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November 20, 2013

middle-earth challenge - days 18 to 20


{30 Day Middle-earth Challenge at Lianne Taimenlore & The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls}

Day 18, being favourite female character.  This is a fairly easy one (for a change).  Not because Middle-earth suffers from a terrible lack of women - although you definitely don't find an over-abundance of them in LOTR (I think there are something like 6, and only 50% of them are interesting), and are there even any in The Hobbit?  I'm suddenly a lot more enthusiastic about Tauriel.  

But The Silmarillion has a fair few admirable and fascinating girls.  You have the Valier, for starters.  Varda, Yavanna, Nienna, and so on - all queenly and no less powerful than their male counterparts.  Varda, at the beginningof the book, was the one person in the whole of Arda whom Morgoth feared.  Yeah.  She's cool.  
And then you have ladies like Nerdanel the wise, wife of Fëanor, adventurous but level headed, and an incredibly skilled artist; bold and fearless (though perhaps not over-wise) Aredhel Ar-Feiniel; Idris of Gondolin, whose foresight and intelligence saved a lot of her people; Haleth, who led and defended her people in battle against an army of orcs; and of course Lúthien, who defeated Sauron and destroyed his stronghold (it wasn't Morder, but she did simply walk in.  Actually, she rode an immortal giant talking hound named Huan, who was really, really, really awesome, but you get my point.), told Carcharoch, the most fearsome werewolf ever, to take a nap (which it did), and out-smarted Morgoth, who, in case you didn't know, was much worse than Sauron.  Sauron was only his flying monkey.  Then managed to move the unmovable Mandos, Lord of the Dead, to pity.  She.  Is.  Awesome. 

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 Not to mention Galadriel, and Arwen, who, despite not doing a whole lot in the books, I have no doubt is as fantastic as any of the previously mentioned women.

But I did say this was a (somewhat) easy question, didn't I?

White Lady of Rohan by liga-marta
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For me, it's always been Éowyn.  When I was a kid, it was because she rode off to battle and defeated the Witch King.  Now, I see she's much more than that.  She's emotionally complex, full of layers and flaws, and fascinating far beyond the fact she can wield a blade with formidable skill.  
Lúthien is a close second, but I find Éowyn a bit more interesting as a character.  
Her motives for her heroics, for instance, are more to prevent herself from being useless and to find an escape from the stifling duty and tradition she feels so caged in by, to live her life as she will    than to prove a point of her capabilities in weaponry and her bravery to everyone ("everyone" meaning anyone who's male) on account of her being female.  

It's a theme you see quite often nowadays.  "I can do it I'm just as well as you I AM FEMALE now watch me seductively conquer the world because men are actually really useless and don't understand that I'm good for more than knitting their socks."  

Now don't get me wrong - the weapon-wielding, fighter-type female characters are generally the ones that appeal to me most.  Sister Suffragete, and all that.  But when they make the fact that they're a woman a big fat deal, it begins to get a bit annoying.  You know what I'm saying?  I'm not sure if I'm saying it right.  
Eowyn and the nazgul 2 by moonxels
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That's what I love about Tolkien's female characters.  They're all just as capable and strong as their brothers, but they're cool about it.  There's nary a simpering and wimpey princess Buttercup among them, but they don't shove it your face like the fact that they're awesome as heck needs to acknowledged by all those of the male sex.  Nor do they try to turn themselves into guys.  They're women - fiercely awesome women, powerful as tigers - and they're okay with that

 But then again, it also helps when the male characters aren't idiots who'd judge a girl based on the fact that she's girl.  Girls aren't the only ones who make a big deal out of the fact that they're girls.  

Day 19, being least favourite character.  People always call Odin the worst father in fiction, but Denethor sits in that seat quite comfortably, I'd have said.  But really - what a jerk!  Every time he opens his mouth, he manages to make me want to whack him in face with my wizard's staff.  Fortunately, Gandalf does it for me.  
Come to think of it though, Fëanor makes me feel the same way.  And although he may have been a better father (weeell...more or less), he did manage to shame and exile an entire race and get himself hated by everyone (except maybe his sons.  Some of them, anyway.  I hardly think Maedhros was thinking happy thoughts about him when he was hanging off Thangorodrim).  

So now I'm not so sure.  Dang it.

Day 20, being scariest moment.  Hmm.  I do tend to hold my breath every time that Nazgûl is standing over the hobbits' hiding spot under that tree root.  And I do jump a little every time I see Bilbo go all possessed-like.  


Oh, and the drumming in Moria, and we all scream "FOOL OF A TOOK!!!!"

There.  Now I'm all caught up.  

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