Eowyn or Arwen?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by pointy-eared, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. Kiwi

    Kiwi Registered User

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    Question? Re Eowyn & Aragorn

    That fateful meeting in the book where Aragorn and Eowyn meet...Is that the first time she has ever laid eyes on him?

    It seemed to me she fell pretty suddenly if it was, as the encounter was brief. (Though she was already feeling pretty desperate)

    I was pleasantly surprised at this little twist in the tale, being the only (I think) really tortuous love unrequited bit..
    Aragorn's meeting with Eowyn was essential in that he was the final straw for her.
    He represented everything she desired and longed to be herself.
    Strode in on his horse all battle charged and (probably) grubby from the road, a warrior of stength and courage who didn't need 'permission' to fight his cause.
    It gave her the final determination to go forth and kick it!
    (More sheroic than Arwen's needlework and idle wanderings at Rivendell...)
     
  2. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    I don't know about that. There is something beautiful and heroic about waiting for Aragorn to return, putting her trust in him and her hope in this nutty scheme Gandalf dreamed up. I think it was rather heroic.
    As for the standard sewing, that was also a very nice touch.
    Not much is said about Arwen in the actual books. Whether this was intentional to make her seem beautiful, mysterious, or pedastal worthy, or just because Tolkien didn't want to pour too much time into a romance and take away from the adventure (as well as Eowyn's wonderful part... beautiful...), I know not...

    I don't think Aragorn could've met Eowyn before. The last time he was in that area was before she was born... about ten years before...
     

  3. Kiwi

    Kiwi Registered User

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    I hadn't thought about the courage and discipline of character that Arwen needed..v.true.
     
  4. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    I wonder how much older than her Eowyn thought Aragorn was... I'm sure she didn't guess the sixty something years...
     

  5. Rhiannon

    Rhiannon is one hand clapping

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    ...and here I am.

    Really all of my feelings could be summarized by Grond's excellent posts upthread, but I'll ramble on about them anyway.

    I am very anti-Aragorn/Eowyn. As the story stands in its final form, known and loved by us, it is not a relationship that would have worked, although at one time Tolkien did have them end up together, before Arwen was ever invented. But they don't, because it wouldn't have worked.
    Eowyn's 'love' for Aragorn was based on admiration, respect, gratitude (he was part of 'saving' her beloved uncle), and not a little bit of desparation. Tolkien says several times that Eowyn is valiant, she's brave, she's obviously been trained to ride, trained to fight, but not allowed to really use that training. Her parents died when she was young, her cousin (who would have been a brother figure to her) has recently been slain, her uncle is rapidly deteriorating and falling under the influence of Wormtongue (and therefore Saruman), her brother, her only other family, spends most of his time chasing orcs and getting himself arrested: And here is Eowyn, this brave, spirited woman, and she can't do anything about it. All she can do is serve as a 'dry nurse' to her uncle, because she is trapped by her role as a woman, a maiden, with no outlet for her fear or anger.
    And then here is this man. He is obviously noble, obviously a great warrior (something valued by her culture), who plays a part in freeing her uncle (and her) from Wormtongue.
    Well. Eowyn wants freedom, she wants out; as Gandalf says to Eomer, "...You had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the stagg he leand on. Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Theoden's ears?....My lord, if your sister's love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips, you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?" (The Return of the King, 'The Houses of Healing') The fact that Eowyn has been made to feel worthless, she seeks greatness, and because she has been made to feel trapped, she seeks freedom.
    And there is all this at the back when the White Lady first looks on Aragorn.

    Aragorn recognizes all this for what it is early on.

    <intermission>

    "The woman turned and went slowly into the house. As she passed the doors she turned and looked back. Grave and thoughtful was her glance, as she looked on the king with cool pity in her eyes...Thus Aragorn for the first time in the full light of day beheld Eowyn, lady of Rohan, and thought her fair, fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood. And she now was suddenly aware of him: tall heir of kings, wise with many winters, greycloaked, hdiding a power that yet she felt. For a moment still as stone she stood, then turning swiftly she was gone." (The Two Towers, 'The King of the Golden Hall')
    There is no denying that Aragorn has charisma oozing out of his pores. And it is his greatness Eowyn loves, not him. A relationship between them would not have been on an equal footing, based as it would be on hero-worship on one side, and pity on the other.
    For pity is what Aragorn feels for Eowyn. His loyalty to Arwen is never in doubt for a second (which is one of the main things I hold against the second film, aside from the little fact that they ruined my second favorite character). He recognizes that Eowyn seeks to use him as a way out, and a way to attain greatness.

    When Eowyn realizes that he pities her, she "desires nothing, except a brave death in battle", as Faramir tells her. Eowyn's motives in disguising herself and taking the battle-field are purely selfish, but personally I don't think that negates the bravery involved; Eowyn was also taking her destiny in to her own hands, being proactive, and fighting against the depression that threatened to overwhelm her (and might very well have if she had remained behind). She has already given up her 'love' for Aragorn, although she perhaps didn't know it yet.

    I think one of the most important details in the book that many people fail to see is the fact that in the Houses of Healing, Eowyn does not wake when Aragorn calls her. She only wakes when her brother calls to her. Faramir answered to his king, Merry to his friend, but Eowyn did not answer at all. And Eowyn does not truly heal until she accepts Faramir's unconditional love, and realizes that this is what she wanted all along.
    Eowyn was not necassarily 'warlike' by nature; valiant, yes, brave, yes, capable, without a doubt, but not a warrior by inclination, only circumstance. "...She was not herself ambitious in the true political sense. Though not a 'dry nurse' in temper, she was also not really a soldier or 'amazon', but like many brave women was capable of great military gallantry at a crisis." (Letter #244) Eowyn was not 'betraying herself' or 'giving up' or 'surrendering' her true nature when she tells Faramir that she will not longer be a shieldmaiden but a healer; it is only that "the heart of Eowyn changed, or at last she understood it".

    ...and that was very long and didn't exactly answer the question because I used it as an excuse to go on about Eowyn, but, well...I'm a little single minded.
     
  6. Elka

    Elka hope seeker

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    Ia havent started reading ROTk cuz im just finishing TT, but so far in the book I prefer Eowyn, but frankly in the movie I prefer Arwen.
     
  7. jlday

    jlday Registered User

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    Arwen ALL THE WAY!!!!
    Woo WOoo go Arwen!!!!
    LOL ^.^
     
  8. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Arwen hands down. She's a mysterious, mystical lady with great fortitude, ancient wisdom, inherent kindness and crazy wonderful ears. Eowyn is young and fickle. She acts like a schoolgirl. No contest.
     
  9. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    Ah, Lady Ithilethiel, you've raised another thread from the dark backward and abysm of time -- providing yet another all-too-fatal temptation!

    This thread went down some strange paths, but the OP's question was essentially "why couldn't Aragorn return just a wee bit of Eowyn's love?".

    Aside from the fact that, given Eowyn's position, and the suffering and trauma she had undergone, the relationship would have been deeply "asymmetrical" to use a current term (a situation I'm sure he recognized), the inescapable fact, the implacable and immovable fact that must be recognized, is that his love was given totally to another.

    I'm sure many readers will have had the experience of being in a relationship in which they felt "temptation", or a desire for others; I've had that experience myself.

    But I'm equally sure some have had the kind of relationship in which they felt no desire or interest (romantically, I mean) in anyone other than their own SO,as if their "desire" circuit had been switched off, or rather, integrated so fully into that of their partner that no other "signal" could affect it. That too I've experienced.

    Aragorn's was clearly the latter.
     
  10. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Hmm...SeS you seem to like to attribute much of your mischief to CL and me...
     
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  11. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    Well, that's my excuse, anyway!
     
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  12. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Indeed!
     
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  13. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    It's my story, and I'm sticking with it!
     
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  14. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    You rang?

    :D

    Cl
     
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  15. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Greetings CL!
     
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  16. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Mae govannen!


    CL
     
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  17. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Galo Anor erin râd gîn CL!
     
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  18. Halasían

    Halasían Dunedain Ranger

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    Aragorn was 64 years old when Eowyn was born. He had come and gone from Rohan, having served King Thengel, then Steward Ecthelion II, so it is doubtful they had ever met.

    I think Eowyn's desire to go with Aragorn on the Paths of the Dead was her desire to die more than she was wet for Aragorn.
     
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  19. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    Gulp. I wouldn't describe her in those terms, exactly! (Gosh, we really could do with a "blush" emoji!).

    Seriously, though: I don't believe she gave in to suicidal thoughts until she saw Aragorn riding off to what she assumed was certain death.

    That seems to entail a contradiction, I know, but her mind was not acting in a completely rational fashion at that point.

    I think rather, that Aragorn's "Nay, Lady" signified, in her mind, a rejection, not only of her request to accompany him, but of her, and her love.

    And that, on top of the years of suffering she'd endured, left her, in her mind, with nothing.

    Nothing but an end.
     
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  20. Ithilethiel

    Ithilethiel Member

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    Telling it like it is and keeping it real! :cool:
     
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