Full Name: Théoden
Name Meaning: Ruler (Old English)
Aliases: King of the Mark, Théoden Ednew, Théoden the Renowned
Birth Date: TA 2948
Date of Death: 15th March, TA 3019
Parents: Father, Thengel. Mother, Morwen
Siblings: Théodwyn and several unnamed sisters
Children: A son, Théodred
Théoden was the seventeenth King of Rohan. He married a lady named Elfhild, who bore him a son, Théodred, but she died in childbirth. Théoden's sister, Théodwyn, had two children, Éomer and Éowyn. Théodwyn's husband, Éomund, died when his son was eleven and his daughter seven. Théodwyn died of grief soon after. King Théoden took his niece and nephew in after their parents' death as his own children. He should have looked after them as a father, but thanks to his "counselor", Grima, Théoden's health began to decline and he neglected his young relatives. Théoden was the only person in his court who was blind to Grima's conniving ways: everyone but the King detested Grima so much that they called him "Wormtongue". Grima was at one time a man of Rohan, but now his true master was Saruman. By Saruman's counsel, Grima weakened Théoden so that the King could barely make his own decisions and Grima (or, in truth, Saruman) was the real ruler of Rohan.
Théoden's son Théodred was killed while defending the ford of Isen against Saruman's orcs, but even then, when Éomer asked permission to hunt down the orcs, Théoden refused his consent and Éomer left against his uncle's command. Gandalf, arriving at Edoras with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, took his staff into Meduseld against the express wishes of Grima. With the help of his staff, Gandalf healed Théoden and helped the King regain much of the strength and wisdom he had lost under Grima's counselling. Gandalf advised Théoden to stand up to Saruman as his first move, lest Rohan fall entirely under the wizard's control. Théoden consented and rode to Helm's Deep. After his men underwent a long and stormy night of fighting, Théoden had given up hope, but Aragorn convinced him to ride out for a last stand along with many other Riders of Rohan. They won the battle with the aid of Gandalf and Erkenbrand, who returned leading a host of Rohirrim, and the Huorns, who engulfed the still-living orcs and destroyed them.
Théoden later rode to Isengard to confront Saruman. There the King refused Saruman's desperate entreaties to form an alliance: a formidable feat, as the power in Saruman's voice overwhelmed most people. Théoden also led his army to Minas Tirith, where he fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. He killed the chieftain of the Southrons and struck down their standard, but the Witch-king of the Nazgul shot a poisoned dart at Théoden's horse, Snowmane. Snowmane fell over with Théoden still atop him, thereby crushing the King. Théoden either wasn't conscious or didn't notice when his niece and savior, Éowyn, slew the Witch-king and the Fell Beast, but he did open his eyes and live long enough to proclaim Éomer the next king of Rohan. After the War of the Ring was over, Théoden was given a magnificent funeral, and had the greatest entourage ever seen following a King of Rohan.
< <Back to character biographies index