and the other hobbit maintain a special respect for Aragorn and Gandalf as mentors,
even to the end of the story. Frodo and the hobbits understand that they owe
much of their development to the guidance of these characters. All the other
characters come to respect and admire the simple perspective and exuberance
of the hobbits. Each character from Aragorn to Gandalf to Legolas to Gimli have
different relationships with the hobbits, just as favorite aunts, uncles, grandparents
and even parents have different relationships with a child.
One possible weakness of The Lord of the Rings
is the lack of a leading female character for female readers to follow throughout
the entire story in the same way that male readers can follow Frodo. However,
there are several strong supporting female characters, who have short, but pivotal
roles in the story. Each of these female characters have an inner beauty that
is more highly valued than their outward beauty.
For instance, Galadriel, the Lady of the Wood,
is a Queen of the Elves and widely respected across all the lands for her wisdom,
first and foremost, but also for her beauty. Celeborn is her kingly husband,
well respected in his own right, but her renown far surpasses his. Their marriage
is based on friendship and an equal respect for one another. Obviously, Cereborn
does not see her as a trophy to hang on his arm and giggle inanely.
Another pivotal female role is that of Eowyn.
Eowyn is a young princess who wishes to fight along side her brother, Eomer,
but when both he and her adoptive father King Theoden object, she disguises
herself as a common soldier. In that guise she helps Merry. Eowyn later shows
great courage on the battlefield in facing the Lord of the Nazgul who had struck
down King Theoden. She nearly pays with her life.
Several of the legends that Tolkien created to
deepen the history of his fictional Middle Earth are full of strong, courageous
women who are equals to their heroic or kingly husbands. Some give up immortality
or being outcast for going against the wishes of their family. Tolkien does
marry off many of his strong women, but these marriages rarely are the "end"
for the women, as it does in many fairy tales where 'they lived happily ever
after' with the woman remaining at home with the kids.