I've seen some criticisms of the shot of Eowyn looking terrified as the Witch King reveals his gigantic flail, saying it's sexist and wouldn't have been there if it was a male character. However, I actually think it just makes her look more impressive that she's visibly scared out of her mind, yet still stands her ground and fights.
I agree that Eowyn standing her ground while being terrified is more impressive than just being impassive and fighting. As I recall in the books, the Nazgul were creatures of such horror, even their shrieking voices could overwhelm people with terror. There was the supernatural aspect as well, in that they were allegedly indestructible "living dead." Who wouldn't be afraid? The fact that she was even there, trying to protect her uncle, Theoden, in the face of such an enemy, makes it all right with me that she looked horrified. It seems like grasping at straws to criticize that look on her face as sexist. She was up against one of the most deadly creatures in all of Middle Earth.
When Denethor sent Faramir out on his suicide mission, Faramir looked pretty hopeless and scared, too. Gimli admitted that he feared entering the Paths of the Dead and had to steel himself to go foward. Galdalf looked momentarily fearful and overwhelmed at the bridge when he realized that a Balrog was coming, and Frodo was certainly terrified when he was being chased by the monstrous Shelob. The films were filled with people who showed courage, despite being afraid. I hardly think Eowyn was alone in that.
Edited by carmelized, Nov 13, 2011 @ 9:18 PM.