The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Spoken from the Tower of Orthanc within Isengard
A reference to Théoden's station as King of Rohan
Other names
Effectively equivalent to King of Rohan2
Title of


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 May 2022
  • This entry is complete


A title given to Théoden

"For I need you not, nor your little band of gallopers, as swift to fly as to advance, Théoden Horsemaster."
Words of Saruman
from The Two Towers III 10
The Voice of Saruman

A title given by Saruman to Théoden, after the Wizard's defeat and confinement to his tower of Orthanc. In itself, it could be taken as respectful, and might conceivably be seen as a style of royal address. In context, however, it appeared as part of a mocking tirade against the King, and was certainly not meant in any kind of respectful tone. Given that the title is never seen elsewhere,3 it seems that it was invented by Saruman in the moment, rather than being a general form of address for the Lord of the Mark.



This was the date on which Saruman was specifically recorded as using the title for Théoden. It does not seem likely that it would have been otherwise used, but it might in theory have been applied to any of the Kings of Rohan going back to its founding in III 2510. Indeed, in principle the preceding Lords of the Éothéod might also have reasonably been called 'Horsemasters'.


'Horsemaster' seems to be an informal title used on only a single occasion, so while it alludes to Théoden's position as the leader of the Riders of Rohan, it would probably not have been directly equivalent to 'King of Rohan' (and its many synonyms) as a formal style of address.


That is, 'Horsemaster' is not used elsewhere is any kind of title, but on one occasion Théoden's nephew Éomer is described by Gimli as a 'horse-master'. In Éomer's case, the term is used as a simple description of a commander in charge of many horsemen. The same fundamental idea seems to lie behind Saruman's use of the term for Théoden himself.


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 May 2022
  • This entry is complete

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2016, 2022. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Discus from Axiom Software Ltd.
Identify prime candidates for jobs, boost retention and performance with Discus DISC profiles.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry