Eowyn in the Films
by Tarhiliel

Part of Parma's Middle-earth on the Big Screen

Peter Jackson had to change a lot in many characters in order to make the story work in the big screen. For example, Arwen was a more dynamic and romantic character, and her romance with Aragorn was transferred from the appendix into the actual story. Faramir had to be tempted by the one thing he would never be, and Legolas was turned into a ninja and quite gay - do what you will with that word - super elf. All of those changes were made because some characters only work in the books.

Other characters, though, are so greatly involved in the actual story, that the changes - and by changes I mean inner changes, not where the character is physically placed - were minimal. That was the case with Eowyn, the Shieldmaiden of Rohan. Being the main female character in the books left little room to play with, thankfully, and I believe that Eowyn had one of the best book to movie adaptations.

We first see her at Edoras, running to see her cousin Theodred hurt. A bit after that, Miranda Otto gives us a cold yet fragile defensive attitude towards Grima Wormtongue, leaving her to be this icy and mysterious beauty, like she is in the books. The character itself had no differences in her personality.

Some of the dialogue, though, was shifted from The Return of the King book to The Two Towers film, making her love for Aragorn seem hasty, childish, and not quite true. Also, the changes in other characters, like Arwen, made the character Eowyn seem a bit misplaced. Aragorn never says anything about Arwen to Eowyn in the books, only:

"I do not choose paths of peril, Eowyn. Were I to go where my heart dwells, far in the north I would now be wandering in the fair valley of Rivendell." (The Passing of the Grey Company)

And that is followed by, "For a while she was silent, as if pondering what this might mean," meaning Eowyn never really knew that Aragorn was taken. In the movies, though, it seems that she's pursuing her crush even though she knows Aragorn carries the Evenstar and is in love with Arwen. That makes her lose value, but again, by the changes the other characters suffered, not her own.

The glimpse we get of what Eowyn will really be is when she says she can fight, but is forbidden because she is a woman, over the excuse that for some reason she's the only person that can lead the people of Rohan to Helm's Deep. That was a good change, in my opinion, because it showed her respectful yet caged side, that she would later let go.

Less changes were made in The Return of the King, because that's when she really shines in the books. Being in the middle of the main battle helped, as she killed the most deadly enemy. Before that happened, we also saw her friendship with Merry being formed, very much like in the books. The difference is that Merry knows Dernhelm is Eowyn in the film. That would be one of the things that only worked in the book.

So while so many changes were made in Arwen, for example, to make her a main character, Eowyn, in my opinion, still manages to be the strongest female character, and that by following canon.

A change that I feel made her fight with the Witch-King even more powerful, was the shortened dialogue. While in the books we can make the climax go on during a lot of exposition and dialogue, in the movie the climax would fade away. In order for that not to happen, we have a bit more fighting and a great finish line:

[Nazgul and flying beast approach dying Theoden]

"I will kill you if you touch him!"

"Come not between the Nazgul and his prey!" ['A swift stroke she dealt, skilled and deadly. The outstretched neck she clove asunder, and the huge shape crashed to ruin, vast wings outspread, crumpled on the earth; and with its fall the shadow passed away.' The Nazgul gets his mace and tries to hit her. Her shield breaks. He grabs her by the neck.]

"You Fool! No man can kill me!"

[Merry stabs him from behind. Eowyn hits him with her sword.]

"I am no man!"

With that we have an almost perfect, and as canon as possible Eowyn of Rohan: the independent woman of the films. At the end, we see no romance between her and Faramir but a two-second glance that by those who haven't read the books can be seen as flirting, making her story with Aragorn even less meaningful.

So my final thoughts are these: She had a great book to film adaptation, and was wonderfully played by Miranda Otto. Eowyn was the strongest woman in the films, as she is in the books in my opinion, and the lack of romance made her even more so, though it made her feelings seem untrue and not finished business. After the extended edition we will see a new side of the Eowyn adaptation, which I will analyze as well.

So among Luthiens, ninja gay elves - not that I have anything against those, believe me - and Boromirs, I say that the best movie character was the one that needed no major changes at all: Eowyn.

source: http://www.parma-eruseen.net/stories/story.php?x=tar_eowyn