White Tree of Gondor

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'"How came you by it?" — Thorin
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The name White Tree refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see White Tree (disambiguation).
White Tree of Gondor
"The White Tree" by Ted Nasmith
"The White Tree" by Ted Nasmith
Other namesWhite Tree of Minas Tirith, White Tree of the Eldar
LocationMinas Ithil, later Minas Tirith
FamilyTrees of Galathilion's line
AppearanceA white tree with leaves dark on top and silver beneath; and clusters of white blossoms
GalleryImages of the White Tree of Gondor

The White Tree of Gondor stood as a symbol of Gondor in the Court of the Fountain in Minas Tirith. Its predecessor was a seedling of Nimloth, planted in Minas Ithil, that was destroyed before the end of the Second Age.

The White Tree also appears on the livery of the heirs of Elendil, which was worn by the Guards of the Citadel of Minas Tirith,[1] on the standard of Elendil,[2] and on the royal banner of Gondor[3].

History

First White Tree

The first White Tree came from a fruit that Isildur, at great personal risk, managed to steal from Nimloth the Fair, the White Tree of Númenor, before that one was destroyed at Sauron's insistence. He suffered many wounds during this mission, and he came near death, but when the first leaf opened in the spring, Isildur was healed.

This sapling was brought to Middle-earth on Isildur's ship, and it was eventually planted in Minas Ithil before his house. But when Sauron returned to Middle-earth, he launched a sudden attack in S.A. 3429 that captured Minas Ithil, and he burned the White Tree. Isildur escaped, taking with him again a sapling.[4][5]

Second White Tree

In the year T.A. 2, Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree in Minas Anor in memory of his brother, Anárion.[5][6]

This White Tree lasted until T.A. 1636, when the Great Plague struck Gondor, killing King Telemnar and his children among many others.[6]

Third White Tree

See also: Dead Tree

A third sapling was planted in T.A. 1640 by King Tarondor. This tree died in T.A. 2872 with the death of the Ruling Steward Belecthor II.[6][7]

Since no seedling was found, the tree was left standing after its death "until the King returns".[7][6] When eventually replaced in T.A. 3019, it was laid in the Tombs of the Kings with royal honours.

Fourth White Tree

After Aragorn became king, he feared that he would not marry Arwen and found a dynasty, and he connected his unmarried state with the continued lack of a living White Tree. Then he discovered (with Gandalf's help) a sapling of the White Tree in the high hallow upon the slopes of Mindolluin, above Minas Tirith. This sapling he reverently planted in its place, and he took it as a sign that Arwen would arrive soon. In June of T.A. 3019 the sapling bloomed.[8][note 1]

Genealogy

Telperion
Destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliant
Galathilion on Túna
Made in the image of Telperion
Celeborn of Tol Eressëa
Nimloth of Númenor
First Tree of Gondor (Minas Ithil)
S.A. 3320 - 3429 (planted by Isildur)
Second Tree of Gondor (Minas Anor)
T.A. 2 - 1636 (planted by Isildur)
Third Tree of Gondor (Minas Tirith)
T.A. 1640 - 2872 (planted by Tarondor)
Fourth Tree of Gondor (Minas Tirith)
Since T.A. 3019 (planted by Elessar)

Inspiration

The White Tree has been compared to the medieval legend of the Dry Tree.[9]

Notes

  1. There is an inconsistency in dates: according to Appendix B, Elessar found the sapling on June 25; however the chapter The Steward and the King states that "when the month of June entered in it was laden with blossom", implying here that Aragorn planted the sapling before June began.

References