Sometimes I figure I know way too much useless info. I’ve always been someone who loved to research whatever it is I’m interested in. Right now I’m devouring information on oil drilling for example. The end result is I know a ton of trivia knowledge. It also means I pretty much devoured everything Tolkien related I could get my hands on. Since GeeCee seemed interested in all the lore surrounding Evendim I tought I could put this post together on the lore of the Northern Kingdoms and how it all relates to Lotro. I had to verify a lot of the info in this post but if I missed something feel free to correct me.
Elendil,Isildur and Arnor
Arnor was founded by Elendil at the end of the Second Age not long before the battle of Mount Doom(the big battle at the beginning of the first Lotr movie) along with the Kingdom of Gondor. Arnor was the northern Kingdom and Gondor the sourthern one. Both Kingdoms were ruled by Elendil and then by Isildur and both were considered part of the same grand realm. Shortly after the battle of Mount Doom, Isildur was killed by orcs while making his way back to Arnor. His remaining son went North with his followers. The current Rangers are descendant of those people and they still bear the Pointed Star, the symbol of Arnor that you can find on most ruins in Lotro.
The Kingdom of Arnor at its peak covered most of Eriador. In game this translate into the following zones: The Shire, Bree-Land, Evendim, North Downs, Eregion, Lone-Lands and Trollshaws (up to the river Bruinien, just before Rivendell). Arnor’s capital was Annuminas on the shore of Lake Evendim. Just like in Gondor, the people of Annuminas built impressive tombs for their kings and nobles, to the point where the houses of the dead outnumbered the house of the living. You can see this clearly in Evendim where there’s more tombs than housing all around.
For this reason, the city of Annuminas slowly became depopulated and after a few hundred years Arnor’s capital was moved to Fornorst wich can be found in the western part of North Downs.
The three kingdoms
Shortly after the capital was moved to Fornost, civil war erupted between the three sons of the King of Arnor and the kingdom was split in three. The three kingdoms meeting point was Amon Sul (Weathertop) wich was part of Rudhaur but was contested by the two other kingdoms for the Palanthir (the seeing stone) it contained.
Arthedain was the western kingdom and consisted of Evendim, North Downs (western part),part of Bree Lands (Bree itself and the road north of it) and east of Bree up to Weathertop. Its capital was Fornost and it claimed it was the rightful heir to the kingdom of Arnor.
Cardolan was the southern kingdom and consisted of The Shire, the western part of Bree-Lands, part of Lone-Lands directly south of Weathertop and southern Eregion. Its capital was the Barrowdowns.
Rhudaur was the eastern kingdom. It ranged from eastern North-Downs down to vast majority of the Lone-Lands(WeatherTop and east of it), then east into the Trollshaws up until the Bruinien and then south into Northern Eregion.
At the time of the founding of the three kingdoms, Angmar didn’t yet exist but was populated by wild and evil men. The witch-King had been defeated at Mount Doom close to 850 years ago. Still Tolkien hints heavily that this was when he began to make his return and influenced the events that led to the civil war and the splitting of Arnor into three kingdoms.
Around 400 years after the foundation of the three Northern Kingdoms, Angmar was founded by the Witch King in the inhospitable region north of Rhudaur. At first the Witch King presented himself as benevolent figure who came to civilize the wild men and was at first supported. It soon became clear however that the Witch King was anything but good and Arthedain and Cardolan banded together to fight the evil of Angmar. Rhudaur however supported Angmar, being now ruled by evil men of Angmar that the Witch King had placed. Banding together, Arthedain and Cardolan retook the name of Arnor.
Lotro has numerous references to Rhudaur as being evil mens in service of Angmar and betrayers. Most of the lore concerning spirits and ghost refers to them being men of Rhudaur doomed to roam Middle Earth for having broken their oaths and betrayed Man.
You can also check out a the cities of Angmar in-game and a few ofther signs of the time when the Witch-King was trying to pass itself off as a good ruler.
The war in the North
The war that followed lasted for 500 years and saw most of the Northen Kingdoms completely destroyed. Angmar, supported by Rhudaur, had the upper hand for most of the war but the aid of elves and dwarves slowed them down and inflicted terrible damage on Rhudaur. Also, Gondor became heavily involved in the war, not wishing to see a powerful kingdom of evil establish itself in the north.
Barrowdowns, the capital of Cardolan was destroyed by the Witch King who sent evil spirits there. This explains all the undead you can still see walking around in-game in that zone.
Angmar finally succeeded in conquering all of Arnor including its capital, Fornost and the surivors of Arnor were forced to flee to Forochel. You can see the ruins of their settlement in-game around the ice bay.
The battle of Fornost
A year after the fall of Arnor, Gondor sent a great army to Fornost along with the elves led by Glorfindel (can be found in-game next to Elrond’s house, he gives the highest hope bonus in-game). This army managed to destroy the Wich-King forces and drive them back all the way to Angmar where they finished wiping his forces. The Witch-King was then forced to flee to Minas Morgul in Mordor.
That’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed the history lesson. I know I had a lot of fun researching all this.
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