it’s weird that the Fellowship of the Ring gets such a strong ‘saying the name of the movie’ moment, but the other two don’t. There should be a moment when someone gets to shout, “oh my god, look at those two towers!” “Aragorn is being crowned. It’s the return of the king!”
Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, and thought her fair, fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood. But not in a romantic sense or anything, he was just super aware of her, being all fair. And she was now suddenly aware of him: tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hiding a power that yet she felt. But again, it was super platonic, just a lot of awareness going around.
In the second instalment of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Two Towers, a tapestry can be seen hanging on the wall of Arwen’s chamber in Rivendell. Depicted on the tapestry are two trees (their design very similar to those depicted on the Doors of Durin at Moria) as well as a ship gliding on an ocean beneath a lone star in the sky. Easy to miss perhaps, but the scene depicted here is actually a subtle reference to The Silmarillion, one of Tolkien’s other works, which largely deals with the history of Middle-earth and which has a particular emphasis on the Elves.
Undoubtedly the two trees on the tapestry are meant to represent the Two Trees of Valinor. In The Silmarillion, the Two Trees of Valinor were the source of all light in the universe. The elder of the two was named Telperion, the Silver Tree, while the younger was named Laurelin, the Golden Tree. But notice how one tree is surmounted by a sun and the other by a moon. You see, when the first dark lord Morgoth destroyed the Trees, as detailed in the Valaquenta, the Valar managed to save from each tree a single blossom and fruit. These would ultimately become the sun and the moon.
Now that we have explored the meaning of the two trees, let us move on to the next object depicted on the tapestry: the ship.
There is no doubt that the ship is a reference to the story of Eärendil the Mariner, who became the first mortal to set foot in Aman, the country of the Valar, located in the Uttermost West. Together with his wife, Elwing, Eärendil crossed the Great Sea which separated the mortal shores from the Undying Lands, where at last he came before the Valar’s council and, on behalf of the free peoples of Middle-earth, asked them for aid in their fight against Morgoth (the same one I mentioned earlier).
It is important to note that at this point in time, the Valar had long since severed their ties with the mortals of Middle-earth and any attempt by a human to cross the Great Sea into the Blessed Realm was to be punishable by death. However, as Ëarendil‘s motives had been selfless (having undertaken his journey not for himself, but for the sake of his kin), the Valar pardoned him and obliged his request. On top of this, Eärendil and his wife were granted an additional honour by the Valar. As both husband and wife were descended from the union of Elves and Men, they were given the choice to choose to which race they would be forever bound. Depending on their choice, this would render them either mortal or immortal. This same choice would also be passed down to their descendants, who became known as the Half-elven. Which finally brings us to why the banner is seen in Arwen’s room. You see, her father Elrond is the son of Eärendil, making Eärendil Arwen’s grandfather.
As we’re on the subject of Elrond’s family, did you know that Elrond also had a twin brother named Elros? The reason we do not see him, however, is that unlike his father, mother and brother who chose to live on as one of the Elves, Elros chose to live among the race of Men and eventually died of old age.
But if Elrond’s father Eärendil chose immortality, why is it then that we do not see him during the events of The Lord of the Rings?
You see, having stepped foot in the Blessed Realm of the Valar, Eärendil was not permitted to return to Middle-earth. After aiding the Valar in their War against Morgoth, his fate was to sail his ship Vingilot across the skies until the end of days, bearing the Evening Star upon his brow while also protecting the Sun and the Moon, (the last light of the Two Trees).
In fact, the light from the glass phial which Galadriel gave Frodo at his departure from Lothlórien came from that very same star. When Frodo finally has need of it in Shelob’s Lair, he exclaims: “Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!” (“Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!”).
So there you have it: the intricate story behind a seemingly meaningless tapestry, which at first glance may just look like a simple movie prop, but ends up being so much more. It truly goes to show just how much passion was poured into The Lord of the Rings movies by the filmmakers. If you look hard enough, there’s meaning and symbolism behind everything — even down to the most random piece of fabric.
My wife: Are you finished cleaning the bathrooms like you said you would?
Me: *lying on bathroom floor* Darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell. Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done.