Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife
of Númenor and Middle-earth
|Part One: The First Age|
|Part Two: The Second Age|
|Part Three: The Third Age|
Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife is a chapter belonging to the book Unfinished Tales, which was written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published posthumously by his son, Christopher Tolkien. Its main characters are Tar-Aldarion, the sixth King of Númenor and his wife, Erendis, also called Tar-Elestirnë, which meant "Lady of the Star-brow".
The chapter begins with a description of Aldarion's father, Tar-Meneldur, a rightful king devoted to the Island of Númenor, but whose true passion was the study of the stars. He had two daughters and one son, Anardil, who would be known among the Kings of Númenor as Tar-Aldarion.
The main cause of disagreement between father and son proved to be the sea, for Aldarion loved it ever since he was a child. The first voyage towards Middle-earth was made in the years S.A. 725, under the guidance of Vëantur, his own grandfather and in that journey bonds of friendship with Círdan and Ereinion Gil-galad were established.
More sea voyages followed afterwards, against the wish of his father, and in-between them, he founded the Guild of Venturers. In the 100th year of his life Aldarion was proclaimed heir to the throne and at the celebration of this event he met Erendis, daughter of Beregar. Though she seemed beautiful to him, Aldarion did not pursue her until later on, as he continued to follow the mariner life he much loved.
When he finally courted her, it was Erendis who avoided the union, for she did not want to share Aldarion with the sea. Only after many years they were engaged, and even more passed until they were married. As husband and wife they did not manage to reconcile their differences. A few years after their only child was born, named Ancalimë, Aldarion continued his explorations in Middle-earth against the wishes of Erendis. Erendis grew bitter of the waiting until finally she left their home in Armenelos, taking their young daughter with her into the heart of Emerië.
Upon his return, Aldarion found his home locked and his father even more cold towards him. It was the same with his wife, when he pursued her to her new home. But here the tale takes an unexpected turn, as a letter from Gil-galad is delivered to king Meneldur. There it is revealed that Aldarion has been operating in Middle-Earth as a great elf-friend, and the outpost Vinyalondë he has constructed at the mouth of the Gwathló has helped defend against a rising threat. Gil-galad secretly knows this rising threat is Sauron, and requests further aid from Númenor in the inevitable war to come. Tar-Meneldur, indecisive over the proper way to respond to such great events, announced his abdication and proclaimed Aldarion as the next ruler of Númenor.
After this twist in the tale, the detailed writing stops, for the story was not completed during the author's life. What follows next is a compilation of notes, pulled together by his son, Christopher Tolkien. These scattered writings talk mostly of Erendis and how her bitter vision of men was implemented upon her daughter. Ancalimë shared most of her mother's behavior and went to such lengths as to direct her female servants never to get married. She did however rule, due to the fact that her father had changed the Law of Succession in Númenor. Her husband was Hallacar, but their marriage was far from happy.
The notes speak little of the fleet which Aldarion, as King of Númenor, has sent to the aid of Gil-galad, as he requested in the above mentioned letter, while much of his fort at Vinyalondë had crumbled into ruin, though parts of it did survive into the Third Age as the port of Lond Daer. But his efforts would be the base of Tar-Minastir's accomplishments many years later, in the first war with Sauron.
Years of the main events in Aldarion and Erendis' life:
- S.A. 700 - Aldarion is born
- S.A. 725-727 - First voyage of Aldarion towards Middle-earth with Númerrámar
- S.A. 750 - Aldarion founds the Guild of Venturers
- S.A. 771 - Erendis is born
- S.A. 800 - Aldarion is declared heir of the king
- S.A. 800 - Aldarion and Erendis meet
- S.A. 806-813 - The 7 years voyage of Aldarion
- S.A. 816-820 - First voyage of Aldarion with Palarran
- S.A. 824-829 - The voyage of Aldarion with the seven ships
- S.A. 829-843 - The 14 years voyage of Aldarion
- S.A. 858 - Aldarion and Erendis are engaged
- S.A. 863-869 - The after-engagement voyage of Aldarion
- S.A. 870 - The marriage of Aldarion and Erendis
- S.A. 873 - Ancalimë is born
- S.A. 877-882 - Voyage of Aldarion with Hirilondë
- S.A. 882 - Aldarion and Erendis are separated
- S.A. 883 - Aldarion becomes king of Númenor
- S.A. 892 - Ancalimë is declared heiress to the throne
- S.A. 985 - Erendis dies after journeying to the haven of Rómenna
- S.A. 1075 - Aldarion's reign ends
- S.A. 1075 - Ancalimë becomes the first ruling queen of Númenor
- S.A. 1098 - Aldarion dies
Preservation of the Story
J.R.R. Tolkien explained in a letter sent to Dick Plotz in 1965 that while the Akallabêth was fully written the rest of the history of Númenor was only in annal form, except for one long tale, the story of The Mariner's Wife. Tolkien stated that the reason that this one tale had been preserved when so much other Númenórean lore had been lost was because it told how Númenor had become involved in the politics of Middle-earth.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife", The Further course of the Narrative
- J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife", Chronology
- J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 276, (dated 12 September 1965)