All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honour, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death.
The issue of female characters is an interesting one. Tolkien’s works contain plenty of strong, female characters – the Valar are both male and female, Galadriel bears one of the three Elvish rings of power, and Goldberry is an astonishing equal partner to the one being who is able to resist the power of the Ring, Tom Bombadil; and that’s before we even mention Éowyn. Bilbo himself derives much of his strength of character from his mother’s side of the family. For all that Tolkien does not have women make part of the actual questing group (in either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings), it would be untrue to say that he, as a writer, is dismissive of the ‘fair sex’. Nonetheless, it is true that The Hobbit lacks any female character who plays a role of any real kind (stealing silver spoons doesn’t count); the movie makers have sought to address this by creating Tauriel. Why should this be an issue? There are many ‘unseen’ beings in Tolkien’s writings; we know that dwarf women exist, but they do not appear as part of the plot. Their presence is understood but not explicit – just as we can reasonably assume that Legolas would be in his father’s realm, even if he is not named in The Hobbit. Likewise, it stands to reason that there must be many female elves besides Galadriel, Arwen and the few others whose names we learn. As Tolkien has created a fully rounded world, we should surely accept that it is populated with beings, some of whom we do not meet in the limited lines of his texts. Isn’t adding a character a compliment to the comprehensiveness of Middle-earth, rather than an outrage against its original creator? And is it possible that some fans wouldn’t feel quite such outrage if the new character were male?
Greendragon, staffer for TheOneRing.net in this article about female characters, purists and Tauriel haters (via f-ili)
How many times am I allowed to reblog this before it gets weird?
Fun facts: Tolkien constructed this scene because he came out of Macbeth thinking that Shakespeare had missed a golden opportunity with the ”Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” prophecy
Being letdown by Macbeth is apparently a significant factor in Tolkien’s writing because the Ent/Huorn attack on Isengard was the result of his disappointment that the whole “til Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane” thing was just some dudes holding sticks and not actual ambulatory trees.
I love Macbeth as much as the next Shakesperean, but I gotta admit, Tolkein’s revisions are awesome.
Remember that time Gandalf convinced the whole party to flee so that he could take out the Balrog and not have to share any of the XP? Shows up the next session with fancy new robes and everything. What a jerk.