Éowyn

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Éowyn is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, who appears in his most famous work, The Lord of the Rings. She is a noblewoman of Rohan who describes herself as a "shieldmaiden".

Contents

Literature

In The Lord of the Rings Éowyn, a daughter of the House of Eorl and the niece of King Théoden, is introduced in Meduseld, the king's hall at Edoras.[1] She was the daughter of Théodwyn (sister to Théoden) and Éomund, and the sister of Éomer. When she was only three years old, her father was killed fighting Orcs and her mother died of grief. Éowyn and Éomer were raised in her uncle's household as if they were his own children.

Tolkien writes she fell into depression since she longed to win renown in battle - more so because she was royal - but being female, her duties were reckoned to be at Edoras.[2] When Théoden's mind was poisoned by his adviser Gríma Wormtongue, Éowyn was obliged to care for her uncle, and his deterioration pained her deeply. To make matters worse, she was stalked by Gríma.

However, when Gandalf (along with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli) arrived, he healed Théoden from Wormtongue's corruption, and Éowyn fell in love with Aragorn. It soon became clear that Aragorn could not return her love (though he did not mention his betrothal to Arwen), and would not allow her to join him in going to war.[3] As Aragorn pointed out,[3] her duty was with her people; she had to shoulder the responsibility of ruling Rohan in Théoden's stead when the war-host of Rohan went to war.[1] Aragorn also said her duties were no less valiant.[3] Likening her situation to a "cage", Éowyn said she feared

"...[t]o stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire."[3]

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