Since Aragorn is one of the Dunedain, he can live until around 240, I think. If Arwen is giving up her immortality for him, how could she live until she was around 210?

If I'm not mistaken, Aragorn died when he was 210. What was Arwen planning to do giving up her Evenstar so she could live a mortal life? How would she have been able to live until she was 210 if she was mortal? Didn't she live until she was 2900 years old anyway?

  • 7
    But she died. That's definitely mortal no matter how long lived. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 22:18
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    This was a case of "It's the principle of the thing being done". She gave up her immortality, the power to live FOREVER and because of her love of this Man she would ONLY live 2900 years instead. This is a sacrifice for her because it meant she would eventually DIE. Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 23:21
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    The key fact that I think you're missing is that Arwen was around 2777 years old when she married Aragorn.
    – Martha
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 23:49
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    Can we say then that Arwen is the finest (and most extreme) example of "cougar" in literature? Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 3:12
  • @MatemáticosChibchas Yes. Yes, we can. Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 12:39

4 Answers 4


Aragorn was not merely a Dunedain, he was the direct descendent of Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first King of Númenor — and Arwen's uncle.

Elros and his brother Elrond were the children of Eärendil and Elwing, making them Half-elven. At the end of the First Age, when they were 58 year old. Elrond and Elros were offered a choice by the Valar ... would they be elves or men?

Elros chose to be a man, and was appointed first king of Númenor. In exchange for choosing to die, he was granted a lifespan of 500 years, dying in 442 SA. While all Númenoreans were granted a an extended lifespan, the line of Elros was greater again.

To the Númenoreans long life had been granted, and they remained unwearied for thrice the span of mortal Men in Middle-earth; but to Eärendil's son the longest life of any man was given, and to his descendants a lesser span, and yet one greater than to others even of the Númenoreans; and so it was until the coming of the Shadow when the years of the Númenoreans began to wane.

--- The Line of Elros (Unfinished Tales)

The earliest Kings of Númenor lived roughly 400 years, but as time went by the lifespans grew shorter, something which accelerated as the Kings of Númenor fell under the sway of Sauron. By the time the Dunédain returned to Middle-earth, The Kings of Arnor (who didn't die in battle) were averaging lifespans around the 220-250 year mark.

Elrond however, chose to be an Elf and would therefore continue to live for as long as the world endured. Throughout the Second Age, he was one of the chief captains of Gil-Galad, High King of the Noldor. He had three children, Elladan and Elrohir were born in 130 TA, while Arwen was born in the year 241 — only 40 years before Tarcil, Isildur's great-great-grandson. These three children were also given the choice of which species they would belong to. The fates of Elladan and Elrohir are not mentioned in the story, but Arwen chose to wed Aragorn and became mortal.

When the Valar granted to the Dunédain an extended lifetime, they also gave to the Dunédain the ability to choose the exact timing of their death — although they did not always make this choice and would hang on until the end as would other men. This tradition was restored in Gondor, and was referred to in Aragorn's coronation:

The loremasters tell me that it was the custom of old that the king should receive the crown from his father ere he died

--- The Steward and the King (The Return of the King, Chapter 15)

When, after 120 years on the throne and at the ripe of age of 210, Aragorn decided that his own time had come, he returned to the tradition of passing on the throne and then passing away. Arwen pleaded with Aragorn to remain for a while longer, but to no avail. Aragorn had decided that his time had come, and it was time for him to move beyond the world.

"I am the last of the Númenoreans and the latest King of the Elder Days; and to me has been given not only a span thrice that of Men of Middleearth, but also the grace to go at my will and give back the gift. Now, therefore, I will sleep."

--- The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Part V)

The death of Aragorn had a profound effect on Arwen, and she soon left Gondor, travelling to Lorien, where she remained until winter came.

The light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion and her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lorien and dwelt there ... at last when the Mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave

--- The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Part V)

In some ways Arwen's lifespan had became tethered to Aragorn, in that the world became so much duller and lifeless to her after his passing, but that didn't directly affect her physical health and she likely could have continued to exist for some years after Aragorn died.

Elves and Men in Lord of the Rings both inhabit bodies that can be destroyed — although Elves do not have "old age" as we know it. Immortality in this universe refers to what happens when a body is destroyed. Men's spirits move beyond the world to an unknown location, but the elves are chained to Eä for as long as the universe endures.

Elrond grew weary at last and forsook Middle-earth, never to return. But Arwen became as a mortal woman, and yet it was not her lot to die until all that she had gained was lost.

--- The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Part V)

TL;DR — Arwen's choice of mortality didn't affect her body so much as it affected her soul when that body died.

  • 6
    Holy crap, this is one of the best first posts I've ever seen.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 7:50
  • 2
    @WadCheber - and like your own other posts too, is it not. I like it myself. +1 Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 3:26
  • Amazing first post, but one part seems debatable. Following the last quote, 'it was not her lot to die until all that she gained was lost': Basically what that meant was since she chose not to go with Elrond when he left, her fate switched from being tied to Elrond to being tied to Aragorn. Previously, her mortality depended on when Elrond would leave. If she went also, she stayed immortal, if not, she died in Middle Earth. But since she chose Aragorn, then that became her deciding factor. She was technically mortal, but she was not to die until he did.
    – ASH-Aisyah
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 6:31

Aragorn was born in TA 2931. When he ascended to the throne and married Arwen in TA 3019, he was 88 years old. Aragorn would die in Fourth Age (FA) 120, at the age of 210 (As the timeline notes, the Fourth Age began in March of 3021). Arwen would die one year later in FA 121, at the age of 2,901. We know that the Dúnedain can live approximately 3 times the lifespan of an average man, so about 210-240 years. So Aragorn was well within his 'expected' lifespan.

Arwen was born an elf, in Third Age (TA) 241. She married Aragorn, thus choosing her mortal life, in TA 3019, at the age of 2,777. Arwen was half-elven - that's why she was allowed to choose her fate. We don't know much about most other Half-elven that chose to become mortal, but we do know that Elros, Elrond's brother and a distant ancestor of Aragorn, lived to be 500 years old, so living 124 years as a mortal does not seem to be a particularly long time. Indeed, it is clear that Arwen died of a 'broken heart', so it is conceivable she could have lived longer as a mortal. As she died, she unquestionably did turn mortal, she just had the benefit of living a long time before she made her choice. The whole evenstar plot point was something added for the movies. It does not actually have bearing on her mortality in the novels.


Upon marriage with Aragorn, Arwen had already "aged" 43 years and thus became the equivalent of a Númenörean who had "aged" that same amount (i.e. an 81-year-old Númenörean). She thus had another 153 years left of her 234 years left.

Elves grow one year every three years for 72 years, or until they turned 24. They then grew one additional year every 144 years for the next 13,824 years, or until they turned 120. After that they began to fade. But elves also matured faster than Men, by a rate of 4:3, so an Elf who was 24 (i.e. 72 years) would be the equivalent of a mortal 18-year-old

Númenöreans grow one year every year for 24 years, followed by one additional year every three years for the next 186 years, when they would be 86, and then they would decline for another 24 years until death, living a total of 234 sun years.

When Arwen marries Aragorn she was thus 43 "Elvish years" old (24 * 3 + 19 * 144), despite having been alive for 2,778 years. This was then converted to the equivalent of a Númenörean who was 43 "Númenörean years" old (24 * 1 + 19 * 3), who would have lived off 81 of their allotted 234 years and thus have another 153 sun years left.

When Arwen chooses to resign her life 123 years later (having technically lived 2,800 sun years), she was the equivalent of a Númenórean who had lived 204 years, or a regular human who had lived 84 years, and she would have had another 30 years left.

The case of Arwen. Taking her birth as TA 241, she will then be “full-grown” in TA 313 (241 + 72). In 2951, when she first meets Aragorn, she will be (in Elven Growth- and Life-years) 24 + 18⅓ (nearly); (2,951–313)/144 = 42⅓ = mortal equivalent 31¾. Aragorn was only 20.
In 3019, when they were married, she would have aged very little and would be nearly Elvish 43 (24 + 3,019–313) = mortal equivalent 32–3. But Aragorn would have lived 88 years and 4 months. His “age” would however be about “45”.
At marriage Arwen became “mortal”: she would then join her husband’s scale of “expectation of life”. ☞ This would not alter her “age” of 43 = approximate mortal equivalent 32–3. But for the purpose of reckoning her expectation of life (as a mortal), she would count as having lived 81 years (24 + (19 × 3)), and her further “permitted life” would be about 153 years (to total 234). She might have lived on to about Fourth Age 151. Aragorn as 88 at wedding would have a permitted life of 146 more years and could have lived to about 4A 144. When Aragorn “resigned life” in 4A 120 he thus resigned 24 years of life. He had lived 210 years and was already within his “decline”. Arwen was reckoned as 203 years at that time and also in the beginning of her decline. Aragorn resigned on the day of his birth, March 1, 4A 120. Arwen apparently “resigned” life and died on Cerin Amroth on March 1 in the following year, at Númenórean age 204 (mortal equivalent = 84). So she was now and felt. (Had she remained Elvish she would have been only 3,020 – 241 + 1 + 120 = 2,800 Sun-years old, giving an Elvish age of 24 + (2,800–72)/144 = almost exactly 43 (mortal equivalent about 33).
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Elvish Ages & Númenórean"


so in a way Arwen was immortal but she chose a mortal life, meaning it wouldn't affect her age, but she chose to live with man rather then Elves because of her love for Aragon, yet I think there is a passage in one of the books, perhaps not the main books but a what happened to characters book, I forgotten the name sorry, but I distinctly remember it saying that Arwen forever wonders the World for she wouldn't be able to go back to her life with the Elves, if that's true that's pretty sad.

  • When Arwen chooses mortality she takes the fate of Men and dies a few years after Aragorn.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:30
  • I do remember a line that says she forever wanders, but I think it refered to the years she wandered after Aragorn died. Her final resting place and where she died was in Galadriel's realm. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 9:48

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