Women of LotR/The Hobbit

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Noddy, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ And being a c-section baby doesn't mean you're not "of woman born", but, hey... :p
     
  2. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    So you know better than Tolkien about his intention?
     
  3. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    By saying "no living man am I" she is telling her antagonist that he does not know her, as in his foe.
     
  4. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    In the book: Without Merry having first used his blade from the Barrow-downs, which had been prepared in ancient times with spells to fight the Witch-king, Éowyn couldn't have done any damage to Witch-king.

    It went like this. She beheaded the Witch-king's steed. When the Witch-king, having gotten up, had then broken her shield and her shield arm with his mace and was preparing to kill her with a second strike, Merry struck from behind with the Barrow-blade, which dispelled the Witch-king's magic and caused him to miss. In that moment, she was able to then strike the killing blow.

    Of the Barrow-blade [The Return of the King]: "No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will."
     
  5. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm just saying I know better than Tolien. All I'm saying is that while he is a fantastic writer, this is a small bit of writing from an otherwise great work that I find insultingly stupid.
     
  6. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I think you misunderstand the meaning of 'man'. Prof Tolkein was a linguist and an expert in Old English, so he would never have made that mistake. "The race of men" means human or homo sapiens if you will. In the plural there is no gender. In the singular it is a different word.
     
  7. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, right. So she is a man in the sense that she is from the race of Men that, in turn, should not be able to kill the witch king, regardless of her gender. Like I said, I respect Tolkien, and he was a linguist, blah blah, blah and he can still write a single godawful moment just as surely as any human being can.
     
  8. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I thought it was brilliant. :shrug: My point was that it goes quite a bit deeper than simply that Éowyn could kill the Witch-king because she's a woman. My reading of it is that she was the one foretold in ancient times to kill him. No other being in all of Middle-earth was destined to do what she did, and her moment there was a part of the conjunction of magic and weaponry specifically forged over a thousand years before to fight the Witch-king. Further, it's in keeping with the themes of the book that Merry's part was quite a bit overshadowed by Éowyn's.
     
  9. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if it's part of a prophecy or something I'm fine with that.. but the implication in the text and the film is that she killed the witch king because she was woman, and that's plain asinine.
     
  10. Scroogourner

    Scroogourner Admiral Admiral

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    You're basically upset because the Witch King was killed by a loophole?
     
  11. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    That's not the implication of the text, as I have shown.
     
  12. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    How much are you prepared to propagate an untruth? She said "I am no living man" in direct response to what her adversary said. It was precise and correct. If you don't understand the language you shouldn't really make judgements about it.
     
  13. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, even in the Witch-king's taunt,

    "No living man may hinder me!"​

    man is not capitalized.

    Nor is it capitalized in Glorfindel's prophecy (RotK, App. A, page 412 my edition):

    "Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."​

    When Tolkien spoke of "Man-kind," it was capitalized, or capitalized as Men.

    My reading of this is that the Witch-king made a foolish mistake in his reading of the prophecy against him; the mistake wasn't Tolkien's (though, arguably, man might have better been rendered as Man in the Witch-king's words, if that was what the Witch-king thought).
     
  14. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    It wasn't that complicated. Nobody expected women to go into battle. Nobody. It was completely simple as in all his tricksy conundrums. Incidentally 'mankind' does not need to be capitalised to describe humans. It's a different word than the modern word 'man'. I don't understand why people are suddenly insisting that English words must have only one meaning. I refuse to listen to this refuse any more.
     
  15. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.

    I realize that, but Tolkien rendered it as "Man-kind" (cf. RotK, App. A, page 389, my edition), at least in spots.

    I'm not. :shrug:
     
  16. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I wasn't meaning you CC. However initial capitalisation is something that has been waning over time, so Tolkein would habitually have used it much more than modern orthography.
     
  17. Saito S

    Saito S Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Glad to be of service! :D

    Yeah, same. The more time went on, the more irritated I became at the fact that in fantasy (and sci-fi), for ever story centered on a woman, there are like thirty centered on a man. And the same characters keep getting recycled, too (grizzled tough-as-nails space marine, young idealistic farmboy who turns out to be the chosen one, etc). It's partly why I haven't read through a novel in ages aside from a few Trek books. The other reason being that whenever I try to read books, I can't escape the feeling that I could be spending that time writing my own instead! :lol:

    Interestingly, my frustration with the status of women as still being in the extreme minority when it comes to strong, important characters (let alone being the main protagonist) in these genres has influenced my own writing to a rather large degree. The vast majority of my story ideas have a female lead and several female characters as main supporting cast.

    I never took that as the implication in the film, and I've never heard anyone else interpret it that way either.

    What I take away from the film version isn't even that Eowyn's moment was the culmination of prophecy laid eons ago, but that the "no man can kill me" thing was never meant to be taken literally, at face-value, anyway. It was akin to a slogan for the Witch-King as one of the biggest, baddest threats the Mordor forces had at their disposal. Given his power and abilities, for any mortal being to be able to kill him is unlikely in the EXTREME, and that's really what it was: "No mortal can defeat me." It doesn't mean that - literally - if a "man" tries to kill him, the sword will just bounce off or something, but if a "non-man" does it, it will work. Seriously, how would that even make sense? Would this extend beyond man vs. woman to other races, as well? If Faramir stabbed the WK in the face, it would do nothing, because he's a "man", but if Gimli or Legolas or an Orc stabbed him, it would work because they aren't "men"? It was clearly meant to mean "I cannot be felled by mere mortal hands", and clearly meant to indicate his power over mortals, and not meant to literally mean "a man cannot kill me no matter how true he strikes, oh but a woman or another race can totally kill me."

    As for Eowyn's line: that was a bit of defiance, a hotheaded declaration made in the heat of the moment. Nothing more.
     
  18. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I think you missed the completely simple plot device just as much as FSM.
     
  19. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    And in fact, the Witch-king was also harmed by Merry, who was not a man.

    Prophecy. Whatchagonnado?
     
  20. Saito S

    Saito S Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you say so. What I described with the whole "no mortal can defeat me" bit was how it came across to me in the movies - specifically, interpreting the events of the movies using nothing but the movies, and ignoring the books, which was what I was getting at. The last parts of my post were mainly just there as a response to what FSM said.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013