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Building Middle Earth - Gondor


Building Middle Earth - Gondor “In rode the Lord of the Nazgul. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgul, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.
“All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dinen.
“You cannot enter here,’ said Gandalf and the huge shadow halted.”
—The Return of the King, p. 125

In S.A. 3319 Elendil the Tall and his sons Isildur and Anarion, leaders of the Faithful, arrived in Middle earth following the destruction of Númenor. Elendil himself reached Eriador with four ships, and there founded the realm of Arnor, while Isildur and Anarion came to the Anduin valley with five ships. There, the two sons founded the kingdom of Gondor, which they jointly ruled as vassals of their illustrious father.

Gondor claimed all the land south of the White Mountains and as far west as the Isen. Although by far the greater part of Gondor's people remained in the Anduin valley, the opportunity was now open for further westward expansion and settlement. A powerful family related to Elendil and possessed of Elven blood was chosen to oversee the development of the new lands and to insure the safety of the young Kingdom's western frontier.

With the downfall of Sauron and the beginning of the Third Age, Gondor was easily the most powerful state in Middle-earth. The Kings descended from Anarion ruled in peace for several centuries, and in Dor-en-Ernil the Dúnedain prospered, despite occasional conflicts with the kindred of the Dunlendings surviving in the Ered Tarthonion. In T.A. 830, when Tarannon ascended the throne and took the title of Falastur (S. "Lord of the Coasts"), Gondor entered its imperial era. Under the Ship-Kings, the Princes were granted the western coast of Belfalas as well, initiating an explosive period of colonization. Forcing the Lamedon Gap and the Cirith Dunrandir, Dúnedain poured into the fertile but previously little-inhabited lands as far as the Morthond. Galadriel, realizing that the Age of Men had come, resigned Tirith Aear to the reigning Prince, who committed himself and his successors to maintain its warning bell. Galadriel and Celeborn then returned north to Imladris with their following, and only rarely visited Belfalas thereafter.

In the year 1640 of the Third Age, the splendour of Gondor is beginning to fade, but the Winged Crown still reigns over many lands. Civil strife and plague have shaken the power of the Kings, and the King's House has moved from Osgiliath to Minas Anor (Minas Tirith). On the shores of the Bay of Belfalas, though, the mightiest of the King's vassals rules a fair domain and remains true to his ancient allegiance. Atop the towering cliffs of Belfalas, defying waves and storm, stands the Castle of Dol Amroth, the Prince's citadel by the sea. His gleaming port city hugs the cliffs below and serves as the centre of the rich and peaceable province of Dor-en-Ernil. Nearby, on a spit of rock jutting out into the wild bay, stands the ancient sea-ward Tower, its foundations laid by the Lady Galadriel in the days before Gondor was conceived.

From T.A. 2901 onward, refugees from Ithilien began streaming westward, bearing tales of the Orc raids that drove them from their homeland. Sauron's might erupted once again out of Mordor and, within fifty years, the Shadow in the East endangered Gondor itself. As the Darkness grew ever more ominous, Dol Amroth became a place of safety for those fleeing the reawakened horror of Mordor. Migrations continued until the War of the Ring and the final downfall of the Dark Lord, a drama in which Prince Imrahil and the men of Dol Amroth played a noble part.

Minas Tirith, the Guarded City, rises from the great knee of rock that stands at the base of Mount Mindolluin, the last and easternmost peak in the White Mountains. Capital of Gondor, it is the pre-eminent symbol of the struggle against Sauron of Mordor. No other city in western Middle-earth offers greater hope or a more dramatic setting for the defense of the Free Peoples. Set above the Anduin, where the Great River sweeps around green fields of the Pelennor, Minas Tirith commands the wide gap between the White Mountains and the Mountains of Shadow that encircle the Dark Lord’s homeland. Its seven stone walls seem to grow out of the stone, as if carved by ancient giants. Each tier of the royal city wraps around the rock and looms above the surrounding quarter, its cool ramparts giving way from sombre grey to glimmering white with each sunrise. High atop the capital, on the seventh and uppermost level, the great Tower of Ecthelion reaches skyward like a glistening spire of silvery pearl and crystal. The Tower’s fluttering banners fly above the magnificent Citadel, which reaches eastward like a massive granite ship-keel, its sheer walls casting shadows on the Great Gate far below. Amidst the storm spawned by the Lord of Rings, this Citadel is the last hold in Minas Tirith—an unparalleled bastion in an ominous time. Now the crown city waits. As the spectre of impending war darkens the eastern skies, its streets teem with commerce and people from all over Middle-earth, until the day that the Evil One unleashes his hordes against its bright walls and noble warriors.



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