|Aliases||Lord of the Mark, King of Rohan|
|Race||Men of Rohan|
|Book(s)|| The Two Towers (1954)|
The Return of the King (1955)
Unfinished Tales (1980)
Théoden is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings . The King of Rohan and Lord of the Mark or of the Riddermark, names used by the Rohirrim for their land, he appears as a supporting character in The Two Towers and The Return of the King . When first introduced, Théoden is weak with age and sorrow and the machinations of his top advisor, Gríma Wormtongue, and he does nothing as his kingdom is crumbling. Once roused by the wizard Gandalf, however, he becomes an instrumental ally in the war against Saruman and Sauron.
Scholars have compared Théoden to Theodoric, King of the Visigoths, and Théoden's death in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields to Theodoric's in the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields. He has been contrasted, too, with another protagonist in The Lord of the Rings, Denethor Steward of Gondor; where Denethor is harsh, Théoden is open and welcoming.
Théoden is introduced in The Two Towers , the second volume of The Lord of the Rings , as King of Rohan. By this point Théoden had grown weak with age, and was largely controlled by his chief advisor Gríma Wormtongue, who was secretly in the employ of the corrupt wizard Saruman.One of the last Hunt for the Ring manuscripts says Wormtongue has "great influence over the king", who is "enthralled by his counsel". In Unfinished Tales , it is further implied that the failure of the king's health was "...induced or increased by subtle poisons, administered by Gríma". As Théoden sat powerless, Rohan was troubled by Orcs and Dunlendings, who operated under the will of Saruman, ruling from Isengard.
At that sound the bent shape of [King Théoden] sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before: 'Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden! Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter! spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered, a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!'
When Gandalf and Aragorn, along with Legolas and Gimli, appeared before him in The Two Towers, Théoden initially rebuffed the wizard's advice to oppose Saruman. When Gandalf revealed Wormtongue for what he was, however, Théoden returned to his senses. He restored his nephew, took up his sword Herugrim,and in spite of his age, led the Riders of Rohan to victory in the Battle of Helm's Deep. He then visited Isengard, saw that it had been destroyed by the Ents of Fangorn forest, and, speaking with the wizard Saruman in the tower of Orthanc, saw Gandalf break Saruman's staff.
In The Return of the King, Théoden led the Rohirrim to the aid of Gondor at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.In that battle, he routed the Harad cavalry, personally killing their chieftain. He challenged the Witch-king of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgûl, but was mortally wounded when his own horse Snowmane fell upon him. He was avenged by his niece Éowyn and a hobbit, Merry Brandybuck, who had ridden to war together in secret; together, they destroyed the witch-king. In his last moments, Théoden bade farewell to Merry and Éowyn.
Théoden's body lay in Minas Tirith until it was buried in Rohan after the defeat of Sauron. He was the last of the Second Line of the kings, judging from direct descent from Eorl the Young.
Théoden is transliterated directly from the Old English þēoden , "king, prince", in turn from þeod, "a people, a nation".As with other descriptive names in his legendarium, Tolkien uses this name to create the impression that the text is historical. Tolkien mapped the Westron or Common Speech to modern English; the ancestral language of the Rohirrim in his system of invented languages would therefore map to Old English.
According to the scholar Elizabeth Solopova, the character of Théoden was inspired by the concept of courage in Norse mythology, particularly in the Beowulf epos: the protagonist of a story shows perseverance while knowing that he is going to be defeated and killed. This is reflected in Théoden's decision to ride against Sauron's far superior army in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.There are also repeated references by Tolkien to a historic account of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields by the 6th century historian Jordanes. Both battles take place between civilizations of the "East" (Huns) and "West" (Romans and their allies, Visigoths), and like Jordanes, Tolkien describes his battle as one of legendary fame that lasted for several generations. Another apparent similarity is the death of King Theodoric I of the Visigoths on the Catalaunian Fields and that of Théoden on the Pelennor. Jordanes reports that Theodoric was thrown off by his horse and trampled to death by his own men who charged forward. Théoden also rallies his men shortly before he falls and is crushed by his horse. And like Theodoric, Théoden is carried from the battlefield with his knights weeping and singing for him while the battle still goes on.
|Final battle||Battle of the Pelennor Fields||Battle of the Catalaunian Fields|
| Rohan, Gondor |
vs Mordor, Easterlings
| Romans, Visigoths |
|Cause of death||Thrown by horse,|
which falls on him
|Thrown by horse,|
trampled by own men,
|Lament||Carried from battlefield by his knights, singing and weeping|
Tolkien scholars including Jane Chance contrast Théoden with another "Germanic king", Denethor, the last of the Ruling Stewards of Gondor. In Chance's view, Théoden represents good, Denethor evil; she notes that their names are almost anagrams, and that where Théoden welcomes the hobbit Merry Brandybuck into his service with loving friendship, Denethor accepts Merry's friend, Pippin Took with a harsh contract of fealty.Hilary Wynne, in The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia , writes further that where both Théoden and Denethor had despaired, Théoden, his courage "renewed" by Gandalf, went to a hopeless-seeming battle at Helm's Deep and won, and then again on the Pelennor Fields where "his attack saved the city of Minas Tirith from sack and destruction".
Numerous scholars have admired Tolkien's simile of Théoden riding into his final battle "like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young". 's pairing of aer daege ("before day", i.e. "dawn") and Hygelaces horn ond byman ("Hygelac's horn and trumpet") in lines 2941-2944. Peter Kreeft writes that "it is hard not to feel your heart leap with joy at Théoden's transformation into a warrior", however difficult people find the old Roman view that it is sweet to die for your country, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori .Among them, Steve Walker calls it "almost epic in its amplitude", inviting the reader's imagination by alluding "to unseen complexity", a whole mythology of Middle-earth under the visible text. Fleming Rutledge calls it imitative of the language of myth and saga, and an echo of the messianic prophecy in Malachi 4:1-3. Jason Fisher compares the passage, which links the blowing of all the horns of the host of Rohan, Oromë, dawn, and the Rohirrim, with Beowulf
The Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey writes that Rohan is directly calqued on Anglo-Saxon England, taking many features from Beowulf, and not only in personal names, place-names, and language. He states that Tolkien's lament for Théoden equally closely echoes the dirge that ends the Old English poem Beowulf. Théoden's warriors and gate-guards behave like Beowulf characters, making their own minds up rather than just saying "I was only obeying orders".Théoden lives by a theory of Northern courage, and dies through Denethor's despair.
In the 1981 BBC Radio 4 version of The Lord of the Rings, Théoden's death is described in song rather than dramatized conventionally; he is voiced by Jack May.In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings , the voice of Théoden was provided by Philip Stone. Théoden also appears in Rankin/Bass's attempt to complete the story left unfinished by Bakshi in their television adaptation of The Return of the King, though he speaks little, and is voiced by Don Messick. His death is narrated by Gandalf (voiced by John Huston); in the animation, he is killed by a cloud, not by the Witch-king.
Théoden is an important character in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy.The character, played by Bernard Hill, first appears in The Two Towers (2002). However, unlike in the books, the Lord of the Mark is actually possessed and prematurely aged by Saruman (Christopher Lee). Gandalf (Ian McKellen) releases him from the spell, instantly restoring him to his true age, after which Théoden banishes Gríma Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) from Edoras.
Gandalf is a protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He is a wizard, one of the Istari order, and the leader of the Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien took the name "Gandalf" from the Old Norse "Catalogue of Dwarves" (Dvergatal) in the Völuspá.
Denethor II, son of Ecthelion II, is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings. He was the 26th ruling Steward of Gondor, committing suicide in the besieged city of Minas Tirith during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Gondor is a fictional kingdom in J. R. R. Tolkien's writings, described as the greatest realm of Men in the west of Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. The third volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, is largely concerned with the events in Gondor during the War of the Ring and with the restoration of the realm afterward. The history of the kingdom is outlined in the appendices of the book.
Gríma, called (the) Wormtongue, is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He serves as the secondary antagonist of The Two Towers and a minor antagonist in The Return of the King, and his role is expanded in Unfinished Tales. He is introduced in The Two Towers as the chief advisor to King Théoden of Rohan and henchman of Saruman.
Éowyn is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. She is a noblewoman of Rohan who calls herself a shieldmaiden.
Éomer is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. He appears in The Lord of the Rings as a leader of the Riders of Rohan who serve as cavalry to the army of Gondor, fighting against Mordor.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth fiction, Man and Men denote humans, whether male or female, in contrast to Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and other humanoid races. Men are described as the second or younger people, created after the Elves, and differing from them in being mortal. Along with Ents and Dwarves, these are the "free peoples" of Middle-earth, differing from the enslaved peoples such as Orcs.
Rohan is a fictional kingdom of Men in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy setting of Middle-earth. Known for its horsemen, the Rohirrim, Rohan provides its ally Gondor with cavalry. Its territory is mainly grassland. The Rohirrim call their land the Mark or the Riddermark, names recalling that of the historical kingdom of Mercia, the region of Western England where Tolkien lived.
The Two Towers is the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. It is preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and followed by The Return of the King.
The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. It was published in 1955. The story begins in the kingdom of Gondor, which is soon to be attacked by the Dark Lord Sauron.
The Battle of Helm's Deep, also called the Battle of the Hornburg, is a fictional battle in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings that saw the total destruction of the forces of the Wizard Saruman by the army of Rohan, assisted by a forest of tree-like Huorns.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Isengard is a large fortress in Nan Curunír, the Wizard's Vale, in the western part of Middle-earth. In the fantasy world, the name of the fortress is described as a translation of Angrenost, a word in the elvish language, Sindarin, that Tolkien invented.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields [pɛˈlɛnnɔr] was the defence of the city of Minas Tirith by the forces of Gondor and the cavalry of its ally Rohan, against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron from Mordor and its allies the Haradrim and the Easterlings. It was the largest battle in the War of the Ring. It took place at the end of the Third Age in the Pelennor Fields, the townlands and fields between Minas Tirith and the River Anduin.
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a 2004 role-playing video game developed by EA Redwood Shores for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. A turn-based tactics version of the game was developed for the Game Boy Advance by Griptonite Games. The game was published on all platforms by Electronic Arts, and released worldwide in November 2004.
Saruman, also called Saruman the White, is a fictional character of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is leader of the Istari, wizards sent to Middle-earth in human form by the godlike Valar to challenge Sauron, the main antagonist of the novel, but eventually he desires Sauron's power for himself and tries to take over Middle-earth by force from his base at Isengard. His schemes feature prominently in the second volume, The Two Towers; he appears briefly at the end of the third volume, The Return of the King. His earlier history is summarized in the posthumously published The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales.
Meriadoc Brandybuck, usually called Merry, is a Hobbit, a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, featured throughout his most famous work, The Lord of the Rings. Merry is described as one of the closest friends of Frodo Baggins, the main protagonist. Merry and his friend and cousin, Pippin, are members of the Fellowship of the Ring. They become separated from the rest of the group and spend much of The Two Towers making their own decisions. By the time of The Return of the King, Merry has enlisted in the army of Rohan as an esquire to King Théoden, in whose service he fights during the War of the Ring. After the war, he returns home, where he and Pippin lead the Scouring of the Shire, ridding it of Saruman's influence.
Peregrin Took, commonly known simply as Pippin, is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is closely tied with his friend and cousin, Merry Brandybuck, and the two are together during most of the story. Pippin and Merry are introduced as a pair of young hobbits of the Shire who become ensnared in their friend Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring. Pippin joins the Fellowship of the Ring. He and Merry become separated from the rest of the group at the breaking of the Fellowship and spend much of The Two Towers with their own story line. Impetuous and curious, Pippin enlists as a soldier in the army of Gondor and fights in the Battle of the Morannon. With the other hobbits, he returns home, helps to lead the Scouring of the Shire, and becomes Thain or hereditary leader of the land.
Aragorn is a fictional character and a protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn was a Ranger of the North, first introduced with the name Strider and later revealed to be the heir of Isildur, an ancient King of Arnor and Gondor. Aragorn was a confidant of the wizard Gandalf, and played a part in the quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron. As a young man, Aragorn fell in love with the immortal elf Arwen, as told in The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. Arwen's father, Elrond Half-elven, forbade them to marry unless Aragorn became King of both Arnor and Gondor.
Character pairing in The Lord of the Rings is a literary device used by J. R. R. Tolkien, a Roman Catholic, to express some of the moral complexity of his major characters in his heroic romance, The Lord of the Rings. Commentators have noted that the format of a fantasy does not lend itself to subtlety of characterisation, but that pairing allows inner tensions to be expressed as linked opposites, including, in a psychoanalytic interpretation, those of Jungian archetypes.
'the chief of a :þeod (a nation, people)'... His name as King, Theoden "Ednew," comes from the Old English ed-niowe, 'To recover, renew.'
The key dramatic determinant in Lesnie’s method was the change that comes over King Théoden (Bernard Hill) after Gandalf lifts Saruman's spell.