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Eärnil II is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth Tolkien's legendarium. He does play a role in Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, but his history is outlined in the appendices of the third volume, Return of the King.
He was born in the year 1883 of the Third Age. In 1945, he was elected as the thirty-second King of Gondor after his predecessor, King Ondoher, was slain in battle. In the previous year a two-pronged attack had been launched upon Gondor by the Haradrim and the Wainriders. In response, King Ondoher led the main army north to counter the Easterling invasion at Dagorlad and was defeated. Eärnil was commander of Gondor's southern army and guarded Pelargir.
Eärnil led his army to the Crossings of the Poros where he won an astounding victory over the Haradrim. This enabled him to turn his attention to the invading Wainriders. The Wainriders, certain of victory, were celebrating their success before they would enter Minas Anor. They were unaware of Eärnil's victory in the south and were taken by surprise when Eärnil suddenly attacked them. As a result, Eärnil won the Battle of the Camp.
After the threat was eliminated, Gondor's attention shifted towards the royal succession, overseen by Steward Pelendur and the Council of Gondor, for King Ondoher along with his two sons were slain at Dagorlad. Both Eärnil and Prince Arvedui of Arthedain (successor state of Arnor) claimed the throne. Arvedui based his claim on his direct descent from Isildur (second High King of Arnor and Gondor and uncle to Meneldil, the first King of Gondor after the joint rule of Isildur and Anárion), and as the husband of Fíriel, only surviving child of King Ondoher. Pelendur rebuffed him, claiming that "The crown and royalty of Gondor belongs solely to the heirs of Meneldil, son of Anárion, to whom Isildur relinquished this realm. In Gondor this heritage is reckoned through the sons only; and we have not heard that the law is otherwise in Arnor".
Eärnil was elected king for his deeds, heritage, and because of the Steward's influence. However, he was still of the royal house since he was a direct male-line descendant of King Telumehtar Umbardacil. Eärnil's father was Siriondil, son of Calimmacil, son of Arciryas, son of Telumehtar. He reigned as Eärnil II.
Aside from being a gifted general Eärnil also was a wise ruler and sought the friendship of the weaker kingdom of Arnor. He sent messages to Arvedui (now king) announcing that he had received the crown of Gondor, according to the laws and the needs of the South-kingdom, "but I do not forget the royalty of Arnor, nor deny our kinship, nor wish that the realms of Elendil be estranged. I will send to your aid when you have need, so far as I am able".
Nonetheless, Eärnil II was chiefly concerned with the reorganization of Gondor after their heavy losses suffered against the Wainriders. And at last in the autumn of 1973 Third Age, messages came to Gondor that Arthedain was in great trouble, and that the Witch-king of Angmar was preparing a final stroke against it. Then Eärnil sent his son Eärnur north with a fleet, as swiftly as he could, and with as great a strength as he could spare to aid Arvedui. Eärnur arrived too late to save Arthedain. Arvedui had been defeated and fled north, later to drown in the Ice Bay of Forochel despite the attempt by Círdan's mariners to rescue him from exile. However, Eärnur annihilated the witch-kingdom of Angmar in the Battle of Fornost with the help of Círdan Lord of Lindon and Glorfindel with an army from Rivendell. Thereafter Eärnur earned the hatred of the Witch-king.
Despite his military prowess, Eärnil was not able to withstand the takeover of Minas Ithil by the Ringwraiths, who besieged the city from 2000 to 2002. After that defeat, Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith (Tower of Guard) and Minas Ithil was called Minas Morgul (Tower of Sorcery).
Eärnil died in 2043 Third Age and was succeeded by his son Eärnur, who was as good a general as his father but lacked his wisdom, and who would be the last king before Aragorn reclaimed his throne.
The Line of Eärnil II
In bold, the kings of Gondor
- Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings (Collector’s Edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., c.1987. p. 329-30
- Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings (Collector’s Edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., c.1987. p. 330
- Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings (Collector’s Edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., c.1987. p. 329-31
fr:Eärnil II pl:Królowie Gondoru#Eärnil II
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