Tolkien Gateway

Éowyn

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Just as MacDuff disconcerted [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Tragedy_of_Macbeth Macbeth] by revealing he was not "of woman born", Lady Éowyn found the loophole in the 1,000-year-old prophecy by [[Glorfindel of Rivendell|Glorfindel]], fulfilling that the Witch-king would not be slain by a man. However, the Witch-king actually recited the prophecy incorrectly: he said that "no living man may hinder me," though the prophecy actually said that "Not by the hand of Man ''will'' he fall."<ref>{{App|Gondor}}</ref> Glorfindel's prophesy, unlike his own version, implies that the Witch-king will eventually fall, and the Witch-king likely overestimated his own power and believed he would never be defeated.  
 
Just as MacDuff disconcerted [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Tragedy_of_Macbeth Macbeth] by revealing he was not "of woman born", Lady Éowyn found the loophole in the 1,000-year-old prophecy by [[Glorfindel of Rivendell|Glorfindel]], fulfilling that the Witch-king would not be slain by a man. However, the Witch-king actually recited the prophecy incorrectly: he said that "no living man may hinder me," though the prophecy actually said that "Not by the hand of Man ''will'' he fall."<ref>{{App|Gondor}}</ref> Glorfindel's prophesy, unlike his own version, implies that the Witch-king will eventually fall, and the Witch-king likely overestimated his own power and believed he would never be defeated.  
  
Éowyn's role in the stories challenges conventional stereotypes of the role of women. She succeeds where a man would have failed in slaying the [[Witch-king]] and throughout the books even when recovering from the wounds bought in that conflict rebels against being left behind while the men go off to win glory in war. Her role more than any other female within the mythology challenges accusations of sexism commonly leveled at [[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] and in many ways (intentionally or not) displays attitudes ahead of his time in regards to social equality.
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Éowyn's role in the stories challenges conventional stereotypes of the role of women. She succeeds where a man would have failed in slaying the [[Witch-king]] and throughout the books even when recovering from the wounds bought in that conflict rebels against being left behind while the men go off to win glory in war. Her role more than any other female within the mythology challenges accusations of sexism commonly leveled at [[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] and in many ways (intentionally or not) displays attitudes ahead of his time in regards to social equality.{{fact}}
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==Portrayal in adaptations==
 
==Portrayal in adaptations==
 
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Revision as of 09:08, 22 June 2013

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Éowyn
Rohir
Biographical Information
Other namesDernhelm, White Lady of Rohan, Lady of the Shield-arm
LocationRohan and Ithilien
LanguageRohirric and Westron
BirthT.A. 2995
DeathEarly Fourth Age
Family
HouseHouse of Eorl
ParentageÉomund & Théodwyn
SiblingsÉomer
SpouseFaramir
ChildrenElboron
Physical Description
GenderFemale
Hair colorPale gold, long[1]
Eye colorGrey[1]
WeaponrySword
"Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back."
Faramir[2]

Éowyn (T.A. 2995Fourth Age ?), the Lady of Rohan, was also known as the Lady of the Shield-arm, the White Lady of Rohan[note 1], and Lady of Ithilien. She was a member of the House of Eorl and the niece of King Théoden of Rohan. She was the daughter of Théoden's sister, Théodwyn, and Éomund of Eastfold. Her brother was Éomer Éadig. Following the end of the War of the Ring, she and Faramir were married and bore one son, Elboron. [3]

Contents

History

Following the death of her parents in T.A. 3002, Éowyn and Éomer were brought into Théoden's house and there raised. Éowyn grew to be tall and slender, with a grace and pride that came from her mother.[3]

Prior to the Battle of the Hornburg, Éowyn was left to care for Meduseld when Théoden and Éomer led the remaining Rohirrim to the west. King Théoden in fact named her ruler of Rohan in his and Éomer's absence when the Doorward Háma recommended that one of "The House of Eorl" should rule. At first, Théoden only thought of male members, and he and Éomer were the last males of the House, but Háma reminded them of Éowyn, who "is fearless" and that "all love her".[4]

Éowyn revealed her temperament when Aragorn was about to ride into the mountains to attempt to take the Paths of the Dead. Unable to dissuade him, she offered to accompany him, declaring herself "weary of skulking in the hills, and wish to face peril and battle." The only thing she feared was a cage. However, Aragorn reminded her of her charge to govern the people until the king's return and left without her.[5]

Later, when the forces of Rohan were mustered to go to Gondor, Éowyn disguised herself as a man, and under the alias of Dernhelm, traveled with the Riders of Rohan, carrying with her Merry, who was also ordered to remain behind.[6]

During the battle of the Pelennor Fields, she fought by King Théoden, and when he was injured during combat with the Witch-king of Angmar, she and Merry scrambled to help him. Confronting the Witch-king, who boasted that "no living man may hinder me," she removed her helmet, exposing her long blond hair and declaring,

"No living man am I! You look upon a woman."
Dernhelm by Matt Stewart.

Lady Éowyn slew the Witch-king after Merry stabbed him behind the knee. Merry's stab made the Witch-king vulnerable while Éowyn's slash actually resulted in death. She was granted the title "Lady of the Shield-arm" after the Battle in recognition of her triumph over the Witch-king.[1]

Lady Éowyn was severely injured in this fight, and because of the poisonous effect of the Nazgûl, she faced near-certain death; however, she was treated in time by Aragorn during his brief rest in Minas Tirith. Since she didn't yet recover completely, she couldn't join Aragorn's army on their way to Mordor. However, while recuperating in the Houses of Healing, she met Faramir, with whom she fell in love.

After the demise of Sauron, the happily wed couple settled in Ithilien, of which Faramir was made the ruling Prince. Éowyn was known as the Lady of Ithilien.[7][note 2] They had at least one son (likely Elboron),[8] and their grandson was Barahir, who wrote The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen in the Fourth Age.[9]

Etymology

Éowyn means "Horse-joy" in Old English (being a combination of her parents' names: Éomund and Théodwyn),[10] the language Tolkien adapted to represent Rohirric.[11]

Éo- sounds like "eh-ah" with the "ah" just barely pronounced, while y is the same sound as German ü or French u.

Analysis

Just as MacDuff disconcerted Macbeth by revealing he was not "of woman born", Lady Éowyn found the loophole in the 1,000-year-old prophecy by Glorfindel, fulfilling that the Witch-king would not be slain by a man. However, the Witch-king actually recited the prophecy incorrectly: he said that "no living man may hinder me," though the prophecy actually said that "Not by the hand of Man will he fall."[12] Glorfindel's prophesy, unlike his own version, implies that the Witch-king will eventually fall, and the Witch-king likely overestimated his own power and believed he would never be defeated.

Éowyn's role in the stories challenges conventional stereotypes of the role of women. She succeeds where a man would have failed in slaying the Witch-king and throughout the books even when recovering from the wounds bought in that conflict rebels against being left behind while the men go off to win glory in war. Her role more than any other female within the mythology challenges accusations of sexism commonly leveled at Tolkien and in many ways (intentionally or not) displays attitudes ahead of his time in regards to social equality.[source?]

Portrayal in adaptations

1955-6: The Lord of the Rings (1955 radio series):

Olive Gregg provides the voice of Éowyn.

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Éowyn is briefly seen, but has no lines.

1979: The Mind's Eye's The Lord of the Rings:

Éowyn is portrayed by Karen Hurley.

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

Éowyn is voiced by actress Nellie Bellflower. She appears unintroduced, but Merry fills Pippin (and so the spectator) in on the details. She is not terribly wounded, and appears healthy besides Faramir at the coronation.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

Elin Jenkins plays the part of Éowyn.

2002-3: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

Éowyn is portrayed by Miranda Otto. Jackson's adaptation shows two different explanations for Éowyn's injuries after fighting the Witch-king. In the Theatrical Release, her wounds are less severe than in the book; she is conscious but hurt, as opposed to unconscious. In the extended scenes of the Extended Edition, she is near death: her brother finds her and grieves, and later we see her being healed in the Houses of Healing, where she shares a tender moment with Faramir.

See also

External links

Notes

  1. Éowyn was known as "Lady of Rohan" in Rohan, but as "White Lady of Rohan" in Ithilien (due to her pale complexion).
  2. This seems to imply that Éowyn was not a Princess, whereas her husband was a Prince

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Heirs of Elendil"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Note on the Shire Records"
  10. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, "The Giving of Names", p. 216
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"