Éomer

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Éomer
Tolkien's legendarium character
Aliases Éadig (epithet meaning "Blessed"),
Third Marshal of the Riddermark,
King of Rohan
Race Men
Book(s) The Two Towers (1954)
The Return of the King
(1955)

Éomer is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He appears in The Two Towers and The Return of the King, the second and third volumes of Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.

The name Éomer, literally translating to "Horse-famous",[1] can be found in Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon poem Tolkien had studied extensively and drew from while creating his characters.[2][3]

Appearances[edit]

Literature[edit]

The son of Théodwyn and Éomund, belonging to the House of Eorl, Éomer is the third Marshal of the Riddermark at the start of the Lord of the Rings. Both he and his sister, Éowyn, were adopted by their uncle Théoden, king of the Rohirrim, after their parents' death. His first appearance in the story is in The Two Towers, as the leader of the éored who attacked and killed the Uruk-hai who had kidnapped the Hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took as they camped near Fangorn forest. He helps Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas by providing them two horses, Hasufel and Arod, and guiding them to the spot where the attack had taken place.

On his return to Edoras, Éomer reports to Théoden on his meeting the Ranger and his friends, and is promptly imprisoned on the orders of Gríma Wormtongue, Théoden's sinister advisor, who was keeping the king in a sickly stupor on the orders of the wizard Saruman. Soon thereafter, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas arrive in Edoras themselves with Gandalf the White, another powerful wizard, who releases the king from Gríma's spell. Éomer is released and restored in honour, in which role he contributes to success at the battle of the Hornburg, where he and his éored, led by Théoden and Aragorn, drive Saruman's army of Orcs and Dunlendings from the walls of the Hornburg, buying valuable time for Gandalf's reinforcements to arrive.

Éomer has a major role in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the pivotal battle of The Return of the King. After fighting bravely for Rohan and Gondor, he is dismayed to find Théoden mortally wounded in the battle and Éowyn lying unconscious, seemingly dead nearby. Théoden appoints him King of Rohan with his dying breath, and Éomer decides to throw himself and the remaining Rohirrim at the enemy, hoping to weaken them as much as he can even at the sacrifice of his men and himself. Aragorn saves them when he arrives unexpectedly from Pelargir, fulfilling his prediction that they would fight together again. Aragorn's arrival and reinforcements provokes a rout among the Orcs, and he and Éomer win the battle. Aragorn's healing hands later restore Éowyn to perfect health.

At the climax of The Return of the King, Éomer accompanies Aragorn to the Gates of Mordor for the final stand against Sauron, distracting him long enough for the One Ring to be destroyed in Mount Doom, leading to Sauron's downfall. After Théoden's funeral, he stays on in Minas Tirith to help Aragorn, now crowned King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom, rebuild his kingdom.

Éomer had met Princess Lothíriel of Dol Amroth, during his stay in Gondor, and they were soon wed. She bore him a son named Elfwine, known as "Elfwine the Fair".

Éomer's sword was called Gúthwinë (Old English: gūð wine, "battle friend"),[4] and was a gift from his father, Éomund.

Adaptations[edit]

In the 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi, Éomer is portrayed as a renegade. He does not have many lines, but is still important to the plot. He also appears in the 1980 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Return of the King, albeit without lines.

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Éomer was played by New Zealand actor Karl Urban. His role is somewhat diminished in comparison to the books. In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, he is exiled by Gríma before meeting Aragorn. As an outcast, he leads a troop of riders loyal to Théoden northward out of Rohan rather than being imprisoned in Edoras.

In both the Bakshi and Jackson versions, he arrives at the climax of the "Battle of Helm's Deep", accompanied by Gandalf (although the animated film does not single him out at Helm's Deep). In this sense, his character has been combined with the character of Erkenbrand, who, in the book, is the one with whom Gandalf returns to Helm's Deep.

Éomer's actions in Jackson's adaptation of The Return of the King did not significantly depart from those in the book, save for a few scenes (such as Éomer letting out a defiant cry at the approaching Corsair ships during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, only to realize the ships have been captured by Aragorn) that were omitted for time. In Jackson's adaptation Éomer is also responsible for the death of the leader of the Mûmak-riding Haradrim, while in the book it is Théoden who slays the Haradrim chieftain, who is on horseback. Also, Éomer's speech after Théoden's death in the book is spoken instead by Théoden himself before the first charge in the movie. Neither is Éomer present at the death of Théoden in the film. The close friendship he shares with Aragorn in the books is not developed in the films, yet during Aragorn's coronation in The Return of King he can be seen bowing honorably towards him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solopova, Elizabeth (2009), Languages, Myths and History: An Introduction to the Linguistic and Literary Background of J.R.R. Tolkien's Fiction, New York City: North Landing Books, p. 21, ISBN 0-9816607-1-1 
  2. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey, ed. (1981), The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, No. 25, ISBN 0-395-31555-7  "Beowulf is among my most valued sources ..."
  3. ^ Kennedy, Michael (2001). "Tolkien and Beowulf — Warriors of Middle-Earth". Tilkal (The Australian smial of the Tolkien Society) (1). 
  4. ^ "Gúthwinë". The Encyclopedia of Arda. 

External links[edit]