As a couple, Éowyn and Faramir were banished to the background of The Return of the King. A shameful deed in my sight, since their romance is possibly the most beautiful one in fiction.
Éowyn is the restless warrior princess who looks for glory in a heroic death rather than in doing her duty. Faramir is the quiet peaceable sort-of-prince who loves his country but not the violence that is its protection. They’re polar opposites, but apparently opposites attract.
What I like about their story is that it’s unabashedly old-fashioned – but not stuffy or boring. “How should I ease your care, my lord?” she asks, and he replies, “I say to you that you are beautiful. In the valleys of our hills there are flowers fair and bright, and maidens fairer still; but neither flower nor lady have I seen till now in Gondor so lovely, and so sorrowful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world… it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still.”* It’s exactly the courtly romance of the Middle Ages.
Of course, nothing will ever compare to the classic quote:
‘”Then must I leave my own people, man of Gondor?” she said. “And would you have your proud folk say of you: ‘There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Númenor to choose?”
‘”I would,” said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high on the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing…’*
I admit, I admit, I’m a hopeless romantic.
*The Return of the King, “The Steward and the King”