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a'rathorn
Meaning
'Lord Eagle' or 'Royal Eagle'
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This Arathorn is not to be confused with Arathorn II, the father of Aragorn Elessar2

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  • Updated 26 May 2009
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Arathorn I

Twelfth of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain

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Arassuil
Arathorn I
Argonui

Chieftains of the Dúnedain

The son of Chieftain Arassuil, who led the Northern Dúnedain after his father's death. The great-great-grandfather of Aragorn Elessar (not to be confused with Aragorn's father of the same name) Arathorn I ruled in the North for sixty-four years. He lived to the age of 155, a full life even for one of his descent. Nonetheless, it is recorded that he met an untimely death3, and may otherwise have lived even longer. He was succeeded by his son Argonui.


Notes

1

The date of Arathorn's birth appears only in The History of Middle-earth volume XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth. It cannot therefore be considered completely reliable.

2

Arathorn II was the great-grandson of Arathorn I. Despite the long lives of the Dúnedain, the two Arathorns never met, but Arathorn II was born just twenty-five years after the death of Arathorn I, and it seems likely he was named for his forefather.

3

The circumstances of Arathorn's death are mysterious. In the later Third Age, it was unusual for even a Dúnadan of noble descent to live past 160, and lacking other evidence we might assume that Arathorn simply died of old age (as indeed the original drafts of Appendix A to The Lord of the Rings seem to suggest). The published version, however, marks Arathorn as dying a premature death, without remarking on the event itself.

Conceivably, he was slain by Orcs, which had begun to increase in numbers during his father's Chieftainship, while Arathorn was still a young man. The War of the Dwarves and Orcs took place during the early part of Arathorn's own rule, leading to the decisive Battle of Nanduhirion (fought in Arathorn's fifteenth year as Chieftain). After the Orcs' defeat in that battle, we know that bands of refugees fled into the south, and were later responsible for the death of King Walda of Rohan. Perhaps a stray band also escaped into the Northlands, eventually to slay the Chieftain of the Dúnedain in his old age. This is, of course, sheer speculation, though it does fit the known historical events of the time.

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