by Varda

It says a lot for screen Aragorn that he jilts one girl and tries to jilt a second, but still retains our sympathy.

It is almost impossible for him not to look a heel as he gives Éowyn her marching orders. He is of course doing The Right Thing but it does look awfully cruel. One can understand, watching this scene, why women often prefer rogues who lie to sterling heroes who tell the plain unvarnished truth. Perhaps the rogues have more compassion.

Aragorn couches his brush-off in language designed to appeal to Éowyn's common sense; 'I can't give you what you want', so she should stop wasting her time and chase someone more eligible. No wonder that did not work. It is some consolation that Éowyn manages to stay on her feet, in the book she falls to her knees to beg Aragorn to stay. Film Éowyn sees the cause is lost and remains upright.

The following scene with her uncle is interesting. He obviously knows what has happened and has a smile of sympathy on his face, but also seems a bit amused, as if he knows that being jilted is a worse disaster to the young. Telling Éowyn that she can rule in his place is obviously supposed to be a great honour and he is a bit taken aback when she is underwhelmed by it all. He realises then that his niece is really hurting and takes her hands in his and talks to her with genuine love and empathy.

Aragorn's attempt to jilt Arwen does not go so well for him, as Arwen is made of sterner stuff and he is only doing it because Elrond has put pressure on him. I think Arwen spots this straight off. But Aragorn uses words that are poignant, and so quite hurtful;
'It was a dream, Arwen'

This harks back to their meeting in The Two Towers where she wakes him from his dream. Now he is saying that their love is no more than a dream. Arwen is horrified, but regains her dignity and when he tries to give back the Evenstar she refuses it;
'It was a gift; keep it'

Arwen, in fact, simply ignores Aragorn's attempt at a brush-off and continues to love him and hope for a future for them together. In the film she exerts her powers to save him from the river. When her father forces her to leave, she comes back. When he tries to refuse to reforge the sword she begins to relinquish her life as Elves can do. All this without any real return from Aragorn, who is busy bashing orcs. This is no woman to be jilted.