Welcome back fellow hobbits and people of Middle Earth! It’s been a very long time since I last wrote about the Kings of Gondor, but after a long break and much time away with family I felt it time to return and continue writing. So, looking forward to continuing this series and many others just like it.
The Unwise King
Earnur was the son of Earnil II. He like his father was a great warrior and became a great leader of armies before he became King. His greatest victory was against Angmar in the Battle of Fornost, in which he defeated the Witch-king, whom he intended to slay had his steed not panicked in terror of the Witch-king’s darkness. Earnur became King in TA 2043, and was challenged by the Witch-king of Angmar. The King of the Ringwraiths, who then resided in Minas Morgul wanted this King of Gondor dead and gone. Earnur, being quick to anger and wrath, would have accepted his challenge had the wise Steward Mardil Voronwe not held him back, and so the first challenge went unanswered. Just seven years later a second challenge came, mocking Earnur, and the steward Mardil was not able to stop the King this time. Ernur accepted the challenge, and after entering the gates of Minas Morgul with a small escort, Earnur was never heard from again. The unwise King was thought to be dead, so his crown now rests upon his father’s tomb in the Hallows of Minas Tirith.
The Battle of Fornost
A year prior to the battle, the armies of Angmar conquered Arthedain, the last realm of Arnor. Angmar’s armies had taken Fornost, the capital of the Dunedain, and Arvedui, the last King of Arnor, had drowned in the Ice-Bay of Forochel. A year later, a fleet of ships under King Earnur arrived in the Grey Havens and set off toward what was left of the once-great northern kingdom. With the armies of Gondor came men from Rhovanion, elves from Lindon, and the remainder of the Dunedain (among them Aranarth, the Prince of Arthedain).
The battle itself did not take place in the city of Fornost, but on the plains to the west of the city, near Lake Evendim. The armies of Angmar hurried west to meet the assault, and seeing this, the cavalry of Gondor rode north into the Hills of Evendim to wait in ambush. As the main part of the army of Gondor met the enemy in battle, the Gondor cavalry set out from the hills to strike the rear of the army of Angmar. This served as the turning point in the battle, and allowed the combined armies of the west to gain the advantage. Realizing that his forces were all but completely destroyed, the Witch-king of Angmar fled eastward. As he fled, an army led by Glorfindel came up out of the south and blocked his escape, destroying what was left of his crumbling army; the Witch-king himself was able to escape during the night and fled southward. Though the battle itself had been lost and Angmar utterly destroyed, Sauron was extremely pleased with the Witch-King’s work, for the destruction of the northern kingdoms of the Dunedain was a victory for the Dark Powers which far exceeded the loss of the Witch-King’s realm.
A Broken Bloodline
The Line of Anarion was broken with the disappearance of Earnur, and the rule of Gondor passed to the Stewards beginning with Mardil Voronwe, the Steward who had tried to restrain Earnur from going to Minas Morgul to face the Witch-king. The Stewards were to rule “until the King returns” for it wasn’t sure at first whether Earnur had been killed dueling with the Witch-king or not. In addition, Earnur left without naming an heir, and while many nobles in Gondor could lay some sort of claim to the kingship, those claims were generally held in doubt, and no one wanted to risk another civil war like the one that had devastated and weakened Gondor.
The Stewards of Gondor were firstly the chief high councilors to the Kings of Gondor and then the rulers of Gondor, until the return of the rightful king (Aragorn Elessar).
First created by the powerful King Romendacil I, Steward was the traditional title of a chief counselor to the Kings of Gondor. The Quenya name for the title is Arandur , “Servant of the King”. The steward was was usually an elderly man not from the Royal House chosen for his wisdom and integrity, and was never permitted to go to war nor to go abroad. During the time of the Steward Pelendur, from the famous House of Hurin, the title became hereditary, passing the station of counselor from father to son, much like the Kingship.
The House of Hurin was founded by one Hurin of Emyn Arnen, Steward to King Minardil, the twenty-fifth King of Gondor. They were of high Numenorean blood, but not descendants of Elendil in the ruling line.
After the death of King Earnur, who left no heir to the throne of Gondor, the Steward Mardil Voronwe became the first of the Ruling Stewards. Mardil was the first of the Stewards to administer Gondor, and his descendants did so for 25 generations.
The Stewards watched over the throne until it could be reclaimed by a true King of Gondor, an heir of Elendil. When asked by his son Boromir how long a time must pass before a Steward could become a King, if the King did not return, Denethor II replied, “Few years, maybe, in other places of less royalty … In Gondor ten thousand years would not suffice” (The Two Towers).
The Stewards never sat on the throne of the King; instead, they sat on a simple chair of black stone placed below it.
I hope you all are enjoying this series as it has been an absolute blast to write and put together! We are nearing the end of the series but still have a lot more writing to do, so stay tuned to the site and think about following so you never miss one of my series.
You all stay awesome and I bid you a fine farewell!