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Pronunciation
e'lfhild
Meaning
Literally 'Elf battle'1

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  • Updated 19 September 2018
  • This entry is complete

Elfhild

Théoden’s queen

Elfhild was the short-lived queen to King Théoden of Rohan. Very little is known of her origins or her early life, though there is some reason to think that she came originally from the Eastfold of the land.2 All we know for sure is Elfhild became Théoden's queen and bore him a son, Théodred, in the year III 2978. Elfhild died giving birth to her son, and Théoden never wed again, so by the time of the War of the Ring, Rohan had been without a queen for forty years. In that time, Elfhild's son Théodred grew to become Second Marshal, a strong and respected commander among the Rohirrim, but he was slain in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen during the War of the Ring.


Notes

1

Old English hild literally means 'battle', but the word was adapted over time to become a female forename. It's not completely clear how this evolution happened, though the connection was perhaps originally because the Old Norse form Hildr was used as the name of one of the Valkyries. The implication is that Tolkien used Elfhild to translate a name with similar mythological connections in the traditions of the Rohirrim.

2

Elfhild's connection to the Eastfold appears in early drafts of the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, but is absent from the published book. It is thus by no means canonical (and indeed its removal may even indicate that Tolkien rejected the idea). The form of Elfhild's name suggests a remote possibility that she might have come from the same family as Elfhelm, who was appointed as Marshal of the East-mark though, again, this potential connection is tenuous at best.

See also...

Théodred

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About this entry:

  • Updated 19 September 2018
  • This entry is complete

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