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|Death||November 3, Third Age 3019. |
Gríma was secretly in thrall to Saruman, who had promised him Éowyn. Gríma not only informed Saruman about the secrets of Rohan, but also worked to weaken Théoden and his kingdom with his words and poison.
During the War of the Ring, the Nine Nazgûl came to Rohan and questioned Wormtongue, who, terrified, answered that the Wizard Gandalf had passed through Rohan, and also revealed to them where the Shire was. He also told them that Saruman had lied to them in this information, revealing his treachery against Sauron.
Upon Gandalf's arrival, he tried to discredit Gandalf, until he managed to heal Théoden. After this, "many things which men had missed" were found locked in Gríma's trunk and he was given a grim choice: ride into battle or into exile. Choosing the latter, he went to dwell with Saruman at Orthanc, where he witnessed the Battle of Isengard. Following the confrontation between Saruman and Gandalf, he mistakenly threw a "heavy rock"—which was actually the palantír of Orthanc—at the Rohirrim accompanying Gandalf, an act for which Saruman seems to have punished him severely.
While being held there, he was reduced more weak and thin. When Treebeard released them in August, they left. On their way, they were confronted by Gandalf, Celeborn, Galadriel and the Hobbits on their way to northern Dunland. They found them as traveling beggars and Saruman kicked Gríma to move on, as he exclaimed how he hated his master. Galadriel told Gríma that he was free to leave him but he did not reply.
Saruman had already been exerting control to Shire from afar by sending evil Men there, so the two sought revenge in petty tyranny over the hobbits. During this time he became increasingly degraded until he was a crawling wretch, almost resembling Gollum, and Saruman shortened his nickname to "Worm". During this time he killed Lotho Sackville-Baggins, and may have eaten him.
Spurred by the words of Frodo that he did not have to follow Saruman, and being pushed over the edge when Saruman scorned him, he used a hidden knife to slit the throat of Saruman and darted down the road. He was quickly killed by several Hobbit arrows.
The name Gríma derives from the Old English or Icelandic word meaning "mask, visor, helmet" or "spectre". It is also possible to link the name to the English word "grim", which among other characteristics meant "ugly" in Old English.
Portrayal in Adaptations
- Bernard Rebel played Gríma.
- Gríma Wormtongue was voiced by Michael Deacon.
- John Vickery played Gríma.
- Paul Brooke played Gríma.
- Gríma is played by Brad Dourif. The reason for Gríma's pale and emaciated appearance in the movie is not entirely clear. Perhaps it is meant to suggest that by throwing in his lot with Saruman he has started down the same path to physical and mental corruption that caused Gollum to become a twisted parody of his original self, although it is just as likely that Jackson simply wanted to make it clear that Wormtongue was one of the "bad guys" in the large and confusing cast of characters.
- The events of "The Scouring of the Shire" do not appear in the film version, so Saruman's death was moved to an earlier scene. Other than the location, the manner of their deaths is very much the same. As in the book, Gríma kills Saruman, but by stabbing him in the back, not slitting his throat. Saruman's body then falls from the tower and is impaled on a spiked wheel, a remnant of his war machine. Gríma himself is shot by an arrow fired by Legolas, thereby mirroring his death in the book. This scene was to have included a line where Saruman blamed Gríma for killing Théodred, replacing Lotho in the context of that scene, but the line was cut out.
- Kirk Thornton played Gríma.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Voice of Saruman"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
- ↑ Wayne G. Hammond, Christina Scull (2008), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 404
- ↑ Hálfdan Helgason (1991), The Emigration from Iceland to North America: Icelandic first names, accessed 12 October 2010
- ↑ Joseph Bosworth, "gríma" at An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (online, accessed 12 October 2010)
- ↑ Joseph Bosworth, "EORL" at An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (online, accessed 12 October 2010)
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 764