Photo of woman on cliff at sunset by SaraRichterArt for Pixabay
Photo of woman on cliff at sunset by SaraRichterArt for Pixabay

Being a Female Gamer & Playing Lord of the Rings Online

As a female gamer, being able to play a game where the female characters/toons aren’t dressed as sexual objects is refreshing. To play an elf, a hobbit, or even a human is more relaxing.


I began playing The Lord of the Rings Online eight years ago through an online class about online games and literature; playing the game was presented as an option. I chose to play, and I made some great friends through the kinship I joined. In fact, a lot of those folks still play and I’m still part of that kinship. I have found through the years that actually many friends of mine who are Tolkien fans play the game; it’s always fun to get together and go on quests.

The first character/toon I created is an elf, and she has reached the maximum level for the game right now. I have throughout the years created regular elves, high elves, dwarves, humans, hobbits, and a Beorning. You may have noticed I didn’t mention wizards, because unfortunately wizards are not one of the choices.


The first time I was introduced to Tolkien’s Middle-earth was in high school. I was into reading books by Anne Rice and other gothic writers so The Lord of the Rings was a change and ushered in my interest and passion for fantasy fiction. Anne Rice had inspired me to read and write about vampires while Tolkien was the inspiration for writing about elves, dragons, and wizards. After watching Jackson’s trilogy, I picked up a copy of The Lord of the Rings and read it again for the first time in a long time. Reading it renewed my love for reading and writing fantasy fiction. I grabbed a pen and notebook and began sketching out what would become my first published story. 

Writing my M.A. thesis on Tolkien’s trilogy gave me the chance to explore more of his legendarium which for me includes the books, movies, video games like The Lord of the Rings Online, and even Tolkien Studies classes. His legendarium has made an impact on my life like no other author really has. I think for me personally, the attraction is a combination of Tolkien’s world-building and the multitude of characters that readers might relate to in some way. For me, my favorite character tends to change from time to time when I’m reading the books.

female gamer


Speaking of characters, I have to say one of my favorite characters is Éowyn. She defeats a villain near the end of her story without help from her male counterparts; as a female reader this made me smile. She did it herself and didn’t wait for a man to come to the rescue. In The Return of the King, she and Aragorn are having a conversation about battles and who should be allowed to fight. One of the passages from the conversation I think says a lot about her:

‘Too often have I heard of duty,’ she cried. ‘But am I not of the House of Eorl, a shieldmaiden and not a dry-nurse? I have waited on faltering feet long enough. Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?’ (Return 767).

Those lines spoke volumes to the person she was and how she viewed her life. She wanted the respect of those around her.

Additionally, and as a writer, Tolkien’s Éowyn is the character that inspires me most when creating new female characters because she is strong but vulnerable. Arwen and Galadriel are inspiring in their own way, too, but I think Éowyn was given a character/story arc because she was human while Arwen and Galadriel were immortal (although technically Arwen did give up her immortality for Aragorn). Both Arwen and Galdriel had many more years of life whereas Éowyn wouldn’t have such a chance. Her story allows female readers to relate to someone that is a human in a world of beings like elves, wizards, hobbits, and dwarves.


When I began playing the game, I wasn’t worried about the fact that I was a female playing a character/toon in an MMO game. I was happy to be playing a game where my character/toon could visit Bree, The Shire, Rivendell, or Rohan and interact with characters like Aragorn, Legolas, Frodo, or Éowyn. I didn’t even know a toxic environment might exist in a setting where we were interacting with other players. Then “gamergate” happened and as I researched the gaming aspect for my thesis, I realized how much different The Lord of the Rings Online is from other games. Yes, I will admit there are people in the game with certain attitudes towards other players. I avoid those players as much as I can and interact with the players I know.

Playing The Lord of the Rings Online as a female gamer is interesting because it’s not like other games in how the female characters/toons are dressed. As a female gamer, being able to play a game where the female characters/toons aren’t dressed as sexual objects is refreshing. To play an elf, a hobbit, or even a human is more relaxing, and I feel like I’m on a level playing field in many ways when I play. I have proven that I can handle myself when it comes to battling the foes in the game and the harassment that a female can receive in other games doesn’t happen in this one that much.


The adventure I went on writing and researching my thesis led me to take another adventure this year. In May, I started classes in Tolkien Studies at Signum University. I had heard about the university several years ago when I began following a weekly livestream titled “Exploring the Lord of the Rings.” The streamer is the Tolkien Professor, and he uses The Lord of the Rings Online game as a tool along with the book for us to learn more about Middle-earth. It’s a fun and educational livestream because the book is discussed and then the places are visited in the game.

I have also joined the Tolkien Society and will attend a virtual seminar in July and a virtual weekend conference called Oxonmoot in September. I will attend virtually Mythmoot, which is a yearly conference that Signum University holds. A goal I have for next year and the conferences is to write, submit, and present a paper on Tolkien.

Featured image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay;
image of Hobbit house by StockSnap from Pixabay

  1. The article presents us with the experience of being able to connect gaming and books as well as what its like to create relationships with various people and what its like to be playing videogames as a female. In this article the author gives as her opinion on what she’s gone through over the years of playing games. the article delves into how the online lord of the ring game gives various customization and does oversexualize the female options unlike other similar games that heavily rely on the exposer of sensitive female characters.

  2. The article presents us with the experience of being able to connect gaming and books as well as what its like to create relationships with various people and what its like to be playing videogames as a female. In this article the author gives as her opinion on what she’s gone through over the years of playing games. the article delves into how the online lord of the ring game gives various customization and does oversexualize the female options unlike other similar games that heavily rely on the exposer of sensitive female characters. I can deeply resonate with this article mainly because I’ve made countless social interactions with people on games and other online social settings. Some good and bad but each one has been and will be an experience that’ll be a part of me.

  3. The author, Diane Riggins, enthuses about her love of Tolkien and the impact his work has had on her life, she then proceeds to explain how her favorite character, Eowyn, is empowering because of her grounded nature and identity as a strong independent female character. This leads to her describing how she was introduced to the Lord of the Rings Online, a game that left a positive mark on her life as it provides a safe space for her as a female gamer. Diane Riggins clearly finds solidarity in her identity as a woman and is quite comfortable in it, thus it is understandable why she would find frustration in being unable to find a female character that she can both relate to but also stands as a strong character. On the other end, it was her passion for Tolkien that led her to Lord of the Rings online. This game was the tool she needed to safely explore her interests in the lore and world of Tolkien. The aspect of being a girl gamer is interesting as companies these days heavily push to maximize diversity. I myself find this interesting as well as someone who’s a large fan of the hobby, I myself “game” with females, and reading this makes me want to inquire about their experience with any possible resistance.

  4. This article speaks on character development and how building a good character does not always have to mean making the females look sexual. In most video games involving female character builds it feels like there is a lot of skin showing for certain female characters in general, like in Super Smash bros. where Zero-suit Samus has a full body suit which sometimes makes it harder to see her or the alternative of very revealing strapless shirt and short shorts. Over the years this has started to lose its appeal on gamers because a lot of the demographic changed to also having a lot more female players and that also changed how they designed them; this has also started to help change how female protagonists are portrayed in stories all together. I really resonate with this because I felt like I was dressing my characters in weird or ugly clothing to avoid putting them in overly sexual outfits, as I grew older that changed a lot and there were more options that I thought looked good to me. Characters have also started to take charge of their own lives and romance is not the number one thing for the characters. I also love that they started making more stories where the female characters do not have a love interest at all, and it is great that females have more role models that are more focused on defeating the main enemy instead of waiting for their male counterparts.

  5. In the gaming world being a female is difficult when over 70% of the other players are males. For Diane Riggins, the difficulties and setbacks were shown in the majority of games. In most games, female characters are objectified and seen as sleazy or dumb with little clothing and big body assets. And female gamers/players, they too are brushed aside as being dumb and unable to have the capabilities to play video games. The only game that seemed to debunk this theory was “The Lord of the Rings Online”. For female players and their female characters of choice, it provided more options, both from a clothing standpoint and a character storyline standpoint. Society has seemed to build the idea that only males are able to play video games and females are not capable of being able to comprehend such “complex” things as online games. This article was written in September of 2022 and it is almost a year later and the standards of women not being able to play as strongly as men are still standing in most societal circles.

  6. This article speaks to readers about Tolkien’s works and how he combats the common prevalence of sexism and/or misogyny within the world of fiction through different mediums. Even to this day, many pieces of fiction rely on outdated, misogynistic tropes that add very little of value to their work and instead largely push away the potential engagement with a larger audience that includes and celebrates women rather than relegating them to sex appeal or a damsel in distress. The author points out that it makes a lot of sense for a game about Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings to be a noteworthy exception that fights to break away from these outdated notions, pointing out Tolkien’s own writing having poignant feminist ideals and working towards the empowerment of women. This article resonates with me strongly as a trans individual, as it brings up more of the positive aspects of a game and author that do it right rather than spending most of its time discussing active sexism within many games and stories. I feel it is rather important to be able to step back from the negative view of seeing everything that is done poorly and to act as the author does; to look at the positives and be able to appreciate what has been done right.

  7. The text “Being a Female Gamer” you share personal experiences and reflections as a female gamer and Tolkien fan. You first introduces their journey into gaming through The Lord of the Rings Online, where they formed friendships and enjoyed quests with fellow Tolkien fans. You express your love for Tolkien’s works, which sparked their passion for fantasy fiction and inspired them to write their own stories.

    You highlights Éowyn as their favorite character, admiring her strength and independence. You appreciate how Éowyn defies gender norms and prove yourself without relying on male assistance. The character’s human vulnerability also resonates with the author and serves as inspiration for creating new female characters in their own writing.

    The author reflects on their experience playing The Lord of the Rings Online as a female gamer, appreciating the game’s portrayal of female characters as more than sexual objects. They feel a sense of relaxation and equality when playing as various races and find the game’s community to be generally positive, although they acknowledge the existence of some toxic players.

    Building on their love for Tolkien’s works, the author has expanded their involvement by pursuing Tolkien Studies at Signum University, joining the Tolkien Society, and attending virtual seminars and conferences. They express their goal to present a paper on Tolkien at one of these events.

    Personally, I connected with this text because it highlights the positive impact of gaming and literature on the author’s life. It demonstrates how engaging with a beloved fictional world can inspire creativity, foster friendships, and even lead to academic pursuits. The author’s experiences as a female gamer also shed light on the importance of diverse and empowering representation within gaming communities. Overall, this text shows the personal and transformative power of being a female gamer and a fan of Tolkien’s works.

  8. Riggins expresses her appreciation and connection to video games that portray women in a good light where they aren’t sexualized as they are in many other games. Personally, I heavily relate and can affirm with her strong passion and love for video games. Playing video games is a hobby and a distracting pass time for me. I have played many different genres of games, so I have seen the various ways women have been portrayed. I know a good game is a good game when the women are not in armor that shows about eighty percent of her body in the character art. The sexualization of these women also leads to the writing of their character with them being depicted as meek or heavily seductive. Game developers doing this harms the representation of real women, not some 2D or 3D pixelated coding. Which is disappointing, as a female gamer, as the men in these video games are strong and brave heroes that have full suits of armor. Games that do this make a strong cut into the stereotypes of femininity and masculinity as these depictions are far from the way women and/or men are in the real world. Riggins’s article, in short, expresses the strong secure feelings of being a woman playing a video game with women that beat the stereotypical ideals of a female video game character.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.