The Dúnedain of the North – Arnor
The Foundation of Arnor
Before the Downfall of Númenor, Elendil and his two sons loaded their ships with their people, and their most precious heirlooms, and docked them off the coast in the Bay of Rómenna. There they waited, not knowing what fate had in store for them. When Númenor was whelmed by a great wave, and taken under the sea, the ships of Elendil and his people, the Faithful, were cast across the ocean to Middle-earth.
Elendil was taken into the North-west of Middle-earth and was cast upon the shores of the land of Lindon where he was befriended by Gil-galad, the High King of the Noldor. Elendil passed up the River Lhûn and beyond the Ered Luin (Blue Mountains) where he founded his realm of Arnor. His people settled there in the lands of Eriador around the River Lhûn and the River Baranduin (Brandywine River). The chief city of Arnor was Annúminas, but there were also settlements about Fornost and in Cardolan and Rhudaur.
At one time Eriador included all of the lands between the Misty Mountains and the Grey Mountains, and was bounded in the south by the Greyflood and the River Glanduin. Arnor, at the height of its power, included all of Eriador save the lands beyond the Gulf of Lune, and those regions to the east of the Greyflood and the Loudwater. Beyond Lune were lands of the Elves where no Men went, but some Dwarves dwelt. To the east of the Greyflood and the Loudwater could be found Hollin and Rivendell, which were home to many Elves.
The Kings of Arnor
Elendil was the first High King of both Arnor and Gondor. He was a friend and ally of Gil-galad, and together they formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men in Second Age 3430. Together with many of their folk, they marched upon Mordor and at last Sauron was overthrown. The One Ring was cut from his finger and Barad-dûr was besieged.
The Last Alliance had the victory, but both Gil-galad and Elendil were slain during the war, Elendil’s sword, Narsil, was broken, and the One Ring was taken, but not destroyed. Sauron was for a time vanquished and Isildur became the High King of the Dúnedain. He left the rule of the south in the hands of his nephew, Meneldil, because Anárion had been slain during the siege of Barad-dûr.
Elendil ruled from SA 3319 (the year of the Downfall of Númenor) until his death in SA 3441. He was then succeeded by his eldest son, Isildur.
Isildur was the second High King of Arnor and Gondor. He it was who cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand with his slain father’s broken sword. When counseled by Círdan and Elrond to cast it back into the fires of Mount Doom, he refused, keeping it instead as an heirloom of his house. He swore that all in his bloodline would be bound to the Ring’s fate.
Isildur stayed for a time in Minas Tirith after the War of the Last Alliance, and while there, wrote the Scroll of Isildur in which he described his taking of the One Ring. He also told of the inscriptions upon it, which could be seen by fire alone. This Scroll was the one which Gandalf read in The Lord of the Rings, and it was what allowed the Wizard to ascertain whether Frodo’s ring was actually the One Ring or not.
Isildur’s reign was short though, for on his way to take up his seat in the north, he was slain in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, when his party was waylaid by Orcs coming down from the Misty Mountains. He used the One Ring to escape, but soon it betrayed him as it slid from his finger and he was revealed. The Orcs shot him with many arrows and he fell into the River Anduin, where the Ring lay dormant for many years.
Isildur reigned from SA 3441 (the last year of the Second Age), until TA 2. He was succeeded then by his youngest son, Valandil.
Valandil was the third High King of Arnor. He was the fourth, and youngest, son of Isildur. When his father and brothers went off to the War of the Last Alliance, he and his mother were harboured in Rivendell until the war was over because he was too young yet to fight.
At last the three survivors of the Disaster of the Gladden Fields returned to Rivendell. Among them was Ohtar, who carried the Shards of Narsil. The pieces of the sword were given to Valandil, but its light was extinguished and Elrond foretold that it would not be reforged lest the One Ring be found and Sauron return.
Valandil reigned from TA 10 until TA 249. He was succeeded then by his son Eldacar.
Eldacar was the fourth High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule but that he died in TA 339. He was succeeded by his son Arantar.
Arantar was the fifth High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, though we do know that it lasted nearly 100 years. He died in TA 435. He was succeeded by his son Tarcil.
Tarcil was the sixth High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, though we do know that it lasted for 80 years. He died in TA 515. He was succeeded by his son Tarondor.
Tarondor was the seventh High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, save that he reigned during a time of peace. We can assume that he was king for 87 years for he died in TA 602. He was succeeded by his son Valandur.
Valandur was the eighth High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, save that he suffered a strange and violent death after ruling for 50 years. He died in TA 652. He was succeeded by his son Elendur.
Elendur was the ninth High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, though we do know that it lasted for 125 years until his death in TA 777. He was succeeded by his son Eärendur.
Eärendur was the tenth, and last, High King of Arnor. We have no information about his rule, save that upon his death in TA 861, due to dissensions among his three sons, the kingdom of Arnor was ended. The lands were divided into three separate kingdoms.
Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Cardolan
Upon the death of Eärendur, the lands of Arnor were divided between his three sons. The new kingdoms were called Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Cardolan. The Lords of Rhudaur and Cardolan are not named, but the first King of Arthedain was Amlaith, the eldest son and heir of Eärendur. In Arthedain the line of Isildur was maintained, but in the other lands, the line came to an end. Arthedain was the longest surviving of the realms of the north, though at the last even that kingdom was ended.
Arthedain was in the Northwest of the old lands of Arnor, and it included all of the lands between the River Brandywine and Lune. It spanned also the lands north of the Great Road as far as the Weather Hills.
Rhudaur was in the Northeast between the Ettenmoors, the Misty Mountains, and the Weather Hills. Also included was the Angle between the River Hoarwell and the Loudwater.
Cardolan was in the South, and it was bounded by the River Brandywine, the Greyflood, and the Great Road.
There was often strife between the three kingdoms and this hastened the waning of their people. The chief debate was over the possession of the Weather Hills and those lands westward toward Bree. Two of the Seeing Stones of the north were in the possession of Arthedain, so being that the other, and the chief Stone, was atop Amon Sûl, there was often conflict over which of the other two kingdoms should possess the last Stone. Both Rhudaur and Cardolan wished to possess Amon Sûl which was on the border of both their lands.
The Kings of Arthedain
Amlaith was the first King of Arthedain. He was the eldest son and rightful heir of the last King of Arnor, Eärendur. He was a direct descendant of Isildur. After Eärendur, the kings ceased taking their names in the High-elven form.
Amlaith ruled Arthedain from TA 861 until TA 946. He was succeeded by his son Beleg.
Beleg was the second King of Arthedain. During his reign, or possibly the reign of his son, there were two things that occurred which, at the time, seemed inconsequential, but would prove to be quite significant many years later.
The first of these events was the appearance of a short, hairy-footed, Man-like people who came across the Misty Mountains. The Dúnedain called them ‘Periannath’ or ‘Halflings’ and they were the first Hobbits to enter into the realms of Men in the west of Middle-earth.
The second event was the coming of a shadow to the forest of Greenwood the Great. At first the shadow was of unknown origin, but either before Beleg’s reign was ended, or shortly thereafter, the Wise discovered that its source was at Dol Guldur. The forest became a place of fear and was renamed Mirkwood during this time. Many years later it was realized that the shadow was a product of the return of Sauron himself. He hid there until he was able to return to Mordor. His final defeat is well documented in the end of the War of the Ring.
Beleg ruled Arthedain from TA 946 until TA 1027, and died in TA 1029. He was succeeded by his son Mallor.
Mallor was the third King of Arthedain. During his reign, or the end of his father’s, the Istari first appeared in Middle-earth, shortly after the coming of the shadow to Greenwood. Around the same time, the Wise discovered that the source of the shadow was at Dol Guldur. Besides these discoveries, there was little strife during his reign.
Mallor reigned from TA 1027 until TA 1108, and died in TA 1110. He was succeeded by his son Celepharn.
Celepharn was the fourth King of Arthedain. During his reign the lands of Gondor reached their most prosperous point under the reign of Atanatar Alcarin.
The Periannath (Hobbits) who had been living in the lands of Eriador for over a century, were called the Harfoots, and they had appeared during the time of Beleg. During the reign of Celepharn though, the numbers of Hobbits increased when the Stoors and the Fallohides fled westward from the growing shadow in Mirkwood Forest.
Celepharn reigned from TA 1108 until TA 1189, and died in TA 1191. He was succeeded by his son Celebrindor.
Celebrindor was the fifth King of Arthedain. He was the last of the kings to reign in times of peace for he ruled before the foundation of the lands of Angmar.
Celebrindor reigned from TA 1189 until TA 1270, and died in TA 1272. He was succeeded by his son Malvegil.
Malvegil was the sixth King of Arthedain. During his reign, evil came to Arnor when the realm of Angmar sprung up in the North, beyond the Ettenmoors. Angmar’s lands spread to both sides of the mountains and to that place, many evil men were gathered, along with great numbers of Orcs.
Men called the lord of Angmar the “Witch-king”, but they did not at that time realize that he was indeed the chief of the Nazgûl, and he had come to Arnor with the express purpose of destroying the realm entirely. The Witch-king knew that Gondor was strong, but he hoped that if he could destroy the Dúnedain of the North, then it would aid him in bringing down Gondor as well. He knew of the division of Arnor and hoped to use their disunion to his, and his lord’s, advantage.
There was no noted warfare during Malvegil’s time, but Angmar’s foundation led to much stirring of evil things, and the journey of these creatures westward from the east. This movement caused the migration also of many free-peoples ahead of the evil beings. Most noted of these was the movement of the Hobbits who, during Malvegil’s time, began to make settlements in Bree.
Malvegil reigned from TA 1270 until TA 1347, and died in TA 1349. He was succeeded by his son Argeleb I.
Argeleb I was the seventh King of Arthedain. During his reign the numbers of the Dúnedain in the kingdoms of Rhudaur and Cardolan were so diminished, that he tried to reunite the three kingdoms, and again have one cohesive state. He wished to claim kingship over all of Arnor himself, but he was met by resistance and eventually war. Argeleb I, and the kings who came thereafter, claimed themselves the lords over all of Arnor so they began taking their names with the prefix of ‘Ar’ to signify this fact.
The numbers of the Dúnedain were especially reduced in Rhudaur, where power had been seized by an evil lord of the Hillmen who was secretly allied with Angmar. Rhudaur resisted Argeleb’s claim to the throne of Arnor fiercely, and with the help of Angmar, declared war against the other two kingdoms. Argeleb fortified the Weather Hills and the areas around them, but battle ensued, and Argeleb was slain.
Argeleb I reigned from TA 1347 until TA 1356. He was succeeded by his son Arveleg I.
Arveleg I was the eighth King of Arthedain. He took over power from his father due to his untimely death in battle with the alliance between the realms of Angmar and Rhudaur.
Arveleg’s reign was bookended by war and strife. He made a decision to ally himself with the people of Cardolan and with the Elves of Lindon and together they formed a front against Rhudaur and Angmar. Theses two forces came to a standstill, and remained that way for more than 50 years. During this time, Arthedain and Cardolan held a strong front along the Weather Hills, the Great Road, and lower River Hoarwell. Rivendell did not fall along this protected front though, and it is said that at some point during this time, it was besieged.
In TA 1409, a great host came down from Angmar, entered the lands of Cardolan and surrounded Weathertop. The Dúnedain were unable to hold back the assault, and in the battle for Amon Sûl, Arveleg I was slain. The enemy burned the tower and razed it to the ground, but the palantír was saved and borne away to Fornost. Rhudaur was then entirely occupied by evil Men from Angmar and the lands of Cardolan were ravaged.
Arveleg I reigned from TA 1356 until TA 1409. He was succeeded by his young son Araphor.
Araphor was the ninth King of Arthedain. He took over the kingship at a very young age since his father was slain during the war with Angmar and Rhudaur over Amon Sûl.
It seems that Angmar was able to lay siege to the royal city of Fornost, and though Araphor was still quite young, he was very brave. With the help of Círdan of Lune, he was able to defend Fornost and the North Downs and to push back the forces of Angmar. It is also said that the enemy was held at bay for a time by the Elves of Lindon and of Rivendell because Elrond brought help over the Mountains out of Lórien. But in the end, Rhudaur was lost, being now a tributary state to Angmar. There were still a remaining few faithful in Cardolan who held off the enemy in Tyrn Gorthad (the Barrowdowns), or were able to take shelter in the nearby forest, but their numbers were few.
At this time, the Stoors (a group of Hobbits) fled westward out of fear of Angmar and to escape the wars of men. Some of them returned to Wilderland and dwelt beside the River Gladden where they became a riverside folk of fishermen. It was from this folk that Sméagol (Gollum) was said to be descended.
Araphor reigned from TA 1409 until TA 1589. He was succeeded by his son Argeleb II.
Argeleb II was the tenth King of Arthedain. It was during his reign that the Shire was founded and the Great Plague came to Eriador from the Southeast. Most of the people of Cardolan perished, especially hard hit was Minhiriath. The Hobbits were also greatly effected but the high seat in Fornost was spared for as the plague passed Northward, it’s strength was lessened.
At this time, an end was come to the Dúnedain of Cardolan, and evil spirits came down out of Rhudaur and Angmar and occupied the deserted mounds there. These spirits were later called the Barrow-wights about which the following is said in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur:
” It is said that the mounds of Tyrn Gorthad, as the Barrowdowns were called of old, are very ancient, and that many were built in the days of the old world of the First Age by the forefathers of the Edain, before they crossed the Blue Mountains into Beleriand, of which Lindon is all that now remains. Those hills were therefore revered by the Dúnedain after their return; and there many of their lords and kings were buried. (Some say that the mound in which the Ringbearer was imprisoned had been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who fell in the war of 1409) “
Argeleb II reigned from TA 1589 until TA 1670. He was succeeded by his son Arvegil.
Arvegil was the eleventh King of Arthedain. He lived longer than any of his descendants until the days of Aragorn Elessar, but even so his life was much shorter than the men of his line before him.
Arvegil reigned from TA 1670 until TA 1743. He was succeeded by his son Arveleg II.
Arveleg II was the twelfth King of Arthedain. We know little of his rule save that is lasted from TA 1743 until TA 1813. He was succeeded by his son Araval.
Araval was the thirteenth King of Arthedain. He was born during a time of war and strife since Arthedain had by then been under threat of attack from Angmar for around 400 years.
There is no information about Araval’s rule in The Lord of the Rings, but in Peoples of Middle-earth, there are hints that during the wars with Angband, Araval may have been a diplomat and a warrior. If we believe this is true, then it appears that he fought and won at least one key battle against the Witch-king of Angmar. He also attempted to re-colonize Cardolan, but this was prevented by the spirits who occupied the mounds in Tyrn Gorthad.
Araval reigned from TA 1813 until TA 1891. He was succeeded by his son Araphant.
Araphant was the fourteenth King of Arthedain. During his time, the strength of Arthedain was at long last being worn down by the constant threat of war with Angmar.
Araphant decided that the only hope for his kingdom was to try to renew communications with Gondor in the south, which was then suffering at the hands of the Wainriders. He forged an alliance with King Ondoher of Gondor, but it was too late, and Gondor could offer the North no aid for they were themselves embroiled in wars of their own.
A product of the alliance between Araphant and King Ondoher of Gondor was the marriage of their children. Arvedui son of Araphant took to wife Fíriel daughter of Ondoher.
Araphant reigned from TA 1891 until TA 1964. He was succeeded by his son Arvedui.
Arvedui was the fifteenth and last King of Arthedain. He was named Arvedui, which meant ‘Last-king’, on the urging of Malbeth the Seer who said to Araphant upon his son’s birth:
“Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to the Dúnedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will change his name and become king of a great realm. If not, then much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again.”
During his reign the Dúnedain realm in the north was completely destroyed leaving few of their people remaining.
Upon the death of King Ondoher of Gondor, Arvedui tried to claim the kingship of both Arnor and Gondor for he was the only living direct descendant of Isildur, and the husband of Ondoher’s daughter. His claim was denied though by the council of Gondor, and he did not have the power nor the will to pursue it any further.
In TA 1974, the Witch-king unleashed his full strength upon Arthedain before the winter was ended. He took the city of Fornost and drove the remainder of the people over the Lune where they found shelter and aid with the Elves of Círdan. Among those who fled were the sons of Arvedui, but the king himself stayed behind to defend the Northdowns until he and his guard were able to make a narrow escape due to the swiftness of their horses.
Arvedui hid for a time in the old mines of the Dwarves at the far end of the mountains, but he was forced by extreme hunger to search out the people called Lossoth, the Snowmen of Forochel. At first the Lossoth did not wish to help Arvedui and his men, for they feared the Witch-king and the King of Arthedain had naught to offer the Lossoth save a few jewels which the Snowmen did not desire. But they soon took pity on the starving men who had lost all of their horses in the fierce cold, and they offered them food and shelter.
Círdan learned from Aranarth, the eldest son of Arvedui, that the king had fled into the north. The Elf sent a great ship in search of them and when it arrived, the Lossoth feared it, but they helped Arvedui and his men aboard. Once they were ready to set sail, the chief of the Snowmen spoke to the king:
” Do not mount this seamonster! If they have them, let the seamen bring us food and other things that we need, and you may stay here till the Witch-king goes home. For in summer his power wanes; but now his breath is deadly, and his cold arm is long. “
But Arvedui would not take the counsel of the chief, instead he gave him his beloved ring and said to him:
“This is a thing of worth beyond your reckoning. For its ancientry alone. It has no power, save the esteem in which those hold it who love my house. It will not help you, but if ever you are in need, my kin will ransom it with great store of all that you desire.”
In this way, Arvedui saved the ring of the House of Isildur from being lost forever, for later it was said that the Dúnedain indeed ransomed it, and it was returned to them. That ring was said to have been none other than the Ring of Barahir, which had been given to Barahir by Finrod Felagund, and was later recovered by Beren at great peril.
The ship set sail, but the counsel of the Lossoth chief had been good, and a great storm of wind and blowing ice and snow came upon the craft. The ship was driven back and ice was piled up against it, crushing the hull. The ship perished and so passed Arvedui ‘Last-king’, and with him two of the palantíri of the north. These two Stones were those of Annúminas and Amon Sûl. The only remaining palantír of the North kingdom was in the towers at Emyn Beraid which was in the keeping of the Elves, and there it remained until Círdan placed it upon the ship which bore Elrond and the Ringbearers to the Blessed Realm.
At long last Eärnil of Gondor was able to send a fleet of ships, led by his son Eärnur, to the north, but they were too late, for Arvedui was already dead and Arthedain lost. Still, they met Círdan who gathered to him all he could from Lindon and Arnor, and together they marched upon their enemy and a great battle was fought, and the Witch-king was defeated.
Arvedui reigned from TA 1964 until TA 1975. With the death of Arvedui the Kingdom of Arthedain ended, but the line of Isildur was continued in the Chieftains of the Dúnedain of whom the first was Aranarth son of Arvedui.
The Chieftains of the Dúnedain
The kingdom of Arnor was ended, and the last of its divisions, Arthedain, was also destroyed. Since there was no longer a kingdom to rule, the leaders took on the title of Chieftain instead. There were fifteen Chieftains of Gondor until the days of Aragorn who rose to greatness and reclaimed the kingship of both Gondor and Arnor. It was the pride of the Dúnedain of the north that, though their power left them and their people dwindled, the succession continued in a direct line from father to son, unbroken, throughout their years.
The Dúnedain became a secret and wandering folk whose deeds and labors, no matter how great or small, went unnoticed and were not sung about in songs, nor told in tales. Though the lengths of their lives continued to diminish, the Chieftains of the North lived longer than their kin in Gondor. They lived to be twice the age of other men, and in Aragorn Elessar, the last Chieftain, the dignity of the kings of old was renewed, for he lived to be 210, longer than any since the days of King Arvedui.
Aranarth was the first Chieftain of the Dúnedain. His son, and all of the sons of the Chieftains after that, were harboured by Lord Elrond of Rivendell until they came of age. There also were kept the heirlooms of their house: the Ring of Barahir, the shards of Narsil, the star of Elendil, and the Sceptre of Annúminas.
The Sceptre of Annúminas was the silver rod of the Lords of Andúnië, and was then the most ancient work of the hands of Men preserved in Middle-earth. It was already more than 5000 years old when Elrond surrendered it to Aragorn after the War of the Ring. A sceptre had been the chief mark of royalty in Númenor, and so it was also in Arnor, where the kings wore no crown. Instead the lords of Arnor wore a single white gem bound to their brow with a silver fillet. This gem was the Elendilmir or the Star of Elendil.
During Aranarth’s time, the Dúnedain of the North achieved a great victory over Angmar with the help of General Eärnur of Gondor. Eärnur brought with him many men from the south and together with those who remained in the north, they rid the lands of the evils of Angmar and the Witch-king fled.
Aranarth was Chieftain from TA 1975 until TA 2106. He was succeeded by his son Arahael.
Arahael was the second Chieftain of the Dúnedain and he reigned during the time of the Watchful Peace. He was the Chieftain from TA 2106 until TA 2177. He was succeeded by his son Aranuir.
Aranuir was the third Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2177 until TA 2247. He was succeeded by his son Aravir.
Aravir was the fourth Chieftain of the Dúnedain and he reigned during the last years of The Watchful Peace. It was he who devised the name Aragorn in the naming of his son. He was the Chieftain from TA 2247 until TA 2319. He was succeeded by his son Aragorn I.
Aragorn I was the fifth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was slain by wolves, which had become a terrible danger in the lands of Eriador. He was the Chieftain from TA 2319 until TA 2327. He was succeeded by his son Araglas.
Araglas was the sixth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2327 until TA 2455. He was succeeded by his son Arahad I.
Arahad I was the seventh Chieftain of the Dúnedain. In his days the Orcs who had been hiding in the Misty Mountains revealed themselves. These Orcs captured Celebrían, the wife of Elrond, and poisoned and tortured her causing her to depart over Sea. Together with the Dúnedain, the sons of Elrond fought with the Orcs during Arahad’s rule.
Arahad I was the Chieftain from TA 2327 until TA 2523. He was succeeded by his son Aragost.
Aragost was the eighth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2523 until TA 2588. He was succeeded by his son Aravorn.
Aravorn was the ninth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2588 until TA 2654. He was succeeded by his son Arahad II.
Arahad II was the tenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2654 until TA 2719. He was succeeded by his son Arassuil.
Arassuil was the eleventh Chieftain of the Dúnedain. During his reign Orcs again began to assail the western lands of the North Country, but were fought back by Arassuil’s Rangers and the House of Elrond. He was the Chieftain from TA 2719 until TA 2784. He was succeeded by his son Arathorn I.
Arathorn I was the twelfth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2784 until TA 2848. He was succeeded by his son Argonui.
Argonui was the thirteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. During his reign the Fell Winter came to the North Country. He was the Chieftain from TA 2848 until TA 2912. He was succeeded by his son Arador.
Arador was the fourteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2912 until TA 2930, when he was captured by hill-trolls and was slain. He was succeeded by his son Arathorn II.
Arathorn II was the fifteenth Chieftain of the Dúnedain. At the age of 56 he sought to gain the hand of Gilraen daughter of Dírhael in marriage. She was only 22 at the time so at first his request was denied, but after some insight from Gilraen’s mother, Dírhael agreed and allowed the wedding to commence.
Arathorn was the Chieftain from TA 2930 until TA 2933, when he was shot through the eye by an arrow while hunting Orcs. He was succeeded by his son Aragorn II.
Aragorn II was the sixteenth, and last Chieftain of the Dúnedain. He was the Chieftain from TA 2933 until TA 3019, when he was crowned as the king of the reunited kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. He then took on the name of Elessar and established the House of Telcontar.
Research by Nienna of the Valar
The Lord of the Rings,Appendices A and B,
Histories of Middle-earth, Volume 12 (Peoples of Middle-earth)