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Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen Films

Lord of the Rings


Brego in Lord of the Rings

Brego first meets Aragorn in the stables of RohanIt's actually a little confusing to talk about "Brego in Lord of the Rings," since Brego the horse is a character created purely for the films. For that matter, the whole side story described below, about Aragorn's injury and presumed death while fighting warg-mounted Orcs on the way to Helm's Deep, is a creation of the screenwriters.

I'm not sure why Peter Jackson decided he needed to add a side story about a horse. Goodness knows he had enough material! But it was enjoyable for those of us who think that most outdoor scenes can be improved with the addition of a horse. I've posted several video clips showing the scenes described here, see links at the bottom of this page.

Brego the Builder

entry to the Golden Hall at EdorasIn Tolkien's books, Brego was an early king of Rohan, son of Eorl the Young. He lived from 2512 to 2570, and served as the second King of the Mark. He was best known as the builder of the golden hall at Edoras. (The hall itself was called "Meduseld.")

From Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: "He drove the enemy out of the Wold, and Rohan was not attacked again for many years. In 2569 he completed the great hall of Meduseld. At the feast his son Baldor vowed that he would tread 'the Paths of the Dead' and did not return. Brego died of grief the next year." Brego was buried in the Barrowfield with Eorl the Young and all the Lords of the Mark who followed him. After Brego's death, his son Aldor the Old assumed the throne and ruled for 75 years.

References - Brego the Builder

Edoras Movie Set - Photographs and a description of the challenges in building the Edoras movie set, including the Golden Hall of Meduseld.

Brego the Horse

Brego and Aragorn in the stables at EdorasIn the exended DVD version of the Two Towers film, but not in the books, Brego is the name of a dark bay horse that belonged to Theoden's son Théodred. After Théodred's death, Brego became wild and unmanageable. When Aragorn sees Brego in distress in the stables at Edoras, he speaks to him in Rohirric, calming him, and then says to Éowyn, "Turn this fellow free. He has seen enough of war."

Later, on the march to Helm's Deep, Aragorn is injured fighting Orcs on wargs, falls off a cliff into a river, and is carried downstream. Brego, evidently wandering the Mark wearing a halter and rope, comes to the wounded Aragorn. (There is a hint that perhaps Arwen telepathically contacted Brego to send him on this mission.) He lies down on the beach next to Aragorn so he can climb onto Brego's back, and carries him the rest of the way to Helm's Deep.

Uraeus, who played Brego, competing in dressageAs a one-time horse-owner, this later scene has a lot of resonance for me, and some dissonance as well. When I was a child I would go out to the pasture where my pony was lying, and give him carrots and climb on his back. He would then stand up and we would trot off, sans bridle and saddle. If I were to lie in the grass myself he would be almost certain to nuzzle my face the way that Brego did with Aragorn lying on the beach.

The dissonance lies only in the idea that any decent horseman would turn a horse loose on the plains wearing a halter and lead rope, which could easily get hung up in a tree or bush and cause the animal grave injury. But yes I do know this is a movie, and I really did enjoy this scene.

The horse who played Brego is a warmblood stallion named Uraeus, a former FEI dressage horse trained by the top international trainer Lockie Richards. (See photo of Uraeus in dressage competition, left.) The horse was at the end of his competitive career. "It all happened in five minutes," says Lockie. "They rang me and said they wanted a stallion. I told them if they could get him on their truck, they could try him, but that he absolutely won't go on a trailer and he's only been on my truck in the past ten years." Uraeus went on the truck and worked out well despite having never been ridden bareback before. Although actor Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn, had ridden since childhood, he took riding lessons to learn to properly handle the highly-trained stallion.

Viggo became attached to Uraeus, and after the movies were finished, he bought him. Although it has been reported (including here on this page) that Uraeus now lives on Viggo's ranch in Idaho, in fact he is still in New Zealand with Kenny, the horse who played Hasufel. See this article from 22-Mar-04, Viggo Mortensen in Munich, for the correction, and thanks to Trilby for pointing it out.

Notice in the dressage photograph that Uraeus has three white socks: on the right fore and both hind legs. In the movie Brego has socks only in the rear so they evidently blacked out his front sock. I can only guess that either the front sock was distracting in the close-ups next to Viggo's face, or perhaps they had a double for Brego with rear socks only.

Articles about Brego & Uraeus

Hail to the KingHail to the King - Starburst #305, December 2003
This 12-page pictorial spread focuses on Viggo Mortensen in his role as Aragorn. In the interview, Viggo talks about his relationship with Uraeus, the horse who played Brego, working with the stunt team and training in swordplay, and his thoughts on the extended editions of the films. Unfortunately we were only able to find transcription for a piece of the article, but we have ordered a copy from the publisher and hope to complete it soon.   []

IGN FilmForce interviews Viggo MortensenIGN FilmForce interviews Viggo Mortensen - IGN FilmForce, March 3, 2004
A laid-back interview about the pleasures of learning Elvish and Lakotah, purchasing his equine co-stars, and his new book, The Horse is Good. He talks about Uraeus ("Brego"), Kenny ("Hasufel") and T.J. ("Hidalgo") as unique individuals who became good friends. About Uraeus: "He kind of came into the movie similar to the way I did. You know, didn't have much preparation and was just thrown in and had to swim, basically. And it was rough on him and it took a while for us to kind of get in sync and for him to be comfortable around the set. So we got to be close and I wanted to stay in touch with him. And, you know, by the end he became almost a real ham. He became so good at it that he was just relaxed and happy."

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Brego - Links to More Information

Aragorn and Brego Action FigureAragorn and Brego Action Figure Review - Detailed review of the sculpting of the articulated action figure of "Aragorn and Brego" from The Two Towers.
emblem from Elvish.orgAragorn's words to Brego - A translation of the words spoken by Aragorn to Brego in the stable, when he quiets the horse. It would be easy to assume that he speaks Elvish, since Eowyn comments on his Elvish roots, but this site indicates that the language is Rohirric, a medieval Anglo-Saxon tongue. Note an alternate translation here. See also The Gray Havens for more information about Rohirric. Thanks, Manephelien, for suggesting these links!

Brego - Video Clips from Two Towers

These YouTube video clips were taken from the extended DVD version of The Two Towers. I encourage you to purchase the extended DVD or Blu-ray discs if you haven't already.

Brego bonds with Aragorn11. Brego in the stable at Edoras - The first meeting of Aragorn and Brego, in which he soothes the restless beast with Rohirric sweet talk. Eowyn is entranced as well. (01'41)
Brego awakens Aragorn16. Brego to the rescue - Brego finds a wounded Aragorn lying alongside the river, awakens him with a horsey smooch, and lies down so that Aragorn can mount. Together they head for Helm's Deep. (00'47)

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Brego Gallery

Brego Gallery - Toys & Toons

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