Isildur was the oldest son of Elendil and brother to Anárion. As the High King of Gondor and Arnor, Isildur and his brother Anárion jointly ruled Gondor in the South, while their father dwelt in the North.
During the War of the Last Alliance, Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand, but he refused to destroy it. Isildur was later killed by Orcs and the Ring was lost in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields for nearly 2,500 years. His refusal to destroy the Ring allowed Sauron's spirit to endure and ensured that he would remain a threat to Middle-earth for years to come. Isildur's bloodline survived in the Dúnedain of the North and his heirs 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. He had a younger brother Anárion 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 Silmarien, the daughter of the fourth King of Númenor, Tar-Elendil.
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 power for themselves. They became estranged from the Elves and from the powers called the Valar and they neglected the worship of Eru, the one 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-Pharazon, the King of Númenor, took Sauron captive and brought him to Númenor. Sauron allowed himself to be taken because he wanted to corrupt the Númenóreans in order to bring about their downfall. He used their desire for immortality and power to convince them to renounce Eru and worship Morgoth.
Isildur learned that Sauron wanted Ar-Pharazon 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.
As Sauron's influence increased, the Faithful began to prepare to leave Númenor. They filled their 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 as well as his wife and his son Elendur, who had been born in SA 3299.
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.
As Ar-Pharazon felt the approach of old age, Sauron's lies finally convinced him he could achieve life in the Undying Lands. In SA 3319, Ar-Pharazon set out with a great fleet intending to take the Undying Lands by force, but when he set foot on the shore, Ilúvatar caused the Seas to open up and Valinor was hidden. The fleet sank and Númenor was destroyed by a great wave.
Life in Middle-earth
The ships of the Faithful were spared, and a great wind from the west sent them to the shores of Middle-earth. Elendil landed in the north, while Isildur and Anárion came to the Mouths of the Anduin in the south. 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.
Isildur lived in Minas Ithil on the eastern side of the Anduin, while Anárion made his home in Minas Anor on the western side of the Anduin. Isildur built Minas Ithil in a valley of the Mountains of Shadow on the border of Mordor. 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 already returned there in secret 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. He planted the seedling of the White Tree in front of his house. 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 Dead, 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.
Sauron attacked and captured Minas Ithil in 3429. Isildur escaped with his wife and sons and another 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 to Arnor, where Elendil dwelled. 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 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.
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. A very short time later, short enough for the heat-induced markings on the Ring to still be 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 it would hurt. 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 Halifirien 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.
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 the 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.
Thirty days later, on October 4, Isildur's company was attacked by Orcs near the Gladden Fields. The Orcs did not know that Isildur had the One Ring, but they 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.
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 headed for the Anduin river. 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. Isildur initially felt an overwhelming sense of loss, but was then relieved as if a great burden had been lifted from him. He rose out of the water, but was spotted by orcs who shot him with arrows.
The One Ring remained in the Gladden Fields until Déagol found it in TA 2463. 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.
Isildur's youngest son Valandil became the King of Arnor when he came of age in the year 10, 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, Isildur's heir. During his reign, evidence for the full story of his death was finally uncovered.
Portrayal in adaptations
Isildur appears as a secret character in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, both in the film's prologue and in later flashbacks. His role is largely unchanged from that from J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, though he is shown to have been brought to the Crack of Doom itself by Elrond, who unsuccessfully tries to convince Isildur to destroy the Ring.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (video game) the player controls as Isildur in the first level Slopes of Mt. Doom. Later on in the game after the player beats 20 levels Tower of Orthanc, either as Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli, the player then has to play as Isildur and conquer the 20 levels in the Tower of Orthanc before Isildur becomes a fully playable character.
In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Isildur is shown to have become a Nazgul 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 attacked Barad-dûr; Celebrimbor dominates Isildur, but Talion disapproves and kills isildur to set him free.
In LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game the player controls as Lego Isildur in the first level Slopes of Mt. Doom.
Voice dubbing actors
|Foreign Language||Voice dubbing artist|
|Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD)||Mauro Castro|
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||埃西鐸|
|Kazakh||Ысілдұр (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)|
|Kurdish||Îsîldur (Kurmanji Kurdish)|
|Serbian||Исилдур (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Исилдур (Cyrillic) Isildur (Latin)|
|King of Arnor|
|SA 3441 - TA 2|
|King of Gondor|
|SA 3441 - TA 2|
|Bearer of the One Ring|
|SA 3441 - TA 2|
|King of all the Dúnedain|
Aragorn II Elessar (3,017 years later)
|SA 3441 - TA 2|
|High King of Gondor and Arnor|
Aragorn II Elessar
|SA 3441 - TA 2|
|Bearers of the One Ring|
|Kings of Arnor & Kings of Arthedain|
|Arnor||Elendil • Isildur • Valandil • Eldacar • Arantar • Tarcil • Tarondor • Valandur • Elendur • Eärendur|
|Restoration Period||Aragorn II Elessar • Eldarion|
|Arthedain||Amlaith • Beleg • Mallor • Celepharn • Celebrindor • Malvegil • Argeleb I • Arveleg I • Araphor • Argeleb II • Arvegil • Arveleg II • Araval • Araphant • Arvedui|
|Kings of Gondor|
Elendil | Isildur | 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
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, VII: "The Heirs of Elendil"
- The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor) Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "downfall" defined multiple times with different content
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Second Age"
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (i): "Númenor"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Gray Company"
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
- The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
- Unfinished Tales, Introduction, Part Three, I: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Chapter II: "The Shadow of the Past"