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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... Theoden's Enspelled Costume?

Arwen's daughter

Jun 6 2010, 4:01am

Post #1 of 17 (4196 views)
Did You Ever Notice... Theoden's Enspelled Costume? Can't Post

This is an outfit that has definitely seen better days! Rohan's decline is reflected not just in the sickly appearance of their King, but also in his wardrobe.

As usual, I'll start at the bottom and work my way up. There are three layers here. The lowest one is a simple linen (?) robe that's been dirtied up a bit and has some old embroidery on the collar and cuffs.

Then we get this brown robe with distressed embroidery. This looks like it might be a velvet or velour fabric.

And then we get this fur-edge coat. It's actually similarly shaped to Eowyn's blue coat when she's sleeping out by the fire in ROTK. The fur collar has lace and some fabric edging it.

And Theoden has fallen so low, not only has he lost his sword, but his boots have been removed too! His feet are wrapped in furs.

As always, more details over at AlleyCatScratch's amazing site.

Any thoughts?

Did You Ever Notice? is a running series taking a look at some of the detail in LOTR one costume at a time. It follows no particular order and appears on no particular day. Look for it when you see it! You can always find previous discussions at my Costume Discussion Archive.

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Jun 6 2010, 5:06am

Post #2 of 17 (2780 views)
Man, Theoden was a dribbly eater [In reply to] Can't Post

when he was enspelled, wasn't he? (Even the stains tell a story!)

To be honest I hadn't noticed that he wore a different costume before and after Saruman's spell was broken. But then, I didn't spot Arwen's different costumes when Frodo saw her in the shadow world and then in the 'real' world either, so I'm not the most observant person in the theatre, obviously.

That's a heck of a lot of beige Theoden's wearing - a colour I'd normally attribute to the Shire. Is the absence of rich colours a hint about Theoden losing his majesty?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Jun 6 2010, 5:12am

Post #3 of 17 (2968 views)
Cool stuff! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you! It's been said to death around here, but it's SO DANGED COOL that such fine detail went into even the innermost garments! Thank you, Arwen's Daughter for delighting in bringing them "to light".

"Be good, be careful, have fun, don't get arrested!"
---Marcia Michelle Alexander Hamilton, 7 Nov 1955 - 19 Nov 2009


Tol Eressea

Jun 6 2010, 11:28am

Post #4 of 17 (2780 views)
Thanks for this! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was always so focused on his face I never noticed what he was wearing past its being brown.


Jun 6 2010, 12:19pm

Post #5 of 17 (2898 views)
The Royal Pyjamas ... [In reply to] Can't Post

are looking a bit thin, dont you think? Wink

Ngila did a great job on designing this costume - they do like 'convalecent clothing', or a 'ward' outfit.
I never noticed that the coat was the same as Eowyn beautiful blue coat - this one looks simply disgusting now - moth eathen and ragged. How many things live in that coat besides Theoden.

It even looks as if it stinks Tongue Wink

Great thread as always AD - thankyou so much!

Elven x


Jun 6 2010, 5:29pm

Post #6 of 17 (2750 views)
Great post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I love all the costumes in these movies, Ngila certainly did a wonderful job!
For me I've always thought of this costume as like Theoden being in his pajamas.
He's wearing a few layers and they are worn and drabby, and he looks similar to the way I feel when I'm under the weather and stay in my pajamas all day. When he changes in the next scene he's doesn't seem to be wearing so much, not a big overcoat, he's not so worn and tired and sickly and his clothes are richer and not as thick.
From my observations anyway.
great post!


'Help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.'


"Yet in that hour was put to the proof that which Mithrandir had spoken, and help came from the hands of the weak when the Wise faltered."


Jun 6 2010, 5:30pm

Post #7 of 17 (2757 views)
wow I can't believe i missed that [In reply to] Can't Post

Arwen's clothes were different there! wow i can be insanely unobservant. Wink


'Help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.'


"Yet in that hour was put to the proof that which Mithrandir had spoken, and help came from the hands of the weak when the Wise faltered."


Jun 6 2010, 8:36pm

Post #8 of 17 (2789 views)
The robe.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand why it (and the rest of this outfit) had to look as if he hadn't been with it enough to take care of them for years. But it's really too bad, because I love this robe, particularly the embroidery that edges it.

Awesome work on the belt, too.

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Tol Eressea

Jun 6 2010, 10:15pm

Post #9 of 17 (2734 views)
I've never noticed the similarity either [In reply to] Can't Post

to Eowyn's that is

Eowyn's blue coat always looked to soft and comfortable. Theoden's just looks disgusting, it's so worn and ragged that you can hardly see the similarity

You can only come to the morning through the shadows

Tol Eressea

Jun 6 2010, 10:47pm

Post #10 of 17 (2772 views)
Seen better days but still... [In reply to] Can't Post

it's a quality get-up from the bottom layer out...'cept for the footwear! Reminds me a bit of descriptions one might read of a former "upper class" person who is down on his/her luck but can still be identified from the cut of the cloth (and such). As I recall, the fur-trimmed outer robe became a richer brown when Gandalf worked his magic here. I will have to rewatch the film to see if Theoden was wearing boots afterwards--probably would be noticeable in the scene he is outside the Hall dealing with Grima.

Kangi Ska

Jun 6 2010, 11:06pm

Post #11 of 17 (2771 views)
Every on of the LotR costumes amaze me and reinforce my desire for a place [In reply to] Can't Post

to publicly display all of the props created for the project. Perhaps after the Hobbit is done...Angelic

Kangi Ska

At night one cannot tell if crows are black or white.

Kang Ska

frederica bolger

Jun 6 2010, 11:20pm

Post #12 of 17 (2773 views)
he still wears the footwraps... [In reply to] Can't Post

you can see them when he stumbles down the stairs following Grima. 'Your leechcraft would have me crawling on all fours like a beast..." I remember from one of the extras that Ngila Dickson said that she thought of how people would get Theoden in and out of bed when he's totally disconnected with the world, and then came up with this idea. It does work for the 'lord in his pyjamas' look, and also making him look more 'captive' as he couldn't run away from Grima and co. if he wanted to!

Rain may fall and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie
And watch the clouds go sailing by.

Arwen's daughter

Jun 7 2010, 1:52am

Post #13 of 17 (2786 views)
I've never thought about the lack of color [In reply to] Can't Post

I like your thought that he's losing his majesty. Red is the color of kings in ME, according to Ngila, so it would make sense that the absence of it would be a good sign that Theoden's losing his throne.

It reminds me a bit of the wraith costumes in the ring world, now that you've got me thinking about it. All ragged and drained of color. Interesting.

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Jun 8 2010, 12:26am

Post #14 of 17 (2732 views)
he looks like the wraith world version of Denethor.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...to me, anyway...guess it's the heavy robe? Hadn't really thought about comparing the clothing of these two rulers, in symbolic terms, but it fits given that they emphasized how the different fathers/rulers dealt with the loss of of their sons and threats to their realms...

I always loved the Ngila description I read somewhere that she wanted Theoden to look like someone who hadn't gotten out of his bathrobe for years...she certainly nailed that look!

Such an impressive amount of detail for a costume seen so briefly -- wow!



Jun 10 2010, 1:01am

Post #15 of 17 (2731 views)
he looks like someone who has completely given up - [In reply to] Can't Post

the robe even hangs on him like a sack. It's amazing how much effort went into bringing the trilogy to life. I love this series!

You want me to make sense? I don't even have an ingredient list!


Jun 13 2010, 12:10am

Post #16 of 17 (2700 views)
His horrendous state [In reply to] Can't Post

always concerned me at how all of those people in his hall when the Hunters and Gandalf arrive could let him stay so filthy and neglected. Then I think that it reflects Wormtongue's power in the hall... that his poison spread through everyone (via Saruman). How did he have everyone believing their King was as he should be. I can imagine the smell.

These pictures are amazing! This breakdown of each layer is incredible! Thank you so much fo doing this :)

sample sample

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

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Jun 14 2010, 2:30pm

Post #17 of 17 (2730 views)
Wow - so much detail!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd never even noticed his lack of boots, and I love how you pointed out that he's "fallen so low", depicits it exactly! I also love how they managed to distress the embroidery, not just made it a dull colour or something. It's like you can see the months/years of wear and bits caught inbetween, the clothes almost tell his story as well as Theoden himself could....
Fabulous Smile

~*Haudh-en-Ndengin the Elves named it, the Hill of Slain, and Haugh-en-Nirnaeth, the Hill of tears... the earth beneath which the swords of the Eldar and the Edain crumbled into rust*~


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