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Completed in III 2569; survived into the Fourth Age
Edoras, the seat of the Kings of Rohan
Built by Brego, the second King of Rohan
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 November 2019
  • This entry is complete


The Golden Hall of the King of Rohan

Map of Meduseld
Map of Meduseld within Edoras (partially conjectural)1
Map of Meduseld within Edoras (partially conjectural)1

The great hall of the Kings of Rohan that overlooked the capital of the Rohirrim at Edoras. When Eorl became the first King of Rohan, he settled at Aldburg, but his son Brego2 removed the King's seat to a hill at the mouth of Harrowdale. Meduseld, the Golden Hall he built on its summit, was held by his successors to the time of the War of the Ring and beyond.

The Golden Hall

Meduseld was one of the most significant architectural achievements of the Rohirrim. It was built on a hill at the mouth of the Snowbourn valley, whose top had been fashioned into a terrace, and was reached by a steep road that ran up the hill to its doors. Outside those doors stood a pair of gilded pillars, and the doors themselves were richly carved with creatures that bore jewels for eyes.3 From the golden pillars, and especially from the golden thatch with which the hall was roofed, Meduseld became known as the Golden Hall.

Within, the hall was lit by a glowing hearth, and its golden roof was held in place by rows of richly carved pillars. On the walls hung tapestries of the histories and legends of the Rohirrim, including a depiction of Eorl, the founder of Rohan, at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. The floor was as rich as the rest of the hall, carved and inlaid with coloured stones. At one end of the hall stood a dais on which was the gilded throne of the King of the Mark.


When Eorl the Young settled in the new land of Rohan, he held his court in a place named Aldburg in the Folde. His son and successor Brego determined to move the capital of the Rohirrim, choosing a hill that lay near the mouth of the valley of Harrowdale, where the river Snowbourn ran out of the White Mountains onto the plain. Brego had been King for twenty-four years when his new Golden Hall was completed in III 2569, standing on the top of the hill overlooking the township of Edoras.

The beginnings of Brego's new hall of Meduseld were not auspicious. The King held a feast to mark the completion of the hall, and talk at the feast turned to the mysterious Paths of the Dead, whose Door lay in the mountains to the south of Edoras. Brego's eldest son Baldor boastfully declared that he would pass through the Paths of the Dead, and he later attempted to hold to this oath. He entered through the Dark Door beneath the Dwimorberg, but he never returned from the darkness under the Haunted Mountain. King Brego was distraught at the loss of his son, and died of grief the following year.

After Brego's death, his second son Aldor became King of Rohan and ruled from Meduseld for no less than seventy-five years. Six further Kings ruled from Meduseld after Aldor until the time of Helm Hammerhand. During Helm's reign, in the year III 2758, the rebel Wulf drove the true King out of Edoras and sat within Meduseld, the only time the Golden Hall fell to an enemy. This was the year of the Long Winter, and King Helm died in the frozen land, but in the following spring his nephew Fréaláf slew Wulf within the Golden Hall, and re-established the true line of Kings within Meduseld.

The War of the Ring

After Fréaláf's time, seven more Kings held court in Meduseld before the War of the Ring. The King at the time of that War was Théoden son of Thengel, who had inherited the throne of Rohan in the year III 2980. He fell under the malign influence of the Wizard Saruman, who gradually sapped the will of the King and so weakened the power of Rohan.

On 20 September III 3018, another Wizard, Gandalf, appeared in Edoras and came before the King. He had escaped from imprisonment on the Pinnacle of Orthanc, and tried to warn Théoden of the danger to his kingdom posed by Saruman in Isengard. Already strongly under Saruman's influence, Théoden dismissed Gandalf from his hall, telling him to take any horse and go from Meduseld. Gandalf chose the great horse Shadowfax and rode away.

Five months later, Gandalf returned with three companions: Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. The three were permitted to enter Meduseld by its Doorward Háma, and once within Gandalf was able to heal Théoden. The Wizard overcame Saruman's baleful influence, and drove his spy Gríma Wormtongue from the Golden Hall.

The reawakened Théoden allied himself with Gandalf and his companions, and rode away from Meduseld to war. He won a victory at Helm's Deep, but fell on the Pelennor Fields before Minas Tirith, and so never returned to Meduseld. Théoden's successor was his nephew Éomer, who returned to the Golden Hall after the War of the Ring and founded a line of Kings of his own. Meduseld had lain in darkness during the time of Saruman's influence, but the new King Éomer opened the hall and filled it with light.



No detailed map of Edoras exists, so the layout of the map shown above is based on its description given in The Lord of the Rings. Given its position on the Great West Road, it seems reasonable to guess that there would have been a northeastern entrance as well as a western one, but no such second opening in its defensive wall is directly mentioned.


The identity of Meduseld's builder underwent several changes as Tolkien developed The Lord of the Rings, though there can be no doubt that his final intention was for Eorl's son Brego to be its founder. The first comment on this question is quoted in volume VII of The History of Middle-earth, where the Hall's builder was said to be 'Brego son of Brytta'. It's clear that at this point the descent of the Kings was yet to be worked out in detail, because in the final genealogy of the Kings of Rohan, Brytta was Brego's distant descendant, not his father. From the context, it may be that Tolkien considered Brego to have been Rohan's first King at this early point.

This reference to Brego was changed to 'Eorl son of Eofor' (whereas later Eorl was Eofor's grandfather, not his son). It is perhaps this phase of the development that Tolkien had in mind when he said (in Appendix A II to The Lord of the Rings) that Eorl 'chose for his dwelling a green hill before the feet of the White Mountains'. This seems to suggest that Eorl founded Edoras, a notion that does not fit with other accounts.

The final version reinstates Brego as the founder of Edoras and the builder of Meduseld, and that is clearly the form of the story that Tolkien intended to stand.


These details go beyond what appears in The Lord of the Rings, and in fact come from a draft passage that appears in volume VII of The History of Middle-earth. Christopher Tolkien has suggested that this extended description was perhaps intended for inclusion in the published book, and though that is uncertain, it does give us a vivid account of the design of the Golden Hall.


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 November 2019
  • This entry is complete

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