Don’t get me wrong. I love love love Lord of the Rings (LOTR) by J.R.R. Tolkien. Read all the books. Saw all the movies. But seriously. Can we please talk about the friend-zoning of Eowyn?
I know y’all love Faramir, and he’s a good dude. I don’t disagree. But, Eowyn should have absolutely ended up with Aragorn. What makes this whole thing even worse is that in the original drafts of LOTR, Tolkien actually had Eowyn and Aragorn together in the end. He also killed Eowyn, which thankfully he thought better of.
Growing up, I was a total tomboy in terms of the games I liked to play and what I liked to watch. I was all about Voltron (Lions, though Vehicles were okay), Robotech (OMG LISA HAYES IS A BAMF), and GI Joe (Scarlet all the way). Even in these cartoons, though, the girls were never badass enough for me. I used to imagine them having just as much action as the guys and being the ones who saved the day.
Imagine my delight at reading about Eowyn in LOTR. Here was a chick who was not only gorgeous and a princess (because I was still a girl), but she also was a warrior and a rebel. Yes, you can argue that there may have been dereliction of duty on her part in disobeying Theoden and not staying behind to take care of the people of Rohan. But, hey, how many guys in fiction do the same thing and it’s totally cool because the story, yo?
LOTR Eowyn > LOTR Arwen
Let’s get down to business and just lay it out there, shall we?
- Eowyn grew up as royalty with hands-on experience in ruling and managing people. Arwen? *crickets*
- Eowyn can ride and wield a sword like a BAMF. Arwen? *crickets* (no, the movie does NOT count here)
- When Aragorn sets out on a perilous mission (the Paths of the Dead), Eowyn is willing to ride with him to fight and die by his side if need be. When Aragorn sets out on a perilous mission (the whole Ring quest), Arwen embroiders him a little flag that he doesn’t even get until the end.
- What’s that? Arwen is willing to give up her immortality? Well, Eowyn is willing to die for him, too. Just because one lifespan is longer doesn’t make it any more or less valuable. It’s the intent.
- When all hope for love is lost, Eowyn doesn’t just mope around and fade. She straps on a helm and a shield, grabs a hobbit, and goes and turns the tide of battle.
- Eowyn has empathy. Merry is bummed that he can’t go, and she totally gets it. She even brings him along because she knows what it’s like to be left behind. Arwen? *crickets*
- Aragorn and Arwen go way, way back. Sure. Kind of like we all had that crazy summer infatuation in high school. Then, you grow up and see it for what it was. Plus, Elrond is kind of a dick to Aragorn about dating his daughter. “Sure, you can date Arwen, when Mordor freezes over – literally.” Theoden would have been totally cool with Aragorn and Eowyn.
- Eomer calls Aragorn on the carpet for leading his sister on, just like a good big brother should when a guy dicks around with his sister’s heart. Arwen’s brothers? *crickets*
- Arwen’s big emotional choice is Daddy vs. Boyfriend. Eowyn is all, “whatever, I do what I want!” and shows up with some ovaries of steel.
- Let’s just be honest here. What do you think Gondorians really felt about having an elf queen? I mean, not to be speciesist, but there probably would have been a segment of the population that was like, “We’re human, shouldn’t we have a human queen?” LIKE EOWYN????
Eogorn vs. Farawyn or even Borowyn
If you have to put Eowyn with a guy at the end of LOTR, Faramir’s not the only option. Let’s take a look at the real cast of Bachelorette Middle Earth.
I do like Faramir. He’s just kinda milquetoast. His moral quandaries just don’t grab me. Putting Eowyn with Faramir is selling out just to give her some kind of happy ending.
I mean really. Did this chick ever once mention that she liked gardening?
Eowyn’s volte-face from warrior to healer does carry emotional weight, and it’s not a unique response from those who have lived through the horrors of battle. It’s just that it happens too fast, too easily, and most importantly, totally doesn’t fit with her character arc.
Yes, she got glory and wanted love. But, I just don’t feel that what she wanted was the kind of happy ending that turned her into the June Cleaver of Middle Earth. Eowyn was meant to rule, to lead, to fight. To stick her with a Victory Garden as her only goal is to sell her out and to sell short the power of female ambition and women’s need to achieve.
So, while Faramir’s a good guy, and I’m sure they’re very happy together, it leaves me totally meh. Though…I wouldn’t mind that starry blue cloak.
Okay, so Boromir dies in book 1. Small detail. But, seriously, can’t you just already feel the zinging chemistry between Eowyn and Boromir? Both fierce, ambitious, and fighters, Borowyn would have been HAWT.
I could see Boromir being Aragorn’s Steward of Gondor, and I could see Eowyn filling the role of Steward’s wife and playing politics, managing her parts of the job, and fulfilling her destiny to be a powerful woman. I can see Eowyn being the woman who actually handles the queen’s job while Arwen hangs out in her garden, popping out little Aragorns and embroidering shit.
Boromir is a powerful, passionate, conflicted character, just like Eowyn. While their union might not have brought the psychological peace that Farawyn does, I just feel that it would have been more realistic, more exciting, and frankly, more of what Eowyn would have truly wanted in her life.
Honestly, think about it. It’s not just that Eowyn wants renown as a warrior. She wants acknowledgement of her power as a woman. She WANTS TO BE A QUEEN. Instead, she ends up growing flowers in Ithilien? Chuh.
Aragorn really needed to wake up and smell the coffee. Eowyn was perfect for him. A powerful woman who understood court politics, was used to having a ruling position, was human, and loved him to the point of self-sacrifice…I mean, seriously.
In all honesty, Aragorn could have used that jolt of passion from Eowyn. It would have been like a shot of emotional espresso. Might have made him less grim about pursuing the whole King-of-Gondor thing. Eowyn was also unafraid to call him out when he was being an ass, just like a good friend/partner/spouse should. Remember when he told her to stay behind and do her duty? Can you see him saying that to Theoden or Eomer?
“All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)
BOOM! Kings need honest advisors, and Eowyn would have been exactly that.
Let’s not forget that Eowyn loved him when he was just a stranger and a captain of soldiers. She was willing to defy everything and everyone and go with him even if he wasn’t a king. Arwen? *crickets*
I am kind of pissed at Aragorn for dismissing Eowyn’s feelings for him as an infatuation with a shadow. How the hell does he know? How dare he decide for her what her feelings are? *shakes tiny fist at Tolkien*
At the end of the day, I would have totally been happy for Eowyn to end up as just Eowyn. Not married to anyone but choosing her own life. She could have led a army of shieldmaidens in Rohan. She could have run off to be a mercenary. She could have stayed single and taken lovers as needed/wanted. She could have had a chance to learn more about herself and fall in love with herself before she fell in love with any man.
Because sometimes, it’s about the #relationshipgoals you have with yourself.