Realms in Exile

From Tolkien Gateway
Realms in Exile
"The Pillars of the Kings" by Ted Nasmith
General information
Other namesKingdoms of the Dúnedain, Númenórean Realms, Two Kingdoms[1]
LocationArnor and Gondor
Annúminas, later Fornost
Osgiliath, later Minas Tirith
Major townsArnor
Bree, Fornost Erain, Michel Delving, Tharbad
Calembel, Dol Amroth, Erech, Linhir, Pelargir, Umbar
Arthedain, Cardolan, Rhudaur, Shire
Anfalas, Anórien, Belfalas, Dorwinion, Enedwaith (shared with Arnor), Ithilien, Lamedon, Lebennin, Lossarnach, South Gondor
PopulationMen of Arnor, Gondorians, Hobbits, Men of Bree-land
LanguageWestron, Númenórean Sindarin, Quenya, Hobbitish
GovernanceHigh King
Currencytharni, castar[2]
Preceded byNúmenor
EstablishedS.A. 3320
DividedT.A. 2
Attempt to reunifyT.A. 1944
Reunited1 May, T.A. 3019

Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinomë maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn' Ambar-metta.

The Realms in Exile were the two kingdoms established by Elendil and his sons after the Downfall of Númenor. Often called the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain, it was the collective name for Arnor and Gondor, the North-Kingdom and South-kingdom of the Dúnedain in the Westlands of Middle-earth.



After the Downfall of Númenor in S.A. 3319, the Great Sea cast up a handful of survivors on the shores of Middle-earth.[3] These were Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anárion, the last leaders of the Faithful, who had fled from the port of Rómenna and were aboard ship when Númenor was swallowed by the Sea. The raging waters that followed the Downfall had driven their ships eastward until they came to the ruined shores of Middle-earth.[4] There they established in the North-west the Númenorean realms in exile, Arnor and Gondor, in S.A. 3320.[3]

Elendil and his people landed in Lindon and from there they spread out across Eriador.[5] Their great cities were at Annúminas on Nenuial, and Fornost on the North Downs,[5] and they thus established a realm that came to be known as Arnor, "Land of the King", because High King Elendil dwelt there by Lake Evendim.[4]

Elendil's sons Isildur and Anárion were driven southwards by the Sea, and found their way at last up through the Mouths of Anduin into the Great River in a region where a great Númenórean port, Pelargir, had stood for centuries. They founded their own southern realm in this region, named Gondor, "Land of Stone", for the great feats of stonework they performed. Their main city was named Osgiliath, built on the river on which they had entered their new land, but each of the brothers also had a fortress of their own: Minas Ithil for Isildur and Minas Anor for Anárion.[5]


The Númenórean Realms formed the Last Alliance with the Elves against Sauron. During that War, Anarion and Elendil were killed. Isildur succeeded to the High Kingship, but his loss at the Disaster of the Gladden Fields caused a division between the two realms. At that time, Isildur's nephew Meneldil became King of Gondor in his own right, and the two kingdoms would remain separate until the time of Aragorn Elessar, more than three thousand years later.[5]

Attempts of reunification

It was until the time of Araphant of Arthedain and Ondoher of Gondor when they took up counsel together after long silence and estrangment. Then, it was determined that one single power and will was directing attacks against the Realms in Exile. In T.A. 1940, Arvedui, the son of King Araphant of Arthedain, wed Fíriel, the daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor, thus reuniting the House of Isildur and the House of Anárion. However, they could not profit from the new-formed alliance as Angmar and the Wainriders reappeared simultaneously.[6]

Ondoher would prove to be last in a direct line of kings when he was slain in battle with the Wainriders, alongside his sons. Hoping to save Arnor from Angmar, Arvedui staked his claim to the kingship of Gondor, by right of his descent from Isildur and by that of his wife, mentioning also the ancient Law of Succession in Númenor. The Council of Gondor refused (to the Gondorians the remnant of Arnor seemed an insignificant despite its great heritage) and gave the crown to Eärnil instead, the commander of the royal house who defeated the Wainriders; he maintained good relations with Arthedain, promising them aid. Arvedui did not press his claim for he had neither the power nor the will to oppose the choice of the Dúnedain of Gondor.[6]

Arnor's strength was fast dwindling when in T.A. 1973 now-King Arvedui sent a message to Eärnil that they were in great straits, and that Angmar was preparing it final assault. Eärnil, accordingly, mustered a great army under the command of his son Eärnur. The Gondorian force put to sea, but would not arrive before Angmar destroyed the North-kingdom.[7] Even so, the descendants of Arvedui never forgot his claim,[6] and when the line of Kings failed in Gondor, it was rumored that the Northern line still wandered in secrecy.[8]

Final reunification

Main article: Reunited Kingdom

After the ultimate defeat of the Dark Lord in the War of the Ring, Isildur's Heir Aragorn II Elessar came forward and reclaimed the High Kingship, once again reuniting the Númenórean Realms after more than three thousand years.[5]

See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Rivers and Beacon-hills of Gondor" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 42, July 2001, p. 6
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards"