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. 😛
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?