Women Fighters

cellardur

Active Member
1. It seems I keep posting about Haleth today. I would strongly wish to see Haleth and her elite female bodyguard fight. In general I think the people of Haleth should follow her traditions and be warriors. Perhaps even making Hareth, the mother of Hurin/Huor a warrior.

2.By taking away Galadriel fighting for the Teleri and removing the Battle of Lammoth, we aren't giving Galadriel a chance to fight. Tolkien changed her story often, but I wouldn't want Galadriel to go missing so early from our narrative. In later work he does seem to wish to make Celeborn play a role in saving Elwing. So maybe, we could have Galadriel fight in the 2nd kinslaying. Her and Celeborn can play a big role in getting Elwing to safety.

3. Fall of Gondolin. I would argue a large percentage of the elvish women there should take part in the fighting, until all hope is lost. Of course Idril will fight Maeglin.

Then I possibly, a Elvish women in different battles. A very small percentage. Aredhel never gets the opportunity to fight, but I think she should be a capable fighter.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Thinking about the Eol discussions: What should Aredhel be capable of? Is she an archer? Does she wield a sword?
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
1. It seems I keep posting about Haleth today. I would strongly wish to see Haleth and her elite female bodyguard fight. In general I think the people of Haleth should follow her traditions and be warriors. Perhaps even making Hareth, the mother of Hurin/Huor a warrior.

2.By taking away Galadriel fighting for the Teleri and removing the Battle of Lammoth, we aren't giving Galadriel a chance to fight. Tolkien changed her story often, but I wouldn't want Galadriel to go missing so early from our narrative. In later work he does seem to wish to make Celeborn play a role in saving Elwing. So maybe, we could have Galadriel fight in the 2nd kinslaying. Her and Celeborn can play a big role in getting Elwing to safety.

3. Fall of Gondolin. I would argue a large percentage of the elvish women there should take part in the fighting, until all hope is lost. Of course Idril will fight Maeglin.

Then I possibly, a Elvish women in different battles. A very small percentage. Aredhel never gets the opportunity to fight, but I think she should be a capable fighter.

Well the halethrim trqdition is that their fighting-women did not marry and so probably did not have children. So i would restrict fighting women among them to a relatively small group.

Similar for the Noldor... we know there were women who did take part in athletic feats and who did hunt.Galadriel and Aredhel are two such women. So basically a few Noldo women could and would also fight in times of need... but also just a small number.

The other Elves and Edain i do not know...

However i think the trope of women archers should not be overstressed... archery requires lots of strength... a strong person might also fight with other weapons, though possibly not hoplite-style. Aredhel however IS a huntress... so for her to be skilled with bow would be fitting.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Naginata is traditionally considered a martial art open to women, so it's probably not a terrible idea to have a woman fight with a spear at some point in time.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
As i understand it japanese woman fighters were mostly noblewomen , members of the samurai class, who were schooled for combat as home-protectors... therefore they used a lighter naginata variant and ranged weapons.

One should never confuse martial arts with actual mass-combat techniques used in formations and large battles. Strength and muscular mass DOES matter.Also the Naginata is less a spear than more a glaive or fauchard...
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
The Valkyries are typically depicted with spears, if memory serves. The spear is an excellent weapon for someone with less upper body strength. It allows the use of two hands, rather than one, and it keeps the enemy at a range where strength is less of an issue.

If I recall, however, isn't the gender difference in strength smaller in elves than it is in humans? Which might have something to do with elvish muscle mass. Pound for pound, elves seem to be stronger than humans, suggesting that elvish muscle is more efficient than ours.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Yes, there is obviously a difference between martial arts and actual battle techniques, not the least of which is the equipment involved. But it's also an entirely different mindset when you are an individual fighting a single opponent vs a member of a group fighting another group. Military strategy and tactics aren't focused on training a single soldier, but on training a group of soldiers to work together.

Tolkien does have some female fighters in his stories, and we will be depicting that on some level. I agree that your average human woman wouldn't be particularly good at melee combat, but of course there are the exceptions. I would expect Haleth to fight with a sword, for instance.

I don't want to have us choreograph fight scenes in which tiny little wisps take down critters twice their size like it's nothing. I'd certainly prefer some realism to what is portrayed. But obviously 'realism' is not typically the guiding standard of stage fighting on film. An actor or actress does not have to be strong enough to actually take down the stunt guys; they just have to swing convincingly.

For those not familiar with naginata, it looks like this:
Super dated documentary clip
And in competition

A light-weight weapon that gives you significant reach advantage can be good for someone who is smaller or not as strong as their opponent, especially if the opponent has a shorter weapon. That was why I mentioned this in the context of women fighting and not always with bows and arrows (which are typically given to women fighters because they are range weapons, but certainly do require significant strength to use well). For a real life example, the Empress was in command of the cannons during the Battle of Adwa in 1895 when the Ethiopians defeated the Italians. Cannons....are the ultimate range weapons! I don't expect we'll have cannons in our story ;)

But if you are going to fight in close quarters, there are techniques you can use against a taller or heavier opponent that take advantage of your own lower center of gravity. Once you take out your opponent's knees, it's much easier to lop the head off.....
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
That is a good point! We do know that the women of the quendi almost matched their male counterparts in tallness and strength! But still... what about mass?

After all ... it has been suggested that due to their longer lifespan ALL quendi are not only craftsmen, artists, sages but also Soldiers. So the common elven hoplite, in cuirass, mail, tall helmet, armed with shield, sword, spear...
is a commoner who is not a professional soldier but at other times is a craftsman, cultivator, anything,..

The same may well be true for the female Quendi. In times of need... because... i do not get the impression that the female Quendi usually were part of the hosts, despite their obvious abilities.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
That is a good point! We do know that the women of the quendi almost matched their male counterparts in tallness and strength! But still... what about mass?

After all ... it has been suggested that due to their longer lifespan ALL quendi are not only craftsmen, artists, sages but also Soldiers. So the common elven hoplite, in cuirass, mail, tall helmet, armed with shield, sword, spear...
is a commoner who is not a professional soldier but at other times is a craftsman, cultivator, anything,..

The same may well be true for the female Quendi. In times of need... because... i do not get the impression that the female Quendi usually were part of the hosts, despite their obvious abilities.
Again, I don't think this is going to be as stark a difference as it is among humans, at least not among the upper extremes for body mass and strength amongst elvish women. I agree that we likely won't see female elves in the hosts with any regularity, but the odd female elvish soldier shouldn't be unheard of.
 

NotACat

Active Member
i seem to recall from somewhere that all Elves are able to fight if and when necessary, but those who concentrate on the Healing Arts avoid combat as much as possible because fighting messes up their healing mojo.

Obviously JRRT would have put it better but you know what I mean…it's not so much whether an elf is a boy- or girl-Elf, it's whether they've got ongoing projects which require their hröa to stay calm and clean.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
NotACat that is indeed the case, in "Laws and Customs of the Eldar" in Morgoth's Ring. It does say that most healers were women, and most warriors/hunters were men, but there are exceptions like Aredhel and Elrond. There are also some examples, which I interpret as rare exceptions, of people trained in both fighting and healing. Beleg is one (I imagine he's one of the original Unbegotten from Kuivienen, who started hunting and healing before the Elves decided that you can't possibly be good at both).

They believe that hunting and "fighting messes up their healing mojo", but it may or may not actually do so... :p


Thinking about the Eol discussions: What should Aredhel be capable of? Is she an archer? Does she wield a sword?
I imagine her as an archer, but she would presumably have trained with some melee weapon. Spears (and javelins) come to mind since they're hunting weapons, and she may have had extensive experience with them before the Noldor started messing with swords.

@cellardur I'm not certain that she'll have no chance to fight. In the Grey Annals they didn't start building Gondolin until 4 years after Dagor Aglareb. If we end up using a similar timeline in Season 4, we can have Aredhel participate in Dagor Aglareb. And if Galadriel isn't yet in Doriath at the time, she can participate as well.

If we show the move to Gondolin happening before Dagor Aglareb, we can still have Aredhel fight giant demon spiders in Nan Dungortheb, after she loses her escort...
 
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amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
I have long and complicated and self-contradictory thoughts about gender roles and Elves and fighting. Not sure what to say or how to say it, I'm just going to barf my words onto the screen as they come to me.

I would like to be inspired by, but not beholden to, the gender ideas of a fellow born in the 19th century when considering these Elves.
I would also like to be inspired by, but not beholden to, the biological and sociological realities of IRL humans when considering these Elves.

I'm interested in gleaning what we can from "Laws and Customs of the Eldar", but I'm not interested in following it to the letter.
I'm interested in gleaning what we can from the customs and traditions of fighting armies from history, but I'm not interested in 1:1 applying that to Elves.

I want gender roles to be inspired by Laws and Customs, but modified and "modernized" and passed through a 21st century filter. I don't want to enforce some "SJW" 50/50 gender divide, but I also don't want to be forced to stick to a 99/1 divide either because that's what the non-canon book says.
I want combat to be inspired by reality and history, but modified and simplified and "Hollywood-ified" to be screen-appropriate and narratively appropriate.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I have long and complicated and self-contradictory thoughts about gender roles and Elves and fighting. Not sure what to say or how to say it, I'm just going to barf my words onto the screen as they come to me.

I would like to be inspired by, but not beholden to, the gender ideas of a fellow born in the 19th century when considering these Elves.
I would also like to be inspired by, but not beholden to, the biological and sociological realities of IRL humans when considering these Elves.

I'm interested in gleaning what we can from "Laws and Customs of the Eldar", but I'm not interested in following it to the letter.
I'm interested in gleaning what we can from the customs and traditions of fighting armies from history, but I'm not interested in 1:1 applying that to Elves.

I want gender roles to be inspired by Laws and Customs, but modified and "modernized" and passed through a 21st century filter. I don't want to enforce some "SJW" 50/50 gender divide, but I also don't want to be forced to stick to a 99/1 divide either because that's what the non-canon book says.
I want combat to be inspired by reality and history, but modified and simplified and "Hollywood-ified" to be screen-appropriate and narratively appropriate.
This is more or less my point of view of this, though I think I'm less interested in modernizing the story. I do think that having a bunch of women in combat will _look_ super unrealistic, given what we know about the science of gender. We will have opportunity to explain this when men arrive, though, so I'm not _too_ concerned about things appearing to be weird for a season or two.

There are two major reasons why combat in history has been dominated to almost exclusivity by men. One is the obvious biological differences in upper body strength and muscle mass. This is scientifically unavoidable for humans, but certainly not insurmountable by a few women who have historically (and quite bravely, I might add) found their way onto the battlefield. Some women of rank have also fought on battlefields, leading men. Joan of Arc and Boudicca being good examples of this. The main societal reason why women through the ages have not fought alongside men, however, has a lot more to do with reproduction. The fact is that as far as the perpetuation of society goes, we are pretty expendable. And, if you look at human genetics, we can see that women have been twice as likely to produce offspring as men. A village or even a nation could lose 80% of its male population and survive. Losing that many women would be fatal. Turns out that we just didn't matter enough to not be sent to fight as far as the ancient world goes. Oh, third thing: women are generally considered better at parenting (this may be societal, but there are certainly plenty of studies suggesting that hormones have a role). Society has generally believed that children would be better off losing their father than their mother. Custody court cases show that this is prevailing even today.

I don't bring these points up because I don't think people are unaware of them, but because I want to point out that for Elves, only one of them is relevant, and that to a much smaller degree than for humans. Elvish women aren't going to have kids with other men if their husbands die. This means that women are not inherently more valuable to the society than men are. On the subject of strength and muscle mass, as discussed above, there seems less sexual dimorphism amongst Elves in that regard than in humans. I would say that something like 20-30% of elvish women are able to hold their own on the battlefield to the same degree as elvish men. If you figure there are a number of these who are dedicated healers/parents/just aren't interested, you might have something like 5-15% of an army being composed of elvish women. Disclaimer: These are not real numbers. I have not even crunched the math on human dimorphism, let alone doing the statistical analysis of what we are told in Tolkien's writings.
 
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