The Lord of the Rings books and the movie adaptations have identical endings for Eowyn. In both ends, she kills the leader of the Nazgül and falls in love with Faramir. However, when the two conclusions are compared, one seems more like a traditional happy ending. One of the endings seems to fit Eowyn's character better than the other one does. Which is it, movies or books? Both ends have their impact on those watching and reading, and tastes will differ among fans, as always. However, there is a purpose in comparing the two endings.
One of these endings, as is mentioned above, is more of a traditional happy ending. Whereas the other seems more like a sacrifice and is, therefore, more bittersweet. Both fit their versions of the Lord of the Rings story and therefore make sense. Yet, some people might prefer a happier ending for Eowyn's character, especially given all that she goes through to get there. At the same time, others will like a more bittersweet sort of ending. Luckily, one version of the story gives her a truly happy ending, while the other is more bittersweet. But which is which? Do the books or movies have a happier ending?
While the Lord of the Rings movies and books end the same way regarding Eowyn's character, the movies give her more of a typical happy ending. After defeating the Witch King and having her epic moment in battle, Eowyn is healed by Aragorn. While she's recuperating, she meets Faramir, and the two fall in love. This much is the same in the books. However, the books add a few more details to their story.
Eowyn decides in the Lord of the Rings books that she will no longer fight and will instead be a healer. While this ending fits the story's themes, it might not seem truly happy as Eowyn has to give up all her dreams of fighting to be with Faramir. That might seem, to some fans, to be somewhat unfair, especially given how hard she fought for these dreams.
In the Lord of the Rings movies, however, there are fewer details given about Eowyn and Faramir's life together after they meet and fall in love. And perhaps that's for the best, as it makes it seem that both of their fighting days are done. Therefore, the two of them are in the same position and are equal. That is a truly happy ending that seems to fit both characters. Faramir and Eowyn don't seem to give up anything to be together in the movies; they simply find comfort in each other. And two broken yet healing characters finding comfort in each other is always a good thing. Eowyn not having to give up her lifelong dream is also a good thing, as it makes her ending that much happier. Such a strong character retaining her strength while finding love: what could be happier than that?
It's hard to imagine a more fitting ending for Eowyn's character. Luckily, fans don't have to imagine as the Lord of the Rings movies exist. Eowyn's ending in the Lord of the Rings movies could be seen as a more modern take on the character. After all, the Lord of the Rings books were written a long time ago.
Therefore, Tolkien might not have thought there was anything questionable about Eowyn giving up her dreams of battle after falling in love. After all, one of the story's themes is how horrible war is. So Eowyn deciding to heal instead of fight fits with that. However, for modern readers and viewers, it could seem like Eowyn is giving up a lot while Faramir doesn't. And that could seem a bit imbalanced. Whereas in the Lord of the Rings movies, Eowyn and Faramir's love story appears to be more equal in nature.
Of course, everyone has different tastes. Some might prefer the greater detail provided in the books. While others will prefer the approach of the Lord of the Rings movies. Whatever one might prefer, it is important to understand the other preference. After all, Eowyn's two endings are pretty much identical. There's just greater detail given about her future in the books. Those details are good to know, even if they do make her ending a bit more bittersweet.
However, some might prefer the more modern take in the movies, it's all a matter of preference. It is always good to see a couple on more equal footing. And Faramir and Eowyn get more of that in the Lord of the Rings movies than they do in the books. That makes their movie ending happier than that of the books, though both have their reasons for being the way they are.
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