Chances are, you’ve heard of “Stairway to Heaven.” Have you heard the theory that the song is about Aragorn and Arwen though? I know, this seems like a stretch, but it doesn’t sound so silly if you know that Led Zeppelin has several songs that reference Tolkien’s works. Their 1969 song “Ramble On” chronicles the journey of the narrator in Middle Earth and his encounters with Gollum and Sauron. So, how does “Stairway to Heaven” fit into this?
Let’s look at the lyrics, starting with the opening line. “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven”.
The phrase “all that is gold does not glitter” is used by Tolkien to describe Aragorn in the poem “The Riddle of Strider”.
We know that Arwen loves Aragorn, who is the ‘gold’ in this line. He doesn’t ‘glitter’ (like the elves), but his heart is made of gold, which captures her own heart.
What is the stairway that Arwen buys? Death. Arwen is the first elf to die a mortal death. She trades her immortality to remain in Middle Earth with Aragorn until they both die.
After The Lord of the Rings took place, the elves departed Middle Earth for Valinor (The Undying Lands). Arwen stays behind, but her pain can be seen through the lyrics “There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving”.
The lines, “There walks a lady we all know, who shines white light and wants to show” needs no explanation, as Arwen is the Queen of Gondor and known to all.
Next time you listen to “Stairway to Heaven”, picture the story of Aragorn and Arwen. If you are feeling up to it, check other Led Zeppelin songs like “Misty Mountain Hop” and “The Battle of Evermore”.