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Last prince of Cardolan

"Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" - Tom Bombadil
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

The unnamed last prince of Cardolan was a noble during the demise of Cardolan.

Contents

[edit] History

The last prince of Cardolan descended from the Men of Arnor who ruled the splinter-realm when the line of Isildur had failed, so the prince was not a direct descendant of the High King.

The prince flourished during the Angmar War. Around T.A. 1349, Cardolan accepted Argeleb I as King of Arnor, being a direct descendant of Isildur. The other splinter realm, Rhudaur, resisted, and was allied with Angmar.[1][2] Probably the last prince was retained his office as a vassal ruler.

The prince fell on the war of T.A. 1409 against Angmar and Rhudaur. He was then buried in the Barrow-downs the same year.[3][2]

In that tomb was a pile of treasures, including a blue-jewelled brooch belonging to a "fair" woman that Tom Bombadil seemingly knew long ago.[4][5]:144-5 Whether that lady was related to the last prince,[6] no tale tells.

[edit] Legacy

The Witch King of Angmar rose and empowered the Barrow-wights of Cardolan[7] and slain the Rangers of the North in order to trap the Ring-bearer.[8][9] Indeed, on 28 September 3018[10] Frodo Baggins and his comrades were trapped in the Barrow-downs by a wight, probably in the same cairn which held the grave of the last prince.[11][12]

While Merry was trapped in the mound, he dreamed that he and others were attacked and defeated by "the men of Carn Dûm" at night and that his heart had been pierced with a spear[5]:p.143 which probably was a memory of the last moments of the prince.[13]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In the earlier versions of the story, the barrow where the Hobbits were trapped was said to belong to a prince of the men that "fought against the evil foes" long ago, and was slain during the war. The identification of the buried prince with the last prince of Cardolan, as well as the appearance of Angmar and the men of Carn Dûm, are subsequent.[14][15]

Also, in the earlier versions Tom Bombadil's statement regarding the blue-jewelled brooch he took for Goldberry, and the mysterious lady that once wore it, was almost identical to the published version, except that he also mentioned that "they shall not forget" the kings, the warriors and the fair maidens of the past.[16]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur", The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain, entries about the war with Angmar in 1409
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", p. 146
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniv. Ed.), The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
  6. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 146-7
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", p. 145-6
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring"
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Flight to the Ford", p. 180
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", paragraphs about the war of 1409; Index, Barrow-downs, the Barrow where Frodo was buried
  12. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 144-5; Index, Barrow-downs, Barrow of the last prince
  13. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 144-5; Index, Cardolan, last prince of
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: VII. The Barrow-wight", p. 127-8
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "III. The Fourth Phase (2): From Bree to the Ford of Rivendell", p. 37
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: VII. The Barrow-wight", p. 128