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Known to be extant 3 March III 3019
Not explained, but presumably a reference to Firefoot's speed
Other names
Equivalent to Elvish Narothal1


About this entry:

  • Updated 13 August 2023
  • This entry is complete


The steed of Éomer

The horse ridden by Éomer of the Rohirrim, at least on the journey from Edoras to Helm's Deep (during which Gimli was also a passenger on Firefoot's back). Firefoot is never specifically described, but we can probably gain an impression of the animal's appearance from the other horses of Éomer's éored: large and grey-coated with a braided mane and a long tail.

Firefoot is named as Éomer's steed when the newly-healed Théoden and his companions set out from Edoras. This is our only direct reference but, assuming Éomer rode the same horse throughout the events of the War of the Ring, we can piece together Firefoot's history during this period. Firefoot was evidently Éomer's personal steed, so this assumption does not seem unreasonable.

Firefoot seems to have been stabled at Aldburg as part of Éomer's household, and it was from there that Éomer apparently2 led a pursuit of Orcs that were raiding across northern Rohan. With an éored of his own household Riders, he set out to follow their trail as far as Fangorn Forest, where the Rohirrim caught and slew the Orcs. It was after this that he met the Three Hunters - Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli - and lent them two of Firefoot's companion horses before turning southward toward Edoras.

Reaching Edoras, Éomer was briefly imprisoned (he had disobeyed orders in pursuing the Orcs) but was soon released after Gandalf freed Théoden from Gríma's influence. Éomer then rode Firefoot from Edoras in the train of the King (and it is at this point that Éomer's horse is directly named). Initially setting out for the Fords of Isen, when they learned that Fords were lost, they turned instead for Helm's Deep, where the Battle of the Hornburg was fought soon afterward.

Victorious in that battle, Éomer followed Théoden again, riding with him to Isengard where the King and Gandalf parleyed with the defeated Saruman. In preparation for the battles to come, Firefoot then carried Éomer far and wide across Rohan: to Dunharrow above Harrowdale, and then back to Edoras where the Full Muster of the Rohirrim was called. From there, Éomer and Firefoot rode on with the full force of the Riders of Rohan to join the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

The fate of Firefoot in that battle is obscure. After the fall of Théoden, Éomer led his Riders in a charge against the Haradrim, explicity on horseback. This charge at first drove deeply into the enemy's ranks, but Éomer found his forces hugely outnumbered, and likely to be overwhelmed. After this, the account of the battle briefly leaves the Rohirrim, and when it returns to then, Éomer is fighting on foot. Whether this meant that Firefoot had fallen in battle, or that Éomer had simply chosen to dismount, is not explained. At the end of the battle, Éomer is described as riding a horse again as he sets out for Minas Tirith. We might take this to mean that he had simply remounted Firefoot, or that Firefoot had been lost and he had found some other horse to ride.

If Firefoot did indeed survive the fighting, then Éomer would have gone on to ride the horse to the Gates of Mordor, where he saw further battle. Éomer's horse is never identified in these engagements, and so it cannot be known whether Firefoot survived the battles at the end of the Third Age. Certainly there is no definitive account of Éomer losing his mount, and so it is entirely possible that Firefoot lived through the War of the Ring.



In the earliest drafts of The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf rides a horse with the Elvish name Narothal, which translates as 'Firefoot'. Tolkien abandoned this name in favour of 'Shadowfax', but his marginal notes suggest that he briefly considered making Firefoot the horse of Aragorn. Ultimately Firefoot was reduced to a single mention as Éomer's steed in The Two Towers.


It is not said specifically that Éomer rode from Aldburg to pursue the Orcs. The question is not addressed at all in The Lord of the Rings, but in Unfinished Tales it is said that he set out with his own éored of Riders (there said specifically to have been quartered at his own residence). This points to Aldburg as the place from which Éomer rode out on Firefoot, but an argument might be made that in fact he was at Edoras, and set out from there rather than Aldburg.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 13 August 2023
  • This entry is complete

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