Tolkien Gateway

Éomer

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Revision as of 14:19, 9 March 2012

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Éomer
Rohir
Biographical Information
Other namesÉadig
TitlesKing of Rohan
PositionThird Marshal of the Riddermark
AffiliationOath of Eorl
LanguageRohirric and Westron
BirthT.A. 2991
RuleT.A. 3019 - Fo.A. 63
DeathFo.A. 63 (aged 93)
Family
HouseHouse of Eorl
ParentageÉomund &Théodwyn
SpouseLothíriel
ChildrenElfwine
Physical Description
GenderMale
HeightAround 6' 6"[1][2]
Hair colorDark blond hair[source?]
WeaponryGúthwinë
SteedFirefoot
"Hail, Éomer, King of the Mark!"
― Rohirrim[3]

Éomer Éadig, of the House of Eorl, was the eighteenth King of Rohan, and first of the Third Line. He was the son of Théodwyn, sister of King Théoden of Rohan, and Éomund, a Chief Marshal of the Riddermark. After he and his sister Éowyn were orphaned Théoden adopted them as his own children.[4]

Contents

History

Youth

Éomer was born in 2991 as son of Éomund and Théodwyn. When he was eleven years old his father was slain by Orc raiders in the Emyn Muil. His mother fell ill and died soon after. His uncle Théoden adopted him and his sister Éowyn as his own children and they went to live at Meduseld.

Éomer grew strong and tall and became a valiant and skilled warrior and rider. Théoden made him third Marshal of the Mark and he was in command of the East-mark like his father. He had his home at Aldburg in the Folde, one of the oldest towns of Rohan. With his Éored he defended Rohan mainly against Orcs from Mordor.[4]

Struggle against Saruman the White

But Rohans enemies were not only at the borders but also within. Gríma Wormtongue, the King's advisor, was secretly a spy of the wizard Saruman the White, who dwelled at Isengard and had become a servant of Sauron. Gríma in secret worked to weaken Théoden and his kingdom and Théoden fell deeply under his influence. Gríma, however, did not manage to destroy Éomer's loyalty to Théoden or his son Théodred, whom Éomer regarded as his brother although he actually was his cousin.

In the summer of 3018 Boromir, son of Denethor II, crossed Rohan on his way to Rivendell. Éomer learned from him about the dream of Isildur's Bane. On September 19, 3018 Gandalf arrived at Edoras and warned Théoden of the threat from Saruman. But Théoden, under Grima's influence, told him to take any horse and go. Soon after Gandalf's departure Men, Orcs and Wargs in Saruman's service began to fight openly against the Rohirrim. Saruman claimed lordship over Rohan and blocked the Gap of Rohan.

The chief obstacles to an easy conquest of Rohan by Saruman were now Théodred and Éomer. Therefore Saruman sent out all his fiercest warriors with special orders to slay Théodred at all costs. So it came to the first great battle in the conflict, the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, on February 25, 3018. After untiring assaults on Théodred's position he was finally killed.

The day after the battle Èomer gained knowledge of a troop of Orcs entering Rohan from the east. Although Éomer didn't know that, it were the Orcs that had taken Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. Suspecting an alliance between Saruman and Sauron he wanted to hunt them down. Under the strong influence of Grima Théoden forbade Éomer to pursue the Orcs because Edoras would have been unguarded. But Éomer neglected the order since he already suspected Grima's treachery.

On February 27 he set out with his Éored.[5] At the end of the next day they caught sight of the Orcs at the border of Fangorn Forest. They surrounded them and remained watchful throughout the night. With several small attacks they weakened the troop till another Orc band from Isengard arrived. But the Rohirrim succeeded in defeating them and surrounded the first troop even closer. With the first light of the new day the Rohirrim proceeded to attack. They killed all the Orcs and Éomer himself slew their leader Ugluk. The hobbits meanwhile were able to flee into Fangorn Forest. Fifteen men and 12 horses did not survive the assault. They were buried in a mound encircled with fifteen spears.[6]

On the way back to Edoras the Rohirrim met Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas. Éomer demanded their names and business and fighting broke almost out between Gimli and Éomer when Aragorn sprang between them, told Éomer his true name and showed him his sword, Andúril. Éomer now listened to their journey's story and learned about the losses of Gandalf, Boromir and the two young hobbits. Although he was counteracting the law of Rohan he lent them two horses, Hasufel and Arod, and asked them to prove his trust by bringing them back to Edoras.[7]

Back in Edoras Éomer threatened Gríma because of his advances on Éowyn. But Grìma arrested him and accused him of breaking the law because he had pursued the Orcs and had allowed strangers to roam freely without Théoden's permission.

Éomer was released when Gandalf had freed Théoden from the influence of Gríma. He was delighted to see that his king was recovering quickly from his weakness and was calling him sister-son again. Now Grima's treachery was revealed and only owing to Gandalf's intervening he was not killed but expelled from the Golden Hall. Théoden, now realizing the situation, decided to lead the Rohirrim into battle against Saruman instantly. The Three Hunters and Gandalf accompanied them when they left Edoras the same day.[8]

The following day they met the scout Ceorl who had been sent out by Erkenbrand to warn Éomer. He was surprised to come across King Théoden's army riding north and brought news that Saruman had let loose his forces and that the Rohirrim had been forced to retreat across the Isen with great losses. These tidings caused Théoden to reconsider his strategy. After consultation with Gandalf he decided to ride to join Erkenbrand at Helm's Deep while the wizard left them saying that he would meet them there.

They arrived at Helm's Deep on the night of March 3 and Éomer oversaw the preparations for the great battle. In the middle of the night the siege began and when battering rams attacked the gates Éomer and Aragorn led a sortie through a passage on the side of the Hornburg that drove the enemies threatening the doors away. In the course of this Gimli saved Éomer's life when he killed two Orcs who had ambushed Éomer. The battle continued throughout the night and ever more attackers scaled the walls with large ladders. Aragorn and Éomer had to repeatedly move the defenders, who were getting weary, to repel the Orcs. With the help of a device of Saruman's the Orcs caused an explosion under the wall that made a wide hole in it. From then on the attackers could not be stopped an the defenders were separated. Éomer and Gimli retreated to the Glittering Caves whereas Aragorn and Legolas defended the Hornburg.

The battle seemed lost when at dawn Gandalf returned with Erkenbrand and 1000 riders from the Westfold. Together they drove the enemies out of the deep and into a mysterious forest that had sprung up during the night and swallowed the Orcs for ever.[9]

After the end of the battle Éomer accompanied his king to Isengard.[10] There they met Saruman who tried to enthral Théoden with his magic voice. But both Éomer and Théoden saw through him and his dark designs. Théoden said that Rohan would have no peace until Saruman and his works had perished. Gandalf then broke Saruman's staff and cast him from the Order of Wizards and the White Council.[11]

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

On March 5 the company set out to Helm's Deep. While they rested in the night Pippin took the palantir of Orthanc from the sleeping Gandalf, looked in it and was confronted by Sauron. Knowing the peril Pippin was in Gandalf said farewell to the others and departed with Pippin towards Minas Tirith.[12] The Three Hunters and the Rohirrim continued their journey towards Helm's Deep where they arrived on March 6. Now Aragorn looked into the palantir and revealed himself to Sauron. What he saw made him decide to take the Paths of the Dead. Éomer was afraid of never seeing him again but Aragorn predicted that they "might meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor should stand between." and set out.[13]

Éomer accompanied his king to the muster of Dunharrow where he met his sister Éowyn again. Then the Red Arrow of Gondor which requested Rohan's aid was brought by a messenger and the Rohhirim set out in great haste to Minas Tirith.[14] They used narrow mountain paths and on March 13 reached Drúadan Forest where they met Ghân-buri-Ghân the chief of the Drúedain. He agreed to lead the Rohirrim by a secret road past the Orc hosts that laid siege to Minas Tirith.

So the Rohirrim arrived on the battleground of the Pelennor Fields at dawn on March 15. Éomer led the first Éored that should follow the king's banner in the centre.[15] The Rohirrim were strong and filled with wrath and many enemies were slain. The Rohirrim went hither and thither at their will and so Éomer was only brought to Théoden when the king was already mortally wounded. Before his death Théoden hailed Éomer as King of the Mark and Éomer and those who stood by wept. When Éomer recognized Éowyn lying nearby a cold fury rose in him and without taking counsel or waiting for the approach of the men of the City he ran across the field slaying the enemies he saw.

But soon fortune turned against Éomer and he and his men were encircled. Just in time came the aid of the horsemen of Gondor among them Hirluin of the Green Hills and Imrahil prince of Dol Amroth came. But ever more enemies came from Osgiliath and when the black ships of the Corsairs came up the Anduin the battle seemed lost. Éomer rallied the Rohirrim for a last fight against the Corsairs when he realized the standard of Aragorn unfurling on the first ship.

The enemies fled when they saw that their own ship were filled with foes and so Éomer met Aragorn in the middle of the battlefield as Aragorn had predicted.[16]

The battle ended in victory and Éomer learned that Éowyn was not dead but lay gravely ill in the Houses of Healing. He also learned that the contact with the Lord of the Nazgul was not the only reason for her sickness but that also her despair had worsened it. Aragorn managed to heal Éowyn and she awoke at her brother's call. Meriadoc Brandybuck was also healed and Éomer made him a Knight of the Riddermark in return for his aid for Éowyn and Théoden.[17]

The next day Éomer took part in the debate of the Captains of the West. There Gandalf told that their hope now lay with Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee, who had gone to Mordor to destroy the One Ring wrought by Sauron. Gandalf councelled that they should ride to the Black Gate in order to force Sauron to empty his land and to give the Ring-bearers their only chance. Aragorn agreed and Éomer decided to follow his friend in return for his aid in their time of need.[18]

On March 18 the Host of the West, Gandalf, the Three Hunters and Éomer among them, set out towards the Black Gate. They arrived there on March 25 and withstood the forces of the enemy until the Ring was destroyed and Sauron and his servants and works perished.[19]

After the great victory Aragorn set up his camp on the Field of Cormallen in North Ithilien and Éomer took part in the celebrations there.[20] Together with the other Captains of the West he returned to Minas Tirith and attended the coronation of Aragorn on May 1. A week later he set out to Rohan with Éowyn for there was much to organize and to set in order. Before his departure he renewed the Oath of Eorl for Aragorn and both swore everlasting friendship between Rohan and Gondor.[21] Éomer returned in July and brought Théoden's body back to Edoras. On August 10 there the funeral of Théoden took place and Éomer announced the betrothal of Eowyn to Faramir, the Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien. When the feast was over Éomer took leave of the guests and named Merry Holdwine, "loyal friend," of the Mark.[3]


King of the Mark

But though Sauron had perished the King of the West had many enemies to destroy before the White Tree could grow in peace. So Éomer often fulfilled the Oath of Eorl and went with King Elessar far into the East and South of Middle-earth. He was known as Éomer Éadig, or "the Blessed", because during his reign Rohan recovered from the hurts of the War and became a rich and fruitful land again. He wedded Princess Lothíriel, daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, whom he had met during his stay in Gondor and she bore him a son Elfwine the Fair.[4]


In Fourth Age 63 Éomer asked his Knight Merry Brandybuck to visit him one last time. Both Merry and his friend Pippin came to Rohan and stayed for a while. In the autumn of that year, King Éomer died and his son Elfwine the Fair became King of Rohan. King Éomer had reigned for 65 years, longer than any other King of Rohan save Aldor the Old.[5]

Personality

He was tall, strong and possessed of great passion and also was considered a valiant and splendid warrior and a discerning and decent man. Éomer became a great, wise and skilled warrior and rider. In a note written well after the initial publication of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien gave Éomer's height as "of like height with Aragorn", due to his grandmother Morwen Steelsheen, who was of Númenórean descent.[1] Aragorn's height has in a similar fashion been revealed as 6 foot and 6 inches,[2]

Weapon

Éomer's sword was called Gúthwinë, which is Old English for "battle-friend".

Etymology

His name is likely derived from the Anglo-Saxon words eoh ("war-horse"), and mere, ("grand, excellent, famous"). He adopted the epithet Éadig during his kingship, which is an Old English word meaning "happy, wealthy" and usually translated as "blessed", used for saints in medieval literature.[22]

Portrayal in Adaptations

1956: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings:

The part of Éomer is played by Noel Johnson.[23]

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Éomer is shown slaying Uglúk's band of Orcs, and later at the Battle of the Hornburg, where he took the place of Erkenbrand. He does not have any lines, nor is any animation superimposed over the rotoscoped live-action.

1979: The Mind's Eye's The Lord of the Rings:

Matthew Locricchio plays Éomer.[24] He is portrayed as the son of Théoden, rather than the sister-son.[25]

1980: The Return of the King (1980 film):

After the death of Théoden, an unnamed character leads the Rohirrim to the Black Gate. It could be Éomer, though this is unconfirmed.

1981: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings:

Éomer is portrayed by Anthony Hyde. He is imprisoned at the request of Gríma Wormtongue, but after the latters removal from Edoras, he proudly serves beside his uncle in the Battle of the Hornburg and the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

Éomer is played by Karl Urban. He is explicitly exiled by Gríma, and an outcast and renegade until he arrives at Helm's Deep, summoned by Gandalf. Like Ralph Bakshi's film, Éomer replaced Erkenbrand.

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth:

Éomer is a hero unit for the Rohan-faction. His shouts are voiced by Chris Edgerly.

See Also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, page 367
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, page 229
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Appendix A (ii)"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "Appendix B"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Helm's Deep"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Voice of Saruman"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Palantír"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Houses of Healing"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  22. http://home.comcast.net/~modean52/old_to_new_english_e.htm
  23. Radio Times, Volume 133, No. 1723, November 16, 1956
  24. The Lord of the Rings (1979 radio series), "The Search for the Hobbits"
  25. The Lord of the Rings (1979 radio series), "The White Rider"
Éomer
House of Eorl
Born: T.A. 2991 Died: Fo.A. 63
Preceded by:
Théoden
18th King of Rohan
T.A. 3019Fo.A. 63
Followed by:
Elfwine