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Malbeth the Seer

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In J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, Malbeth the Seer was a sage of Arthedain who was remembered for two prophecies.

Regarding the Fall of Arthedain[edit]

At the birth of the son of Araphant Malbeth said

"Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to the Dúnedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will change his name and become king of a great realm. If not, then much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again."

This prophecy was to be fulfilled in the year T.A. 1975. After a terrible defeat when the armies of Angmar, led by the Witch-king of Angmar, assailed Fornost, Arvedui fled Arnor, going far into the snowy North in order to evade death at the hands of the Witch-king's army. When a ship was sent by Círdan of the Grey Havens to rescue him, he was cautioned by the Lossoth to await the thaw to set off. Not heeding their words, Arvedui set sail straight away and was shipwrecked and died in the ice-bay of Forochel. Thus the prophecy came to pass; the rule of his people passed on to lesser men who could not truly control the realm. The chieftains of the Dúnedain ruled for many generations, until they were united by Aragorn, son of Arathorn, when he ascended to the throne of Gondor and Arnor, in time returning the kingdom of Arnor to its former glory.

Alternatively, this prophecy may refer to the choices made by the Dúnedain of Gondor, where Arvedui claimed the crown in T.A. 1944, by virtue of his descent from Isildur and his marriage to Fíriel, the only surviving child of the late King, Ondoher. The Council of Gondor, led by the Steward Pelendur, rejected Arvedui's claim, choosing instead their victorious general Eärnil, a male-line descendant of Anárion. The Appendices to the Lord of the Rings speculate that if the Crown of Gondor had instead been given to Arvedui, "it may be that...the kingship would have been maintained and much evil averted." Instead, the realm of Arthedain was destroyed, and the kingship of Gondor fell vacant shortly afterwards.

Regarding the summoning of the Dead[edit]

Regarding the summoning of the Dead by the heir of Isildur, Malbeth made a second prophecy that again was fulfilled in time. In the year 3019 of the Third Age, Elrond of Rivendell sent word to Aragorn, son of Arathorn, to remember the words of the seer at his time of need. After learning of the impending assault of the Corsairs of Umbar on Minas Tirith by using the palantír of Orthanc, Aragorn discovered that only by walking the Paths of the Dead could he reach Minas Tirith in time to offer aid. Acknowledging this, he chooses that route and accompanied by the Grey Company he passed through and out to the Stone of Erech. In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's extended edition, Legolas can be heard quoting part of the prophecy. As the heir of Isildur, Aragorn summoned the Dead Men of Dunharrow to him and with their aid defeated the Corsair threat to Gondor, fulfilling the prophecy of Malbeth.


Games Workshop produced a metal model for Malbeth the Seer in its 2007 supplement to The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game entitled The Ruin of Arnor.

External links[edit]

fr:Malbeth pl:Lista Dúnedainów#Malbeth

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