An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
North-kingdom. The Chieftains
of the Dunedain were direct descendants of Isildur,
the second King of the North-kingdom of Arnor. Arnor had been divided into
three Kingdoms in 861 of the Third Age and the line of Isildur had been
continued through the Kings of Arthedain.
The North-kingdom ceased to exist entirely in 1974 when the Witch-king of Angmar attacked the remaining Dunedain. He was defeated at the Battle of Fornost in 1975, but the Dunedain suffered great losses. They did not return to the city of Fornost but instead became a wandering people.
Since he had no Kingdom to rule,Aranarth - son of Arvedui, last King of Arthedain - took the title Chieftain of the Dunedain in 1976. The Sceptre of Annuminas which was the chief symbol of royalty of the North-kingdom was left in the care of Elrond at Rivendell along with other heirlooms of the House of Isildur. The Chieftains of the Dunedain also fostered their sons with Elrond during their youth.
There were sixteen Chieftains of the Dunedain. They maintained in a direct line from father to son the blood of Isildur, son of Elendil. The Chieftains were also descendants of Elendil's second son Anarion - forefather of the Kings of Gondor - through Aranarth's mother Firiel who was the daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor.
The Dunedain of the North continued to protect the peoples of Eriador who called them Rangers. Orcs and other dangerous creatures troubled the northern lands. In 2327, Aragorn I - the fifth Chieftain - was killed by wolves. The twelfth Chieftain, Arathorn I, died an untimely death in unknown circumstances in 2848. Arador, the fourteenth Chieftain, was killed by Hill-trolls in the Coldfells north of Rivendell in 2930.
Arador's son Arathorn II was Chieftain for only three years when was he killed while hunting Orcs in 2933. His son Aragorn II was only two years old when he became the sixteenth and last Chieftain of the Dunedain. Aragorn's mother Gilraen took him to Rivendell to live with Elrond until he came of age. Elrond told Aragorn of his heritage in 2951.
Aragorn fought with the free peoples of Middle-earth against Sauron in the War of the Ring. After Sauron was defeated in 3019, Aragorn reestablished the North-kingdom and claimed the Kingship of both Arnor and Gondor. He received the Sceptre of Annuminas from Elrond on Midsummer's Eve and he received the Crown of Gondor on May 1. His descendants were the Kings of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor.
List of the
Chieftains of the Dunedain
(years = reign)
In one case, however, it was the Council that made the decision. In 1944 of the Third Age, King Ondoher of Gondor and his sons were killed in battle, and there was no direct heir to the throne. King Arvedui of Arthedain - a remnant of the North-kingdom of Arnor - staked a claim to the throne of Gondor as a descendant of Isildur and the husband of Ondoher's daughter Firiel.
The claim was rejected by the Council of Gondor, led by Pelendur, the Steward of King Ondoher. The Council stated that Gondor was ruled by the heirs of Elendil's son Anarion, not Isildur, and also that any claim through the female line was invalid. In 1945, the Crown of Gondor was given to Earnil, a member of the Royal House of Gondor and a victorious military commander.
After the line of Kings ended, the Ruling Stewards also consulted a Council in matters of importance. During the War of the Ring, Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, consulted his Council as Sauron's forces prepared to attack Minas Tirith. In the end, Denethor made up his own mind and sent Faramir to defend the river crossing at Osgiliath, where he lost a third of his men and was nearly killed.
When Aragorn became King, he reestablished the Great Council of Gondor, with his Steward Faramir as his chief counsellor.
Also called the Great Council of Gondor.
The Return of the King: "The Siege of Gondor," p. 89
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion," p. 329-30
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letter #244
Under the military reorganization in the time of King Folcwine, the eohere was determined to be composed of 100 companies. Each company - or eored - had at least 120 Riders. Thus at full strength the eohere of Rohan could number about 12,000 Riders.
During the War of the Ring, King Theoden said that he might have mustered 10,000 Riders to send to Gondor, but that some had to be left to guard Rohan's strongholds. The King led 6,000 Riders forth to wage war against the forces of Sauron at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields on March 15, 3019.
Also called the Full Muster of the Riders of the Mark or simply the Full Muster.
The word éoherë comes from the Old English eoh meaning "horse" and herë meaning "host, army."
Unfinished Tales: "Cirion and Eorl," p. 298, 313 note 27, 315 note 36, 318-19 note 49
During the War of the Ring, Eomer, the Third Marshal of the Mark, defied orders and led his eored in pursuit of a band of Orcs who had entered Rohan from the Emyn Muil. In the battle between Eomer's men and the Orcs, fifteen Riders were killed. Eomer's eored thus numbered only 105 when they encountered Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli on February 30, 3019 of the Third Age.
Merry Brandybuck and Eowyn - disguised as a Rider named Dernhelm - rode with the eored commanded by Elfhelm to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields on March 15. When the Rohirrim charged onto the battlefield, Eomer led the first eored in the center while Elfhelm's eored was on the right flank and Grimbold's was on the left flank and the other companies followed behind. King Theoden rode before them all.
After the War of the Ring, Eomer returned to Minas Tirith with an eored of Rohan's fairest knights to escort the body of their slain King home for burial.
The word éored comes from the Old English eoh meaning "horse" and rád meaning "riding."
Unfinished Tales: "Cirion and Eorl," p. 290, 301, 315 note 36; "The Battles of the Fords of Isen," p. 357, 362, 367-68
The Two Towers: "The Riders of Rohan," p. 32, 37, 39-40
The Return of the King: "The Ride of the Rohirrim," p. 104, 110-13; "Many Partings," p. 253
The Guards of the Citadel were the last line of defense for Minas
Tirith. They were responsible for defending the Citadel
on the seventh level where the rulers of Gondor governed and lived. They
also guarded the White Tree in the
Court of the Fountain which was a symbol of Gondor.
At the end of the Third Age, the Guards of the Citadel were the only unit in Gondor's military to wear the livery of Elendil - the first High King of Gondor and Arnor. Their colors were black and silver. They wore black robes and they had black surcoats emblazoned with the White Tree under a silver Crown and Seven Stars.
The helmets of the Guards of the Citadel resembled the Crown of Gondor, which in turn was derived from a war-helm of Numenor. The Guards' helmets were made of mithril and they were tall with long cheek-guards and white sea-bird wings on either side. Pippin Took was given a helmet with raven-wings when he became a Guard of the Citadel but the reason for the distinction is unclear.
The Guards of the Citadel were highly respected in Gondor. There were at least three companies of Guards. The companies were referred to by number such as the Third Company in which Beregond was a man at arms.
Each company had its own storehouse, buttery, and mess hall in the Citadel. The Third Company's storehouse was below ground level on the north side of the Tower of Ecthelion. In wartime, the Guards rose and breakfasted before dawn, ate nuncheon at noon or afterwards depending on their duties, and had the daymeal around sunset.
The Guards of the Citadel could not leave the Citadel without the permission of either their Captain or the Lord of the City. They were forbidden on pain of death to abandon their posts while on duty.
Beregond left his post at the citadel-gate when he learned that Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, intended to burn his son Faramir alive. For this reason - and because he killed Denethor's servants in the Hallows - he was removed from the Guard of the Citadel by the chief of the Guard. After Aragorn became King of Gondor he judged that Beregond's life should be spared and he reassigned him to the White Company of Faramir in Ithilien.
Guard of the Citadel
in the New Line film
During the Scouring of the Shire in November of 3019, the Hobbitry of the Shire were called to arms by Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took. At the Battle of Bywater on November 3, the Hobbits defeated the Men who had invaded the Shire. Nineteen Hobbits were killed and 30 were wounded. It was the last battle to take place in the Shire.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits," p. 14, 18-19
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 294-95
I, the eldest of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves. The Dwarves of Durin's
Folk were known as the Longbeards. There were six other Houses of the Dwarves,
each with its own leader: the Firebeards, the Broadbeams, the Ironfists,
the Stiffbeards, the Blacklocks, and the Stonefoots.
Durin I established the realm of Khazad-dum under the Misty Mountains in ancient times. He was long-lived and he ruled his people until his death sometime before the end of the First Age. The name of his direct successor is not known. Six of Durin's successors bore his name and these Kings resembled him and were believed to have his spirit and memories.
Durin III was the King of Durin's Folk during the late 1600s of the Second Age. At this time, the Dwarves of Khazad-dum were friendly with the Elves of nearby Eregion. Durin III received one of the Seven Rings from the Elven-smiths, and the Ring was passed down to the subsquent Kings of Durin's Folk. During the War of the Elves and Sauron in 1697, Durin III sent an army from Khazad-dum to help the Elves.
Durin III's successor is not known. The next known King of Durin's Folk was Durin VI who ruled during the 1900s of the Third Age. During his reign, the Dwarves delved deep beneath Caradhras and encountered the Balrog which had lain dormant there since the end of the First Age. Durin VI was killed by the Balrog in 1980, and the next year in 1981 his successor Nain I was also killed.
The Dwarves of Durin's Folk abandoned Khazad-dum after the death of Nain I. His son Thrain I became the King of Durin's Folk. In 1999, Thrain I led his people to the Lonely Mountain where he established a realm and called himself King under the Mountain.
Thorin I succeeded Thrain I as King of Durin's Folk in 2190. In 2210, he led a group of Dwarves to the Grey Mountains which were largely unexplored. Thorin I was followed by his son Gloin in 2289, who in turn was succeeded by his son Oin in 2385, followed by his son Nain II in 2488.
Dain I succeeded Nain II as King of Durin's Folk in 2585. He and his second son Fror were killed by a Dragon from the Northern Waste in 2589. Dain's elder son Thror became the King of Durin's Folk and he led many of their people back to the Lonely Mountain in 2590. There the Dwarves prospered for many years until Smaug the Dragon captured the Lonely Mountain in 2770.
Thror escaped with a number of his people. They wandered homeless for many years before settling in Dunland at the foot of the Misty Mountains. Thror became obsessed with reclaiming the wealth of his people. He may have been influenced by the Ring that had been passed down to him through generations from Durin III.
In 2790, Thror set out with one companion, Nar, to try to reclaim Khazad-dum. Thror was killed by the Orc-leader Azog. Thror's son Thrain II became King of Durin's Folk. Thrain II gathered an army of Dwarves of the House of Durin and of other Houses. In 2793, the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs began. The Orcs were defeated in the Battle of Azanulbizar in 2799 but the Dwarves were unable to reclaim Khazad-dum where the Balrog still dwelled.
Durin's Folk became a wandering people once more. Some followed Thrain II back to Dunland, and in 2802 they relocated to the Blue Mountains where they made a modest living working in iron.
But like his father, Thrain II desired wealth and was possibly influenced by his Ring. He intended to return to the Lonely Mountain but in 2845 he was captured by Sauron who took the Last of the Seven Rings from him and imprisoned him in Dol Guldur. Just before Thrain II died in 2850, Gandalf found him in the dungeon and received the map and key to the Lonely Mountain from him.
Thrain's son Thorin Oakenshield did not know his father's fate at first, but he assumed the Kingship of Durin's Folk and he was styled Thorin II. In 2941, Thorin Oakenshield led twelve Dwarves and a Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug. But although the mission was successful, Thorin was killed in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Thorin had no son and the direct line of succession was broken. Dain Ironfoot, who was the grandson of Dain I's third son Gror, became the King of Durin's Folk and was styled Dain II. Dain II was killed in the Battle of Dale during the War of the Ring in 3019. He was succeeded by his son Thorin Stonehelm, called Thorin III.
Thorin III's immediate successor is not known. At some point - probably during the Fourth Age - there was a King of Durin's Folk named Durin VII. He was the last King to bear the name of Durin and therefore the last to carry the memories of Durin I. Durin VII reclaimed Khazad-dum and his descendants ruled a great realm there until the race of Dwarves dwindled.
Also called Durin's Heir and the Heir of Durin.
Rohan was divided into the East-mark and the West-mark for military purposes. Each had its own Muster of Riders. The Snowbourn and the Entwash formed the boundary between the two. Edoras and the surrounding King's Lands including Harrowdale were considered a separate military district. The Muster of Edoras was supplemented by some Riders from the East-mark and the West-mark.
The First Marshal commanded the Muster of Edoras. The Musters of the East-mark and the West-mark were commanded by the other two Marshals of the Mark, though they did not have permanent assignments. The Second Marshal was responsible for whichever region was of greater strategic importance at the time, while the Third Marshal was in charge of the other.
During the reign of King Theoden (2980-3019 of the Third Age) the King himself acted in the capacity of First Marshal of the Mark in command of the Muster of Edoras. Theoden was a strong and skilled Rider who was capable of leading his people to war. While Rohan was at peace, the garrison of Edoras was supervised by a marshal of lesser rank. Elfhelm was in charge of the garrison from 3012 to 3019.
Eomund of Eastfold served for a time as King Theoden's chief Marshal of the Mark - presumably the Second Marshal since Theoden himself was First Marshal. Eomund's territory was the East-mark which was frequently raided by Orcs from Mordor. Eomund was killed by Orcs on Rohan's eastern border in 3002.
Theoden's son Theodred was the Second Marshal of the Mark after Eomund. At the end of the Third Age, the greater threat to Rohan was from Saruman in Isengard, and Theodred therefore took command of the West-mark. He was stationed at Helm's Deep. Eomer - the son of Eomund and King Theoden's sister Theodwyn - became the Third Marshal of the Mark in 3017. He was in charge of his father's former territory in the East-mark, and he was based at Aldburg.
Beginning around 3014, King Theoden fell under Saruman's control through the influence of his traitorous counsellor Grima Wormtongue. Since the First Marshal was effectively incapacitated, Theodred assumed general command when Saruman launched an invasion of Rohan in 3019. He ordered Elfhelm to bring reinforcements from the Muster of Edoras to help the Muster of the West-mark defend the Fords of Isen.
Theodred was killed in the First Battle of the Fords of Isen on February 25, 3019. Erkenbrand, the Lord of the Westfold, took command of the Muster of the West-mark. He went to gather more Riders and he left Grimbold - a marshal of lesser rank - in command at the Fords. Elfhelm remained in charge of the companies from the Muster of Edoras. Grimbold and Elfhelm tried to stop Saruman's invasion force in the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen on March 2 but they were overwhelmed.
Eomer meanwhile had learned that Orcs had entered the Wold in northern Rohan. Grima persuaded King Theoden to forbid Eomer to take forces from the East-mark in pursuit. Eomer defied orders and set out with the eored from his household. They defeated the band of Orcs at the edge of Fangorn Forest on February 29. Eomer was arrested on Grima's orders when he returned to Edoras the next day.
King Theoden was freed from Grima's influence by Gandalf on March 2 and assumed overall command of Rohan's forces. Eomer was released and became in effect the First Marshal though he was not given the rank officially. They defeated Saruman's army in the Battle of Helm's Deep on March 3-4 and prepared to ride to Gondor to help fight Sauron.
Theoden held a council of his marshals and captains in Harrowdale on the night of March 9 to determine the order of battle. The Full Muster of Rohan's forces took place the next day and they set out for Gondor.
Eomer rode in the vanguard with Theoden at the head the King's Company. Command of the Muster of the East-mark was given to Elfhelm and he was made a Marshal of the Mark. Erkenbrand remained behind in charge of the defenses of Rohan, and command of the Muster of the West-mark was given to Grimbold who acted as Third Marshal though he was not promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Mark.
When the Rohirrim charged onto the Pelennor Fields on March 15, Elfhelm was on the right flank and Grimbold was on the left flank while Eomer led the first eored in the center with Theoden riding in front of them all. Theoden was killed in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and Eomer became King of Rohan. Grimbold was also slain. After the battle, Elfhelm led 3,000 Riders to defeat Sauron's forces in Anorien while Eomer led 1,000 Riders to fight in the Battle of the Morannon on March 25. Sauron was vanquished that day when the One Ring was destroyed.
King Eomer reordered Rohan's military structure after the War of the Ring. He eliminated the ranks of First, Second, and Third Marshal and replaced them with two Marshals of equal rank: the Marshal of the East-mark and the Marshal of the West-mark. Elfhelm was the Marshal of the East-mark and Erkenbrand was the Marshal of the West-mark. Eomer also created the position of Underking to rule Rohan in the King's absence or to lead Rohan's forces in battle if the King remained at home.
Also called Marshal of Riddermark. A marshal is a military officer of high rank. The titles First Marshal of the Mark, Second Marshal of the Mark, and Third Marshal of the Mark were used in the Third Age. In the Fourth Age these were replaced with the Marshal of the East-mark and the Marshal of the West-mark. There were also various marshals of lesser rank.
Unfinished Tales: "The Battles of the Fords of Isen," passim especially "Appendix (i)," p. 366-69
The Two Towers: "The Riders of Rohan," p. 35, 39; "The King of the Golden Hall," p. 117, 122; "The Road to Isengard," p. 157
The Return of the King: "The Muster of Rohan," p. 66; "The Ride of the Rohirrim," p. 104, 111; "The Last Debate," p. 158
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The House of Eorl," p. 350-51
Line of Masters
(dates = years as Master)
|Head of the Brandybuck
family. The Master of Buckland had authority over the inhabitants of
on the east side of the Brandywine
River. His authority was also recognised by many of the farmers in
the Marish on the west side of the
river. In truth, since the Shire had no real government
structure, the Master's authority was fairly limited, but he was accorded
a special respect.
The first Master of Buckland was Gorhendad Oldbuck, who founded Buckland in 2340 of the Third Age. He changed the family name to Brandybuck and built Brandy Hall, where the Master traditionally resided.
After his father's death in the year 11 of the Fourth Age, Merry Brandybuck became the Master of Buckland. He was known as Meriadoc the Magnificent. In the year 13, Aragorn, King Elessar, made the Master of Buckland a Counsellor of the North-kingdom.
In 2941 of the Third Age, the Master of Lake-town received unexpected guests when Thorin Oakenshield arrived with twelve Dwarves and the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Thorin claimed to be the heir of the King under the Mountain - the ruler of the Lonely Mountain which had been captured from the Dwarves by the Dragon Smaug.
The Master thought Thorin was a fraud, but he gave in to popular opinion and welcomed Thorin & Company to Lake-town. They were given a house and new clothes and other supplies. The Master encouraged the townspeople to sing songs predicting the defeat of Smaug and a subsequent rise in Lake-town's prosperity. But he was shocked when Thorin & Company actually set out for the Lonely Mountain. He was also glad they were leaving because the Dwarves' upkeep was expensive and because the townspeople had stopped working due to the celebrations.
The Master at this time was skillful in business matters - particularly his own - and he was a persuasive speaker, but he was not much use in a crisis. When Smaug attacked Lake-town, the defenses were organized by Bard the Bowman, a descendant of the Lords of Dale. The Master escaped in his boat but Bard stayed behind and he slew Smaug with his Black Arrow. Lake-town was destroyed when Smaug's body fell on it.
The people of Lake-town turned on the Master and wanted to make Bard their King. The Master persuaded the townspeople to redirect their anger toward the Dwarves who had roused the Dragon, and he suggested that Bard go reclaim Dale instead. Bard directed relief efforts in the Master's name while the Master claimed one of the few shelters and sat idle.
Bard then set out for the Lonely Mountain with the Elvenking Thranduil to investigate what had become of Thorin and the Dragon's hoard. The Master remained behind with the women, children, and infirm. He began planning a new Lake-town. Bard later gave the Master a share of the Dragon's gold to use for the rebuilding project, but the Master stole the gold for himself. He fled into the Northern Waste and eventually died of starvation after his companions abandoned him.
The people of Lake-town elected a new Master, while Bard became King of Dale. Lake-town was rebuilt and it became a prosperous trade center once more. Because of this, the new Master was very popular and it was said that he made the rivers run with gold.
The names of the individual Masters of Lake-town are not known, including that of the Master in The Hobbit. The townspeople scornfully referred to that Master as Moneybags.
Also called the Master of the Lake-men and the Master of Esgaroth.
The Hobbit: "A Warm Welcome," p. 209-13; "Fire and Water," p. 260-67; "The Gathering of the Clouds," p. 270-71, 276; "The Last Stage," p. 304, 317
The Mayor was elected every seven years at the Free Fair at Lithe in Midsummer. His office was in the Town Hole in Michel Delving in the Westfarthing.
Will Whitfoot was the Mayor at the time of the War of the Ring. When Lotho Sackville-Baggins named himself Chief Shirriff, he had the Mayor arrested and put in the Lockholes. When Will Whitfoot was released on November 4, 3019 of the Third Age, he was in no condition to return to his duties, so Frodo Baggins agreed to serve as Deputy Mayor. Frodo's only act while in office was to reduce the Shirriffs to their normal number and functions. Frodo resigned on Mid-year's Day in 3020 and Will Whitfoot returned to the office of Mayor for another seven years.
In the year 6 of the Fourth Age, Sam Gamgee was elected Mayor. He served seven seven-year terms. Aragorn, King Elessar, made the Mayor a Counsellor of the North-kingdom in the year 13. Tom Cotton briefly served as deputy Mayor when Sam traveled to Gondor in the year 21. The year 55 was Sam's last as Mayor.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Of the Ordering of the Shire," p. 19; "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony," p. 168
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 281; "The Grey Havens," p. 301, 305; Appendix B, p. 377-78
During the War of the Ring, the Messenger Service was taken over by the Chief's Men. Ordinary Hobbits were not allowed to use it. The Chief's Men used the old Quick Post service, which may have been a particularly speedy method of sending messages.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits," 19; "A Long-Expected Party," p. 34
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 282
The word Messrs. is the plural of Mr. It is pronounced like "messers." It comes from the French messieurs, the plural of monsieur, meaning "mister."
The Hobbit: "The Last Stage," p. 313-14
The Wizards were Maiar - spirits who helped and served the Valar. They were chosen by the Valar to act as their emissaries in Middle-earth as Sauron's power grew. According to one story, Saruman was chosen by the Vala Aule, Gandalf was selected by Manwe and Varda, Radagast was picked by Yavanna, and Alatar was sent by Orome along with Pallando.
They were given the forms of old men so they could interact with the peoples of Middle-earth. They aged very slowly and they lived in Middle-earth for about 2,000 years. Their spirits were immortal but their bodies were real and they could experience hunger, weariness, pain, and even death. Both Gandalf and Saruman were killed, though Gandalf was returned to life.
The Wizards each wore robes of a specific color. White was reserved for the head of the Order of Wizards - first Saruman and then Gandalf. Gandalf's original color was grey, Radagast's robes were brown, and Alatar and Pallando both wore sea-blue robes and were known as the Blue Wizards.
Each of the Five Wizards bore a staff. A Wizard's staff may have been an instrument of his power to some extent, though the nature of the connection is unclear. "The staff in the hand of a wizard may be more than a prop for age," according to Hama. (TTT, p. 116) Gandalf used his staff on numerous occasions, but he was also able to defeat the Balrog without it. When Gandalf cast Saruman from the Order of Wizards he broke Saruman's staff. Afterwards, Saruman had lost his power so this may have been more than a symbolic gesture.
The Wizards had great knowledge and power, though these were somewhat diminished when they assumed their new forms and they had to relearn many things through experience. They were forbidden to reveal their true nature or to use their powers to dominate others. Instead their purpose was to help and counsel the peoples of Middle-earth to unite against Sauron.
Sauron rose to power again after his defeat in the War of the Last Alliance at the end of the Second Age. He built the stronghold of Dol Guldur in Greenwood. Around 1050 of the Third Age, a shadow fell on the forest and it became known as Mirkwood. The Wizards were sent to Middle-earth around this time. However, the Wizards were not aware that the evil presence in Dol Guldur was Sauron but instead thought it was a Nazgul.
When the Five Wizards arrived at the Grey Havens they were met by Cirdan. Saruman was said to be the first to arrive and Gandalf was the last. Cirdan recognized that Gandalf was the greatest and wisest of the Wizards and he gave Gandalf Narya, one of the Three Rings of the Elves. Cirdan was initially the only person in Middle-earth who knew the Wizards' true nature though he later told Elrond and Galadriel.
Although they were all members of the Order of Wizards, they did not act in unison as a centralized force. Each Wizard had different powers and interests and they were free to act as they saw fit to fulfill their common goal.
The two Blue Wizards journeyed east into Rhun and did not return. Their mission was to free the Men of Rhun from Sauron's dominion. They ultimately failed in their task and their fate is unknown. The spread of secret cults and magic practices may have been due to their influence.
Radagast settled at Rhosgobel on the western edge of Mirkwood. He was primarily concerned with birds and beasts. Radagast had little interest in the affairs of Elves and Men and though he played a minor role in the War of the Ring, he neglected his mission to help the peoples of Middle-earth.
Saruman initially travelled east with the Blue Wizards but he later returned to western Middle-earth. He claimed Isengard as his stronghold in 2759. He studied the Rings of Power and was particularly concerned with the whereabouts of the missing One Ring. Saruman had a fair voice and a subtle manner of speech which he could use to persuade others.
Gandalf wandered far and wide throughout northwestern Middle-earth with no fixed residence. He became well acquainted with the Elves and Men of this region, particularly Elrond and the Elves of Rivendell and the Dunedain of the North. Gandalf also had a special fondness for the Hobbits of the Shire.
Around 2060, the chief Wizards and Elves began to suspect that the evil presence in Dol Guldur was Sauron. In 2063, Gandalf went to Dol Guldur to investigate but Sauron went into hiding in the East for several centuries until 2460 - a period known as the Watchful Peace.
Sauron returned with increased strength to Dol Guldur in 2460. Three years later in 2463, the White Council was formed, including Saruman and Gandalf along with Elrond, Galadriel, Cirdan, and an unknown number of others. It is unlikely that the Blue Wizards were members of the White Council, and it is not known whether Radagast was included. Galadriel wanted Gandalf to head the White Council but he refused because he did not want to be beholden to anything except his mission in Middle-earth. Saruman became the head of the Council instead.
Gandalf verified that Sauron was the occupant of Dol Guldur in 2850, and in 2851 he urged the White Council to take action but Saruman overruled him. Saruman hoped that Sauron's presence in Dol Guldur would cause the One Ring - lost in the nearby Gladden Fields - to reveal itself. Saruman had been corrupted by the lure of the Ring and he believed he was capable of wielding it to establish order as he saw fit and rule the world of Men.
In 2941, the Ring was found by Bilbo Baggins who had been chosen by Gandalf for a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the Dragon. That same year, the White Council attacked Dol Guldur. Saruman agreed to the attack because he learned that Sauron was also seeking the Ring. But Sauron was ready and he abandoned his stronghold and returned to his realm in Mordor where he prepared to wage war on the free peoples of Middle-earth.
During the War of the Ring, Saruman tried to gain power for himself while Gandalf aided those who resisted Sauron. Saruman proclaimed himself Saruman of Many Colours and he intended to seize the One Ring. Gandalf accompanied Frodo Baggins on the quest to destroy the One Ring in Mount Doom.
In Moria, Gandalf confronted the Balrog to allow the Ring-bearer and his companions to escape. In the Battle of the Peak, Gandalf defeated the Balrog but he too was killed. But because Gandalf had willingly sacrificed himself and in so doing had placed his fate in the hands of a higher power, Eru sent him back to Middle-earth to complete his task. He became Gandalf the White, greater in wisdom and power.
Saruman's forces were defeated in the Battle of Helm's Deep and he was imprisoned in Isengard by Treebeard and the Ents of Fangorn. Gandalf expelled Saruman from the Order of Wizards and he broke Saruman's staff.
The Ring was destroyed on March 25, 3019, and Sauron was defeated. Saruman left Isengard and took over the Shire. The Hobbits defeated his minions in the Battle of Bywater on November 3. Frodo tried to spare Saruman's life, but Saruman was killed by his lackey Grima Wormtongue. Saruman's body withered and "his spirit went withersoever it was doomed to go, and to Middle-earth, whether naked or embodied, came never back." (UT, p. 391)
Saruman's spirit did not return to the Undying Lands, and neither did the Blue Wizards or Radagast whose fates are unknown. Gandalf was the only one of the Five Wizards who remained faithful to his task and he was the only one permitted to go back from whence he came. Gandalf sailed to the Undying Lands on September 29, 3021, at the end of the Third Age.
The Quenya name of the Order of Wizards is Heren Istarion. The word Istari - translated as "Wizards" - is derived from ista meaning "knowledge." Similarly, the word "Wizard" is derived from wise. The core group was referred to as the Five Wizards.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 57; "The Council of Elrond," p. 265, 269-74
The Two Towers: "The White Rider," p. 98, 105-6; "The Voice of Saruman," p. 188-89
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," p. 297-300
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 365-66
Unfinished Tales: "The Istari," passim
The Silmarillion: "Of the Maiar," p. 30-31; "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 299-304
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "Last Writings - The Five Wizards," p. 384-85
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien: Letters #144, #156,, #181, #211
Rangers of Ithilien in the New Line film
The Rangers had a secret refuge in a cave behind a waterfall called Henneth Annun which they used as their base of operations. They did not live permanently in Ithilien but instead made forays into the region from west of the Anduin.
The Rangers of Ithilien wore green and brown as camouflage and they had green gauntlets, hoods, and masks. Their armaments included swords, spears, and bows and arrows. The Rangers were Dunedain of Gondor and many of them were descended from the people who had lived in Ithilien before it was deserted.
Ithilien was troubled by Uruks from Mordor as well as the presence of the Nazgul in the Morgul Vale. By 2901 of the Third Age, most of the people of Ithlien had relocated. Henneth Annun and other refuges were established at this time by Turin II, the Steward of Gondor. Sauron returned to Mordor and in 2954 Mount Doom erupted. Ithilien was then abandoned by all but the Rangers.
At the time of the War of the Ring, the Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien was Faramir, the second son of the Steward Denethor II. Members of his company included Anborn, Damrod, and Mablung.
On March 1, Faramir and a company of Rangers went to Ithilien because an army of Haradrim were coming up the Harad Road to Mordor. The Rangers ambushed the Haradrim on March 7. Several of the Haradrim were killed or scattered, and one of their Oliphaunts escaped.
That same day the Rangers encountered Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee and brought them to Henneth Annun. Faramir learned that Frodo had the One Ring but he did not try to take it, and the Hobbits departed the next day.
On March 21, Mablung and a company of scouts from Henneth Annun learned that Orcs and Easterlings were planning to ambush the Host of the West as they marched to the Black Gate. The Rangers warned Aragorn and the enemy forces were easily defeated. The Host of the West continued on to fight the Battle of the Morannon on March 25 until the Ring was destroyed and Sauron was defeated.
After Aragorn was crowned King, he made Faramir the Prince of Ithilien and the region was inhabited once more. Faramir's guard was called the White Company and their Captain was Beregond. It is possible that the Rangers of Ithilien became part of the White Company.
The Two Towers: "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit," p. 265-70; "The Window on the West," passim; "The Forbidden Pool," passim; "Journey to the Cross-roads," p. 303-4
The Return of the King: "The Black Gate Opens," p. 161-62; "The Steward and the King," p. 247
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The Stewards," p. 335
The Rangers of the North travelled far and wide throughout Eriador using their skills as trackers to hunt down the servants of Sauron. The Rangers were used to living in the wild, though they sometimes stayed at the Prancing Pony in Bree. The Bree-folk listened to the news they brought from abroad but remained suspicious of the Rangers.
The Rangers were rough and worn in appearance, but they were also proud and noble in demeanor. They wore simple clothing without ornamentation apart from silver star-shaped brooches on their cloaks. They were generally tall with dark hair.
The Rangers were descendants of the Dunedain of the North-kingdom of Arnor. The North-kingdom ended in 1974 of the Third Age when the Witch-king of Angmar captured Fornost, the last stronghold of the Dunedain. Although the Witch-king was defeated in the Battle of Fornost, the Dunedain were weakened and they became a wandering people.
Nevertheless, as Rangers the Dunedain continued to protect the peoples of their former kingdom. They kept their deeds secret so the common folk of Eriador could live without fear of the danger that surrounded them. Several Chieftains of the Dunedain were killed while leading the Rangers to fight the evil creatures that invaded their lands.
In 2327, Aragorn I was slain by wolves which plagued eastern Eriador. Around 2480, Orcs began to make strongholds in the Misty Mountains to block the passes into Eriador. Starting around 2740, Orcs began to come down from the mountains into Eriador. There were numerous skirmishes with the Orcs between 2745 and 2748.
Arathorn I died an untimely death in unknown circumstances in 2848. Arador was killed by Hill-trolls in the Coldfells north of Rivendell in 2930. His son Arathorn II was killed while hunting Orcs just three years later in 2933. He was succeeded by his son Aragorn II, who assumed leadership of the Rangers when he grew to manhood.
In 3001, the Rangers doubled their guard on the Shire when Gandalf began to suspect that the One Ring was in the possession Frodo Baggins. Saruman learned of the Rangers' vigilance and became increasingly interested in the Shire. For their part, the Rangers grew suspicious of Saruman's agents - whose purpose was ostensibly to buy pipe-weed - but they allowed them to pass because the Wizard was not yet known to be a traitor.
Sauron sent the Nazgul to the Shire seeking the One Ring in 3018. On September 22, the Nazgul reached Sarn Ford on the southern border of the Shire and found a company of Rangers on guard. The Rangers could not withstand the Nazgul and many of them were slain, but some managed to escape. They were later able to delay one of the Nazgul who was sent to report Frodo's presence at the Prancing Pony to the Witch-king, and they also alerted Gandalf that the Nazgul were at large.
Aragorn was not with the Rangers at Sarn Ford but instead was on the East Road near Bree, where he was known as Strider the Ranger. He found Frodo at the Prancing Pony and escorted him to Rivendell with the Nazgul in pursuit. After the Nazgul were overcome by floodwaters at the Ford of Bruinen, Aragorn and a company of Rangers travelled downriver to Tharbad seeking signs of the Nazgul's fate.
During the War of the Ring, Aragorn helped the Rohirrim defeat Saruman's forces at the Battle of Helm's Deep on March 3-4, 3019. After the battle, he was joined by 30 Rangers led by Halbarad along with Elrond's sons Elladan and Elrohir. The Rangers followed Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead. Aragorn led the Army of the Dead to Pelargir to defeat the Corsairs, and afterwards a Ranger boarded each of the ships to free the slaves.
On March 15, the Rangers fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and Halbarad was slain. The remaining Rangers accompanied Aragorn to the Black Gate and fought in the Battle of the Morannon on March 25 while the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron was defeated. On May 1, the Rangers attended the coronation of Aragorn.
While the Rangers were away, Eriador was troubled by Men from the South as well as wolves and other evil creatures. The Rangers returned after the war, and Aragorn reestablished the North-kingdom as King of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor.
The name Rangers implies "wanderers." Also called the Guardians.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue," p. 14, 17; "The Shadow of the Past," p. 69; "Fog on the Barrow-downs," p. 157; "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony," p. 161, 163, 168-69; "Strider," p. 180; "A Knife in the Dark," p. 194, 199, 201-2; "Many Meetings," p. 233, 239, 250; "The Council of Elrond," p. 260-62, 264; "The Ring Goes South," p. 286-87, 292, 298; "The Great River," p. 409
The Two Towers: "The Departure of Boromir," p. 15; "The Riders of Rohan," p. 30; "The Uruk-hai," p. 52; "The White Rider," p. 91, 106; "Flotsam and Jetsam," p. 168
The Return of the King: "The Passing of the Grey Company," p. 47-49, 51, 53, 55-56, 58-63; "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 123-24; "The Pyre of Denethor," p. 130; "The Houses of Healing," p. 137-38; "The Last Debate," p. 152, 158; "The Black Gate Opens," p. 159, 168; "The Field of Cormallen," p. 226, 232; "The Steward and the King," p. 244-45; "Homeward Bound," p. 272-73
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The North-kingdom and the Dunedain," p. 323-24
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 367, 371-72, 374
Unfinished Tales: "The Hunt for the Ring," p. 341, 347; "The Istari," p. 398
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Heirs of Elendil," p. 195-96
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Prologue," p. 23-24, 31; "The Shadow of the Past," p. 88; "Three Is Company," p. 97-98; "Fog on the Barrow-downs," p. 145, 147; "A Knife in the Dark," p. 165-66; "Many Meetings," p. 220; "The Council of Elrond," p. 252; "The Passing of the Grey Company," p. 528; "Appendix A," p. 698
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits," p. 18-19
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Concerning Hobbits," p. 18-19
Bounder from the New Line film
The Shirriffs who patrolled the borders of the Shire to ensure that Outsiders did not cause trouble were called Bounders. They varied in number according to need. In the years leading up to the War of the Ring, the number of Bounders grew due to an increase in traffic through the Shire. The Bounders had never been so busy, turning strange folk away at the borders and dealing with trouble caused by those that came through.
After Frodo Baggins and his companions left the Shire in 3018 of the Third Age, Lotho Sackville-Baggins began to take over the Shire with the help of rough Men. Lotho had Mayor Will Whitfoot arrested and he set himself up as Chief Shirriff in early 3019. The number of Shirriffs was increased to hundreds and they were divided into troops such as the First Eastfarthing Troop based in Frogmorton. The troops were quartered in Shirriff-houses and their leaders were distinguished by two feathers in their caps.
The job of the Shirriffs became to enforce the Rules, which were designed mainly to keep Hobbits in their place and allow Lotho and his cohorts to increase their power and profits. When Saruman came to the Shire in September of 3019 and became the new Chief, matters got even worse. Hobbits were arrested and jailed in the Lockholes for standing up to the Chief's Men and often they were beaten. Many of the Shirriffs were forced to remain in their jobs, though some enjoyed the power and willingly spied on their fellow Hobbits.
Frodo and his friends returned to the Shire in late 3019. On November 1, they were arrested in Frogmorton by the First Eastfarthing Troop for Gate-breaking, Tearing up of Rules, Assaulting Gate-keepers, Trespassing, Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food. Sam Gamgee noticed that Robin Smallburrow, a Shirriff from Hobbiton, was part of the troop and from him Sam learned what had happened to the Shirriffs in their absence.
The four Hobbits spent the night in the Shirriff-house in Frogmorton and continued on their way to Hobbiton with an escort of a dozen Shirriffs. But the Hobbit adventurers soon outpaced their guards and left them behind at the Three-Farthing Stone. By the time the Shirriffs arrived in Bywater, they found that their prisoners had rallied the Hobbits to defy the Chief and his Men. Most of the Shirriffs took the feathers out of their caps and joined the rebellion, though a few ran away. The Men were defeated in the Battle of Bywater on November 3.
After the Scouring of the Shire, Frodo, acting as Deputy Mayor, returned the Shirriffs to their proper number and functions.
Also called the Watch. The word Shirriff is an obsolete form of sheriff meaning "shire officer." The Shirriffs who patrolled the borders of the Shire were called Bounders because they watched the bounds or boundaries.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: On the Ordering of the Shire," p. 19; "The Shadow of the Past," p. 54
The Return of the King: "The Scouring of the Shire," 280-83, 288, 291-92; "The Grey Havens," p. 301
"Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings," entries for Bounders and Shirriff(s)
after the King. The Stewards of Gondor originally served the Kings of Gondor.
But after the line of Kings ended, they became Ruling Stewards and governed
Gondor until a King returned.
The Steward was the King's chief advisor and was the head of the Council of Gondor. It was the Steward's duty to act as the King's representative while the King was absent or incapacitated. The Steward also facilitated the transition between reigns and delivered a scroll containing information on ruling the realm to the new King.
The first King to appoint a Steward was Romendacil I, who ruled from 492 to 541 of the Third Age. Gondor was first attacked by the Easterlings at this time, and Romendacil needed a deputy to remain behind while he went to war. The name of the first Steward of Gondor is not known. Romendacil and his successors chose wise and trustworthy men to be their Stewards.
In the 1600s, Hurin of Emyn Arnen served as Steward to three Kings of Gondor during a time of upheaval. First King Minardil was killed by Corsairs in 1634, then two years later his son King Telemnar died in the Great Plague and was succeeded by his nephew Tarondor. From then on, the Kings chose their Stewards from Hurin's descendants and the House of the Stewards became known as the House of Hurin, or Hurinionath. Hurin was of Numenorean descent and was distantly akin to the Royal House.
In 1944, King Ondoher and his sons Artamir and Faramir were killed in battle against the Wainriders and there was no direct heir to the throne of Gondor. Ondoher's Steward Pelendur temporarily took over the rule of Gondor and was instrumental in selecting the next King.
Pelendur and the Council of Gondor rejected a claim from Arvedui of the North-kingdom even though he was married to Ondoher's daughter Firiel and was a descendant of Isildur, son of Elendil - the first High King of Gondor and Arnor. The Council ruled that the Kingship could only pass through the male line and through the line of Elendil's second son Anarion.
The next year in 1945, Earnil claimed the throne of Gondor. He was a member of the Royal House and had defeated the Wainriders at the Battle of the Camp. His claim was unanimously approved. Pelendur continued to serve as Steward to King Earnil II. When Pelendur died in 1998, his son Vorondil was chosen to replace him.
That same year in 2043, Earnur was challenged by the Lord of the Nazgul. Earnur had helped defeat the Lord of the Nazgul at the Battle of Fornost and had earned his hatred. Mardil convinced Earnur to refuse. But when the Lord of the Nazgul renewed the challenge in 2050, Mardil could not dissuade Earnur. Earnur went to Minas Morgul and was never seen again.
Earnur left no heirs and there were no legitimate claimants to the throne of Gondor. The governance of the realm was assumed by the Steward Mardil. Since Earnur's fate was uncertain, Mardil ruled Gondor in the King's name.
Mardil was the first of the Ruling Stewards. The Ruling Stewards had all the powers of a King, but they took an oath to "rule in the name of the King, until he shall return." They bore a white rod as a symbol of their office instead of the Crown, and they sat in a chair at the foot of the dais where the King's throne stood empty. The Stewards' banner was plain white. Their seal bore the letters R-ND-R for Arandur (meaning "King's servant" or "Steward") surmounted by three stars.
There were twenty-six Ruling Stewards of Gondor. The Stewardship became hereditary, passing from father to son. If a Steward had no son, the new Steward was selected from among his close male relations by the Council of Gondor.
Unlike the Kingship, the Stewardship could pass through the female line. The tenth Steward, Denethor I, was the son of the previous Steward Dior's sister Rian. The eighteenth Steward, Egalmoth, was the grandson of Morwen, sister of the sixteenth Steward Orodreth.
The Ruling Stewards were largely occupied with defending Gondor as Sauron's power increased. In 2475, Denethor I's son Boromir defended Ithilien against an invasion of Uruks and Nazgul but he later died of a Morgul-wound.
The Steward Cirion requested help from Gondor's allies the Eotheod when Gondor was threatened by an invasion of Easterlings in 2510. The Eotheod led by Eorl helped defeat the enemy at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant and Cirion gave them the land that became Rohan as a reward.
Beregond, the son of the Steward Beren, defeated three fleets of Corsairs that attacked Gondor in 2758. Rohan was also invaded by Dunlendings and afterwards Beren allowed Saruman to live at Isengard on Rohan's western border in hopes that the Wizard would prevent future invasions.
In 2885, during the reign of Turin II, Ithilien was invaded by the Haradrim. The combined forces of Gondor and Rohan defeated the Haradrim at the Battle of the Crossings of Poros. Sauron returned to Mordor during the reign of the next Steward, Turgon.
Denethor II became the last Ruling Steward in 2984. He prepared Gondor for the brewing war with Sauron. Denethor viewed himself as Sauron's primary opponent.
Denethor was aware of the existence of a potential claimant to the throne of Gondor. Aragorn, Chieftain of the Dunedain of the North, was a direct descendant of Isildur and was also a descendant of Anarion through Firiel - daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor and wife of Arvedui of the North-kingdom.
It was Denethor's duty as Steward to yield the rule of Gondor to a rightful King. But like his ancestor Pelendur, Denethor believed that only a descendant of Anarion through the male line had the right to claim the throne of Gondor. He also felt that the Dunedain of the North were no longer fit to rule since the North-kingdom had ended long ago and they had become a wandering people.
Denethor was the first Steward to use the palantir. The palantir of Minas Tirith had long been kept secret by the Stewards, but although they were authorized to use it as representatives of the absent Kings, none had dared to do so. Denethor eventually came into contact with the palantir held by Sauron. Denethor was too strong-willed to be corrupted, but Sauron manipulated what Denethor saw.
The War of the Ring began on June 20, 3018, when Sauron captured the eastern half of Osgiliath. Denethor's sons Boromir and Faramir defended the west half of the city. Boromir then travelled to Rivendell where he met Aragorn and became a member of the Fellowship accompanying Frodo Baggins on the quest to destroy the One Ring.
Boromir tried to take the Ring from Frodo and was then killed by Uruk-hai while defending Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took. Faramir later encountered Frodo in Ithilien but allowed him to pass. Denethor was devasted by Boromir's death and he was angered that Faramir had failed to bring him the Ring.
An army led by the Lord of the Nazgul besieged Minas Tirith on March 13, 3019. Faramir was gravely injured when he was sent by Denethor to try and stop them. Denethor regretted his treatment of Faramir.
Denethor used the palantir and saw a fleet of Corsairs' ships approaching, not knowing the ships were no longer under enemy control. He may also have seen Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol and assumed that Sauron had the Ring. Denethor believed defeat was imminent, and even if a temporary victory were possible he did not want to be supplanted by Aragorn whom he deemed unworthy.
Denethor tried to burn himself and Faramir alive. Denethor perished, but Faramir was rescued. In the Houses of Healing, Faramir immediately recognized Aragorn as his rightful King.
After the One Ring was destroyed and Sauron was defeated, Aragorn became King of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor. At Aragorn's coronation on May 1, Faramir brought out the Crown of Gondor. He offered to surrender the white rod of the Stewards to Aragorn but Aragorn refused. Faramir and his descendants continued to serve as Stewards to the Kings of Gondor for as long as the line endured.
The Quenya name was Arandur meaning "King's servant" from aran meaning "king" and the ending -ndur meaning "servant."
Partial List of the
Stewards of Gondor
(dates = reign)
Line of Thains
(dates = years as Thain)
|The nominal authority
in the Shire in the absence of the King. In 1979
of the Third Age, after the end of the North-kingdom,
the Hobbits chose Bucca of
Marish to be their Thain. The title was held by the Oldbuck family
until 2340, when the Oldbucks relocated to Buckland.
The office of Thain then passed to the Took family.
I was the 13th Thain and the 1st of the Took line.
The Thain was the master of the Shire-moot, and captain of the Shire-muster and the Hobbitry-in-arms, but since the Shire was generally in a state of peace and prosperity, the Thain was rarely if ever called upon to perform these duties.
During the War of the Ring, however, Thain Paladin II did his best to resist the Chief's Men who had taken over the Shire. The Tooks defended themselves in the Great Smials in the Green Hill Country and killed three of the ruffians who trespassed on their land.
When Paladin's son, Peregrin Took, returned to the Shire in November of 3019, he rode to Tookland to rally his people. Thain Paladin then mustered his Hobbitry, sending some to run off the ruffians guarding Tookland and sending others with his son Peregrin to the Battle of Bywater.
Thain is a variation of thane, a freeman granted land by the king in return for military service in Anglo-Saxon England, or a Scottish baron or lord.
Also called the Warden of the Westmarch.
The Fellowship of the Ring: "Prologue: Note on the Shire Records," p. 23
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 378
The White Council was comprised of Wizards and Elves. The known members of the White Council were Saruman, Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, and Cirdan. Other Elf-lords were also members of the Council, though their identities are not recorded. Possible members include Glorfindel, Celeborn, and Thranduil.
It is unlikely that the Blue Wizards were on the Council since they were in the far East of Middle-earth. It is not clear whether Radagast was a member of the Council. Although he remained in western Middle-earth and had dealings with Gandalf and Saruman, he devoted himself to nature and had little interest in the affairs of Elves and Men.
Before the White Council was formed in the Third Age, there was a meeting in 1701 of the Second Age that was also called the White Council. It was held in Rivendell after the War of the Elves and Sauron. Among those who took part were Gil-galad, Elrond, and Galadriel, and probably Cirdan. The Wizards had not yet arrived in Middle-earth. At this Council, Elrond was named as Gil-galad's vice-regent and was given Vilya, and it was decided that Rivendell would be the Elves' stronghold in eastern Eriador.
The White Council in the Third Age was formed because Sauron had secretly risen again after the War of the Last Alliance. He built Dol Guldur in Greenwood and a shadow fell over the forest so that it became known as Mirkwood. The Wise became aware of the evil power around 1100, but at first they believed it was one of the Nazgul.
The power in Dol Guldur increased in 2060 and the Wise began to fear that it was Sauron. Gandalf went to Dol Guldur to investigate in 2063 but Sauron went into hiding. For nearly 400 years there was a Watchful Peace until Sauron returned to Dol Guldur in 2460.
Three years later in 2463, Galadriel called a meeting of the Wise and the White Council was formed. Galadriel wanted Gandalf to be the head of the Council, but Gandalf refused because he did not want to be tied down to any group or place. Saruman became the head of the Council because he was the most knowledgeable about Sauron and his works.
Gandalf went secretly to Dol Guldur in 2850 and discovered that the evil power was indeed Sauron. He reported to the White Council at a meeting in Rivendell in 2851. Gandalf urged an attack on Dol Guldur, but Saruman opposed him. Saruman hoped to find the One Ring which had been lost in the Gladden Fields, and he believed that if Sauron remained in nearby Dol Guldur the Ring might reveal itself. So Saruman lied to the Council, saying he thought the Ring had been washed down the Anduin to the Sea. The Council agreed to wait though Gandalf and Elrond had misgivings.
In 2939, Saruman learned that Sauron was also searching the Gladden Fields. He was alarmed, but he did not tell the Council. In August of 2941, the Council met and this time Saruman agreed to attack Dol Guldur in order to stop Sauron from finding the Ring. But Sauron was prepared for the attack, and he fled and returned to Mordor.
Sauron declared himself openly in Mordor in 2951, and the White Council convened two years later in 2953. The Council members feared that Sauron was close to finding the One Ring, but Saruman assured them that the Ring was lost at the bottom of the Sea. This was the last meeting of the White Council.
Saruman's treachery was discovered during the War of the Ring. He was defeated and imprisoned in Isengard, and Gandalf expelled Saruman from the White Council. But after the War was over and Sauron was vanquished, the need for the White Council ended and its chief members - Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, and eventually Cirdan - left Middle-earth.
Also called the Council and the Council of the Wise. The White Council was so called because they were a force of good opposed to the evil sorcery of Sauron. Traditionally "white magic" is magic used for good purposes, while "black magic" is evil.
The Hobbit: "Queer Lodgings," p. 147-49; "The Last Stage," p. 309-10
The Fellowship of the Ring: "The Shadow of the Past," p. 53, 57, 61-62; "The Council of Elrond," p. 263-65, 272-73, 279-80; "The Mirror of Galadriel," p. 372
The Two Towers: "Treebeard," p. 76; "The Voice of Saruman," p. 189; "The Palantir," p. 195, 203
The Return of the King: "Many Partings," p. 265
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The Stewards," p. 333; "The House of Eorl," p. 348; "Durin's Folk," p. 359-60
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," p. 366, 368-71
The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 300-302
Unfinished Tales: "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn," p. 239-40, 254 note 10; "The Quest of Erebor," p. 322-23, 326, 330; "The Hunt for the Ring," p. 349-52, 354 note 23; "The Battles of the Fords of Isen," p. 373; "The Istari," p. 390; "The Palantiri," p. 404-406, 412 note 7
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