Hail and well met readers!
Week before last we left off after Elendil and his people had settled in Middle Earth and raised the two great Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. This week we kick things off with his son Isildur. Everyone enjoy!
Isildur was born in Numenor in the second age year 3209. He had a younger brother named Anarion, born in 3219. They lived at Romenna on the east coast of the island of Numenor. Their father was Elendil and their grandfather was Amandil, the Lord of Andunie. The Lords of Andunie were descended from the Kings of Numenor through Silmarien, the daughter of the fourth King of Numenor, Tar-Elendil.
Elros, the Half-elven and the first King of Numenor, had chosen a mortal life of men, while his brother Elrond chose the immortal life of elves. Over time, the Kings of Numenor grew to resent their ancestor’s choice and desired immortality for themselves. They became estranged from the elves and from the powers called the Valar and they neglected the worship of Eru, who created them. Though a small group of Numenoreans remained friendly with the elves and faithful to Eru and the Valar. They were called the Faithful and among these men were the Lords of Andunie.
In year 3262, King Ar-Pharazon took Sauron captive and brought him to Numenor. Sauron the deceiver allowed himself to be taken because he wanted to corrupt the Numenoreans in order to bring about their downfall. He used their desire for immortality and power to convince them to renounce Eru and worship Morgoth.
Isildur learned that Sauron wanted Ar-Pharazon to cut down Nimloth, the White Tree that had come from the Undying Lands. Isildur disguised himself and went secretly to the King’s Court and took a fruit from Nimloth. The guards discovered and attacked him and, although receiving grave injuries, he managed to escape with the fruit. For this deed, Isildur received much praise. He stood near death for many months, but when the fruit of the White Tree began to sprout, he awoke and his injuries had healed.
As Sauron’s influence increased, the Faithful began to prepare to leave Numenor. They filled their ships with their families and many of their prized possessions, including the Palantíri. Isildur had three ships of his own, and he brought aboard the seedling of the White Tree as well as his wife and his son Elendur.
Isildur’s grandfather Amandil hoped to plead with the Valar to spare the Faithful. He sailed westward toward the Undying Lands, but what became of him is not known and he was never seen again.
As Ar-Pharazon felt the approach of old age, Sauron’s lies finally convinced him he could achieve immortality in the Undying Lands. In 3319, Ar-Pharazon set out with a great fleet to take the Undying Lands by force, but when he set foot on the shore, Iluvatar caused the Seas to open up and Valinor was hidden. The fleet sank and Numenor was destroyed by a great wave.
The ships of the Faithful were spared, and a great wind from the west sent them to the shores of Middle-earth. Elendil landed in the north, while Isildur and Anarion came to the Mouths of the Anduin in the south. Elendil and his sons established the North-kingdom of Arnor and the South-kingdom of Gondor. Elendil was the High King of both realms, but he dwelt in Arnor and committed the rule of Gondor to his sons.
Isildur and Anarion had their thrones side by side in the Great Hall of Osgiliath, the city they founded on the Anduin. Anarion lived in Minas Anor on the western side of the Anduin, while Isildur made his home in Ithilien on the eastern side of the Anduin. Isildur built Minas Ithil in a valley of the Mountains of Shadow on the border of Mordor. Minas Ithil was a beautiful white city, but it was also a stronghold to defend against the evil that might still dwell in Mordor. Not knowing that Sauron had already returned there in secret and had begun rebuilding his strength.
Isildur had one of the Palantír called the Ithil-stone, which he used to communicate with his brother and father. He planted the seedling of the White Tree in front of his house. Isildur and his wife had two more sons while living in Gondor – Aratan and Ciryon.
In the early days of Gondor, Isildur went to the Hill of Erech at the entrance to the Blackroot Vale in the White Mountains. On the hilltop he placed the Stone of Erech, a great black sphere that he had brought from Númenor. Isildur met with the King of the Dead, who swore allegiance to Isildur upon the Stone, but later when Isildur called upon the Men of the Mountains to join the fight against Sauron, they refused. Isildur cursed them and said that they would never rest until they fulfilled their oath, so from that day forth they haunted the Paths of the Dead.
Sauron did finally attack and capture Minas Ithil in 3429 but Isildur escaped with his wife and sons and another seedling of the White Tree. Isildur and his family boarded a ship at the Mouths of the Anduin and sailed around the coast of Middle-earth to Arnor, where hit father lived. Elendil consulted with Gil-galad, the last High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth who lived in Lindon west of Arnor. Gil-galad and Elendil formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men to oppose Sauron in 3430. That same year, Isildur’s youngest son Valandil was born at the home of Elrond in Rivendell.
The army of the Last Alliance gathered at Rivendell in 3431 and marched to war to defeat Sauron. Isildur and his three oldest sons – Elendur, Aratan, and Ciryon – went with the army, while Isildur’s wife and their infant son Valandil remained in Rivendell.
The War of the Last Alliance began in the second age of 3434. Sauron’s forces were defeated in the Battle of Dagorlad on the plain outside Mordor, and the army of the Last Alliance entered Sauron’s realm and laid siege to Barad-dur. The siege lasted seven years and many died, including Isildur’s brother Anarion.
In 3441, Sauron himself came down from his black tower to fight Gil-Galad and Elendil at the base of Mount Doom. Both Gil-galad and Elendil died in the battle and Elendils sword broke during the struggle. Isildur took up his fathers sword and used the broken blade to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. Sauron’s spirit fled from his body, but as long as the Ring that held much of his power survived so would his spirit. Elrond tried to convince Isildur to cast the ring into the fire of Mount Doom and destroy it, but Isildur refused and left.
The power of the Ring was such that no one could willingly destroy it. The lure of the Ring began to act on Isildur as soon as he took it. The great heat of the Ring burned Isildur’s hand, but he still thought it was beautiful and precious. Isildur noticed that there was writing on the Ring that showed when it was still hot, but disappeared when it had cooled. He wrote a description of the Ring on a scroll that he left in the archives of Minas Anor for future generations.
Isildur assumed the Kingship of both Gondor and Arnor, but he intended to return to the North and leave Anarion’s son Meneldil to rule in the South. He remained in Minas Anor for a few years to give counsel and instruction to Meneldil. Together they took a journey through all the lands belonging to Gondor. On the summit of Halifirien in the Firien wood, Isildur entombed the body of his father Elendil. Before leaving Minas Anor, Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree in memory of his brother Anarion.
On the second year of the third age, Isildur set out from Minas Anor with his three elder sons and two hundred of his knights. They marched up the Vales of the Anduin on the eastern side of the River, heading for the High Pass over the Misty Mountains.
Thirty days later, Isildur’s company was attacked by Orcs near the Gladden Fields. The Orcs did not know that Isildur had the One Ring, but they were drawn by its power. Isildur’s men were outnumbered ten to one, and though they initially managed to repel the attack, the Orcs renewed their assault after nightfall and the men were overwhelmed.
Before the battle had begun, Isildur had sent away his esquire Ohtar with the Shards of his sword. Isildur kept the One Ring, but it was useless in defending his men against the Orcs. He realized now that he did not have the strength to wield the Ring and could not even put it on without great pain to himself. Isildur regretted the foolish pride that had led him to keep the Ring. Isildur’s son Aratan was wounded, and his son Ciryon was killed. His eldest son Elendur begged him to flee in order to prevent the Orcs from capturing the Ring. Isildur agreed but his son Elendur was killed during the battle.
Isildur put on the Ring though it pained him and headed for the Anduin. He removed his armor and waded into the River intending to try to cross it. The current was strong and despite his great strength, it pulled him toward the marshes of the Gladden Fields. Then the Ring slipped off Isildur’s finger and was lost in the waters. Isildur felt an overwhelming loss, but was then relieved as if a great burden had been lifted from him. He rose out of the water, but he was spotted by orcs who shot him with arrows killing him.
The One Ring remained in the Gladden Fields until Deagol found it in the year 2463 of the third age. Isildur’s body also lay in the waters, undiscovered by his kin. While searching for the One Ring, Saruman found the Elendilmir that Isildur had been wearing. Some have even speculated that Saruman may have found and even burned Isildur’s remains in one of his furnaces, but whether this is true is not known.
Until next weeks episode!
I’m your host Iogro Merrybelly and I bid you a fine farewell