Anyone who has seen or read The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit would agree that there is a lack of female characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. There’s a reason for this. Tolkien grew up during the Victorian era, fought in World War I, and became a scholar and professor in Oxford. Unlike today, women at that time were relegated as homemakers while men “made things happen”.
However, numbers don’t necessarily count for importance when we look at the bigger picture. Though few, Tolkien’s female characters are as varied and powerful as his male characters. Below are three of the most compelling women in Middle Earth:
Galadriel, the Lady of Lothlorien, rules the The Golden Wood alongside her husband Lord Celeborn. She is admired by hobbits, dwarves, and men alike. Aside from being one of the strongest and oldest creatures in Middle Earth, Galadriel is also described as one of the most beautiful. Galadriel is also the keeper of one of the Elvish Rings of Power – Nenya, the Ring of Water.
The role of Galadriel in the film adaptations was played by Cate Blanchett. In the films Galadriel is capable of communicating with other characters with her mind, and is able to understand them on a much deeper level as a result. True to her roots as an elf, Galadriel watches events from afar and helps fight evil in her own way.
Eowyn is the niece of Theoden, the king of Rohan. She is a noblewoman who’s expected to be demure and passive but Eowyn proves that she is a strong ruler and warrior. Her character shines because she doesn’t let anyone dictate her destiny. When told to stay home in safety, Eowyn dresses as a soldier and helps fight in battle. She is probably best known for proclaiming "I am no man" immediately before she slays the Witch King of the Nazgul. The role of Eowyn is played by Miranda Otto in the films.
Arwen is a female elf who was a marginal character in Tolkien’s written works but appeared as a major character in the film adaptations. In the Peter Jackson movies, the role of Arwen is played by Liv Tyler. She is given more narrative, a love interest, and she plays a role in saving the hobbits and Aragorn. What makes Arwen interesting is the fact that she gave up family and immortality in order to save Middle-earth from the threat of Sauron, the Dark Lord.
Who is your favorite female literary character? Share your thoughts and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @iamclaireph.