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The role of women???

S

Shuruga

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I remember a quote from a reviewer of Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series in which the reviewer states, " women have a greater role than Tolkien".


Do you people believe women have been short changed in "Lord of the Rings"?, how do you feel regards the changes from Book to Movie that has resulted in a larger role for Women in the movie?.


Or is Tolkiens original view the right way ?.
 

lilhobo

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i think u should post this inthe "fight club" thread in the Members section :D :D
 

Firiel

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You asked two questions in your origional post- I'm going to ignore the question about Peter Jackson's changes for now, and instead give my 2c on women in the book.

I was frustrated that, creating Eowyn as such a strong character, Tolkien had to seriously weaken her character by implying that the *overriding* motive was her crush on Aragorn (Well, if I can't have him, I may just as well die in battle). That seems to be a stronger factor in Tolkiens mind that the factors that make her a stronger character: her bravery, her loyalty, her response to falling prey to Wormtolngs wisperings being to go out and DO somthing about it, even though she doesn't expect to do as much good as she does. I think she has motive enough without adding the mopey teenager crush thing, and I prefer to kind of "edit that part out" mentally when I read the book.

The other thing that irks me is in the Ballad of Arwen and Aragorn. Arwen, on the rare occations where she is described, is described as being very wise. And heck, she's had 3000 years to get to know what's what. So why the heck does she pull the mopey teenager suicidal thing when Aragorn dies? It's out of character. She's too wise to have her entire existence wrapped around a single person- hey, I was being taught how unwse *that* is when I was being taught to look both ways before crossing the street. I think after 3000 years, Arwen would have more wisdon than I did when I was three! So why does Tolkein go and have her do something so dysfunctional? I don't get it.

Tolkien creates strong female characters, but then feels the need to put some weakness in to say "Oh, they're not really strong after all- just silly flighty women, obsessed with their men".

Sorry. Rant mode off. :)
 

Firiel

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Answer to second part of question: Response to PJ's changes.

Actually, I'll break it into two questions:

1) Theoretically, ignoring for the moment the way PJ actually made the changes, how would you feel about a movie changing the book to give a stronger role to female characters?
Well, I'd want to be very careful about it. Tolkien's work is to complex and complete to go pulling a thread here and a thread there to try to make changes. I guess I'd downplay the "crush on Aragorn" part of Eowyn, and focus on here strengths instead, but I'd be very cautious about expanding female roles just to do so.

2) How do you feel about PJ's expansion of the role of Arwen?
The changes that irked me most in the movie were changes in character. However, we don't see enough of Arwen's character in the book to know if he's presenting her out of character, so her expanded presence didn't bother me the way it bothered some.

What did bother me is the way her presence reduced other characters. It downplayed Aragorn's ability as a healer (the athelas was an afterthought, a couple of days later) and worse: Frodo, instead of facing the Nine alone, across the ford, was hauled along like a passive sack of potatos.

There were some nice things about an expanded role for Arwen. But I would have prefered that if he did it, he would have done it without weakening the other characters!

Just my 2c, since you asked :cool:
 

Thorin

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Originally posted by Firiel
I was frustrated that, creating Eowyn as such a strong character, Tolkien had to seriously weaken her character by implying that the *overriding* motive was her crush on Aragorn (Well, if I can't have him, I may just as well die in battle).

The other thing that irks me is in the Ballad of Arwen and Aragorn. Arwen, on the rare occations where she is described, is described as being very wise. And heck, she's had 3000 years to get to know what's what. So why the heck does she pull the mopey teenager suicidal thing when Aragorn dies?

Tolkien creates strong female characters, but then feels the need to put some weakness in to say "Oh, they're not really strong after all- just silly flighty women, obsessed with their men".
I disagree, Firiel. Eowyn's "crush" as you call it, seemed to me to be some sort of soap opera quickie scene. I don't feel it had any bearing at all on Eowyn's decision to go fight to war. I think her being in the presence of Aragorn and her king going off to war awoke the need to be recognized for the warrior that she felt she was. Both Aragorn and the king squashed that by their words and she decided to break out of that mold and defend her king and prove she is not some barefoot and pregnant, stay at home woman.

Arwen chose mortality and Tolkien makes it quite clear the bitter results of her choice. How would you feel that you gave up immortality for a man and now your love is dead, your father gone to the promised land, and you are left alone to wander, reminisce, and long for the things you left behind...Quite a bitter pill to swallow in my opinion..

Galadriel is the most powerful created being in ME. She has royal bearing, daughter of Finarfin, sister of Finrod, king of Nargothrond. She has survived three ages, seen Valinor, was part of the rebellion and underwent the great trek back to ME. She is put up on a pedestal for the readers to gaze in awe at and marvel at the elven queen she is....Not even Aragorn creates that kind of awe. If that isn't giving female characters their due, I don't know what is!
 

Snaga

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I think Thorin has shown that not all female characters are weak in LotR, but you do have to accept they are the exception rather than the rule.

Even these two exceptions are instructive.

Galadriel sits in her closed domain and wields her power to create a sanctuary for the elves of Lorien. She rarely ventures forth. She remains essentially a home-maker on a grand-scale.

Eowyn the shield-maiden of the Rohirrim has an interesting duality. She is fair and virginal, attending to the failing strength of the King in a classic female role, and has a crush on Aragorn. But she desires glory, and mostly this is what she is attracted to. Denied by Theoden she goes to battle in secret and gains glory but is not content. But she gains contentment through marriage to Faramir and renounces her warlike ways.

Tolkien shows exceptional women, but they do not wholly break from a stereotype.

But this is not really surprising. Firstly Tolkien was writing a mythology based on NW Europe 1000+ years ago. The cause of women's liberation was not well advanced 1000 years ago!! Even in the times of the writer, although universal suffrage for women had been obtain in Britain in his lifetime the feminist movement did not emerge until years after completion of LotR. In war-time Britain many women entered the workforce for the first time doing jobs in factories previously occupied by men who were now fighting, a development that banished the assumption that women should stay at home. But for Tolkien to have observed and woven this into his story would have been out of character and hard to accomplish. Out of character for the author's detestation of 'allegory' is well-known. He does not primarily write the story to convey a message, he only wishes to tell the story. Hard to accomplish because by the time WWII occurred the story was fairly well advanced in conception, although not fully written. To incorporate this would require a major re-write.
 
A

Aldarion

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I agree, V of K. Tolkien's depiction of female characters is essentially free of allegory re women's current status (in the rich west, mind) and remains true to its 'time'

I have posted comments elsewhere concerning Tolkien's treatment of the ruling queens of Númenor under the thread "Why did you pick the name..." in "Stuff and Bother"
 
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Greenwood

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Thorin

Except for your "soap opera quickie scene" which I don't quite understand, I agree with all your comments. Though Tolkien did not write many major female characters, when he did, they were strong characters.

You see, sometimes we do agree. :)
 

Nimawae's hope

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Ok, am I crazy or are most people on here that are complaining about the role of women in Tolkien's books, women themselves!?! Well, anyway, for the record, here is one woman who does NOT think Tolkien's portrayal of women is bad!! I personally am very pleased that he gave so many women in his books a very strong character. Furthermore, I do not remember him ever creating an "evil" or corrupted female character at all !! So I don't see why anyone would have a problem with the females in the stories! If he had created a woman of confused heart, it would not have been bad at all, for, despite what most would have you believe, we females are NOT PERFECT!!! But I do appreciate the flattering postion that Tolkien gives us in his stories.
 

Nimawae's hope

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Oh, brother! I had no idea we were including female creatures in this conversation! Shelob is a spider for crying out loud, and I was talking about elves and daughters of men! But of course if you want to include those type of things, ok, I admit that he did create evil females. Though they were primarily spiders!
 

PRH

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I guess Tolkien had a strong association between women and spiders.
 

Nimawae's hope

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HEY! Watch it, or you may awake in the middle of the night some time to a great swarm of spiders in your bed! Let me tell you, they have vicious bites!!
 

PRH

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Personally I associate women with flowers.
 

Nimawae's hope

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WHOA!!! That's a big turn around! If you say that to all the girls you know, I bet you're an extremely popular guy!! Not a bad habit if you ask me!:D
 

Nimawae's hope

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*Giggling* Well, it just so happens that you caught me free, but I'm also broke. I don't know if my father would approve either. But..um.. what did you have in mind?:eek:
 

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