The Two Towers Book 3, Chapter 6
They ride into the sunset and stop only for a brief rest. Gimli rides with Gandalf. As the sun rises, Gandalf points across the grassy plains and asks Legolas to describe what he sees. He sees a house "'And it seems to my eyes that it is thatched with gold.'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg. 141. This golden house is the home of Theoded. They approach the wall built around the city, where guards are waiting. The guards allow no one to pass who cannot speak the native language. The dress of the small group amazes them. They are even more surprised that Gandalf is riding the king's horse. Aragorn speaks of his meeting with Eomer but the guards tell him that Eomer has been imprisoned. Gandalf announces his name and demands an audience with Theoded. They let the companions in and they climb the long stairs to Theoded's chambers. The guard Hama stops them at the top and tells them that they must surrender their weapons before entering. Aragorn fights this, but eventually they agree to put them down. Hama asks Gandalf to give up his staff, but Gandalf says an old man needs it to lean upon. They enter a columned hall filled with gold work and woven tapestries. At the far end, there is an old man with a long white beard. Gandalf hails Theoden, but the King is angry with him. He asks why he should welcome someone who always bears bad news. A pale man named Grima or Wormtongue, sits next to him and speaks of all the evil things Gandalf has spoken of before. Gandalf gets angry and says that Rohan used to treat guests better. Wormtongue accuses them of being in league with the foul Galadriel and Gimli becomes enraged. Gandalf throws back his cloak and raises his staff. Grima yells at Hama for letting a wizard enter with his staff, but then falls to the floor. Gandalf tells Theoden that he has been listening to evil for far too long.
Theoden stands and throws open his doors. He sends his niece Eowyn away. Gandalf bids him to realize that the world is not so dark and doomed. He speaks of Mordor and the Ring-bearer as well as the rising powers of Sauron and Saruman. Theoden regrets that such evil days have come during his reign. Gandalf tells him that if he grasps a sword again he will feel stronger. A voice offers him a weapon "'Take this, dear lord...It was ever at your service!'" Book 3, Chapter 6, pg.155. Hama has let Eomer out of his cell and he kneels at his uncle's feet. The king calls for Grima to stand before him. Gandalf says that every man they have must be prepared to travel to Gondor. Theoden tells his guests to rest, but Aragorn begs his leave to ride as soon as possible. The King refuses to wait in his stronghold and plans to lead his own men to war. Grima says that he does not want to go to war. Theoden tells him that he can flee and become his enemy, or ride with him in battle for redemption. Grima chooses to flee. Gandalf yells for Grima to slither away on his belly and asks how long he has been bought by Saruman. Theoden tells his men to let the interloper depart and then urges his guests to eat with him.
Theoden asks Gandalf questions about Saruman and how long Grima had served him. Gandalf assures him that Grima has been worked for him for some time. Eomer was put into prison because Grima forbade him to hunt orcs. As thanks for his liberation, Theoden offers Gandalf any gift he can give and Gandalf asks for Shadowfax. He armors Legolas, and Aragorn and Gimli take a helmet. The king names Eomer as his heir, and Hama suggests that Eowyn be left in charge of the city. She accepts this but wishes not to be left. When Aragorn leaves, she gazes at him for a little extra time. Gimli admits that he is no horseman, but Eomer asks for the honor of having him on his horse. Gimli accepts this as long as he gets to ride next to Legolas. Gandalf whistles and Shadowfax comes to him. Theoden officially gives the horse to him and Gandalf throws off his gray cloak. His white garb glistens in the sun.