What do we know about Rohan and the Rohirrim? The next Lord of the Rings movie is on its way, and it’s going to give audiences a more in–depth look at Middle-earth’s kingdom of Rohan than ever before.
This new Lord of the Rings movie, named War of the Rohirrim, will tell the story of the legendary king of Rohan Helm Hammerhand and his battles against the nearby forces of Dunland. It is set hundreds of years before the destruction of the One Ring, and will feature new Lord of the Rings characters all in the familiar setting of Middle-earth.
The anime movie will be set across the lands of Rohan, from the kingdom’s capital Edoras, to the mountainside fortress of Helm’s Deep. So, with its upcoming importance in mind let’s take a look at Rohan’s history, its kings, and its battles with this guide to Rohan explained.
Rohan and Rohirrim explained
Rohan is a kingdom of Middle-earth, situated in the rugged but lush plains between Isengard and Gondor. With its capital city of Edoras, the kingdom of Rohan is home to the valiant Rohirrim: a race of Men who are mostly herders and farmers, renowned for their relationships with their majestic horses.
The kingdom of Rohan is the single biggest ally to Gondor, and the two share close links through history and marriages. In the War of the Ring, led by king Theoden, Rohan came to the aid of Gondor during the battle of Pelennor fields playing a decisive role in the defeat of Sauron’s forces.
The kingdom of Rohan was founded by Eorl the Young. Eorl the Young was the leader of a wandering tribe of Northmen called the Éothéod. The Éothéod unexpectedly came to the aid of Gondor in the battle of the Field of Celebrant, playing a decisive role in the defeat of the attacking Orcs.
In response, and in thanks for their aid, the steward of Gondor at the time gave the Éothéod the rights to live in the deserted area called Calenardhon and the two formalised an alliance. The Éothéod moved into this new land, gradually expanding it and its borders which would then become known as the kingdom of Rohan.
Rohan, and its kings, would battle with the neighbouring Dunlendings for centuries. This came to a climax in the most significant war with Dunland, during the reign of Helm Hammerhand.
Rohan’s war with Dunland
Throughout its long history, Rohan has had many battles against the people of Dunland, the Dunlendings. Most often these conflicts took place as border skirmishes, when the Dunlendings would attack some Rohan settlement near to the border. However the most significant battle between the two forces was much more important.
In the year 2754 of the Third Age, Freca travelled to Edoras to propose that his son, Wulf, married Helm Hammerhand’s daughter Hera. Because of Freca and Wulf’s Dunlending blood, Helm was insulted by the suggestion and killed Freca with a single blow.
This ignited the biggest conflict between Rohan and Dunland, when Wulf rallied the Dunlending forces (as well as the Easterlings and Corsairs of Umbar) to attack the lands of Rohan. Their attack successfully took the capital Edoras, while Helm Hammerhand was forced to retreat to Helm’s Deep with his people and withstand a siege.
While Helm Hammerhand was eventually killed, his nephew Frealaf Hildeson launched a counter-attack and took back Edoras, killing Wulf in the process. Since then, tensions between Rohan and Dunland have been high, and the Dunlendings fought alongside Saruman to attack Rohan again during the War of the Ring.
The many kings of Rohan included some of the most impressive, notable leaders in the history of Middle-earth. The five most important to the history of the kingdom, and most well-known, are Eorl the Young, Helm Hammerhand, Frealaf Hildeson, Theoden, and Eomer.
Eorl the Young was the first king of Rohan, and helped to establish the kingdom. He established the first line of kings, and was a direct ancestor of Helm Hammerhand.
Helm Hammerhand was the king of Rohan several hundred years before the War of the Ring. He is best known for leading the defence of his people at Helm’s Deep. He was succeeded by his nephew Frealaf Hildeson, who reclaimed Rohan’s capital city Edoras and who brought in a new line of kings, including Theoden.
Theoden led the forces of Rohan into battle during the War of the Ring. At first under the influence of Saruman, Gandalf helped him to reclaim his own mind and the king recognised the threat posed by Saruman and Isengard, withdrawing his people to Helm’s Deep. He later played a pivotal role in coming to the assistance of Gondor at the battle of Pelennor fields, where he was killed by the Witch-King of Angmar.
After the destruction of the One Ring, Theoden’s nephew Eomer became the next king of Rohan because Theoden had no heir after his son Theodred had been killed by Saruman’s Uruks at the river Isen. Eomer’s leadership of Rohan was the start of the third line of kings.
And, that’s everything you need to know about Rohan before the War of the Rohirrim release date in 2024. For more on the land of Middle-earth, check out our guide to the Rings of Power season 2 release date. Or, delve deep into the lore with our explainers on characters including Eowyn, Elrond, Galadriel, Durin, Celebrimbor, and Gil-Galad.