Meaning: S. 'king-last'
Dates: born TA 1864, lived 110 years, d. TA 1975 (drowned)
Titles: King of Arthedain, Last King
Type: Dúnadan of Arnor
Location: Arnor, Fornost (Arthedain), Eriador
Parents: Father: Araphant; Mother: unnamed
Spouse: Fíriel, daughter of Ondoher king of Gondor
Children: Aranarth the first Chieftain of the Dunedain, the second unnamed
Arvedui became the fifteenth and last King of Arthedain. He was born during a time of great strife and wars against the Witch-King of Angmar, in which the realm of Arnor was almost laid waste. However, about 13 years before his birth, his grandfather Araval won an important victory before Angmar, with the help from Círdan of Lindon and Elrond of Imladris. From Appendix A in RotK, we learn his name was given to him at his birth by Malbeth the Seer, who foretold that he would be the last king. These are the words of Malbeth to King Araphant: "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 reunited again."
During the reign of Araphant in the North and of Ondoher in the South, the two kingdoms took counsel together again "after long silence and estrangement" (since the Great Plague of 1636, according to Michael Martínez). "For at last they perceived that some single power and will was directing the assault from many quarters upon the survirors of Númenor" (Appendix A, RotK). Angmar had recovered in the North and was making war against the Dúnedain, while in the South Sauron had already reoccupied Mordor, and Gondor was being assailed by Wainriders and the Nazgul. Therefore, both kings sought to renew the ancient alliance that had existed between them. They promised to help each other in times of need, in spite of the powerful threats that they faced. At this time, TA 1940, Arvedui married Fíriel, third daughter of King Ondoher.
In 1944, King Ondoher and his two sons (Artamir and Faramir) fell in battle against an alliance of the Wainriders and the Haradrim. Neither of the sons had offspring, therefore Gondor was left kingless. On the death of Ondoher, Arvedui claimed the crown of the Southern Kingdom on behalf of Fíriel who was the only surviving child of Ondoher, and because of his own descent from Isildur who had been King of Gondor with Anárion before the death of Elendil, their father. This claim was rejected by the Dúnedain of the South through the Council of Gondor, led by the Steward Pelendur, on the grounds that the laws of Gondor reckoned heritage through the sons only, and not the daughters, as was the law in Númenor (established by Aldarion on behalf of his daughter Ancalime) Although Arvedui's claim was rejected, the new-crowned King of Gondor, Earnil, promised that they would send help at need.
Arvedui succeeded his father as King of Arnor upon the latter's death in 1964. His reign must have been a difficult one, his military power diminishing year after year as the wars with Angmar continued. In the autumn of 1973 Arvedui sent messages to Gondor with a request for help against Angmar. Earnil King of Gondor sent his son Earnur north with a fleet, but he arrived too late. In 1974 the Witch-king attacked Arthedain before the winter was ended, capturing Fornost (chief city of Arthedain) and driving most of the remaining Dúnedain over the Lune; among them were the sons of the king. After holding upon the North Downs until the last, Arvedui and some of his guard fled north, hiding for a time in the tunnels of the old dwarf-mines near the far end of the mountains (Ered Luin.) However, cold and hunger drove them at last to seek help from the Lossoth, the Snowmen of Forochel. The Snowmen built them huts and gave them food, and thus the king was forced to wait for help from the South, remaining with them during the whole winter.
When Círdan heard from Aranarth of the king's flight, he sent a ship to bear Arvedui to Lindon, which arrived to Forochel on March of 1975. When the Snowmen saw the ship they were uneasy, for it is said that they had never seen any such craft before; and, the chief of the Lossoth warned Arvedui against the journey. "Do not mount on this sea-monster!" he said, "If they have them, let the seamen bring us food and other things that we need, and you may stay here till the Witch-king goes home. For in summer his power wanes; but now his breath is deadly, and his cold arm is long." Nonetheless, Arvedui did not take the counsel; but, before he left, he gave his ring to the Chief, and embarked with Círdan's mariners, taking with him the palantíri of Annúminas and Amon Sul.
The counsel of the Lossoth proved true, and before the ship had reached open sea, a great storm arose with wind and ice from the North. The ship was caught in the ice and foundered; Arvedui drowned, and with him, the palantíri of the North were buried in the Sea (Appendix A, The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain, Rotk. See also Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion, ibid.)
Arvedui was survived by his son Aranarth, who became the first Chieftain of the Dúnadan, and retained the heirlooms of the house of Isildur: the ring of Barahir (who was ransomed some time after from the Lossoth), the shards of Narsil (Elendil's sword), the star of Elendil (the Elendilmir) and the sceptre of Annúminas (the chief mark of royalty in Arnor; it was the silver rod of the Lords of Andúnie), all which were from that time on kept by Elrond at Imladris. After Aranarth's time the Dúnadain became rangers and errants, but never forgot their claim on the crown of Gondor and Arnor until Aragorn's time, when he took up the sceptre under the name of Elessar, after the victory over the Dark Lord during the War of the Ring.
TA 1864 Birth of Arvedui.
1896 Birth of Fíriel, daugther of Ondoher.
1940 Arvedui marries Fíriel.
1944 Ondoher and his sons fall in battle. Arvedui claims the crown of Gondor. The claim is rejected.
1964 Death of Araphant. Arvedui succeeds his father as King of Arthedain.
1973 Arvedui sends messages to Earnur, requesting help from Gondor against the Witch-king.
1974 The Witch-king attacks Arthedain, capturing Fornost. Arvedui flees North, and at last is forced to seek the help of the Lossoth.
1975 Death of Arvedui.
Notes: In Volume XII of HoME, we find that Aranarth was born on 1938, but it could not have been thus since Arvedui and Fíriel did not get married until 1940. I would place Aranarth’s birth on 1942.
The text found in Appendix A of RotK speaks about the “sons of the king.” It may well be that he had more than two, although there is no certainty as to the number of them, or whether he had any daughters.
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