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Buried with Théoden on 10 August III 3019
'fierce' or 'savage'


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 June 2009
  • This entry is complete


The sword of Théoden

The sword of Théoden, said to be ancient at the time of the War of the Ring, though its origins are unknown. The sword itself was long, and its scabbard was decorated with gold and with green gems. Its name comes from Old English heorugrim 'fierce' or 'savage', though it is perhaps influenced by the word heoru, meaning simply 'sword'.

When Gríma gained influence over the Théoden, he took away the sword (or persuaded the King to give it up) and it remained hidden for many years. After being cured by Gandalf, Théoden recovered the sword, and rode with it to battle at the Hornburg and the Pelennor Fields, where he used it to slay a standard bearer of the Haradrim.

After Théoden's death in that battle, Herugrim was laid on his breast, and when he was buried in the Barrowfield before Edoras, the sword, along with his other arms, was also laid in his mound.



The only clue we have to Herugrim's age or origins is in Háma's words after the sword was recovered from Gríma Wormtongue. Presenting it to Théoden, Háma called it 'your ancient blade' (The Two Towers III 6, The King of the Golden Hall). This seems to imply that the blade is very old indeed, and may even have predated the arrival of the ancestors of the Rohirrim in Rohan itself. In support of this view, we do know that the Riders possessed certain treasures from their distant history in the north (as for example the Horn of the Mark presented to Merry Brandybuck).

If the sword were really that ancient, we would expect it to have become an heirloom of the House of Eorl, passed down from King to King over Rohan's history. If that's the case, it seems strange that Herugrim would have been buried with Théoden, rather than being preserved and passed on to his successor Éomer. This might show the special honour in which Théoden was held by his people, or it might suggest that Herugrim was not so ancient and irreplaceable as a true heirloom of the House of Kings.


About this entry:

  • Updated 10 June 2009
  • This entry is complete

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