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A woman's history of the world
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A woman's history of the world

Sister-daughter (Théoden)

Are you there, beloved sister, are you there? I see you sometimes, from the corner of my eye, wandering these halls, but pale and cold and silent. It is long now since we danced through Edoras till dawn, and they say that you are gone, long gone. Who is this then that haunts these halls, so pale and cold and silent? Who, sister, if not you? They say that you are gone, long gone, a grief that should have faded with spring flowers. And yet she walks these halls, she haunts them. Who is she, sister, if not your shade?

House of lamentation (Théodred)

The night before I left for the Fords I went in search of her through the darkening hall. Long I sought her, and at times it seemed that I could hear her quick footsteps ahead, but, turning a corner, found her already gone. Like a maze this hall has seemed of late, and I come daily to think there is no way out. Save one.

There she is, now! Quickly, I give chase. Before her pale figure can slip away again, I call, “Cousin!” And she stops and turns, and I hold her – dear sister! – and I promise better days.

Touched by frost (Gríma)

Does it sicken you, lady, to see what I see? Your uncle demented, your brother a fool? Do you brood on it, lady, throughout darkening nights; in the cold, by yourself, do you curse fate and flesh that trammels you so? I would guess that you long to see new better days, that unsleeping you pray this disease will soon end. And my prayer is yours, lady! My hopes mirror yours! – I would see this place ordered, and bettered, and cleansed. We are more alike, lady, than you care to admit. And one day I shall make you my queen.

The ill chances of the world (Aragorn)

And what would I say, lady, should I come at last to the end of the path that I must now follow, and see your uncle and your brother again? How would I say that I took you into danger? That I led you towards death? Not your sadness, lady, nor my own shame can persuade me, though my heart hangs heavy in my breast.

Our fates are set and I cannot divert them. Fair lady of sorrows, you must stay. Duty demands sacrifices of us all. Your home is here. You have no place or purpose in the south.

No living man (Merry)

Éowyn! You must not die, not one so fair! You must not die still desperate! Éowyn, so brave, so fair – a better day is coming, I am sure! You must not blench now, you must not fail, though the black breath blows and the Rider and its monstrous steed bear down upon us – Éowyn! The winged beast is dead, but the Black Rider comes like a cloud, like despair, like death. I will help you! I must – and my northern blade is true.

Éowyn! Strike now! End this terror! And then live, fair lady, live the life that you desire...

Bitter watch (Éomer)

In my memory, sister, you are so small; small and fierce and silent. Together we stand, waiting for our uncle, and I ache for you and grip your hand. You whisper to me, “Fear not, brother. I am at your side.”

Duty sent me to the marches; duty kept you to the hall. And when I rode, I would keep the last image of you in mind – standing on the threshold, tall and fierce and silent, indomitable, proud keeper of the hall.

Ah Éowyn – how did I lose sight of you? Why did I not see how you had changed?

Daughter of kings (Gandalf)

And how will they sing your song in the end, I wonder? Will they recall the long years of dutiful waiting, watching a loved old man fall, and without the chance of aiding him? Will they guess how grim the nights could be, the walls pressing, the key turned, all hope of a future locked away? Will they hear your footsteps pacing your prison; will they listen to how you cried out, to what you cried out – and try to understand? Or will they seek to blame?

Will they forgive you, Éowyn, honour you? Or will they only ever judge?

The speech of living men (Faramir)

Fair lady, if I but had the words to capture it, I would sing to the world your worth. Your fortitude through those long years alone in that darkening hall. Your steel in rejecting your cage, in resisting all the petty tyrannies and cruel restraints that men had put upon you and called duty. Your valour in the great battle of our time. And, at last, your courage, when you turned from the Shadow to the sunlight, risking joy.

“No longer do I desire to be a queen,” you said. Most happily, I think. For I am not a king.

Sunlit sky (Théodwyn)

And what would I give you – little girl, little queen – if everything in this wide world was mine to give you? I would give you stars, to set a crown upon your beauty. I would give you sunlight, to warm you and to bless you. I would give you strength, for the battles ahead will require from you all the courage that men must show, and more besides. I would give you steel to forge your own way. I give you love already; I would add life and joy and voice. And I would not demand you be a sacrifice.


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