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.
|Aliases||Éadig (epithet meaning "Blessed"),|
Third Marshal of the Riddermark,
King of Rohan
|Race||Men of Rohan|
|Book(s)||The Two Towers (1954)|
The Return of the King (1955)
The name Éomer, meaning "Horse-famous" in Anglo-Saxon, occurs in Beowulf, at line 1959, as that of a king descended from Offa, King of the Angles. Tolkien had studied Beowulf extensively and drew material from it in writing The Lord of the Rings.
Éomer is the son of Théodwyn and Éomund, belonging to the House of Eorl. After their parents' death Éomer and his sister Éowyn were adopted by their uncle Théoden, king of the Rohirrim. He first appears 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. 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 this meeting to Théoden, and is promptly imprisoned on the orders of Gríma Wormtongue, Théoden's sinister advisor. Gríma kept the king in a sickly stupor on the orders of the wizard Saruman, but soon thereafter, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas arrive in Edoras with the wizard Gandalf, who releases the king from Gríma's spell. Éomer is released and restored to honour. He fights at the battle of the Hornburg, where 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 plays 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. Théoden appoints him King of Rohan with his dying breath. Seeing Éowyn seemingly dead on the battlefield, Éomer throws himself and the remaining Rohirrim at the enemy. Aragorn arrives unexpectedly from Pelargir, and joins forces with Éomer, fulfilling his prediction that they would fight together again. Aragorn's arrival and reinforcements rout the Orcs, and he and Éomer win the battle. Aragorn's healing hands later restore Éowyn to health.
Éomer accompanies Aragorn to the Gates of Mordor for the final stand against Sauron. This distracts Sauron long enough for the One Ring to be destroyed in Mount Doom, leading to his downfall. After Théoden's funeral, Éomer stays in Minas Tirith to help Aragorn, now crowned King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom, rebuild his kingdom.
In the 1978 animated adaptation of The Lord of the Rings by Ralph Bakshi, Éomer is portrayed as a renegade. He does not have any lines and is not fully animated (seen as a live action individual painted over), 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, but during Aragorn's coronation in The Return of King he can be seen bowing honourably towards him.
- 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
- 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 ..."
- Kennedy, Michael (2001). "Tolkien and Beowulf — Warriors of Middle-Earth". Tilkal. The Australian smial of the Tolkien Society (1). Archived from the original on 2009-09-12.
- "Gúthwinë". The Encyclopedia of Arda.