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Old 10-14-2002, 02:50 PM   #1
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Shield Where's Erkenbrand?

Reading through UT the other day, I was trying to figure out some details of the battles of the Fords of Isen and Helm's Deep.

To summarise, Theodred and Grimbold fight at 1st Isen, Theodred gets killed, most of his cavalry is caught crossing the river and is routed, then Elfhelm turns up with cavalry from Edoras and saves the day. Erkenbrand is then appointed commander of Elfhelm and Grimbold. In the second battle, Elfhelm's cavalry are forced to retire East while Grimbold, with the infantry and a few cavalry, defends the ford, eventually being pushed back and surrounded, but in the end fighting his way out of encirclement.

At Helm's Deep Erkenbrand with 1000 infantry turns up with Gandalf to save the day. I'm unclear if these are survivors of the Battles of the Isen, or are new troops, and if Erkenbrand was actually at either of the Battles of the Isen. If Erkenbrand wasn't at the Isen battles, where was he?, Certainly not at Helm's Deep (which was held by Gamling).

Also did Elfhelm actually fight the army of orcs and Easterlings in Anorien? (Remember the bit at the final council where they send him to waylay the road). If so, was it before or after the fall of Sauron?

Having read most but not all HoME books, has anyone spotted any further details on battles of the late 3rd age in these?

Hope someone can dig up some obscure 'facts'

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Old 10-15-2002, 07:31 AM   #2
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In the first Battle, Erkenbrand was still manning the Hornburg: "Erkenbrand of Westfold assumed command of the West-mark when news of the fall of Théodred reached him in the Hornburg on the next day." (UT, 3, V)
In the second Battle, he was still occupied when Isengard attacked again: "Erkenbrand did not at once himself proceed to the battlefield. All was in confusion. He did not know what forces he could muster in haste; nor could he yet estimate the losses that Théodred's troops had actually suffered." (ibid.)

Of course, "What followed is less clear, since only Gandalf had full knowledge of it. [...] on his return south to find Erkenbrand, he must have met Grimbold and Elfhelm [...] Grimbold's men he sent southward to join Erkenbrand…" A footnote quotes Gandalf from The Two Towers, III 8: "Some men I sent with Grimbold of Westfold to join Erkenbrand. Some I set to make this burial. They have now followed your marshal, Elfhelm. I sent him with many Riders to Edoras."

So the picture is that at first Erkenbrand was at the Hornburg, and then, at the time of the second Battle, he was south of the Fords, gathering troops and preparing. He then got reinforcements of in form of Grimbold and survivors and headed to the by now besieged Hornburg.

I have not found anything that tells of Elfhelm's late mission in Anórien. All we know is that he survived; I assume this small battle was not important to recount in view of the much larger events.
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Old 10-15-2002, 08:30 AM   #3
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To answer you later question about Elfhelm an his dealings with the host in Anórien, the Apendix to the Battle of the Fords of Isen in UT offers this:

Grimbold fell in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and Elfhelm became the lieutenant of Éomer as King; he was left in command of all the Rohirrim in Gondor when Éomer went to the Black Gate, and he routed the hostile army that had invaded Anórien (The Return of the King V, end of chapter 9 and beginning of 10). He is named as one of the chief witnesses of Aragorn’s coronation (ibid. VI 5). It is recorded that after Théoden’s funeral, when Éomer reordered his realm, Erkenbrand was made Marshal of the West-mark, and Elfhelm Marshal of the East-mark, and these titles were maintained, instead of Second and Third Marshal, neither having precedence over the other.
Further information about orcs invading Rohans territory during The War of The Ring is given by t´Treebeard in LOTR:

‘Hoom, well, that is fair enough,’ said Treebeard; ‘for to be sure Ents have played their part. And not only in dealing with that, hoom, that accursed tree-slayer that dwelt here. For there was a great inrush of those, burárum, those evileyed - blackhanded - bowlegged - flinthearted - clawfingered - foulbellied - bloodthirsty, morimaite - sincahonda, hoom, well, since you are hasty folk and their full name is as long as years of torment, those vermin of orcs; and they came over the River and down from the North and all round the wood of Laurelindórenan, which they could not get into, thanks to the Great ones who are here.’ He bowed to the Lord and Lady of Lórien.
‘And these same foul creatures were more than surprised to meet us out on the Wold, for they had not heard of us before; though that might be said also of better folk. And not many will remember us, for not many escaped us alive, and the River had most of those. But it was well for you, for if they had not met us, then the king of the grassland would not have ridden far, and if he had there would have been no home to return to.’
Cheers T

[ October 15, 2002: Message edited by: Telchar ]
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Old 10-15-2002, 12:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info, Sharku and Telchar,

I tend to agree with you (after detailed re-reading) that Erkenbrand wasn't at either of the battles of the fords of the Isen. I guess he might either be on the march to the 2nd battle with his newly raised forces, or perhaps recruiting elsewhere, would Aldburg be a suitable place do you think?

The Westfold seems to have provided more infantry than cavalry in comparison to the rest of Rohan, 1000 at Helm's Deep, 1000 with Erkenbrand and another unknown number (I'd guess 500-1000) at the Fords of the Isen. Perhaps it was due the the surrounding mountainous terrain, or the Westfold could have been less prosperous than elsewhere and unable to afford to equip so many cavalry?

Thanks for the Elfhelm quote, I was searching through LoTR for ages to find that and all the time it was lurking at the end of the Fords of Isen ! Doh!

Has anyone found any additional 3rd age battle info in HoME ? (I guess in either no. 7 or 8?)

LoTR also gives a clue to another battle, the assualt of the orcs of the Misty Mountains on the Beornings, in Frodo's vision on Amon Hen.

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