Eowyn: Tolkien’s Strong Female Character

In Tolkien’s books, Eowyn is almost the only female character with a strong role. Arwen, Galadriel, and Rosie Cotton are few who are only briefly mentioned. Eowyn was described as:

“Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Éowyn, Lady of Rohan, and thought her fair, fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood.”

Although Aragorn did not love Eowyn the way he loved Arwen, her beauty still affected him. The way she is described is a symbol similar to the night coming to morning. The sun has not yet come up on her role in the story of life. This part of the story in a way foreshadows the importance of Eowyn as a character entwined in a large story affecting every character.

When reflecting on Eowyn as being the only strong female character in the Lord of the Rings, I started to wonder. I wondered if Eowyn could have been inspired by the women that would sneak into the war at the time that Tolkien fought. Maybe he knew personally a girl that had made a lasting impact on the outcome of his experience. Since I don’t know really anything about Tolkien’s time at war, I will leave that as just a thought.

Eowyn represents how even the most beautiful thing on the world is affected by great evil. It pained her so much that it made her want to be rid of it. She defied all that she had grown up to believe. Just imagine for a moment. Eowyn has grown up royalty. Although she doesn’t have her real father, she has her uncle, who actually becomes far more over protective. Without her own parents, the men in her life feel it their responsibility to watch over her and refuse to see that she has grown up.

In a way, we all have this inside us. We all want more than to simply sit and wait, expecting horrible news, not knowing if our loved ones are safe. When we feel like we have been idling away our time, we feel that we need to do something. Especially when our loved ones are off facing trials and hardships.

Eowyn hardly encounters Gandalf, who we know symbolizes Christ. This could mean that her distance from her savior lead her to a near fatal trial. Or it could mean that she went off to discover Christ for herself. To find out who he is to her and what this battle could mean for her should she choose to fight for good, to fight for the good of all.

In Tolkien’s time, women were still seen as the homemakers and mothers (of know purposeful sexist attempt on Tolkien’s part). Because of this war, Eowyn wasn’t able to become what the world thought she should be. And that started making her wonder what her roles in life really were. Was her only purpose really to be a mother? (which is one of the most important roles a woman can have, seeing as it brings God’s children into this world, don’t get me wrong.) If she never became a mother, what was she to do with her life? She decided that going out into the world to discover herself was better than sitting around waiting for it to come to her.

Eowyn shows independence and choice. We were given freedom to choose as a result of God’s plan for us, that means that we all have that freedom, regardless of gender, race, or anything the world says should determine our rights.

Tolkien’s message strikes harder with having one single, large-role, female character. With there being just one, it draws more attention to it. When thinking of the roles of women in the Lord of the Rings, you would automatically turn to Eowyn, thus leading to this message Tolkien left us.

Disregarding gender for a moment, if Eowyn’s character had been a man, it would have lost all the attention deserved and destroyed the purpose of Eowyn’s character. Trying to show the affects of evil to the most beautiful things of this world would not have worked with a male character, simply because men don’t have the natural characteristic of beauty that women do.

Simply stated, Eowyn is one of the most important charcters in Tolkien’s world. She represents so much in the trials of life. When she finally overcomes the trials in her life, she realizes that she had blocked out the love of others simply because she wasn’t sure what love truly was. She realized that she didn’t love Aragorn with a marriage type of love, simply a love like unto our love for Christ. By finally putting that behind her, she was able to see and feel the love that was right in front of her.

Faramir became her true love, and the only way she could find that love was to overcome the trials of life that were stopping her. It is much like Tolkien’s own story. He didn’t marry his wife until he returned from war. War affects all the characters, just like temptations and sin affect each of us. We just need to learn how to overcome them in order to be happy.

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One thought on “Eowyn: Tolkien’s Strong Female Character

  1. I love this analysis of Eowyn, and your praise of her importance as the only strong, independent female character in Tolkein’s works. If you like, I wrote a post about Tauriel, the made-up warrior elf that Peter Jackson made up to insert a strong female character (like Eowyn) into his hobbit movies. I know a lot of die hard Tolkein fans don’t like her and didn’t watch the movies for fear of them butchering the original story, but if you did watch al the Hobbit movies, you might find it an interesting read. Either way, i look forward to stumbling around some other posts on your blog 🙂 https://lilithinlilies.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/the-promise-of-tauriel-the-hobbit-saga-review/

    Like

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