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The descendants of Isildur

Registered User

Dec 30 2012, 7:12pm

Post #1 of 8 (376 views)
The descendants of Isildur Can't Post

I've reread the Appendices, but there's something that's still confusing me. Aragorn is of the Dunedain, but who exactly are they? If the reign of Kings ended, how did Elrond know that Aragorn was the heir of Isildur?

Superuser / Moderator

Dec 30 2012, 7:31pm

Post #2 of 8 (299 views)
The Dunedain are the remnants of the people of Numenor/Westernesse. [In reply to] Can't Post

They are descended from Isildur, one of Elendil's two sons. Elendil's other son, Anarion, was the father of the line that led to the Kings of Gondor, while Isildur fathered the line of the Kings of Arnor - which over the years was reduced to the chieftans of the Dunedain. It is through his bloodline to Elendil that Aragorn has a claim on the throne of Gondor.

Elrond was around well before this time: His brother, Elros, chose to live a mortal life (though greatly extended) and was the first King of Numenor - which led to Isildur, and the Kings of Gondor and Arnor.

Does that make sense?

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Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
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Dec 30 2012, 9:29pm

Post #3 of 8 (244 views)
Interesting... [In reply to] Can't Post

I never thought of the Dunedain's lineage compared to Aragorn's. Aragorn and the Dunedain are all decendants of Elendil of some sort, but Aragorn's lineage must be more direct than the other Dunedain.

The rules about who is the most direct descendant of a King depends upon each culture's societal rules. To some, a direct grandson is more truly an heir than a nephew. In others, the crown might pass down to a brother then to a nephew rather than a grandson who is too young to rule. And then there is the eligibility of women question...

Part of the conflict in Aragorn's mind (and in Boromir and Denethor's) to his right to the title Heir of Elendil or to Isildur speaks to this. At what point is a line of decent broken? At what point can it be claimed? The main reasoning why the Paths of the Dead chapter was important was because Aragorn needed to prove he had a Valar-given right to rule.

If Aragorn had died, would another Dunedain, the next closest heir, been able to claim the throne? I think so, but a great question for debate!

'It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.' ... '[Yet their seed] will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for.'


Dec 30 2012, 11:25pm

Post #4 of 8 (223 views)
I'm not sure that all the Dunedain are descended from Elendil.... [In reply to] Can't Post

They descended from the people of Numenor who escaped with Elendil and his sons, but they weren't all one family. There were nine shiploads of them - enough to form at least the nucleus of two kingdoms. There were also some Numenoreans who had settled at Pelargir before the fall of Numenor - I think they count as Dunedain 'Men of the West' as well.

If Aragorn had died, I'm not sure there was another heir in the direct line - or at least, if there was, I don't think Tolkien spells out anywhere who it was or what his line of descent might have been. To have a claim to the throne he would have to have descended from Elendil himself - I doubt if Gondor would have accepted anything less.

Aragorn does call Halbarad 'kinsman', I think, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Halbarad was descended from Elendil.


Dec 31 2012, 1:52am

Post #5 of 8 (236 views)
Statistics, boredom, and 40 generations of hanky-panky. [In reply to] Can't Post

Technically, yes. Dunedain only means "a chieftain of Numenor" or 'man of the West". But after 40 generations between Elendil and Aragorn and there being few Dunedain left, the desire to marry Numenorean, intermarriage, and statistics would it have made it near impossible for a Dunedain from Aragorn's time not to have some ancestral link back to Elendil.

For fun let's try the math. (It's a boring Sunday night and I'm a genealogy fan, so this is fun for me. I'm really trying not to be annoying.)

Every Dunedain of Aragorn's time had two parents, 4 grand parents, 8 great-grandparents...
Let's see that's 2 to the thirty-eighth power grandparents back to Elendil's generation...
1,099,511,627,776 = ~1.099 trillion great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents for each Dunedain.

Given the small size of the remaining Numenorean community and the great desire to have Numenorean bloodlines, one of those 1.01 trillion ancestors is bound to be Elendil, if not many, many times more than once. He's just not necessarily the paternal-paternal-paternal... (x38)... grandfather.

All the Dunedain were descendants of Elendil of some sort. It would be near impossible not to be -- especially amongst the chieftain class.

Again, I'm not trying to be annoying. I'm just bored and have a computer. I don't think Tolkien even gave this much thought or he would have put fewer generations between Aragorn and Elendil.

'It is ever so with the things that Men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.' ... '[Yet their seed] will lie in the dust and rot to spring up again in times and places unlooked-for.'


Dec 31 2012, 6:51am

Post #6 of 8 (203 views)
To be sure. [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
It would be near impossible not to be -- especially amongst the chieftain class.

All the younger brothers we know of from the appendices (with one exception - see below) had either died, or stepped in to fill the place of an older brother who died. But there must have been more; we know of several nephews and great-nephews (Earnil, Castamir the usurper, and a few others), and I am sure there were others who just didn't rise to prominence.

To say nothing of the daughters: Valacar might have travelled far and fell in love with a foreigner, but a royal princess?; marrying them off to commeoners would be completely out of the question; and I just don't think middle-earth had enough nunneries - at least, Tolkien never mentions any.

I am sure that at least the nobility (of which we only know the House of Stewards, the House of Dol Amroth, Hurin of the Keys and Halbarad) had several forefathers of the Royal bloodline.

In Reply To
I don't think Tolkien even gave this much thought or he would have put fewer generations between Aragorn and Elendil.

I disgree with this conclusion. Tolkien surely knew how these blodlines worked, and he wouldn't be bothered by that any more than he would have thought to claim the crown of England for himself. (he probably had some royal ancestry, don't you think?) Simply, after a few generations, this ancestry becomes no more than a family tradition, which become fuzzier throughout the generations until it just disappears. No sweat.

Regarding the exception I've mentioned above - after ten kings of Arnor, the Northren Kingdom split in Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur. Nothing remained from Cardolan but the graves in the Barrow-downs, but they must have once controlled Bree, or at least its vicinity.
The men of Bree were nothing like Dunedain, and Tolkien even suggested they were relatives of the Dunlendings (or of the people of Haleth - take your pick). But there was one who stood apart - lived in a large house at the edge of the town, knew all kinds of foreigners, had skill in the woods, owned animals, was used to lording it over weaker people and seemed to do no work, just like a gentleman with a competence.

I have always thought of Bill Ferny as a dilettante, a fallen scion of a half-forgotten aristocracy rather than another common common Breelander who happens to be the only idle loafer around. In view of the said above, it would be fun to consider him as Aragorn's only far relation in the Pony's common room.


Dec 31 2012, 12:22pm

Post #7 of 8 (202 views)
Dúnedain bloodlines [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you, Tolkien seems to have spent a great deal of time sorting out the bloodlines of his main characters. Crucial narrative developments wouldn't have made sense if Aragorn / Elessar didn't have the right pedigree. Same goes for the Kinstrife civil war in Gondor, or the claim of the House of Andúnië to rule over the Dúnedain of Middle-earth.

I posted a piece about a year and a half ago on Aragorn's relatively immediate family, which may be useful here. I swept up everything I could find on his parents and grandparents, all sets of which could claim separate descent from Isildur - ie. there were lots of unnamed Dúnedain of the extended Royal family. At the time, I forgot to include reference to Ivorwen's (Aragorn's maternal grandmother) descent from Arathorn I, 12th Chieftain of the Dúnedain. So even more inbred than I first thought!

I also speculated that Halbarad was a cousin (second or third) of Aragorn. I drew up a family tree in Word but haven't worked out how to attach it! Anyway, you can find the post here:


Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk

(This post was edited by Felagund on Dec 31 2012, 12:25pm)


Dec 31 2012, 8:26pm

Post #8 of 8 (179 views)
Irrespective of everyone elses ancestors [In reply to] Can't Post

Aragorn was the only one who was of the line direct line of inheritance of Isildur from father to son.


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