Lothlórien from the lands of the Beornings, Arwen asks her father to visit the cave in which her mother Celebrian was tormented by orcs before being rescued. She later discusses that experience with Lady Galadriel.

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North:

Arwen resides in Rivendell, where players can discuss with her both historical and present subjects. While sporting the appearance of Liv Tyler, her role is closer to the book than that in the movie: for example, she provides Halbarad and the Grey Company with the banner she had made for Aragorn, an event omitted from the movie adaptation. She is voiced by Courtenay Taylor.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of the Elves"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part One. Time and Ageing: XVIII. Elvish Ages & Númenórean", p. 151
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Farewell to Lórien"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Laws and Customs among the Eldar"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "Later Events Concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
  15. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 205
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Letter to S.E.O. Joukes, 28 August 1967"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings: Eldarin Roots and Stems", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 56
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
  19. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. xxviii
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, Carl F. Hostetter (ed.), The Nature of Middle-earth, "Part One. Time and Ageing: IX. Time-scales and Rates of Growth", p. 67.