The LOTR Movie Site
February 16, 2001

Eowyn's Sufficiency -- Response to Brian M.
Norah M.

Thanks for a brilliant analysis of the EoAr decisions that seem to have been made in the film, and what's been bothering me about the whole thing, i.e. "...why isn't Eowyn enough?" Up to now, I've been thinking it's just business - Liv Tyler is a new, young, potentially 'hot' star, let's just give her more to do. And Arwen gets the guy, after all.

Brian's essay really answered it for me -- modern writers are uncomfortable with the old female fairy stories of what it means to grow up. To a new generation, it is important that what women learn is to actively take charge of their fates in the same way as men do. Makes sense now, since as individuals we all lead the same sorts of daily lives. But fairy tales are about something more ancient and deep. "..By dipping (our experiences) in myth, we see them more clearly". In the book, Arwen is the symbol of woman as a great prize, and her suffering is precisely that she cannot take part in controlling events, she can only just wait until her guy proves he is worthy of her. Pretty hard to write much in a story or a script around that. I think it will be fine to have Arwen delivering hand-embroidered banners, and tossing out Elvish spells at the Ford of Bruinen. No harm to the story in that. But you are right - when she dons a helmet, it will be at the expense of Eowyn.

Tolkien is always accused of being uncomfortable with female characters, but I loved his Eowyn. I thought he masterfully fused the classic Warrior Maid fairy story in which the heroine must ultimately take off her armor and accept her destiny as a woman, with his sympathetic and understanding treatment of a young woman's heartbreaking crush on a 'star' of her warrior world, whose love she can never win. Her desperation nearly costs her life, but she does incredible deeds, and when she finally grows up and chooses life, womanhood and Faramir, she gets more than just an apron - you can bet our E will be a wise partner as he rules!

I wondered about the choice of Miranda Otto as Eowyn. (Rent "What Lies Beneath" - a movie with not much to recommend it except 5 minutes of Miranda Otto to see). She is a nice looking blond actress, in her 30's. I picture Eowyn as a tall 18 year old Lee Lee Sobieski sort. But Jackson probably made a wise decision, since only an experienced actress can bring out the bravery, sorrow,conflicting emotions, and resolution to this character, who will only be on the screen for a short time, alas.