More details have emerged regarding The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim animated film from Warner Bros. Animation and director Kenji Kamiyama.
Warner Bros. Animation recently showcased the film during a presentation at the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and according to an initial report from Slashfilm it appeared the film would be injecting a heavy dose of feminism into Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
Slashfilm’s initial report revealed the film would not have Helm Hammerhand as the main protagonist as one would expect if they were adapting the brief short story found in Appendix A about Helm Hammerhand. Instead, the film is focusing on the unnamed daughter of Helm Hammerhand that the movie has named Hèra.
The film’s producer Philippa Boyens defended the decision to have the film feature Hèra as the main protagonist saying, “Everyone else dies! And before you start complaining, this is already in the text, and also the story takes place centuries before the movies.”
Not only would it feature Hèra as the main protagonist, but according to Slashfilm there is a scene that “shows the politics at play in Edoras, with a lord of Rohan wanting to erase the history of a group of female warriors and banner women to the king, a prelude of things to come.”
Now, a second report coming out of the presentation at Annecy International Animation Film Festival reveals that the city of Edoras will be destroyed in the film.
This report comes from TheOneRing.net who details, “Edoras is destroyed at the end of act 1 — we saw some beautiful art of a burned Meduseld — and the rest of the movie as about ‘the wreckage of war’.”
The destruction of Edoras is contrary to Tolkien’s short story. Rohan loses to the forces of the Dunlendings and their allies led by Wulf in a battle at the Crossings of Isen. He would lead his people to the safety of the Hornburg where they were besieged.
However, Wulf would also take a portion of his army to Edoras and take the city. Tolkien wrote, “Wulf took Edoras and sat in Meduseld and called himself king. There Haleth Helm’s son fell, last of all, defending the doors.”
The city would eventually be recaptured by Helm’s nephew, Fréaláf. Tolkien detailed, “Then Fréaláf, son of Hild, Helm’s sister came down out of Dunharrow, to which many had fled; and with a small company of desperate men he surprised Wulf in Meduseld and slew him, and regained Edoras.”
While there was clearly fighting in the city, the city was not destroyed. First, Wulf took it as his own seat of power and declared himself king. It was then retaken by Fréaláf.
Not only does the report from TheOneRing.net claim that Edoras is destroyed contrary to Tolkien’s writing, but the site also provided further information about Hèra claiming Warner Bros. wanted to have her as a protagonist because they “wanted to explore a female POV in Middle-earth.”
The outlet went on to note that “she’s not a warrior princess per-set — she doesn’t become king.” They also provided a physical description of her, “She has red hair in a messy braid, leather armor, and a sword. We also see designs of her in formal dress.”
TheOneRing.net also affirmed that Hèra is based on the historical figure Æthelflæd, the daughter of Alfred the Great who go on to become Lady of the Mercians and defended her people from the invading Viking raiders.
In fact, the outlet claims that the entire societal structure of Rohan is based on the Mercians and described them as a “warrior culture with a code. Family-based power structures and struggles, with honor and loyalty being more important than wealth and riches.”
A positive sign is that the outlet noted Fréaláf does indeed become king as Tolkien wrote in his short story.
What do you make of these new details about the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: War of Rohirrim film?