35 The marriage is approved 33 Tolkien The Legend of Sigurd and Gudr\u00fan 139 34

35 the marriage is approved 33 tolkien the legend of

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35 The marriage is approved 33 Tolkien, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, 139. 34 Ibid., 121. 35 Some readers do not see this as a particularly happy or empowering trajectory for Éowyn, critiquing it as anti-feminist. See, for example, William Henry Harrison, Éowyn the Unintended: The Caged Feminine and Gendered Space in The Lord of the Rings (University of British Columbia, Master’s Thesis, 2013). However, it is notable that some male characters in The Lord of the Rings follow a similar path. Samwise Gamgee, for example, takes up the sword for the quest but gladly lays it down to return to the Shire, marry Rosie Cotton, and restore his own land to the state of a garden with the help of the gift of Galadriel: a box of good earth from Lothlórien. 11 Beal: Tolkien and Eucatastrophe Published by ValpoScholar, 2017
and blessed (not forced or finagled) by King Aragorn, and Éowyn dwells in Ithilien with Faramir happily thereafter. It is notable that Tolkien wrote that, of all his characters, he felt himself to be like Faramir. 36 Indeed, Tolkien and Faramir were both steadfast soldiers in long, dark wars who sought to use wise judgment in the hard choices they faced; other parallels in their characters could be enumerated. 37 This being so, it is natural to wonder if Faramir’s relationship to his beloved Éowyn is in some way like Tolkien’s relationship to his beloved Edith. It would seem that Tolkien transformed Brynhild’s tragic fate to Eowyn’s happy ending, emphasizing the eucatas trophic joy of healing after a terrible experience of battle with a demonic power. Ennobling Éowyn’s character so that she chooses a good marriage to a man who loves her, rather than insisting out of pride on a match to a man famous for his greatness, fits with Tolkien’s implied ideal behind all eucatastrophe: that honorable character, despite all intervening suffering, will eventually result in a good destiny. Conclusions J.R.R. Tolkien’s principle of eucatastrophe led him to transform medieval legends when he incorporated them into his own tales, poems, and larger legendarium. He re-created a folktale version of Beowulf in “Sellic Spell,” and he specifically rewrote the ending to emphasize the joy of marriage. He re-envisioned the myth of Narcissus and the dream vision Pearl in “Princess Mee” to reveal the joy of healthy self-love and the acceptable, fulfilling gaze of the lover upon the beloved. He re- imagined the fate of Brynhild in the character of Éowyn, doing away with the tragedy of a lover’s murder and the beloved’s suicide in favor of a shield - maiden’s physical and psychological healing from a wraith’s demonic attack on her life. In For discussion of male and female roles in Middle-earth, see chap. 12 “Tolkien and Feminist Criticism” in Lisa Coutras, Tolkien's Theology of Beauty: Majesty, Splendor, and Transcendance in Middle-earth (London and New York, N.Y.: Palgrave MacMillian, 2016), 187-215. For additional insight, see Melissa Smith, “ At Ho me and Abroad: Eowyn’ s Two-Fold Figuring as War Bride in The Lord of the Rings ,” Mythlore 26 no. 1-2 (2007): 161ff, which is reprinted as chap. 10

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