Study Guide

The Two Towers Éowyn (Miranda Otto)

Éowyn (Miranda Otto)

Finally, a second woman (too bad LotR still doesn't pass the Bechdel Test). Éowyn's presence in the beginning of the movie is exactly what you'd expect from a woman in a land of manly heroes. She's a damsel in distress, a loving niece who tries to make her uncle well and tend to his house while being stalked and sexually harassed by the slimy Wormtongue. She cries, smiles, holds Théoden's hand, and sings a pretty lament at her cousin's funeral. All is just as it should be. She even starts to sort of have a thing for Aragorn. Whoa, love triangle? Definitely not in the original Tolkien … but it sounds juicy and exciting to us.

But then her character takes a bit of a turn we don't see coming. First of all, she can't make soup. Can't make soup?! What kind of stereotyped female tending to the warriors of her land doesn't know how to cook?

But no. Instead, her soup sucks—so much so, in fact, that Aragorn practically spits it out. Then he catches her swinging a sword around and notices she has "some skill with a blade." It turns out her desire isn't to feed the men and mother the children; it's to fight against the orcs. When the warg riders attack, she wants to ride into battle but Théoden forbids her. She must lead the women and children to the safety of Helm's Deep while the men stay and fight.

Again, in Helm's Deep as the men prepare for battle, she comes to Aragorn, pleading that he allow her to fight alongside the one she loves. But Aragorn doesn't have that authority, and tells her position of guiding the women and children and elderly is one of honor. But Éowyn doesn't want any of it. What she wants to do is use her skill as a warrior and go to battle and cut off some orc heads.

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