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Argonath

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John Howe - The Argonath.jpg
The Argonath
Physical Description
TypeStatues/Monuments
LocationNorthern end of Nen Hithoel, both sides of Anduin
RealmsGondor
Reunited Kingdom
DescriptionGigantic figures of Isildur and Anárion
General Information
EtymologyS. ar "royal" + gond "stone" + -ath "both"

The Argonath, also known as the Gate of Kings[1] or the Pillars of the Kings,[2] was a landmark on the northern edge of Gondor.

Contents

Description

The Argonath consisted of two enormous pillars, carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion facing to the north. Placed upon huge pedestals, each of the two figures held an axe in its right hand and its left hand rose in a gesture of defiance to the enemies of Gondor. The two statues stood upon either side of the River Anduin at the northern approach to Nen Hithoel.[2]

History

From its earliest days the kingdom of Gondor set part of its northern boundary at the north end of Nen Hithoel. When Isildur and Anárion jointly governed as the first rulers of the realm they built many marvelous works, one of which was at the Argonath.[3] What this early work at the Argonath was is unknown; it seems to have disappeared by the reign of King Narmacil I.

Centuries later, the son and regent of Narmacil I, Minalcar, led a great force that defeated the Easterlings between Rhovanion and the Sea of Rhûn in T.A. 1248. When he returned he fortified the banks of the Anduin and built the pillars of the Argonath.[4]

As the Third Age wore on the power and size of Gondor diminished, leaving the Argonath in deserted lands. On 25 February, T.A. 3019[5] the Fellowship of the Ring cruised between the pillars on their journey south. Time had blurred their eyes and crannied their brows but the two figures still exuded power and majesty.[2]

Etymology

The name is Sindarin and is composed of ar "royal"[6] plus gond "stone".[7] The ending -ath is a collective plural, used sometimes (perhaps irregularly) for dual.[8]

Portrayal in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

The Argonath comprises two large and highly detailed models which were combined with live action footage and digital backgrounds to convey the proper sense of scale. Also seen in the movie is the quarry near one of the statues' feet, which the filmmakers reasoned would be necessary to provide stone blocks for the construction of the statues' uppermost sections.
Note that in the film, the statues are of Isildur and Elendil (as all references to Anárion were cut from the films) and the statue of Elendil is holding Narsil rather than an axe.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Great River"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", ar(a)-
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names",entry gond
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Notes and Translations", in The Road Goes Ever On (J.R.R. Tolkien, Donald Swann)