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Isildur was the oldest son of Elendil and the brother of Anárion. He and Anárion founded and jointly ruled Gondor in the south, while their father dwelt in Arnor in the north.

In the War of the Last Alliance, Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand, but refused to destroy it. Isildur was later killed by Orcs in Disaster of the Gladden Fields, and the Ring was lost for nearly 2,500 years. His refusal to destroy the Ring allowed Sauron to endure and remain a threat to Middle-earth. Isildur's bloodline survived in the Dúnedain of the North, and his heir would help end Sauron's power in the War of the Ring.


Life in Númenor[]

Isildur was born in Númenor in the year SA 3209 of the Second Age.[1] His younger brother Anárion was born in SA 3219. They lived at the haven of Rómenna on the east coast of the island of Númenor. Their father was Elendil and their grandfather was Amandil, the Lord of Andúnië. The Lords of Andúnië were descended from the Kings of Númenor through Silmariën, the daughter and eldest child of the fourth King of Númenor, Tar-Elendil.[2]

Anarion and Isildur young

Anarion and Isildur (right) in their youth, by Billy Mosig

Elros, the Half-elven and the first King of Númenor, had chosen the life of Men, while his brother Elrond chose the life of Elves. Over time, the Kings of Númenor grew to resent their ancestor's choice, and desired eternal life for themselves. They became estranged from the Elves and the Valar, and neglected the worship of Eru, who had created them. A small group of Númenóreans remained friendly with the Elves and faithful to Eru and the Valar. They were called the Faithful. Among these men were the Lords of Andúnië.

In SA 3262, Ar-Pharazôn, King of Númenor, took Sauron captive and brought him to Númenor. Sauron allowed himself to be taken in order to corrupt the Númenóreans, to orchestrate their downfall. Over time, he succeeded in gaining influence over the Númenórean authorities.

Isildur learned that Sauron wanted King Ar-Pharazôn to cut down Nimloth, the White Tree that had come from the Undying Lands. Isildur disguised himself and went secretly to the King's Court and took a fruit from Nimloth. The guards discovered and attacked him and, although receiving grave injuries, he managed to escape with the fruit. For this deed, Isildur received much praise. He stood near death for many months, but when the fruit of the White Tree began to sprout, he awoke and was recovered from his injuries.[2]

As Sauron's influence increased, the Faithful began to prepare to leave Númenor. They filled nine ships with their families and many of their prized possessions, including the palantíri. Isildur had three ships of his own, and he brought aboard the seedling of the White Tree, the Stone of Erech, as well as his wife and his son Elendur, who had been born in SA 3299.[1]

Isildur's grandfather Amandil hoped to plead with the Valar to spare the Faithful. He sailed westward toward the Undying Lands, but what became of him is not known and he was never seen again.

Life in Middle-earth[]

The nine ships of the Faithful were spared from the tumult of Númenor's downfall, and a great wind from the west sent them to the shores of Middle-earth. Elendil landed in the north with four ships, while Isildur and Anárion came to the Mouths of the Anduin in the south with three and two ships respectively. Elendil and his sons established the North-kingdom of Arnor and the South-kingdom of Gondor in SA 3320. Elendil was the High King of both realms, but he ruled from Arnor and committed the rule of Gondor to his sons.[3]

Isildur lived in Minas Ithil to the east of the Anduin, while Anárion made his home in Minas Anor to the west of the Anduin. They ruled from their joint capital of Osgiliath, built on both banks of the river. Isildur built Minas Ithil in a valley of the Mountains of Shadow on the border of Mordor, planting the White Tree of Gondor before his house there. Minas Ithil was a beautiful city, but it was also a stronghold to defend against the evil that might still dwell in Mordor. It was not known at first that Sauron had survived the Downfall and had begun to rebuild his strength.

Isildur had one of the palantír called the Ithil-stone, which he used to communicate with his brother and father. Isildur and his wife had two more sons while living in Gondor - Aratan born in SA 3339 and Ciryon born in SA 3379.

In the early days of Gondor, Isildur went to the Hill of Erech at the entrance to the Blackroot Vale in the White Mountains. On the hilltop he placed the Stone of Erech, a great black sphere that he had brought from Númenor. Isildur met with the King of the Mountain Men, who swore allegiance to Isildur upon the Stone, but later when Isildur called upon the Men of the Mountains to join the fight against Sauron, they refused. Isildur cursed them and said that they would never rest until they fulfilled their oath, and they haunted the Paths of the Dead.[4]

Sauron attacked and captured Minas Ithil in SA 3429. Isildur escaped with his wife and sons and a seedling of the White Tree. Isildur and his family boarded a ship at the Mouths of the Anduin and sailed around the coast of Middle-earth, seeking Elendil in Arnor. Elendil consulted with Gil-galad, the last High King of the Ñoldor in Middle-earth who lived in Lindon west of Arnor. Gil-galad and Elendil formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men to oppose Sauron in SA 3430. That same year, Isildur's youngest son Valandil was born at the home of Elrond in Rivendell.

The Last Alliance[]

The army of the Last Alliance gathered at Rivendell in SA 3431[5] and then marched to war. Isildur and his three oldest sons Elendur, Aratan, and Ciryon went with the army, while Isildur's wife and their young son Valandil remained in Rivendell.

The War of the Last Alliance began in SA 3434. Sauron's forces were defeated in the Battle of Dagorlad on the plain outside Mordor, and the army of the Last Alliance entered Sauron's realm and laid siege to Barad-dûr. The siege lasted seven years and many Men and Elves were killed, including Isildur's brother Anárion, who died in SA 3440.[6]

Isildur and Sauron, R D

Isildur taking the One Ring, after his father and Gil-galad are slain - by Ralph Damiani

At last, in SA 3441, Sauron himself came down from his tower. He fought with Gil-galad and Elendil on the slopes of Mount Doom. Sauron's body was cast down, but Gil-galad and Elendil died in the struggle. Elendil's sword Narsil broke beneath him.

Isildur took up the hilt of the sword and used the broken blade to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand. Sauron's spirit fled from his body, but as long as the Ring that held much of his power survived so would his spirit. Enamored by the Ring's apparent beauty, Isildur took it for himself. Elrond and Círdan were the only two individuals who marked Isildur's actions, as they alone had been with Gil-galad during the contest with Sauron, and Isildur alone had stood by Elendil.[6] Not long after, with the heat-induced markings on the Ring still visible, Isildur wrote a short account of the Ring and its apparent properties, noting that it had burned his hand so badly that he believed he would be in permanent pain. He noted that the Ring, as it cooled, seemed to shrink, and that the writing upon its outer band seemed to be fading. He theorized that the heat from Sauron's hand might have caused the writing to remain visible, and that heating it again might produce the same effect. However, he was already so enthralled by the Ring that he refused, even in writing, to take any action which might cause harm to it.

Rule and death[]

Isildur assumed kingship of both Gondor and Arnor, but intended to return to the North and leave Anárion's son Meneldil to rule in the south, after mentoring him in the duties of a King. On the summit of Amon Anwar in the Firien wood, Isildur entombed the body of his father Elendil. Before leaving Minas Anor, Isildur planted the seedling of the White Tree recovered from Minas Ithil in memory of his brother and established the Tradition of Isildur.

On September 5, TA 2, Isildur set out from Minas Anor with his three elder sons and a company of knights. They marched up the Vales of Anduin on the eastern side of the river, heading for the High Pass over the Misty Mountains. He intended to deliver the One Ring to Elrond, as suggested by his eldest son and confidante, Elendur.[7]

Thirty days later, on October 4, Isildur's company was attacked by Orcs near the Gladden Fields. The Orcs were unaware that Isildur had the One Ring, but instead were unwittingly drawn by its power. Isildur's men were outnumbered ten to one, and though they initially managed to repel the attack by forming a shield-wall, the Orcs renewed their assault after nightfall and the men were overwhelmed.[8]

Isildur tries to use One Ring

Isildur putting on the Ring to escape

Before the battle had begun, Isildur had sent away his esquire Ohtar, bearing the shards of his father's sword Narsil. Isildur kept the One Ring, but it was useless in defending his men against the Orcs.

Isildur's son Aratan was mortally wounded, and his son Ciryon was killed. His eldest son Elendur begged him to flee to in order to prevent the Orcs from capturing the Ring. Isildur agreed and parted with great sorrow from Elendur, who was slain leading the remaining Dúnedain.

Isildur put on the Ring despite its pain and made for the River Anduin. He removed his armor and waded into the river intending to try to cross it. The current was strong and despite his great strength, it pulled him toward the marshes of the Gladden Fields. Then the Ring left Isildur's finger and was lost in the waters. He rose out of the water, but was spotted by Orcs who killed him with arrows.[7]

The One Ring remained in the Gladden Fields until Déagol found it in TA 2463.[5] Isildur's body also lay in the waters, undiscovered by his kin, but his weapons and armour were later recovered near the place of battle.[7] As he had been wearing the Elendilmir, this was lost with him.

Isildur's youngest son Valandil became the High King of Arnor when he came of age in the year TA 10,[5] but he did not claim the Kingship of Gondor, and the two Kingdoms became separated. Gondor continued to be ruled by the heirs of Anárion, while Arnor was ruled by the heirs of Isildur. It was not until the end of the Third Age that the Kingdoms were reunited by Aragorn II, Isildur's heir. During his reign, evidence for the full story of his death was finally uncovered, as the Elendilmir and the necklace holding the One Ring were found in a secret chamber in Orthanc.[7] Saruman had likely found Isildur's remains and had them burnt.

King of Arnor
Preceded by
Isildur Succeeded by
SA 3441 - TA 2
King of Gondor
Preceded by
Isildur Succeeded by
SA 3320 - TA 2
Bearer of the One Ring
Preceded by
Isildur Succeeded by
SA 3441 - TA 2
King of all the Dúnedain
Preceded by
Isildur Succeeded by
Aragorn II Elessar (3,017 years later)
SA 3441 - TA 2
High King of Gondor and Arnor
Preceded by
Isildur Succeeded by
Aragorn II Elessar
SA 3441 - TA 2

High Kings of Arnor & Kings of Arthedain
Arnor ElendilIsildurValandilEldacarArantarTarcilTarondorValandurElendurEärendur
Arthedain AmlaithBelegMallorCelepharnCelebrindorMalvegilArgeleb IArveleg IAraphorArgeleb IIArvegilArveleg IIAravalAraphantArvedui
Reunited Kingdom Aragorn II ElessarEldarion

Kings of Gondor

Elendil | Isildur & Anárion | Meneldil | Cemendur | Eärendil | Anardil | Ostoher | Rómendacil I | Turambar | Atanatar I | Siriondil | Tarannon Falastur | Eärnil I | Ciryandil | Hyarmendacil I | Atanatar II Alcarin | Narmacil I | Calmacil | Rómendacil II | Valacar | Eldacar | Castamir the Usurper | Eldacar (restored) | Aldamir | Hyarmendacil II | Minardil | Telemnar | Tarondor | Telumehtar Umbardacil | Narmacil II | Calimehtar | Ondoher | Eärnil II | Eärnur | Aragorn II Elessar | Eldarion

In adaptations[]

The Lord of the Rings films[]

Isildur appears in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, both in the film's prologue and in later flashbacks, portrayed by Harry Sinclair. His role is largely unchanged from J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, though he is shown to have been brought to the Cracks of Doom itself by Elrond, who unsuccessfully tries to convince him to cast the Ring into the magma.

Video games[]

The Lord of the Rings Online - Isildur

Isildur in The Lord of the Rings Online

In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (video game), the player plays as Isildur in the first level, "Slopes of Mt. Doom". He is fully playable after completion of the level "The Tower of Orthanc".

In The Lord of the Rings Online, Isildur makes several extended appearances in flashbacks and session plays.

In LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game, the player controls Isildur in the first level, "Slopes of Mt. Doom".

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Isildur is shown to have become a Nazgûl after his death at the Gladden Fields, when Sauron places one of the Nine rings on his finger, which resurrects him. When Talion and his dominated army of Orcs and Olog-hai attack Barad-dûr, Celebrimbor dominates Isildur, but Talion disapproves, and kills Isildur to set him free.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power[]

Isildur, within a compressed timeline, is portrayed by Maxim Baldry in Amazon Studios' The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

At the encouragement of his father Elendil, Isildur has undergone rigorous training to become a member of the Sea Guard of Númenor, along with his friends Valandil and Ontamo. However, he has heard a mysterious voice calling him back to the island, and begun to rethink what he desires to pursue after hearing of the doings of the Faithful on the western coast of the island from his brother Anárion. Isildur tells his father of his plan to defer the final trials of his training, though his sister Eärien reveals the hand Anárion had in the decision, and Elendil sternly warns his son against the move, believing that his family must move on from the past to have a successful future.

Isildur as cadet - The Rings of Power

Isildur on board the Sail-master's ship

Isildur does return to the ship, but upon hearing the voice call to him again, releases a rope, knowing this will get him dismissed as a cadet. However, the Ship-master dismisses Valandil and Ontamo as well, much to Isildur's horror, and his friends' shock. Valandil makes angry accusations of Isildur's motivations and worthiness of being a cadet in the first place, and Isildur leaves to find Eärien, in whom he confides. It is then that the city of Armenelos is put on notice that Galadriel has escaped from custody.

Eventually, despite Queen-regent Míriel's judgment that Galadriel must return to Middle-earth alone, Míriel changes her mind when the leaves of Nimloth begin to fall, indicating a grave warning, and announces plans to escort Galadriel back with an army. Elendil is put in charge of finding volunteers, and Isildur attempts to follow Valandil and Ontamo's lead in pledging to go, though Elendil at first denies him the opportunity. Isildur pleads with Valandil, recently promoted to lieutenant, to secure him a place, but is rejected. Isildur then tries to stow away, but is surprised to find Pharazôn's son Kemen on board, sabotaging the mission. Isildur rescues Kemen from the ensuing explosion, though two of the five allotted ships are destroyed. Isildur, perhaps as a favor for saving Kemen, is granted a place on the expedition, though at first only as a stable-sweep. On the voyage eastward he briefly meets Galadriel, who encourages him to not lose heart at his low position.

Isildur in Tirharad - TRoP

Isildur finds Elendil in Tirharad

Upon landing on the banks of the Anduin, the contingent led by Míriel and Elendil crosses the Ephel Dúath into the Southlands, and at dawn arrive in Tirharad. Isildur is at first kept back from the fighting, though Míriel permits him to enter the conflict when Elendil becomes beset by several Orcs, and Isildur rushes to his father's side after Halbrand saves Elendil. After the Orcs are defeated, Isildur tends to his horse Berek, who strangely displays spooked behavior until Elendil comes and calms the horse by speaking Sindarin, promising Isildur to one day teach him how to do the same. Just then, however, all the Númenóreans and Southlanders are taken aback when Orodruin erupts. In the ensuing chaos and thick ash, Isildur saves Míriel from a burning structure but is trapped within when it collapses, leading his kinsmen to presume him dead.


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዒሲልዱር
Arabic إيسيلدور
Armenian Իսիլդոր
Belarusian Cyrillic Ісілдур
Bengali ইসিলডুর
Bulgarian Cyrillic Исилдур
Burmese အစ်ဆီဒူးလ်
Catalan Isíldur
Chinese (Hong Kong) 埃西鐸
Georgian ისილდური
Greek Ίσιλντουρ
Gujarati ઈસિલ્દુર
Hebrew איסילדור
Hindi ईसिल्दुर
Japanese イシルドゥア
Kannada ಇಸಿಲ್ದುರ್
Kazakh Ысілдұр (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)
Korean 이실두르
Kurdish Îsîldur (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Исилдур
Laotian ີຊິລດຸຣ
Macedonian Cyrillic Исилдур
Marathi ईसिल्दुर
Mongolian Cyrillic Исилдур
Nepalese ईसिल्दुर
Pashto ایسیلدور
Persian ایسیلدور
Punjabi ਈਸਿਲ੍ਦੁਰ
Russian Исильдур
Sanskrit ईसिल्दुर्
Serbian Исилдур (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)
Sinhalese ඊසිල්දුර්
Tajik Cyrillic Исилдур
Tamil ஈஸில்துர்
Telugu ఈసిల్దుర
Thai อิซิลดูร์
Ukrainian Cyrillic Ісілдур
Urdu ازیاڈور
Uzbek Исилдур (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)
Yiddish יסילדור


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XII: The Peoples of Middle-earth, VII: "The Heirs of Elendil"
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)
  3. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (i): "Númenor"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Introduction, Part Three, I: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter II: "The Shadow of the Past"