"We must stop this rat-hole, Dwarves are said to be cunning folk with stone. Lend us your aid, master."
Gamling to Gimli in The Two Towers

Gamling was a Man of Rohan sometimes known as "Gamling the Old" referenced in The Two Towers and the Return of the King.

Biography Edit

Gamling was from the Westfold and he understood the language of Dunland. Gamling is left in charge of the forces defending Helm's Dike (a fortification across the Deeping-coomb before the stronghold of the Hornburg defending Helm's Deep) by command of Erkenbrand.

King Théoden of Rohan arrives at Helm's Deep with reinforcements from Edoras on March 3, 3019. As the forces of Isengard approach, Gamling and his men pull back from Helm's Dike and enter the stronghold of the Hornburg. Gamling hears Gimli's warning that Orcs have entered a culvert under the wall and leads the Men of the Westfold in a charge that drives them back.

Gamling then asks Gimli to help block up the opening with small boulders and broken stones with the remark, "We must stop this rat-hole. Dwarves are said to be cunning folk with stone. Lend us your aid, master!" However, Saruman's forces later breach the Deeping Wall using an explosive device. Gamling retreats into the Deep with Gimli. There they defend the narrows before the entrance to the Glittering Caves until dawn, when Gandalf and Eomer arrive with reinforcements, and the Battle of the Hornburg is won.

Etymology Edit

Gamling roughly means "Old one" in Swedish, Icelandic, Danish, and Norwegian.[2]

Portrayal in adaptations Edit

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy Edit

In Peter Jackson's The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Gamling is portrayed by the New Zealand actor, Bruce Hopkins.[1] The character is an amalgamation of several characters such as Guthláf, Elfhelm and elements of Háma.

Gamling is first positioned as a subordinate to Hama and the two appear to share a close friendship. He attempts to intervene in the brawl between Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Grima Wormtongue and Grima's underlings, but is stopped by Hama, who seems to sense Gandalf's intention. He and Hama later scout for the column of Edoras refugees, and asks his superior what he senses, to which Hama says he is unsure. The two are ambushed by a Warg Rider scout and both Hama and his horse are killed. Gamling is enraged and grief-stricken by Hama's death and attempts to exact his vengeance, but is unable to defeat the Orc until Legolas intervenes and slays both Orc and Warg. He fights in the assault against Sharku's riders and survives the skirmish, and later attends the king, fulfilling the role Hama left vacant. He communicated the King's orders to leave the dead.

At Helm's Deep, Gamling served as Théoden's primary bodyguard and attendant. He garbs Théoden in his armour and offers what counsel he can to his troubled King, but his words provide little comfort. He does not fight on the Deeping Wall or in the Glittering Caves, but rather remains by the King's side issuing commands to open fire and later fighting by the King's side at the gate. He wrestles his injured King to safety when Théoden is wounded by a pikeman, and manages to retreat to the Keep. During the last, desperate attempt to defend the entrance to the caves, Gamling tends to his King's wounds. Théoden is despondent, but Gamling hesitantly volunteers the information about the mountain passage to Aragorn, who orders Gamling to muster the women and children to flee and barricade the entrance behind them.

At the final hour, Théoden and Aragorn ride out to meet the Uruk-hai head-on in a final sacrifice, and Gamling goes with them, bearing the king's banner. He is saved from this final stand by the arrival of Gandalf, Eomer and a large force of reinforcements, who break the Uruk-hai's morale and drive them from the fortress.

Gamling again appears in The Return of the King. He is seated next to Aragorn during the feast at Edoras and drinks deeply to the victorious dead. His proximity to Aragorn in the feast, and his later doubts at the thought of Aragorn abandoning the host, indicate that Gamling (and many other Rohirrim) revered Aragorn as a hero of Helm's Deep. Théoden is aware of this and sadly admits to Eowyn that he was found wanting in the final stand.

When Gondor calls for aid, Théoden dispatches Gamling as one of his messengers to gather men to Dunharrow. At Dunharrow, Gamling shares a meal with Eomer and enjoys Eomer's jabs at Meriadoc Brandybuck's desire to fight in the Battle of Pelennor Fields. He is vocally despondent when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli depart for the lair of the Army of the Dead, but is silenced by Théoden, who declares that the Rohirrim will ride into battle no matter their prospects of success.

Gamling is present at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, leading his company down the centre behind the King's Banner. He takes the military position of Eomer from the books, but replaces Elfhelm among the king's commanders, with Eomer taking Elfhelm's position down the left flank. He blows the King's great horn and signals the charge. He survives the charge and goes on to fight the Mumakil. He fires arrows into the belly of one Mumak before Eomer brings down the beast with a throwing spear. He also acquires a bow and fires arrows at the Mumak's eyes at Eomer's and Théoden's orders.

Gamling dead

Gamling dead in The Return of the King film

During the battle, however, Gamling is ultimately slain. His body lay near the sight of Eowyn's confrontation with the Witch-King, as it is seen during her attempt to flee the hobbled Gothmog. It is unknown if he was slain by Orcs or Haradrim, but he is not seen slain by the Witch-King, and the condition of his body suggest he was not trampled to death.

Radio series Edit

Gamling was in the The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series), voiced by Patrick Barrin.

Video games Edit


Gamling in the LEGO: The Lord of the Rings

Gamling makes an appearance in The Lord of the Rings Online and LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game. He is also a playable character, and can be purchased in Fangorn Forest along with Grishnákh. For an unknown reason, his hair is in white instead of blond (as in the films).

Voice dubbing actors Edit

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Herman López
Spanish (Spain) Domenech Farell
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Luiz Antônio Lobue
German Frank Röth
Czech (Czech Republic) Jaroslav Kaňkovský
Slovak Miroslav Trnavský
Italian (Italy) Roberto Draghetti
Hungarian Csaba Krisztián Csík
Turkish Ayhan Kahya

Translations around the World Edit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 加姆林

Gallery Edit

Gamling in Edoras
Gamling and Háma
Gamling and King Théoden
Gamling on horse

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 758