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New Beginnings

Eowyn: Heroin of "Lord of the Rings"

Some of my favorite books are in J.R.R Tolkien's trilogy The Lord of the Rings.  It never ceases to amaze me how imaginative Tolkien was with his creation of Middle Earth, up to every minute detail.  Matt and I greatly enjoy the screen version as well, and every now and then crave a viewing, like this past week.  There are a few characters that draw me in the most, either by touching a part of my soul that makes me aspire to be like that character, tug at the romantic in me, or stir in me a zeal for righteousness:  loyal Samwise; agile, watchful, and discerning Legolas; and strong, humble, brave, and very handsome, Aragorn. 

Today we watched the third movie, The Return of the King, my most favorite.  The more I watch the film, I am struck by a very unassuming, yet very noble, character:  Eowyn, niece of King Theoden.  We meet Eowyn in the second part of The Lord of the Rings. This is how Tolkien describes her: “Grave and thoughtful was her glance, as she looked on the king with cool pity in her eyes. Very fair was her face, and her long hair was like a river of gold. Slender and tall she was in her white robe girt with silver; but strong she seemed and stern as steel, a daughter of kings.” 

When the time came for Theoden to organize a campaign to Helm's deep, he chose Eowyn to be in charge of those left behind.  “She is fearless and high-hearted. All love her. Let her be as lord to the Eorlingas, while we are gone,” said Hama, the chief guard of Theoden.  But Eowyn could not do nothing at all; even though a fair maiden, she was a true warrior at heart.  She said, “I am not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death. But I do fear to stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”

King Theoden and Aragorn forbade her to enter into battle despite her numerous pleas to fight alongside those she loved.  Against their will, Eowyn, under the disguise of a man named Dernhelm, rode into battle sneaking the hobbit, Merry, on horseback.  As she faced the Nazgul Lord, he boasted, "no living man may hinder me."  Despite the horrific and formidable Nazgul Lord, she stood her ground, despite being wide-eyed with fear, in an act of bravery and strength I wish I had.  I would have turn and run!  Eowyn then removed her helmet, exposing her long, blonde hair and declared, "No living man am I!  You look upon a woman."  As she protected the fallen Theoden, defending his honor, she courageously defeated the Nazgul Lord with the stroke of her sword.  Although injured to the point of near death, she lived at the healing touch of Aragorn.

Eowyn, so gentle of a caretaker, is really a strikingly brave heroin, standing strong and faithful before a terrifying enemy.  Honestly, everything in me would want to run, to turn around and escape the fear of injury or death.  I'd freeze in the moment of intimidation.  What makes someone strong like that?  Is it something that builds over time or like grace given in a moment of need?  I'm not sure, but I know this:  I'd like some more of it. 


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