Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings, all characters, places, and related terms are the sole property of J.R.R. Tolkien's estate.
Why a Child Daydreams
Eowyn shakes her head in exasperation as she leaves behind the giggling girls spying on her brother and cousin, who are in the middle of a wrestling match in the courtyard. Eomer and Theodred…brave and handsome warriors? Well, let those girls think they will be someday! Eowyn laughs. They can daydream about marrying one of them all they wish. But they are the daughters of some of her mother's ladies-in-waiting, and such a thing seems impossible in the girl's mind. She is not yet seven, but she understands – from overhearing Iris discuss the matter with others – that marriages of alliance are expected for her, her brother, and her cousin when they are older; those girls would not be considered worthy of Eomer and Theodred.
Eowyn steps outside the Golden Hall and for a long moment surveys the city of Edoras stretching out before her, her gaze eventually reaching beyond to the great plains and majestic mountains. Soon her annoyance has been forgotten as she stares at her beloved country.
The girl is about to return inside when she catches sight of a man seated on the bottom steps of the Hall. Smiling brightly, she walks down the stairs and sits herself down beside him, not at all worried about getting her dress dirtied.
The man turns to her, and his face brightens. "Good morning, little Eowyn."
"Good morning, Thorongil," she replies politely, returning his smile.
A long companionable silence hangs over them as they return their attention to the city. A thoughtful frown slowly caresses Eowyn's brow, and she looks up at her friend.
He looks down at her.
"Have you ever daydreamed about who you would want to marry?"
His eyes widen, for he is visibly surprised by the question. He thinks for a moment and then answers, "Yes, many times."
"Really?" The child's face fills with curiosity.
"Aye," he admits, a faint blush rising in his cheeks.
"Your lady is very beautiful and of high birth?"
Thorongil nods, wondering what has piped little Eowyn's interest in this.
She simply nods, her thoughtful frown still in place.
"Did you know there are some girls who dream of marrying Eomer and Theodred someday?" she asks.
"No. But it is not really that hard to see why," Thorongil answers. At seeing Eowyn's look of confusion, he goes on, "When they are grown, they will be tall, broad-shouldered, and excellent horsemen and swordsmen."
"They are nobility, and Theodred will be king," Eowyn muses with a shake of her head, unable to picture it. "The girls were arguing who was the most handsome." She makes a detestable face.
Thorongil throws his head back and laughs heartily.
"It seems such a silly thing to daydream about the prince warrior they want to marry," the girl huffs. "I would never do such a thing."
Letting a few last chuckles escape, Thorongil smiles. "Perhaps someday you will."
The child shakes her head in denial and then pauses. "I suppose if I did daydream about who I would like to marry, it would be someone like you," she decides.
"Like me?" For the second time Thorongil's surprise shines in his face as he stares at her. "I am not young anymore. Nor as handsome as in my younger years, I'm afraid."
Eowyn studies him for a long moment. "I think you are," she says sincerely with a small smile.
"I do not want to marry a fair-haired prince," she goes on, "but a ranger. He would have to have dark hair and a beard. I do not want to become a queen, but be free to ride the plains and explore the wild." Her face becomes serious as she finishes with, "I want my marriage to be one of friendship and love, not of an alliance."
Thorongil is astonished and momentarily speechless at this glimpse he has been given of Eowyn's mind and hopes. May she be fortunate if it comes to pass, he thinks to himself.
"I hope your dream will come true, little Eowyn" he says out loud.
The girl smiles at him; yet the light that had shone in her eyes when she spoke begins to dim: she knows it is unlikely her dream will become reality. Her position will not allow it.
Wanting to chase away the gathering shadows from the child's face, Thorongil suggests they go indoors, as time for the afternoon meal is approaching. Her face lighting at the suggestion, Eowyn leaps to her feet, brushes herself off, and happily puts her small hand in one of his large ones.
As they go, Eowyn talks on excitedly as she skips next to her friend. But Thorongil only half-listens to her. Instead, he thinks about what she had shared earlier. She desires a ranger and not a king. And the man wonders…