Eowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan
“Alone Eowyn stood before the
doors of the house at the stair’s head; the sword was set upright
before her, and her hands were laid upon the hilt. She was clad now in
mail and shone like silver in the sun……………Far over the plain Eowyn saw
the glitter of their spears, as she stood still ,alone before the doors
of the silent house.”
The Two Towers, Chapter 6, The King of the Golden Hall….
Long she stood there. The wind coming brisk from the North lifted her
hair and stirred the white skirts of her gown. She could no longer see
the departing riders, none of them.
She went into the hall and walked along the walls, gazing upon the
banners that hung there. All her life she had known these banners, she
knew the name of each king and the horse upon which he rode, knew too
of their mighty deeds. Before the banner of Eorl the Young she paused,
and her blood quickened as she recalled all that she knew of him. In
her veins ran the same fierce courage! She lifted her sword in salute,
then moved on.
Now the last rays of the setting sun shone in the window of her chamber
that looked westward, the light gilded all it touched, even Eowyn
herself where she stood and looked to the horizon. She put off the mail
shirt and laid it carefully on the chair, smiling. Though this was a
fine shirt, in her cupboard was her own, made for her, and now she drew
it forth again, unwrapping it and shaking it out. She ran her hands
over it, it was smooth as velvet, so beautifully had Master Walda made
it, cool as water to the touch.
Her maid came in, full of talk and surmise. Eowyn never gossiped with
the girl, but this day she listened in amusement as Mercia babbled on,
retailing all the tales that already flew about the town. Elves and
Dwarves and the Wizard that Theoden named Mithrandir, and then, as an
aside, some Ranger of the North. Some dark haired man roughly dressed,
with a stern face. And best of all, that Worm, sent crawling in
“All of us girls are glad he is gone, lady! And ever was he sneaking
around, watching thee. Remember thy scarf?” The girl brushed out
Eowyn’s hair and bound it up with ribbon, fastened a necklace around
her neck. “Wilt thou dine in thine own room, lady? Or in Hall?”
She had to ask twice before Eowyn answered. “Oh, in Hall, I think. Yes.
There will be some yet to dine with me, though most of the Riders are
gone.” Eowyn looked at her reflection in the glass and saw her own eyes
wide and dark, her mouth softened in a smile. Seeing the smile, she
“My lady,” Mercia said, “I think that thou art glad to have the Hall to
thyself! How long has it been since my lord the King rode out, and so
many with him?” Then her voice lowered. “They ride to war, lady? How
long will it be before we see them ride home?”
“I do not know,” Eowyn answered. She wanted to say, “Though they ride
to war, it is not a dark day, not to me! For my lord the King is
healed, and my brother is free! Though they ride to war, they ride as
befits men of the Mark.”
She took her evening meal in the Hall, sitting in her usual chair.
Though there were few to dine with her, and no talk of moment, nor
jests, nor songs, it was the merriest meal she had taken there in many
“So that Grima is gone, my lady,” old Lord Aldor said to her. “We hear
all manner of tales of his going!” He looked at her and went on, “He
was sent off with his tail between his legs, eh? Well, well, I see that
thou art not about to tell any more so I will ask instead that the wine
be sent my way.”
It was hard for Eowyn to sit in her chair in the usual way. She wished
somehow to mark this day, what Theoden would call a Red Letter Day, and
so when she was back in her own chamber she took her ring and scratched
a star into the glass of her window. Just a little star, down in one
corner. She ran her fingers over the tiny scratches. Only she would
know what it meant, and then she smiled again to think that she had
done it, for there was no manner of way she would ever forget!
Some Ranger of the North, dark haired and rough dressed with grey eyes
in a stern beautiful face. She recalled the Lord Boromir as he had
been---that was sad news among much news from Eomer, the news of
Boromir’s death. This Ranger had somewhat of Boromir’s looks, but was
more pleasing to Eowyn, had more of manliness in the way of the kind of
manliness Eowyn liked. What was this! Since when had Eowyn any notion
of manliness and liking, what had come over her?
She recalled her feeling of the night before, of having been tumbled in
white water, bruised and broken…..but bruised and broken no longer.
Healed now, as sure as Theoden. Free now, as free as Eomer. So much in
so few hours, war and life and death, all one upon the other, blows
from some mighty hammer knocking down the house of her life, some storm
blowing, tearing away the old days.
On the morrow she would ride out into the town. Heralds had already
gone out among the folk, bidding them prepare to trek to Dunharrow. It
would be Eowyn’s task to order the going, to be “as Lord to the
Eorlingas”, while Theoden and the Riders were gone. This was a task she
was more than willing to undertake, for was this not what she had been
Though she ought to have been bone weary, she was not. She felt
invigorated and strong, her body alive and aware in a new way. She
stretched and yawned, and yawned and stretched in the darkness, then
turned her face and closed her eyes. The soft linen of her pillowcase
seemed softer, and the feather quilt seemed to wrap itself about her.
The frogs were awake now, singing in the early darkness. That lovely
old sound, she thought, the frogs singing for their mates…..ever had it