Though it doesn’t really seem so on the blog, I took about a week off from writing because a couple of inlaws were visiting. Having a week away from this wasn’t incredibly ideal, but hard to argue with taking a break now and then (there will be more – come on, it’s summer!).
Having finished up the writings about Isildur and the Ring, I think I’ll continue on with Elrond’s talk at the Council. Elrond gave a quick summation of what happened to the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor after Isildur’s death.
You’re probably going to need a map for this. Try this one.
There was not much to tell about Arnor, it seems. There, the men were diminished. We’re told that “their city of Annuminas beside Lake Evendim fell into ruin.” For a bit of reference, Annuminas and Lake Evendim were located just north of where the Shire was to eventually be. In fact, the Brandywine River flows from the lake.
Annuminas was where Elendil placed one of the palantíri, so that it could communicate with some of the others. There’s not a whole lot mentioned anywhere about the Annuminas-stone. Eventually, when Arnor was overrun by the Witch-king’s armies (this would be nearly 2,000 years after it was established), Arvedui, king of Arthedain (one of the three splintered kingdoms of Arnor), saved this palentir and another, and fled north on a ship that was downed by ice. The palentiri were sank with him (1975 of the Third Age).
Anyway, Elrond didn’t really explain any of that (it was probably written after Lord of the Rings was published). All he said was that “the folk of Arnor dwindled, and their foes devoured them, and their lordship passed, leaving only green mounds in the grassy hills.” These green mounds were the Barrow-downs, where the last kings of Arnor were buried.
But things were different in Gondor, far to the south. “For awhile its splendor grew,” he says. It even somewhat recalled “the might of Numenor, ere it fell.” What with its high towers, strong places, havens for ships, “and the winged crown of the Kings of Men,” it’s hardly surprising.
During this time, they built Osgiliath along the east banks of the Anduin River. Also, Minas Ithil, on the western slopes of the Mountains of Shadow – the border of Morodor, was improved. A palantir was also placed in that tower. This was the Ithil-stone, though when Sauron overran Minas Ithil (in 2002 of the Third Age), he took the stone back to his own tower at Barad-dur. That’s when Minas Ithil became known as Minas Morgul.
They also improved upon Minas Anor, which also had a palantir. When Minas Ithil (Tower of the Rising Moon) was taken over and became Minas Morgul (Tower of Dark Sorcery) , Minas Anor (Tower of the Sun) became Minas Tirith (Tower of the Guard). In this way, the two towers were perpetually linked.
It was in Minas Anor (later Tirith) where Isildur planted the White Tree. But even Gondor eventually withered, as did the Tree. “Then the watch upon the walls of Mordor slept, and dark things crept back to Gorgoroth.” After that, both Arnor and Gondor fell (I’m jumping around a bit in time here). At any rate, things went bad and towers were renamed.
Elrond explained that “the orders of Minas Tirith still fight on, defying our enemies, keeping the passage of the River from Argonath to the Sea.” This meant that traffic on the River Anduin flowed without threat from Sauron all through Gondor, from the Argonath – the “Pillars of Kings,” which marked the northern entrance, to the Sea. But between Lorien and the Argonath, it was anybody’s guess. That was near Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood. That was where the River Limlight flowed from Fangorn Forest. It was the Brown Lands. It was the ass end of Rohan, and who the hell knows what was going on there.
Elrond paused for a moment and Boromir, a Man, stood. He had come from Gondor and wanted to catch us up on the more recent history. We’ll get to that tomorrow.
A Few Notes
- I was hoping for a less historical post to get me back into my daily writing, but here we are – nothing but history. Thanks, Elrond.
- There’s still quite a bit of the Council of Elrond left. I’d like to spend some time on the various drafts concerning Gandalf’s delay. They’re fascinating and involve Treebeard. I might have to skip around a bit.
- I’ll also have to rejoin the Fellowship at some point. I’ll probably do this soon, just to catch up. It won’t be until they reach almost the Doors of Moria when we’ll rejoin them full on.
About the Photo
Here’s a large chunk of land with a river in it. Let’s just say that this is the ass end of Rohan looking toward the Brown Lands. The Columbia River can once more stand in for the Anduin.
- Day 133
- Miles today: 5
- Miles thus far: 656 (202 from Rivendell)
- 138 miles to the Doors of Moria
- 265 miles to Lothlórien
- 1,123 miles to Mt. Doom
Today’s stopping place in the narrative: Book II, Chapter 3. Encamped along the western foothills of the Misty Mountains. 12th night out from Rivendell. January 6, 3019 TA. (map)