March 6th, 2004
After seeing Return of the King like any other LotR fan, and re-reading Martin the Warrior, I began to notice definite similarities between the romance between Aragorn and Arwen and Martin and Rose. At a glance, these two stories seem only similar on a basic level; they are deep and one of the most well-known romances in their books. Many fanfics embellish on them and they are given a lot of attention. But there are deeper similarities.
Aragorn and Martin
Both are among the strongest and most well-known fighters. They are able to wield multiple weapons, but prefer the sword. Aragorn eventually carries the sword of the king and Martin carries the sword of his ancestors. These weapons are both famous and were at one point broken in a confrontation with a major enemy and reforged later, playing a crucial role in the victory of the story. Only does Martin truly step up to take his position of leading the final battle against Tarsmina, and Aragorn assume his inheritance as king, when they are given their new swords. We know that Martin's sword remained precious to the Abbey and was passed down through the generations and we can safely assume that Aragorn's sword remained a heirloom of his line.Arwen and Rose
Both grew up in a place of peace, living in powerful families; Rose being daughter of the chief of Noonvale and Arwen as an elven princess. They are loved by their people; Rose being the Laterose of Noonvale and Arwen being the Evenstar of her people. It is not until later in their lives when they meet Aragorn/Martin.The Stories
In Martin the Warrior, it was said that when Martin first saw Rose face-to-face, he was dazzled by her beauty. We can assume that he was more concerned with staying alive while tied between the posts in the storm. In LotR, the same thing occurred with Aragorn, although they met in a less perilous situation. Throughout the story, Arwen and Rose support Martin and Aragorn in their quest, although Rose was forced to take a more active role by circumstance. With Arwen, it was obvious and inevitable that a terrible choice would have to be made by her, being an elf, while it was more subtle but hinted, nevertheless, in Martin the Warrior. In the end, Arwen gives up her immortality to be with Aragorn while Rose gives up her life to follow Martin.
Aragorn had strong ties with Elrond, being distantly related and being raised by Elrond as a son. However, Martin had never seen Noonvale or met Rose's family prior to the time in Martin the Warrior. While Aragorn's marriage to Arwen (which could be looked at as when Arwen's fate was sealed) marked the end of his quest, Rose's death for Martin only marked the beginning of his main quest. Finally, Arwen's sacrifice was less tragic than Rose, who actually died not having a chance to marry Martin, while Arwen lived long after her marriage to Aragorn. Despite these differences, they are still outweighed by the greater similarity.
In conclusion, we see two different pairs of characters in different stories in a very similar situation. Their stories are ones of love, beauty, and bittersweetness. Is it a coincidence that they are both so well-known? I'll leave that up to you.