Fascinating discussion of Lord of the Rings:
But whatever it is, it seems to whisper of the sovereignty of mercy above that of legal decree. It shows us a world in which penalties of death are declared, but are then abrogated by the wise and kind.
And on this theme, Laura reminds me of the classic essay, Frodo didn’t fail
I think Jacobs has the right of it where he stakes a claim, but there’s much else in Roberts’ pieces. Including this marvelous merger of Eowyn’s speech at Pelennor and the Gettysburg address.
It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. ‘But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Eowyn I am, Eomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. That &c. &c.’
Roberts prefers the punchier movie version, “I am no man”. Fair enough! But in musing on that I found a fantastic 2015 essay by Mary Huening, ’“I am no man” doesn’t cut it’ that lays out precisely what we lose about Eowyn in the movies.