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Gondorians

Gondorians
People
Liz Danforth - Gondorian.jpg]
"Gondorian" by Liz Danforth
General Information
Other namesMen of Gondor, Stone-folk, Stonehouse-folk
OriginsDescendants of the Númenóreans in Gondor (partly Northmen and Men of the Mountains)[1][2]
LocationsGondor
AffiliationLast Alliance of Elves and Men, Host of the West
RivalriesBlack Númenóreans, Corsairs of Umbar, Easterlings, Haradrim
LanguagesWestron, Númenórean Sindarin, Quenya
MembersDenethor, Boromir, Faramir, Imrahil, Borondir
Physical Description
LifespanSee below
GalleryImages of Gondorians

The Gondorians were the inhabitants of Gondor. The Dúnedain of Gondor, also known as the Dúnedain of the South, constituted the ruling class and nobility of Gondor being descendants of the Exiles of Númenor who established the South-Kingdom. The history of the Gondorians is extensively dominated by the actions of the Dúnedain of the South.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Early History

In Númenorean colonies and outposts, such as Belfalas and Pelargir, there were many Faithful, fully or partially of Númenórean blood, who descended from Númenor.[3] The Númenóreans venturing north of Pelargir met Men who had already settled in valleys on either side of the White Mountains, and classified them "Middle Men" due to their friendliness to the West, and recognized as descendants of the Men who abjured the Shadow.[4] There were many men of mingled blood, descended from the Men of the White Mountains during the Dark Years.[5]

Departure from Gondor by Anke Eißmann

After the Downfall of Númenor, the Exiles of Númenor, led by Elendil, established the Realms in Exile. Arriving at the Mouths of Anduin, Elendil's sons, Isildur and Anárion, ascended the great river and founded the realm of Gondor. The colonists welcomed them and allied themselves with the founders of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain.[3][6] Elendil made the Faithful nobles of his kin who ruled Belfalas "Princes".[2] Even the non-Númenórean peoples, like the Men of the Mountains, swore allegiance to Isildur.[7]

Originally ruled by their High King, the Dúnedain were divided as the Dúnedain of Arnor and the Dúnedain of Gondor, following the death of Isildur (T.A. 2). Isildur had relinquished the rule of Gondor to his nephew Meneldil who became the first King of Gondor to rule in his own right, and so the Gondorians became an independent people.[3][8]

The Men of Gondor were, from the beginnning of their history, always more powerful and populous than their northern counterparts, the Men of Arnor, in spite of their borders being impeded in the South and East.[4]

[edit] Third Age

As the realm endured, the splendour of the Gondorians grew, until during the reign of Hyarmendacil I (T.A. 1050) it recalled the wealth and majesty of Númenor.[9][8] They built high towers, strong places, and havens of many ships; and peoples of many lands and tongues bowed to the Crown of Gondor.[3]

The Watchful Peace by John Howe

In the later Third Age, the Gondorian blood became much mingled with that of other men, especially the Northmen of Rhovanion. King Eldacar, who himself had Northmannish blood, showed favour to the Northmen who supported him. The Kin-strife led to the loss of many Dúnedain. After his return from exile, many noble houses, including the royal House of Anárion, became more mingled with the blood of "lesser" Men.[9]

The Great Plague decimated the Gondorians with many, including King Telemnar and his kin.[3][9]

After the reign of King Eärnur, royal descendants among the Dúnedain of Gondor had become few and no claimant for the throne could be found of pure Númenórean blood, or whose claim all would accept, and people were afraid of a new Kin-strife that would devastate the kingdom. Thus, by default, Mardil began the line of Ruling Stewards of Gondor.[3][9]

During the rule of the Stewards, the Gondorians still defended the passage of the Anduin against the terrors of Minas Morgul and against all the enemies of the West.[3]

By the time of the War of the Ring, most Gondorians lived within Minas Tirith and few herdsmen and husbandmen dwelt in the townlands of the Pelennor. Many Dúnedain were in the royal lands of Anórien, Ithilien, and Belfalas, and others the southern fiefs, in the high vales of the mountain-borders, in Lossarnach, or further south in Lebennin.[5][6][10]

[edit] Later History

In the Fourth Age, the Dúnedain of Gondor and Arnor were reunited under King Aragorn II Elessar (who was also called the Dúnadan) so that the Gondorians became a part of a great Reunited Kingdom that spanned western Middle-earth.

[edit] Characteristics

[edit] Appearance and Traits

The Gondorians of Númenórean descent were tall, pale-skinned, with dark hair, shining grey eyes, and proud faces.[11][5] They were a proud and noble people, valiant in the face of hardhsip.[5] The Men of Gondor whose blood is more mingled with the people of the White Mountains (such as those of Lossarnach) were grim-faced, shorter, and somewhat swarthier than many others in Gondor.[5]

[edit] Lifespan

In the beginning of their history, the Dúnedain (including those of Gondor) were blessed with a lifespan thrice the life of lesser men, yet this ever-diminished over the course of the Third Age.[12][6]

The Third Age marked the beginning of the waning of the Dúnedain, in which their gifts of wisdom, nobility, and long life were slowly withdrawn due to the Downfall of Númenor and their mingling with lesser men.[9]

After Gondor's numbers were replenished by lesser Northmen after the Kin-Strife, the mingling did not at first hasten the waning of the Dúnedain, as had been feared, but it still proceeded little by little as it had before.[9] However, after the fall of the Kings, the waning was much swifter in Gondor than in Arnor.[12] In fact, Hador the seventh Ruling Steward of Gondor was the last Gondorian to live 150 years and after his time the life-span of those with Númenórean blood waned more rapidly.[13] By the time of the War of the Ring, the lifespan of the Gondorians had waned to little greater than that of lesser men.[14] Only few among the Gondorians passed 100 years with vigour, except in the more pure and noble houses.[14]

Upon the reunification of the Two Kingdoms, the life-span of all Dúnedain (including those of Gondor) was not restored and continued to wane until it became as that of other men.[13]

[edit] Culture

[edit] Skills

The original Gondorians brought extraordinary knowledge of stonework with them from Númenor, and this skill was a vital part of the character of Gondor and its people. In the early years of the realm, the Gondorians worked to erect mighty cities and monuments throughout their new land. Their original capital at Osgiliath had great stone bridges spanned the Anduin, as well as mighty houses and towers of stone.Other works marvellous and strong they built in the land in the days of their power, at the Argonath, and at Aglarond, and at Erech; and at Isengard, they made the Pinnacle of Orthanc of unbreakable stone.[3] They also built great roads that ran both north and south of the White Mountains.[15]

The Gondorians were very skilled in the arts of healing and medicine, having preserved much wisdom of Númenor.[2] They were skilled in healing all such sickness Men were subject to.[14]

The Men of Gondor were noted for their great seafaring skills, especially naval warfare. They built navies and extended the sway of Gondor along the coasts west and south of the Mouths of Anduin for more than a thousand years.[3][9]

[edit] Customs

The Dúnedain of the South married late in their life and had few children. Several of the Kings of Gondor were childless.[9]

Before a meal, the Gondorians had a little ritual called the Standing Silence: they looked towards the West in silence, towards Númenor, and beyond to Aman, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome.[16]

Gondorian ships were usually black and silver in colour.[17]

The people of Minas Tirith used horses very little and they were rarely seen in their streets, save only those ridden by the errand-riders of their lord.[5]

[edit] Language

Westron, or the Common Speech, was the main language of the people of Gondor. An antique, more formal and terse, form of the Common Tongue was spoken by the Gondorians.[18]

Many of the Men of Gondor could also speak the Elvish tongues, a notable distinction and characteristic among the Dúnedain of the South.[6] Sindarin had long ceased to be a "first language" in Gondor, but was learned in early youth (by those claiming Númenórean descent) from loremasters, and used by them as a mark of rank and high-blood.[13] It had changed very little since the Downfall of Númenor and though the Men of Gondor altered some of the sounds, they could still understand the Elves and be understood by them.[13] Westron became used more and more by the Dúnedain of Gondor themselves, so that at the time of the War of the Ring, Sindarin was known to only a small part of the peoples of Gondor (and spoken daily by fewer); they dwelt mostly in Minas Tirith and the adjacent townlands, and in the land of the tributary princes of Dol Amroth.[6] Sindarin was used to be polite, especially in Minas Tirith.[19]

Quenya was known to the learned of Gondor, a tradition which has continued from the loremasters of Númenor, to be used for places of fame and reverence in addition to the names of royalty and men of great renown.[19][6] All the royal names of the Kings of Gondor as well as all the Stewards until Mardil Voronwë were Quenya names.[6][20] At the end of the Third Age, there were more Men (those of Minas Tirith and its fiefs) that knew Quenya or spoke Sindarin than there were Elves (those of Lindon, Rivendell, and Lórien) who did either.[19]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Gondorians, or Gondorian Commoners, are one of the cultures, suitable for player characters, that are given a detailed description. The Gondorians contain varying degrees of blood from Dúnedain, Northmen and Men from Harad and Dunland.[21][22]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 64, (dated 30 April 1944), also Letter 144, Letter 256
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "II. The Appendix on Languages"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "VII. The Heirs of Elendil"
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Houses of Healing"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Window on the West"
  17. Daniel Helen, "Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth transcribed" dated 10 November 2015, The Tolkien Society (accessed 5 August 2018)
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "On Translation"
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 347, (dated 17 December 1972)
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Southern Line: Heirs of Anarion"
  21. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, softcover) (#2001), p. 168
  22. Jason Beresford, Anders Blixt, Mats Blomqvist, Gunnar Brolin, Jeff Hatch, Tim Innes, Martin Rundkvist, Erik Ragvik, Olle Sahlin, Chris Seeman, Magnus Seter (1996), Southern Gondor: The People (#2020)