Théoden exiles Gríma Wormtongue for treason
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 2, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Battle of the Hornburg; see that entry for an overview:
'... Saruman is apt to overlook his bargains. I should advise you to go quickly and remind him, lest he forget your faithful service.'
'You lie,' said Wormtongue.
'That word comes too oft and easy from your lips,' said Gandalf. 'I do not lie. See, Théoden, here is a snake! With safety you cannot take it with you, nor can you leave it behind. To slay it would be just. But it was not always as it now is. Once it was a man, and did you service in its fashion. Give him a horse and let him go at once, wherever he chooses. By his choice you shall judge him.'
'Do you hear this, Wormtongue?' said Théoden. 'This is your choice: to ride with me to war, and let us see in battle whether you are true; or to go now, whither you will. But then, if ever we meet again, I shall not be merciful.'
Slowly Wormtongue rose. He looked at them with half-closed eyes. Last of all he scanned Théoden's face and opened his mouth as if to speak. Then suddenly he drew himself up. ... His eyes glittered. Such malice was in them that men stepped back from him. He bared his teeth; and then with a hissing breath he spat before the king's feet, and ... fled down the stair.
'After him!' said Théoden. 'See that he does no harm to any, but do not hurt him or hinder him. Give him a horse, if he wishes it.'
'And if any will bear him,' said Éomer.
One of the guards ran down the stair. Another went to the well at the foot of the terrace and in his helm drew water. With it he washed clean the stones that Wormtongue had defiled.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 6, The King of the Golden Hall
'Has aught been seen of Gandalf?' asked Théoden.
'Yes, lord. Many have seen an old man in white upon a horse, passing hither and thither over the plains.... Some thought he was Saruman. ... Some say also that Wormtongue was seen earlier, going northward with a company of Orcs.'
'It will go ill with Wormtongue, if Gandalf comes upon him,' said Théoden.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 7, Helm's Deep
Elena Tiriel 17Jan05