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Watchful Peace

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The Watchful Peace was a relatively peaceful 4-century period during the Third Age, from T.A. 2063, when Sauron, then known as "the Necromancer", fled from Dol Guldur to hide himself from the Wise. That was until Sauron returned in 2460.



When Arnor reestablished relations with Gondor, Kings Araphant and Ondoher realised that a single force was co-ordinating the attacks on both of their kingdoms and that they should work together to combat this evil. However it was already too late; the Witch-king of Angmar managed to overthrow Arthedain, the last remnant of the Northern Kingdom of Arnor. Angmar was in turn destroyed by the forces of Gondor helped by the Elves of Rivendell and Lindon.

The Nazgûl gathered back in Mordor and subsequently captured Minas Ithil, now renamed Minas Morgul. The Dwarves of Moria also suffered a big loss with the awakening of a Balrog and the following evacuation of Khazad-dûm.

The last years before the Watchful peace, Gondor suffered the loss of its last childless King Earnur, and the beginning of the Ruling Stewards.

John Howe - Pass the Doors of Dol Guldur

Eventually the Wise feared that their enemy is active in Dol Guldur and in T.A. 2063 Gandalf went there to investigate; the "Necromancer" fled to the East so that he would not be identified.

During his absence, Dol Guldur was ruled by Khamûl the Easterling. The Shadow on Mirkwood had lessened, but the Nazgûl had used this period to prepare for Sauron's return, who, in the meantime, was corrupting the Men of the East.



The first ten Ruling Stewards had relative calm in which to renew their strength. These included Mardil Voronwë, Eradan, Herion, Belegorn, Húrin I, Túrin I, Hador, Barahir, Dior, and Denethor I.

During the Peace Gondor strengthened its borders, keeping a watchful eye on the east, as Minas Morgul was still a threat on their flank and Mordor was still occupied with Orcs. But no major escalations occurred except for minor skirmishes with the Haven of Umbar.

During the Peace the garrisons of the forts of Calenardhon (which was depopulated during the Great Plague) were not renewed, and local chieftains (whose subjects were increasingly of mixed blood) gained more control.[1]


The first seven Chieftains of the Dúnedain ruled their people, the Rangers of the North, during the Watchful Peace: Aranarth, Arahael, Aranuir, Aravir, Aragorn I, Araglas, and Arahad I. Even beore the Peace ended, evil things secretly invaded or attacked Eriador. The region suffered only from some evil creatures such as wolves.[2]

The Hobbits of the Shire prospered and even expanded and appointed a Thain to take the role of the King, the first being Bucca,[2] and Isumbras I became the first Tookish Thain later; Buckland was first occupied by Oldbucks at this time.


At the beginning of the Watchful Peace, the Dwarves of Durin's Folk dwelt in both the Grey Mountains and in Erebor. Thráin I made his abode at Erebor, but the majority of his people inhabited the Grey Mountains and his son Thorin I moved there as well.

He was followed as King of Durin's Folk by Glóin and Óin.


The Éothéod dwelt in the north vales of Anduin during the Watchful Peace.

Further south, some Stoors inhabited the areas near the Gladden Fields, having settled there some centuries ago to flee the shadow of Angmar, and formed a matriarchical society.[3][4] Sméagol was born and spent his youth there toward the end of the Watchful Peace.

End of the Peace

A new race of Orcs was bred in Minas Morgul, the Uruk-hai. But Sauron was not idle in the east either: he created a strong alliance between the various tribes of Easterlings, so that when he returned he was more powerful and had many Men in his service.

In T.A. 2460, Sauron returned with new strength. His return coincided with the One Ring revealing itself and Sméagol claimed it three years later. In c. T.A. 2480 Orcs began to spread again in the Misty Mountains in order to block all passes into Eriador, whilst Sauron's creatures took Moria as their own. The next years Ithilien and Osgiliath were devastated by the Uruk-hai.

Portrayal in adaptations

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Elrond mentions a "watchful peace" that as of T.A. 2941 has lasted for "four hundred years", referring to the absence of Sauron. In the context of the movie (which is quite different than the canonical chronology), Sauron had been inactive between T.A. 2541 and 2941, when the Necromancer first emerges.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past"
Preceded by:
Angmar War
Major events of Middle-earth
T.A. 2063 - T.A. 2460
Followed by:
War of the Dwarves and Dragons