Heroes of Middle-earth: Is Isildur really the dork I think he is?
The Second Age in Tolkien’s Middle-earth saga is now not the most extensive, to say the least. But there are a few big story arcs that have been told. Of course you know the greatest of them all, because that’s what makes the War of the Ring story of the Third Age possible in the first place: the tale of the ringsmith Celebrimbor, the temptation of Sauron and the fall of Númenor. At the end of the day, the story of the Rings of Power leads to the events of the Third Age. war of the ring. Gandalf. Frodo. The One Ring and such. You know.
We also know that the Amazon series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is logically centered around the Second Age. We also know of some characters that will play a role in the first season. Well… in all honesty, the makers of the series seem to be trying to replicate the scope of Game of Thrones a bit, because there are said to be more than 20 characters of importance in Rings of Power. Some of them are unknown to Tolkien fans because they are freshly invented for the series. But some of these characters know her very well because they have shaped parts of Middle-earth history.
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power – who is actually…?
Because I once studied Tolkien’s stories, I’m quite interested in learning how Rings of Power is going to be, and because I feel like reading up on the subject again after a long time, I’ll introduce you to some of the characters of Middle-earth, that will appear in the series. And along the way, I’m going to clear up some of the prejudices I have about some of these characters – or confirm them. Depending on. Hopefully I’m not taking this too seriously.
My basic opinion is: Elves are super scented. Everyone else is super stupid. Well, there were also a few elves who were absolute crap spades. It’s correct. Yes, I admit that.
This time the focus is: Isildur. And I find an answer to the question: Is Isildur really the fool I think he is?
Isildur, the ring loser
Anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy might get the impression that Isildur, High King of Gondor and Anor, is a weakmate. He has about two minutes of screen time. In those two minutes, he’s the happiest hero ever for a minute as he seemingly accidentally nips Sauron’s finger, severing the One Ring in the process.
And then for a minute he is the Vollhonk, denying the wise Elrond’s wish to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. In the end, the ring slipped off Isildur’s finger during a raid by the orcs. Isildur becomes visible. Orcs see Isildur. Orcs fire arrows. Isildur dead. Story over.
Source: Warner Bros
Is Isildur really the dork I thought he was at the time? No, surprisingly he is not!
Isildur, the king of Gondor
Isildur and Anárion were the sons of Elendil and grew up in the legendary human kingdom of Númenor under the rule of Ar-Pharazôn. Ar-Pharazôn, on the other hand, the last of a legendary line of kings, was under the influence of evil; Sauron, a fallen Maia and henchman of the even more ultimate Middle-earth villain Morgoth. Ar-Pharazôn, spurred on by Sauron, sought what he was denied. The whole thing is quite convoluted and I would have to go a long way to explain Maia and Valar and the Undying Lands to you quickly. So much can be said: The Valar are the “angels” of the “god” Eru Ilúvatar.
Ar-Pharazôn wanted to conquer the land of the Valar in order to gain immortality. Ilúvatar expressed his gratitude for this attention by reshaping the world: if Middle-earth (aka Arda) was previously a flat disc, the world now became a sphere. In this way the Immortal Lands were raptured so that they can only be reached by Elves. Parts of Middle-earth were thereby sunk, in particular the island of Númenor.
Source: Amazon Prime Video
Back to Isildur: Before this cataclysm, Elendil and all members of his family fled to the mainland. Isildur played a special role in this: before escaping, he snuck into the garden of Ar-Pharazôn and stole a fruit from the White Tree Nimloth. Nimloth is a descendant of one of the oldest trees in the world, symbol of friendship between Elves and Men and then also sanctuary of the kingdom of Gondor… whatever. So it’s a nice symbol. Long story short: Elendil moved to the west coast of Middle-earth while the brothers Isildur and Anárion made themselves comfortable in the south-east. They founded Gondor. booyah
Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea for the brothers to build cities like Minas Anor and Osgilliath in the immediate vicinity of Sauron’s Mordor. The villain harassed the kingdom of Gondor, and while Anárion defended Osgilliath, Isildur fled to Anor to seek help from his father and his neighbor, Elf High King Gil-galad. Thus came the Last Alliance between Men and Elves, and the mighty armies entered Mordor after the Battle of the Plains of Dagorlad to besiege Sauron’s stronghold of Barad-dûr for years.
Isildur made some wise decisions, but could not prevent his father Elendil and the Elven kings Gil-galad and Oropher from dying. Sauron’s mortal coil was destroyed when Isildur cut the One Ring from his finger.
Isildur became king of Gondor and Anor. However, not only did he bear heavy with it, but also with the curse on his finger. Against all logic, Isildur had not destroyed the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Perhaps it was the promise of sheer infinite power that made him do it. One thing is clear: if Isildur was a thoroughly rational and clever decision-making man up to that point, this changed in the short time that he was the ring bearer.
Isildur died choosing an unusual…or rather unsafe route up the River Anduin. Its end was described twice by Tolkien. In a short version of the Eldar, Isildur was too stupid to post guards at his camp and was surprised by orcs. The longer version: Around 200 men were not enough to protect the tour group from orcs from the Misty Mountains. Isildur’s son, Elendur, begged his father to use the ring (and the invisibility that comes with it) to escape. However, the ring is said to have slipped from Isildur’s finger. Orcs looking for fugitives are said to have seen the glow of Isildur’s headband – and pierced the king with their poisoned arrows. And so… ended the story of Isildur.
My opinion of Isildur has turned 180 degrees. After Peter Jackson’s portrayal, I really thought Isildur was stupid. But what else could he have done; the story of Isildur itself would have taken up an entire movie! I’m curious how Isildur will be portrayed in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Hopefully not as “stupid” as in the Jackson trilogy.