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Last Alliance of Elves and Men

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The Last Alliance of Elves and Men was an alliance, formed in S.A. 3430, of the armies of Elves, Men, and Dwarves that united together against Sauron for the War of the Last Alliance.[1]

History

Sauron had been contending with the Elves for mastery of Middle-earth for over 1200 years. Fearing the establishment of the powerful kingdoms in exile — Arnor and Gondor — by his hated enemies, the Dúnedain, Sauron launched a pre-emptive attack on Gondor in S.A. 3429.[1]

In response, Elendil and Gil-galad made that League which is called the Last Alliance, and they marched east, gathering a great host of Elves and Men; and they halted for a while at Imladris. It is said that the host that was there assembled was fairer and more splendid in arms than any that has since been seen in Middle-earth, and none greater has been mustered since the Host of the Valar went against Thangorodrim.[2]

It is said that Elendil bound the Alliance with an oath and invoked the name of Eru to witness it.[3] Eru's name was very rarely invoked in oaths, and among the Númenóreans it was held that only the King could call upon Him. This would happen again only thousands of years later during the Oath of Cirion.[3]

The hosts of Gil-galad and Elendil met at Amon Sûl and marched towards Imladris where they camped for three years, forging armour and making plans whilst Anárion, Elendil's younger son, defended Osgiliath against the hosts of Mordor.

The armies crossed the Misty Mountains at various locations and their forces were strengthened in the Vale of Anduin by Elves from Lothlórien and Greenwood the Great under the command of Oropher and Amdír and by the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm.

Despite the desire of the Silvan Elves to meddle as little as might be in the affairs of any other peoples, Oropher had the wisdom to foresee that peace would not return unless Sauron was overcome. He, therefore, assembled a great army of his now numerous people and joining with the lesser army of Amdír of Lórien he led the host of the Silvan Elves to battle. The Silvan Elves were hardy and valiant, but ill-equipped with armour or weapons in comparison with the Eldar of the West; also they were independent, and not disposed to place themselves under the supreme command of Gil-galad.[4]

All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-galad.[5]

Of the Dwarves, few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron.[6]

In S.A. 3434 they defeated Sauron's army in the Battle of Dagorlad, breached the Morannon into Mordor, and besieged the Dark Lord's fortress of Barad-dûr. The siege lasted for seven years, during which Anárion was slain. It culminated in Sauron leaving his fortress and engaging in direct combat. There were three objectives to this war; to unmake the One Ring, to destroy Sauron, and to destroy the foundation of the Dark Tower.[1]

Sauron was felled by Gil-galad and Elendil, who both perished in the assault themselves. Elendil broke his sword Narsil as he fell. Using the hilt-shard of the sword, Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's finger.[7] Bereft of the power of the One Ring, Sauron's spirit dissipated and would not take form again in Middle-earth for a thousand years.

With the victory over Sauron and the death of Gil-galad and Elendil, the Last Alliance was dissolved. The remaining Númenóreans and Elves resettled their kingdoms.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"

See also