Classic Remarks: Favorite Lord of the Rings Character

This week Krysta and Briana from Pages Unbound are leading us in a topic that I could write about all day: Who is your favorite character from The Lord of the Rings?

I have to start by saying that I have SO MANY FAVORITE CHARACTERS. Seriously, that’s half the reason that I re-read those books so often. Sam, Aragorn, Faramir, they’re all the best, and I could go on and on about each of them. But my favorite character has always been Eowyn.

Honestly, I probably couldn’t have even told you why I loved her the first time I read LOTR. A big chunk of it is that she’s more or less the only significant female character in the series. I also fell in love with this book before the badass-female-lead became a thing, and it’s a beloved trope for a reason. And my favorite line of hers is DEFINITELY a movie-ism.

But now that I’m a grown up, I can put my finger on exactly why she is the best.

She doesn’t let society’s expectations define her

In a lot of ways The Lord of the Rings is pretty anti-feminist. The few women characters there are exist solely as love interests or home-makers. The men often seem to care more for their beauty than anything else. And heaven forbid two women should SPEAK TO EACH OTHER.

But Eowyn defies those expectations openly. She asks to ride to death with Aragorn because she doesn’t want to be left behind. Then she shows up to the Muster of the Rohirim in an effing sword. Her uncle leaves her behind to rule in his absence, rather than a trusted man. And then she ignores him and rides to battle, taking the forbidden hobbit with her. There she kills the flippin’ Nazgul, something EVEN GANDALF couldn’t do. She refuses to be the dutiful wife and insists that the men see her as one who deserves valor. I admire that.

She loves fiercely

Eowyn’s and Faramir’s love story is the closest to my heart in the novel. They are perfect for each other, and I love that watching Farmir fall in love with her is like watching someone tame a storm.

But whoever Eowyn loves, she does so with her whole heart. Her uncle she loved like a father, enough to put her body between him and death. Aragorn she was also willing to follow to death. In her time with Merry they form a deep bond and trust. And when she finally fall for Faramir she loves him with her whole heart.

She’s basically the real hero of the book

I mean, honestly. If she doesn’t defeat the Nazgul they don’t win the Battle at Pelennor, and then Sauron would have turned his full attention to finding the Ring, and then everything would have been over. šŸ˜›

She is a powerful statement about depression and hope

Eowyn’s bravery and love aside, most of the decisions she makes in the novel are a direct result of her depression. She longs to ride into battle so that she can die with honor and her long suffering will be over. It’s hinted by Aragorn that Wormtongue spoke the same poison to her that he did to Theoden, and it has driven her to despair. Even once she defeats the Nazgul and Aragon brings her back from the brink, she continues to fear a terrible end, yet long for it at the same time.

Yet once the power of the Ring is ended, once the skies begin to clear, she sees and remembers that the world is beautiful. She learns to hope again.

How many of us have been where she is, in that dark place where no good ending can be possible?

Her darkness may have been exacerbated by Wormtongue, but it started because nobody saw her for who she really was. And so it is not just in love that she finds herself again. It is when another sees her and acknowledges her valor and courage is that she begins to hope. The older I get, the stronger I identify with Eowyn because of this right here.

Also, isn’t Miranda Otto just the BEST casting? She was brilliant.

Who is YOUR favorite Lord of the Rings character?

23 thoughts on “Classic Remarks: Favorite Lord of the Rings Character

  1. I love your comparison! Seems so crazy that a fantasy novel character can have so much in common with so many women in the real world!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My favorite is Faramir as he appears in the books (the movie Faramir is an abomination…just a wimpier whinier Boromir). While those around him value war and glory for their own sake, he is more of a scholar and (more importantly) a beacon of compassion. He is a man of integrity who is barely tempted by the Ring.

    Iā€™m quite fond of Eowyn too since my wife is basically her (dark childhood/teenage years, fierce, now one of the most hopeful/optimistic people I know)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Eowyn is so wonderfully complex! I love that she is fierce and bold, but also that she’s a fully rounded character who is also clearly fearful and in love with the concept of war, in part because she does not understand how truly awful it can be. I think she has wonderful character growth and I, too, love watching her and Faramir fall in love. She deserves her happy ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, she definitely has more depth than almost any other character. I re-watched the extended editions recently, and there’s a great line from Eomer about war, and how terrible it is. I can’t remember if that line is taken from the books or not, but it’s such a powerful one.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, I love Eowyn too. I do find her kind of intimidating though. Like, especially when I was younger, I felt like her on the inside, but no way was I physically strong and tough and brave enough to do what she did. My brother adores her … which kind of strengthens the impression that the kind of woman who is most impressive/attractive to men is one who is basically a woman on the outside and is this super tough, bold man on the inside. And who is strong enough to disguise herself as a man and join the military.

    I know that the character of Eowyn draws on a historic tradition of “shield maidens.” And maybe she was an innovative female character back when she was written. Now, though, it’s starting to feel like literature is telling us that the only way to be an admirable woman is to be a badass. I want to see more female characters whose strength and virtue is in their femininity. Hero moms! The best one I can think of at the moment is Joyce from Stranger Things.

    Anyway, sorry, that was kind of a diatribe.

    That’s an excellent point about depression. That is how Sauron works throughout the whole series … getting people to despair, to find goodness boring and banal (as Heorot looks to Eowyn), or to conclude that there is actually no such thing as objective moral truth (as Saruman).

    The great thing about LOTR is that it’s an ensemble cast and there are so many characters about whom you could legitimately say they are the “real hero of the story.” So I can’t choose a favorite character. But, I do really love Sam. It’s his love for Frodo that leads him to save the world in the moment of crisis when he thinks Frodo is dead, and he remains humble throughout. I also love Gandalf. If there is one adult in the room in LOTR, he is it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SAM!!! ā¤ ā¤ ā¤

      I totally agree with you about literature only valuing female warriors right now. It was refreshing when I was in 7th grade, but now I find it tired. Especially in YA fantasy. I just want to read a woman who changes the world by making peace, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love her, too, and I think it also says something great about Tolkien’s writing that I have never read her scenes and thought, “Oh, great, another woman disguising herself as a man story. How cliche.” It just seems like such the right thing for her to do, and it’s unbelievably dramatic when she confronts the Witchking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think also the first time I read it I did *not* cotton on that Dernhelm was Eowyn. Merry was fooled which was sufficient to fool me. So then when the big reveal happened I was like WHAT?!?!

      Like

  6. Oh now I want to marathon the entire Lord of the Rings movies, EE of course! Eowyn (and everything she stands for) is hands down one of my two top favorite characters. The other one is Aragorn (well actually Strider the Ranger) for those curious to know. Loved the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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