Arvedui, last King of Arthedain, dies shipwrecked in Forochel
Meaning: last king
Event Type: Genealogical
Age: 3rd Age - The Kings
Arvedui, son of Araphant, 15th and last king of Arthedain and the last king of Arnor, dies by drowning in the Icebay of Forochel. He ruled for 11 years.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Appx. A Part I Section ii "The Realms in Exile"
"Arvedui was indeed the last king, as his name signifies. It is said that this name was given to him at his birth by Malbeth the Seer, who said to his father: 'Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain.'"
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Appx. A Part I Section iv "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
"In 1974 the power of Angmar arose again, and the Witch-king came down upon Arthedain before winter was ended. He captured Fornost, and drove most of the remaining Dúnedain over the Lune; among them were the sons of the king. But King Arvedui held out upon the North Downs until the last, and then fled north with some of his guard; and they escaped by the swiftness of their horses.
"For a while Arvedui hid in the tunnels of the old dwarf-mines near the far end of the Mountains, but he was driven at last by hunger to seek the help of the Lossoth, the Snowmen of Forochel. Some of these he found in camp by the seashore; but they did not help the king willingly, for he had nothing to offer them, save a few jewels which they did not value; and they were afraid of the Witch-king, who (they said) could make frost or thaw at his will. But partly out of pity for the gaunt king and his men, and partly out of fear of their weapons, they gave them a little food and built for them snow-huts. There Arvedui was forced to wait, hoping for help from the south; for his horses had perished.
"When Círdan heard from Aranarth son of Arvedui of the king's flight to the north, he at once sent a ship to Forochel to seek for him. The ship came there at last after many days, because of contrary winds, and the mariners saw from afar the little fire of drift-wood which the lost men contrived to keep alight. But the winter was long in loosing its grip that year; and though it was then March, the ice was only beginning to break, and lay far out from the shore.
"When the Snowmen saw the ship they were amazed and afraid, for they had seen no such ship on the sea within their memories; but they had become now more friendly, and they drew the king and those that survived of his company out over the ice in their sliding carts, as far as they dared. In this way a boat from the ship was able to reach them.
"But the Snowmen were uneasy; for they said that they smelled danger in the wind. And the chief of the Lossoth said to Arvedui: 'Do not mount on this sea-monster! If they have them, let the seamen bring us food and other things that we need, and you may stay here till the Witch-king goes home. For in summer his power wanes; but now his breath is deadly, and his cold arm is long.'
"But Arvedui did not take his counsel. He thanked him, and at parting gave him his ring [the Ring of Barahir], saying: 'This is a ring of worth beyond your reckoning. For its ancientry alone. It has no power, save the esteem in which those hold it who love my house. It will not help you, but if ever you are in need, my kin will ransom it with great store of all that you desire.'
"Yet the counsel of the Lossoth was good, by chance or by foresight; for the ship had not reached the open sea when a great storm of wind arose, and came with blinding snow out of the North; and it drove the ship back upon the ice and piled ice up against it. Even the mariners of Círdan were helpless, and in the night the ice crushed the hull, and the ship foundered. So perished Arvedui Last-king, and with him the palantíri were buried in the sea. It was long afterwards that news of the shipwreck of Forochel was learned from the Snowmen."
"After Arvedui the North-kingdom ended, for the Dúnedain were now few and all the peoples of Eriador diminished. Yet the line of the kings was continued by the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, of whom Aranarth son of Arvedui was the first."
The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur: The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain
Note: There is a textual discrepancy as to the date of Arvedui's death. In the 1978 edition of RotK, Appendix A gave the date as 1974, while Appendix B had it as 1975. In current editions they both read 1975. The Peoples of Middle-earth, HoMe 12, gives it as 1974 in several places, and p 195 has 1974, followed by 1975 in parentheses.
Note added 20Mar05 Lyllyn