Tolkien Gateway

Ceorl

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Ceorl
Rohir
Biographical Information
PositionMessenger
Physical Description
GenderMale
"Come, stand before me, Ceorl!"
Théoden, Helm's Deep.

Ceorl was a rider of Rohan at the end of the Third Age.

Contents

Life

After the loss of the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, Erkenbrand withdrew his Riders to Helm's Deep, and sent Ceorl south as a messenger to warn Éomer. He was surprised to come across King Théoden's army riding north, ready to launch their own defence of the Fords. The news brought by Ceorl caused Théoden to reconsider his strategy, and he rode instead to join Erkenbrand at Helm's Deep, so setting the stage for the mighty Battle of the Hornburg.

Etymology

Like other Rohirrim, Ceorl's name comes from Old English. It refers to a particular rank in Anglo-Saxon society (also known as Carl and Churl), in fact the lowest rank possible while remaining a freeman. Historically, these people would not normally have been professional soldiers, so if Ceorl's background follows his name, we might guess that he was a farmer or tradesman who had been pressed into military service to help deal with the imminent threat to Rohan.

Portrayal in adaptations

1978: Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings:

Ceorl is omitted. Gandalf simply breaks off the main unit and rides to the Crossings of the Isen.

1981: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings

Ceorl was voiced by Michael McStay.

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

As Théoden rode directly to the Hornburg, so there was no need for a messenger.

References