Template:Royalty infobox Meneldil (Second Age 3299 – Third Age 158, aged 300 years), the son of Anárion and grandson of High King Elendil, was the third King of Gondor and the first to rule in his own name. He reigned 156 years, from Third Age 2 until his death. He was succeeded by his son Cemendur.
Meneldil's Early Life
Of Meneldil's life before the War of the Last Alliance we know almost nothing, but it is possible to deduce some of the most important incidents in that time. He was born in the very last years of Númenor, and was at most twenty years old at the time of the Downfall. He would have seen the drowning of the island with his own eyes, from the deck of one of his father's ships, and then was propelled by the rushing water to the shores of Middle-earth.
What part he took in the building of the Realms in Exile is a mystery. During this time, he would have been considered a relatively minor nobleman. As the fourth child of Elendil's younger son, he was at best seventh in line to the succession, and the prospect of his becoming King was remote. After more than a century, Sauron rose again in the east, triggering the great events of the War of the Last Alliance. It is to be presumed that Meneldil played his part in that War—a war in which he lost his father Anárion—but we have no specific details of his deeds.
The Year of Transition
Before the War, Elendil had sat as the High King in the northern realm of Arnor, while Isildur and Anárion had ruled Gondor jointly in his name. Since both Elendil and Anárion had been lost in the War, these arrangements needed to be changed. Isildur inherited the High Kingship, and he placed the rule of Gondor in the hands of his brother's eldest eligible son, Meneldil. Before departing for the North, Isildur spent a year ordering matters in the Gondor, and instructing Meneldil in his new duties. During this year, Isildur and Meneldil journeyed around the borderlands of the South-kingdom, defining its bounds. It was while returning from their travels that they came upon Amon Anwar, the Halifirien, which at that time stood almost at the central point of the country. Isildur chose that hill as the resting place of his father's remains, and the Tomb of Elendil that he placed there was to last long after Meneldil's line had failed.
It was the beginning of Yavannië, Third Age 2, when Isildur set out from Osgiliath, leaving the South-kingdom in Meneldil's hands. We are told that Meneldil was not disappointed to see the High King and his sons leave for the North, and that he hoped to rule Gondor himself for a long time. Far-sighted as he was, though, even Meneldil couldn't have foreseen the events that were to unfold. A month after setting out, Isildur was set upon by Orcs and killed, together with his three elder sons. The Kingship in the North fell on Isildur's only surviving son, eleven-year-old Valandil. This unexpected turn of events transformed Meneldil from a mere caretaker into the true King of Gondor.
King of Gondor
After the upheavals of Third Age 2, Meneldil was to rule Gondor for many years,but during this period he effectively disappears from history. With Sauron utterly defeated, his reign was a peaceful and quiet one. The only historical events recorded during this time are the wedding of Elrond to Celebrían, and the birth of their twin sons Elladan and Elrohir. These would have been important events in the North, but we cannot be sure if the Gondorians were even aware of them.
Meneldil ruled in Gondor for one hundred and fifty-six years, and was succeeded by his son Cemendur.
Elendil | --------|-------- | | | | Isildur Anárion | -----------|----------- | | | | three unnamed daughters MENELDIL | | Cemendur | | Eärendil
|3rd King of Gondor