Arwen is connected to the night, an association that appears several times in the Lord of the Rings:

she was called Undómiel, for she was the Evenstar of her people. (LotR II, Many Meetings)


"Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all fear pass away." (Frodo at Aragorn and Arwen's wedding, LotR VI, The Steward and the King)


"You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning." (Gimli to Éomer, comparing Arwen and Galadriel, LotR VI, Many Partings)

I'm not sure I fully understand this association: Why is Arwen "the evening"? What's the meaning of this motif?

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    I think, besides the color of their hair, this has to do with the fact that Arwen is the Elven image of beauty at the fading of their people. Also, her beauty will fade forever because spoiler she dies. Apr 4, 2018 at 22:59
  • Related.
    – isanae
    Apr 5, 2018 at 4:57

3 Answers 3


Arwen was the Evenstar of her people, the last great light of the race of Elves

So it was that 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 - Book II, Chapter 1: Many Meetings

The tale of Arwen parallels that of Lúthien, in fact, Arwen was considered as beautiful as her foremother, who was considered the most beautiful elf of all times. The likeness of the two is noted by Aragorn, in the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen1

and his daughter Arwen Undómiel, who resembles Lúthien closely in looks and fate...
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - Letter 141, To Naomi Mitchison

Arwen is not a 're-incarnation' of Lúthien (that in the view of this mythical history would be impossible, since Lúthien has died like a mortal and left the world of time) but a descendant very like her in looks, character, and fate.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - Letter 153, To Peter Hastings

for Lúthien was the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar.
The Silmarillion - Chapter 19: Of Beren and Luthien

The name Undomiel was given to Arwen to reflect her beauty during the time of the waning of the Elves in the Age. Arwen was a reflection of the ancient glory of the race of Elves in the Years of the Trees and the First Age at a time when the Firstborn had begun to fade, and the time of Men had begun. Arwen was part of the sixth, and final, union of the Children of Ilúvatar (after Luthien & Beren, Idril & Tuor, Nimloth & Dior, Elwing & Eärendil and Mithrellas and Imrazór). In plighting her troth with Aragorn, Arwen renews the long forgotten alliance between the two races of the Children. Their betrothal represents the passing of the torch, from the Firstborn who had ruled Middle-earth for millennia to the Second-born, who's time was rising. Furthermore, Arwen, alone of the High Elves remains in Middle-earth.

"But first I will plead this excuse," said Éomer. "Had I seen her in other company, I would have said all that you could wish. But now I will put Queen Arwen Evenstar first, and I am ready to do battle on my own part with any who deny me. Shall I call for my sword?"

Then Gimli bowed low. "Nay, you are excused for my part, lord," he said. "You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that soon it will pass away for ever."
The Return of the King: Book VI, Chapter 6: Many Partings

The Evenstar remains in Middle-earth for a time after the beginning of the Age of Men, however the Morning (Galadriel, the last memory of a long forgotten age) passes away forever over the Sea. This again reflects Arwen's fate as the last shining light for the Firstborn in a world of Men.

1 For Aragorn had been singing a part of the Lay of Lúthien which tells of the meeting of Lúthien and Beren in the forest of Neldoreth. And behold! there Lúthien walked before his eyes in Rivendell, clad in a mantle of silver and blue, fair as the twilight in Elven-home; her dark hair strayed in a sudden wind, and her brows were bound with gems like stars.
For a moment Aragorn gazed in silence, but fearing that she would pass away and never be seen again, he called to her crying, Tinúviel, Tinúviel! even as Beren had done in the Elder Days long ago.
Then the maiden turned to him and smiled, and she said: “Who are you? And why do you call me by that name?”
And he answered: “Because I believed you to be indeed Lúthien Tinúviel, of whom I was singing. But if you are not she, then you walk in her likeness.”
“So many have said,” she answered gravely. “Yet her name is not mine. Though maybe my doom will be not unlike hers.
But who are you?”
The Return of the King: Book VII, Appendix A, Part V: Here follows a part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

  • 5
    This answer covers so much, and must have taken a lot of time to write. +1 for the dedication and the knowledge that this answer comes with. Apr 5, 2018 at 15:43
  • 1
    I love how much thought went into everything in LoTR. It's awesome to read how painstakingly created the universe there is.
    – enderland
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:21
  • This is well-researched, but it's not actually an answer to the question of why Arwen is associated with the evening. To find out why, read Blackwood's answer. Also, to nitpick, the footnote proves nothing about the likeness between the two ladies, as Lúthien died many centuries before Aragorn was a twinkle in his father's eye. It does show that Aragorn had a lively fantasy ... and a good pick-up line. Apr 6, 2018 at 13:15
  • 2
    @ElisevanLooij I have referenced a few times in my answer that she is "the evening" because she is the beacon of light during the waning light of the Eldar.
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 6, 2018 at 14:43

She is mainly being compared to the evening star

Arwen is being compared to the evening star rather than the evening. Similarly, Galadriel is compared to the morning star.

Remember that stars are important symbols to the Elves (they were the only lights in the sky when the first Elves awoke). Comparing these two powerful and beautiful Elves to stars is a well deserved compliment.

Galadriel is associated with the morning star because she is one of the earliest elves and so is associated with the "morning" of Middle-earth for the elves. Arwen will remain in Middle-earth after most of the high elves have left it and during the twilight of the elves in Middle-earth.

It is also significant that, in our world, the evening star (the star that appears early in the evening, and the morning star (the star the remains after dawn) are actually both the planet Venus. As Arwen is Galadriel's granddaughter, it is appropriate that they should be associated with the same heavenly body.

It is also significant that in Arwen's world, the evening star is the light of the Silmaril that is carried through the heavens by Arwen's grandfather Eärendil. This is explained after Frodo has looked in the Mirror of Galadriel (this is the moment when Frodo realises that Galadriel wears one of the Elven Rings).

She lifted up her white arms, and spread out her hands towards the East in a gesture of rejection and denial. Eärendil, the Evening Star, most beloved of the Elves, shone clear above. So bright was it that the figure of the Elven-lady cast a dim shadow on the ground. Its rays glanced upon a ring about her finger; it glittered like polished gold overlaid with silver light, and a white stone in it twinkled as if the Even-star had come down to rest upon her hand. Frodo gazed at the ring with awe; for suddenly it seemed to him that he understood.

The Lord of the Rings Book Two, Chapter 7: The Mirror of Galadriel
Page 365 (Single volume 50th Anniversary Edition)


The time of the Elves is ending (Galadriel on the other hand is being compared to the morning there possibly for her blond hair but also she was one of the oldest elves left in Middle-Earth, a third generation elf born in Valinor). Arwen was a sort of rebirth of ancient elven beauty in their final days. She was said to resemble Luthien a first age elf similarly renowned for her beauty (and who also married a human man and became mortal).

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