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Finding the feminine in Tolkien

— Kathrin Heierli

26 August 2021 | Amon Hen, № 290: August, 2021, 17

To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!” (An Unexpected Party, The Hobbit) I distinctly remember reading about the famous Belladonna Took for the first time. But Alas! Tolkien didn’t elaborate and Belladonna remains the only named woman in The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings features the Big Three – namely Galadriel, Arwen and Eowyn – at least as active participants in the story, if one discounts the healer, the water spirit and the giant spider.

Whenever the lack of female presence in Tolkien’s work is addressed, people (rightly) point to The Silmarillion. From the varied expressions of a gender-like temperament of the Valar and Valier to very human women like Haleth and Andreth, who live tragic and important lives, there is a lot of potential. But as with many of the Silmarillion’s characters, their stories are more mentioned than told.…

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date recorded 📅2021-08-27
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