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Timeline Event

Battle of Fornost: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - The Kings

Year: 1975

Description:

Table of Contents:

The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Battle
The Aftermath

The Combatants

Attacking Forces

[Eärnur brought] an army of power, with munition and provision for a war of great kings. Or so it seemed to the people of the North, though this was but a small sending-force of the whole might of Gondor. Most of all, the horses were praised, for many of them came from the Vales of Anduin, and with them were riders tall and fair, and proud princes of Rhovanion.

Then Círdan summoned all who would come to him, from Lindon or Arnor, and when all was ready the host crossed the Lune and marched north to challenge the Witch-king of Angmar. […]

At the same time a force under Glorfindel the Elf-lord came up out of Rivendell.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Southern Line: Heirs of Anárion

To the last battle at Fornost with the Witch-lord of Angmar [the Hobbits] sent some bowmen to the aid of the king, or so they maintained, though no tales of Men record it.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

Defensive Forces

[The Witch-king of Angmar] was now dwelling, it is said, in Fornost, which he had filled with evil folk…

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Southern Line: Heirs of Anárion

[The] realm of Angmar arose in the North beyond the Ettenmoors. Its lands lay on both sides of the Mountains, and there were gathered many evil men, and Orcs, and other fell creatures. (The lord of that land was known as the Witch-king, but it was not known until later that he was indeed the chief of the Ringwraiths, who came north with the purpose of destroying the Dúnedain in Arnor, seeing hope in their disunion, while Gondor was strong.)

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur

[In Rhudaur] the Dúnedain were few, and power had been seized by an evil lord of the Hill-men, who was in secret league with Angmar.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur

The Timeline

1936 — 1940
Arnor and Gondor renew communications and form an alliance.

1974
End of the North-kingdom. The Witch-king over-runs Arthedain and takes Fornost.
[See: Arthedain sends to Gondor for help]
[See: Witch-king of Angmar occupies Arthedain]

1975
Arvedui drowned in the Bay of Forochel. […] Eärnur brings a fleet to Lindon. The Witch-king defeated at the Battle of Fornost, and pursued to the Ettenmoors. He vanishes from the North.
[See: Host of the West marches to challenge the Witch-king]
[See: The Witch-king shames Eärnur at the Battle of Fornost]
[See: Glorfindel foretells the Witch-king's doom]

1976
Aranarth takes the title of Chieftain of the Dúnedain. The heirlooms of Arnor are given into the keeping of Elrond.
[See: Chieftains of the Dúnedain established]
[See: Aranarth becomes Chieftain of the Dúnedain]

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

The Prelude

In [added: the winter of] 1974 the Witch-king destroyed Fornost, laid Arthedain waste, and scattered the remnants of the Dunedain.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Northern Line of Gondor: The Isildurioni

In 1974 the power of Angmar arose again, and the Witch-king came down upon Arthedain before winter was ended. He captured Fornost, and drove most of the remaining Dúnedain over the Lune….

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur

[Eärnil] sent messages to Arvedui announcing that he received the crown of Gondor, according to the laws and the needs of the South-kingdom, "but I do not forget the loyalty of Arnor, nor deny our kinship, nor wish that the realms of Elendil should be estranged. I will send to your aid when you have need, so far as I am able."

It was, however, long before Eärnil felt himself sufficiently secure to do as he promised. King Araphant continued with dwindling strength to hold off the assaults of Angmar, and Arvedui when he succeeded did likewise; but at last in the autumn of 1973 messages came to Gondor that Arthedain was in great straits, and that the Witch-king was preparing a last stroke against it.

Then Eärnil sent his son Eärnur north with a fleet, as swiftly as he could, and with as great strength as he could spare. Too late. Before Eärnur reached the havens of Lindon, the Witch-king had conquered Arthedain and Arvedui had perished.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Southern Line: Heirs of Anárion

The Battle

In his pride [the Witch-king] did not await the onset of his enemies in his stronghold, but went out to meet them, thinking to sweep them, as others before, into the Lune.

But the Host of the West came down on him out of the Hills of Evendim, and there was a great battle on the plain between Nenuial and the North Downs. The forces of Angmar were already giving way and retreating towards Fornost when the main body of the horsemen that had passed round the hills came down from the north and scattered them in a great rout. Then the Witch-king, with all that he could gather from the wreck, fled northwards, seeking his own land of Angmar. Before he could gain the shelter of Carn Dûm the cavalry of Gondor overtook him with Eärnur riding at their head. At the same time a force under Glorfindel the Elf-lord came up out of Rivendell. Then so utterly was Angmar defeated that not a man nor an orc of that realm remained west of the Mountains.

But it is said that when all was lost suddenly the Witch-king himself appeared, black-robed and black-masked upon a black horse. Fear fell upon all who beheld him; but he singled out the Captain of Gondor for the fullness of his hatred, and with a terrible cry he rode straight upon him. Eärnur would have withstood him; but his horse could not endure that onset, and it swerved and bore him far away before he could master it.

Then the Witch-king laughed, and none that heard it ever forgot the horror of that cry. But Glorfindel rode up then on his white horse, and in the midst of his laughter the Witch-king turned to flight and passed into the shadows. For night came down on the battlefield, and he was lost, and none saw whither he went.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Southern Line: Heirs of Anárion

The Aftermath

After Arvedui the North-kingdom ended, for the Dúnedain were now few and all the peoples of Eriador diminished. Yet the line of the kings was continued by the Chieftains of the Dúnedain, of whom Aranarth son of Arvedui was the first. […]

'When the kingdom ended the Dúnedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people, and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur

The remnants of the Dunedain of the North become rangers and errants, living largely in hiding, but waging ceaseless war on all evil things that still are abroad in the land.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Northern Line of Gondor: The Isildurioni

It was thus in the reign of King Eärnil, as later became clear, that the Witch-king escaping from the North came to Mordor, and there gathered the other Ringwraiths, of whom he was the chief. But it was not until 2000 that they issued from Mordor by the Pass of Cirith Ungol and laid siege to Minas Ithil. This they took in 2002, and captured the palantír of the tower. They were not expelled while the Third Ago lasted; and Minas Ithil became a place of fear, and was renamed Minas Morgul.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Realms in Exile: The Southern Line: Heirs of Anárion

The northern lands though desolate were now made somewhat more wholesome again.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Northern Line of Gondor: The Isildurioni

Contributors:
Lyllyn 4.15.03; Loquacious 12.13.03, 03.20.04; Tanaqui 28Apr05: converted to Overview and added links

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