Meduseld

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Meduseld
Hall
"Meduseld" by Jef Murray
General Information
Other namesGolden Hall
LocationEdoras
TypeHall
DescriptionA great "golden hall" (topped with a thatched roof, which made it appear golden from afar) upon the top of the hill of Edoras
People and History
InhabitantsRohirrim
EventsT.A. 2759: Wulf's rebellion
GalleryImages of Meduseld

Meduseld, also known as the Golden Hall was the great[1] royal hall of the Kings of Rohan[2] that stood on a terrace on the top of the hill[3] on which Edoras, the capital city of Rohan was built[1].

Description

On the top of the hill broad high stairs led up from a green terrace to a wide paved terrace on which Meduseld stood. On both sides of the topmost step of the stair were seats made of stone on which guards set.[3]

At the nothern end of Meduseld were doors on great hinges, which were locked with heavy bars. The hall was a long and wide hall with great painted carved pillars that supported its high roof,[3] which appeared to be thatched with gold when seen from far off[1]. A louver in the roof let in light and allowed smoke get out. There were windows high under the eaves on the eastern side of the hall. The floor of the hall was paved with a mosaic of stones in many colours that contained intertwined branching runes and strange devices. Its walls were richly decorated with woven tapestries depicting figures from the history and legends of the Rohirrim, including Eorl on his horse riding to the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. In the middle of the hall was a long hearth with a wood-fire. At the southern end of the hall three steps lep up to a raised dais with a great golden chair on which the King of Rohan sat facing the doors.[3]

History

After the Éothéod had settled in Rohan, the Second King of Rohan, Brego, the son of Eorl, built Meduseld on top of the hill of Edoras. The hall was completed in T.A. 2569.[4] During the feast that was held by Brego to hallow the newly built hall Baldor,[5] his first son,[6] vowed to walk the Paths of the Dead. Baldor entered the Paths of the Dead in T.A. 2570,[7] but never returned and his father died of grief in the same year[8].

In T.A. 2758[9] the Dunlending leader, Wulf, took Edoras and Meduseld and proclaimed himself king. Helm Hammerhand's son Haleth fell defending the doors of the great hall. Wulf was eventually overthrown by Fréaláf, son of Hild, in 2759.[10]

In the late Third Age, Meduseld was the home of King Théoden.[11]

On 20 September T.A. 3018[12] the wizard Gandalf came to Meduseld and warned king Théoden that the wizard Saruman had gathered wolves and Orcs in Isengard and was planning to make an alliance with Sauron. However Théoden sent Gandalf away under the influence of his advisor Gríma who was secretly in the service of Saruman.[13]

Gandalf came back to Meduseld with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli on 2 March T.A. 3019 and freed Théoden from the influence of Gríma and Théoden decided to lead his forces to defend Rohan against the invading forces of Saruman.[14]

After king Théoden's died in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields his body was brought back to Edoras on 7 August T.A. 3019,[15]where he lay until his funeral three days later[16]. After his funeral Meduseld was decorated with beautiful hangings and filled with light and the greatest feast since the time of its construction was held in the Golden Hall.[17]

Etymology

Meduseld is an Old English name, which means "mead-house" or a "house in which feasting takes place" (i.e. a Hall of feasts).[18][19] The first component medu means "mead",[20] but as a word it has connotations of "joy". The second component seld means "seat", "residence", "mansion" or "hall".[21]

Other versions of the legendarium

A manuscript version of what would later become the chapter The King of the Golden Hall contained a description of the doors and of the portico before the doors. The portico had pillars made from great trees, which were carved with interlacing figures and were gilded and painted. The doors were made of wood and carved with many beasts and birds with jewelled eyes and golden claws. Christopher Tolkien thinks that the description of the exterior of the hall may have got lost during the redrafting of the material.[22]

Inspiration

In many ways Meduseld is inspired by Anglo-Saxon poetry, particularly Beowulf, which contains the mead-hall Heorot — the "golden hall" of King Hrothgar.[23][24] The name meduseld is used in Beowulf in line 3065.[25][19] On first seeing Meduseld, Legolas says of it "The light of it shines far across the land"[26] This is a translation of line 311 of Beowulf, líxte se léoma ofer landa fela,[25][27] meaning "The light of it shines over many lands."

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall", pp. 506-7
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, entry Meduseld. p. 372
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall", pp. 509-12
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2569, p. 1087
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan", p. 797
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", First Line, entry 2544-2645 3. Aldor the Old, p. 1068
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2570, p. 1087
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", First Line, entry 2512-70 2. Brego, p. 1068
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2758, p. 1088
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", entry about king Helm Hammerhand, pp. 1065-7
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Riders of Rohan", p. 439
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3018, September 20, p. 1091
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond", pp. 259-262
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall", pp. 506-25
  15. 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", entry for the year 3019, August 7, p. 1095
  16. 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", entry for the year 3019, August 10, p. 1095
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings", pp. 976-7
  18. "medu-seld", Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (accessed 31 October 2023)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 372
  20. "medu", Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (accessed 31 October 2023)
  21. "seld", Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (accessed 31 October 2023)
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XXVI. The King of the Golden Hall", pp. 443-4
  23. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 402
  24. John Garth, "J R R Tolkien's Beowulf: one man's passion for the threshold between myth and reality" dated 29 May 2014, newstatesman.com (accessed 29 May 2014)
  25. 25.0 25.1 Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth, Chapter 4 A Cartographic Plot, The horses of the Mark, p. 141 (3rd edition)
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The King of the Golden Hall", p. 507
  27. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 397