Éowyn and Éomer's relationship

Eomer and Eowyn

Jai's view

Foremost, I think their relationship is one borne of strife. Life in Rohan, even for those of royal birth, was quite harsh, and the deaths of their parents must have been a horrible blow to them. It seems that both Éowyn and Éomer loved their uncle dearly as well, but then he was also taken from them by Wormtongue.

In such a world, in essence Éowyn and Éomer could only count on each other. Growing up, I would wager they did quite a bit, until duty called Éomer out into the field, leaving a resentful Éowyn to stay and care for her dotard uncle. This creates a temporary rift between them, but at the same time it is held together by their love for one another -- Éowyn would not suffer such frustrating indignities for anyone else.

Éomer does his best to do what he believes is his duty to protect Éowyn by asking her to stay away from the fighting when the Rohirrim are mustered, but Éowyn feels it is her duty to ride with her brother, even if it is in disguise, so she rides with him anyhow. Despite going against each other's wishes, they are still both trying to do what they think is best for the other, which has always been their motivation -- for that and the good of Rohan, of course.

The most telling scene in the books as far as the relationship between Éowyn and Éomer goes is when Éomer finds her gravely wounded after her battle with the Witch King. He did not know she was even at the battlefield, and he is beside himself with grief when he thinks she is dead. He pleads with Aragorn to heal her, and stays faithfully by her side, even calling her back when Aragorn asks him to -- Aragorn can see the love and the bond they share, and knew that she loved none more than she loved her brother, despite her obvious attraction to Aragorn.

In my opinion, Éowyn loves Aragorn because he is so much like her brother Éomer: Aragorn all but tells Éomer this in the Houses of Healing. In the end, she settles for what she can get, because she cannot wed her brother, and she cannot have Aragorn for he is promised to another, so she weds Faramir, a noble man much of the same stuff as both of the others.

© Jai 2005

Nukapei's view

Here's my opinion:

I don't think Éowyn wants to wed Aragorn because she sees him as another version of Éomer -- or, at least that's not the primary reason. I think Éowyn likes Aragorn because she sees him as her "meal ticket" out -- of Rohan, and a "cage" she sees herself as in. Éowyn is a warrior at heart -- she wants to protect her people and to do what she sees as her duty. Rohan tradition doesn't allow her to do this, so she feels "caged," locked in by tradition telling her what she can do and can't do due to her gender. She hates this, so when she finds Aragorn, she thinks wedding him would get her out of this situation. Plus, he's an honorable man; and, yes, reminds her of her brother! :) They say a girl will marry someone who reminds her of her father; in the absence of a father-figure, perhaps a brother will do just as well!

However, she doesn't really love Aragorn. He knows this (and loves Arwen, anyway), and so rejects her advances. (Even though the movie makes it look like he encourages it at first, ugh!) Afterward, she meets Faramir in the midst of her grief. Éowyn's life is crumbling around her -- her beloved uncle came back to her only to die not long after, her advances to Aragorn have been rejected, and she's miserable -- so I also think she went to battle to die as well, a kind of honorable suicide. When this didn't work, it only frustrates her further, until she meets Faramir. At first he's just a fellow patient in the House of Healing, but then he falls in love with her. I honestly think she in turn falls in love with him. Without realizing it, she has stumbled upon another "meal ticket" -- and this one is so much better because she loves him! They would have had a happier life, anyway -- both she and Aragorn have a very aggressive personality, so probably would have ended up hating each other. Faramir is much gentler, and Éowyn finds happiness with him.

© Nukapei 2005

Rosalee Adams's view

The relationship they had first of all was pure. It was one of two inseparable souls. I witnessed this same sort of relationship between my dear mother and the brother who was closest to her in age. When they were younger they were inseparable. They went skiing together. They went mountain climbing together. Nobody believed they were brother and sister. When he died, a part of her died with him. I also felt like I had lost a part of me.

It is just like this for Éowyn and her brother. From the first time we see them in The Two Towers, I am struck by this unique binding of their souls. And I was just devastated when he finds her on the battlefield. Aragorn is standing on the battlefield and he suddenly hears this agonizing scream from the heart; when he looks up he sees Éomer as he finds his dear sister. I sat there in the theater and cried so hard that I thought I would not be able to stop. And I was NOT the only one who was doing it.

© Rosalee Adams 2005

Taerwen's view

The relationship between Eowyn and Eomer is a model example of sibling love. I have an older brother who looks out for me, so I love the relationship between these two. Eowyn is similar to many women in today's world, wanting to make a difference| show that women can equal men, even on the battlefield. Eomer is always there to remind her that though she can't truly change her role as a woman, she can still be a hero in her own way.

The bond between Eomer and Eowyn is especially evident in the book when, after Gandalf mentions Grima Wormtongue's reasons for joining Saruman, Eomer grips his sword hilt and states that he would have killed Grima just for eyeing his sister. His protective nature towards her stems from the role he took as caretaker. He's always been the older brother, always watching out for his sister.

Another instance is when he sees Eowyn lying motionless on the battlefield. His reaction of rage and almost hopeless anguish shows that he feels he has lost everything. He thinks Eowyn is dead, and he loses his reason in his grief. I was glad they had the beautiful scene in the movie where Eomer runs to Eowyn with a cry of grief, and when he is constantly hovering over her in the Houses of Healing. It really reveals to those who haven't read the book that Eowyn is a major part of Eomer, and if he loses her, he loses part of himself, which is one of the reasons he discourages her from her desire to fight. He doesn't want to lose her.

© Taerwen 2007

Taerwen was kind enough to send me this image, which really says it all.

What's your take on the relationship between Éowyn and Éomer? Email me with your thoughts and I'll post them!


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