1. Overview of the History of Arnor
There are many misconceptions about the history of
the Northern Kingdom, due in part to the Gondorian
bias of most of the surviving sources but also to
deliberate misinformation put out by the Dunedain
during their centuries of hiding.
The Founding of the Realms:
The Realms in Exile began as colonies of Faithful
fleeing from the persecution of the Kings of Numenor.
Many chose to go north to Ost-en-Dunhirion (Citadel
of the Lords of the West), built by Tar-Ciryatan on
the gulf of Lune beneath the Tower Hills. The
Numenoreans settled the lands between the Baranduin
and the Southern Ered Luin which became known as
Dor-en-Dunhirion, Land of the Lords of the West, and
on the east bank of the River Lune.
The lands east of the Baranduin, as far as the
Weather Hills, were occupied by Men closely akin to
the Numenoreans, being like them descended from the
First and Third Houses of the Edain. The Elves and
the Dunedain called this land Arthedain, the Realm of
the Edain, and its people the Runedain or Men of the
East. But their realm was not a single kingdom but a
heptarchy of principalities together with a number of
smaller lordships. Chief of which was Nethorian, the
Midlands, whose princes were descended from Turin
And farther east, isolated from their Dunedain kin
by the the rolling plains of Rhudaur, was the land
of Egladil in the Angle between the Mitheithel and the
Bruinen rivers, settled by the Sorondili, a princely
Numenorean House, and their followers who had followed
the Great Eagles, whose friends they were, when they
abandoned Numenor at Sauron's coming.
The Runedain and the Exiles were on terms of close
friendship and there was much commerce and intermarriage
between them. At the time of the Downfall the governor
of Dor-en-Dunhirion was Vorondil, a kinsman of Elendil
and husband of his only daughter Elemmire.
Vardamire, wife of Elendil, was the daughter of
Ar-Zimraphel by her first husband, Elentirmo of
Hyarnumen. After the Downfall the Numenoreans in
Exile took her for their queen as she was the last
of the Blood Royal.
She had been a woman of great courage and wisdom
but the horror of the Downfall broke her heart and
her spirit and she ruled the Realms in Exile for
barely a dozen years before growing weary of grief
and laying down her life. But during her brief reign
she molded the Crown Colonies at Lond Daer and Belfalas,
and the colonies of the Faithful at Dunhirion and
Pelagir into the twin kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor,
brought the Lords and Princes of Arthedain under her
scepter and saw the building of Annuminas, captial of
the North, and Osgilliath, capital of the South.
Before she died Tar-Vardamire named her husband
Elendil High King and King of Arnor and her son
Isildur King of Gondor. It was Isildur himself who
chose to share his scepter with his brother Anarion,
a daring arrangment that worked remarkably well.
Vardamire's role in the founding of the Kingdoms,
indeed her very existence, was later ignored by the
annalists of Gondor who tended to pass directly from
Elendil's escape to Middle Earth with his sons to the
War of the Last Alliance. They had their reasons.
Yet Elendil deserves his venerated position as
founding father of the Realms in Exile. For while
Vardamire had dreamed of recreating the Kingdom of
Numenor in Middle Earth, Elendil accepted that this
was neither possible nor desirable and discarded
inherited laws and traditions to create new ones
suited to the new land.
As he was not of the direct Royal line Elendil had the
golden scepter and throne made for Tar-Vardamire put
away and held court from the silver chair he had used
as consort with the silver rod of the Lords of Andunie
in his hand. Nor did he presume to the imperial 'Tar-'
prefix of the Numenorean Kings.
In those days Arnor was the most populous and
advanced of the two Kingdoms in Exile, and Gondor
little more than a frontier dependency. Elendil built
the fortress cities of Fornost in the North Downs and
Cardol in the Red Lands south of the Baranduin, and the
great fortress and watchtower of Amon Sul to guard his
north-eastern frontier and the great East-West road
that ran from Ost-en-Dunhirion to the High Passes
of the Misty Mountains, uniting Arnor with the
Princedom of Egladil and Elrond's Rivendell. Elendil
built also the great Southern road that linked Arnor
and Gondor and many lesser roads as well.
The history of the Last Alliance's War against
Sauron is too well known from Professor Tolkien's
masterly exegis of the Red Book of Westmarch to
require repetition here. The death of Elendil made
Isildur, his eldest son, High King of Arnor and
Gondor. Perhaps out of respect for his brother's
memory Isildur appointed Anarion's son Meneldil 'King
of Gondor' and spent a year reordering the realm and
instructing his nephew in his duties before taking the
road north to disaster at the Gladden Field.
Dispite later assertions that Isildur 'reliquished'
the scepter of Gondor to his brother's son and his
heirs, it is clear he in fact merely appointed Meneldil
his viceregent in the South. Meneldil took advantage
of his uncle's death and the minority of his cousin to
claim Gondor for himself. Put plainly he rebelled
against his rightful overlord and usurped the throne
of the Southern Kingdom.
Valandil, Isildur's only surviving son, was a boy
of fourteen at the time of his succession and the
North Kingdom was governed during his minority by his
aunt Elemmire, Princess of Dunhirion, who Elendil had
left as regent when he marched south to war. The statue
cradling the shards of Narsil is a stylized portrait of
Elemmire. It was her grandson, one of the three survivors
of the Gladden Field, who brought the shards of Narsil
to Rivendell and laid them in the lap of his grandmother,
now the only living child of Elendil.
Elemmire, though refuting Meneldil's claims, would
not take up arms against her own kin. Valandil too
forswore the use of force against his errant cousin
and accepted Gondor's de facto independence but never
conceeded his rights as High King, nor did his heirs.
Meneldil's usurpation led, inevitably, to an
estrangement between the two Dunedain kingdoms that
would cost both dear. It also casts an interesting
light on Gondor's imperialistic pretensions and her
nobles' rather overdone scorn for the Line of Isildur,
(as expressed by Denethor II). Compensation for a
nagging sense of guilt perhaps?
The Division of the Realm:
It is perhaps understandable that the historians of
Gondor would project their own stormy dynastic history
onto the annals of Arnor and interpret Earendur's
creation of the Sub-Kingdoms of Cardolan and Rhudaur
as a sop to ambitious younger sons. Nor would it have
been easy for imperialistic Gondorim to understand
Earendur's willingness to forgo direct control of
large tracts of his realm or his desire to grant
home rule to his non-Dunedain subjects.
The original north-east border of Arnor ran along
the Weather Hills. Elendil built his great watchtower
of Amon Sul as a defense against raids from the
barbaric Hill Men of the northern fells. Successive
Kings of Arnor made treaties with Clans of this people
creating the March of Rhudaur as a buffer zone between
Arnor proper and the far north. These Hill Men adopted
gentler ways and proved themselves true and loyal
subjects. Raising Rhudaur to the status of a
sub-kingdom was intended not only as a reward for
their good faith but to strengthen the North Eastern
Cardolan's origins were somewhat different. When
Elendil built his great southern road he also built
the Red Fortress of Cardol in the red land of Carnarthon
to guard it. The building crews soon came under attack
from Men living in the scattered woodlands to the
southwest. These were descendants the Second House of
the Edain, and so distant kin to the Numenoreans, but
had been driven from their forest homes long ago by the
logging operations of the Kings of Numenor, nor had
they forgotten their ancient grudge against the Men
of the West.
It took Elendil some years to conciliate this
much wronged folk but by the 861st year of the Third
Age they had become a numerous and agrarian people
and good subjects of the Scepter. The new King of
Cardolan's duties included policing and maintaining
the south road above Tharbad, (Gondor being responsible
for the rest).
As had been the case with Gondor, long ago, the
'Kings' of Cardolan and Rhudaur were in fact
viceregents who recieved their scepters by the grace
of the High King who had the right to appoint whomever
he wished. In practice the High Kings of Arthedain
tended to choose the heir of the previous viceregent
but were not by any means bound to do so.
The first King of Rhudaur, Arothir second son of
Earendur, was succeeded by his son Amdir. But as the
latter left no heirs the then High King of Arthedain,
Beleg, gave the scepter to his own second son Galadon
who was followed by his son Galahad and grandson
Galadnil. The last viceregent of Rhudaur was
Beruthiel, wife of Galadnil and sister of the High
King Malvegil. It was during her long reign,
1250-1350, that the witch-realm of Angmar was
established in the far north peopled by Hill Men, Orcs
and worse things.
Queen Beruthiel held the marches of Rhudaur against
Angmar for over fifty years but she died without heirs
in 1350 and her nephew, Argeleb, I decided to take
the kingdom into his own hands. As was his right, but
it gave a faction corrupted by Angmar pretext for open
rebellion. Yet the majority of the Men of Rhudaur
remained loyal to the High Kingdom and fought bravely
beside the Dunedain against their remote kin the Hill
Men of Angmar.
Argeleb I was killed by the insurgents in the first
battle of Amon Sul, (1356). His successor, Arveleg I,
defeated the rebels and drove them from Rhudaur,
appointing Borlas son of Borlad, a chief of the loyal
Hill Men, Lord of the Marches of Rhuduar both as a
reward and a demonstration of his continued trust.
For more than fifty years Borlas and his successors
held the frontier against Angmar supported by both
Arthedain and Cardolan but in 1409 a sudden massive
onslaught overwhelmed Rhudaur driving the suriviving
Dunedain and loyal Hill Men into Arthedain or over the
Mitheithel into the Angle. The Lords of the Marches
built strongholds in the hills of the Angle from which
they continued to harry the enemy until their castles
were destroyed one by one in 19th and 20th centuries
of the Third Age.
After the fall of Arthedain the descendants of the
Men of Rhudaur loyaly followed their King into hiding.
Like the Dunedain, they became Rangers patrolling the
wild and holding the Line against dangers from north
and east. Treasuring the promise first made by Arveleg I
that when the Heirs of Isildur came again into their
own the Kingdom of Rhudaur would be reestablished headed
by an under-king of the Blood Royal.
The scepter of Cardolan was given to Dunendil,
third and youngest son of Earendur. His capital was at
Cardol, where the great south road split to go due
north to Fornost and west to Ost-en-Dunhirion. The
Dunedain among his subjects lived for the most part
in the red lands of Carnarthon around the city,
but the southern part of his kingdom, Minhiriath,
the 'Land Between the Rivers' (Baranduin and Gwathlo)
was inhabited by descendants of the Forest Men.
Stocky and brown haired, often with brown or hazel
eyes, they were farm folk living in tight knit villages
or small towns, shunning the cities of the Dunedain.
Stubbornly parochial, distrustful of outsiders and
resistant to change. The House of Elendil earned the
loyalty of these Men with fair dealing and never lost it.
Unlike Arthedain or Rhudaur Cardolan had several
ruling Queens. The first was Emerwen, granddaughter of
Dunendil. Her brother, Duinhir, predeceased their
father King Caranthir and the High King gave the
scepter to her, for she was a woman of great energy and
ability. Her son, Celebron, died early in his reign
slain by Dunlending raiders as he patrolled the south road.
The eldest of his three daughters, Celebrien, was young
and unmarried but she reacted swiftly and decisively
destroying the Dunlendings' robber strongholds and
exacting a blood price from their King.
The High King rewarded her with her father's
scepter. Her daughter Aranel ruled after her but the
latter part of her reign was darkened by the threat of
Angmar. After her all three of her sons wielded the
scepter in turn, and all three died fighting the Witch
King. The last of them, Aradan, fell with his sons defending
Cardol against an army of Dunlendings allied with Angmar
Cardolan was overrun by enemies from the North and
the South. The Dunedain of the Red Hills, led by
Prince Arduin, a grandnephew of the late King, retreated
to the Barrow Downs and the Men of Minhiriath took
to the woodlands to fight as their ancestors had done
with bow and arrow and fire. Together the people of
Cardolan, with aid from Arthedain and Lindon, drove
the invaders from their soil.
Araphor, the young High King, gave the scepter to
Arduin, who married his elder sister the Princess Ardanis.
But the new King died just four years later of a
wasting fever and his Queen took the scepter with her
brother's blessing. Under the name Celebrien II she
ruled for 176 years and was succeeded by her grandson,
Elboron, but he died in the Great Plague of 1637,
leaving no direct heirs.
The Men of Minhiriath were heavily affected by the
pestilence, their numbers reduced by half, with the
fleeing northward to escape the contagion. They settled
in villages along the Great Road and in the southern
tip of the Angle and along the east bank of the Baranduin,
and their descendants still lived in those places at the
time of the War of the Ring.
The Dunedain of Cardolan were were for the most part
unscathed but they had always been but a small part of
the population of the Kingdom. With no direct heir surviving
and so many of her people dead the High King took back the
scepter of Cardolan and it became again a mere province of
The Witch Wars:
The accounts of these wars in the Annals of Gondor
are both confused and incomplete. The annalists seem
to have been under the impression the three Kingdoms
of the North were in constant strife, in fact the High
Kingdom and sub-kingdoms lived in peace for nearly
five hundred years, or as long as an Heir of Isildur
reigned in all three.(1) The rebellion of Rhudaur in 1350
was engineered by the Witch King of Angmar, (the Chief
of the Nazgul) who had been sent north by his master
to destroy the Line of Isildur who Sauron hated above
Beruthiel of Arthedain, widow of King Galadnil and
sister of the High King, held the scepter of Rhudaur
during the years the Witch King was building his realm
in the north and he made little progress while she
The bulk of the Men of Rhudaur were of Hill stock,
akin to the evil Men the Witch King had brought under
his sway, but unlike them in every other way being
civil, honorable and loyal to their Queen. Yet there
are always a few who are ambitious and discontented
and these the Witch King suborned.
When Queen Beruthiel died (1350) and her nephew the
High King Argeleb I chose to take the scepter of
Rhudaur into his own hands rather than appoint a new
vice-regent those Men who were Angmar's tools raised a
rebellion against him.
They killed Argeleb in the first battle of Amon
Sul, (1356) but his son Arveleg I, defeated the forces
of Angmar and drove them from Rhudaur. Arveleg retained
the scepter of Rhudaur but appointed Borlas son of
Borlad, a captain and councillor of the late Queen, his
viceregent in all but name giving him the title of
Lord of the Marches of Rhudaur. And this was meant not
only as reward to Borlas for his services to Beruthiel
and Argeleb I but as a demonstration of the High
King's continued trust in his Hill-Men subjects. And
Arveleg made a solemn vow to restore the Kingdom of
Rhudaur when days of peace returned. Neither he nor
the Men who accepted the vow forsaw it would be nigh
on seventeen hundred years before it could be fulfilled.
The Men of Rhudaur proved more than worthy of their
High King's trust. For over fifty years Borlas and his
successors held the marches against thepower of Angmar,
but in 1409 they were overwhelmed by a sudden massive
onslaught from Carn Dum. Minvorn Erain, the Black Tower
the Kings, capital and great fortress of Rhudaur fell
and the then Lord of the Marches and his Men with it,
fighting to the last. The survivors, Dunedain and Hill
Men alike, fled to the fortresses of the Weather Hills
and there made their stand alongside the army of Arthedain.
King Arveleg was killed in the second Battle of Amon Sul,
the Tower destroyed and its Palantir taken by the enemy.
The survivors fell back to Fornost, led now by Araphor,
the eighteen year old son of Arveleg.
In the south the Red Fortress of Cardol fell to a
combined attack by Angmar and Dunlendings. King Aradan
and his sons were killed but his grandnephew, Prince
Arduin, fought on from his refuge in the Barrow Downs.
The Men of Minhiriath, driven from their homes took to
the Woodlands and harried the enemy has their fathers'
fathers had harrassed the Numenoreans long ago.
Imladris too was beseiged by an army of Orcs and
Hill Men and had Elrond not been the keeper of Vilya,
chief of the three Elven Rings, and free to use its
power since the loss of the One Ring, he would surely
have been overcome. As it was he could not break out
to bring aid his mortal kin.
It was the Elves of Lindon who came to the support
of the Dunedain. Though they were no longer the great
host Gil-Galad had led to The Last Alliance still they
were enough to turn the tide. They relieved the seige
of Fornost and together with the young High King drove
back the armies of Angmar beyond the frontier of the
Weather Hills and recaptured the Palantir of Amon Sul.
The siege of Imladris was broken by an army of
Elves sent from Lorien by Galadriel. They cleared the
land between the Mitheithel and Bruinen of the forces
of Angmar but the greater part of Rhudaur remained in
enemy hands. Deprived of the support of Angmar the
Dunlendings were driven out of Cardolan and pursued
even to the borders of their own land by the Dunedain
warriors of Prince Arduin and the Men of Minihiriath.
The forts of the Weather Hills were rebuilt by
Araphor and Borgan, Heir of Borlas, was confirmed as
Lord of the Marches of Rhudaur making his stronghold
in the highlands between the Mitheithel and the
Bruinen. In the south Arduin was given the scepter
of Cardolan, and took the sister of Araphor as his
Queen. All settled down to a long, watchful peace.
Four hundred and forty one years later, (1851) The
High King Araval, allied with the Elves of Lindon and
Imladris, won a great victory against Angmar. Though
Araval failed to retake central Rhudaur and Minvorn
Erain the Witch King was forced to flee the field of
battle, and his forces were decimated and his power
Araval's son Araphant renewed the war upon his
succession (1891) and by 1900 had driven the Hill Men
of Angmar from Rhudaur and given its scepter to his
younger brother Arvellin.
Araphant sought an alliance with Gondor against
what he now percieved was their common foe, Sauron
himself disembodied but still malign. In 1940 his son
Arvedui married Firiel, the only daughter of King
Ondoher of Gondor.
Arvedui was named 'Last King' by the Royal
councillor Malbeth, a famous seer, who forsaw for him
two possible destinies; either he would reunite the
Realms in Exile and lead the Dunedain to victory over
the creatures of Sauron or he would fall in battle
against Angmar and the Dunedain would fall with him
and endure many years of trial before another chance
would come to restore their fortunes.
The chance for reunion came in 1944 when King
Ondoher and his two sons fell in battle against the
Wainriders. Arvedui put forward his claim to the crown
of Gondor as the Heir of Isildur, elder son and heir
of Elendil. And his wife Firiel's rights as the only
surviving child of her father. But the Council of
Gondor, led by the Steward Pelendur, rejected both
claims replying, (falsely though they may have
believed it true) that Isildur had relinquished his
throne of Gondor to Meneldil and that women were
ineligible to wear the crown. Instead they took a
victorious general distantly akin to the Royal House
to be their king thus indirectly causing the
destruction of Arthedain and the long decline of
It was at this time that Tar-Vardamire, wife of
Elendil and mother of Isildur and Anarion, last of the
Line of the Kings of Numenor and first Ruler of the
Realms in Exile, abruptly vanishes from the histories
of Gondor. Hitherto the Heirs of Anarion had made rather
a point of their descent from the Kings of Numenor but
when one has denied the daughter of the King her heritage
on account of her sex one cannot very well admit that the
founders of the realm owed their scepters to their
wife and mother!
As always the heirs of Isildur took their rejection
with grace, acccepting the new King Earnil's
professions of friendship and maintaining the alliance
with Gondor, though it did them little good in the
Araphant resigned the scepter to his son Arvedui in
1964, (as was the custom of the Heirs of Isildur) and
in the autumn of 1973 the new King sent word to Gondor
that Angmar was mustering its forces for war. True to
his word King Earnil immediately began preparing a
fleet to go to the aid of Arthedain but the Witch King
launched his attack in the dead of winter, surprising
his enemies. He overran Rhudaur and took Fornost
itself early in 1974. Realizing to stand was to die
Arvedui ordered the evacuation of the City covering
the escaping refugees, led by his wife and sons, with
his Royal Guard.
Queen Firiel and Prince Aranarth led their people
over the Baranduin and into Dunhirion before going to
Mithlond to appeal to Cirdan, ancient ally of the
North Kingdom for his help.
The King managed to escape with a few men north
over the river Lune and finally to the Bay of Forochel
where he was aided by the Lossoth, the snow people,
who dwelt there. Cirdan sent a ship to him but it was
crushed by the ice and the King and his company
The fleet of Gondor, (which was not quite so grand
and powerful as the historians of that country would
have us believe) arrived to late to save Arvedui but
the new King, Aranarth, (whose role in the final
defeat of Angmar is strangely overlooked in the Annals
of Gondor) was glad enough of their coming.
A cool headed and patient man he restrained his
impetuous kinsman and ally Earnur of Gondor, mustering
his forces slowly, and in secret and laying his plans
with care. And when all was ready striking suddenly
and with force, together with the Elves of Lindon and
Imladris, taking the Witch King by surprise as he had
surprised the Dunedain. And Angmar was defeated so
utterly that the Witch King fled the North altogether
but Fornost and Minvorn Erain lay in ruins and the
land was ravaged.
Earnur, who was as generous as he was brave, (but
none too bright as subsequent events would show)
offered to take Aranarth and his people to Gondor
where indeed they would have been a welcome addition
to the sadly depleted ranks of the Dunedain. The
political complications of the rightful heirs to the
Kingdom living under the protection of its usurpers
escaped Earnur entirely but not Aranarth. Realizing
his presence in Gondor could only create dangerous
dissension he chose to remain in his own kingdom, and
his people stayed with him.
It was within Aranarth's power to rebuild Fornost
and even Minvorn Erain; Cardolan, Dunhirion and the
lands west of the Evendim Hills were almost untouched
and his people, (dispite later reports to the
contrary) numerous enough. But he recognized that to
do so would be to invite further attacks and greater
And so he chose to disappear with his people,
abandoning their remaining cities and towns for hidden
fastnesses spread throughout the 'Lost Realm of
Arnor'. Aranarth gave up the name of King calling
himself instead Chieftain of the Dunedain and gave the
scepter of Annuminas into the keeping of Elrond along
with the shards of Narsil and other heirlooms against
the day of reunion promised by Malbeth.
On the Numenorean Laws Of Succession And Queen Firiel's
Claim To Her Father's Throne:
The Edain of the First Age followed what we would
call the 'Salic Law', inheritance through the male line
only. If their Lord had no son of his own to follow him
the rule went not to his daughter or to her sons but
to his nearest male relative descended in the male line.
In all fairness this was not an unreasonable custom
for a migratory people under almost constant attack.
Their rulers had to be warriors and it is literally
insane for a small, endangered population to risk its
women in warfare.
They continued to follow this traditional law after
settling in Numenor until the reign of Tar-Aldarion
whose only child was a daughter. He changed the law so
she could succeed him: The new rule was that sons took
precedence over daughters but failing a male heir a
daughter could inherit.
Tar-Aldarion's council added to this law a rider;
an heiress, unlike a male heir, was free to refuse the
scepter if she chose, (and at least two are known to
have done so). Sometime later, probably under
Tar-Ancalime the first Ruling Queen, the law was
changed again to simple primogeniture. The eldest
child inheriting regardless of gender.
It seems probable that this final law applied only
to the Royal House. Evidence suggests that other noble
families continued, for the most part, to follow the
old law of male only inheritance. But those of the
Line of Elros, such as the Lords of Andunie, adopted
the new Law of Aldarion that permitted the succession
And it was the Law of Aldarion that became the law of
Arnor after the Downfall. Thus it seemed obvious to Arvedui
that his wife Firiel was rightful heiress of the Line of
Anarion after the deaths of her father and brothers, and
her sons after her.
The Council of Gondor's refusal of her claim had, I
suspect, more to do with the fact she was married to
the Heir of Isildur than her sex, though the latter
made a useful excuse. They simply did not want reunion
with the North Kingdom.
And one can't help but be suspicious of the
disinterestedness of Mardil 'The Good Steward' and his
successors in their continued rejection of the Heirs
of Isildur. Especially as they later made a law
allowing the Stewardship to be inherited in the female
Leaving aside the entire question of Meneldil's
right to the kingdom of Gondor, Aragorn as the
descendant of Firiel was as much the Heir of Anarion
as he was of Isildur.
On the Kingdom of Gondor and the Stewards:
The claim of the Heirs of Anarion to the throne
of Gondor was decidedly questionable. By right they
were only sub-kings ruling by the grace of the High
King in Arnor, but Meneldil son of Anarion had taken
advantage of the untimely death of his uncle Isildur
to claim independent sovereignity.
In Gondor it was said, after Isildur's death, that
he had resigned the scepter of the Southern Kingdom
to his nephew and his heirs. But there is no charter
or other record confirming so momentous a decision
by Isildur and the story is certainly untrue.
It was believed in the North that Meneldil's lie
and oathbreaking were the root cause of all Gondor's
subsequent misfortunes, and of the swift waning of
the Dunedain of the South.
If Arnor became as an image of Numenor in the days
of her bliss in her piety and her art and learning, then
Gondor grew to resemble the Downfallen in the worst of her
pride and power. The Dunedain of the South repeated many
of the follies of their ancestors; desire for the
immortality of the Elves, greed for wealth and conquest,
obsession with lineage and 'purity of blood',(leading to the
destructive Kinstrife) all but the final folly. To their
credit the Gondorim never fell into the snare of the
Enemy but were always counted among his most feared foes.
If the Line of Anarion's claim to sovereignity was
questionable The legitimacy of the Stewards' rule was
doubly so. Especially as they had knowingly denied
the throne to the legitimate heir on decidedly spurious
grounds (discussed above). Though many of the Stewards
were good and honorable Men Gondor did not flourish
under their rule, indeed her long decline accelerated
during the thousand years of their governance. It was
not until the King Returned that Gondor regained something
of her ancient glory.
(1) As evidenced by the fact that not one of the High Kings of
Arthedain dies a violent death in all this time.
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