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Old 09-02-2002, 06:38 AM   #1
Estelyn Telcontar
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Silmaril Hope-lessly in love

Isn’t it ironic that Éowyn fell in love hopelessly with a man whose (Elvish) name (Estel) means hope? (Not that she would have known that name… ) It touches me that the love story most vividly described in LotR should be one of unfulfilled love.

Some call it infatuation or a crush; no matter – it is a form of love Éowyn felt, a serious emotion as she experienced it. Who can blame her? Any decent man would have looked good next to Gríma, the one who wanted her and plagued her existence daily. And let’s face it, Aragorn was an unusual specimen – they don’t make them like that nowadays! (If they did, I’d be first in line and fighting to stay there! And yes, I am talking about the book character, not a movie actor.) Who wouldn’t fall for him?

What I wonder is, what good came of Éowyn’s unrequited love? Would she have acted differently had she been happy and content, whether in or out of love? Was it the desperation of hopeless love that gave her the recklessness to go to war as a shieldmaiden and perform her great deed? Does love lift the one loving above her/himself even when s/he is not loved in return? Is there any truth to Tennyson’s statement that “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”?
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Last edited by Estelyn Telcontar; 12-04-2004 at 06:49 AM. Reason: correction of smilie codes
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Old 09-02-2002, 08:21 AM   #2
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To my mind, Éowyn's "love" for Aragorn is similar in character to Romeo's love for Rosaline: she loves the idea of him as a dashing warrior prince, but Arwen loves the man himself, regardless of who he might be in the world. You tell me which is the more likely to be requited.

As I see it, Éowyn is looking for someone to rescue her from the drudgery of life in Meduseld. She feels trapped by Théoden's dependency and longs for the freedom she enjoyed before the King began to ail; but she can't think what to do about it. Who should come along as she's feeling this way but the closest thing that Middle-earth could have to a film star? Here's a man who can take her away from it all: how can she help but think she loves him?

What Tolkien does with this situation is a beautiful piece of ironic satire: instead of sweeping the heroine off into the sunset as she expects, Prince Charming borrows her uncle's horse and leaves again, pausing only to brush off her most unconventional advance. Then we have the truly modern part, where she runs off to war at the instigation of her injured pride, only to find herself in the Houses of Healing, suddenly a war hero in her own right and with no need of any man to rescue her from anything. It's no coincidence that it's then, when she's won her own freedom and been tempered by sorrows more serious than that of rejection, that she finds comfort and support in a deepening friendship with another wounded hero, who has also lost a lot in the war.

I see the main message of this story as being that however badly you want something it won't always come to you, and that sometimes what we want isn't really what's good for us anyway. In the end, Aragorn's rejection works out for the best: Éowyn ends up in a social position that affords her the freedom she needs, and in a marriage of equals, where each spouse compliments and supports the other; but if she had got what she wanted, as I have said elsewhere, the results would have been disastrous; both for herself and for everyone else.

As for Tennyson's comment: it doesn't really refer to Éowyn: he was talking about a situation where two people are in love and one loses the other, whereas the Lady of Rohan never even knows the man who rejects her, and certainly has no reason to expect him to return her feelings. Even so, Tennyson's famous phrase doesn't quite ring true: perhaps to lose a loved one to death is less terrible than never to have met them, but there are other ways in which to lose that I'm not sure he had experienced. His words have a glib smugness about them that only the Victorians really mastered, but what more can we expect from the poet who wrote heroic verse about one of the greatest blunders in British military history?

[ September 04, 2002: Message edited by: Squatter of Amon Rudh ]
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Old 09-02-2002, 04:13 PM   #3
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If you lived around Grima Wormtongu, any man under 40 would have looked good.
Sory, but Aragorn was around 80 at the time! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
Seiously though, I never thought of it as love that Eowyn felt, she neve had a chance to get to know Aragorn, so the most she could have felt was a schoolgirl type crush, with little or no real emotion behind it. IMO she saw him a a noble way out of the trap that she felt her life had become. She didn't run off to war simply because he didn't love her, she did it because of her own character and courage, and desire to prove that she was as good as any man of the Rohirrim.
I'm not denying her courage or anything like that.
When she met Faramir, and got to know him, then true love blossomed, something I don't feel she ever had for Aragorn.
Besides all that, if she and Aragorn had got together, things would have turned disastrous when he finally fell off the extremely high pedestal the Eowyn had put him on. She'd have probably ended up wanting to do him in with his own sword. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 09-06-2002, 01:59 PM   #4
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Question

AH! Yes-yes...I think that what Eowyn felt was as the others have said, a crush, for she did not know Aragorn personally. However! One must remember that Aragorn is a legend of Rohan! He had been there and influenced their people. Surely, since he spoke their language, and knew their laws, he must have seemed a Lord of Rohanish ways.
Who would not be taken in by one so obviously loved and respected by all around him?
Eowyn did not know that Aragorn was engaged. If she had known this from the beginning, she would not have felt what she did. It's too bad no one told her until she was already smitten.
Would she have gone out and killed the Captain of The Nazgul without that fire in her heart? I doubt it. She might have tagged along, and if she had seen Theoden struck down, she might have fought with as much feriousity.. but...something tells me she might have stayed home if she had not met Aragorn.
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Old 09-23-2002, 04:16 AM   #5
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Silmaril

Here is Tolkien's own comment on this topic, written by him in Letter 244:
Quote:
It is possible to love more than one person (of the other sex) at the same time, but in a different mode and intensity. I do not think that Eowyn's feelings for Aragorn really changed much; and when he was revealed as so lofty a figure, in descent and office, she was able to go on loving and admiring him.
I see a tendency to restrict the use of the word 'love' in explaining her feelings, actually mitigating them by using a different, weaker word ('crush', for example) because we do not feel comfortable with the same word for various emotions. This is, in my opinion, a modern phenomenon. Earlier generations were not so hesitant to use 'love' for intensive friendships, platonic relationships etc.
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Old 09-23-2002, 04:48 AM   #6
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Sting

"The eskimos have fifty different words for "snow" because it's important to them." So as a culture, why don't we have fifty different words for "love"?

If I think of "love" as "loyalty and dedication and admiration and heartfelt affection" then I can easily see Eowyn continuing to love Aragorn; perhaps almost in the same way that she always did, for there was no intimacy nor understanding there, not in the sense that she later had with Faramir.

And, she could also have had that same "loyalty and dedication and admiration and heartfelt affection" for Faramir. It would simply have been layered, also, with intimate friendship, and the building of memories and the striving together for common goals, and the other forms (plural) of intimacy developed through time spent together in all the many and varied ways that a married couple spend time together.

I would hope that in addition to all of this, Harmony of Spirit would be included, and tenderness; those are things I consider very important to a marriage, and too often the first to fall by the wayside. When these appear external to a marriage, without being included within the marriage, that places a formidable external strain on a marriage. Since Aragorn (as we have seen) is a leader capable of great tenderness toward his subjects, Faramir has his work cut out for him. But I think he's more than up to the task.

(Sometimes I do wish that we had fifty words for love. )

[ September 23, 2002: Message edited by: mark12_30 ]
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Old 09-25-2002, 10:00 PM   #7
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Sting

Quote:
Isn’t it ironic that Éowyn fell in love hopelessly with a man whose (Elvish) name (Estel) means hope?
How clever of you to note that, dear Esty! I recall a conversation that took place in the fine city of Cologne, in the month of July about your interest in the word hope. Glad you've followed through on your research of it.


Quote:
Would she have acted differently had she been happy and content, whether in or out of love? Was it the desperation of hopeless love that gave her the recklessness to go to war as a shieldmaiden and perform her great deed?
Yes. I think Tolkien made a point of telling us that she went to war with the desire to die. Remember how she laughed in the WitchKing's face?

Quote:
Does love lift the one loving above her/himself even when s/he is not loved in return?
Yes. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] "Love lifts us up were we belong." We become warriors, heroes, Nazgul-slayers, long-distance runners.. *cough* I speak from experience.

Think about it: Aragorn himself became a better man because of his love for Arwen.

Quote:
Is there any truth to Tennyson’s statement that “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”?
Yes. Plus, it's much better than loving, not losing, yet soon realizing that the object of your affection is a bastardo.

Personal comments aside, I think Tolkien's whole point was that good eventually comes of grief. It's the message I got from the Silmarillion. Overall.
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Old 09-26-2002, 01:10 PM   #8
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"Is there any truth to Tennyson’s statement that “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”?
Yes.
Maybe, but it's definitely NOT better to have loved and gotten dumped -- trust me. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

I also don't think that Eowyn truly loved Aragorn -- in his Ranger phase Tolkien (and Aragorn himself) always refers to him as grim and worn in appearance, and this probably appealed to a shield maiden with a death wish and no father. Pesonally, I think Eowyn should have went for Hama, don't you agree, Lush ? [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]
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Old 09-26-2002, 01:33 PM   #9
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Silmaril

I think that Eowyn fell in love with the idea of Aragorn, the future king, but fell in love with Faramir as a man.

If you look at Eowyn's family background, she is sort of destined (before Aragorn's arrival) to live always behind the scenes. She couldn't go off and do great deeds herself, and though she had royal blood, she would never be a queen of Rohan or be able to do anything besides care for Theoden or her brother.

Therefore, when Aragorn arrived, she began to dream about his great deeds, and of becoming a queen. She didn't necessarily fall in love with Aragorn - she fell in love with his position and title, not to mention looks and courage.
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Old 09-26-2002, 02:35 PM   #10
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Interesting concept on the name...

I love the story of Éowyn!! Despairing existence. Aragorn. Killing the Witch-king. Healing in a remarkable way (one of my favourite chapters). Faramir.
One of the best semi-tragedies in literary history, and it occupies only a small part of the trilogy. Ah, the genius of Tolkien.
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Old 09-26-2002, 06:33 PM   #11
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1420!

Quote:
Maybe, but it's definitely NOT better to have loved and gotten dumped -- trust me.
Actually I think that Tennyson's statement is applicable to being dumped as well.

Quote:
in his Ranger phase Tolkien (and Aragorn himself) always refers to him as grim and worn in appearance, and this probably appealed to a shield maiden with a death wish and no father.
That appeals to a lot of women. It's the whole concept of the rough brooding hero with two-day stubble. I mean, just look at the Armani ads. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Quote:
Pesonally, I think Eowyn should have went for Hama, don't you agree, Lush ?
Yes. Hama was the real romantic hero of the story. Eat your heart out, Legsie!

And Elenna, there is truth in what you say.
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Old 09-27-2002, 12:02 PM   #12
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Sting

real romantic hero definitely was Sam [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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Old 09-27-2002, 12:28 PM   #13
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HerenIstarion,

That's an interesting point, that Sam was a romantic hero.

He's the one male who isn't a romanticized hunk like Aragorn and Boromir, in the movie. He doesn't have the aristocratic bloodlines of Aragorn and Faramir. He's kind of like Tom Jones (Henry Fielding's Tom Jones) without the philandering hijinks.

The dull, plodding sort, the good guy who finishes ... first. A new kind of romantic hero, since he does get the girl, and a passle of kids. He is an ancient patriarch, sort of. Frodo is the light of the world, but Sam is the salt of the earth.

Was Tolkien creating a new vision of hero?

Bethberry

PS. And, yes, Elenna, I would agree with you about Eowyn's desire for position and power rather than the man himself.

[ September 27, 2002: Message edited by: Bethberry ]
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Old 09-27-2002, 02:37 PM   #14
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Tolkien

I agree with what you all said.
It always seemed to me, that Eowyn`s feelings towards Aragorn were more a kind of hero-worship.

I also find Aragorns words at her bed in the houses of healing very touching and wise. "And yet, Eomer, I say to you that she loves you more truly than me; for you she loves and knows; but in me she loves only a shadow and a thought: a hope of glory and great deeds, and lands far from the fields of Rohan"
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Old 09-27-2002, 02:51 PM   #15
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Wonderful, Guinevere - I had forgotten that Aragorn spoke of that himself! What a perceptive man he was indeed!
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Old 09-28-2002, 06:26 AM   #16
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Bethberry,

I love the point you made about Sam.

JRRT was indeed a master at showing so many characters rise to their highest.

Sam, Merry, Frodo,Finrod even Turin in an arch-tragic way all do the best that they can in extraorcinarily difficult circumstances and we see how JRRT reveals there individualities. Only Otherland [ and Tad Williams is a huge JRRT fan] has that same large array of point-of-view characters whom we get to see come to their fulfillment as whole people.

As for Tennyson's saying. it is true in the sense that before knowing deep love, you are emotionaly stunted as a human. So even if you loose it, and do so painfully [ I speak from experience here]you will if you do not give in to lesser emotions and try and block out the feeling or run and hide , come through the ordeal as a stronger and more whole person.

my 2 cents anyway.

btw it is refreshing to see so many women posting here these days. The downs used to be pretty much a men's barrow.

[ September 28, 2002: Message edited by: lindil ]
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Old 09-28-2002, 04:12 PM   #17
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Gosh, what a time we are living in, that a lady can't fall in love without 3000 idlers discussing why she did and why she shouldn't have!

Sorry, I didn't mean it mean. I just couldn't think of any better contribution to this highly interesting thread. [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 09-28-2002, 04:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
To my mind, Éowyn's "love" for Aragorn is similar in character to Romeo's love for Rosaline
So you're saying that Eowyn is a sort of gender-role-reversed Petrarchan lover?

I never considered that Eowyn might be attracted to Aragorn solely for her own benefit. I always thought more of her than that. My initial impression was that Eowyn's love was akin to the love of Beregond for Faramir. Yes, she loved Aragorn for what he might bring into her life, but it's deeper than that. Aragorn is possessed of enormous gravity and power of will. Not only did he bend the palantir to his will, but he held the "shades of men at his back and his living followers to their road. As Legolas says in The Last Debate, "Even the shades of Men are obedient to his will!", and "In that hour I looked on Aragorn and thought how great and terrible a Lord he might have become in the strength of his will...not for naught does Mordor fear him. But nobler is his spirit than the understanding of Sauron" Of course Eowyn saw that by him she might escape, but there was a deeper love and devotion in her actions.
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:02 AM   #19
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Silmaril

I have a comparison that maybe we ALL can appreciate:

How many girls on this forum are completely in love with Orlando Bloom? And how many of those girls love him "as a person"? Sure, he's got the looks and the fame, but none of us know what he's like inside.
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:09 AM   #20
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Silmaril

I feel bad for Eowyn. My impression as I finished the book was that she seemed kinda unhappy about getting Faramir (THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!! HE'S BETTER LOOKING THAN ARAGORN ANYWAYS).
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:14 AM   #21
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Silmaril

It seemed to me like she was disappointed about "getting Faramir" at first, but then realized that deep down, she really loved him.

At least, in my own little world of happy endings, that's how it would be.
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:20 AM   #22
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Silmaril

Happy endings make me smile [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 10-05-2002, 08:58 AM   #23
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Sting

Estelyn Telcontar
I agree with your idea that past generations did use the word love more freely. Many now don't use it because it no longer means anything. I love you, I love chips, I love the TV show Friends. It’s only a word now used too lightly. I’ve had too many relationships that I’ve been told that I was loved. But my friend had never done anything to show that they felt this way. Or it was simply a lust [that they had for me] that they couldn’t find another word for. On the contrary for those, such as family, that you feel and show love for, you should tell them so. You will feel much better when they know.

mark12_30 said that love is loyalty. This is a big part of love. I know when a husband loves a wife, not because he says so but because he does every thing and anything for her. He loves his children and shows it through his deeds. I.e. when his wife is sick he drives one hundred miles away because she needs Osteridge meat, and when he returns she tells him she forgot she needed watermelon and it's December. He doesn't whine he just goes and gets it with no sine of contempt. So I to think that Eowen only felt a simple lust for adventure when she met Aragorn. I would feel the same in her situation. But I believed she loved Faramir. They helped each other heal, they had like traits that they found in their conversation, and she knew him. I did enjoy the Aragorn and Eowen chapter but I liked the chapter of Faramir and her as well.
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Old 10-06-2002, 04:32 AM   #24
charly
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What touched me so much about éoeyn´s love is how much effort she put in it. With Aragorn she connected leaving her whole miserable life behind, being herself for a change and experiencing happiness. When Aragorn didn´t return her love, éowyn decided everything she had wasn´t worth it anymore. When she rode to Minas Tirith she´d decided to die, feeling she would never feel even a glimpse of happiness again. But she did. Isn´t it ironic that Eowyn experienced love once more in the city that was Aragorn´s city, of all places? Something else: at one point, Eowyn says:
Quote:
No longer I desire to be a queen
When I came across that line, it woke somehow the impression in me, that one of Eowyn´s intrests was to be a queen =>was to rule. I´m not saying Eowyn was heartless and only intrested in power- I sure DON`T think so- but consider this: She probably never experienced anything close to what she felt for Aragorn... and now she´s maybe just trying to explain to herself what´s happening with her.
Many of you-and so did Tolkien himself- say that Eowyn didn´t love Aragorn, but the idea of being in love. I don´t really agree. I don´t think Eowyn really knew how being in love felt. She knew that there was something inside her, something new, something powerful. And because it was so new to her, she put everything into this feeling... everything she had.

[ October 06, 2002: Message edited by: charly ]
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Old 10-06-2002, 07:15 AM   #25
Eowyn of Ithilien
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I don't believe she desired to be queen in that she was going to start a search for the most eligible bachelor. She wanted to be free to live the life of a shieldmaiden not a nurse trapped by existence...this freedom was represented by the title of "queen", one who has power and free will.
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Old 10-06-2002, 08:55 AM   #26
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I quite agree with what Charly said!
Eowyn herself could of course not analyze her own feelings. For her, it was the first time she had ever felt so strongly for a man, so it was the one and only love, as she thought.

It`s interesting that Aragorn himself saw quite clearly that "in me she loves only a shadow and a thought, a hope of glory and great deeds" As Estelyn said, he`s a very perceptive man.
But Faramir is just as perceptive and has an extraordinary empathy ! He seems to understand Eowyn`s feelings better than she does herself! He sees that her love for Aragorn is a kind of hero-worsphip: "as a great captain may to a young soldier he seemed to you admirable" He doesn`t ask her to forget Aragorn: she can go on admiring him, he just makes her reognize her true feelings.
I feel that Eowyn was very lucky to "get" Faramir. (Are there any men in this real world that are like him ? He`s really an ideal!!) He had "an air of nobility such as Aragorn at times revealed, less high perhaps , yet also less incalculable and remote"
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Old 10-06-2002, 12:16 PM   #27
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Guinevere, I agree with your perception of Faramir - why aren't there men like him around anymore?

But I still don't think that Eowyn was in love with Aragorn as we would think of being in love. She loved him in the way that all the fangirls love Orlando Bloom - i.e. Wow, he's hot. I want to marry him. They don't really know Orlie, they just know what he looks like and something about his lifestyle.
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Old 10-06-2002, 01:23 PM   #28
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Is Eowyn really in love with Aragorn? and hope lessly in love?
-I agree with Elenna, Guinevere and Charly: Eowyn seeks to be someone else, and Aragorn seems to be the example she has chosen to follow.
She is impressed by him, whorships him, and has a blind -admiring amazement for the man, the heroe, the warrior, and the king representation, Aragorn is.
I have more the feeling she is willing to identify herself to Aragorn as if Aragorn was an ideals.
Her condtion as a woman and her cast in those time, won't never allowed it though.
Not beeing able to "be Aragorn", she may desire to be considered and "loved" by the man the she esteems the most.
But what she thinks it is love, might it not be confused with deep admiration?
Until she understands her owns turmoils and her right feelings, she would be miserable and hopeless.
Her misery touches me a lot as she is a valiant and beautiful personality.

Quote:
The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.
Victor Hugo
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Old 12-04-2004, 04:24 AM   #29
HerenIstarion
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I'm bringing this up, for its own sake, as well as for CbC discussion's (we are in Rohan, and soon A will meet E )

See also: Tolkien - For the love of Eowyn by Lady of Light

cheers
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