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Arwen or Eowyn?

RHawk December 2, 2011 User blog:RHawk

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Who is more heroic, Arwen, or Eowyn?

In the book other than choosing a mortal over immortality, Tolkien didn't give Arwen many heroic scenes. (Peter Jackson gave Arwen a helping hand to elevate her status where she rescues Frodo from the Ring Wraiths, but still). Tolkien gave Eowyn a ton of heroic scenes. She is not only a loving sister, cousin, niece, friend, but she's a fearless warrior who does what "no man" could do (with a little help from another non-man) in standing up to and killing both the Nazgul and his fell beast. Even Gandalf had not been able to do that, and in fact a little earlier he had almost died in the Nazgul's hands. To top it off, she won a hand to hand battle with that awful Gothmog.

Arwen comes across as a well-cared-for princess, born into a life of previlege and immortality and under the protection of the mighty Elrond. Eowyn suffers a life of tragedy after tragedy, goes through hardships and loss and still has hope. Though royalty, she comes across as a down-to-earth hero, a blue-colllar, hard-working woman in touch with the people and loved by them. Although she doesn't know how to cook she easily finds the way into a man's heart. Her ultimate courage and sacrafice almost kills her, and those scenes, especially Eomer's discovery of her broken body on the battlefield are pure emotion, some of the most poignent scenes on film.

Both women show extreme amounts of love and emotion. Both are virtuous, faultless and flawless. Tolkien bestows such a good problem upon Aragorn and it only shows how much he cares about him, but obviously not enough to make him Mormon and allow both women to marry him. Why, that would be so unwestern!

That Tolkien makes Eowyn do all the hard work but awards Aragorn to Arwen seems a bit strange because Tolkien seems more calculating than that. Is he trying to say Aragorn and Arwen were predestined and no action, no amount of sacrafice, no amount of love would have changed that predestiny and allowed Eowyn to win Aragorn's love? Were Aragorn and Arwen bound together and was Eowyn just a challenge to see if Aragorn would stay true to Arwen?

And doesn't Eowyn deserve someone equal to her? Nothing against Faramir. Faramir is a nice guy and everything, and yes, they do have some things in common, but let's face it, Faramir is no match for Eowyn's battlefield accomplishments. Faramir is admittedly a military failure and other than being a nice guy whom we feel very sorry for because of having a mad moron for a father he doesn't have much else going for him. Doesn't Eowyn deserve a more heroic figure, like Legalos, if not Aragorn?

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