Dear friends and readers, I promised when I put out my request for a Guestblog on Eowyn of Rohan that I would begin to publish them during the week beginning July 25th and here is the first one. It has been written by Jennifer Leonard who writes as Lover of Lembas. Her work can be found at loveroflembas.blogspot.com
If you have not yet submitted a piece there is still space for a couple more. Please include a link to your blog or website so that I can publicise it.
Eowyn was raised in a culture that was totally war-obsessed. The most glorified and praised members of her society were the warriors and soldiers. Eowyn resented herself because she could not participate in the war-culture as a woman and it drove her half-mad. Instead of seeing her person and her womanhood as a beautiful thing which lends itself to creating life, she saw it as “hutch to trammel some wild thing in”.
It was not until Eowyn met Faramir in the Houses of Healing (appropriate since it was there she was healed not only in body but in mind) that she learned there is more than war, more than glorified killing, and more to honor than before she knew. Faramir put war into its true context for Eowyn—not something to be praised in and of itself. Warriors and soldiers should be honored in the measure that they defend their people with their sacrifice. But killing should never be seen as a wholly good thing and no one should aspire to be a warrior for the sake of war. Faramir sums this up by saying: “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
After her encounter with Faramir, Eowyn realizes that the killing and death of war is not the end, but is sometimes a necessary means in order to preserve life. Ultimately, Eowyn has been focused on death and war, but she has missed the bigger picture; namely that life is more important than death, even death in honor.
Then Eowyn says: “I want to be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” This is the mark that she has accepted life rather than death. In realizing this, Eowyn also learns to appreciate her status as a woman. She no longer regards her body as a cage or a hindrance, but understands that it is ordered to create life and to sustain it; she understands that those goals are noble in and of themselves, and that nurturing life is an invaluable and honorable ability.
In summary, throughout Eowyn’s conversion and in her meeting with Faramir, Eowyn trades her idealism of death and her culture of war for an acceptance of herself and a love of life. The maiden who once sought death now looks forward to nurturing life. As Faramir says, “Here is the Lady Éowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed.”