Looking for Women Warriors

Great blog post by Meg Clothier on heroines in fiction in The Guardian.

Click here to read it in full, but here’s my money quote:

…the most egregious example comes in Lord of the Rings (bear with me). In the climactic pages, when every man on the battlefield flees before the Lord of Nazgûl, Éowyn (her identity hidden behind her armour) stands her ground and kills him, saving the day. But does she get the man she loves? The man she’s fighting for? Does she, hell. He – Aragorn – falls instead for a wispy, floaty elf called Arwen whose entire contribution to the war effort was sewing a banner.

Éowyn was always my favorite character in The Lord of the Rings. My freshman English teacher, Mr. Winklebleck (really) gave me the books to read and I loved them from the first word, the near-Shakespearean style, the wonderful characters, the epic story. I reread them every few years, and I’ve even been known to read parts of them out loud, all by myself, just to listen to Tolkien’s language. That scene where Éowyn and Merry take down the Nazgûl King? It’s still my favorite, and it always irritated me that she got pawned off on Faramir, and for that matter, that Faramir got stuck with a woman who would always see him as second-best.

4 thoughts on “Looking for Women Warriors

  1. Erin says:

    Yeah, but we already knew (from book one!) that Aragorn was going to end up with Arwen. It would have been kind of an eyebrow-raiser if Aragorn had randomly changed his feelings just because Eowyn is kick-ass. I got the feeling that Tolkein wanted at least a pseudo happy ending for Eowyn…except most of the known men were kind of dead by the end of the battle.

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  2. Might have been a happier ending for Arwen if she’d gone west with Elrond. Instead she is bitter when Aragorn choses to shuffle off his mortal coil, and dies alone in Lothlorien. And it would have been cool to see Aragorn at least tempted by Eowyn.

    I also find it annoying that Eowyn, indisputably the bravest and most capable soldier in the battle of Minas Tirith, has to lay aside her armor to marry. Of course Tolkien was a product of his time as is any writer, but it would have been a fairer partnership if Eowyn had not only married Faramir but joined with him in his life’s work of cleansing Ithilien of Sauron’s forces.

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