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- "Few now remember them... yet still some go wandering, sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless."
- —Tom Bombadil on the Rangers
Rangers of the North, simply known as the Rangers, were a northern wandering people of Eriador, the last remnant of the Dúnedain of Arnor, who had once peopled the North-kingdom of Arnor. They protected the lands, wandering the wastes of Eriador, although their secretiveness made the people of Bree and the Shire consider them dangerous and distrustful.
They were grim in appearance and were usually dressed in grey or dark green, with a cloak-clasp shaped like a seven-pointed star.
The term "Rangers of the North" was used most often by those who lived in the southern lands of Rohan and Gondor, perhaps to distinguish this people from their distant cousins, the Rangers of Ithilien. Like the Rangers of the North, these were also Dúnedain, but belonged to the South-kingdom of Gondor, and their ancestors had been divided from the Northern Dúnedain for some three thousand years.
- "Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters - but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy, for they are found in many places, not in Mordor only."
The Dúnedain of Arnor dwindled after the breaking of Arnor into three kingdoms and the wars with Angmar. Cardolan and Rhudaur soon fell and only the petty-kingdom of Arthedain maintained the royal line of Isildur. Arthedain too was destroyed in the Battle of Fornost and Arvedui, the last King of Arthedain, was lost at sea.
Arvedui's son and heir, Aranarth, claimed the title of Chieftain of the Dúnedain, sixteen Chieftains in total ruling the remnant of the Dúnedain. For safekeeping, Elrond was given the heirlooms of the House of Isildur: the shards of Narsil, the Elendilmir, the Sceptre of Annúminas, and later the Ring of Barahir, ransomed from the Lossoth.
Each of Aranarth's heirs (who, like him, could trace their descent back to Isildur) would be secretly fostered in Rivendell.
The remaining Dúnedain became the Rangers, a secretive wandering and nomadic people around Eriador, far from Sauron's spies, little known or remembered, and their deeds seldom recorded.
The Watchful Peace followed the loss of the North-kingdom and after its end, the Rangers' enemies concentrated attacks mostly against Rhovanion and Gondor. During that time, the Rangers fought minor battles and skirmishes against Orcs and wolves in order to keep the scattered peoples of their former realm safe. The hobbits of the Shire flourished under their protection.
During Arassuil's reign, the Orcs of the Misty Mountains became more bold, daring to invade Eriador. The Rangers fought many battles trying to hold them back, but one party managed to reach the Shire, and were fought off by a party of brave Hobbits under Bandobras Took in TA 2747. Soon after, the Long Winter arrived, many lives were lost, and Gandalf and the Rangers helped the Hobbits of the Shire survive.
In TA 2911, during Argonui's rule, the Fell Winter began with the Brandywine freezing over. This was a catalyst for White Wolves invading Eriador from the North which must have harassed the Rangers. The following year, great floods devastated Enedwaith and Minhiriath leaving Tharbad ruined and deserted. The next century was mostly peaceful although Arador was killed by hill-trolls and his son Arathorn II was killed while hunting Orcs.
At the time of the War of the Ring, Aragorn's Rangers were scattered and diminished. When Halbarad led a company of Rangers into the south to Aragorn's aid in the War, in haste he could muster no more than thirty, who fought in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
For over a thousand years, the Rangers of the North faithfully preserved the Line of Elendil and the ways of the Dúnedain, and the four known heirlooms of the House of Isildur. Like all Dúnedain, they were friendly with the Elves, particularly those of Rivendell, where each heir would be raised. They secretly guarded and protected Eriador from spies, invaders, brigands, and worse.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Afrikaans||Veldwagters van die Noord|
|Albanian||Rojet e Veriut|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Следапыты Поўначы|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Северни пазители|
|Catalan||Guardaboscos del Nord|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||北方遊俠|
|Dutch||Rangers van het Noorden
|Esperanto||Gardistoj de la Nordo|
|French||Rôdeurs du Nord, Coureurs du Nord (In the new French translation of The Lord of the Rings)|
|Galician||Gardiáns do Norte|
|Greek||Φύλακες του Βορρά|
|Hebrew||(Rangers of the North) ריינג'רס של הצפון
(Forest rangers) שומרי היער
|Italian||Raminghi del Nord, Forestali del Nord (In the new Italian translation of The Lord of the Rings)|
|Kazakh||Солтүстік жолсеріктер (Cyrillic) Soltüstik jolserikter (Latin)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Рангэрс оф тhэ Нортh|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Ренџерс на север|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Хойд нутгийн байгаль хамгаалагчид|
|Persian||رنجرز از شمال|
|Portuguese||Guardiões do Norte|
|Spanish||Montaraces del Norte|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Слідопити Півночі|
|Uzbek||Чимолий Йўлбўйи (Cyrillic) Shimoliy Yo'lbo'yi (Latin)|
|Vietnamese||Tuần du phương Bắc|
|Yiddish||ראַנגערס פון די צפֿון|