Thursday, December 11, 2014

Heroic Women of Speculative Fiction #8: Eowyn of the Lord of the Rings novels & films

Eowyn of the Lord of the Rings novels & films
This week's wonderful heroine in my series covers both literature and film.  In the novels, she was barely touched on until needed, but sill left a solid mark.  In the films that Peter Jackson so brilliantly directed, he gave Eowyn the just attention she deserved.    I mean, really, this woman faced down the Witch-king of Angmar, Lord of the Nazgul!  She destroyed the Witch-king, nearly at the cost of her own life.  
Never under estimate a woman. 
Eowyn, a most females in heroic fantasy of old, chafed against her role as woman.  She was a warrior at heart and did not need coddling.  A shieldmaiden longing to follow her call into battle.  She feared the prison of her sex, for it kept people from seeing what she really was.  She  was more than a Princess.  More than a niece to King Theoden.  She was a woman who longed to become something special.   It was her destiny.
Eowyn became special, as her deed was part of the prophesy to destroy the Witch-king.  No one, no one at all, suspected she would be the one to do it.  She did this at a great cost.  She dressed as a man and went into battle in secret, as many a warrior maiden has been forced to do in the past.  She faced the battle that was her destiny-the Witch-king of Angmar.  It nearly killed her, yet she faced it with bravery and grit.  Eowyn destroyed the Witch-king, and suffered terrible injuries from it.  
None of her male characters recognized her gifts or seriously considered her desires, despite her shieldmaiden status.  Along with being generally disregarded, she endured a lot of grief too-including the attentions of the grimy Wormtongue when she tried to protect her uncle the king. You know she kept things running as best she could for the greater good.
After Eowyn's victory, Tolkien magically transformed Eowyn with his mighty pen after her heroic battle with the Witch-king into a simple princess again, content to heal and be peaceful.  She was given a noble husband and sent off to domesticity.  No longer seeking the glory of battle, Eowyn was content to remain in the background now.  That irked me.  She fulfilled a great prophesy-yet no one seemed to acknowledge it.  I am sure Tolkien made knit something too.
I acknowledge Eowyn-a great hero of a legendary fantasy saga.  Double acknowledgement to Miranda Otto for playing her so beautifully in the film versions.  She was the perfect choice.   
More next week.  Until then-read more fantasy!
Verna McKinnon 

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