Forum: Characters of Middle-earth and Aman

Discussing: Grima Wormtongue

Grima Wormtongue

I was wondering if it is stated anywhere in canon how long Grima had been in Theoden's service, and if so, where he came from, how he became advisor, etc. I know a year is given for the beginning of Theoden's decline - 3014 or 3015, I believe - but I would guess that Grima had been in Theoden's service for at least a few years prior to this. I can't imagine him as always having been a part of the court of Rohan, but in this I may be much mistaken.

If anyone has any information - or, if there is no specific canon information, any suggestions about how long Grima had possibly been in Theoden's service - I would very much appreciate it.

 

 

Re: Grima Wormtongue

I was wondering if it is stated anywhere in canon how long Grima had been in Theoden's service, and if so, where he came from, how he became advisor, etc.
Hi, Lanthiriel!

Are you by any chance working on a story that would fit this little nuzgûl from the hutch?
Grima's Past

I would guess from your post that you've probably read the account in UT:The Battles of the Fords of Isen. That account dates the beginning of Théoden's decline:
... they [i.e. Théodred and Éomer] did all that they could to thwart the influence over him [Théoden] that GrÌma gained when the King's health began to fail. This occurred early in the year 3014, when Théoden was sixty-six...
Unfortunately I haven't found anything definitive re: Grima's past; there's a bit about Tolkien's earlier drafts of the character in HoM-e 9: Sauron Defeated, but nothing that details Grima's personal history. In HoM-e 8 in a note re: The Ride of the Rohirrim is the little blurb on the meaning of his name: ...grima 'mask', the name of Wormtongue. But I haven't found anything about Grima prior to TA 3014 (the date in UT).

I posted that nuzgûl in the hutch waaaay back on March 4, 2003, and in all this time I have yet to uncover anything more definitve than what is cited there and in the passage quoted from UT. You know what that means, right? You can get creative, do a little gap-filling. There is a bit of fanon that has Galmod, Grima's father, preceeding him as Théoden's counsellor, but there's nothing in canon to support this AFAIK.

May I make a request? If you uncover anything in canon, would you pass it along so it can be added to Resources. *just lookin' for the facts, ma'am*

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Grima Wormtongue

Hi Nessime! Thank you for your reply. Yes, I did read The Battles of the Fords of Isen, but so far that has been the only bit of information I've found of any help. (I haven't read HoM-e yet - I've been saving that for this spring!) It's possible that I've overlooked something, however, so if I come up with anything else I will be sure to let you know.

I'm afraid this particular story isn't Grima-centered - although I wouldn't rule out writing a story focusing more on him in the future (he is rather fascinating). I'm actually in the planning stages of a story focusing on Eowyn, from about age 12 onwards, and I am just curious as to how long Grima was an unfortunate part of her life. For some reason, maybe because of his desire for her, I can't really imagine him being around when she was a child - more like coming into the picture when she was becoming a young woman, maybe 14 or 15 or so. In that case, however, where did he come from and what happened to the former counselor? I like the idea of his father being the king's counselor before him, but this raises the question of what made Grima different from his father, i.e. open to corruption. I've also been toying with an idea - influenced, I think, by his dark coloring in the films - of him having some Dunlendish blood. In fact, I could almost swear I've read this suggestion somewhere before - but whether canon or fanon I can't say, and it could well have just been a part of my overactive imagination!

Anyway, if you have any suggestions or know someone who might have some suggestions about how to handle this, I would appreciate it. In the meantime I'll keep looking for more canon information and will let you know if I find anything.

 

 

Re: Grima Wormtongue

I've also been toying with an idea - influenced, I think, by his dark coloring in the films - of him having some Dunlendish blood. In fact, I could almost swear I've read this suggestion somewhere before - but whether canon or fanon I can't say...
No, it's not your imagination. I'm fairly certain it is fanon as I haven't come across anything in Tolkien's writing that even implies Grima might have Dunlendish blood. There's no indication if he was from the Westfold or the Eastfold either, so I believe there's lots of room for interpretation.

But I'm always ready to be corrected on these things by someone who has found a more definitive answer within Tolkien's writing, be it LotR, the Silm, UT, HoM-e or his letters - if the Professor wrote it, as far as I'm concerned it bears looking at. If nothing else it helps us appreciate the process he went through in creating LotR.

Speaking of darker hair, there is this reference in UT that could provide some intriguing possibilities:
Éomer was said to have been tall, of like height with Aragorn; but he with other descendants of King Thengel were taller than the norm of Rohan, deriving this characteristic (together in some cases with darker hair) from Morwen, Thengel's wife, a lady of Gondor of high Númenórean descent. (UT: The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Appendix: Númenórean Linear Measures)


~Nessime

 

 

Re: Grima Wormtongue



That was certainly an appropriate smiley to put on the end of your message, Nessime - my brain is about to explode! So here is another possible ancestry for Grima - perhaps his ancestry could even be traced back to the Black Numenoreans (hmm, I can't remember if I've read anything suggesting this, but it would seem likely that the Black Numenoreans did not object to intermarriage with "lesser" men, such as Dunlendings or even Rohirrim??...)

Wait! I've just had another idea. Here is an interesting excerpt from The Battles of the Fords of Isen, Appendix ii, concerning Isengard:

...the Ring of Isengard remained manned only by an hereditary Gondorian chieftain and his small people... The line of the Gondorian chieftains of Angrenost had failed, and the command of the fortress passed into the hands of a family of the people. These, as has been said, were already long before of mixed blood, and they were now more friendly disposed to the Dunlendings than to the 'wild Northmen' who had usurped the land...

Perhaps Grima could have descended from these guardians of Isengard, who possessed both Dunlendish and (it seems) Numenorean blood. It would link him to Isengard, or at least the area, by ancestral tradition but would also give him (and his ancestors) enough noble blood to perhaps allow them to be accepted by the people of Rohan if they desired it. It might also make even more logical Saruman's choice of servant.

I guess the lack of canon information provides us with endless possibilities. But should we look upon this as a blessing or a curse?

 

 

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