Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 44 of Feminist Joys: Mending Stories We Love -- the Lord of the Rings

More of Inky's fabulous writing: this amazing piece about Eowyn.
You are seven when you watch your mother wither away with grief.
You run out into the fields the day she dies. They let you go, knowing you will not go far, not good Eowyn, not the obedient second child of Eomund and Theodwyn. They think you are crying, and maybe you are, but mostly you are smiting the ground with your feet and slashing your hands at the gently waving stalks of grass.
You smite the ground. You must wonder, with the memories of your father’s war stories still ringing in your tiny ears. You must wonder, with the adrenaline still high in your veins from a pretend sword fight with your brother in the stables that morning, the adrenaline now warring with grief. You must wonder how a woman of a house so very brave could wither like an ailing flower.
You swear you will never make such useless choices.
And inspired by her, I wrote my own fan fiction. When I watched the movies again last year, I smelled a strong whiff of class prejudice in the way Boromir was treated.

It is so easy for them to sit and talk about taking the ring into Mordor. They have no idea, none, of how powerful the enemy is. Our men and women have dealt with him and his armies for long years. The unprovoked raids onto our territory. The cruel bloodthirsty orcs tearing our comrades apart limb from limb, or digging teeth into their flesh. The sudden appearance of an nazgul in the sky, with harsh screams that strike fear into the hearts of the bravest among us. And afterward, afterward... Having to tell a mother that her son wasn't coming home, though you did. Having another soldier step up to fill the place of the one who was lost. Making strategies for how we could hold our ground in the next battle, knowing full well that it is only a matter of time, as the enemy grows stronger and we grow weaker. Wishing we had the strength to storm their fortress, to stop them once and for all. 
Do they think we wouldn't have gone into Mordor if we could? 
It doesn't matter that I know more about this than anyone else. I am too strong, and I am not one of them. I am not an Elf, or a King. I am but a leader of soldiers, a general who can fight. I am but the son of a Steward. 

And I wrote this for Faramir, living in the shadow of an abusive father:

Your greatest fault, he told me one day, is that you try too hard to please others. Especially our father. Do what you would, Faramir, and he will come around. Don't circumscribe your life for him.

But Boromir is gone now, and there is no one to comfort me, no one to praise me. No one to intercede between me and my father. I think of living in that long hall for the rest of my father's years, in uncompanionable silence punctuated by muttered reproofs, with resentment hanging over the walls. It's not just my father who wishes I had gone in my brother's stead, that he had lived and I had died. I do too.

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