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Date
Location
Between Lake Evendim and the North Downs, to the west of Fornost1

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  • Updated 2 January 2009
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Battle of Fornost

The climactic battle after the end of the North-kingdom

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The Battle of Fornost and its aftermath
(1) The forces of Gondor and Angmar meet in battle on the plains west of Fornost. The Witch-king's army is routed, and the survivors of the battle flee back towards Angmar, with the Gondorians in pursuit. (2) The remnant of Angmar's forces are intercepted by Glorfindel of Rivendell, and overtaken by the Gondorians. They are utterly defeated, but the Witch-king himself escapes. (3) The Witch-king flees southwards into the Ettenmoors, and disappears from the North.

In the year III 1974, the kingdom of Arthedain was destroyed, and with it the last realm of the Northern Dúnedain. The armies of Angmar and its allies overran the northern lands, capturing the capital of the Dúnedain at Fornost, and King Arvedui fled into the icy north. It seemed at that time that the Witch-king's victory was complete.

In the following year, though, the tide turned, though too late to save the remnant of the North-kingdom. The ships of a great fleet sailed into the harbours at Mithlond, carrying a force of Gondorian warriors sent north under the command of the great general Eärnur. To that army joined the Elves of Lindon and the remnant of the Northern Dúnedain, and they marched east to avenge the loss of Arthedain.

They met the Witch-king's armies not at Fornost itself, but on the plains westward towards Lake Evendim. Aided by Eärnur's military skill, and a force sent out of Rivendell led by Glorfindel, the armies of the Dúnedain and Elves had utter victory, and Angmar's armies were swept away. After a long chase, the Witch-king himself fled into the dark of the falling night, and Glorfindel famously prophesied that he would not fall by the hand of man, as later proved true in the War of the Ring.

The Battle of Fornost shaped the future history of Middle-earth in many important ways. Its most significant effect could hardly have been guessed at the time: it robbed Gondor of its Kings. When the Witch-king fled south, and came at last to Mordor, he did not forget his defeat at the hands of Eärnur. Many years later, Eärnur became the King of Gondor, and the Witch-king challenged him to single combat. Reluctantly, he followed his Steward's advice and refused the challenge, but seven years later the challenge was made again, and this time Eärnur accepted. Riding into Minas Morgul, he was taken by the Nazgûl and never heard of again. He was the last King to rule the South-kingdom until after the War of the Ring nearly a thousand years later.


Notes

1

The main battle took place on the plains between Lake Evendim and the North Downs, but later action took place elsewhere. Retreating eastwards from the battle towards Fornost itself, the forces of Angmar were ambushed and put to rout. From this, the Witch-king rallied what little support he could, and fled back towards Carn Dûm, far to the northeast. Overtaken by the forces of Eärnur and Glorfindel, he fled instead into the distant south.

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