Team Motherfucking EOWYN

Bitch, I will cut you.

I watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs disturbingly often. I know them inside out, forward and backward, and I love the soundtrack, so whenever I’m doing something but want some background noise, I often throw it on.

Every time Eowyn is on the screen, I pretty much drop what I’m doing to pay attention and get a little choked up. I am not exaggerating that I get tears in my eyes when she declares to Aragorn that what she fears is a cage, or when she grabs Merry and pulls him into the saddle to ride to battle with her, and definitely when she rips off her helm and declares, “I am no man!” I don’t suppose anyone who reads here knows me well enough to know that basically nothing (excepting several bottles of wine) makes me cry. The fact that I feel emotion over this is big.

Eowyn… She is my character. She is who I rally behind, when LOTR, while brilliant, is a giant sausage fest. Who else do we have? Arwen? Oh please. I want to gag every time she comes on the screen. And then there’s what’s-her-face that Sam has a crush on but can’t talk to. Ah, superb, another “female as reason to fight” trope, and might I add that I don’t think she actually SPEAKS in the entire trilogy?

LOTR was written by a stodgy white dude long ago. I don’t begrudge it anything because it is AMAZING, and I love it. I’m not here to whine about the lack of ladies in LOTR, because I don’t care. (And in the films, Legolas and Aragorn look like ladies at the end anyways, cause it turns out that they are only manly when they don’t shower. So, whatevs.)

What really touches me is the humanity at the end of the story. There’s a moment in the film when the four hobbits are sitting around a table in the pub, holding their beers in complete silence, just looking down, while the world goes on around them. Beautifully done. And Frodo, Frodo can’t move past that table. He’s forever broken by what he experienced in the war; in leaving with the Elves, he is metaphorically killing himself.

In college, I read The Things They Carried, another instance of me crying. (It was awkward. I was sitting out on the grass of the university lawn by the pond, and crying like a baby. I think I scared some tours.) Frodo, and to a lesser extent the other hobbits, were all suffering from PTSD from the war. They were not the same, and Frodo would never readjust, so much so that he chose to leave his life.

I believe that Eowyn should have had a similar experience. She not only went to war and nearly died, but she was so determined to do so that she had to do it covertly. She triumphed greatly, but she also lost a lot. She saw and experienced deeply powerful things.

I am dissatisfied with the fact that she returns to “normal” life only to go, “Oh sure, I’ll just settle down and be all happy-sauce with Feramir! Yay, babies nao!”

NO. Eowyn has defied gender norms, defied her society, defied her family, and both won and lost greatly. I cannot see her, afraid of cages, settling down and going, “Well, I got my dose of valor. Time to be a homebody!” No. She CANNOT just settle down and be fine with that. She’s experienced too much. She’ll either wise up and run off before that happens, or she’ll find herself going stir crazy and eventually, like Frodo, “opting out” of her life.

And just like that, I have solved the conundrum of what will happen to my heroine in the sci-fi novel I’ve been working on for so long.

Dead white guys: sure, they’re often overrated, but on the other hand, they also gave us LOTR!

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06/17/2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. the clever almanac replied:

    I also love Eowyn, and never understood (despite scouring for bits in the books) the allure of Arwen. Arwen was boring, spineless, and really, the perfect example of the male gaze. Why make her interesting, when she is merely the prize at the end of a race? Prizes only need to be shiny.

    I also agree that Eowyn’s ending left a lot to be desired, because I really expected her become Queen of Rohan. Eomer was cool, but I had high hopes for Eowyn, and expected her to have greater influence at the end. No luck.

    Of course, another great female character is Galadriel. The scene where she feels the pull of the ring is pretty awesome. I wish she played a greater role in the trilogy, rather than Gandalf, who I find extremely irritating.

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