An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
Karl Urban as Eomer in the New Line film
Eomer by Alan Lee
Eomer of Rohan was a valiant warrior who became a great king. He remained loyal to his liege King Theoden despite the efforts of the traitor Grima Wormtongue. During the War of the Ring, he led his Riders into battle against the forces of the Enemy and followed Aragorn to the gates of Mordor. As King of Rohan, Eomer renewed the oath of allegiance with Gondor made by his ancestor Eorl, and during his reign Rohan and its people prospered.
Eomer was born in 2991 of the Third Age. His father Eomund of Eastfold was the chief Marshal of the Mark and his mother Theodwyn was the sister of King Theoden. Eomer's younger sister Eowyn was born in 2995. In 3002, Eomund was killed while pursuing Orc raiders in the eastern marches. Theodwyn sickened and died soon afterwards.
Eomer and Eowyn went to live at Meduseld with their uncle King Theoden and his son Theodred. Theoden treated them like his own children, and Theodred was like a brother to them.
Eomer grew tall and strong and became a skilled rider and warrior. He was made the Third Marshal of Riddermark and was charged with protecting the East-mark as his father had done. Eomer had a home at Aldburg in the Folde, which was a convenient base for his eored - a company composed of 120 Riders. They guarded their land and horses against Orc raiders from Mordor. By the time of the War of the Ring, Eomer had withdrawn his people and their herds beyond the Entwashand kept only scouts and guards on the eastern marches.
Rohan was endangered not only by outside enemies, but from within as well. King Theoden had fallen deeply under the influence of his counsellor Grima Wormtongue, who was secretly an agent of Saruman. Grima was unable to turn Eomer and Theodred against one another so he sought to persuade King Theoden that Eomer was overly ambitious. But Eomer remained loyal and steadfast in his support of the King and his heir.
In the summer of 3017, Boromir, the son of the Steward of Gondor, passed through Rohan on his way to Rivendell, and Eomer learned of the dream that led Boromir north seeking the Sword that was broken. Then in September Gandalf the Grey arrived seeking an audience with King Theoden. Gandalf claimed to have been imprisoned in Isengard and warned the King that Saruman posed a threat to Rohan. But Theoden would not listen to Gandalf and sent him away.
Shortly afterwards, Rohan began to be troubled by Orcs, Wolf-riders, and evil Men in the service of Saruman. Saruman's stronghold of Isengard was near the Gap of Rohan and that passage between the White Mountains and Misty Mountains was closed to the Rohirrim by the Wizard's vigilance. Saruman claimed lordship over Rohan's lands, and there was war between his forces and the Rohirrim.
Theodred and Eomer posed the greatest threat to Saruman's plans to dominate Rohan, so in February of 3019 the Wizard sent out a force with the express purpose of killing Theodred. At the First Battle of the Fords of Isen on February 25, Theodred's position was relentlessly assailed and he was slain.
The next day, Eomer learned that a band of Orcs had entered Rohan from the Emyn Muil on the eastern border and that some bore the White Hand of Saruman. Eomer suspected an alliance between Saruman and Sauron and he wanted to pursue the Orcs, but Grima convinced Theoden to forbid it on the grounds that Edoras would be left without enough defenders. Eomer threatened Grima, whom he suspected of treachery, and he defied the order. On the 27th, Eomer set out with the Riders of his eored, who were at his discretion to command in an emergency.
On the night of the 28th, Eomer and his Riders caught up to the Orcs near Fangorn Forest. They surrounded the Orcs' camp and kept watch through the night. From time to time, Riders crept up to the camp and killed several Orcs before slipping away again. Then a group of Uruk-hai from Isengard arrived and attacked the Rohirrim. The Riders defeated them and circled in closer around the camp.
At dawn, Eomer's men went on the attack. The leader Ugluk tried to escape into the forest, but Eomer dismounted and slew him with his sword. Eomer's men slaughtered all the Orcs and burned their carcasses. Fifteen Riders and twelve horses had been lost. The Rohirrim buried their dead in a mound encircled by fifteen spears.
On the way back to Edoras, Eomer and his Riders encountered three strangers - a Man, an Elf, and a Dwarf - who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Eomer demanded their names and their business in Rohan. When he learned that they had passed through Lothlorien, Eomer asked if they were sorcerers in league with the Lady of the Golden Wood. Gimli took exception to his words about Galadriel, and the Dwarf and Eomer nearly came to blows, with Legolas the Elf coming to his friend's aid.
But then the Man intervened. He said he was Aragorn, the Heir of Isildur son of King Elendil of Gondor, and he unsheathed Anduril, the Sword that was broken and reforged. Aragorn's appearance became kingly, and Eomer was awed and cast down his eyes. He listened to the Three Hunters' tale of their journey from Rivendell and the loss of Gandalf and Boromir and their pursuit of the Orcs who had captured Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took. Eomer was amazed by what he heard.
"It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"Although it was against the law of Rohan to allow strangers to roam freely without the King's permission, Eomer decided to let the three continue on their way. He lent them Hasufel and Arod, the horses of two of his slain Riders, and asked them to prove his trust in them by returning the horses to Edoras.
The Two Towers: "The Riders of Rohan," p. 40
When Eomer arrived at Edoras, Grima accused him of having disobeyed the King's commands by pursuing the Orcs and by letting the strangers go free. Eomer was placed under arrest and his sword Guthwine was taken from him. When at last Hama came to free him, Eomer asked for his sword and he offered it to King Theoden saying, "Take this, dear lord! It was ever at your service." (TTT, p. 121)
Eomer was overjoyed to find that Gandalf had freed Theoden from the influence of Grima Wormtongue and that the King stood tall and alert once more. Grima's collusion with Saruman was revealed, and Eomer would have killed him for his treachery and his desire for Eowyn, but Gandalf stayed Eomer's hand and Theoden allowed Grima to go free.
The King returned Eomer's sword to him and named him his heir. Theoden decided to lead the Rohirrim into battle against Saruman himself and they set out from Edoras that same day. Eomer asked Gimli to ride with him on his horse Firefoot, and Aragorn and Legolas rode beside them. The next day, they were met by a scout named Ceorl who told them that Saruman's armies had been unleashed and that the Rohirrim had been forced to retreat across the Isen with great losses. Gandalf advised Theoden to lead his men to Helm's Deep and said that he would meet them there.
Upon their arrival at Helm's Deep on the night of March 3, Eomer organized the defenses. When Saruman's forces attacked the gates with battering rams, Eomer and Aragorn drew their swords together and led a charge out a postern-door and drove the assailants away. As Eomer returned to the postern-door two Orcs leaped on him and Gimli slew them and saved his life.
The Battle of Helm's Deep raged throughout the night. Eomer and Aragorn rallied the weary defenders again and again. Eomer became separated from Aragorn and retreated to the Deep with Gimli and many others and they defended the narrow space against the attackers. At dawn, Gandalf and Erkenbrand arrived with a force of 1,000 men and the Orcs fled into a forest of strange trees that had sprung up during the night and were never heard from again.
Eomer rode with King Theoden to Isengard where they met with Saruman. Saruman tried to persuade the King to join with him by speaking flattering words in his enthralling voice, but Eomer perceived the Wizard's true intent:
"Lord, hear me! Now we feel the peril that we were warned of. Have we ridden forth to victory, only to stand at last amazed by an old liar with honey on his forked tongue? So would the trapped wolf speak to the hounds, if he could. What aid can he give to you, forsooth? All he desires is to escape from his plight. But will you parley with this dealer in treachery and murder? Remember Theodred at the Fords, and the grave of Hama in Helm's Deep!"Then Theoden roused himself from the spell of Saruman's voice and said that there would be no peace between them until the traitorous Wizard and all his works had perished. Gandalf then broke Saruman's staff and cast him from the Order of Wizards.
The Two Towers: "The Voice of Saruman," p. 185
The company returned to Helm's Deep, where Aragorn looked into the palantir of Orthanc and decided that he must take the Paths of the Dead. Eomer feared that he would never see his friend again, for it was said that no living man could pass through the Dark Door. But Aragorn replied "But I say to you, Eomer, that in battle we may yet meet again, though all the hosts of Mordor should stand between." (RotK, p. 52)
Eomer rode with King Theoden to Dunharrow, where the rest of their forces had mustered, and Merry Brandybuck came with them. They were met by Eowyn, who had been left in charge in the King's absence. Then a messenger from Gondor arrived bearing the Red Arrow, requesting Rohan's aid. Eomer marshalled the Rohirrim and they set out in haste to Minas Tirith.
In the Druadan Forest, Theoden and Eomer met with Ghan-buri-Ghan, who agreed to lead them by a secret road past the enemy forces that besieged Minas Tirith. In the woods they found the messenger of Gondor slain and realized that Denethor would not know they were riding to his aid.
At dawn on March 15, the Rohirrim charged onto the Pelennor Fields. Eomer led the first eored, and Theoden rode before them all. Eomer rallied his Riders and they engaged the enemy. But then the knights of the King's household brought him to where his uncle lay mortally wounded from a confrontation with the Lord of the Nazgul. Before he died, Theoden hailed Eomer as King of the Mark, and Eomer wept. Then Eomer realized that his sister Eowyn was also among the fallen.
He stood a moment as a man who is pierced in the midst of a cry by an arrow through the heart; and then his face went deathly white; and a cold fury rose in him, so that all speech failed him for a while. A fey mood took him.The Rohirrim followed Eomer as he charged across the field, slaying their enemies as they went. But fury had made Eomer reckless, and his men were outnumbered and hard pressed. Prince Imrahil and other men of Gondor came to their aid, but the battle began to turn in favor of the Enemy and then the black-sailed ships of the Corsairs were seen coming up the Anduin. Eomer rallied his men for a final stand against the Corsairs and he raised his sword to defy them.
"Eowyn, Eowyn!" he cried at last: "Eowyn, how come you here? What madness or devilry is this? Death, death, death! Death take us all!"
Then without taking counsel or waiting for the approach of the men of the City, he spurred headlong back to the front of the great host, and blew a horn, and cried aloud for the onset. Over the field rang his clear voice calling: "Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!"
The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," 119
"Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's risingBut then Eomer laughed and threw his sword into the air and sang as he caught it, for he saw the standard of Aragorn unfurled on the foremost ship. Eomer led his men across the field and the enemy fled before him. Eomer and Aragorn met in the middle of the battlefield as Aragorn had said they would.
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!"
The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 122
After the battle Eomer learned that his sister still lived and that she lay in the Houses of Healing. Aragorn told him that Eowyn was gravely ill from her contact with the Lord of the Nazgul, whom she and Merry had vanquished, but he said that her malady was made greater by her despair. Eomer knew that Eowyn had fallen in love with Aragorn and that her love was not returned, but he had not known that his sister's mind had been troubled long before by Grima's twisted words and Theoden's illness and the stifling of her spirit as she waited on her uncle while Eomer rode to glory.
Aragorn crushed leaves of athelas in water and bathed Eowyn's brow and sword-arm. Then he told Eomer to hold her hand and call to her, for he said that Eowyn's love for her brother was truer than the love she felt for himself. Eowyn awoke and Eomer rejoiced. He agreed to make Merry Brandybuck a Knight of the Riddermark for his valor in aiding his sister and defending the King.
The next day, Eomer attended the debate of the Captains of the West. There he learned that their hope now lay with Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee, who had gone to Mordor to destroy the One Ring wrought by Sauron. Gandalf counselled that Sauron's defeat would not come by arms but only by the destruction of the Ring, and he proposed that they march to the Black Gate to distract Sauron's attention from the Ring-bearer.
Aragorn agreed, and Eomer said he would go with his friend, for Aragorn had aided the people of Rohan in their time of need. On March 18, Eomer and the Rohirrim rode from Minas Tirith with the Host of the West. At the Black Gate on March 25, the Host of the West fought the forces of the Enemy until the Ring was destroyed and Sauron's realm fell.
Eomer attended Aragorn's coronation on May 1. The next week, Eomer and Eowyn returned to Rohan, for there was much work to do and Rohan had suffered during the war. He returned in July to bear Theoden's body back to Rohan for burial. Eomer then had his first glimpse of Galadriel, the Lady of the Golden Wood, but he told Gimli that though she was fair he found Aragorn's bride Queen Arwen fairer still, and Gimli forgave his friend.
After Theoden's funeral on August 10, Eomer announced the betrothal of Eowyn to Faramir, the Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien. When it came time for the guests to leave, Eomer bid farewell to Merry and named him Holdwine, "loyal friend," of the Mark.
In the last year of the Third Age, Eomer married Lothiriel, daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth. They had at least one son, whom they named Elfwine.
King Eomer reigned for 65 years, longer than any other King of Rohan except Aldor the Old. The alliance between Rohan and Gondor remained strong: Aragorn renewed the gift of his predecessor Cirion granting the land of Rohan to the Rohirrim, and Eomer renewed the Oath of Eorl, pledging friendship to Gondor and aid in time of need. There were still enemies in Middle-earth, and Eomer rode with Aragorn far into the South and East beyond the Sea of Rhun hunting down the remnants of their forces.
Rohan itself was peaceful and its people prospered and multiplied and their herds of horses increased. Eomer came to be called Eomer Eadig, meaning "prosperous" or "blessed."
In the year 63 of the Fourth Age, Eomer sent a message to Merry Brandybuck in the Shire asking his Knight to visit him one last time. Merry and Pippin came to Rohan and stayed for a while. In the autumn of that year, King Eomer died and his son Elfwine the Fair became King of Rohan.
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The House of Eorl" gives more information on Eomer's background and his role after the War of the Ring.
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years" tells of Merry's visit and Eomer's death in 63 F.A.
Unfinished Tales: "The Battles of the Fords of Isen" gives more details about Saruman's treachery and Rohan's military structure.
Unfinished Tales: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," p. 286 states that Eomer was the same height as Aragorn, whose height is given as 6 feet, 6 inches in notes cited in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "The Ring Goes South," p. 272.
Marriage of Eomund and Theodwyn.
Birth of Eomer.
Birth of Eowyn.
Death of Eomer's father Eomund. Soon afterwards, Eomer's mother Theodwyn also dies.
King Theoden begins to fall under the influence of Saruman's agent Grima Wormtongue.
Eomer becomes Third Marshal of the Mark.
Summer: Boromir of Gondor passes through Rohan and Eomer learns of the dream that drew him to Rivendell.
September 20: Gandalf warns King Theoden of the threat from Saruman. After his visit, Rohan begins to be troubled by Orcs and Men in the service of Saruman.
February 25: Theodred is slain at the First Battle of the Fords of Isen.
February 26: Eomer learns that a host of Orcs entered Rohan from the East Wall and he suspects an alliance between Mordor and Isengard.
February 27: Eomer leads his eored in pursuit of the Orcs against King Theoden's orders.
February 28: Eomer's eored overtakes the Orcs near Fangorn.
February 29: Eomer's eored attacks and defeats the Orcs at sunrise.
February 30: Eomer meets Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli and decides to aid them. On his return to Edoras, Eomer is arrested.
March 2: Eomer is released
and learns that Gandalf has healed King Theoden. Theoden names Eomer his
heir and they ride to war against Saruman.
March 3-4: Battle of Helm's Deep.
March 5: Eomer challenges Saruman during the parley at Isengard.
March 6: Theoden and Eomer set out for Dunharrow.
March 9: Theoden and Eomer arrive at Dunharrow. A messenger from Gondor comes requesting Rohan's aid in battle.
March 10: Eomer marshals the Rohirrim and they set out from Dunharrow.
March 13: The Rohirrim pass through the Druadan Forest.
March 14: Ghan-buri-ghan leads the Rohirrim past the enemy forces.
March 15: Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Death of King Theoden. Eomer becomes King of the Mark. Eowyn is gravely wounded but survives.
March 16: Eomer attends the debate of the commanders and agrees to follow Aragorn to the Black Gate.
March 18: The Host of the West leaves Minas Tirith.
March 25: The Host of the West battles the forces of the Enemy at the Black Gate until the Ring is destroyed and Sauron's realm falls.
April 8: Eomer attends the celebrations on the Field of Cormallen.
May 1: Eomer attends the coronation
May 8: Eomer and Eowyn return to Rohan to set their land in order.
July 18: Eomer returns to
July 22: The funeral escort of King Theoden leaves Minas Tirith.
August 7: The funeral escort
arrives in Edoras.
August 10: Funeral of King Theoden. Eomer announces the betrothal of Eowyn to Faramir of Gondor.
August 14: The Fellowship leaves Edoras.
Eomer weds Lothiriel, daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth.
Eomer asks Merry Brandybuck to visit him in Rohan. King Eomer dies in the autumn.
Eomer is composed of the Old English words eoh meaning "horse" and maére meaning "famous, renowned." (Beowulf Glossary)
The name Eomer appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
In line 1960 of many translations
of Beowulf, the name Eomer also appears as the son of King
Offa. (Note however that some scholars believe that the word is actually
"sad, sorrowful" in reference to Offa.)
of Riddermark or Third Marshal of the Mark:
Marshal of the Mark was the highest military rank in Rohan. King Theoden acted in the capacity of First Marshal of the Mark, his son Theodred was Second Marshal of the Mark, and Eomer was Third Marshal of the Mark.
Eomer was the son of Theoden's sister and was thus called sister-son by his uncle.
Eomer became King of Rohan on March 15, 3019, after the death of King Theoden at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. As such he was also called King of the Mark.
As king he was called Eomer Eadig. The word éadig means "fortunate, prosperous, blessed" in Old English. (Beowulf Glossary) During Eomer's reign, Rohan and its people prospered.
Family tree of Eomer:
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The House of Eorl - The Kings of the Mark"
Unfinished Tales: "The Battles of the Fords of Isen - Appendix," p. 367, second note (on Eomund's descent from Eofor)
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Heirs of Elendil - The Line of Dol Amroth," p. 221
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