Appendix A (Part Two)
The rest of Appendix A discusses the history of the people of Rohan as well as the most recent history of the Dwarves. Having fully developed a backstory for the Numenoreans, Tolkien didn't want to short-change the Men of the Mark. For Tolkien, the population of Rohan was a thinly veiled representation of the Anglo-Saxons of his native England. That is to say they represented what the Anglo-Saxons could have been had they been introduced to horses. It always bothered Tolkien that the Normans had such a strategic advantage when they invaded Britain in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were a hearty bunch but, for want of a cavalry (among other things), the forces of William the Conqueror were nevertheless able to do what no other army has done since - invade and defeat the British Isles.
Tolkien decided first to establish a distant link to the Numenorean race by having the forefathers of Eorl the Young come from Rhovanion, which lay east of Mirkwood and was early on an extended part of the Kingdom of Arnor. Before they came to live in what was to become Rohan, the people of Eorl were known as the Eotheod and lived in the northern lands between the Misty Mountains and the Anduin, as far south as the Gladden Fields. They were great horse-masters even then and spent much of the middle of the Third Age fighting the forces of Angmar that existed east of the mountains.
Tolkien describes the situation that led to the first alliance between Gondor and the Eotheod which did battle against the Wainriders at the Field of Celebrant. As a reward for their assistance, Cirion - the Steward of Gondor at the time - gave to them the lands from the River Isen to the Anduin, north of Gondor. Eorl named this land, which was originally called Calenardhon, the Mark of the Riders and they called themselves Eorlingas (hence the "Forth, Eorlingas!" command by Theoden). The names Rohan and Rohirrim were actually what the people of Gondor called them.
There are several tales of the various Kings of Rohan but one of the most interesting is that of Helm (for whom Helm's Deep was named). He was named Helm Hammerhand because he killed a Dunlending named Freca with one blow of his fist. The circumstances of this confrontation are explained further by Tolkien which set off a war with the men of Dunland that ultimately claimed Helm's life. We can see now why the men who fought for Saruman so hated the Rohirrim. Upon the death of Helm Hammerhand, his nephew Frealaf became King (for he had no heir).
It was at this time that Saruman first came to the people of Rohan offering friendship. And by the leave of Beren, the Steward of Gondor, he began to live at Isengard acting as its custodian in the name of Gondor. It is no doubt that this move was motivated by Saruman's desire to find the Orthanc-stone and use it for his own designs. From that point on, the White Wizard began to plot his rise as a power in Middle-Earth. And by the year 2953 of the Third Age (the time of The Hobbit), he claimed Isengard as his own and gave up all pretense of allegiance to either the Men of Rohan or Gondor.
Tolkien traces the three lines of Rohan Kings: the first line from Eorl to Helm, the second line from Helm's nephew Frealaf to Theoden, and the third line that began with Eomer, Theoden's nephew. Tolkien writes:
"Eomer became a great king, and being young when he succeeded Theoden he reigned for sixty-five years, longer than all their kings before him save Aldor the Old. In the War of the Ring he made the friendship of King Elessar, and of Imrahil of Dol Amroth; and he rode often to Gondor. In the last year of the Third Age he wedded Lothiriel, daughter of Imrahil. Their son Elfwine the Fair ruled after him."And Aragorn reaffirmed the gift of Cirion and Rohan was the only land in that part of Middle-Earth that was not subject to his rule.
By this time, Tolkien probably hadn't developed the origin of the Dwarves because he makes almost no reference to their beginnings. He simply writes that "strange tales are told both by the Eldar and by the Dwarves themselves; but since these things lie far back beyond our days little is said of them here." Later, in The Silmarillion, Tolkien told the tale of the Dwarves' creation. It's a very interesting story involving the Valar Aule and it bears some similarity to the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament of The Bible. The most renowned of the original Dwarves was Durin, and his descendents are referred to as Durin's Folk. Five Dwarves that followed in his line were also named Durin.
Tolkien's account of this race begins, as with the Numenoreans, at the end of the First Age. The Dwarves moved around a lot. They started living in the Ered Luin (the Blue Mountains) which are on the west coast of Eriador. From there they settled in Moria and had a trading relationship with the Elves of Eregion. After Sauron's creation of the One Ring and the lesser Rings, they shut themselves away under the Misty Mountains and remained there until their activities disturbed and released the Balrog. This was the same Balrog that fought with Gandalf, beginning at the Bridge of Khazad-dum and finishing with the Battle of the Peak. But the leader of the Dwarves at the time, Durin VI, was killed by the Balrog and the creature was known afterwards as "Durin's Bane".
The Dwarves had to leave Moria and eventually established a settlement at Erebor with Durin VI's grandson, Thrain I, taking the title of King Under The Mountain. Tolkien then chronicles that attack of Erebor by Smaug the dragon who remained in possession of the Dwarves' horde of treasure until at last Thorin and Company, with their "burglar" Bilbo Baggins, came to take it back. Among the other events in Dwarf history recounted here is the great War of the Dwarves and Orcs, which was responsible for wiping out a large number of the Orcs population that lived in the Misty Mountains. It also established Dain II - Dain Ironfoot (pictured at right) - as the greatest warrior of all of Durin's Folk. Dain would later succeed Thorin as King Under The Mountain at Erebor when his cousin was killed in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Tolkien also traces the fate of the last of the Seven Dwarf Rings which had not yet been taken back by Sauron or consumed by dragons. These Rings never achieved their intended purpose, which was to enslave the Dwarves. The only affect they really had was to "inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless." It was this level of greed that drove Durin to delve too deeply for mithril in Moria and Thorin to go to war with the Men of Dale over the treasure of Erebor.
The last Ring was in the possession of Thorin 's father, Thrain II, when it was taken from him by Sauron who captured and imprisoned the Dwarf at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. Gandalf, while investigating the secret of the "Necromancer" (he did not yet know that this was Sauron), found Thrain at that fortress and the Dwarf gave to the Wizard the map and key to Erebor before he died. These items the Wizard presented to Thorin and thereby sent into motion the events that led to Bilbo's finding of the One Ring. In the text, Tolkien recounts Gandalf as saying that the domination of Middle-Earth by Sauron "has been averted - because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance meeting, as we say in Middle-Earth." There is a section of Unfinished Tales called "The Quest For Erebor" that serves as a supplement to this part of Appendix A, "Durin's Folk". It gives us the full story of Thrain's capture at Dol Guldur, Gandalf's discovery of the Dwarf, his "chance" meeting with Thorin and the hatching of the plan that would come to involve Bilbo. But reading it requires a familiarity of the material presented here in the Appendix.
Finally, Appendix A wraps up with an account of Gimli and we get to read about what happens to him after the events of The Lord of the Rings. He returns with his people to the Glittering Caves and helps Gondor rebuild the gates of the City that the Witch King broke during the siege of Gondor. In the end, it was said that he accompanied Legolas on a ship to the Undying Lands. Tolkien writes:
"If this is true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West should permit it. But it is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him. More cannot be said of this matter."This concludes Appendix A. We will continue on to Appendices B & C: The Tale of Years and Family Trees.