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Rangers of the North

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Rangers of the North were the northern people more commonly known simply as the Rangers, the last remnant of the Dúnedain of Arnor who had once peopled the North-kingdom of Arnor, now a secretive and nomadic people so that Sauron would not trace them. They protected the lands of Eriador although their secretiveness made other peoples consider them dangerous and distrustful.

The term 'Rangers of the North' was used most often by those who lived in the southern lands of Rohan and Gondor, perhaps to distinguish this people from their distant cousins, the Rangers of Ithilien. Like the Rangers of the North, these were also Dúnedain, but they belonged to the South-kingdom of Gondor, and their ancestors had been divided from the Northern Dúnedain for some three thousand years.

History

The Dúnedain of Arnor dwindled after the breaking of Arnor into three kingdoms and the wars with Angmar. Cardolan and Rhudaur soon fell and only the petty-kingdom of Arthedain maintained the noble line of the West. Finally however, that too was destroyed in the Battle of Fornost and Arvedui, the last King of Arthedain was lost in the sea.

Arvedui's son and heir, Aranarth claimed the title of the Chieftain, who would rule the remnants of his people. Each of the Chieftains could trace his descent back to the Kings of Arnor and ultimately to Isildur himself. Each Chieftain would be secretly born and grow in Rivendell with Elrond, who also kept in his keeping the heirlooms of their house: the Ring of Barahir, the shards of Narsil, the Star of Elendil, and the Sceptre of Annúminas.

The Rangers became a secretive wandering and nomadic people around Eriador, little remembered and their deeds were seldom recorded. Their first years were uneventful since they arose during the Watchful Peace and after its end, the enemies concentrated mostly against Rhovanion and Gondor. The Rangers fought minor battles and skirmishes against orcs and wolves in order to keep the region safe. The hobbits of the Shire flourished under their protection.

During the rule of Arassuil, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains became more bold, daring to invade Eriador. The Rangers fought many battles trying to hold them back, but one party managed to reach the Shire, but were fought off by a party of brave Hobbits under Bandobras Took in Third Age 2747. Soon after, the Long Winter arrived and many lives were lost, and Gandalf and the Rangers had to help the Hobbits of the Shire survive.

In Third Age 2911, during Argonui's rule, the Fell Winter began with the Brandywine freezing over. This was a catalyst for White Wolves invading Eriador from the North which must have harassed the Rangers. In the last year of his reign, great floods devastated Enedwaith and Minhiriath leaving Tharbad ruined and deserted. The following years were peaceful although Arador was killed by hill-trolls and his son Arathorn II was killed while hunting orcs.

Arathorn's son, Aragorn II succeeded him, who between 2957 to 2980 took great journeys, serving in the armies of King Thengel of Rohan, and Steward Ecthelion II of Gondor. His name in Gondor and Rohan was Thorongil, and with a few Gondorian ships he led a Surprise Attack on the Havens of Umbar, destroying many of their ships and slaying its lord.

Many of his tasks weakened Sauron and his allies, during the War of the Ring helped the West survive. At that time Aragorn's people were scattered and diminished. When Halbarad led a troop of the Rangers into the south to Aragorn's aid in the War, he could muster no more than thirty in this company who fought in the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

Aragorn eventually became King Elessar of the Reunited Kingdom and the Rangers became once more a united people under the line of Elendil in the Fourth Age.

Portrayal in Adaptations

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Rangers of the North are called simply Rangers in the game. They were some scattered about Middle-earth, but there were also many who were organized. There was a group that Aragorn led to keep track of the Enemy's movement during Stirrings in the Darkness.