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Where was Arnor and why did it fall when Gondor survived?

The end Lord of the Rings In movies and books, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) becomes King of the united Gondor and Arnor kingdoms. Gondor is famous for most Lord of the Rings fans, but Arnor was despised. Some may not even know where Arnor is or what happened to the kingdom before Aragorn claimed the throne. This is most likely because Gondor is still here in War of the Ring, and Arnor is not. So what happened to Arnor? Why did Gondor survive, and Arnor did not?

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These questions can be haunting Lord of the Rings fans, but luckily the answer is in the book. The Lord of the Rings movie doesn’t delve into Arnor’s history like the books do. However, technically Aragorn claimed the thrones of both kingdoms at the end Lord of the Rings movie. And there are aspects of Arnor mentioned in the movies, although its history is not discussed much.

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To find and understand the answers to these questions, Lord of the Rings fan must know the history of Arnor and Gondor – for they are related. Arnor is located in the North of Middle-earth. This kingdom occupies most of the land of Eriador. It passes from Lune Bay on one side to the Greyflood River and its tributary, Loudwater, near Rivendell. Once, Elves also lived near Lune Bay, which they called Lhûn, in a place called Lindon. Gil-galad, High King of Noldor, rules over the elves of Lindon.



Galadriel and other original bearers of The Three Elven Rings in The Lord of the Rings

During the fall of Númenór, Elendil and his men sailed across Lune Bay and befriended Gil-galad and his people. Those who had lived in Eriador welcomed Elendil and his sons, especially those of Númenórean blood. They helped Elendil when he started his new kingdom, as did Arnor, and so did Gil-galad. Gil-galad even built three towers on top of the hill for Elendil. They are known as Emyn Beraid. Elendil officially began the kingdom of Arnor near the end of the Second Age, in 3320, while his sons started the kingdom of Gondor in the south.


Elendil founded the capital of Arnor, Annúminas. Mostly, Elendil’s subjects lived in places like the capital, Annúminas, Fornost, and smaller places like Bree, where Frodo passed in events of Lord of the Rings, and was part of the kingdom of Arnor. During the Second Age, in 3430, Arnor joined forces with Gil-galad and his men to oppose Sauron. This alliance is called The Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

The Battle of the Ultimate Alliance lasted quite a while, and Gondor joined in. Unfortunately, High King Elendil and his son Anárion perished in battle. Fortunately, the forces of Goblins and Men managed to gain victory over Sauron due to Isildur, Elendil’s eldest son, who severed the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. Isildur is also Elendil’s heir and will inherit the throne of Arnor. However, he never got there. Along with his three sons, he perished in the Catastrophe of Gladden Fields, where the Ring was lost. Isildur’s youngest son, Valandil, became his heir, but he claimed only the throne of Arnor, and neither he nor most of his heirs claimed the throne of Gondor. And the kingdom suffered so much damage during the War and Disaster, that it never really recovered.



lotr isildur character

Arnor, unfortunately, there is much more to go through the Lord of the Rings The universe. In the Third Age, in 861, Fornost Erain replaced Annúminas as the capital of Arnor. Annúminas was then gradually abandoned by the inhabitants of Arnor. In addition, in 861, King Eärendur of Arnor died and his three sons all wanted to rule. The oldest son, Amlaith, attempted to claim the throne of all of Arnor, but in the end he had to be content with ruling only the region of Arthedain. At the same time, two other sons of Eärendur founded the kingdoms of Cardolan and Rhudaur. The three kingdoms frequently fought over control of the Hills of Weather and the palantír at Amon Sûl.


The enemies of Arnor and Gondor will see this lack of unity and take advantage of it. In the third age, in 1300, during the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain, the Sorcerer King of Angmar, Sauron’s chief Nazgûl, began to attack Rhudaur and Cardolan. Eventually, one of Hill’s men would take over the Rhudaur and ally with Angmar. At that time, only a few Dúnedain remained in Rhudaur. The seventh king of Arthedain, Argeleb I, attempted to rematch Arnor but was unsuccessful due to Rhudaur’s resistance. However, he will reunite Cardolan and Arthedain. Unfortunately, he was killed in 1356 of the Third Age.

His son, Arprisg I, fought well against Angmar and Rhudaur until 1409 of the Third Age. when Weathertop was taken, and Arprisg himself perished along with the last prince of Cardolan. Amon Sûl fell, and its palantír was taken to Fornost. The Witch-King then took control of all of Cardolan, forcing the populace to flee to the Jungle or take refuge in the Barrow Downs. The Evil Men, supporters of the Sorcerer King of Angmar, moved to the area, and the remaining Dúnedain were either destroyed or forced to flee west. By this point, Arnor’s men were not strong enough to defeat Angmar alone. So the elves of Lindon, Rivendell and Galadhrim will help.



Aragorn Becomes King of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings

A plague has come upon Arnor, which the Sorcerer King also exploited. After the death of the last Dúnedain of Cardolan, on Barrow-down, the Witch-King will send evil spirits known as Barrow-wights to the area. Arnor and Gondor eventually suspect that a force might be behind all this misery and begin to communicate again. During the Third Age, in 1940, the heir to the throne of Arnor, Prince Arvedui, will marry the daughter of King Gondor. Arvedui, upon the death of his father-in-law, would also attempt to claim the throne of Gondor, both through his lineage from Elendil and through his wife. He was not successful. Arnor grew weaker and weaker, and during the Third Age, in 1974, the Sorcerer King attacked the capital city of Fornost and took it. Arvedui, now king, fled to Forochel, and his son Aranarth informed Círdan of the tragedy. Unfortunately, the sailors of Círdan were unable to save Arvedui, and he would be the last king of Arthedain.


The remaining forces of Arnor will join with the forces of Gondor and Círdan’s forces to attack the Witch-King. The Sorcerer King’s forces will eventually fall, with some help from Glorfindel’s forces from Rivendell. However, it is the Sorcerer King who will escape. The remaining Dúnedain from Arnor will make a new home in the Angle south of Rivendell. Aranarth became Chief instead of king, as he did not have enough men to re-establish Arnor. House Isildur heirlooms, such as the Scepter of Annúminas and the Ring of Barahir, were given to Elrond. Elrond also raised Aranarth’s son, Arahael, and that tradition would continue for the rest of the Third Age.

So why do it? Arnor fell while Gondor survived? Most likely, it was due to the disintegration of the Arnor kingdom and the instability and civil war, which the Sorcerer King exploited. Another plague and many kings fell in battle; it makes sense that Arnor didn’t exist. On the other hand, Gondor had king after king and Warden, so that kingdom was more stable than in Arnor. Also, in the first place, Arnor was less populous than Gondor and not nearly as powerful, despite being where the High King ruled. However, the story does not have a happy ending. Aragorn re-establishes Arnor at the end Lord of the Rings and reunite it with Gondor. So maybe all is well in Middle-earth in the end.


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