I would just like to take a moment to talk about my favourite fictional couple.
I’m not usually a huge fan of romance in fantasy literature (or in real life, for that matter…). But I always make an exception for Eowyn and Faramir.
First of all, I love, love, love both of them individually. Faramir is the captain of Gondor’s armies who brought us this quote: “I do not love the sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” He also resists the call of the Ring better than any other Man in the book (except possibly Aragorn). And Eowyn is a wonderfully complicated character who manages to rule Rohan for a while and eventually kill the Witch King, despite the enormous tragedy that is her entire life.
And they’re perfect for each other. They’re both warriors by necessity, but not by nature; they’re both overlooked and often unloved younger siblings; and despite all their problems, they both chose to fight for Middle Earth rather than wallowing in self-pity. And by the end of The Return of the King, they’ve both lost just about everything. So it’s fitting that they meet and fall in love in a chapter called “The Houses of Healing.” I’ve hardly ever read a romance where the two players needed each other so badly.
Eowyn and Faramir are, in a way, the reason I got into The Lord of the Rings in the first place. When I was little, I listened to a dramatized radio production of the story. I had no idea what was going on most of the time (it was abridged), but there were two images that stuck with me: the Black Riders, which terrified me to no end; and the image of a man and a woman standing together on a castle wall, with their blonde and black hair flowing in the wind. Those two images made me want to read the book for real (though the release of the movies also helped). When I finally did read the book, a year or two later, I found that the latter image was a description of Eowyn and Faramir.
And it’s from this passage, which is one of the most beautiful in the entire book:
“And Eowyn looked at Faramir long and steadily; and Faramir said: ‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! 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. Eowyn, do you not love me?’
Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.
‘I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,’ she said; ‘and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.’ And again she looked at Faramir. ‘No longer do I desire to be a queen,’ she said.
Then Faramir laughed merrily. ‘That is well,’ he said; ‘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.’
‘Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?’ she said. ‘And would you have you proud folk say to you: “There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?” ‘
‘I would,’ said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing.
And to the Warden of the Houses Faramir said: ‘Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed.'”
In fangirl terms: I just CAN’T with this scene! It’s too gorgeous! Augh! *dies*
I can’t believe people still read Twilight.