||The LOTR Movie Site
February 12, 2001
On Eowyn's Sufficiency
Here's a question that's run throughout my mind during the
whole Arwen debate: "If you want an active woman, why isn't Eowyn enough?" At
first glance, she seems to fulfill all of the important mantras that the Pro-change
faction has been chanting. She's a warrior, in love with Aragorn, gets a decent showing,
and does some important things, finally living happily ever after. Maybe this has already
occurred to everyone else, but I think there are fundamental, philosophical reasons why
the PC crowd ignores her.
On the practical side first. Most people who want to expand Arwen's character want a
showcase that can appear in all three films, who is also more directly attached to
Aragorn. This sheds more light on Aragorn's character (the
"no-appendix-to-a-movie" argument has significant merit), and allows her to be
almost constantly present, whether to make a point or to make money. Yet, stickiest part
runs deeper than that, and may even be subconscious.
The character of Eowyn, in her actions, attitudes, and ending, conveys a message that is
actually hostile to the modern attempt to erase traditional gender differences. Yes, she's
a warrior, doing everything the men do, often better, but as a result, she is so unhappy
as to be suicidal. Her rage may drive her onward to greater deeds, such as slaying the
king of the Nazgul, but it never ultimately fulfilling. Instead, Eowyn is released from
this hellish existence only by renouncing her tomboyish life and embracing traditional
womanly roles as a healer and wife.
In short, they overlook Eowyn and lock onto Arwen mainly because even though there may not
be much on her, at least she does not meet the fate of the lady of Rohan. They can easily
work their ideas into Arwen's role by expanding on, rather than revising, her portrayal in
the text. If we howl over what they've done so far, imagine what would be said if they had
arbitrarily thrown out all that Tolkien had said about Eowyn in order to recreate her in
their own image.
As such, we should not be surprised that as we see Arwen grow, we also see Eowyn diminish.
Wholistically, she is a reproach to the new Arwen, actually demonstrating a premise
diametrically opposed to what New Line wants to communicate. Therefore, Arwen usurps those
aspects of Eowyn's character that they agree with, while ignoring the ones that trouble
them. She is then passed over with but a cursory glance. Anything more would be