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Theoden

Theoden

The horn of Helm Hammerhand shall sound in the deep... one last time. Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and a red dawn. Forth Eorlingas!!
~ Theoden, before leading a cavalry charge at Helm's Deep

Theoden, son of Thengel was the King of Rohan towards the end of the Third Age; during the War of the Ring and one of the many heroes in J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Peter Jackson's films of the same name respectively.

He was the uncle of Eomer and Eowyn and the father of Theodred. During the war, he was brainwashed by Saruman the White and under the control, he unintentionally allowed orcs to roam the plains of Rohan and kill and destroy in their path. Saruman appointed Grima Wormtongue, Theoden's trusted servant to speak for Theoden. He was saved by Gandalf and offered his allegiance with the Fellowship in the war. He lost his son Theodred in battle and banished Eomer. Determined to save his people from Saruman, he retreats to Helm's Deep where one of the major battles of the war would occur. After the victory at Helm's Deep and the death of Saruman, Theoden reluctantly rode to Minas Tirith to aid Gondor in the Battle of Pelennor Fields against Mordor. He was attacked on the battlefield by the Witch-King of Angmar and almost slain but was rescued by Eowyn who slew the Ringwraith. He thanked his niece and died from his wounds. Theoden appeared in The Two Towers & The Return of the King and was portrayed by Bernard Hill.

The Two Towers (film)

Theoden possessed

Theoden possessed by Saruman

In the film, Sauron appointed Saruman to destroy Rohan to gain control of the region north of Gondor. He controlled Theoden with his magic and appointed Grima Wormtongue to speak in Theoden's aid. During "Saruman's" rule, orcs, Uruk-Hai, and wild men banished by Rohan ambushed villages and killed innocent women and children. During one battle, Eomer, found Theoden's son Theodred, barely alive and brought him back to Edoras. Eomer told Theoden but he just stood there silent and look aged and deformed from Saruman's magic. Eomer assured him that Saruman was behind everything but Wormtongue quickly rebuffs him saying Saruman is an ally and under a false decision from the king, he banished Eomer and his men, 2000 soldiers from Rohan.

A few days later, Eomer ran into Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli and told them of Theoden's condition and to be careful. The trio found Gandalf, reincarnated and now a white wizard and explained to him and he decides to ride to Edoras and rescue Theoden. When they arrive, Theoden's guards had them surrender their weapons but Gandalf convinced them to let him keep his staff. Wormtongue told Theoden (really Saruman), that Gandalf returned. Aragorn and the others held off Wormtongue and the guards and Gandalf began breaking the spell. Theoden laughed that Gandalf could not break the spell but Gandalf, revealing himself as the White performs an exorcism on Theoden which was working. Through Theoden, Saruman told him he will kill Theoden and Rohan will soon belong to him but Gandalf broke the spell which injured Saruman. Free from the spell, Eowyn goes to him and Theoden returns to his normal self. He thanks Gandalf and grasps his sword and sternly stares at Wormtongue. Theoden threw Wormtongue out of the palace and attempted to slain him but was stopped by Aragorn. He was asked where Theodred was and a funeral was held for his son.

After the funeral, Theoden and Gandalf stay by Theodred's grave and Theoden weeps as he feels responsible for his death. Gandalf assures him that Theoden was not responsible and that his son will go to the great beyond and join their ancestors. As refugees arrive to Edoras, they tell him of Saruman's destruction to which Gandalf tells him to rebel and fight. Aragorn suggests bringing Eomer back but Theoden believed that it was too late to bring Eomer and decided to empty Edoras and bring all refugees and soldiers to Helm's Deep. Gandalf told Aragorn and the others to aid Theoden if war should come and he rides off to find Eomer. As they were traveling, Theoden tells Aragorn about Eowyn; about how she lost her parents and that he should've been closer to her. Before arriving to Helm's Deep, they were intercepted by Saruman's warg riders. Theoden led a cavalry charge and dispatched Eowyn to lead the refugees to Helm's Deep. Theoden was victorious but lost many men, including Aragorn, who could not be found. He tells his men to leave the dead which upsets Legolas.

Aragorn survived and arrived at Helms Deep days later to warn Theoden that Saruman had unleashed 10,000 Uruk-Hai and will be arriving by nightfall. Theoden allows them to come and starts defending the fortress. Gimli tells him that the uruks are more powerful and smarter than regular orcs but refuses to listen. Aragorn demands him to call for aid but Theoden assures him the old alliances are dead and that elves and dwarves would never help and neither would Gondor whom Theoden has asked for help but Denethor had not responded. Before the battle, Theoden begins to lose hope, but his comrade Gamling reminds him of being a king. Soon after,
Forth Eorlingas

Forth Eorlingas!!

hundreds of Elves, led by Haldir and sent by Elrond arrive to aid Theoden in the battle. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli lead the Elves on the wall while Theoden views the battle from above. After hundreds of Uruks are cut down, Theoden assures that he'll win but then, the uruks breach the wall and the main gate. Theoden lead his men to the gate and hold off the uruks but one injures him. Aragorn and Gimli fight off the uruks on the causeway and Theoden tries the barricade the door again. This fails and he calls a retreat. The next morning, Theoden, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and a few Rohirrim are the only survivors and barricade themselves in the throne room. There, Theoden loses hope but Aragorn remembers Gandalf's return and tells Theoden to ride out and meet them. Theoden gladly accepts and leads a last stand cavalry charge. They trample countless uruks to reach outside and Gandalf arrives with Eomer and reinforcements and win the battle. Theoden then travels with the Fellowship to Isengard to confront Saruman.

The Return of the King (film)

Theoden cartoon

Theoden: Rankin/Bass Return of the King

Theoden arrives at Isengard and demands Saruman to surrender. Saruman sarcastically asks for peace but Theoden says he'll give it to him when he is dead. Wormtongue appeared behind Saruman and Theoden tells him that he forgives him and to remember that he is a man of Rohan. Saruman tells Theoden that Wormtongue is his property and that victory at Helm's Deep does not belong to him and that he is Rohan's worst king. Theoden believes that he was right. Wormtongue then stabs Saruman and the wizard falls to his death. The Fellowship return to Edoras and Theoden holds a victory banquet. He gives a moment of silence for the lives of those lost and tells Eowyn that Aragorn is the true victor of Helm's Deep. The next morning, Gandalf tells Theoden that Sauron will be launching an assault on Minas Tirith and that Gondor will need Rohan's help. Theoden refuses as he does not wish to help those who did not help him.

Many days later, Gandalf secretly lights the beacon of Gondor and when Rohan receives the signal, Aragorn begs Theoden to aid Gondor and he agrees. Theoden dispatches Eomer and Gamling to summon every man they can find and to rendez-vous at Dunharrow. Merry offers his service to Theoden and he gladly accepts it and he appoints him as esquire. Before riding out, Theoden believes that Gondor is where his fate will await him. When they arrive at Dunharrow, his men welcome him and learns that he has 6,000 riders to lead. Elrond arrives as well to give Aragorn the sword of Isildur and Aragorn and the others ride off into the night on a mission. Theoden's men believes that they are fleeing but Theoden assures them that they are not and will meet them on the battlefield. Theoden tells Merry that he cannot go to war with him but Merry sneaks in with Eowyn, disguised as a soldier and Theoden leads on to Gondor.

Theoden charge

Theoden: Death speech

Three days later, the Rohirrim arrive at Pelennor Fields. Theoden gives a powerful speech and tells his men to fight to the death. He leads the charge (one of the greatest charges in cinema history), and they trample thousands of orcs who flee in terror. Theoden was close to victory but then, in the distance, the Haradrim arrive, atop their Mumakil, giant elephants. Theoden reforms the line and leads another charge but an unsuccessful one as the Mumakil trample the Rohirrim and crush thousands of them. Theoden becomes cornered by several orcs and Eowyn, still disguised jumps in to help her uncle. Then, the Witch-King of Angmar swoops down on his fell beast and grabs Theoden and his horse and hurls afar. Theoden becomes crushed by his horse and is broken in several places. The fell beast gets ready to feast on him but Eowyn steps in, decapitates the beast and engages in battle with the Witch-King. Both she and Merry slay the king, and Aragorn arrives with an army of ghosts and they win the battle. Injured, Eowyn crawls over to Theoden to save him. Theoden tells her that she already saved him from a terrible fate but she cannot save him from death. He makes peace with himself, accepting that he was a great king and that his spirit will be welcomed by kings of old and dies. Eowyn weeps over his body.

In the film, that is the last of Theoden, the audience sees and hears of. In the books, after Sauron was defeated, a funeral was held for Theoden at Edoras and Eomer is declared king.

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