Last prince of Cardolan

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.


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

History[edit]

The last prince was the ruler of the splinter-realm of Cardolan after no descendants of Isildur remained there.[1] As a consequence, the prince was not a direct descendant of the High King.

The prince flourished during the Angmar War. It is possible that Cardolan had accepted the claim of Argeleb I to overlordship over Cardolan as King of Arnor,[1] being a direct descendant of Isildur around T.A. 1356 and that the last prince retained his office as a vassal ruler.[note 1]

The prince fell in the war of T.A. 1409 against Angmar and Rhudaur. He was then buried in the Barrow-downs the same year.[1]

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.[2][3]:144-5 Whether that lady was related to the last prince,[4] no tale tells.

Legacy[edit]

The Witch-king of Angmar rose and empowered the Barrow-wights of Cardolan[5] and slain the Rangers of the North in order to trap the Ring-bearer.[6][7] Indeed, on 28 September 3018[8] Frodo Baggins and his comrades were trapped in the Barrow-downs by a Barrow-wight, which some say was the same cairn which held the grave of the last prince of Cardolan.[1][9]

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[3]:p.143 which probably was a memory of the last moments of the prince.[10]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

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.[11][12]

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.[13]

Notes

  1. In the entry for the year 1356 of manuscript T4 of J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VIII. The Tale of Years of the Third Age" king Argeleb is slain in battle with Cardolan and Rhudaur and both realms resist his claim to overlordship, but the section The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur" only mentions that his claim was resisted by Rhudaur and that he was slain in battle with Rhudaur and Angmar without mentioning that Cardolan resisted the claim or that he died in battle with Cardolan. In addition Cardolan later helps Arthedain in the wars with Rhudaur and Angmar. Furthermore, a prince of Cardolan, rather than a king of Cardolan is mentioned later.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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, p. 1039
  2. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", p. 146
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (50th Anniv. Ed.), The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs"
  4. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 146-7
  5. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", p. 145-6
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring"
  7. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Flight to the Ford", p. 180
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", pp. 144-5
  10. 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
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: VII. The Barrow-wight", p. 127-8
  12. 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
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The First Phase: VII. The Barrow-wight", p. 128