Faramir and Eowyn first met at the Houses of Healing when both were injured from their respective battles. By then, Eowyn had just gotten back from the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, when she would fight alongside Merry and defeat the Witch-King of Angmar.
Aragorn and Gandalf had went there, counselling Faramir and Eowyn to remain there to be taken care of for many days. Faramir also had to learn of the loss of his father, but not before he was healed from his battle.
One day, Faramir saw Eowyn right outside the Houses of Healing. They would sit under the green tree together or walk in grass.
“And each day after they did likewise. And the Warden looking from his window was glad in heart, for he was a healer, and his care was lightened; and certain it was that, heavy as was the dread and the foreboding of those days upon the hearts of men, still these two of his charges prospered and grew daily in strength.” (ROTK, “The Steward and the King”)
They were soon clad in warm raiment and heavy clocks, and Faramir would wrap his robe, originally untended for his mother who died untimely – around Eowyn, thinking she looked fair and queenly standing there at his side.
The Stroke of Doom
Eowyn would look at a starry mantle, and Faramir would notice that she was also looking at something that was not there.
“’Seven days,’ said Faramir. ‘But think not ill of me, if I say to you: they have brought me both a joy and a pain that I never thought to know. Joy to see you; but pain, because now the fear and doubt of this evil time are grown dark indeed. Eowyn, I would not have this world end now, or lose so soon what I have found.’
‘Lose what you have found, lord?’ she answered; but she looked at him gravely, and her eyes were kind. ‘ I know not what in these days you have found that you could lose. But come, my friend, let us not speak of it! Let us not speak at all! I stand up on some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there’s any light behind me, I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet. I wait for some stroke of doom.’
‘ yes, we wait for the stroke of doom,’ said Faramir. And they said no more, and it seemed to them as they stood upon the wall that the wind died, and the light failed, and the Sun was bleared, and all sounds in the City or in the lands about were hushed: neither wind, nor voice, nor bird-call, nor rustle-of-lead, nor their own breath could be heard; the very beating of hearts was stilled. Time halted.”
And as they stood so, they hands met and clasped, though they did not know it. “ (ROTK, “The Steward and The King”)
They would see a vast mountain of darkness rise, which would remind them of Númenór.
The Houses of Healing
Eowyn would be called by her brother to go to the Field of Cormallen, but she would not go. Faramir wondered – though he saw her seldom being busy with many matters. She would continue walking alone in the Houses of Healing. Her brother would come to Faramir after the Warden of the Houses was troubled.
Faramir would ask her why she stayed in the Houses of Healing, and thought two possibilities:
- That she still loved Aragorn, or
- That Faramir himself did not go and she still desired to be near him.
While she had initially desired the love of Aragorn, she was able to let go of this desire.
Before – Eowyn desired to be loved by Aragorn, to fight in battle and die in honor. She wanted much like her uncle Theoden. She was left to care for her uncle in Meduseld and was the Lady of Rohan.
“‘Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart, Eowyn! But I do not offer you any pity. For you are a lady high and valiant and have yourself won renown that shall not be forgotten; and you are a lady beautiful, I deem, beyond even the words of the elven-tongue to tell. And I love you. Once I pitied your sorrow. But now, were you sorrow less, without fear or any lack, were you the blissful Queen of Gondor, still I would love you. Eowyn, do you not love me?’
Then the heart of Eowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her.
‘I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun,’ she said; ‘and behold! The Shadow has departed! I will be a shield maiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.’” (ROTK, “The Steward and the King”)
By then, she was finally healed of her wounds, and was released from the Houses of Healing but remained there until her brother, King Eomer, came.
They would wed and settle in Ithilien after the War of the Ring.
This actually happened to be what Tolkien originally had in mind: to have Aragorn and Eowyn marry after her battle, and she would die in honor, as she would wish. This was before he started writing about Arwen. He also figured there would be some complications with their ages.
While Eowyn particularly stood out to many fans as one of the few(er) female warriors in Tolkien’s legendarium – the fact that she decided to be a healer at the end does not seem to be completely exclusive to her story.
For example, we see that much like Eowyn, Faramir would also vow to be a healer rather than a warrior among many other characters. Plus, there will be much to heal after the War of the Ring.
While she did have her laments in the beginning for being locked up in a cage – this type of story and that of a warrior turned healer was not exclusive to her nor her character in the legendarium – for example, we also see this amongst the Elves who decide not to be chief warriors in the Third Age.