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Why is it that Tolkien didn't write about women (as much) in LOTR or The Hobbit

Women do enjoy Tolkiens work. I have heard that there are even some men nowerdays who think Tolkien is only for men !!!! :o

Can anyone give me some answers??
Well, in LOTR at least some important characters are women (Galadriel, Éowyn, and to a lesser extent Arwen).

Maybe he never wrote about women much, because he wanted to trigger Marion Zimmer Bradley into writing the Mists of Avalon.

Or maybe Tolkien's Middle-earth is just a place where it was not accustomed for women to go on adventures; instead, they were expected to stay at home with the husband and children.

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Or maybe Tolkien's Middle-earth is just a place where it was not accustomed for women to go on adventures; instead, they were expected to stay at home with the husband and children.


hmmmm!!! :o/
You have to think, Tolkien had based some of his ideas on the world war, the dead marshes were based on the trenches, during the war the only people that really fought in battle were men, and the women had stayed behind to 'welcome them home' and help out with the survival of the country, (red cross) and also to mind the kiddies Smile Smilie Similar to Lord of the Rings the men fought in battle and the women stayed behind and helped with other things and to 'welcome them home'. The times that Tolkien lived in were alot different then than what they are like now, ways have changed thats why we find it difficult to agree with some of the ways that things were run back then.
Yes and you will have to remember that when Tolkien was a young man, women didn't even have the vote and look at the shape of the world now that they do. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
oooh that was different from you, a difference from the nice guy that you are Orc Smiling Smilie
Oh Grondy you don't really mean that do you?? :-0

Thanks Elessar - what you said does make sence.

When I tell people I like Tolkien's work they think I'm strange, I have been told "but that's a man's book"!! But....you like what you like....
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Oh Grondy you don't really mean that do you?? :-0
Of course not, that was what the Elf With a Big Grin Smilie was supposed to imply. What this world needs, besides a good five dollar cigar, is a few more women Heads of State ! — :exclamation: used to yield a smilie similar to Question Smilie
You've been told that LoTR is a "man's book?" Wow, I've never heard anything of the sort.

All that about tolkien living in a different time than we do now, as far as women's rights, suffrage, and his experience fighting in trenches with men, only men, on the front fighting lines makes me wonder about his inspiration for Galadriel and Eowyn.
I was his inspiration for Galadriel, weeeeell Dark Queen Galadriel. OK so there is a bit of a time problem there but maybe Tolkien had the power to see into the future.
thats the problem....he didnt have cool girls like V to inspire him to write more bout woman....
even with looking to the future...
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All that about tolkien living in a different time than we do now, as far as women's rights, suffrage, and his experience fighting in trenches with men, only men, on the front fighting lines makes me wonder about his inspiration for Galadriel and Eowyn.

The whole figure of Éowyn apparently rebelling against her place in society (although there's lots more to it than just that) and eventually settling in her role as faithful spouse (in spe) of Faramir, is perhaps a reflection of what JRRT thought about suffrage and the (changing) role of women in society in the '20s and '30s.

As for Galadriel, in his letters JRRT compared her with the Virgin Mary :
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I was particularly interested in your remarks about Galadriel. .... I think it is true that I owe much of this character to Christian and Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary, but actually Galadriel was a penitent: in her youth a leader in the rebellion against the Valar (the angelic guardians). At the end of the First Age she proudly refused forgiveness or permission to return. She was pardoned because of her resistance to the final and overwhelming temptation to take the Ring for herself.
(letter #320)
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I was his inspiration for Galadriel, weeeeell Dark Queen Galadriel.



lol :o)
I think the Good Professor's attitude to women is largely a relfection of the attitude of the time. Like you guys have said, back then women stayed home and minded the children. The fact that he includes a character like Eowyn at all says a lot about his broad-mindedness (for his time). Quite impressive really.

In his letters, Tolkien writes specifically about women. He is very respectful and it is clear that he treats all women like ladies. His understanding of the female sense of humour is quite astute in my opinion.

We are not told a great deal about Arwen in the books, but that does not mean that Tolkien pictured her sitting around all day weaving or sewing clothing for her brothers and father. She seems to have bred horses. Probably escaped capture by orcs when her mother was attacked - and still regularly made the journey to Lorien! (I'd be scared out of my wits!). She also seems to have had considerable political influence in her time as queen of Gondor.

I think that it's possible that Tolkien rarely wrote women because they scared him a little.
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I think that it's possible that Tolkien rarely wrote women because they scared him a little.


Why would he be scared of women though? I suppose a large part of his life, like any other man in the world's life, was made up of women.
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We are not told a great deal about Arwen in the books, but that does not mean that Tolkien pictured her sitting around all day weaving or sewing clothing for her brothers and father. She seems to have bred horses. Probably escaped capture by orcs when her mother was attacked - and still regularly made the journey to Lorien! (I'd be scared out of my wits!). She also seems to have had considerable political influence in her time as queen of Gondor.

I thought she was sitting around in Lóthlorien most of her days, sporadically visiting her father. In the story of Aragorn and Arwen mentioned in the Appendices of LOTR, she mentions this.

I have never heard or read anything about her breeding horses, though I do know that Roheryn, Aragorn's horse, was a gift of Arwen's.

If Arwen had escaped capture from the Orcs who took her mother, then surely JRRT would have mentioned such an important detail in the Appendices of LOTR. He didn't, hence I believe it is merely something for fan fiction.

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Why would he be scared of women though?

Maybe because John Ronald Reuel's mother gave the mischievous young rascal too many spankings.

Anyway, ask Eruwen : I am sure she'd like to psychoanalyze your query...
Why would he NOT be scared of women?
For among the Inklings, he was the biggest ladykiller of 'em all.
personally i feel that tolkien gave women their rightful place as the counterbalance to men in this world. please dont get me wrong about womens rights but i mean it in another sense. in fact in almost any other book .. men will be the people who will go out and do the deed but as the very old and cliched saying goes .. behind every successful man is a woman. therefore we see galadriel as a massively powerful figure in the book (i just shudder to think of her .. i love her charachter the most in all the books) but when it comes to the actual war of the ring she is merely potent in wisdom and advice. her power is veiled like most women in this world.

given all this, the fact that the good old proffessor (thats a new one for me) caused an incredibly important figure like the evil witch king to die at the hands of Eowyn, goes to show how much he respected women and their inner strength. especially when it comes to their own families.

btw .. vee .. i guess tolkien did see in the future .. coz u seem like perfect galadriel material Wink Smilie. ciao

Finrod.
ps: hey .. even i had'nt heard that LotR was a mans book. how weird of someone to think so.
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i love her charachter the most in all the books) but when it comes to the actual war of the ring she is merely potent in wisdom and advice. her power is veiled like most women in this world.

Not really : Lóthlorien was attacked during the War of the Ring, and it was due to the power of Galadriel that it did not fall. Furthermore, after Sauron's destruction Galadriel did throw open the gates of Dol Guldur, in a fashion similar to Lúthien throwing open the gates of the Tower of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

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behind every successful man is a woman. therefore we see galadriel as a massively powerful figure in the book

Are you saying that Celeborn was succesful??!! (;-)

Celeborn seemed more the man behind the great woman.

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The fact that he includes a character like Eowyn at all says a lot about his broad-mindedness (for his time). Quite impressive really.

Yes, but eventually Éowyn did settle in the role of 'loyal housewife'. A character like for instance Haleth, never did that.
I'm currently telling (paraphrasing) the LoTR books for my cousins, who are too young to read them without getting bogged down but who are absolutely fascinated with Galadriel, and have asked me if, when I am finished with LoTR, would I not tell them more about her? So now I have to go get Sil. out again and see if I can be reasonably accurate without boring my young cousins to tears with all kinds of relevant but time-consuming details.
The Silmarillion only offers one version of Galadriel's story; there are other, and more interesting, versions in Unfinished Tales, chapter 'The Story of Galadriel & Celeborn'.
Yes, but gotta warn you, the Galadriel in the Silmarillion is very very different from the one in the LOTR.
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the Galadriel in the Silmarillion is very very different from the one in the LOTR.
Of course, because she has aged quite a few millenia since she left Aman, causing her to have much more experience and so she had mellowed out a bit.
i quite agree tht galadriel clearly had mellowed... even celeborn, when speking of fangorn says how long they'd been in lorien as the world outside passed by....

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(b)Yes, but eventually Éowyn did settle in the role of 'loyal housewife'. A character like for instance Haleth, never did that.(/b)

eowyn would never settle for the common "loyal housewife".... she was strong; but learned to be submissive to become even stronger... she became a "servent" if you will, to the ill and such; which allowed her to bring healing ...humbly putting forth controlled strength and power; rather than spewing forth reckless, uncontrolled emotion...becoming warmth instead of ice----approachable rather than unapproachable...and i can believe no other than a help meet to her husband---not a dutiful slave wife...curiously- after the ice melted from her, she resembles many of galadriel's majestic qualities....and yes, true, loyal to the end...
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rather than spewing forth reckless, uncontrolled emotion...becoming warmth instead of ice

Being 'ice' (touched by frost) to me doesn't mean spewing forth reckless, uncontrolled emotion. Instead, it means that she did not show any emotion at all, but rather kept everything inside.

Spewing forth reckless, uncontrolled emotion was something for a fiery temper, like Fëanor.

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she was strong; but learned to be submissive to become even stronger...

I cannot imagine Éowyn being submissive, nor can I imagine Faramir wanting his wife to be submissive. Éowyn just stopped desiring to become a queen, and instead learned that healing was just as glorious as the deeds on the battlefield she had once desired (and done).
"Been there, done that, made my name in history; now on to something a little more more constructive."
When I was reading Tolkien's letters I was struck by a couple of things. The first is in his childhood and having met and fallen in love with a fellow orphan Ronald really idolized females.
His mother was to him the very picture of a hardworking, brave and noble female. And because she had defied her family and become Catholic and taught him and his brother, she was also a pioneer and a heroine to him because she went against the tide and suffered the consequences.
So in his stories, especially Unfinished Tales and Silmarillion the women are always perfect. They are beautiful, thin like Edith, they were totally devoted to their man unless he turned away from them like Ancalame's father abandoned her and her mother. They were incredibly brave and often when they lost the love of their life they lay down and died from grief.
So he showed that in his works.
But the other thing that struck me was his view of what made t hem perfect and in my mind at least that involved in part being respectful to the man's wishes and behaving a lot like Mary with devotion and chastity and doing woman's things.
When Aragorn spoke to Aewynn about taking her place though I don't think it had a thing to do with male and female roles, rather that one should always accept one's doom. He had to as well, and follow it to the bitter or happy end whatever came.
So getting back to the other t hing that struck me. He complained later on in his life about certain women that dared come to Mass dressed in pants and not skirts and perhaps he might have added without a hat as well.
So he did indeed have some set thoughts about what constituted a woman's place and he showed that in his books. But Theoden's neice DID get to go to battle and she DID win renown . That is something isn't it? Smile Smilie
Ya there were some great women in Middle-Earth, and even out of all the Valar the most favoured and adored by the elves was Varda. Galadriel is one of the strongest characters in the whole 2nd and 3rd age. Luthien did great deeds that even the most renowned among the 1st age may never have accomplished.

To claim woman never played roles of importance in Tolkien's work is ignorant. True there are many more great deeds done by the males, but that is just the way the world works when it comes to war. Men were designed to be bigger in stature and physically dominant and there for tend to out perform women when it comes down to physically demanding tasks.... no offence to all you women out there.....

...Watch all the hate mail start to flow in my general direction now.
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Men were designed to be bigger in stature and physically dominant and there for tend to out perform women when it comes down to physically demanding tasks....

Wait til Red Sonja and Xena (but especially Haleth) hear about this.

I agree, though, with the whole hunter-gatherer anthropological shtick.
yes I must agree, the physical thing is correct,,,,,,in a way. We are just different in the way we use our strengths. Men can march forever and lift this and that and do all sorts of physically demanding things that a lady body builder might have trouble with.
But women can go for days without any sleep or real rest and tend to children with no respite and take care of the house and cook, laundry, this that and the next thing. And childbirth....well my firstborn took nearly three days because of complications, the nurse slapped me repeatedly and told me I could not go to sleep because I would not wake up again.And one of the surgeons was so distraught he left the room and told me after my son was finally born he had never witnessed anything so terrible and could not imagine how I had lived through it.Funnily enough the next two were worse!. So we are all strong in our own ways don't you think. Which is needed in this slightly wierd and crazy world.And I defy any man to keep up with my little Hasia. I have had her extremely strong, and I mean strong uncles who work with heavy scarey machinery, come to me in despair to tell me why the house looked that way when I got back from an appointment or assignment. They simply could not keep up with her. They would fall asleep as soon as I took her and began the evening meal. poor boys! Big Laugh Smilie
Men may be physically stronger than women in general, but women tend to be more dextrous - they exactly know to hit where it hurts the most.
Are you speaking from experience?
Of course not.

I have always treaded women with respect.
Of that I am quite certain, but the way you wrote that post it seemed as if a female or two has landed a fair punch upon your body. Perhaps as children? I know in the neighborhood I grew up in there was a girl that was dreaded every bit as much as orcs. She was as stong as a train engine and as mean as a Urik hai.
If you are such a gentleman, and I am thoroughly convinced of it, then it would not be abnormal for a girl to take a 'dextrous' swing at you!
One time at a party a couple years ago there was this older girl that all the other girls, even some of us boys, feared because she has a pretty big girl, with a bigger mean aggressive streak. To make a long story short she got in a fight with one of my male friends and since my bros and I don't hit chics I did the only thing i could (without physically attacking her) to get her off him. I started to called her a few nasty names (she gave my friend a bloody nose, what else was i suppose to do to get her off him?) Anyways she starts comming after me with her fist of fury, luckly i have a few inches of reach on her, so whenever she'd run up with a punch i'd just hold her back and laugh.... until she started throwing the shin kicks that started having a little upwards recoil to them so eventually i had to push her down, then the cops came and broke it up.

Point of the whole story is: She is/was one of toughest girls in town, and i held her off at ease. (I'm no weakling, stronger than your average guy, but i'm definitly not one of the toughest guys in town.)
oh Turin,
that is dreadful. I am quite sure that was the same girl in our neighborhood. Guys just cringed around her even tough ones.
I think Tolkien probably, never in the whole of his life ever met such a lady, and it was rather more still a time of genteel manners and behaviour, even after the war, was it not. At least for a little while.Oh well,,,,,,who knows.
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Leelee
I think Tolkien probably, never in the whole of his life ever met such a lady, and it was rather more still a time of genteel manners and behaviour, even after the war, was it not. At least for a little while.Oh well,,,,,,who knows.

Don't worry Leelee, we'll find out for sure after i complete my Time-Machine
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I think Tolkien probably, never in the whole of his life ever met such a lady.....
"That was no lady, that was my wife!" Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

There are also a few Casper Milquetoasts* found amongst we males of the human race; those often are the ones who marry domineering women, or is that demonerring. James Thurber's "Walter Mitty" is another of these wimps from my youth, as is "Wallace Wimple" from the 'Fibber McGee and Molly' radio show. This was back when "the men were men, the women were good looking, and all the children were above average" (-Garrison Keeler). Or was that when 'men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri' (- Douglas Adams). I can't point out any examples of these from the more modern cultural era.

Anyway, I agree, as an academic, Professor Tolkien probably didn't travel in the same circles as these bully girls, of which you were speaking, but he probably had met the wives of a few of these wimps.

*Casper Milquetoast was the lead character in newspaper comic strip in the second quarter of the 20th Century by Harold Webster. He was weak and ineffectual just as the breakfast food after which his name was misspelled.
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I think Tolkien probably, never in the whole of his life ever met such a lady.....

Mayhaps the Professor had come across one of these :
Women
now that's just wrong!
Oh Grondy, I know some of those men-women, that is the only way I have of describing them(I still like them t hough) that just love being married to a foppish sort of man.And with faces and lips like those in the picture you share Vir I doubt those lips had many offers!(shudder)
Those are the very ladies that are aghast that my hair is so very long and I am so very feminine.They don't think I can do a hard day's work, go down on to the street in inner city and work with those who are broken, work at my occupation and raise a baby unless I look like .....well like them I suppose. I am always afraid of falling asleep at anyone of their houses in case I wake up and find my hair missing! Smile Smilie
But I digress. Of course during the war women would have worked in factories and wore those , what were they called, dungarees or something? Jeans really that were so well made and thick and tough you could have used a pair torn out for a nifty trampoline if you added the springs.
But still I don't think most had lost their femininity and would have gladly traded their 'new found freedoms' for a chance to see the man they loved safe at home again being the master of the house and they the happy wife who saw to h er family's needs and comfort.
Grondy am I just being silly and unrealistic?
Think of how hard Edith worked when h er handsome prince was away, having babies, doing everything and she had painful arthritus poor love.
Turin,,,,,,you are building a Time Machine? How glorious. Please please please may I buy an advanced ticket. I have waited the whole of my life to try out one. sigh....how wonderful.
I wasn't saying these women were bad, just that they are bigger and bolder than their husbands. Now if the beat their husbands with brows or brooms, that can be considered bad; but normally they love their little wimps and are quite protective of them, ordering them around to ensure they stay out of trouble. "Yes Dear," said with a submissive nassle tone.
I gather it is not so bad for a woman to have a little spirit.

But as much spirit as that girl from The Exorcist is not really needed either.
where DO you come up with such bizzare and hilarious examples Vir. Do you have some sort of trvia data bank at your finger tips. You are right, all that spirit is way way too much for me to h andle.
yes Grondy, I think some of those women do love those whimps, to each his or her own.
But Tolkien, in my opinion, always liked spirit mixed heavily with grace and ultr femininity and modesty and chasteness. Don't you think?
Ya I'd definitly agree with that Leelee. He definitly holds his female characters with much grace and respect in his writings. One of this latest writings(he wrote it a month before his death) was about Galadriel, and Christopher Tolkien put it in UT.

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Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Feanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years.
Yes, the Professor respected women so much that -unlike other fantasy authors- he did not include one witch, hag, crone, harridan or harpy.

Of course, some people might nominate Lobelia Sackville-Baggins or the Witch-Queen of Angmar (Dark Queen Galadriel) to such a title, but I for me thought those were slightly amusing at worst.
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he did not include one witch, hag, crone, harridan or harpy.


PJ had Gimli speak ill of Galadriel by calling her a Witch me thinks, and right after, Haldir came along and said the famous line "A Dwarf breaths so loud we could have shot him in the dark" (of course in PJ's adaptation)

I don't think that Gimli had called Galadriel a Witch in the books........
Galadriel was an ivory pedestal mounted unattainable figurine.
Arwen stepped off her ivory pedestal to marry the faitytale king.
Éowyn stepped from her dispair covered pedastal into the heart of the prince.
Goldberry was an extra-large Tinkerbell type fairy who lost her heart to an ignigma.
Mrs. Maggot your older stereotypical salt-of-the-earth type.
Rose Cotton Gamgee your younger stereotypical salt-of-the-earth type.
Ioreth was your stereotypical runny-mouth.
Lobelia was your stereotypical busy-body.

The above are just how I see these female characters; Tolkien may have intended otherwise.
Well, let's consider Shelob as Tolkien's Spidergirl - although ironically she liked Venom.

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Goldberry was an extra-large Tinkerbell type fairy who lost her heart to an ignigma.

I think she's more like a water nymph. After all, she is the Daughter of the River/Lady of the Lake.
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