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Discussing: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

This is really bothering me because I wrote a story predicated on Eomer not knowing Theodred was dead when he rode off, and I got a comment stating that this bent canon beyond acceptable levels. So I want to pick the brains of researchers here to see if that's true. If anyone can figure it out, it's you folks. This is all I know so far: Theodred dies on the 25th, evening. Eomer sets out on the 27th, midnight. Keep in mind there are no telephones, and by a crude measurement about 150 miles between the Fords, where Theodred dies, and Aldburg, where Eomer is based. And it takes two days to get from Edoras to the Fords. (I don't know how long it takes to get from Edoras to Aldburg.) TTT: In the book, it is left unclear. Eomer speaks at length with Aragorn, mentioning trouble with Saruman and his own pressing haste to be away southward (back to Edoras), but he does not say that they are in open battle, merely that Saruman has closed the Gap. It seems to me that he would mention the disaster at the Fords if he knew of it. But that is merely my assumption; the evidence there is inconclusive. UT has more to say about the matter ("The Battles of the Fords of Isen"). Theodred is killed in the evening on the 25th ("the attack [...] ceased, and the enemy faded away into the dark", p. 359). In the meantime, Elfhelm is enroute from Edoras with reinforcements, leaving Eomer and his eored to defend Edoras. Elfhelm arrives at the Fords just after Theodred is struck down, and saves Grimbold as night falls. Erkenbrand sends messages the following day, of Theodred's death and the bad situation at the Fords. Footnote 7, on page 367, states that these messages arrived at Edoras at noon on the 27th (for it was not yet five full days since the messages had arrived when Gandalf came, as Grima says). Eomer heard of the descent of the Orc-band from Emyn Muil on the 26th. At some point he was in contact with Theoden on this matter, as RoTK's appendix timeline clearly states that he sets out "against Theoden's orders". Eomer rides out at about midnight on the 27th to pursue these Orcs. Why he sets out in the middle of the night is not made clear. Crucial to the situation is that he does not set out from Edoras, but from Aldburg in the Folde, which is the home base of the Muster of the East-Mark. But, I don't know how far it is from Edoras to Aldburg, nor how long messages take to travel that distance. This is the variable I can't figure out, and without which I can't say for certain one way or the other. In the Appendix to "Fords of Isen" in UT, it states on page 368 that the charges Grima had levelled against Eomer included a charge that he had known of the disaster at the Fords, and Theodred's death, before he set out, and that it was therefore reckless of him to have ridden out like that. But this is stated as an accusation, not as a fact. It is not specified how Eomer answered this charge, though the whole thing certainly ends badly for him. To me, it seems unreasonable that Eomer would have gotten the news of his cousin's death and immediately taken his eored in the opposite direction, against the King's orders, leaving Edoras undefended. But I didn't write the book. These are not my characters. Perhaps the Professor had some motivation in mind for Eomer-- perhaps he felt that Eomer's riding out would be a reaction to his cousin's death, in the vein of his reckless father's apparent style of conflict management. I do not know, because I can find no instance where he specifies whether the news reached Eomer before he set out. It seems to me that it would have been foolish, knowing that the forces in the west were defeated, knowing that an invasion of Rohan was imminent, to ride away northward to fight a remote band of Orcs. But I can find no definitive statement either way, and am left with only my own feeling that the character I have grown into writing would not ride out if he knew-- but of course he is not my character. So I don't know. I admit it-- when I wrote the story, I didn't own UT. I had read some secondary source (a website most likely) that stated that "it is a matter of some debate" whether Eomer knew of his cousin's death prior to riding north, and that had been enough for me-- that was the genesis of the story, my thought of how horrible it would be for Eomer to come home and find that his cousin was dead and everything was going terribly wrong. Now I would really like to know. (Also, it would be helpful for my continued work to know how far it was between Aldburg and Edoras!) So, those are all my arguments to defend myself. Does anyone else have any materials or insight at all to either back that up or pull it down? I'm horribly curious now. And, of course, my pride is inflamed. Surely I haven't bent canon out of recognition by choosing the side I did-- unless there's more evidence I haven't found, in which case I definitely want to hear it! If I'm going to write an A/U I don't want to do it out of ignorance, not when there's so much knowledge around here. Anyway, thanks to anyone who can help. --DL7

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

Well, if you're bending canon, I am too, but I don't think we are. I came to the same conclusion you did, that Eomer didn't know before he left, when researching my story. Most telling, I think, is this, from TTT, The Riders of Rohan, in the middle of Eomer's and Aragorn's conversation: "Come now!" Said Eomer. "The Heir of Elendil would be a strength indeed to the Sons of Eorl in this evil tide. There is battle even now upon the Westemnet, and I fear that it may go ill for us." So Eomer knows that a battle is taking place (actually at this point it was five days ago), but doesn't know the outcome for sure. According to the timeline in the LotR appendices, Eomer gets news of the Orcs on the 26th, and sets out after them on the 27th, "about midnight." I've interpreted this to mean just after the midnight that begins the 27th. It seems unlikely to me that Eomer would sit around a whole day, then leave in the middle of the night - it seems more likely that he would leave as soon as preparations were made, and the middle of the night was as soon as he could gett off. (Incidentally, I'm going to have to make some changes to my fic, because I had completely missed that he leaves from the Eastfold - I actually had him in the Eastfold and had to do a little manuvering to get him to Edoras in time to ride off again, thinking that that was where he left from, so it shouldn't be too hard to work out. Is there anywhere else than there in the note for the 27th, which I now see says very clearly "from Eastfold," where it mentions where Eomer set out from?) Then in the footnotes to the UT account, it says word of the battle arrived in Edoras around noon on the 27th. It seems very in character for Grima to fabricate false allegations againt Eomer. The bit in UT is a bit ambiguous, and doesn't actually state that the accusation is false. The reviewer who thinks you're going against canon is probably taking this statement as fact. But from Eomer's words in TTT, I don't see how it could be, unless you come up with some reason why he wouldn't tell Aragorn the whole truth. Elana

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

The reviewer who thinks you're going against canon is probably taking this statement as fact. I am somewhat uncharitably inclined to believe the reader in question had not read UT and wasn't paying attention-- the only source cited was to point out that Theodred died on the 25th and Eomer left the 27th, and there was no indication of any understanding that there were 100+ miles separating them and no 10 o'clock news coverage to span the distance. But it could also be that my ego is slighted and I want to believe myself cleverer than everyone else. This is more usually the problem in these cases. It could be argued either way. I could see my way to a rather compelling scenario wherein Eomer's abrupt departure is because he had just heard of Theodred's death and midnight is the fastest he can get his eored together. This would be an echo of his father's reckless hate of Orcs-- he is so grieved at his cousin's loss that he rides out against orders blindly to revenge the violation of his land's borders. And then he'd return and have no defense against Grima whatsoever. But I don't really think that's right. Eomer's words to Aragorn in TT certainly do not seem to be those of a recklessly vengeful man, and the quote you cite seems especially relevant-- "I fear that it may go ill for us" is rather a mild way of saying "the king's only heir has been killed and our country is even now being overrun"... !! Don't you think?! That's my two cents. Anyhow, I added an author's note indicating my understanding of the situation to the end of the story. Maybe at least then these people with knowledge I don't have will share it with me! I think maybe I was wrong once or twice in my life, not that I remember ;), so I'm willing to admit it's a possibility-- I just want to see proof.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

Though this is an interesting question, I can add few facts but much speculation IMO, Éomer was completely in the dark about Théodred's death (at least that's what I assume for the story I am writing at the moment). My main reason, apart from the obvious distance, is the conversation between Éomer and Aragorn. The death of a heir is a topic of that conversation (Aragorn telling Éomer about Boromir's death), so it would be most obvious for Éomer to add the information of Théodred's death in that context, if he knew about it. Another topic that was brought up is the reason for the odd time of Éomer's departure. There is an evidence in the text: Éomer has send out scouts. The Uruk-hai, while camped upon the west-cliff of Emyn Muil awaiting the return of their scouts learn of the presence of a rider that made off westward (TTT, The Uruk-hai). That must have been sometime between late afternoon and early evening, which gives him at least 6 hours to reach his éored. If the scout rode hard, he could cover about 50 miles (rough estimate, maybe even more) before midnight. That would not bring him as far as the Entwash, but far into the Eastemnet, where Éomer would be camped. So if Éomer left as soon as the scout returned, he would leave in the middle of the night. Hope that helps, fliewatuet

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

>The death of a heir is a topic of that conversation Yes, the more I dwell on it the more it seems to me that the conversation beween Eomer and Aragorn in TTT is just bizarre if Eomer knows Theodred is dead. Eomer seems sharply aware that there is impending danger, but not that danger has already become dire. Still, it's no more than a feeling. There's nothing conclusive either way. I'm discussing this now with my non-Tolkien fan boyfriend who's suggesting that Erkenbrand just IM'd Eomer when he got back to Helm's Deep. *Bip* RKNBRND (10:24:36 pm): E-- RU there Marshal03 (10:25:02 pm): Erkenbrand? Is that ur new screen name? Marshal03 (10:25:45): What's up, man? RKNBRND (10:25:58 ): I got raelly bad news Marshal03 (10:26:15): the Fords? RKNBRND (10:26:25): y Marshal03 (10:27:15): Did Elfhelm get there? Marshal03 (10:27:50): where are U? Marshal03 (10:28 : 30): Erkenbrand? U OK? RKNBRND (10:28 :35): Theodred's dead, man Marshal03 (10:29:03): no way RKNBRND (10:29:15): I'm sorry Marshal03 (10:29:41): no ****in way RKNBRND (10:30:01): I'm sorry man Marshal03 (10:30:45): !!!!!!!!!!! RKNBRND (10:31:25): trynig to get Theoden. Hes got his away msg up Marshal03 (10:32:02): he always has Worm type for him anyway...

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

That is beautiful. ROFL. Not only does Eomer's conversation with Aragorn seem kind of ridiculous if he knew Theodred was dead, but agree that Eomer wouldn't have left Edoras undefended had he known Theodred was dead. He never seems as reckless as his father. (1) Aragorn had a lot of respect for him, and if he'd been the kind of guy who would throw his life away doing stupid things, Aragorn probably would have been like, "Ummm.... You're just like your father. Neat." (2) He never did anything stupid and reckless in TT and ROTK. (3) He was crowned king and everyone thought that was terrific. If Eomund had ever been crowned king, I am sure people would have been less excited. A good king cannot be dangerously reckless. In my little psychoanalytical world, Eomer probably made a concerted effort to not be like Eomund. He surely picked up on gossip -- people complaining amongst themselves or whatever ("The First Marshal, he's insane... What was Thengel thinking making that guy Firsr Marshal!"). And of course Eomund met his untimely end chasing orcs where he should not have been chasing orcs. Not a good way to be. Eomer, resentful of his father's getting killed because he was being foolish, might have very well decided that he was going to live life more responsibly. My two cents. OT Edit: While I was writing "Boundaries," I was complaining jokingly to a friend of being unable to write "Oh ---ck me," when the situation seemed to call for it. My friend thought it would be wicked funny to then rewrite a chapter of LOTR in modern slang with modern technology. Another friend came up with the following scenario: "They're in Moria and Aragorn's on a cell phone talking to Arwen: "I'm breaking up...NO!!!!! WE'RE not breaking up...I said the connection is breaking up!!" and then he drops it and runs off yelling "A land line! I need a land line!" Your IM conversation reminded me of that.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

Getting back to fliewatuet's point about Eomer's scout reporting to him-- the timeline says he was alerted to the presence of the Orcs on the 26th. I'm not sure if that's the same scout-- I can't puzzle out which day it was when they saw the horseman. It's possible he left then because he received additional news of the Orcs-- whether that scout came to him on the 26th or 27th I don't know, but I know he knew of it on the 26th. So I'm still unsure of when he found out. BTW, quick research indicates that a horse in a real hurry can average 10 mph for a fair distance-- but not really far. On multi-day journeys, horses average about 40 miles a day if ridden fairly hard. But I'm not really sure how that applies to the distance in question. As for the rest, yes, extensive psychoanalysis of canon and fanon Eomer characterizations all seem to point toward him not knowing of Theodred's death. He is a man of decisive action, yes, but also a man of loyalty, and not a stupid man. I can understand him riding after these Orcs, seeing them as a link between Barad-Dur and Orthanc as he does-- they're important. But it still seems extreme to ride after them and leave Edoras in such direly undefended straits, knowing that Theodred is defeated, Erkenbrand is desperate, and Elfhelm's reserves are already committed. However, it remains speculation, and we cannot say for certain. I've been sucked in now and am writing a short vignette entitled "Unworkable A/U" in which Eomer learns of Theodred's death via IM. I'll post it in a bit just for fun. You think Eomer would use a Windows box or would he be a real geek and have Linux running? (I can't see him with a Mac, though a nice 12" Powerbook would fit right in a saddlebag... Think they've got the Eastemnet rigged with wireless? It'd make managing your patrols that much easier.)

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

BTW, quick research indicates that a horse in a real hurry can average 10 mph for a fair distance-- but not really far. On multi-day journeys, horses average about 40 miles a day if ridden fairly hard. But I'm not really sure how that applies to the distance in question. I quickly skimmed the above posts but didn't see the distance? What is the distance and terrain? 40 mpd may be a low estimate.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

See edit on my previous post. Haha. Eomer would have one of those tiny PC laptops. Easy to carry around on a horse. And Rohirrim are not pretentious enough to own Macs But I bet Denethor has one.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

The horse-speed distance questions are this: 1) how long it would take a scout to get from where he spotted the Orcs at Emyn Muil to where Eomer was encamped-- "in Eastfold", possibly at Aldburg 2) how long it would take a rider to get from Edoras to where Eomer was encamped-- possibly Aldburg It seems to me that 12 hours would be ample time for a message to travel between Edoras and Aldburg-- but we are not sure Eomer is in Aldburg. I think Tolkien leaves it ambiguous because Grima accuses Eomer of having known-- that strikes me as indicating that Eomer either hadn't heard or hadn't confirmed that he had heard. Again, ambiguous. I think the 40 mpd estimate was for long-long journeys, as in a week or more. So I'm not sure if it applies at all. Hey, man. Denethor probably had a G5. Actually he strikes me more as the overly-large-and-powerful PC type. Elrond, however, certainly had an iMac. I betcha Rivendell was totally hooked up with wireless access. Elrohir was probably a compulsive txt messager too, sending really obscure txts from mountain passes to infuriate his father. Eomer probably had a ruggedized PC laptop. Battle-tested! ;) >"I need a land-line!"

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

1) how long it would take a scout to get from where he spotted the Orcs at Emyn Muil to where Eomer was encamped-- "in Eastfold", possibly at Aldburg I'm sorry, I am not finding Aldburg in my atlas. From Emyn Muil to 'Eastfold', could be between 50-100++ miles, depending where in Emyn Muil and where in Eastfold Aldburg is. I've personally ridden 50 miles in moderatly rough country in under four hours *ride time*, add about an hour of rest time for the horse. -so 10mph average is probably a good estimate, but you should be able to maintain that for 100 miles or more. Also, it is possible to keep a horse going for long periods if you will rest it periodically. I've ridden as long as 23 hours with occasional hour breaks. That was 100 miles and the horse had no distress from that distance at such a slow speed. I would imagine that a fit horse and experienced rider could do 150 miles in 24 hours. I hope this helps, if you need me to be more specific, let me know what else you need.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

I can't find Aldburg on any maps either. It was "in the Folde", which is the big valley somewhat to the east of Edoras. So, right up against the mountains, but how deep in the Folde the city is, I don't know. That's excellent information about how fast a horse can go! Thank you so much! I've been wondering how to reliably figure that out-- I've never ridden a horse any great distance, myself, and no longer have access to one. I'd rather like to do an endurance ride someday, but I'm afraid that's off in the hazy part of "someday" with all those other things I'm not likely to actually get to do. : Anyway, thanks. __________ On the continuing off-topic of instant messaging in the Mark, I did write a story out of that idea. I'm really procrastinating hard at the moment. ROFL. Here it is, if you think ridiculous A/Us are amusing. It's just about 2000 words. Rated adult for copious cussing.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

actually due southeast. If Aldburg is in The Folde, that is the northern tip of the Eastfold and probably close to 150 miles from Emyn Muil. on the horse speeds, that would be someone pushing hard in an emergency. A troop or a caravan in normal travel would average 25-40 mpd, (that is probably where you read your 40mpd) if you ever make it to Fort Worth, look me up and I'll take you riding.

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

On the continuing off-topic of instant messaging in the Mark, I did write a story out of that idea. That was wonderful! A tad too much cussing for my personal taste, but wonderful nonetheless. I think you got all the characterizations right and it sounded very real. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

Very cute! Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

>if you ever make it to Fort Worth, look me up and I'll take you riding. Oooo. Very kind of you. I'm pretty far away, though. I had horses for years, and never did anything ambitious or challenging with them. Ah well. I need a good map of M-e to print out and hang on my wall and scribble notes onto. Sulriel, your thread about horseback traveling times is a fabulous addition here and I am exceedingly grateful for it!! I'm glad so many people have enjoyed the Unworkable A/U story. I posted it at my own website as well, with different font coloring to make the IM conversations easier to scan-- I'm assuming you can't do font chicanery on HASA, so I didn't even try. (I agree on principle-- [font] tags make my head hurt-- but it's hard to read an IM conversation in black and white.) You're right, there's a lot of cussing, but I thought it was warranted. If anyone can think of a funnier screen name for Eowyn I'd be greatly amused. (95 is her birth year. i'm uncreative.)

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

I can't find Aldburg on any maps either.
Michael Martinez had some interesting thoughts on Aldburg's exact location; it seems logical to me, based on what we know of the early history of the Rohirrim in Calenardhon.
Another city Peter Jackson shouldn't be able to show us is Aldburg. This was Eomer's home in the Folde, the lands south of the Snowbourne river, which flowed down from the Ered Nimrais past Edoras. Aldburg was the home of Eorl when he settled in Calenardhon with his people, the Éothéod. Tolkien doesn't describe it, but my guess is that it was originally a stockade, probably built on the great hill near the road so that Eorl could watch over the road, the Snowbourne, and the Entwash river. You can see the hill on the map of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings. The word "Ered" partly obscures it... Which parts of Middle-earth will we not see? Author: Michael Martinez Published on: February 18, 2000
My own thought is that it might have been a pre-existing town, left from the days when Calenardhon was still populated by the Gondorians. Eorl may have fortified it with a stockade as Martinez suggests, though my own view is of a town built atop a hill with a fosse surrounding it. There's no specific textual evidence for this, but it would make sense as in the early days there were still enemies that might threaten Rohan from the east. BTW quite some time ago I was pondering the same question posed above, and came to the conclusion that Éomer could not have known of Théodred's death prior to leaving in pursuit of the Uruks who had captured Merry and Pippin. The textual evidences that have already been cited quited in this thread left little doubt in my mind. My two-bits, a day or so late, for whatever it's worth. ~Nessime

 

 

Re: Did Eomer know Theodred was dead when he hunted Ugluk?

ChipM was kind enough to email me this link, which has a map with Aldburg on it. The author took his best guess, and I think it's the same hill your quote mentioned. [edit: posted this without putting the link in. Yes, i am clever. how are you?] By clever trigonometry (I was really proud of myself) I determined that as the crow flies, the red dot that says Aldburg is about 65 miles from the red dot that says Edoras. Longer on the road. So, at least half a day's hard ride, probably six hours. There's another hill just a bit closer-- that one's about 50 miles in a perfectly straight line, longer on the road. Anyhow, on further reflection it's not made clear whether Eomer was actually at Aldburg, or whether he had moved his eored closer to Edoras or out into the field-- it just says "eastfold", which is pretty general. I don't think Aldburg was pre-existing-- the one description I read was that "Eorl chose for his fortress a green hill" but I don't know where that description was. I suppose it's possible that there was already a settlement there. But I don't know for sure. There's no time limit on this thread, man-- chime in anytime.

 

 

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