LOTR » Humans » Northmen » Rohirrim

“I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.”

Eowyn, Shield-maiden by Kim Kincaid
Eowyn, Shield-maiden by Kim Kincaid

Éowyn “One Who Delights in Horses”
also called the White Lady of Rohan and the Shield-maiden of Rohan, she was the beautiful and golden-haired niece of King Théoden and sister of Éomer. She was born in 2995 Third Age, her mother Théodwyn and her father Éomund both died when she was an infant and so she and Éomer were adopted by their uncle Théoden. Éowyn was described as being “stern as steel, a daughter of kings”. She was raised in the land of horses and warriors, therefore, she became an excellent rider and fighter, being skilled with the blade.

During the War of the Ring, Éowyn became very concerned for her uncle, who was under the influence of Saruman and Wormtongue. After Théoden was broken from the spell by Gandalf the White, he and Éomer left to fight at Helm’s Deep. Éowyn ruled Rohan in his place because the people loved her. However, Éowyn felt like she was always left behind and wanted the chance of doing great deeds. She also fell in love with Aragorn, and was grieved when she found out he was attempting the “Paths of the Dead”. Éowyn knew she could never have his love and seemed to give up hope. In fact, Merry said he saw in the eyes of Dernhelm as “one without hope who goes in search of death.” Upset that she was always left behind from battles, Éowyn disguised herself as a man (alias Dernhelm, old english for ‘secret helmet’) and secretly took Merry with her. Merry, at this time, did not know it was Éowyn.

Eowyn vs the Witch-King by David Demaret
Eowyn vs the Witch-King by David Demaret

They fought with the Rohirrim at Pelennor Fields and achieved the greatest fame of any warrior and did what no man could do. When met with the Witch-King, Éowyn said, “Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!” A cold voice answered, “Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn…” A sword rang as it was drawn. “Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.” [said Éowyn] “Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!” [said the Witch-King] “No living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.” She slew the winged-beast of the Witch-King but he struck back and shattered her shield and broke her arm. Merry then stabbed the Witch-king from behind, killing him. Éowyn then slew the Witch-king but fainted because she was stricken with the poison “Black Breath” of the Ringwraith. Her shield-arm was also broken by the mace of the Witch-King, but the words of Glorfindel’s prohecy came true, that no man would slay the Witch-king. Afterwards in Rohan, Éowyn was known as the Lady of the Shield-arm.

After King Théoden died, Éomer discovered his sister on the battlefield and stood as if pierced by the heart. He had no idea how she had come there and thought she was dead. However, since she was stricken with the “Black Breath”, it only seemed as if she were dead. But Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth saw her and said she still lived. She was brought out of this poisoned sleep by Aragorn using the magical herb Athelas. While recovering from her sickness, Éowyn befriended Faramir (who also was recovering) and he fell in love with her. They spent much time together, walking around the Houses of Healing and talking with each other. Faramir saw that her loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart and was impressed by her deeds in battle. Éowyn’s infatuation with Aragorn finally ended, and Éowyn and Faramir were married in 3019. Faramir became the Prince and Guard of Ithilien, and Éowyn was then known as the Lady of Ithilien. There they lived together in Emyn Arnen for many years and had a son named Elboron and a grandson named Barahir.

Éowyn & Faramir Quotes from “The Steward and the King” chapter.

» “It is not lack of care that grieves me. No houses could be fairer, for those who desire to be healed. But I cannot lie in sloth, idle, caged. I looked for death in battle. But I have not died, and battle still goes on.” — Éowyn

» “I wish to ride to war like my brother, Éomer, or better like Théoden the king, for he died and has both honor and peace.” — Éowyn

» “If you will stay in this house in our care, lady, and take your rest, then you shall walk in this garden in the sun, as you will; and you shall look east, whither all our hopes have gone. It would ease my care, if you would speak to me, or walk at whiles with me.” — Faramir

» “Then, Éowyn of Rohan, I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither maiden nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back.” — Faramir

» “Shadow lies on my still. Look not to me for healing! I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle. ” — Éowyn

» “Éowyn, Éowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!” — Faramir

» “Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Éowyn! But I do not offer you my pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the Elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrowless, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Éowyn, do you not love me?” — Faramir

» “That is well, for I am not a king. Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will. And if she will, then let us cross the River and in happier days let us dwell in fair Ithilien and there make a garden. All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.” — Faramir

» “Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor? And would you have your proud folk say of you: “There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Númenor to choose?” — Éowyn

In the Houses of Healing by Anke Eissmann

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