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"Arise now, arise, Riders of Theoden!
Dire deeds awake, dark is it eastward.
Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!
Forth Eorlingas!

A young and proud kingdom of horse-masters. Founded by Eorl the Young, Rohan is a sparsely populated but fierce kingdom with a long tradition of fighting off invaders. For centuries, they have been steadfast allies of Gondor, but now against Sauron their alliance may be waning and the Riders of Rohan must gather their strength once more to survive the War of the Ring.


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King of Rohan, uncle of Éowyn and Éomer. Théoden is betrayed by his servant Gríma who enfeebled and confused him. While Gandalf helped him come to his senses, the damage has already been done: his armies are in disarray, bands of wild men have ransacked the countryside and his only son and heir is dead. Théoden faces the challenge of standing amongst legends in the midst of his failure trying to find his own strength again which he eventually does in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

  • Alliterative Family: Théoden son of Thengel, father of Théodred and brother of Théodwyn.
  • Badass Beard: Long and snow-white, so long that he looks like a dwarf when hunched down.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Arranged in long Braids of Barbarism, which is less "civilized" compared to, say, Boromir's straight shoulder-length cut. Most if not all other Rohirrim had similar hairstyles.
  • Battle Cry: "Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just after the door of Minas Tirith was broken and with the Witch-King seemingly about to be victorious, he arrives with his Rohirrim army and gives hope back to the good guys.
  • Cool Old Guy: Despite being in his seventies, he personally led the charge at Pelennor Fields and killed the Haradrim commander himself.
  • Foil: To Denethor. Both began as good rulers, but where Denethor succumbed to grief, madness and suicide, Théoden 'woke' from his madness, set aside his sorrow, and made a Heroic Sacrifice to save his land.
  • He's Back: After Gandalf awakened him. Each successive soldier who sees him standing upright and strong again immediately kneels and says "Command me, lord!" in shock and joy.
  • Heroic BSoD: He was trapped in a perpetual one until members of the Fellowship arrived.
  • Humble Hero: He considers his position a grave responsibility and a burden, and is haunted by his failures. In speaking with Saruman he refers to himself as 'a lesser son of greater sires'; even after the heroic deeds he performs on his dying day, he mentions that he 'need not now be ashamed' to join the Kings of Rohan who died before him.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Merry.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Théoden, son of Thengel.
  • The Last of His Kind: He's of the second male line of the Kings of Rohan. With the death of his only son at the Battle of the Fords of Isen and later his own death at Pelennor Fields, the second line died out.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: According to Gandalf, Théoden was the only person in the Kingdom of Rohan who never called Gríma "Wormtongue". May be Pet the Dog, but look at where it got him.
  • Meaningful Name: "People-king" in Anglo-Saxon, and presumably his real (untranslated) name meant something similar.
  • More Than Mind Control: Théoden isn't under a magical enchantment as in the films, but he's being manipulated and possibly drugged with "subtle poisons" by a minion of Saruman to make him weak and ineffective.
  • Named Weapons: His sword is called Herugrim.
  • Parental Substitute: To Éowyn and Éomer. And oddly enough to Merry, apparently, even though Merry's father Saradoc is alive and well. At least Merry claims Théoden was as a father to him.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: As all Rohirrim are.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After Gandalf nullifies Wormtongue's misdirections.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He seems to think so. He's very hard on himself about his failures until he finds the courage to come to Gondor's aid. As he's dying, he smiles knowing that he's earned his place in the halls of his fathers.
  • Rousing Speech: To the Rohirrim before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He adamantly refuses to stay behind or go to hide in safety when the rest of his people ride to the Battle of Helm's Deep, despite being 71 years old.


Théoden's nephew, and leader of a substantial cavalry unit, Éomer does not approve of the advice Grí­ma has been offering, and the orders Théoden has issued on the basis of it. He is on an unauthorised mission when the three hunters first meets him, and in prison on charges of mutiny and assault when they reach Edoras. As Théoden's nearest male blood relative, the role of heir-apparent devolves onto him.

  • Bash Brothers: He becomes this with Aragorn.
  • Battle Cry: "Death!"
  • The Berserker: Shades of this during the Battle of Pelennor Fields, during which he spends most of his time raging like a madman as he rides down Orcs and Men in a frenzy.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Towards Éowyn, his sister.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: At the very end, he says he'll duel over the Lady Arwen's beauty. Gimli calls it off, saying that Arwen is the evening to Galadriel's morning so they're basically even.
  • Family Theme Naming: Éomer son of Éomund and brother of Éowyn.
  • Hot-Blooded: Promises to duel Gimli within minutes of meeting him, which later becomes a Brick Joke. Later detained when he threatens Gríma and draws his sword on him, but he's released when Théoden comes to his senses. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, his fury nearly costs him and his men their lives, as his reckless charge leads to them being surrounded on all front by enemies.
  • The Juggernaut: One of the other two in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields who was unstoppable.
  • Large and in Charge: Described as being the tallest of the Rohirrim under his command.
  • Last Stand: He is ready to make one when he is caught in a seemingly hopeless situation during the Battle, right before Aragorn comes to save the day.
    He let blow the horns to rally all men to his banner that could come thither; for he thought to make a great shield-wall at the last, and stand, and fight there on foot till all fell, and do deeds of song on the fields of Pelennor, though no man should be left in the West to remember the last King of the Mark.
  • Like a Son to Me: Although Théoden calls him "sister-son" at first, he decides to call Éomer just "son" after a while, since Théodred has died and Éomer is now his direct heir, on top of Théoden having raised him since the death of his sister and brother-in-law.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His reaction to seeing his sister apparently dead was to charge headlong at the enemy, resulting in the above mentioned Last Stand.
  • Manly Tears: Notably shed when he is trying to invoke Men Don't Cry instead.
    Éomer said to them:
    Mourn not overmuch! Mighty was the fallen,
    meet was his ending. When his mound is raised,
    women then shall weep. War now calls us!
    Yet he himself wept as he spoke.
  • Meaningful Name: "Horse-famous" in Anglo-Saxon. Presumably, his real (untranslated) name had the same meaning.
  • Named Weapons: Gúthwinë
  • Not So Stoic: When he finds Théoden dead and believes Éowyn to be dead as well.
  • Parental Abandonment: Orphaned at a young age, raised by his uncle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Like most of the Rohirrim.
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": He was having a lot of fun on the Pelennor fields, singing and laughing.
    For once more lust of battle was on him; and he was still unscathed, and he was young, and he was king: the lord of a fell people.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He listens to what Aragorn has to say when he catches him with Legolas and Gimli in Rohan, and helps them by giving them mounts.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: His sister (the icy Iron Lady) is the blue and he (The Berserker raging warrior) is the red. He's also the Red to Aragorn's Blue, given Aragorn is much more "kingly" composed.
  • Rousing Speech: He gives one of these twice in a row to the Rohirrim: right after finding the bodies of his uncle and sister on the battlefield, and again when he realizes they're surrounded and probably going to die.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something/Warrior Prince: He's the nephew of Théoden, and grandson of the previous king Thengel.
  • The Stoic: When he's not in battle, or his temper isn't up.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When he sees his sister's body on the battlefield.
  • Warrior Poet: He improvises some rather dark verses when he sees the carnage of the Pelennor Fields.
    Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
    I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
    To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
    Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
  • You Are in Command Now: He becomes King of the Mark when Théoden falls at Pelennor.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: His words: "the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived."


Éomer's sister, and much beloved of Théoden... as well as Gríma. Éowyn yearns to fight for her country and win honor like her brother and uncle, and falls in love with Aragorn. When both desires are rejected and the victory of Mordor seems inevitable, she becomes a Death Seeker, hoping to fall valiantly in battle before Sauron conquers everything.

  • Action Girl: Women have to stay behind while the men go to war? Screw that!
  • All Love Is Unrequited: To Aragorn.
  • Badass Normal: Compared with all the elves, dwarves, wizards or other super-powered men of exalted lineage in this book, Éowyn was just a normal woman. It didn't keep her from taking down the Witch-King with the help of Merry, an even more "normal" badass.
  • Berserker Tears: There were tears on her cheek when she was facing the Witch-King of Angmar.
  • Beta Couple and Birds of a Feather: With Faramir.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Éowyn and Merry saved the day.
  • Broken Bird: She has been forced to nurse an ailing uncle and endure the sexual harassment of his Evil Chancellor for years. Not to mention her Parental Abandonment issues, her cousin dying in battle, her beloved older brother being imprisoned, and of course a war coming that may destroy them all...
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: She literally broke her arm in the struggle against the Witch-King, but it was her other arm that was the problem—mere contact with him through the sword nearly killed her.
  • Call to Agriculture: After Sauron is defeated, Éowyn no longer desires to be a slayer and even possibly a queen, instead, resolving to be a healer who loves "all things that grow". Faramir proposes that they start a garden somewhere.
  • Death Glare: At the Lord of the Nazgûl. He was not amused.
  • Death Seeker: Already a Glory Seeker, she becomes this as well after Aragorn chides her for Loving a Shadow. Her expression is described as "the face of one who goes seeking death, having no hope."
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She was cold before, but in the Houses of Healing she slowly warms up to Faramir, eventually falling in love with him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Goes up against the Witch-King of Angmar and, with Merry's help, defeats him.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: She says this to Faramir with the line, "I desire no man's pity." (Faramir responds with a rare defense of pity: "Do not scorn pity that is the gift of a gentle heart.")
  • Emotionless Girl: She seemed very cold and dispassionate to the other characters before she went to battle, and she stays cool and collected even while facing the Witch-King.
  • Family Theme Naming: "Éowyn" is a mix of her parents's names Éomund and Théodwyn, and her brother is Éomer.
  • Glory Seeker: Since she's from a Proud Warrior Race, she frets at missing out on all the great deeds in battle because she's a woman. Amplified by becoming a Death Seeker, since death in battle is most glorious for the Rohirrim. Even after she's injured killing the Witch-king, she doesn't like being stuck with the medics while the army of Rohan confronts Sauron.
  • The Good Chancellor: Théoden left her in charge of the kingdom in his absence, possibly leaving her the throne if he and Éomer didn't return. However, it is subverted, as she followed him to war in disguise.
  • Go Through Me: She stood before the Lord of the Nazgûl to protect her uncle.
    A cold voice answered: ‘Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’
    A sword rang as it was drawn. ‘Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.’
  • Lady of War: She manages to keep an air of grace and beauty usually associated with Proper Ladies while still being a very capable warrior.
    Still she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel-blade, fair yet terrible.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Théoden initially refers to her as "sister-daughter" but eventually drops that and simply calls her daughter.
  • Loving a Shadow: This is how Aragorn describes her attachment to him to her brother, comparing it to a soldier's love for a valiant captain. She wants the things he represents (freedom, glory in battle), not the man himself. He proves it via calling out to her borderline comatose self as he heals her with athelas, and then telling Éomer to do the same when she doesn't reply. Éomer easily succeeds where Aragorn fails, and Aragorn takes it as proof.
  • Mama Bear: Inverted. When Théoden is attacked and defeated by the Witch-King, she steps between them and says that she'll kill the Nazgûl if he gets close to her uncle, and demonstrates the credibility of her threat by effortlessly decapitating his mount when he mocks her.
    "Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I shall smite you if you touch him."
  • Meaningful Name: "Horse-joy" in Anglo-Saxon. Presumably, her "real" (untranslated) name meant something similar.
  • My Girl Back Home: She was this for her father, brother, and uncle until she decided to go with them instead.
  • Nerves of Steel: The Nazgûl's main ability is the power to inspire fear in the heart of the bravest of men: their cry and shadow can reduce experienced soldiers to a broken crying mess, trained warriors flee before them. The Witch-King is the worst of them. But when he threatens Éowyn, standing alone before him, to an eternity of torture in the houses of lamentation beyond all darkness, she doesn't even flinch. And then she laughs at his face.
  • No Man of Woman Born: Aside from Macbeth, probably the most famous example of this trope. The Witch-King is quite smug, quoting that prophecy in 'Dernhelm's' face...
  • Not So Stoic: She breaks for a moment when she falls on her knees and begs Aragorn to take her with him on the Path of Death, in desperation. She also has a little moment of weakness when she is asking Faramir to order the healers to let her go.
  • Parental Abandonment: Orphaned at a young age, raised by her uncle.
  • Pair the Spares: With Faramir. Accomplished uncommonly well.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter, and you stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you if you touch him."
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: This King's niece fights for her country and takes down the leader of the Ringwraiths himself.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Rohirrim are a proud, fierce, and war-loving people, who value courage, loyalty, and truthfulness above all and hold warriors in the greatest of honor. Éowyn shares this worldview (at least at first), which is why it is even more unbearable for her to just sit and wait as others do all the fighting.
  • Rebellious Princess: Although she doesn't carry the title of "princess", her uncle the King raised her as his daughter and she is his second in the line of descent after his son's death. When he leaves for war, she chooses to disobey him and follow him into battle. We see her spirited side when she is teasing Faramir on the walls of Minas Tirith in particular.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: She is of the Royal House of Rohan and she will not be left behind.
  • Samus Is a Girl: She took up the alias of "Dernhelm" to go to war. However, it may be that the soldiers around her knew but looked the other way.
  • Second Love: She ends up with Faramir after having had a short soldier crush on Aragorn.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She falls in love with Faramir for his more admirable qualities after having pursued Aragorn for the wrong reasons.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell and made the Witch-King, Captain of Despair, spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, doubt himself.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: For years she is relegated to tending Théoden and being stalked by Wormtongue while the men ride off to war. When Théoden himself finally rides off to war she wants to go too, but she's left in charge in his absence. Later she wants to follow Aragorn but is rejected. She goes in disguise to the Battle of Pelennor Fields anyway where she kills the Witch-king. When Éomer wonders why she did such a thing, Gandalf and Aragorn point out that at least he could relieve his stress and despair by going out to kill Orcs while she had no such option.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Aragorn, Legolas, and Merry describe her as cold and stern when we see her in Rohan, but she shows a much warmer and affectionate side to Faramir in the Houses of Healing, even before he declares his love for her.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Dresses up as "Dernhelm" so she can sneak into the army.
  • Threat Backfire: No living man may hinder the leader of the Ringwraiths... but Éowyn is a woman.
  • Tranquil Fury: Before the Lord of the Nazgûl. Calm and deadly.

     Grí­ma Wormtongue 

A man of Rohan who was seduced by Saruman's promises of power, Wormtongue was King Théoden's adviser. He used clever words and "leechcraft" to wear down the aging king's mind, weakening the kingdom and allowing Saruman's armies to run rampant.

  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Frodo chooses to spare Saruman, even after the former wizard attempts to directly murder him, hoping he'll somehow redeem himself. But Saruman just has to taunt Grima one last time...
  • Dirty Coward: Despite repeated offers of forgiveness from the good guys, he is too spineless to leave Saruman — especially when proving his loyalty to Rohan requires saddling up and joining the army at Helm's Deep.
  • Dirty Old Man: Toward Éowyn, who is much younger.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Killing Saruman once he has had enough of his mistreatment.
  • Evil Chancellor: To Théoden, as an agent of Saruman.
  • Evil Old Folks: Described as wizened, with a wise expression.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Frodo offers him a very-undeserved chance to turn his life around, and he seems to want to accept it; then, Saruman reveals what Grí­ma did to Lotho Sackville-Baggins, and everything just goes to hell.
  • Humiliation Conga: The way Saruman treats him, especially after the fall of Isengard.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Though how much of that was Saruman's ideas isn't clear.
  • Meaningful Name: "Grí­ma" is an Old English word meaning both mask and spectre/goblin/nightmare.
  • The Mole: In Rohan, the spy and agent of Saruman.
  • Obviously Evil: Grí­ma looks like a wise old man, but this is deceptive. His paleness is noted and he also has reptilian features like heavy eyelids and a long pale tongue.
  • Oh, Crap!: Realizing that his men failed to confiscate Gandalf's staff. In The Unfinished Tales, Tolkien's notes reveal he had a run-in with the Nazgûl while he was on his way to see Saruman - whom they had just been interrogating on the whereabouts of the Shire - and was so terrified that he revealed Saruman had lied to them.
  • The Quisling: He turned traitor on Rohan after Saruman promised him money and/or power.
  • Smug Snake: He loses control as soon as Gandalf enters the scene and flies back to hide behind his master.
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Éowyn.
  • Sycophantic Servant: To Saruman, especially towards the end.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Was a loyal public servant of Rohan at first, but Saruman twisted him.


"Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea! West Wind blew there; light upon the Silver Tree"

The first and last line of defense against Mordor and The Remnant of the once-proud kingdom of Númenor, Gondor considers itself the bastion of the Men of the West. With Sauron's power ever increasing, it is them who must face the brunt of his wrath, and ultimately it is in Gondor the fate of Men will be decided.


Men of Gondor

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Boromir's younger brother, but the two are quite different; while Boromir is constantly tempted by the Ring and succumbs to it, Faramir rejects it on principle without even seeing it, and later wards off the temptation quickly when he discovers it's in front of him. (This was changed for dramatic reasons in the films, but even then it's more about securing it for his father Denethor than using it himself.) He becomes even more central in the third novel, as the action moves to his homeland of Gondor.

  • Always Second Best: Men have deemed him second to his brother Boromir all his life, being more gentle and scholarly, less flamboyant than his brother in times of war when warriors were honored above all (even his father loved Boromir most). And after the War, he became second best to King Elessar. Note that he never grew bitter about his eternal second place (quite the opposite really).
  • Author Avatar: Tolkien has stated that Faramir is the character the closest to his personality except in courage. This was shaped by Tolkien's experiences in World War I.
  • Badass Bookworm: Far more scholarly than his brother Boromir, and far more interested in the history and lore of Gondor, but a very capable soldier and commander as well.
    And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.
  • Beta Couple: With Éowyn.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Faramir is one of the sweetest, gentlest characters in the setting, but see the entry for Badass Bookworm above.
  • Blue Blood: The Stewards have always been very powerful Blue Bloods in Gondor (which is why they managed to keep the title in the family at all, until it eventually became hereditary), without ever being "royalty".
  • The Captain: Of the Rangers of Ithilien, played straight.
  • Call to Agriculture: Sounds like he's having such a call when he and Éowyn confess to each other. At that point, his demotion from "Ruling" Steward was imminent. But later the newly-crowned king Aragorn makes him Prince of the province of Ithilien.
  • The Creon: Unlike his brother Boromir, Faramir seems to have no intentions of grabbing any power - rejecting an overwhelming opportunity and motive to become the Ruling Steward of Gondor or even the King.
  • Cultured Warrior: Offers a history lesson to the Hobbits after having taken them prisoners in the aftermath of a bloody battle with the Haradrim.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: He often dreams of the Downfall of Númenor, the isle that sank under the sea three thousand years ago. It is based on Tolkien's own of a land being drowned beneath a rushing wave.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Unfavorite son who lost his beloved older brother, fighting a doomed war against the Dark Lord, and nearly becoming the victim in a murder-suicide by his own dad. Gets better, gets a princedom, gets true love.
  • Family Theme Naming: Faramir and Boromir.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Several (dozen) generations removed. He and Boromir (as well as their maternal uncle, Prince Imrahil) actually are descended from elf maiden Mithrellas, the legendary Nimrodel's handmaiden who married a Prince of Dol Amroth. May explain why many characters think they appear noble and regal like the ancient Dúnadan kings.
    • Word of God also has it that the Steward family is somehow descended from Anárion (Elendil's second son and Isildur's brother) - probably through a daughter since they have no claim to the throne. That would make them far far away descendants of Elros Half-Elven and ultimately Lúthien, like Aragorn.
  • A Father to His Men: His men are extremely loyal to him because they know he cares for them and puts their welfare ahead of his own and will not waste their lives seeking for glory. Heck, he even inspires great loyalty in soldiers who aren't under his command.
  • Foil:
    • To his brother Boromir. They have very different ideologies in the book and make very different choices, most notably with the Ring. Although the brothers loved each other dearly, Faramir knew Boromir well enough to guess that the Ring found him easy prey.
      "[Boromir] was a man after the sort of King Eärnur of old, taking no wife and delighting chiefly in arms; fearless and strong, but caring little for lore, save the tales of old battles. Faramir the younger was like him in looks but otherwise in mind. He read the hearts of men as shrewdly as his father, but what he read moved him sooner to pity than to scorn. He was gentle in bearing, and a lover of lore and of music, and therefore by many in those days his courage was judged less than his brother’s. But it was not so, except that he did not seek glory in danger without a purpose."
    • Also to his father, Denethor. Both are noble and powerful pure-blooded Númenóreans with the abilities to read the hearts of other men and to command over them, who share a love for ancient lore and other scholarly pursuits over feats of arm. Yet all these similarities only highlight their differences: the son is warm, gentle and understanding where the father is cold, harsh and scornful. Although both are very insightful into others' characters, Faramir pities and loves others, while Denethor looks down on them. Faramir chooses to keep on fighting despite having lost all hope, Denethor succumbs to despair. Faramir demonstrates humility and open-mindedness, Denethor displays arrogance and stubbornness, etc...
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Highly intelligent and scholarly, he is also a gracious host and very pleasant individual, able to have a good and friendly conversation with various people from very different cultures and background (Frodo, Sam, Éowyn, Merry, etc...).
  • The Good Chancellor: He comes from a whole line of those: despite being actually better rulers than their royal predecessors, none of the Ruling Steward ever tried to take the throne for themselves, and instead they did everything they could to preserve the realm against the growing threat in Mordor in the Name of the King. Faramir went on to be Aragorn's loyal Steward, his First Adviser and Head of the Council of Gondor.
  • I Gave My Word: In The Two Towers, he rejects the temptation of the Ring in part because of this: "Not if I found it on the highway would I take it, I said. Even if I were such a man as to desire this thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke, still I should take these words as a vow, and be held by them."
  • Martial Pacifist: Violence is a last resort for him, which is why he spares even Gollum and treats him as well as he can while he is his prisoner. His men are also forbidden to harm animals.
  • Meaningful Name: "Faramir" is Quenya for "jewel of the seashore", from "fára" (seashore) and "mírë" (jewel) - his mother was fond of the sea. Mardil Voronwë, the last Steward to a King and first Ruling Steward, was also the last of the stewards to have a Quenya name until Faramir, the last Ruling Steward and first Steward to a King since Mardil.
  • The Men First: The first time we saw him in The Return of the King, he was ready to face five Nazgûl riding their fell beasts, alone on horseback, to protect three of his men who had fallen to the ground. Later, while holding the outer defenses against the armies of Mordor, he wouldn't leave his men behind and return to the safety of Minas Tirith, arranging instead for Gandalf himself to escort the wounded back. In the end, as captain, he was the last one to enter the city (or be carried in as it happens).
  • Missing Mom: His mother Finduilas died five years after his birth.
  • Nice Guy: He treats Frodo and Sam very well, in the circumstances, and is kind to Éowyn in the Houses of Healing.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Extremely honorable (to the point he wouldn't lie even to an orc) and impeccably courteous (even toward his war prisoners).
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Has these sometimes. His repeated dream about seeking the Sword That was Broken was what impelled Boromir to seek out Rivendell. His repeated dreams of the Downfall of Númenor was based on Tolkien's own dreams of a land being drowned beneath a rushing wave.
  • Psychic Powers: Like his father, he is repeatedly said to be able to "read the heart of men", and demonstrates this ability when he sees in Gollum's mind (which apparently has a lot of "locked doors and closed windows, and dark rooms behind them").
  • Rage Breaking Point: He breaks for a second after his father admits to him he wishes Boromir - his most loyal son - had lived in his stead, resulting in Tranquil Fury: "For a moment Faramir’s restraint gave way. ‘I would ask you, my father, to remember why it was that I, not he, was in Ithilien. On one occasion at least your counsel has prevailed, not long ago. It was the Lord of the City that gave the errand to him.’" Precise and chillingly polite, yet adorned with that ironic my father to maximize impact. He goes straight for the jugular, blaming his father for his brother's death (and in the end it was one of those things that made Denethor snap - guilt over his sons' deaths).
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: A Númenórean trait. Both he and his brother are said to be attractive.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He provides assistance to Frodo and Sam once he learns of their quest (after making them sweat a bit) and shows mercy to Gollum when Frodo vouches for him (though Gollum doesn't realize it).
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Faramir is the sensitive one in this pair. And being the sensitive one of the pair he is shown leading a commando team well behind enemy lines, holding troops together with nothing but charisma while the Nazgûl are hovering above him, and defeating a great warrior in single combat. From all of which you will infer, he is part of a Badass Family.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Boromir; see Foil.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He and his brother are described this way.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: He is the Prophet in the Denethor-Boromir-Faramir trio, the wise one despite being also the youngest.
  • The Unfavorite: Note that his brother Boromir (who was the favorite) deeply loves him and Faramir, far from being jealous, feels exactly the same. As the books themselves describe:
    'Between the brothers there was great love, and had been since childhood, when Boromir was the helper and protector of Faramir. No jealousy or rivalry had arisen between them since, for their father's favour or for the praise of men. It did not seem possible to Faramir that anyone in Gondor could rival Boromir, heir of Denethor, Captain of the White Tower.'
  • Warrior Poet: Despite being a more than competent warrior, Faramir is first a scholar and devotes a lot of time to philosophy, lore, and music.
    "War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Númenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her ancientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom."
  • Warrior Prince: Though not technically royalty, he's the son of the Ruling Steward and de facto king of Gondor. He becomes a real Prince after the war when King Elessar offers him Ithilien as a principality.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Even to ensnare an orc. He does use half-truths and omissions however (against both Frodo and his father).
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Subverted in that, while Denethor makes it clear he is a disappointment to him, Faramir doesn't compromise himself in trying to get his father's approval. Which actually is one of Denethor's major complaints about him.
    "Your bearing is lowly in my presence, yet it is long now since you turned from your own way at my counsel."
  • The Wise Prince: Practically his defining trait, and why he is able to resist the Ring. Unlike Boromir, he fights merely to defend, not also for power and glory. He also does not wish for a Gondor that dominates other lands and realms, but rather a Gondor that treats them with honor and equal dignity. Coupled with his greater knowledge of lore, aided by Gandalf's tutelage, this means he recognizes the danger the Ring poses, the futility of using it, and the prudence to stay the heck away from such danger. (Indeed, he never actually gets to see the Ring.)


Denethor is the Steward of Gondor, ruling the nation from Minas Tirith in the absence of the King. He is used to being in charge and does not like the idea of having to give up power to the (possibly) rightful claimant to the throne. Denethor denies Aragorn's kingship on the basis that he is not Anárion's heir, whom the council of Gondorian nobles has always held the be only proper holder of the title 'King of Gondor.' Aragorn does descend from Anárion through Fíriel, daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor, but he is not a direct male-line descendant.

  • Always Second Best: Despite being very competent himself, in his youth Denethor was always placed second to captain Thorongil not only in the hearts of men but also in his father's love and esteem. He grew really bitter about this and rather insecure. By the time of the War of the Ring, he couldn't bear the thought of being second best to Gandalf in his son's heart and respect (whether this was true or not), nor second to Aragorn in honor and glory, which ended rather tragically for him.
  • Armchair Military: He is the supreme commander of Gondor's troops but never steps on the battlefield himself.
    Denethor laughed bitterly. ‘Nay, not yet, Master Peregrin! [Sauron] will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending even my sons? For I can still wield a brand.’
  • Blue Blood: The Stewards have always been very powerful Blue Bloods in Gondor (which is why they managed to keep the title in the family at all until it eventually became hereditary), without ever being "royalty".
  • Break the Haughty: He loses his wife, both his sons, his city, and his people, and he ends up lighting his own pyre in madness and despair.
  • Burn Baby Burn: How he meets his end.
  • The Caligula: Gradually devolves into this. Although he starts out as tough but reasonable — lighting the beacons, sharing in the rationing — his slide into despair erodes his sanity, and he starts becoming more paranoid and unreasonable.
  • The Chessmaster: He thinks of the war as a duel between him, Gandalf and Sauron, and the participants as his pawns or theirs. He has been setting up his pieces into place for years, waiting for Sauron to finally strike. According to Unfinished Tales, he did a rather good job.
    Thus Sauron tested the strength and preparedness of Denethor, and found them more than he had hoped.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Faramir's apparent death and an extremely large invasion force at his doorstep, along with visions in the palantír which caused him to believe that Sauron had captured Frodo and thus obtained the ring:
    "[Gandalf's] hope has failed. The Enemy has found it [the Ring], and now his power waxes; he sees our very thoughts, and all we do is ruinous."
  • Determinator: It's often overlooked, but he used the Palantír for years to contest his will against Sauron's, but was not overpowered the way Saruman was (despite Saruman being a Maia, a being on the same order as Sauron). The reason Sauron shifted from attempting to dominate Denethor directly to pushing him over the Despair Event Horizon was because Denethor's will was too strong. It is also stated that Denethor was protected from corruption by the fact that he, as Steward ruling in the king's stead, possessed the legitimacy to use the Palantír, something that Saruman lacked.
  • Driven to Suicide: And he very nearly takes Faramir with him.
  • The Eeyore: The man lives on Sauron's doorstep... and his main information source is being manipulated by Sauron. Is it any wonder he's a pessimist?
  • Fallen Hero: The tragedy of his fall lies in how great he could have been, had he been a little less proud and a little less desperate.
  • Family Theme Naming: Most of the names in the family tree of the Stewards of Gondor belonged to First Age heroes (Húrin, Túrin, Echtelion...). Denethor was named after the leader of the Laiquendi (the Green-elves) in Ossiriand during the Years of the Trees, and he married Finduilas of Dol Amroth, who was named after the daughter of King Orodreth of Nargothrond (another first-age elf).
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride and Despair. Despite being competent, he was Always Second Best to captain Thorongil/Aragorn in his youth in the hearts of men and also Denethor's own father and grew to become bitter and insecure, refusing to acknowledge Aragorn as the rightful king. By the time of the War of the Ring, he couldn't bear the thought (whether it was true or not) that he was second to Gandalf in his own son's heart rather than to him. He would eventually lose himself to madness and grief after seemingly losing both his sons and Gondor and would rather burn himself and his still alive son to death.
  • Foil:
    • To Théoden. While Théoden managed to pull himself out of his despair and find the courage to save the day, Denethor went mad from grief after having seemingly lost both his sons and Gondor. He's also a whole lot more haughty and unforgiving (and from a much greater lineage) than the noble but kindly Théoden.
    • To Gandalf. They represent two different ideologies and two different images of "stewardship". In particular, Denethor is The Chessmaster moving his pawns and watching over the board from his tower, while Gandalf is The Strategist fighting on the field and personally overseeing the realization of his plans. Both are terrible and powerful old men with a short temper (Pippin even thinks Denethor looks more like a wizard than Gandalf).
    • To Faramir. Both are nearly pure-blooded Númenóreans, windows on ancient Númenor, but Denethor represents its fallen glory, the pride and envy that led to its downfall, whereas Faramir stands for its greatness and wisdom. While Denethor ends his life in fire and despair, Faramir embraces hope, love, and life, and dies at the advanced age of 120 years old.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He is willing to sacrifice anything for Gondor, although this depends on how "good" you consider him to be.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: vs. Sauron, via the palantír. Sauron looked back.
  • Insufferable Genius: He is after all a great lore-master and a competent ruler, though not a very charming or nice one.
  • Jerkass: To a degree, but he's given enough positive traits to balance him out to Good Is Not Nice, such as knighting Pippin and being overall a strong-willed and forceful leader.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Averted. Denethor's reason for refusing to acknowledge Aragorn as King was not only Pride, but also was that Aragorn was not a descendant of Anarion. In the days of old, Arnor was ruled by the heirs of Isildur while Gondor was ruled by those of his brother, Anarion. However, since Isildur and Anarion were brothers and Isildur was once High King of both Númenórean kingdoms, Aragorn does have a claim to the Gondorian throne.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Very deep down, but he does love both his sons.
  • Just the First Citizen: Although he has nearly as much authority as a king, and he begrudges the little authority he doesn't have...
  • Kick the Dog: He outright tells Faramir that he wished he died instead of Boromir.
  • Living Lie Detector: Gandalf mentions it is difficult to deceive him, as he can perceive much of what is in the mind of men, and dangerous to try. His son Faramir seems to have inherited this ability, as he is able to immediately detect when Gollum lies to him. Even Sauron chooses to deceive him by Manipulative Editing rather than outright falsehoods, as when he shows Denethor a vision of ships with black sails coming up the river through the palantír to make him believe the forces of Mordor were about to recieve yet more fresh reinforcements from the corsairs rather than his own forces' relief from Aragorn.
  • Murder-Suicide: Burns himself alive and very nearly takes a comatose Faramir with him.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: In one of his letters J. R. R. Tolkien points out that Denethor thought of Sauron primarily as a threat to Gondor rather than as an evil power, and if he had won by force of arms he would have tried to become an imperialistic conqueror over Sauron's former empire. And in Unfinished Tales it is said that Denethor loved Gondor too much to be pushed into treachery in the manner of Saruman; he could only be pushed over the Despair Event Horizon by becoming convinced that Gondor was doomed. This is precisely what Sauron does.
  • Pet the Dog: Knighting Pippin, considering there are plenty of people who likely wouldn't have taken the Hobbit seriously. He's actually pretty gracious about it, at least before he really starts to lose it.
  • Prophecy Twist: The Ships of Umbar. The palantír didn't tell him that Aragorn had captured the ships, driven off the Corsairs, and loaded them with thousands of soldiers from coastal Gondor.
  • The Proud Elite: A man of high lineage and status, tall, intelligent, and competent. He also comes off as arrogant, cold, and disdainful.
  • Psychic Powers: He is repeatedly said to be able to read the minds of men to some extent, and indeed he does seem to understand much more in conversation than what other characters willingly reveal.
  • Regent for Life: He knows Aragorn is coming to reclaim the throne but refuses to cede authority as long as he lives. Which isn't long.
  • Releasing from the Promise: He does this to Pippin just before his sanity goes. Pippin refuses to accept it.
  • The Resenter: He's been resenting Aragorn ever since they were rivals in his father's court and Ecthelion openly favored the stranger over his own son.
  • Sanity Slippage: It's been happening gradually for a while as he enters the story, but he only breaks after the seemingly fatal wound of his second son.
  • Self-Immolation: He lights his own funeral pyre.
  • Sour Supporter: He agrees with Gandalf that they need to cooperate, but still makes it clear he isn't happy at all with his plan and thinks it's doomed to fail.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Denethor's Númenórian lineage make him be quite a tall, foreboding figure. He's also very acid with his words.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: The Lord in the Denethor-Boromir-Faramir trio. He struggles to maintain his position when it is threatened (by Sauron or by Aragorn), to find a balance between risking too much and not enough.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Seen as a symbol of his stubbornness and pride, but also redeeming values thereof.
    [Denethor] stood up and cast open his long black cloak, and behold! he was clad in mail beneath, and girt with a long sword, great-hilted in a sheath of black and silver. ‘Thus have I walked, and thus now for many years have I slept,’ he said, ‘lest with age the body should grow soft and timid.’


Denethor's brother-in-law and the Prince of Dol Amroth, a fiefdom of Gondor. Imrahil is a noble man with a bit of elven blood who leads the knights of his city to the defense of Minas Tirith. He becomes the acting ruler of Gondor after Denethor's suicide but promptly recognizes Aragorn to be his king. After the War of the Ring, Éomer marries his daughter Lothíriel.

  • Animal Motifs: The swan. The symbol of the fiefdom of Dol Amroth is the Silver Swan. It's also heavily reinforced by the name given to Dol Amroth Knights: The Knights of the Silver Swan.
  • Blue Blood: The Princes of Dol Amroth are a very important family in Gondor, and the rulers of their own fiefdom in Belfalas.
  • Combat Medic: While nowhere near as good a healer as Aragorn, Imrahil was the one who removed the arrow that felled Faramir. (He also cleaned the wound.) Notably, he was also the one who discovered that Éowyn was Not Quite Dead.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Many generations removed. One of his distant ancestors married Mithrellas, an elf-woman. Legolas bows to him on sight.
  • Humble Hero: Unlike Denethor, he immediately recognizes Aragorn as the Heir of Isildur and the legitimate ruler of Gondor.
  • The Juggernaut: Along with Aragorn and Éomer, he emerges from the Battle of the Pelennor Fields without a scratch despite being in the thick of the fighting. Later, when the army of the West is surrounded at the Black Gate, Imrahil and his men are stationed facing Mordor and the heaviest part of the assault.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Played straight.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: During the Last Debate with Gandalf and company, he raises some very important questions regarding the defense of Minas Tirith.
  • Reluctant Ruler: While not strictly reluctant to rule, he’s quick to recognize Aragorn as his king and shows no hesitation about returning the Stewardship of Gondor to Faramir.
  • The Remnant: Imrahil and his people are actually a unique case among the fiefdoms that make up Gondor. Dol Amroth was one of only two kingdoms of Dúnedain origin in mainland Middle-Earth to survive the Fall of Númenor (the other kingdom was Umbar, which soon fell under Haradrim influence and became a mortal enemy of Gondor). When Gondor was established, Dol Amroth willingly forsook its independence and swore allegiance to the larger kingdom. As such, the Princes of Dol Amroth are afforded a special degree of respect among Gondorian nobililty.
  • Supporting Leader: To Aragorn, although Imrahil appears relatively little: even while officially remaining interim Steward of Gondor, he insists that Aragorn’s his king (despite the latter’s deliberate refusal to claim the title until after Sauron’s defeat) and takes his suggestion of marching on Mordor as a direct order.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Despite supporting Gandalf’s Batman Gambit, Imrahil questions whether Sauron will really fall for it.
  • The Wise Prince: Plays this trope completely straight. He even offers to personally escort Legolas and Gimli to the Houses of Healing to visit Merry, although Legolas politely declines and sends him to participate in the Last Debate instead.
  • You Are in Command Now: Gandalf places him in command “in the Lord’s [Denethor’s] absence,” and once he learns that said absence is in fact suicide due to Sanity Slippage (and that Faramir is also in no shape to rule), he assumes the role of interim Steward of Gondor.

A common man of Gondor who serves as a soldier in Minas Tirith. Beregond is appointed Pippin's guide to the city and quickly becomes close friends with the hobbit, as does his son Bergil.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: During the siege of Minas Tirith, he deserted his post and killed the porter with the keys to the Silent Street, as well as two members of the Guard. However, he only did this to protect Faramir from a premature funeral pyre, and only slew the others because they would not listen to him and attempted to kill him first. After the crowning of King Elessar, Beregond is brought before the new King. King Elessar spares him from execution because of the circumstances but discharges Beregond from the Guard and orders him out of Minas Tirith... so that he may be reassigned to Faramir's newly formed personal Guard in Ithilien as its captain.
  • The Everyman: Beregond represents the average citizen of Gondor.
  • Odd Friendship: Strikes one up with Pippin.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: As a result of the "Lifesaving" above.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Stay at his post knowing what's going on, or ditch it (and risk the death penalty) to go save Faramir from a premature cremation? Not that it's much of a question in the moment, it just comes back later.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Faramir. Even though Beregond isn't under his actual command, he still admires him greatly and considers him to be the best Minas Tirith has to offer.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: He leaves his post in order to pull one of these to stop Denethor from succeeding in lighting Faramir's pyre.

Other Men


Leader of the Woses (or Drúedain), a primitive tribal population of indigenous people that lived around the lands of Rohan and had a deep contact with the forests and wielders of a very powerful and intrinsic magic. They are very mysterious and elusive, but ultimately good people who refuse to side with Sauron and prove to be invaluable allies.

  • Badass Native: The Woses may not like fighting but Ghân (and his people likewise) is a fierce man whose deep power over nature is not to be trifled with.
  • Cryptic Background Reference / Mysterious Past: We know next to nothing about the Woses in Lord of the Rings aside of a scant few throaway references. In Unfinished Tales, we get a few glimpses of their cultures from the perspective of Elves and men of Rohan, but it's still very distant.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: They look very fearsome and not at all aesthetically pleasing, with their odd proportions, but they're unambiguously heroic.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Despite the fractured speech, Ghân is very wise and perceptive, and even has a few poetic turns of phrase that are only brought down by his You No Take Candle speech.
  • Enemy Mine: Ghân doesn't seem too fond of the Rohirrim given the long history of racial tension between them and his people, but he immediately hurls that aside because he loathes Orcs, same as the Rohirrim.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Ghân and the Woses seem patterned around various Indigenous people across history.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Woses aren't elves (far from it), but they likewise live in a secluded area in Rohan.
  • Jungle Drums: The Woses are initially unseen but their foreboding drums can be heard, which scares the Rohirrim. Despite this, it's clarified their drumming is their way of warning that the Orcs are getting dangerously near and greeting the Rohirrim. The prose mentions that after the War of the Ring, the Rohirrim would never again fear the drums of the Woses, and rather rejoice when they hear them.
  • Magical Native American: The fantasy equivalent of it. Ghân and his people are a very tribalistic and technologically primitive people who nonetheless know more about nature and magic than all of Rohan and Gondor combined.
  • Martial Pacifist: Ghân states the Woses don't fight, though they do hunt and have the weapons to defend themselves if need be.
  • Noble Savage: Ghân is a wise and noble leader, as is his people. They are all unaffected entirely by Sauron's dark influence.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The Woses poison their arrows, which makes them quite foreboding according to the Rohirrim.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Ghân has keen knowledge of events unfolding very far away because the Woses are just that good at reading tracks.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Ghân shows up for one chapter, but it's entirely his doing that the Rohirrim arrive on Gondor on time. Without him, the Rohirrim would have been late and Gondor would probably have fallen by the time they arrived.
  • Staff of Authority: Ghân goes around with a wooden staff that seems to indicate his rank among the Woses.
  • Stealth Expert: The Woses can blend (and find pathways) in the forest like nobody's business. They manage to sneak the entirety of the Rohirrim past Sauron's eyes, and Ghân himself pretty much vanishes on the spot after talking with Theodén.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The literal second Ghân finishes doing his job and talking with Theodén, he vanishes in the forest and out of sight without anyone noticing.
  • You No Take Candle: Ghân speaks in a fractured, odd manner of speech, evidently because Westron isn't his mother tongue and he's not used to conversing with outsiders. Despite this, he's rather perceptive.

A Ranger of the North and kinsman of Aragorn. At the urging of Elrond, Halbarad leads the Grey Company, a squad of thirty Rangers (plus Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir) to bring Aragorn the standard Arwen made for him and urges him to enter the Paths of the Dead. Halbarad becomes Aragorn's standard-bearer and follows Aragorn until the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where he dies, never to see Eriador again.
  • Prophecy Twist: Upon arriving at the door to the Paths of the Dead, Halbarad declares that “[his] death lies beyond it.” While technically true (he does indeed die some time after entering the Paths), he survives the Paths of the Dead and seems to be doing perfectly fine until the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He shows up for the first time shortly before the Paths of the Dead and dies on the Pelennor Fields just a few chapters later.

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