Continuing my once a decade reading of the Lord of the Rings books, I came across another concept that inspired me. When Eowyn the shield maiden of Rohan is rejected by Aragorn because of his love of the elven princess they have a debate about her sworn duty to rule Rohan in her uncle’s absences. Aragorn reminds here that she accepted this charge and that she was chosen by the King to rule in his stead. Her response rang a distant tone with me. He crying question to him was, “shall I always be chosen?” Her complaint was that she would always be left behind, while the men of Rohan went on to win their reputations.
This has a lot of context and is quite interesting. You could have a discussion about the role of men and women in society, the need to protect lineage, the equality with genders and all of that. However, what I took from this discussion between Aragorn and Eowyn was the concept of fulfilling one’s duty versus being free to seek personal desires or even your own fulfillment. As a parent we are often faced with this dilemma. We can choose what is good for us personally, or we can choose what is our duty. What are we honor bound to fulfill? There are many opportunities in life where we must choose between duty, honor and our own desires.
Not sure there is a right or wrong answer. Certainly after the conversation is over, you get a sense that Aragorn is right. She needs to stay and protect her people and rule in place of the King if he should fall. However, if you keep reading the novel you later learn she does follow her heart and plays a part of heroism later in a great battle. I somehow find comfort in this.
You see there are times when we are chosen to fulfill our duty and we must accept that and do our best. There are others when we are chosen to follow a pursuit, a passionate ambition if you will. We should realize that being chosen for one or the other is equally a good thing.