#Words Are Poison {Gríma Wormtongue}
morwensteelsheen · 11 months ago
so @tinacharles and I have sort of been having this conversation about the varying levels of culpability of all the men in Éowyn’s life re: her abject fucking misery, which got me to thinking about how that discussion would play out in-universe.
I know it’s pretty popular (and not incorrectly so, imo!) to have Éomer being fairly distrustful of Faramir, but I think it's underplayed just how much ammunition Faramir has to be out-and-out fucked off with Éomer on Éowyn's behalf.
Part of that understatement is a desire, I reckon, to see all the named Rohirrim as basically innocents, manipulated beyond aid by Wormtongue, and functionally helpless until Gandalf and the Three Hunters show up, but that's a take that is, imo, too reliant upon what we get in the movie canon and not reliant enough on what's actually written in the text! The point of Théoden's downfall is that it is his pride and his hubris (and not any magic!) that is his undoing, and it is Gandalf's reminders that his responsibilities are greater than the weight of the injuries to his pride that "brings him back" so to speak. The ability to stop fucking around exists at all moments within Théoden, there is no magic, no great battles, not valiant rescues involved, it's just about him putting his big girl panties on and dealing with his own life. But because there's a tendency to see too much of the movie canon in these characters, their relative culpability in Éowyn's immiseration is largely erased, which is incredibly unfair both in terms of treating these characters with the nuance they deserve, but also in terms of treating Éowyn's misery with the seriousness it deserves!
And a key element of this is Éomer's complacency/culpability in all of this. I often quote the conversation between Gandalf, Aragorn, and Éomer after the Pelennor about Éowyn's ~fundamental unknowability~, but I think it is, uhhh, pretty fucked up that Aragorn, Faramir, and Gandalf are all able to spot out Éowyn's deeply destroyed mental health within minutes of coming into contact with her (and yes, it is true enough that they're all powered-up slightly by magic-ish things) while Éomer, who has spent literally his entire life around her, doesn't really have an inkling of what's actually going on in her interior life. That's really upsetting to me, and is no doubt deeply upsetting and isolating for Éowyn, who has basically no other people in her life until Faramir shows up (you know, after she literally tries to kill herself!).
More than that, when Gandalf and the Three Hunters show up and immediately break Théoden free of his pity party, we don't get a sense that undermining Wormtongue has any actual political repercussions—Hama (👑) immediately names Éowyn as the favoured heir to the throne, which says that she's got a substantial amount of organic support where and when it matters. Yes, it's true they immediately have to go fight Saruman's forces in Helm's Deep, but Helm's Deep is a pretty unique battle in the books for how "small" it is in terms of coalitions: the Rohirrim fight that sucker almost entirely unaided! So if a consequence of unseating Wormtongue had been facing down Saruman's lot on the battlefield (assuming that he would have been prepared to do so at any point before the canonical Battle of the Hornburg), we know that the Rohirrim could have handled it, and what's more, they might have been in an even better position to have handled it, because Théodred would have likely still been alive, alongside however many men they lost at the Battle of the Fords of Isen. A lot of words to say: there's really no indication that there was a danger, per se, to beating Wormtongue's ass down; but we do know that there was some obstacle. Tolkien goes pretty far out of his way to hint that it's a lack of will that's doing most of the work there. As readers, I think we're all mostly content to ignore this element of Éomer's complacency because we do largely see Éomer at his best and most noble, but I think we do a real disservice to both his and Éowyn's characters for not dealing with that more intimately.
Anyways, my original point is that I think Faramir has really good reason to be quite grumpy with Éomer and I think he'd actually probably be supported in that frustration by Éowyn, who would almost certainly be pretty chuffed to finally have someone fighting her corner after so many years. I don't know exactly how Faramir's frustration would manifest—almost certainly not with the level of vitriol and overtness that his frustration with his father manifested itself, but I do think he would be very good at making sure that Éomer is keenly aware that Faramir is Unhappy about his actions/lack thereof. That, I think, adds a really interesting dynamic not just to Éowyn and Faramir's personal life, particularly as they're off starting their lives together, but also their political life, given that Éomer is the new King of the Riddermark, shown to be exceptionally close with both Aragorn and Imrahil, and, of course, is later married to Faramir's cousin—some of Faramir's last living family.
Edit: just picked up the books to double check some stuff so adding cites beneath the cut
On Théoden's 'malady':
"the influence over him that Gríma gained when the King's health began to fail. This occurred early in the year 3014, when Théoden was sixty-six; his malady may thus have been due to natural causes, though the Rohirrim commonly lived till near or beyond their eightieth year. But it may well have been induced or increased by subtle poisons, administered by Gríma. In any case Théoden's sense of weakness and dependence on Gríma was largely due to the cunning and skills of this evil counsellor's suggestions."
From Unfinished Tales, V. The Battles of the Fords of Isen.
On Éomer Missing The Fucking Point:
"But Aragorn came to Éowyn, and he said: ‘Here there is a grievous hurt and a heavy blow. The arm that was broken has been tended with due skill, and it will mend in time, if she has the strength to live: It is the shield-arm that is maimed; but the chief evil comes through the sword-arm. In that there now seems no life, although it is unbroken.
‘Alas! For she was pitted against a foe beyond the strength of her mind or body. And those who will take a weapon to such an enemy must be sterner than steel, if the very shock shall not destroy them. It was an evil doom that set her in his path. For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily, and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. Or was it, maybe, a frost that had turned its sap to ice, and so it stood, bitter-sweet, still fair to see, but stricken, soon to fall and die? Her malady begins far back before this day, does it not, Éomer?’
‘I marvel that you should ask me, lord,’ he answered. ‘For I hold you blameless in this matter, as in all else; yet I knew not that Éowyn, my sister, was touched by any frost, until she first looked on you. Care and dread she had, and shared with me, in the days of Wormtongue and the king’s bewitchment; and she tended the king in growing fear. But that did not bring her to this pass!’
‘My friend,’ said Gandalf, ‘you had horses, and deeds of arms, and the free fields; but she, born in the body of a maid, had a spirit and courage at least the match of yours. Yet she was doomed to wait upon an old man, whom she loved as a father, and watch him falling into a mean dishonoured dotage; and her part seemed to her more ignoble than that of the staff he leaned on.
‘Think you that Wormtongue had poison only for Théoden’s ears? Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among their dogs? Have you not heard those words before? Saruman spoke them, the teacher of Wormtongue. Though I do not doubt that Wormtongue at home wrapped their meaning in terms more cunning. My lord, if your sister’s love for you, and her will still bent to her duty, had not restrained her lips; you might have heard even such things as these escape them. But who knows what she spoke to the darkness, alone, in the bitter watches of the night, when all her life seemed shrinking, and the walls of her bower closing in about her, a hutch to trammel some wild thing in?’
Then Éomer was silent, and looked on his sister, as if pondering anew all the days of their past life together."
From Return of the King, VIII The House of Healing
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fandomficsnstuff · a year ago
In Just A Second - 5
Legolas x Witch!Reader
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(Warnings: Battle and gore, and character death(not the reader), also Gandalf finding Éomer was something I had to make up, hope I did it justice!)
“Díhen- nin, an ú- being hi, an ú- suilad cin, an ú- being bui cín haer er vedui anand. Post hi, Haldir, post in sídh, a er aur mín will govannon- ad-” - Forgive me, for not being here, for not greeting you, for not being by your side one last time. Rest now, Haldir, rest in peace, and one day we will meet again.
(Sorry, thought I’d leave this Elvish in, same reason as before, hope it’s not a problem)
You slowed your horse as you spotted a camp in the distance, your gaze turning to Gandalf who smiled a tiny bit at the sight, looking to you before riding off towards it, you following closely. The two of you had been riding for a day and a half, no rest or food, and it’d take at least three days to reach Helm’s Deep from here, both you and Gandalf knew that’s where Saruman was going to strike, you only hoped it wasn’t too late. As you approached you saw the stranger from before get up, on guard, with his sword out, that is, until he saw you, his eyes wide and you just knew he was thinking that this was Saruman and that you were on his side, but you just smiled at him as Gandalf approached, you stayed on your horse, Gandalf had his kind smile on “Riders of Rohirrim, Théoden, your king, is in grave danger. I-”
“He’s Saruman” you heard a soldier yell angrily, and you instantly jumped off of your horse, approaching “no! No, he is not” you said loudly, approaching the stranger you had met days prior, giving him a small smile “you never gave me your name” you said in a calm tone, the stranger looking you up and down suspiciously before looking back to Gandalf, but his eyes moved back to you soon after “Éomer” he said in a quiet tone, and you smiled a tad bit brighter “Éomer, Aragorn mentioned my mentor, Gandalf the Grey. May I introduce you to Gandalf the White” you gestured to Gandalf who watched carefully, Éomer glancing at Gandalf before back to you, “the White Wizard…” he mumbled, still trying to figure everything out, and you simply nodded “yes, but not Saruman, Saruman has turned and is in liege with dark, evil forces, Gandalf the Grey gave his life to slay evil, and Gandalf the White has come to help us do the same. Éomer, I met your sister Èowyn, though she and I didn’t talk, sadly, but I saw the fire that burned in her. You mentioned that you and your men are loyal to Rohan, and now Rohan calls for aid, Gríma Wormtongue is gone, he can no longer poison the mind of Théoden king, no longer kill his loyalty to this land. Rohan needs you, and so does your king, he thinks you will never return, he’s had to bury his son, do not let him bury you in mind a well” you pleaded, brows furrowed as you watched Éomer consider your words, before finally looking at Gandalf and then back to you, a more calm expression on his face instead of the stern, battle ready one “come, you must be tired, eat, rest, we will ride where you tell us to in the morning” he stated, gesturing to the fire they had and you glanced at Gandalf, who gave a subtle nod, before letting you walk towards the fire, him joining your step as you walked with Éomer.
Late into the night you laughed as you talked with Éomer and the few of his soldiers that were still awake, occasionally drinking some wine and eating some off the food that was shared with you, it was only when the stars were showing and the moon high that you decided to go to bed, laying down with your head on the saddle, the soft grass your bed as your eyes scanned the stars above you, admiring them. You felt Éomer lay down beside you, a hand under his head “so, where do we ride to tomorrow?” Éomer asked in a quiet voice, most others had gone to bed already “Helm’s Deep, Saruman will attack there, in how great a number, I know not, but Théoden has decided to move his people there” you stated in a low voice, knowing Gandalf was sleeping, although he did not look like it. Éomer cast a glance over at the sleeping Gandalf, wincing as his eyes were still open, before turning back to you “you don’t sleep like that, do you?” he asked the question in a joking tone as he laid back down, his question making you chuckle “no, no don’t worry, my eyes are closed, at least one of them” you joked with the last part, turning your head to see a slightly horrified Éomer looking at you, making you full on laugh, your hand covering your mouth to muffle it, hearing Éomer chuckle as well, the corners of your eyes crinkling as your laugh died down to a chuckle, your chuckle turned to a giggle, and your giggle died down to a grin as you continued to watch the sky.
At some point in the night, the stars above you moved for you and you saw the blue eyes and blonde hair of an Elf, the realization that you had left him behind first now setting in. You knew Legolas could handle himself, but that knowledge had no power over the sinking feeling in your gut, your teeth catching your bottom lip as the peaceful expression on your face vanished, replaced by one of worry and furrowed brows. You wondered if he missed you, right now, in this moment, looking up at the stars and seeing your face as you saw his, maybe he saw another’s face, you knew he said he didn’t love Tauriel, but what if he did? He said he believed he loved her, but wasn’t that the same as actually loving someone? Maybe it was because you had never loved someone before, maybe it was because the thought of him holding another woman, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit or Human, the thought brought a sick feeling to you all the same, you released your lip from your teeth, staring into his eyes which you knew weren’t there. Some part of you wanted to be with him in this moment, see his real eyes, not just how you imagined it, but you didn’t know why. Why would you think like this? Why would the thought of him with someone else, no matter how happy he would be, bring this cold feeling to your body? You felt sick at the thought of him loving someone else, kissing someone else, caring for someone else like a lover and not a friend, it made you so sick that you felt your head pounding, begging your thoughts to stop, but they didn’t, they went further and further and further, never ending with all the reasons for why you shouldn’t think this why, all the possibilities of why you did, all the thoughts of him, the small moments you had together where he was there for you, where it felt like more.
Eventually you fell asleep, facing the stars with the soft grass beneath you, his face burned into your memory, a sort of string, a string you held onto with a hope that maybe, just maybe, he was thinking of you too, falling asleep to the memory of your voice and image of your smile, like you were with him.
The next morning you were being woken up by a hand gently shaking your shoulder, your eyes opening as you sat up, dagger in hand to see a shocked Éomer with his hands up, armor on and ready to leave, realization kicking in and you quickly put it away “sorry, I’m so sorry” you mumbled as you got up and packed what little you had, picking your saddle up and walking over to your horse, Éomer following “it’s okay. What were you thinking about last night? You seemed worried after we stopped talking...” Éomer asked as he helped you put the saddle and gear on your horse, you frowned and blinked a few times, trying to blink away the remains of sleep “I uh, nothing I just thought of a friend, the Elf, Legolas” you mumbled as you made sure everything was in place, not seeing the way Éomer took a shy step back “oh, forgive me I didn’t know you and him were, uh… an item” he coughed, looking to the ground, a confused look on your face as you studied him, heat filling your cheeks “we’re not, I mean, he’s not-... I mean we’re not an uh… item” you mumbled, your cheeks kept getting warmer and warmer, as well as the tips of your ears, and you were unaware of the way Éomer suddenly lit up again “oh, sorry I thought-... nevermind, we should be going, Helm’s Deep was it?” you nodded and gave a small ‘mhm’ in confirmation, saddling up and moving your horse besides Gandalf as everyone else got ready and saddled up, a sly smirk on his lips, which you noticed “what?” you asked confused, Gandalf doing his usual ‘I’m an old man so I’m not sure but I have a hunch’ look before looking to you “oh nothing, just noticed that Éomer seems quite taken with you” he said as if it was the most casual thing, your face practically burning as you stared at him in shock, but he just gave you a smirk as the Rohirrim began to move, you of course following as you all picked up the pace, heading for Helm’s Deep.
You rode with the light of dawn at you side, arriving with Gandalf at the top of a hill, the view below horrified you, you had never seen an army of orcs this size, Uruk-Hai or not, these orcs were bred for the purpose of war, but the tide was about to be tipped in your favour, a smirk on your lips as Éomer rode up besides you, his sword raised, calling for the rest of the Rohirrim, who appeared in a split second. You unsheathed your blades, one in each hand as you charged towards the orc army that faced you now, Gandalf lifting his staff and letting a blinding light shine, blinding the orcs, the same light shining from your eyes as horses clashes against spears and orc armor, you leaned down and sliced at an orc’s throat, cutting it open and watching it fall, fighting alongside the Rohirrim, your eyes bright as you slayed orc after orc, trampling the ones in the way of your horse, and without even knowing it, the horse you rode on, it’s eyes shined like yours, bright white, like captured stars, and a spear that would have pierced it, didn’t, instead the spear snapped in half, the splinters hitting the orc wielding the spear, blinging it and stunning it as you moved your sword towards it’s neck, removing it’s head from it’s shoulders, the body spasming even after both the head and body hit the ground with a deep thud.
You cut off the head of one orc, leaning to the other side of your saddle and piercing the armor of another orc, hitting it’s heart. Your blades were stained with dark blood, black in colour, dripping from the tips of your weapons, you heard the groaning and gowling of one orc, seeing it on the ground, pitifully crawling towards you with a dagger in it’s hand, one leg gone and another crippled from having a horse run over it, you heard it curse at you in Black Speech, making you scoff as you swung your blade, cutting it’s face in half, watching it drop pitifully to the floor, a sneer on your face at the grim sight, though it didn’t bother you, you had slain many orcs in your lifetime, and this would not be the last. You watched the rest of the Uruk-Hei and other orcs run into a line of trees, “stay out of the forest! Keep away from the trees!” you heard Éomer warn, all of you watching as groaning and swaying was heard coming from the forest, the orcs screaming in pain and fear before being met with silence.
It was only when there were no orc left standing that you calmed down, the horse’s eyes returning to normal as you tried to regain a normal breathing pattern, adrenaline pumping through your veins, making your heart beat twice as fast. You turned your head hearing your name, turning and seeing a blonde Elf running to you, your eyes returning to normal as you slid off of you horse, threw your weapons and ran to Legolas, arms locking around each other in a tight embrace as you let out a heavy breath “oh thank the Valar… you’re alright” you whispered into his neck, hearing him chuckle, feeling his chest rumble at the sound “so are you, but I never lost hope” he whispered back, and for some reason it made heat flood to your cheeks, again, and you parted, a smile on each others’ lips, you were, however, broken out of the trance by a gruff voice laughing, turning to see Gimli “yer’re back lassie! And how many orcs did you slay, hm?” Gimli joked and laughed, you returned his laughter and shrugged “I think I reached fifty” you said in a light tone, seeing the Dwarf stop walking towards you, his eyes wide and mouth open under his beard, shock evident on his face, though most of it was buried in either his beard or under his helmet and armor. You laughed at his expression, turning to see Legolas already looking at you, a small smile on his lips as he continued to gaze at you, as if he was unaware of the fact that he was staring at you lovingly. You cleared your throat and looked around, spotting Aragorn who walked over to you “Aragorn!” you shouted, running to him and hugging him, which he happily returned, though it wasn’t as tight, or lasted as long as the hug with Legolas had. Aragorn patted your shoulder as you parted, smiling at you “you have never looked better” you joked, hearing him chuckle before shrugging at his appearance, a smile still on his face, until it fades, and your own smile fades as well, looking to him confused “(Y/N)... the Elves came to our aid...Haldir-” Aragorn could barely finish telling you the news when you pushed past him, running to the fortress of Helm’s Deep, searching among the many, many dead bodies until you found him.
Your eyes widened at the sight before you, Haldir laid dead, eyes wide open, blood coating his blonde hair, soaking the stone under him, the same stone your knees hit as you kneeled by his side, unaware of the few that had followed you as you had run off. You gently leaned closer, tears clouding your vision, you had known Haldir for over a thousand years, whenever you’d visit Lothlórien you’d visit him, talk with him, you enjoyed his calm demeanor and stories of what he had done since your last visit, which was every few hundred years. You tried to contain your tears but they kept spilling from your eyes, landing on his lifeless body, like the rain that had been pouring through the night until an hour or so before you had arrived with Gandalf and the rest of the Rohirrim. You felt a hand on your shoulder and looked up, being met with the kind eyes of Gandalf, his hand soothingly rubbing your shoulder, and you brought your eye back to Haldir “Díhen- nin, an ú- being hi, an ú- suilad cin, an ú- being bui cín haer er vedui anand. Post hi, Haldir, post in sídh, a er aur mín will govannon- ad-” you whispered, leaning closer and gently kissing his forehead, your fingers slowly closing his eyes, making him look asleep, if only he wasn't coated in sweat and blood, a mix of his own, orc blood and the blood of his fellow Elves, something that greatly saddened you.
You were riding on your horse through the Fangorn Forest, riding next to Legolas as your eyes moved around, following the small group of riders around you, the group consisting of Éomer, Théoden, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and yourself. You were moving towards Isengard to finish it, but your attention was brought from the scenery to the laughter of two voices you knew, and in this moment, would kill if they were simply sitting somewhere, eating and drinking, while you had been worried sick. You watched Merry stand up, proudly spreading out his arms “welcome, My Lords, and Lady... to Isengard!” he proudly proclaimed, your eyes wide as you were about ready to jump off your horse and beat them silly with how much you had worried about them and their well being, and here they were, smoking and drinking and feasting, just as you had predicted, but of course you were relieved that they were unharmed, but you’d let them know that after you had scolded whatever small demons that had possessed those two Hobbits. “You two young rascals! A merry chase you’ve let us on, and now we find you feasting and… and smoking!” Gimli exclaimed, sounding furious but he were in truth just as relieved as you all were, Pippin leaned forward at Gimli’s words, it was clear what he was smoking wasn’t normal tobacco “we are sitting on the field of victory, enjoying a few well-earned comforts the salted pork is particularly good” Pippin kept smirking, but you weren't surprised to hear Gimli’s restraint breaking at that “salted pork?” he mumbled, then a small smile crept it’s way onto his lips under the beard, though Gandalf was not so easily swayed, letting out an impatient ‘Hobbits!’, watching Merry as he spoke up again, clearly not smoking tobacco either “we’re under orders of Treebeard, who’s taken over management of Isengard.”
As you approached Orthanc, the tower of Isengard, you were met with an Ent you had never met before, though not that you had met any Ents actually “young Master Gandalf, and I’m presuming that you are Young Lady (Y/N), I’m glad you’ve come” he greeted and you smiled at him “why you’re very kind, sir” you spoke up, seeing the bark move in a smile before he continued “wood and water, stock and stone I can master, but there’s a wizard to manage here, locked in his tower” Treebeard said in his usual slowly demeanor, hinting at the tower and you scoffed at the idea of Saruman the White, Saruman the Great, hiding in his tower like a cornered mouse.
After everything was said and done, Saruman was dead, so was Gríma, and one of the Palantír orbs was now with Gandalf, secured in his cape after Pippin picked it up, and you were heading back to Edoras, unaware of two sets of eyes on you, one belonged to the blue eyes of the blonde Elf prince from the Woodland Realm, the other set belonged to a Rohirrim soldier, nephew to Théoden king, though both belonged to different people, their eyes held the same wish, the same hope, that you’d turn your head and meet their gaze.
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Chapters: 24/24 Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types Rating: Mature Relationships: Aragorn | Estel/Boromir (Son of Denethor II), Gimli (Son of Glóin)/Legolas Greenleaf, others will be added as needed Additional Tags: Canon Typical Violence, Everyone Has Issues, Boromir pOV, Grima POV, it flips between them, some violence to animals - off screen, some psychological abuse (saruman being saruman)  Series: Part 2 of swimming through fire Summary:
Boromir has survived Amon Hen, to everyone's great joy. So the Four Hunters (self named) now must journey into Rohan to attempt to rescue their friends. Everything goes a bit pear-shaped from there on in.
Obligatory excerpt: 
‘If we are speaking of poisoned words, what shall we say of yours, young serpent?’ snaps Saruman. ‘You had best keep your forked tongue behind your teeth.’ Abruptly he stops, smiles, and returns his voice to the rich cambric of seduction. ‘But come, now, Éomer son of Eomund. You are the son of kings. Are we to speak to one another as if we are little better than drunkards in a tavern? You are honourable and brave. But your valour is in your arms and the wise speak only of what they know. Therefore, slay whom your lord names as enemies and be content. Meddle not in policies you do not understand.’
A delicate pause.
‘But maybe, if you become king,’ Saruman gives Gríma a lingering look, ‘you will find that you must choose your friends with care. You have won a battle, but not a war - and the battle itself was won only with unreliable help. The Shadow of the Wood is wayward and senseless. You may find it at your door next. And this time, not offering aid.’
This is the last chapter. We are officially done with The Two Towers. 
Give me a bit to re-coup and you know, starting writing again, but we will move on into ROTK. Probably in the new year. 
Thank you all for coming along on this ride. Thank you to those who were Here For It. And thank you for my followers who were like “....i followed this person for napoleon content why are they going on and on about grima wormtongue??” 
I would absolutely not made it as far as I have without you and your encouragement. It means a lot. 
Happy yule-tide and may 2021 be bright. 
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moretreasurewithin · 2 years ago
Gosh, I need Éowyn and Faramir talking about people who’ve hurt them and wronged them, and being ready to kick ass on the other’s behalf. Like can you imagine her telling him how Gríma was obssessed with her, and that she was gonna be his prize if Saurman succeeded???
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moretreasurewithin · 2 years ago
Tag Drop; Éowyn of Rohan
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