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High King (Dúnedain)

(Redirected from High King of the Dúnedain)
The name High King refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see High King (disambiguation).
Abe Papakhian - Elendil and Sons
High King was a title used by the Dúnedain for their ultimate ruler. Normally, "High King" would refer to a king who ruled over other lesser kings and lords, but this is not necessarily the case with the High King of the Dúnedain.

In Gil-galad's letter, Tar-Meneldur the fifth King of Númenor, was referred as "High King",[1] though he had no other rulers in his service.[note 1]

The more common use of the title, though, came at the later Second Age, with the establishment of the Realms in Exile in Middle-earth. In their earliest years, the Two Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor were formed under the ultimate rule of one man, Elendil, who dwelt in Arnor as the High King. The South-kingdom of Gondor was ruled jointly by his sons, but only under his suzerainty.

With Elendil's loss in the Siege of Barad-dûr, his elder son Isildur inherited the High Kingship. Isildur ruled for only two years, though, before he too was lost in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. After his death, historical events conspired to separate the Two Kingdoms, each of which took Kings of their own. The High Kingship should in principle have fallen on the Heir of Isildur Valandil, but in practice Valandil became King of Arnor only, and had no power over the South-kingdom.

In the mid-Third Age Gondor was left kingless; Arvedui, as Isildur's heir, attempted to invoke the Law of Succession in Númenor to claim the throne of Gondor, thus becoming High King; the Council of Gondor voted against his claim.[2]

More than three thousand years were to pass before Aragorn reunited Elendil's realms. In doing so, as the direct descendant of Isildur, as well as Anárion, through many generations, he also resurrected the High Kingship.


  1. Possibly the title refers to the King's overlosrdship over the colonists of Middle-earth.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"