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Helm Hammerhand
Turner Mohan - Helm Hammerhand.jpg
"Helm Hammerhand" by Turner Mohan
Biographical Information
Other namesHelm Hammerhand
TitlesKing of Rohan
LanguageRohanese and Westron
BirthT.A. 2691
RuleT.A. 2741 - 2759 (18 years)
DeathT.A. 2759 (aged 68)
Helm's Dike during Long Winter
HouseHouse of Eorl
ChildrenUnnamed daughter, Haleth and Háma
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Helm Hammerhand

Helm Hammerhand (Third Age 26912759, aged 68 years) was the ninth King of Rohan and last King of the first line.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Helm became King after the death of his father Gram in T.A. 2741,[2] during a time of an increased threat from the Dunlendings. His grandfather Déor had already fought against Dunlendings, who had seized the fortress of Isengard, established settlements in the valleys of the mountains to its east and west and raided the herds of the Rohirrim in the Westfold. Since Déor did not have enough forces to storm or besiege Isengard, the Rohirrim were forced to maintain a strong troop of riders in the north of the Westfold to counter the threat of further raids from the Dunlendings.[3]

In T.A. 2754[4] Freca, a rich and powerful man with wide lands on both side of the river Adorn, who claimed to be descended from King Fréawine yet was said to have much Dunlending blood, was called to a council by Helm. Freca rode to Edoras with a great force of men and asked Helm for the hand of his daughter for his son Wulf. When Helm insulted Freca to have grown fat, Freca in turn insulted Helm to be old and that he could fall on his knees if he refused the staff that Freca had offered with the proposed marriage. After the council Helm took Freca outside, sent everybody away and hit him with his fist so hard that Freca fell down stunned and died soon after that.[5] It is possible that he received his byname Hammerhand after hitting Freca with his fist, but the date and reason for receiving his byname are not recorded.

The men of Freca left Edoras, but in 2758 they returned with a great force of Dunlendings, reinforced by enemies of Gondor who had landed in the south. Under the leadership of Wulf they overran Rohan; Helm fought them at the Crossings of Isen but lost and withdrew into the Suthburg and there endured a long siege.[5]

Helm held the fortress during the Long Winter. He blew his great war-horn, and broke through the Dunlending ranks, clad in white, stalking men like a snow-troll slaying them with his bare hands. However, his sons Haleth and Háma were slain and Helm grew gaunt because of grief and famine; still his horn would fill the Dunlendings with fear each time it was heard. During one of his night sorties Helm died, possibly from famine and cold; his body was discovered frozen in the snow still standing.[5]

There was a belief that after his death his horn was sometimes still heard in the Deep and that his wraith haunted the enemies of Rohan and killed men with fear.[5]

He was succeeded by his nephew Fréaláf Hildeson, the son of his sister Hild. Fréaláf defeated the Dunlendings and retook Isengard.[6]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Helm in Old English means "protection". The word is seen also in the names Elfhelm and Dernhelm.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

2644 - 2718
2668 - 2741
2691 - 2759
d. 2758
d. 2759
Helm's daughter
Fréaláf Hildeson
2726 - 2798
Brytta Léofa
2752 - 2842

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Helm in adaptations
The Lord of the Rings Online tapestry: Helm Hammerhand slays Freca outside Edoras  
The Lord of the Rings Online tapestry: Hammerhand's Horn  

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

As part of the decorations of the Hornburg, two statues were erected. One was destroyed beyond recognition, but the other was one of Helm, portrayed with a literal hammer as a weapon rather than being unarmed.

2012: The Lord of the Rings Online:

A tapestry depicting Helm Hammerhand is found in the Mead Hall of Aldburg and can be acquired for use in player's houses.

2017: Middle-earth: Shadow of War:

Helm Hamerhand is featured in this game as one of the Nazgul.He is voiced by Fred Tatasciore, and in devatiation from the books, he was ambushed by a warlord who wanted his throne and had taken his daughter for a lover, Helm was shot at point blank range with arrows. As he lay dying at Edoras, Annatar and Celebrimbor visited the wounded king, giving him one of the Nine Rings of Power. When he recovered, he attacked his would-be assassin, declaring that war had come upon his enemy's house.
However, when Helm's daughter tried to stop her father's rage, Hammerhand accidentally struck her down, killing her (once again, depicted as wielding a war-hammer). Horrified, his grief turned to rage, and Helm proceeded to slaughter his rival and even his own captains who tried to stop him. He was thus transformed by the terrible incident and his Ring of Power into a Nazgûl.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", First Line, 9. Helm Hammerhand, p. 1068
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "The Kings of the Mark", First Line, 8. Gram, p. 1068
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen", "Appendix (ii)"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", "Four years later (2758)", p. 1066
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", entry for King Helm Hammerhand, pp. 1065-1067
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl", entry for King Fréaláf, pp. 1067-1068
House of Eorl
Born: T.A. 2691 Died: T.A. 2759
Preceded by:
9th King of Rohan
T.A. 27412759
Followed by:

Kings of Rohan
First Line: Eorl the Young (T.A. 2510 - 2545) · Brego (2545 - 2570) · Aldor the Old (2570 - 2645) · Fréa (2645 - 2659) · Fréawine (2659 - 2680) · Goldwine (2680 - 2699) · Déor (2699 - 2718) · Gram (2718 - 2741) · Helm Hammerhand (2741 - 2759)
Second Line: Fréaláf Hildeson (2759 - 2798) · Brytta Léofa (2798 - 2842) · Walda (2842 - 2851) · Folca the Hunter (2851 - 2864) · Folcwine (2864 - 2903) · Fengel (2903 - 2953) · Thengel (2953 - 2980) · Théoden Ednew (2980 - 3019)
Third Line: Éomer Éadig (T.A. 3019 - Fo.A. 63) · Elfwine the Fair (63 - unknown)