The LOTR Movie Site
February 19, 2001

Re: Wormtongue's Whispers
Brian M.

Concerning the reason for Eowyn's depression, methinks that you have hit on a thing that no doubt contributed to it. Yet, in emphasizing it as the primary reason for her gloom, I think you've pushed your evidence too far; it is not sufficient to explain her actions.

If it was all attributable to Grima, then why did she not cheer up after the battle was won? News reached her of the victory, and yet she was still just as sad as before. The shadow had passed and yet brought no change. Neither can it all be blamed on Aragorn, a relatively new influence upon her (which I will deal with more explicitly in a moment). The simple reason for this is that her real problems ran deeper. It was Eowyn's entire worldview, trying to be something she was not, that made her hate life.

Tolkien plainly demonstrated that her decision to adopt more traditional gender roles was the key to her happiness:

"Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed and the sun shone on her. 'I stand on Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,' she said; 'and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.' And again she looked at Faramir. 'No longer do I desire to be a queen,' she said."

She loved Aragorn because she thought she saw in him the living embodiment of her martial desires. Faramir pointed this out. When she renounced her wish to be Aragorn's queen, she renounced her entire life up to that point. She realized what she really had wanted all her life and embraced it when she chose to wed Faramir.

Also, though Tolkien's work displays very strong women, such as Galadriel, Eowyn is the only one who feels the need to display that strength by emulating a man. I'd argue he wanted to demonstrate that women can be powerful as themselves, not as wanna-be men. If the modern world wants to read the Lord of the Rings, I'm afraid that's one of many things they'll have to deal with.

In short, I think most complaints against this thought are simply knee-jerk reactions to the idea that (Shock!) someone might not agree with the ingrained feminist ideals to which most of us are routinely exposed. It's the same one that people use when they look down on people who think that women should not be in front line combat situations (or the Southern Baptists). It may be that the PC crowd wants everyone to think its bad form to say it, but its there anyway.