||The LOTR Movie Site
October 4, 2000
In Response to My Fans
I haven't much time, so one by one:
Firstly, for anyone who believes I framed the issue
incorrectly, please note that I was responding to a specific post. Read over that person's
post again and tell me I misinterpreted Doria's wonderful comparison of LOTR to
Armageddon. Unless of course, Doria is being sarcastic (in that case, hats off).
I wasn't aware that Eowyn had been removed. That in itself is a mistake.But I find
Tolkien's writing of her role part of my argument. Tolkien was writing at a time when
feminism was stirring, and I think he was a bit of visionary by supplying this role to
But that doesn't mean that his vision can't be expanded on. One strong and vital female
active role weighs up the rest of the boy's own adventure?
Now we have one strong role that manages to be present throughout the story instead of
appearing in Aragorn's head or at the very end to save the day ( though the assumed
amalgamation is still a problem, I admit).
And hogwash for the "writing in the style of the time his story took place"
line. Tolkien appropriated and "bastardized" earlier myths and stories and
archetypes. If you want a simple retelling of those epic but archaic stories, then read
over them again. We are living in a post-post modernist textual climate. We are now
appropriating Tolkien's appropriation.
But I must admit I live in fear of this potential vapid love story,
1. "Arwen patiently waited at home, doing what she could to encourage Aragorn and
assert her hope in him." Comes across little better than "teary maiden".
It's still enforcing women as behind the scenes players only, working the world through
indirect means such as magic, and thinking and singing or whatever. If I could give an
analogy then it would be "Behind every great man, is a great woman."
2. This is untrue. He attempted to write from a historic mindset, but any textual
analysts can show you just how influenced Tolkien was by contemporary culture and events.
3.To have more than one active woman warrior cheapens their effect? Then all the men in
LOTR are impotent.
Yes those amendments to the stories you give would change things. That is the entire
point. Stop pretending that LOTR ( or any other story) is some sacred and untouchable
text; every person brings their own interpretation to the book. Remember, the author has
been dead for some time ( metaphorically and now that I think of it, literally as well).
If you want to read Tolkien's work in a "pure" form ( though your own
interpretations will colour it) you have your book and you always will. Let the world have
It's indicative of your train of thought that you instantly cry "PC" in
reference to requests for active female roles. From extreme to extreme. The potential love
plot would be against the ideals of many schools of Feminism (understandable).
Who is to say Arwen sat around on her great backside? Almost anyone, since most of the
text was not devoted to her activities.
Having women on the battlefield suggests they are as diverse as men. In the book, men are
both active on battlefield and passive/active behind it, while women take on the
latter completely. So, we have men who employ both traditionally female and male
qualities, while women are simply girls. Your argument does not stand up.
Whilst it is important from a gender equity perspective not to assimilate completely the
role of women into traditional male roles, diversity should be shown. Removing Eowyn
completely is a mistake, but she as a lone warrior is merely a freakish exception -
exceptions existing to help define the rule. Arwen taking on a warrior role (along with
traditionally feminine qualities)is positive in this respect (though this is weakened by
the removal of Eowyn).
And perhaps calming down would help as well.
As for the tale being written today, my belief for why those changes may have taken place
are stated above ( Eowyn- harbinger of change). As for your other points, they've also
been addressed. But remember, being a physically active female character doesn't
automatically mean "macho". To use another contemporary culture icon, think
"Buffy" instead of "Xena".
Did the passive roles of Elrond mean he was a "sissy"?
And to be blunt, I think LOTR needs a talking aardvark. Preferably a female one.