Thanks for playing.
I can’t not comment (double negative, don’t tell me, I don’t not know it).
Both for Lewis and Tolkein, the more significant and substantive relationships were those of friends. For example, one only discovers the romance between Arwen and Aragorn after reading the Appendix. Because of the insertion of this romance into the narrative, Jackson had to manipulate the story to send Arwen across the sea in order to make the romantic tension between Aragorn and Eowyn plausible. Not that the romance does not have its place, but in the books, it’s not central. Where Peter Jackson’s screen play goes wrong is in failure to recognize the importance of the deep, non-romantic relationships which emerge between commoner and nobility, immortal and mortal, master and servant, etc…. Tolkein wasn’t putting forth a universalist tolerance between the races, rather he was showing us the joy and blessing of what Lewis expounds as philia or “friendship.”
As an aside, I am still incredulous about the insertion of the petulant adolescent (and may I add thousand year old) Arwen and her grumpy, overbearing father, Elrond. The romance between Arwen and Aragorn is cast as some teenage, forbidden love which, sadly to say, cheapens and deminishes the depth and honor of their love. Blast it all! Why not leave well enough alone. Instead, we have movie footage devoted to the angst of wistful, adolescent love — did I mention Aragorn is over a hundred years old by this time too?
This brings me to my next rant. To create the romance between Susan and Caspian is ridiculous. To actually have the two kiss, despicable. (Okay, maybe overstated). However, this sort of manipulation of the narrative does not redress the deficiencies of a compelling story-line rather it exposes the predilections of an over-sexualized society. A great part of what is compelling about these stories is that there isn’t the romantic angst of teens in sexual tension. Rather, because of it’s absence we are left to ask where is it, and subsequently, why must it be there? What affections replace romantic love in these stories? In so doing, we better hear Lewis’ and Tolkein’s critique of our age. And what we hear I believe, is that our age is one bereft of honor, fealty, courage, friendship, and self-sacrifice.