(Q. 'Son of trees')
(II 700 – II 1098; King of Númenor II 883 – II 1075)
|Brief introduction |
Númenorean, son of Tar-Meneldur and Almarian, elder brother of Ailinel and Almiel. He was golden haired and his first name was Anardil; but he was early known by the name Aldarion, because he was much concerned with trees and was a great forester, he needed the trees to furnish his ship building projects, and planted great woods to furnish timber for the ship-yards.
Under his grandfather, Veantur, he was the first king to love the sea and journeys and became a great mariner and ship-builder who sailed often to Middle-earth and was the first to establish havens there. He became a friend of Cirdan and Gil-galad, and also counsellor to the latter. During his many visits to Middle-earth he learnt much of ship building from Círdan the Shipwright and he was a great aid to Gil-galad in his fight against the reemergance of Sauron.
Because of his long absences he became estranged to his wife Erendis, and they separated in II 882. Their only child was Ancalimë, and in her favour Aldarion altered the law of succession, so that if the King had no sons, the (eldest) daughter should succeed. This change displeased the descendants of Elros, and especially the heir under the old law, Soronto, son of his elder sister Ailinel. Aldarion founded the Númenorean Guild of Venturers which marked the beginning of the Númenorean naval expansion. He also founded the port of Vinyalonde, the first Númenorean settlement in Middle-earth. He ruled for 92 years and was succeeded by his daughter Ancalime.
“Meneldur (Aldarion’s father) was the son of Tar-Elendil, the fourth King of Númenor”
“His wife was a woman of great beauty, named Almarian (Aldarion’s mother). She was the daughter of Vëantur, Captain of the King's Ships under Tar-Elendil”
“…he (Meneldur) had two sisters(Aladrion’s aunts), named Silmarien and Isilmë. The elder of these was wedded to Elatan of Andúnië, and their son was Valandil, Lord of Andúnië, from whom came long after the lines of the Kings of Gondor and Arnor in Middle-earth.”
“ He (Tar-Aldarion) had two sisters, younger than he: Ailinel and Almiel, of whom the elder married Orchaldor, a descendant of the House of Hador, son of Hatholdir, who was close in friendship with Meneldur; and the son of Orchaldor and Ailinel was Soronto, who comes later into the tale.”
Aldarion is 25 years old when he undertakes his first voyage to the Middle-earth with his grandfather Vëantur.
- “Aldarion, for so he is called in all tales, grew swiftly to a man of great stature, strong and vigorous in mind and body, golden-haired as his mother, ready to mirth and generous, but prouder than his father and ever more bent on his own will. From the first he loved the Sea, and his mind was turned to the craft of ship-building. He had little liking for the north country, and spent all the time that his father would grant by the shores of the sea, especially near Rómenna, where was the chief haven of Númenor, the greatest shipyards, and the most skilled shipwrights.”
- “Aldarion was much loved by Vëantur his mother's father, and he dwelt often in Vëantur's house on the southern side of the firth of Rómenna.”
- “…. there as a child Aldarion learned to row, and later to manage sail. Before he was full grown he could captain a ship of many men, sailing from haven to haven.”
Aldarion is absent from Numenor for two years. When he returns, his father understands that his son has forever fallen in love with the sea and seafaring.
- “This year you shall come with me, and we will go to Mithlond and see the tall blue mountains of Middle-earth and the green land of the Eldar at their feet. Good welcome you will find from Círdan the Shipwright and from King Gil-galad.”
- “Thus it came to pass that on a morning of fair sun and white wind, in the bright spring of the seven hundred and twenty-fifth year of the Second Age, the son of the King's Heir of Númenor sailed from the land; and ere day was over he saw it sink shimmering into the sea, and last of all the peak of the Meneltarma as a dark finger against the sunset.”
- “Of his first journey little is known, save that he made the friendship of Círdan and Gil-galad, and journeyed far in Lindon and the west of Eriador, and marvelled at all that he saw.”
From that day on, Aldarion makes numerous voyages.
- “For Aldarion had become enamoured of the Great Sea, and of a ship riding there alone without sight of land, borne by the winds with foam at its throat to coasts and havens unguessed; and that love and desire never left him until his life's end.”
Aldarion is 40 years of age when his father, Tar-Meneldur, becomes the King of Numenor.
- “ …he was no longer content to sail to Mithlond, but began to explore the coasts southwards, past the mouths of Baranduin and Gwathló and Angren, and he rounded the dark cape of Ras Morthil and beheld the great Bay of Belfalas, and the mountains of the country of Amroth where the Nandor Elves still dwell.”
For some time Aldarion does not undertake any new voyage.
- “Then Aldarion restrained his desire, and remained at home for a while for the comfort of his father; and in those days he put to use the knowledge he had gained of Círdan concerning the making of ships, devising much anew of his own thought, and he began also to set men to the improvement of the havens and the quays, for he was ever eager to build greater vessels.”
- “But the sea-longing came upon him anew, and he departed again and yet again from Númenor; and his mind turned now to ventures that might not be compassed with one vessel's company.”
|Tar-Aldarion - Guild Master; Explorer; Ship Builder; Master of Forests |
Aldarion builds his ship, Eämbar, that serves him as his dwelling-place, but he also sails in it, undertaking a few voyages, mainly around the isle of Numenor, although “for the most part it lay at anchor off Tol Uinen .. a little isle in the bay of Rómenna that was set there by Uinen the Lady of the Seas”.
- “…to that brotherhood(The Guild of Sea Venturers) were joined all the hardiest and most eager mariners, and young men sought admission to it even from the inland regions of Númenor, and Aldarion they called the Great Captain.”
As Meneldur does not share his son’s passion for the sea, they become estranged, although Aldarion’s mother Almarian the Queen supports her son in all that he does.
- “Upon Eämbar was the Guildhouse of the Venturers, and there were kept the records of their great voyages.”
Over the years the Guild of Venturers grows in number, strength and importance.
As more timber is needed for the ship-building, Aldarion takes decision to sail to Middle-earth and seek there for a haven for the repair of his ships.
- “For the Venturers grew in numbers and in the esteem of men, and they called them Uinendili, the lovers of Uinen; and their Captain became the less easy to rebuke or restrain. The ships of the Númenóreans became ever larger and of greater draught in those days, until they could make far voyages, carrying many men and great cargoes”
Near the year 800 of the Second Age Tar-Meneldur “commanded his son to remain now in Númenor and to cease for a time his eastward voyaging for he desired to proclaim Aldarion the King's Heir, as had been done at that age of the Heir by the Kings before him.”
- “At the mouth of the river that the Númenóreans called Gwathir, River of Shadow, he established Vinyalondë, the New Haven.”
This act reconciles father and son.
At the feast for the occasion, from the west of the isle, comes Beregar –“of the House of Bëor by ancient descent, though not of the royal line of Elros” and with him – his daughter ERENDIS, who is to become Tar-Aldarion's wife.
- “…and there was peace between them; and amid joy and feasting Aldarion was proclaimed Heir in the hundredth year of his age, and received from his father the title and power of Lord of the Ships and Havens of Númenor.”
That day Erendis falls in love with Aldarion - “for his beauty and splendour of bearing she had eyes for little else.”
Aldarion is kept busy with the matters of his Guild and six years after he has been proclaimed officially the King’s Heir, he sets sail to Middle-earth again. This is not well approved by his father, who wishes Aldarion would spend more time on the isle and would chose a wife.
Seven years pass before Aldarion comes back, bringing with him "ore of silver and gold”.
At his return Aldarion has another discussion with his father upon his role as the future King of Numenor and about his future marriage. He does not agree it is the right thing nor time for him to get married.
Aldarion builds “a vessel greater than any made before: that ship he named Palarran, the Far Wanderer.” and he undertakes a new voyage.
His father becomes wrathful for his son’s decision, having had hopes that Aldarion’s frequent meetings with Erendis will keep him away from the sea and that he might perhaps marry her.
Aldarion however feels still not ready to leave his sea-endeavours for marriage and continues his life as a mariner and explorer which strongly displeases the Royal family.
During one of Aldarion’s voyages “The King (Tar-Meneldur) rescinded his authority as Lord of the Ships and Havens of Númenor and he caused the Guildhouse of the Venturers on Eämbar to be shut, and the shipyards of Rómenna to be closed, and forbade the felling of all trees for shipbuilding.”
Years later father and son reach reconciliation and the Guild is restored.
Aldarion gets back his "Lordship of the Ships and Havens, and added thereto the title of Master of the Forests.”
Their common concern for the future of Numenor finally reconciles them in the eight hundred and fifty-eighth of the SecondAge.
The same year:
Aldarion has a difficult relationship with Erendis and their betrothal is unstable and often put to danger for the numerous voyages Aldarion continues to undertake.
- “…..Aldarion presented Erendis to Tar-Meneldur as the betrothed of the King's Heir; and the King was rejoiced, and there was merrymaking in the city and in all the Isle.”
Yet, “In the eight hundred and seventieth year of the Second Age Aldarion and Erendis were wedded in Armenelos, and in every house there was music, and in all the streets men and women sang.”
Two years later Erendis gives birth to a daughter and they call her Ancalimë.
At one of his later voyages to Middle-earth Aldarion finds the “haven of Vinyalondë (built by him) now wholly ruined, and great seas had brought to nothing all his labours to restore it. Men near the coasts were growing afraid of the Númenóreans, or were become openly hostile and Aldarion heard rumours of some lord in Middle-earth who hated the men of the ships.”''
He seeks counsel and assistance from his father.
Unfortunately, the King shows more concern about Aldarion’s personal family matters, which in fact are not going too well. Eerndis has left the family house at Armenelos and has taken Ancalime back to the inland.
- “Outside nigh on a thousand years have passed since the Lords of the West sent their power against Angband; and those days are forgotten, or wrapped in dim legend among Men of Middle-earth. They are troubled again, and fear haunts them. I desire greatly to consult with you, to give account of my deeds, and my thought concerning what should be done."
Meanwhile, in Armenelos, King Meneldur reads the letter that Aldarion has brought to him from Gil-galad. In that letter the High Elven King speaks of Aldarion’s great achievements. But he also brings troublesome news.
Also Gil-galad seeks the King’s help.
- “A new shadow arises in the East. It is no tyranny of evil Men, as your son believes but a servant of Morgoth is stirring, and evil things wake again. Each year it gains in strength, for most Men are ripe to its purpose. Not far off is the day, I judge, when it will become too great for the Eldar unaided to withstand.”
Tar-Meneldur is deeply worried. And he decides that Aldarion is to be proclaimed the new King of Numenor.
Aldarion returns to Romena after an unpleasant meeting and quarrel with his wife and the next day he goes to Armenelos and orders all the trees in the garden of his house to be cut and used for shipbuilding and he left all in desolation, save the white elven tree. It he gives the name of his beloved daughter Ancalimë.
On the third day after he has returned to Armenelos, Aldarion meets his father and bitterly disappointed with the breaking of his marriage to Erendis, he announces that he will leave Numenor taking with him only his ships. His desire is to take away his rightful heir – his daughter Ancalimë, but the child is still too young, so he leaves her with the his mother.
The King however seeks reconciliation with Aldarion and he announces to his son his decision to make him the King of Numenor.
Aldarion accepts the Sceptre.
- “Therefore: first for the honour of his well-beloved son; and second for the better direction of the realm in courses which his son more clearly understands, the King has resolved: that he will forthwith resign the Sceptre to his son, who shall now become Tar-Aldarion, the King.”
Christopher Tolkien comments on Tar-Aldarion’s further course of life:
It seems that when Aldarion becomes King of Númenor in the year 883 he determines to revisit Middle-earth at once, and departs for Mithlond either in the same year or the next. It is recorded that on the prow of Hirilondë he set no bough of oiolairë, but the image of an eagle with golden beak and jewelled eyes, which was the gift of Círdan.
There is no mention of any further development of the alliance with Gil-galad, or of the sending of the aid that he requested in his letter to Tar-Meneldur it is said indeed that
- But all Aldarion's labours were swept away. The works that he began again at Vinyalondë were never completed, and the sea gnawed them. Nevertheless he laid the foundation for the achievement of Tar-Minastir long years after, in the first war with Sauron, and but for his works the fleets of Númenor could not have brought their power in time to the right place – as he foresaw. Already the hostility was growing and dark men out of the mountains were thrusting into Enedwaith. But in Aldarion's day the Númenóreans did not yet desire more room, and his Venturers remained a small people, admired but little emulated.
There is a stir in Númenor when Tar-Aldarion has determined to return to Middle-earth in 883 or 884, for no King has ever before left the Isle, and the Council has no precedent. It seems that Meneldur has been offered but refused the regency, and that Hallatan of Hyarastorni becomes regent, either appointed by the Council or by Tar-Aldarion himself.
- Aldarion was too late, or too early. Too late: for the power that hated Númenor had already waked. Too early: for the time was not yet ripe for Númenor to show its power or to come back into the battle for the world.
In the year 892, '''when Ancalimë is nineteen years old, she is proclaimed the King's heir and at that time Tar-Aldarion causes the law of succession in Númenor to be changed. It is said specifically that Tar-Aldarion has done this "for reasons of private concern, rather than policy," and out of "his long resolve to defeat Erendis."
The change of the law is referred to in The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A
Of the later years of Tar-Aldarion nothing can now be said, save that he seems to have continued his voyages to Middle-earth, and more than once left Ancalimë as his regent.
- The sixth King [Tar-Aldarion] left only one child, a daughter. She became the first Queen [i.e. Ruling Queen] for it was then made a law of the royal house that the eldest child of the King, whether man or woman, should receive the sceptre.
Aldarion’s last voyage takes place about the end of the first millennium of the Second Age.
Tar-Aldarion dies in 1098.
For more details, see also Aldarion and Erendis