Nov. 27, 2007. Updated Dec. 7, 2008; Jan. 18, 2015
Isildur was born in Númenor, the elder
son of Elendil.
In Númenor as a young man, Isildur
saved a fruit of the White
Tree, Nimloth the Fair, at great risk. He had listened quietly as his
was working on King
Ar-Pharazôn to have the White Tree cut down, "for it was a
memorial of the Eldar and of the light of Valinor".
Isildur said no word, but that night he went out in disguise. Thus he
went to Armenelos and the courts of the King, a place forbidden to the
Faithful, and came to the place of the tree, forbidden by Sauron to all
and watched day and night by Sauron's guards. Since it was nearly
winter, Nimloth bore no bloom and gave no light, and Isildur managed to
pass the guards in the dark. Isildur took a fruit from the tree but, as
he turned to go, the guards attacked him. He fought his way out,
receiving many wounds, but none knew who had taken the fruit. Isildur
returned to Rómenna and delivered the fruit to Amandil, before
strength failed him. The fruit was planted, and Amandil blessed it.
After it put out its first leaf, Isildur finally arose and was no
longer troubled by his wounds.
Soon after Isildur's foray, Nimloth was cut down and
burned on an altar to Melkor,
making a cloud over the land for seven
days until it slowly passed to the west. The young tree was kept on
Isildur's ship with the other ships of the Faithful waiting in the east
of Númenor, along with the seven palantíri stones gifted by
Ar-Pharazôn took his fleet to Valinor, to force the giving of
life within the Circles of the World, Manwë,
head of the Valar, felt unwilling to harm those he considered his
little brothers, so he turned the fate of these fellow
Children of Eru over to their mutual creator.
destroyed the ships, buried under
falling hills those who had come to shore, and changed the shape of
things so that instead of flat, the world was round, while Aman and
Eressëa remained on the flat, reachable only by special means.
lost his body and could never again assume a form fair to the eyes of
men, traveling as a shadow and wind to Mordor where he took up his Ring
again in Barad-dûr, and made himself a new guise.
Isildur escaped the drowning of Númenor in ships with others of
the Faithful including his younger brother, Anárion,
in a small fleet commanded by Elendil. As Númenor drowned,
grief prevented his ability to command, and the great winds caught up
the nine ships, snapping masts in their power, and cast them to the
vastly changed Middle-earth.
Elendil made a kingdom in Arnor and Gondor, sending
his two sons to handle the south kingdom of Gondor while he remained as
High King in Arnor.
The Argonath stone pillars were carved as a boundary
marker, showing the two sons and joint kings, Isildur and
was located on the Anduin River at the entrance to the northern
boundary of Gondor and were seen by the Fellowship of the Ring and
their leader, Aragorn, the Heir of Isildur.
Isildur was the Joint King of
of Ithilien, and he founded Minas Ithil. After Elendil's death, he was
the second High King of Arnor and Gondor. His sons in order of birth
were Elendur, Aratan,
Ciryon, and Valandil.
in the Last Alliance against Sauron.
Isildur's big mistake was that after he cut
the One Ring from Sauron's finger, he took it for himself instead of
Isildur was killed in T.A. 2, losing the One Ring in
the Anduin River.
He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Valandil.
of the King:
Appendix B: timeline
Silmarillion: "Akallabeth". Ballantine
pp336-338, 342 for the story of
the White Tree.
pp 344-346 for the drowning of
pp 347 for Sauron's fate.
Index of Names: Argonath
Fellowship of the Ring, Houghton-Mifflin
trade movie cover, 1994.
"The Great River" p383 for the Argonath
Note on the palantíri:
LotR Appendix: italicized but no capitol. Sil: no italics but
capitalized. UT: italicized but no capital.