Last Debate

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Last Debate refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Last Debate (disambiguation).
Last Debate
Event Information
LocationOutside Minas Tirith
DateMarch 16 T.A. 3019
ResultCreation of the Army of the West
Part ofThe War of the Ring
ParticipantsAragorn, Imrahil, Gandalf, Éomer, Elladan, Elrohir

[...] This, I deem, is our duty. And better so than to perish nonetheless – as we surely shall, if we sit here – and know as we die that no new age shall be.

The Last Debate was the council that Aragorn held with Imrahil, Gandalf, Éomer, Elladan, and Elrohir outside Minas Tirith on March 16, 3019.


After the Battle of Pelennor Fields, Aragorn convened the Last Debate to decide their next course of action. Gandalf told the captains that they would not be able to defeat Sauron or his army through force of arms and that the one thing that would is The One Ring. He impressed upon them how important it was that the Ring be destroyed lest Sauron get it. He counselled them to create an army to march on the Black Gate to draw the Eye of Sauron away from Frodo and Sam. Éomer brought up concerns for the defence of Minas Tirith once the army left. In the end, they decided to leave behind 3,000 Rohirrim to attack a very large blocking force stationed on the West Road in Anórien; 4,000 who were coming by land from Pelargir; possibly several thousand who were coming up the Anduin; and the survivors from the siege of the city. This left the city better defended than it had been before the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Despite the knowledge that they were walking straight into a trap and some fears that Sauron would simply crush them without giving little thought to them, it was agreed that 7000 soldiers would leave Minas Tirith in two days.[1] Also debated was whether to assail Minas Morgul which Gandalf strongly advocated against because of "evil that dwelt in the valley, where the minds of living men would turn to madness and horror" and the risk of drawing the Eye of Sauron too near to Frodo and Sam.[2]

The expeditionary force, known as the Army of the West, numbered 7,000 men, and two days later on 18 March they left for the Morannon. Of those that left, Under Aragorn there were 2,000 of those who sailed with him up the Anduin; under Imrahil were 3,500 (probably from among the original defenders of the city); under Éomer were 500 Rohirrim unhorsed, and another 500 horsed; and lastly another 500 horsed Knights of Dol Amroth, Rangers of the North, and the two sons of Elrond, Elladan and Elrohir. In total 6000 on foot and 1000 on horse.[3]