When I was a child, the character I identified with the most out of the whole book was Pippin. Somehow, though, the passages I loved the most were those in Rohan. I loved the descriptions of the open plains where horses could run for miles at a stretch. This is probably strange because I did not grow up around open plains, spending most of my time in the hill region in America’s southern states. I also only rarely had encounters with horses. I still very much liked the idea of horses, the riding of them, not the care of them. (If I were to confess all, I would have to tell of a certain early birthday party where my present was a horse ride.)
Nevertheless, I feel that I was drawn to the passages in Rohan because of their otherness. While I identified with the hobbits and saw their journey as something relatable, the expansive medieval world of Rohan was something I had only ever experienced in books and in my imagination. I certainly had no clue that the Rohirrim were inspired by the Anglo-Saxons, but I could feel the ancientry and sense of history that pervades the pages.
To get to more specific responses, I am sure that no consistent reader will be surprised by the fact that I was untrusting of Éomer when he first interacts with the Three Hunters. Perhaps I had a bit more reason to be mistrustful here than previously, as his men actually drew weapons on the protagonists. After his decision to gift them horses, I knew I would like him for the rest of the story, and I was not let down.
I will go into Théoden’s character in much more detail in a later post, but here I wanted to mention that he seemed to me a kind of father figure. Once Gandalf releases him from Wormtongue’s influence, he becomes a kind, generous leader. I must admit that I developed quite a soft spot for him and was grieved by later events.
This will have to suffice for a general introduction to Rohan. Much more to come!
Where Do We Go From Here?
What Do You Think?
When did you discover the tie of the Rohirrim to Tolkien’s day job?
Have I missed anything? Let me know!