This article refers to the father of Boromir and Faramir. For other namesakes, see Denethor (disambiguation).

"Yet a Halfling still, and little love do I bear the name, since those accursed words came to trouble our counsels and drew away my son on the wild errand to his death. My Boromir! Now we have need of you. Faramir should have gone in his stead."
Denethor, upon meeting Gandalf and Pippin Took in Minas Tirith[4]

Denethor II was the twenty-sixth Ruling Steward of Gondor, and father of the War of the Ring heroes Boromir and Faramir.


Denethor was the first child and eldest son of Ecthelion II.[1] In TA 2976, he married Finduilas of Dol Amroth, daughter of Prince Adrahil II of Dol Amroth.[5] Together, the couple had two sons, Boromir and Faramir. A few years later, in TA 2988, Finduilas died, leaving Denethor bitter.[6]

He succeeded his father Ecthelion II as twenty-sixth Ruling Steward in TA 2984. During his stewardship, Gandalf was less welcome in Minas Tirith, and his counsels went unheeded.

War of the Ring

Denethor secretly used a Palantír to probe Sauron's strength, and he used it at the top of the White Tower in his secret chamber, above the Throne room.[7] The effort aged him quickly, and the knowledge of Sauron's overwhelming force exacerbated the bitterness that had taken root at the time of the death of his wife, Finduilas, in TA 2988. Sauron used the Palantír to drive him mad with despair. He retained, however, an air of nobility and power. The death of Boromir, his eldest son and favorite, and the siege and apparent doom of the capital city drove Denethor further along the path to madness. Following this, he became estranged from Faramir. Shockingly, Faramir still upheld his father's wishes.[5]

His actions, however, did not immediately proclaim his insanity. The Osgiliath mission was not obviously suicidal, as the city had not yet been overrun. The Warning beacons of Gondor had been lit, but Denethor expected little help in his growing despair.[8]

He committed suicide on March 15, 3019, having ordered his men to erect a pyre for him and Faramir in the Hallows of Minas Tirith. He threw a torch onto the pyre, then broke the white rod of his office over his knee and cast it into the flames, symbolizing the end of his stewardship and the end of the rule of the Stewards. He laid himself down on the table and so perished, clasping the Palantíri in his hands. His attempt to take the grievously injured and apparently dying Faramir with him was thwarted by the timely intervention of Beregond and ultimately, by Gandalf.[3]

Denethor II ruled as the Steward of Gondor for 35 years, from TA 2984 until his death on TA 3019. The title of the Ruling Steward was passed to his son, Faramir, who also became the first of the Princes of Ithilien.[9]


Denethor might have been named after the tenth Ruling Steward of Gondor, who, in turn, was named after a Nandorin Elf. The name comes from the Nandorin words dene ("strong, lithe") and thara ("tall, slender"), and gives the name a meaning of "Lithe and lank".[10]

House of Húrin

of Emyn Arnen
Mardil Voronwë
Húrin I
Túrin I
Denethor I
Two daughters
Húrin II
Belecthor I
Ecthelion I
Belecthor II
Túrin II
Ecthelion II
Two daughters
Denethor II
House of Eorl

Portrayal in adaptations


Denethor was voiced by William Conrad in Rankin/Bass's 1980 animated adaptation of The Return of the King, and by Peter Vaughan in BBC Radio's 1981 serialisation.

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

"You may triumph on the field of battle for a day, but against the power that has risen in the East, there is no victory."
Denethor, to Gandalf[11]

In Peter Jackson's movie trilogy, Denethor is portrayed by John Noble. In a significant change from the novels, he is depicted as an incompetent leader driven to insanity by despair. He appears in the extended edition of The Two Towers and is a major character in The Return of the King.

Denethor appears in one extended flashback scene in The Two Towers, arriving at Osgiliath as it is liberated by Boromir's troops. He congratulates his elder son while disparaging the younger Faramir, and commands Boromir to travel to the Council of Elrond, take the One Ring, and return it to Gondor.

In The Return of the King, Denethor is depicted as overcome with despair, convinced that Sauron cannot be opposed. He denies Aragorn's birthright to the throne of Gondor, refuses to light the beacons to call Rohan for aid and, after Osgiliath is captured by Mordor's forces, sends Faramir and his men on a suicide mission to retake the ruined city. When Faramir is brought back to Minas Tirith unconscious, Denethor hastily concludes that his last son is dead and commands his guards to build a funeral pyre for the both of them. As Sauron's armies attack Minas Tirith, Denethor prepares to immolate himself alongside Faramir; only Pippin and Gandalf's intervention saves Faramir's life. Denethor then throws himself off of the pinnacle of Minas Tirith, engulfed in flames.

The palantír of Minas Tirith, which causes Denethor's corruption in the novels, is only hinted at in the extended edition of The Return of the King.

The Lord of the Rings Online - Denethor

Denethor in The Lord of the Rings Online

Voice dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Rolando del Castro
Spanish (Spain) Carlos Kaniowski
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Renato Master † (ROTK)
Renato Márcio (Extended Edition TTT and ROTK)
German Roland Hemmo
French (France) Pierre Santini
Italian (Italy) Oreste Rizzini
Czech (Czech Republic) Ladislav Županič
Slovak Juraj Predmerský
Turkish Emir Tayla


Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic دينيثور الثاني
Armenian Դենետհոր II
Belarusian Cyrillic Дэнетар II
Bengali দ্বিতীয় ডিনেথর
Bulgarian Cyrillic Денетор II
Chinese (Hong Kong) 迪耐瑟二世
Georgian დენეთორ II
Greek Ντένεθορ Β΄
Hebrew דנתור השני
Hindi डेनेथोर द्वितीय
Japanese デネソール2世
Kannada ಎರಡನೆಯದು ಡೇನೆತೋರ್
Kazakh II Дэнетор (Cyrillic) II Dénetor (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic ДэнэтХор II ?
Macedonian Cyrillic Денетор II
Nepalese पहिलो डेनेथोर
Persian دِنِه‌تُور دوم
Russian Дэнетор II
Sanskrit डेनेथोर् २
Sinhalese දෙවැනි ඩෙනෙටෝර
Tamil இரண்டாவது தேனேதோர்
Tajik Cyrillic Денетор II
Telugu రెండవ దేనితోర్
Thai เดเนธอร์ที่สอง
Ukrainian Cyrillic Денетор II
Urdu دانیٹہاور دوسری
Yiddish II דענעטהאָר
Ruling Steward of Gondor
Preceded by
Ecthelion II
Denethor II Succeeded by
TA 2984 - TA 3019


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth, VII: "The Heirs of Elendil"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter VII: "The Pyre of Denethor"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter I: "Minas Tirith"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (iv): "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  7. Unfinished Tales, Part Four: III: "The Palantíri"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter IV: "The Siege of Gondor"
  9. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter V: "The Steward and the King"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels, Part Four: Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D: Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language'
  11. The Return of the King (film)"
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