This paper considers the ways in which Joss Whedon and J.R.R. Tolkien subvert the classic fairy-tale motif of the "girl in the woods" to engender horror. The author examines Whedon's work (specifically Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Cabin in the Woods) through the lens of Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" to show how a sense of horror can be created by denying the consolation of a happy ending. This approach is then applied to Tolkien's story of Aredhel and Eöl from The Silmarillion to demonstrate how Tolkien subverts his own theory to highlight the horrific social customs that perpetuate violence against women.
"The Girl in the Woods: On Fairy Stories and the Virgin Horror,"
Journal of Tolkien Research: Vol. 10:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/journaloftolkienresearch/vol10/iss1/3