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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why didn't the dwarf females have beards?
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Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Jul 9 2013, 1:01am

Post #1 of 26 (1398 views)
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Why didn't the dwarf females have beards? Can't Post

been wondering that ever since seeing the Hobbit AUJ...in LOTR Gimli clearly states that dwarf women are often mistaken for male dwarfs. To which Aragorn silently responds to Eowyn "it's the beards" but clearly in Jackson's Hobbit there are no beards present. The female dwarfs in Dale are dressed in brightly colored dresses with ribbons in their hair. very feminine. But no beards... Why? That was something easy to fit in that would have held some continuity with LOTR... Just a random question or thought that popped into my head Crazy

http://news.mymiddleearth.com/...2013/04/photo-11.jpg

http://www.wetanz.com/...e-DFDwarfWoman02.jpg

and this one looks like their might be some wisps of hair on the jaw line but could hardly be mistaken for a dwarf male

http://24.media.tumblr.com/...2WM1rr1697o1_250.jpg

So why no beards on the dwarf women?


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Jul 9 2013, 1:32am

Post #2 of 26 (796 views)
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Puzzled. [In reply to] Can't Post

All three of the Dwarf women shown in your links have beards.

Though I certainly agree none of them in the dress and hairstyles shown, would ever be mistaken for Dwarf males. What I could see is, if wearing clothing and travelling gear styled like the males' clothing and bulky/non-fitting enough not to show female figures, they could be mistaken for males.

My own reaction to these scenes was that we are not seeing these women on a longer journey to foreign parts in which Dwarves are few. We are seeing them go about their daily business in Dale, a city right at the doors of Erebor, the Men of which may be understood to have had a special relationship to the Dwarves.

I did not take Gimli's comments to suggest that Dwarves (even in the privacy of their underground kingdoms) do not observe any difference in dress and personal adornment by sex. Rather that to outsiders, when Dwarf women are dressing to not draw attention, they can be mistaken for males. The observer, to tell them apart, might need to notice they are shorter, more slightly built, and have wispier beards. (And a casual observer of the Race of Men would find all Dwarves quite short and quite stocky, and would not expect facial hair on a female.)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 9 2013, 1:55am

Post #3 of 26 (708 views)
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also [In reply to] Can't Post

 
re continuity... aragorn definitely sounds like he's joking in that scene; a special effort to make the usually grim eowyn laugh. and it's a continuation of the lightly joking tone that gimli has with eowyn in that same conversation.


cheers ---

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Jul 9 2013, 6:20am

Post #4 of 26 (616 views)
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From memory, [In reply to] Can't Post

isn't Dis described as having a particularly fine beard? To me, that says that beard growth varies among Dwarf women, so I was pleased to see different types of beardiness among the ones in the film. (Although none of them could be mistaken for Dwarf men on their travels.)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


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emre43
Lorien

Jul 9 2013, 6:51am

Post #5 of 26 (580 views)
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Gimli also says in that scene that some people think that there are no Dwarf women. Which is of course ridiculous. But there clearly are. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 9 2013, 7:08am

Post #6 of 26 (676 views)
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3 hairy women for you [In reply to] Can't Post

Link.

I think it's mere coincidence that the three Dwarf women we see in the beginning of AUJ don't have beards - they clearly had some that did (and many of the other designs in the WETA Chronicles book have wisps of hair). There's no continuity error, since we didn't really get to see the entire female population.

Smile

Coming soon! The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.




emre43
Lorien

Jul 9 2013, 8:39am

Post #7 of 26 (568 views)
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Phwoarrr!!!!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Heart Sly

In Reply To
Link.

I think it's mere coincidence that the three Dwarf women we see in the beginning of AUJ don't have beards - they clearly had some that did (and many of the other designs in the WETA Chronicles book have wisps of hair). There's no continuity error, since we didn't really get to see the entire female population.

Smile



dormouse
Half-elven


Jul 9 2013, 9:13am

Post #8 of 26 (528 views)
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They did // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Lindele
Gondor


Jul 9 2013, 12:20pm

Post #9 of 26 (493 views)
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Actually [In reply to] Can't Post

clearly they did have beards. Also if you look at the Chronicles book it goes into this subject in great detail.


Arandir
Gondor


Jul 9 2013, 12:36pm

Post #10 of 26 (476 views)
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Interesting ... [In reply to] Can't Post

in a very weird sort of wayCrazy ... heheh!Laugh

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dik-dik
Lorien


Jul 9 2013, 4:31pm

Post #11 of 26 (419 views)
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Re: female Dwarf non-beards [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
So why no beards on the dwarf women?


We've only seen a few in the Dale images, so hopefully there will be a flashback image yet of Dwarf ladies with more luxurious beards yet. (Didn't Gloin have a portrait of his wife with him or something? I recall someone mentioning this in the discussions of the spider scene.) I can't imagine the team skipping the chance to add some humour about how much alike the Dwarf males and females look.

"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me." ~ Paul Eddington


Rostron2
Gondor


Jul 9 2013, 5:15pm

Post #12 of 26 (391 views)
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The Hobbit Movie Source Book [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit Movie Source Book has great information about the design choices made for the brief glimpses of dwarf women in the film.

This one:

http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hobbit_3dShot_LORES.jpg


(This post was edited by Rostron2 on Jul 9 2013, 5:18pm)


Elthir
Gondor

Jul 9 2013, 5:48pm

Post #13 of 26 (386 views)
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beards and books and badgers oh my [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
isn't Dis described as having a particularly fine beard? To me, that says that beard growth varies among Dwarf women, so I was pleased to see different types of beardiness among the ones in the film. (Although none of them could be mistaken for Dwarf men on their travels




If you mean in the books, I don't think so [about Dis' beard]. What is noted in the Appendices, and other places, is that Dwarf-women are bearded -- and that Dwarf-women are so alike to Dwarf-men in voice, gait, and appearance, that other peoples cannot tell them apart.

Tolkien leaves it open with respect to garb, but continues with the fact that if any Dwarf-women did leave their bowers and halls, which seldom happened [it's noted], then they would, or might I guess, also dress like Dwarf-men... thus giving rise to the false rumour that there are no Dwarf-women.

Jackson touched on this in his film two based on The Two Towers, but he changed the concept [compared to the books I mean] for his Hobbit so that we -- mortal men and women of the audience -- can actually tell the difference, beyond the garb.


Why? My guess is because in a visual medium, if the films stuck to the text 'we' [as peoples other than Dwarves] could only note the difference in dress. So in Jackson's world the female Dwarves look female to us... add beards of some measure, add in the difference of dress.

In Tolkien's world 'other peoples' cannot tell the men from the women, which implies [to me] that the women had as notable beards as had the men -- which makes sense to me if these beings began their life bearded, and I think arguably the Longbeard women-folk had considerable beards...

... possibly long enough to somewhat conceal a badger at their feet.

Well the Dwarves must have respected badgers with all that digging they did!


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jul 9 2013, 5:57pm)


RosieLass
Valinor


Jul 9 2013, 6:09pm

Post #14 of 26 (382 views)
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I saw only one dwarf woman in the movie. [In reply to] Can't Post

And she had a beard.

Where were all these beardless dwarf women?

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jul 9 2013, 8:04pm

Post #15 of 26 (329 views)
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Question [In reply to] Can't Post

Where is the reference in Tolkien's writings that dwarf women have beards? Looking at the Appendices I see that dwarf women disguise themselves as men as they travel but that doesn't mean they have beards of their own. I've probably missed something along the way, but I thought Aragorn's remark to Eowyn in movie TT was a joke and not meant to be taken as fact. Tolkien scholars, hold forth!


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 9 2013, 8:20pm

Post #16 of 26 (322 views)
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There are a number of references [In reply to] Can't Post

In The Hobbit, Bilbo says:


Quote
His only comfort was that he couldn't be mistaken for a dwarf, as he had no beard.


That *implies* to me, all Dwarves, whether male or female, had beards.

I can't remember the source at the moment (War of the Jewels, I think):


Quote
"no Man nor Elf has ever seen a beardless Dwarf - unless he were shaven in mockery, and would then be more like to die of shame... For the Naugrim have beards from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike...".


And, of course, the Appendix reference:


Quote
"They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart."


They all to me imply that all Dwarves, regardless of gender, had beards. But I can understand how someone could read it differently.

Smile

Coming soon! The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.




Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 9 2013, 8:45pm

Post #17 of 26 (306 views)
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references [In reply to] Can't Post

 
the first reference doesn't necessarily imply that female dwarves have beards, as bilbo, by looking at him, looks male. slap a beard on him, he still looks male, though now could be mistaken for a dwarf. (but you infer differently.)


the second one seems like it +would+ be a definitive statement that female dwarves have beards... but since it doesn't seem to be an exact quote (you're not sure of the source), jury's out on that one.

the third is ambiguous in structure, although tolkien might have not been ambiguous in intent when he wrote it.


cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo


Retro315
Rivendell

Jul 9 2013, 8:46pm

Post #18 of 26 (311 views)
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DALE [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of it to me was setting.

The dwarf-women in Dale seemed to be wearing their Sunday best, I suppose it's not entirely out of the question that when they're going out to sell toys and trinkets and trade and shop in Dale, dwarf-women trim up their facial hair.

But yes, everyday blue-collar dwarf-women who you might encounter on the road with a convoy of traveling dwarves going from the Iron Hills to the Blue Mountains would likely be trudging the roads in pants and boots, and wouldn't have the luxury of a good shave.


DanielLB
Immortal


Jul 9 2013, 8:52pm

Post #19 of 26 (314 views)
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We've disagreed about this in the past [In reply to] Can't Post

That's why I was sure to put that I can understand how someone may read the passages differently. Cool

For me personally, they all suggest that since Dwarf men are described as almost invariably bearded, it follows that, in order for people to be unable to tell them apart, Dwarf women would have beards as well.

The second is an exact quote, from The War of the Jewels. Here is the entire paragraph:


Quote
The Naugrim were ever, as they still remain, short and
squat in stature; they were deep-breasted, strong in the arm,
and stout in the leg, and their beards were long. Indeed this
strangeness they have that no Man nor Elf has ever seen a
beardless Dwarf - unless he were shaven in mockery, and would
then be more like to die of shame than of many other hurts that
to us would seem more deadly. For the Naugrim have beards
from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike; nor
indeed can their womenkind be discerned by those of other
race, be it in feature or in gait or in voice, nor in any wise save
this: that they go not to war, and seldom save at direst need
issue from their deep bowers and halls
. It is said, also, that their
womenkind are few, and that save their kings and chieftains few
Dwarves ever wed; wherefore their race multiplied slowly, and
now is dwindling.


Question is, do we count it as canon or not? Wink

Coming soon! The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.




(This post was edited by DanielLB on Jul 9 2013, 8:53pm)


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 9 2013, 8:55pm

Post #20 of 26 (298 views)
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happy you found the exact quote [In reply to] Can't Post

 
as i said, just analyzing the three references linguistically, only one had the chance of being definitive. the other two are ambiguous.

i'm happy to see you found the exact quote attributed to the correct reference, which is unambiguous. which was all i was saying. : )

re whether cannon or not... i'm inclined ('though i understand others may differ : ) ) to say, yes, it is cannon.

there is much in home that i think of as canon, even though it was published posthumously. i think many might do the same, but we all might vary on what particular item in home or the sil we consider cannon.



cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Jul 9 2013, 8:59pm)


marillaraina
Rohan


Jul 9 2013, 11:32pm

Post #21 of 26 (256 views)
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To me [In reply to] Can't Post

To me it seems highly likely that even if Dwarf women only had slight beards they'd be considered, by the other people of Middle Earth, as being like men anyway. It's doubtful that, under the circumstances, most other races would really take the time or effort distinguish it. No other women have beards(heck even elven men mostly don't have beards except maybe one or two that are heard about).

It's very easy to imagine other races just taking the facial hair and either literally not seeing beyond it, even if it's only relatively light, and thinking "men" or even doing it as a kind of put down, no matter how many pretty ribbons a bearded dwarf women might wear.

As for Bilbo, Bilbo isn't worrying about being mistaken for a woman, he's thinking about being mistaken for a dwarf like his companions. I doubt the idea of being mistaken for a dwarf women would even have entered his mind, whether dwarf women were bearded or not. :)


Elthir
Gondor

Jul 10 2013, 7:55pm

Post #22 of 26 (175 views)
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War of the Beards [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
They all to me imply that all Dwarves, regardless of gender, had beards.



I agree. Even for me Appendix A is enough... Dwarves had beards... other folk could not tell Dwarf-women apart from Dwarf-men by voice or appearance.

If we add The War of the Jools: voice, gait, and appearance, and the direct statement of bearded women folk, not to mention Tolkien musing on how this came to be, with one 'reason' [at least] being that Eru would not amend the work of Aule, and Aule had made males [although I'm guessing Eru changed... well... certain things in order for some bird to deliver baby Dwarves]

In another post you mentioned can we consider this stuff from War of the Jools 'canon' -- well that word aside, I would say that one could consider these things 'rejected' material in a sense, since [if I recall correctly], the 1977 Silmarillion passage is based on a later version of this section.

But...

... OK but in my opinion nothing in that description in Jools conflicts with the rest of the quotes you raised, and we can't be sure Tolkien revised this passage because he thought certain ideas were false. Christopher Tolkien notes that in the ultimate text [printed in the 1977 Silmarillion], his father 'evidentally abandoned the question of the origin of the female Dwarves, finding it intractable and the solutions unsatisfactory.'

That's my emphasis of course, as their origin, although it might include an explanation of the appearance of Dwarf-women, could technically be different than a simpler explanation that doesn't delve into origin. I think the text you quoted from was part of the 1951 revision, and Christopher points out the notable likenesses to what is said in Appendix A, including 'the indistinguishability of Dwarf-women to Dwarf-men to people of other races.'


I guess what I'm trying to say is that: what we might have here is Tolkien, having already put this information about Dwarf-women into Appendix A, then leaves it out of the subsequent revision to this section of The Silmarillion -- rather than being 'rejected' for being a false notion.

Well again, if I have the dates correct that is. But I think I do... so far Smile




Elthir
Gondor

Jul 10 2013, 8:04pm

Post #23 of 26 (170 views)
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Oh and Gimli... [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh and Gimli is noted as the likely source for the material in Appendix A.

That could be important when wondering why certain info on Dwarf-women drops out of the Quenta Silmarilion proper. No?


And in the context of my theory of course Smile


(This post was edited by Elthir on Jul 10 2013, 8:06pm)


glor
Rohan

Jul 13 2013, 7:59pm

Post #24 of 26 (103 views)
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This [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It's doubtful that, under the circumstances, most other races would really take the time or effort distinguish it


exactly.

http://sandrarose.com/...lesson-in-tolerance/

A current example of gender confusion bought about by assumptions about appearances and gender stereotypes i.e having a beard.

the fact is beard= male in today's so called enlightened societies, there are thousands of women out there whom have facial hair and go through treatments to conform to the appearance society dictates they should have to be regarded as female.

In Tolkien's Middle-earth, the only race where females have beards are dwarves, so, for the other races, the beard =male assumption regarding gender holds true, as it does in our societies. To my eyes, the passage that Tokien rights about Dwarf females having beards and the assumptions that others make regarding their gender shows that he had a far greater understanding of the female and gender issues, that most of his critics give him credit for. It is the passage that I cite when others accuse our Professor of sexism and not understanding women, in fact it was a bit ahead of his time.



(This post was edited by glor on Jul 13 2013, 8:00pm)


marillaraina
Rohan


Jul 14 2013, 6:16pm

Post #25 of 26 (78 views)
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subject line [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
It's doubtful that, under the circumstances, most other races would really take the time or effort distinguish it


exactly.

http://sandrarose.com/...lesson-in-tolerance/

A current example of gender confusion bought about by assumptions about appearances and gender stereotypes i.e having a beard.

the fact is beard= male in today's so called enlightened societies, there are thousands of women out there whom have facial hair and go through treatments to conform to the appearance society dictates they should have to be regarded as female.

In Tolkien's Middle-earth, the only race where females have beards are dwarves, so, for the other races, the beard =male assumption regarding gender holds true, as it does in our societies. To my eyes, the passage that Tokien rights about Dwarf females having beards and the assumptions that others make regarding their gender shows that he had a far greater understanding of the female and gender issues, that most of his critics give him credit for. It is the passage that I cite when others accuse our Professor of sexism and not understanding women, in fact it was a bit ahead of his time.



That's what I was trying to get it, you definitely put it better. Something else I'd compare it to that perhaps there are a few men around here old enough to remember, is back in the 60's and 70's when men for the first time in nearly a hundred years started wearing longer hair again, and with the sometimes slightly more unisex clothing, were often "mistaken" for women at first, especially if they were first seen from the back. It was even a fairly common joke on comedy shows of the time, at least from what I can tell watching old tv shows and reading things.

Why? Because according to the culture long hair = female, if people, even ones who weren't particularly prejudiced,, especially older people, weren't paying much attention, they'd just notice the hair and say "Excuse me Miss...." Then suddenly look at the face and whoa....bearded. Now in Middle Earth with it's elves and even many men with long hair, long hair isn't equated specifically with either gender but beards are a different matter.

I think even if a dwarf woman had only a cottony textured beard, as I said before, most of the other races wouldn't distinguish.

As for Tolkien, while he didn't have many prominant female characters, I think that probably just had to do with his own familiarity - I don't think he purposely kept women out, but I'd imagine being in a university environment, having been in the army during the war, etc - he was just used to situations that were largely mostly male and so that's what he wrote. When he did write women, I think he mostly wrote them well, and whatever he may have believed of "a woman's place"(I have not idea), I think he showed he at least considered they had thoughts and hopes and the ability to sacrifice and fight for what they loved and believed in just like men did and that they could feel frustrated in feeling they weren't allowed to or respected enough to do so. I think Arwen was ultimately a bit "meh" but I think what he wrote about Eowyn's feelings were very insightful and sensitive and in the end, even if she gave up the sword, it's important to remember that Faramir himself had been consistently written to be a somewhat reluctant warrior, he didn't want to fight, he did it because he had to, but given a choice, he'd choose books and study and healing - so in the end, he and Eowyn sort of met in the middle. She didn't do it so much because it was "her place" as a woman but because she'd come to appreciate peace and the power of healing.

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