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Caleniel41
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Post Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 09, 2008 12:29
I am in the midst of my sixth reading of LOTR and have been giving a bit of thought to this passage from ROTK:

There seemed to be some understanding between Dernhelm and Elfhelm, the Marshall who commanded the eored in which they were riding. He and all his men ignored Merry and pretended not to hear if he spoke.


Apparently Elfhelm knew Eowyn and Merry were riding to war, but why would he have allowed it? Eowyn had been charged with the protection of Edoras, right? It seems strange to me that he would let her ride to war anyway...
Maedhros
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 09, 2008 02:12
Would you want to get on the bad side of a member of the royal family? Elfhelm probably didn't like it one bit, but wasn't about to say "No" to the King's daughter unless Theoden himself came to me and said "You make sure she stays here" ala Monty Python style.
LadyBeruthiel
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 09, 2008 04:27
It is also possible that Elfhelm didn't recognize Dernhelm, and the agreement simply concerned allowing Merry to ride with them. It doesn't say the men ignored Dernhelm, after all.
Aegor
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 10, 2008 08:29
Yeah I always assumed that Eowyn made such a brilliant disguise that nobody really recognized her. Not sure how she pulled it off but there were a lot of bearded women in the movies acting as Rohan cavalry I suppose that's the way she went

Elfhelm as a soldier probably understood why Merry wanted to go to war (brothers in arms and all that) so he let him ride along.
LadyBeruthiel
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 11, 2008 03:32
Well, Merry didn't recognize Dernhelm as Eowyn, and he had been close to her for a while--probably closer than Elfhelm. I imagine no one expected to see a woman in armor, so no one saw her, even when she was right in front of them. People's expectations often color what they see.

I think you're right about the brothers-in-arms thing; in fact, that's probably the argument Dernhelm used with Elfhelm to get him to let Merry stay.
Maedhros
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 11, 2008 05:26
I'm not convinced that Elfhelm didn't know the true identity of 'Dernhelm'. The quote from Ride of the Rohhirrim says that there seemed to be an understanding between Elfhelm and Dernhelm. Period. And also that Elfhelm and his men ignored Merry. It does not say that Merry sensed this understanding because the men ignored him.

I read this as saying that there was a prior understanding between Elfhelm and Dernhelm, and that Merry came to be included in this.
EowynHopeful
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 12, 2008 10:55
Maedhros, I agree. I always got the impression that Elfhelm knew exactly who "Dernhelm" really was, and that she had pulled rank on him to ensure his silence and cooperation. Elfhelm was the leader of the eored she inserted herself into, and thus directly resonsible for the conduct and well being of the men under him. If I recall correctly, an eored is 120 riders... probably too many to get to know them all over the course of a week, but few enough that I think he'd have noticed there was something a little odd about Dernhelm if he didn't already know. Here's this guy who nobody seems to recognize, who never speaks to anyone, who probably never shows his unhelmed face (I don't see how Eowyn could have gotten away with that like she did in the extended edition of RotK)... and, well, not to be too crude, but this was a weeklong ride and they surely had to take bathroom breaks, and surely somebody would have been suspicious of this stranger who never just went against a convenient tree like the rest of them. Unless if they'd already been ordered to look the other way, of course. The rest of the men might have taken their cue on that from Elfhelm, but who would Elfhelm take orders from but a superior officer or a member of the royal house?
Celebrian
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: December 07, 2008 07:02
I also had the feeling that Elfhelm knew. A lot had been going on in Rohan for a long time. The King had been "ill" for some time and I'm pretty sure Eowyn had already won not only the love of the Riders but also their respect. They knew the situation they were going into and if she was loyal enough and brave enough to be so determined to ride with her Uncle-King, he could reasonably be expected to help her. He evidently knew she was competent or he would probably not have gone along with it. Allowing her to saddle herself with Merry probably took a little more convincing since carrying a passenger when riding into battle could be awkward to say the least. But there is where the "brothers-in-arms" bit could be used to win him over.
Beriandanwen
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: December 12, 2008 01:27
I believe there is another possibility. The entire army believed they were going to their deaths; they knew that if they all fell, it was only a matter of time before their people were slaughtered. Also, all that were left of able-bodied males were going to war. That would leave only the most vulnerable behind. If they lost the war, no defense could ensure the survival of their people, because they were woefully outnumbered to begin with. This said, Elfhelf could well have known Dernhelm's identity, and thought: "What difference does it make where and when she dies, as we're all doomed anyway?" After all, the tide was turned and the war won by unexpected circumstances.
Tcherepin
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: December 18, 2008 03:27
I believe there is another possibility. The entire army believed they were going to their deaths; they knew that if they all fell, it was only a matter of time before their people were slaughtered. Also, all that were left of able-bodied males were going to war. That would leave only the most vulnerable behind. If they lost the war, no defense could ensure the survival of their people, because they were woefully outnumbered to begin with. This said, Elfhelf could well have known Dernhelm's identity, and thought: "What difference does it make where and when she dies, as we're all doomed anyway?" After all, the tide was turned and the war won by unexpected circumstances.


In fact I always thought that this was closest to the explanation that made the most sense. Well said, Beriandanwen.
cirdaneth
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: January 08, 2011 03:39
*BUMP*
Celebrian
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: January 08, 2011 04:26
That makes sense. It also conforms to the fatalistic attitude the people of Rohan seemed prone to.
starofdunedain
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: January 08, 2011 04:59
I honestly never thought about that, I just assumed that Elfhelm was accepting of letting Merry ride with them. But what you said about letting her ride with them because they didn't think it would matter makes a lot of sense.

Still so many things to find in this book. lol
Arveleg
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Post RE: Eowyn and Elfhelm
on: August 14, 2018 04:01
Beriandanwen said:I believe there is another possibility. The entire army believed they were going to their deaths; they knew that if they all fell, it was only a matter of time before their people were slaughtered. Also, all that were left of able-bodied males were going to war. That would leave only the most vulnerable behind. If they lost the war, no defense could ensure the survival of their people, because they were woefully outnumbered to begin with. This said, Elfhelf could well have known Dernhelm's identity, and thought: "What difference does it make where and when she dies, as we're all doomed anyway?" After all, the tide was turned and the war won by unexpected circumstances.


Quite well said! As to how the 'understanding' came about between Elfhelm and Dernhelm, that is interesting to ponder. I suspect Elfhelm knew more of Eowyn and her thoughts on death and battle, and so therefore looked the other way when 'Dernhelm' joined. No canon to support my thoughts, just something I have considered as a possibility in the situation. How else would an 'understanding' be had?
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
Gandolorin
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on: August 15, 2018 02:29
In 3018 Éowyn was 23. People grew up more quickly in ancient time (and even not nearly so ancient ones). In one sense, for the time she was almost heading into old spinster territory in being unmarried at this age. I do not know from when Gríma Wormtongue managed to get a hold over Théoden, but I would guess not really before Théodred's death at the Battles of the Fords of Isen, also in 3018; the loss of an only heir would have been devastating. So Éowyn might have had (and with her described temperament it would not be unlikely) several years of weapons training - before she was pressed by circumstance into the role of "dry-nurse" for her suddenly devastated uncle. With Théoden having recovered, she would have been able to return to her well-trained role as shield-maiden - maybe Elfhelm was the one who trained her. Deep speculation territory again - where some of love to occasionally wander.
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PotbellyHairyfoot
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on: September 19, 2018 12:57
Elfhelm, I'm sure, should have known everyone under his command so he had to know something about Dernhelm.
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