Notes on the Lineage of the House of Eorl: 1. Chapter 1

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1. Chapter 1

Notes on the Lineage of the House of Eorl
By Elena Tiriel

Table of Contents:
The Quotes: What Tolkien Actually Wrote
Facts Extracted from the Quotes
Assumptions and Conclusions
The Family Tree of the House of Eorl


Tolkien was at times precise and at times frustratingly vague on the ancestry of the ruling family of Rohan, the House of Eorl, leaving gaps in their family tree. I have tried to reconstruct a reasonable genealogy using the clues that Tolkien does give us. These notes attempt to show the thought processes that I used to construct Eorl's family tree, making explicit both the facts and the assumptions that I relied upon.

The Quotes: What Tolkien Actually Wrote

These are the sources I drew upon to determine the the ancestry of the House of Eorl, the hereditary Kings of Rohan:

1856 Narmacil II falls in battle [the Battle of the Plains].
1944 Ondoher falls in battle...
1975 The Witch-king of Angmar defeated at the Battle of Fornost...
1977 Frumgar leads the Éothéod into the North.
2510 Eorl the Young wins the victory of the Field of Celebrant. The Rohirrim settle in Calenardhon [Rohan].

Return of the King, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: Third Age

[Said Faramir,] "These are the Rohirrim... Indeed it is said by our lore-masters ... that they are come from those same Three Houses of Men as were the Númenóreans in their beginning; not from Hador the Goldenhaired, the Elf-friend, maybe, yet from such of his sons and people as went not over Sea into the West, refusing the call."

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

The Northmen appear to have been most nearly akin to the third and greatest of the peoples of the Elf-friends, ruled by the House of Hador. [Author's note.]

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 4

[The Battle of the Plains, 1856 III]
The escape of the army of Gondor from total destruction was in part due to the courage and loyalty of the horsemen of the Northmen under Marhari (a descendant of Vidugavia 'King of Rhovanion') who acted as rearguard.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl - Notes, Note 5

[After the Battle of the Plains, 1856 III]
As for the Northmen, a few... fled over Celduin (River Running) and were merged with the folk of Dale..., some took refuge in Gondor, and others were gathered by Marhwini son of Marhari... Passing north between Mirkwood and Anduin they settled in the Vales of the Anduin... This was the beginning of the Éothéod...

[Between 1936 and 1944 III, King Ondoher of Gondor's reign]
Forthwini, son of Marhwini, indeed warned King Ondoher... that the Wainriders of Rhovanion were recovering from their weakness and fear...

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl

The forefathers of Eorl claimed descent from the kings of Rhovanion... and thus they accounted themselves kinsmen of the kings of Gondor descended from Eldacar. They loved best the plains... but there were many men in the middle vales of Anduin in those days... and when therefore they heard of the overthrow of the Witch-king of Angmar [1975 III], they sought more room in the North [1977 III]...

Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl

Éothéod: Name of the people afterwards called the Rohirrim, and also of their land.

Unfinished Tales, Index

Frumgar, they say, was the name of the chieftain who led his people to Éothéod. Of his son, Fram, they tell that he slew Scatha, the great dragon of Ered Mithrin, and the land had peace from the long-worms afterwards.

Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl

But in the days of Léod [about 2459 - 2501 III], father of Eorl, they had grown to be a numerous people and were again somewhat straitened in the land of their home.

Return of the King, Appendix A, The House of Eorl

[2510 III]
He [Cirion, Ruling Steward of Gondor] called for volunteers [to take a plea to the Éothéod for help in defending against the Invasion of Calenardhon by the Balchoth and Orcs]... Each [rider] bore a message learned by heart... that he should deliver to the Lord of the Éothéod in person... The message was addressed to Eorl son of Léod, for Cirion knew that he had succeeded his father some years before...

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl

Facts Extracted from the Quotes

From the information in these quotes, we know that:

The Northmen/Éothéod/Rohirrim were descended from kin of the House of Hador.

The forefathers of Eorl claimed descent from the Kings of Rhovanion.

Marhari was descended from Vidugavia, the only King of Rhovanion that Tolkien named.

When Marhwini, son of Marhari, gathered surviving Northmen together in the Vales of Anduin after the disastrous Battle of the Plains in 1856 III, the people he led began to be called the Éothéod.

Forthwini, son of Marhwini, acted as ally to Gondor sometime between 1936 and 1944 III (Ondoher's reign), presumably in the capacity of Lord of the Éothéod.

The forefathers of Eorl moved North after the Witch-king fell (in 1975 III).

Frumgar led the migration North [to the land called Éothéod] in 1977 III, presumably in the capacity of Lord of the Éothéod (people). Fram is his son.

Léod and Eorl were Lords of the Éothéod.

Assumptions and Conclusions

From these facts, and the assumption that the Lordship of the Éothéod is hereditary, I deduced that:

Frumgar and Fram are forefathers of Léod and Eorl. (I believe this to be relatively solid.)

Marhari/Marhwini/Forthwini are ancestors of Frumgar (though not necessarily in a direct father-son line). (I consider this a bit more speculative, but reasonable, especially since there is no more than 41 years -- at most two generations -- between the time Forthwini sends a message to Ondoher and Frumgar leads the Éothéod north.)

The Family Tree of the House of Eorl

So the resulting family tree looks like this (where a vertical bar indicates that we do not know the number of intermediate generations, nor the names of the descendants, nor whether they are all in direct father-son relationships, but the descent is suggested by the evidence):

Kin of the House of Hador
Kings of Rhovanion
Eorl the Young
Kings of Rohan

Revised 28 June 2004

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Elena Tiriel

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 06/28/04

Original Post: 06/20/04

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WARNING! Comments may contain spoilers for a chapter or story. Read with caution.

Notes on the Lineage of the House of Eorl

RiverOtter - 16 Jun 08 - 5:26 AM

Ch. 1: Chapter 1

This is an excellent article.  I like the way you took the existing information and created a cohesive article.

Notes on the Lineage of the House of Eorl

Elena Tiriel - 22 Jun 08 - 4:13 AM

Ch. 1: Chapter 1

Hi RiverOtter!

This is an excellent article. I like the way you took the existing information and created a cohesive article.

Glad you liked it! I have always been fascinated by the Rohirrim, and all the scattered hints about the ancestry of the House of Eorl were just too enticing to ignore. Grin

Thank you for commenting!

- Barbara

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Elena Tiriel - Star Gazings - 180 posts

I am a new author who is serious about improving my writing. Your comments, both positive and negative, will be treasured, evaluated, and incorporated freely!

Thank you in advance for your time and effort.

My fiction includes:

Fell and Fair (for the Sons of Elrond at the Field of Celebrant and the Alternate Perspectives Challenges)

ET's Legolas Song Parodies (for the International Legolas Month Song Parody Palooza Challenge)

Famous First Lines (for the It Was a Dark and Stormy Night Challenge)

Holiday Carols, Middle Earth-style (for the Carols in Middle-earth Challenge)

and numerous drabbles, including: Alas, Poor Ufthak!

I also compiled many entries for the HASA Resource Library, including the following small sampling:

Interesting People to Meet & Greet:
Orophin & Rúmil, The Bardings, and The Beornings

Cool Places to See & Be Seen:
The Elf-path, The Forest Gate, The High Pass of Rivendell, The Old Forest Road, Undertowers, The Westmarch, and Libraries of the Shire

Wild Fauna to Look (Out) For:
Black Squirrels, Butterflies, Hunting Dogs, The Kine of Araw, Giant Bats, Giant Moths, and Giant Spiders

Toothsome Treats to Eat:
Honey-cakes of the Beornings

Magical Powers to Admire (from a safe distance):
The Unlight of Ungoliant

Great Literature to Read:
The Red Book, The Thain's Book - Annotated Copy of the Red Book, Findegil's Copy of the Thain's Book, The Akallabêth, Herblore of the Shire, Old Words and Names in the Shire, The Reckoning of Years, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen, The Tale of Years, and Translations from the Elvish

Important Events to Remember:
The Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs, and The Battle of Dale and Siege of Erebor

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