Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is six months away. We want all Spoilerites to have the best viewing experience possible and have the widest knowledge base about the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is a weekly Let’s Get Nerdy article series highlighting a different piece of Tolkien I think you need to know about!
In past articles I have answered the question:
- What Are the Rings of Power?
- What is Númenor?
- What is the Second Age?
- Who are the Harfoots?
- Who is Prince Durin IV?
- What is Khazad-dûm?
- Who is Celebrimbor?
- What is the Last Alliance of Men and Elves?
If you’ve been reading this entire series my bias (obsession?), in favour of all things Gondor has been admitted to and written about ad nauseum. I’m certain a nice Spoilerite reading this is rolling there eyes at my retreading this territory in my introductory paragraph. I understand your feelings, my dear Spoilerite, but since I’m about to get deep in on more Dúnedain I want folks to know what they are in for!
If you recall from last week, Elendil is a cast member of The Rings of Power who is going to be played by actor Lloyd Owen, is the father of Isildur, killed during the opening sequence of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and is a founder of The Last Alliance of Men and Elves.
Despite being a human, albeit a Dúnedain (thus descended directly from elves), the name “Elendil” is derived from the Elvish language Quenya and means “The Elf-Friend”. Although he always enjoyed a very open and friendly relationship with the various elves of Arda I would hazard Tolkien named Elendil thus in a piece of foreshadowing for any eagle-eyed reader who is as invested in linguistics and syntax as he was. It cements the king’s greatest legacy aside from his death. It’s a pity in the post-Lord of the Rings trilogy of films he’s more known for dying at the hands of Sauron.
In addition to having a Quenya name, Elendil has a number of honourifics (much like his descendant Aragorn will go on to have), including Elendil the Tall, Elendil the Fair, and Voronda which means “The Faithful”. TL;DR he was a celebrated excellent leader both in his time and beyond.
In a world most known for the iconography of its very small residents (Hobbit; Harfoots), the moniker of “The Tall” has always stood out to me. It may have to you as well. If you were wondering how tall is tall enough to justify tacking it on as a formal title at the end of a person’s name I’ll let you know the Dúnedain are the tallest of the human being in the Middle-Earth. This is due, as previously mentioned, to their being directly descended from the elves. Even amongst the Dúnedain Elendil was noted to be quite tall. By the Númenorean units of measurement Elendil was 2.5 Rangar. In American measurements, he stood around 7’11” – almost 8 feet tall.
To be completely frank and honest with you I’m expecting this detail to go by the wayside when we see Elendil in The Rings of Power. Is it going to be worth spending additional fx budget to make one actor exceptionally tall amidst a sea of other tall beautiful actors? Doubtful.
Along with his son, Isildur, Elendil survived The Fall of Númenor, immigrated to Middle-Earth and founded the northern kingdom of Arnor and the southern kingdom of Gondor. It’s certainly debatable in your own headcanon which geographic location you most associate Elendil with. As a Gondor stan I always imagine him as the King of Gondor above all else. Although formally his title was “High King of the Dúnedain” and the first person to bear this title.
The Last Alliance of Men and Elves laid siege to Mordor for seven years. The effort was led by Elendil and Gil-galad (giving the alliance their name), and it was there Elendil was killed brutally at the hands of the Dark Lord Sauron when he finally emerged to take on the peoples of Middle-Earth standing up against him. When Elendil fell his ancestral sword, Narsil, was broken into shards never to be reforged until “the return of the king”.
Two fun facts to end Elendil’s feature on:
Aragorn uses his ancestor’s name as his battle cry. It can be heard across The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films – including at the Battle of Helm’s Deep which you can watch below:
The Rohirrim sometimes referred to themselves as Eorlingas, and this was the battle-cry that King Theoden shouted as he rode out of the Hornburg at Helm’s De…
If you’re just trying to test my knowledge scrub forward to 1:44 and listen closely as he rides out through the gate.
Elendil has an elvish song written for him in Quenya in honour of his life and legacy:
The Oath of Elendil
ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-Metta
Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come.
In this place I will abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.’
Further to Aragorn, listen to him sing the Oath at his coronation as King of Gondor near the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:
LOTR Aragorn’s Song
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