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"Eärnur was a man like his father in valour, but not in wisdom. He was a man of strong body and hot mood; but he would take no wife, for his only pleasure was in fighting, or in the exercise of arms."
Appendix A, Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion.

Eärnur (Third Age 1928 – 2050) was the thirty-third and last King of Gondor. He took the throne upon the death of his father Eärnil II in T.A. 2043, and after his disappearance, the Stewards of Gondor ruled in his name for many generations.




During the Angmar War, what was left of the ancient realm of Arnor was under attack. While not ignoring the North-Kingdom, King Eärnil II had trouble of his own, and could not spare any of his troops to send North. Upon learning that the Witch-king was preparing for the final blow in T.A. 1973, he sent his son Eärnur north. Though his fleet sailed rapidly, he was not in time to save Arthedain or Arvedui, its last king. His massive fleet - it filled Mithlond, Harlond and Forlond - was hailed by the Men that had survived the last deafeat, and the Elves also. To Gondor's standards, the expeditionary force was mediocre in size. It did, however, include cavalry from Rhovanion, which would prove useful on the wide lands of the North.

With Círdan, Eärnur travelled East, and cleansed the lands of Orcs and other servants of Angmar. All fled before the might of the Gondorian cavalry, with Eärnur at its head. At the same time, Glorfindel came west from Rivendell. When finally the Witch-king, clad in black, came forth near Fornost, many of the horses fled in terror. So did Eäarnur's steed, and it took some time before the Captain of Gondor could regain control. The Witch-king laughed at this seeming retreat, but his victory would not last long. The Elves of Rivendell entered the battlefield, and the Witch-king fled before the might of Glorfindel. Fleeing in despair, Eärnur wanted to pursue him, but Glorfindel spoke againt it:

"Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."
― Glorindel[1]

But nonetheless, Eärnur bore a grudge against the wraith that disgraced him.


It was soon found out that the Witch-king escaped to Mordor, and set up abode in Minas Ithil, and renamed in Minas Morgul. After the death of Eärnil and the coronation of Eärnur, the Witch-king challenged him to single combat, remembering him of the disgrace of the North. The steward, Mardil Voronwë, persuaded him not to go.

Seven years later, the Witch-king renewed his challenge, and this time, Eärnur could not be stopped. With a small escort of knights, he rode past the gates of Minas Morgul. None were ever seen again. Before leaving, however, Eärnur left his crown on the lap of his father in the Houses of the Dead.[1] There it was picked up again by Faramir, the last Ruling Steward, for the coronation of Elessar.[2]

No new king was elected and the rule of Gondor passed to the Stewards, beginning with Mardil Voronwë. The Stewards were to rule "until the King returns", because it was uncertain at first whether Eärnur had been killed or not. In addition, Eärnur left without an heir, and while many others in Gondor could lay some sort of claim to the kingship, those claims generally had some sort of doubt, and no one wanted to risk another civil war like the Kin-strife, which had been devastating for Gondor.[3]


Eärnur is a shortened form of Eärendur. It means "Servant of the Sea" in Quenya, from ëar "sea" and -ndur "servant".[4]

Portrayal in Adaptations

2003: Peter Jackson's The Return of the King:

While explaining the origin of the Dead Men to Gimli (and by extension, the audience), Legolas refers to Isildur as the "Last King".[5] Whether Eärnur was omitted on purpose (so not to introduce another name) or simply overlooked is unknown.

2006: EA's The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Eärnur appeared in the expansion pack, The Rise of the Witch-king. He came to Rivendell to aid the Elves and Men of Arnor.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Eärnur is a non-playable character. He was turned into a wraith by the Witch-king of Angmar and took up the name Mordirith. He is the Steward of Angmar.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names"
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "Dwimorberg - The Haunted Mountain"
  6. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Book 15, Chapter 15 cut scene (youtube)
Preceded by:
Eärnil II
33rd King of Gondor
T.A. 20432050
Followed by:
Aragorn II, 971 years later