Denethor II, son of Ecthelion II, is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings . He was the 26th Ruling Steward of Gondor, committing suicide in the besieged city of Minas Tirith during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Denethor is depicted as embittered and despairing as the forces of Mordor close in on Gondor. Critics have noted the contrast between Denethor and both Théoden, the good king of Rohan, and Aragorn, the true king of Gondor.
In Tolkien's Middle-earth, Denethor was the first son and third child of Ecthelion II, a Steward of Gondor.He married Finduilas, daughter of Prince Adrahil of Dol Amroth. She gave birth to two sons, Boromir and Faramir, but died when they were ten and five years old, respectively. Denethor never remarried, and became grimmer and more silent than before. He was a man of great will, foresight, and strength, but also overconfident. Gandalf described him as "proud and subtle, a man of far greater lineage and power [than Théoden of Rohan], though he is not called a king." Gandalf further commented:
He is not as other men of this time…by some chance the blood of Westernesse runs nearly true in him, as it does in his other son, Faramir, and yet did not in Boromir. He has long sight. He can perceive, if he bends his will thither, much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far off. It is difficult to deceive him, and dangerous to try.
Unlike Saruman, Denethor was too strong to be corrupted directly by Sauron. He began secretly using a palantír to probe Sauron's strength, incorrectly insisting he could control it. The effort aged him quickly, and the impression of Sauron's overwhelming force that he gained from the palantír depressed him greatly, as Sauron biased what he saw.Boromir's death depressed Denethor further, and he became ever more grim. Nonetheless he continued to fight Sauron until the forces of Mordor arrived at the gates of Minas Tirith, at which point he lost all hope.
In the published essay on the palantíri, Tolkien wrote:
He [Denethor] must have guessed that the Ithil-stone [Sauron's palantír] was in evil hands, and risked contact with it, trusting his strength. His trust was not entirely unjustified. Sauron failed to dominate him and could only influence him by deceits. Saruman fell under the domination of Sauron... [while] Denethor remained steadfast in his rejection of Sauron, but was made to believe that his defeat was inevitable, and so fell into despair. The reasons for this difference were no doubt that in the first place Denethor was a man of great strength of will and maintained the integrity of his personality until the final blow of the (apparently) mortal wound of his only surviving son.
As invasion became certain, Denethor ordered the warning beacons of Gondor to be lit, and summoned forces from Gondor's provincesand from Rohan, while the people of Minas Tirith were sent away to safety. Denethor ordered his son Faramir to take his men to defend the river crossing at Osgiliath and the great wall of the Rammas Echor. Faramir was wounded, apparently mortally; his body was carried back to the city.
Denethor, grief-struck by the apparent loss of his son, ordered his servants to burn him alive on a funeral pyre prepared for himself and Faramir in Rath Dínen.He broke the white rod of his office over his knee, casting the pieces into the flames. He laid himself down on the pyre and so died, clasping the palantír in his hands. Faramir was saved from the flames by Gandalf.
The Tolkien scholar Jane Chance contrasts Denethor both with another "Germanic king", Theoden, and with the "true king" of Gondor, Aragorn. In Chance's view, Theoden represents good, Denethor evil; she notes that their names are almost anagrams, and that where Theoden welcomes the hobbit Merry Brandybuck into his service with loving friendship, Denethor accepts Merry's friend, Pippin Took with a harsh contract of fealty. Chance writes that Tolkien further sets both Theoden and Denethor against the "Christian lord" Aragorn. In her opinion, Denethor "fails as a father, a master, a steward, and a rational man," giving in to despair, whereas Aragorn is brave in battle and gentle with his people, and has the Christlike attribute of healing.
Denethor's madness and despair has been compared to that of Shakespeare's King Lear. Both men are first outraged when their children (Faramir and Cordelia, respectively) refuse to aid them, but then grieve upon their children's death – which is only perceived in case of Faramir. According to Michael D. C. Drout, both Denethor and Lear "despair of God's mercy", extremely dangerous in a leader who has to defend his realm.
Alex Davis, in the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia , writes that many critics have examined his fall and corrupted leadership, whereas Richard Purtill identifies Denethor's pride and egoism, a man who considers Gondor his property.
The medievalist Elizabeth Solopova comments that unlike Aragorn, Denethor is incapable of displaying what Tolkien in Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics called "northern courage", namely, the spirit to carry on in the face of certain defeat and death.
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 serialization.
Denethor is played by John Noble in Peter Jackson's film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King .The film portrays Denethor far more negatively than the novel. Tolkien calls Denethor
a masterful man, both wise and learned beyond the measure of those days, and strong willed, confident in his own powers, and dauntless. (...) He was proud, but this was by no means personal: he loved Gondor and its people, and deemed himself appointed by destiny to lead them in this desperate time.
In contrast, Jackson portrays him as a cowardly, incompetent and weak ruler who works against his kingdom's defence. Daniel Timmons writes in the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia that Jackson "dramatizes the insidious temptation to evil", and that through "the falls of Saruman, Denethor, and Sauron, we see the bitter fruits of the lust for power and its corrupting influence."
In the film, Denethor refuses to light the beacons to summon Rohan, and Gandalf has Pippin light the first beacon, whereas in the book Denethor had lit the beacons before Gandalf's arrival. The films have Denethor send his remaining son Faramir on a suicide mission to Osgiliath, whereas in the book Denethor's cavalry rescue Faramir. In the film, Denethor panics at the sight of Sauron's army, prompting Gandalf to knock him out with his staff and take command, whereas in the book Denethor states that it is senseless to run from the enemy as there is no hope of escape.[ citation needed ] In the book but not the film, Denethor uses a palantír for knowledge of the Enemy, but Sauron weakens him through it. The film, lacking the palantír as an explanation of the change in Denethor, attributes his madness to grief over Boromir. The film depicts Denethor as self-indulgent, eating and drinking gluttonously as besiegers approach the city, whereas in the book he is sternly ascetic. As to his death, in the book he immolates himself in a funeral pyre, though Gandalf saves Faramir from the same fate; in the film, Denethor, on fire, throws himself from the tower of Minas Tirith.[ citation needed ]
Gandalf is a protagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He is a wizard, one of the Istari order, and the leader of the Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien took the name "Gandalf" from the Old Norse "Catalogue of Dwarves" (Dvergatal) in the Völuspá.
Boromir is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He appears in the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings, and is mentioned in the last volume, The Return of the King. He was the heir of Denethor II and the elder brother of Faramir. In the course of the story Boromir joined the Fellowship of the Ring.
Gondor is a fictional kingdom in J. R. R. Tolkien's writings, described as the greatest realm of Men in the west of Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. The third volume of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, is largely concerned with the events in Gondor during the War of the Ring and with the restoration of the realm afterward. The history of the kingdom is outlined in the appendices of the book.
Éomer is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. He appears in The Lord of the Rings as a leader of the Riders of Rohan.
A palantír is a fictional magical artefact from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. A palantír is described as an indestructible ball of crystal, used for communication and to see events in other parts of Arda, whether past or future.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film is the second instalment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh and Jackson, and written by Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Stephen Sinclair and Jackson. The film features an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Karl Urban and Andy Serkis. It was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and followed by The Return of the King (2003).
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson, based on the third volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The film is the third instalment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was produced by Barrie M. Osborne, Jackson and Fran Walsh, and written by Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Jackson. The film features an ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Karl Urban, John Noble, Andy Serkis, Ian Holm, and Sean Bean. It was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Two Towers (2002).
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Isengard is a large fortress in Nan Curunír, the Wizard's Vale, in the West of Middle-earth. It is supposedly a translation of Angrenost in the elvish language Sindarin, in reality from Old English, meaning "iron enclosure".
In J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, the Battle of the Pelennor Fields [pɛˈlɛnnɔr] was the defence of the city of Minas Tirith by the forces of Gondor and the cavalry of its ally Rohan, against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron from Mordor and its allies the Haradrim and the Easterlings. It was the largest battle in the War of the Ring. It took place at the end of the Third Age in the Pelennor Fields, the townlands and fields between Minas Tirith and the River Anduin.
In 1981 BBC Radio 4 produced a dramatisation of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in 26 half-hour stereo installments. The novel had previously been adapted as a 12-part BBC Radio adaptation in 1955 and 1956, and a 1979 production by The Mind's Eye for National Public Radio in the USA.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the real-world history and notable fictional elements of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy universe:
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a 2004 role-playing video game developed by EA Redwood Shores for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. A turn-based tactics version of the game was developed for the Game Boy Advance by Griptonite Games. The game was published on all platforms by Electronic Arts, and released worldwide in November 2004.
The Last Ringbearer is a 1999 fantasy book by Russian author Kirill Eskov. It is an alternative account of, and an informal sequel to, the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Gimli is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, featured in The Lord of the Rings. A dwarf warrior, he is the son of Glóin, a character from Tolkien's earlier novel, The Hobbit.
In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, Faramir is a fictional character appearing in The Lord of the Rings. He is introduced as the younger brother of Boromir of the Fellowship of the Ring and second son of Denethor II, the Steward of the realm of Gondor. The relationships between the three men are revealed over the course of the book and are elaborated in the appendices.
Peregrin Took, commonly known simply as Pippin, is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. He is closely tied with his friend and cousin, Merry Brandybuck, and the two are together during most of the story. Pippin and Merry are introduced as a pair of young hobbits of the Shire who become ensnared in their friend Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring. Pippin joins the Fellowship of the Ring. He and Merry become separated from the rest of the group at the breaking of the Fellowship and spend much of The Two Towers with their own story line. Impetuous and curious, Pippin enlists as a soldier in the army of Gondor and fights in the Battle of the Morannon. With the other hobbits, he returns home, helps to lead the Scouring of the Shire, and becomes Thain or hereditary leader of the land.
Théoden is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings. The King and Lord of the Mark of Rohan, he appears as a major supporting character in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. When first introduced, Théoden is weak with age and sorrow and the machinations of his top advisor, Gríma Wormtongue, and he does nothing as his kingdom is crumbling. Once roused by Gandalf, however, he becomes an instrumental ally in the war against Saruman and Sauron.
Aragorn is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He is one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn was a Ranger of the North, first introduced with the name Strider. He was eventually revealed to be the heir of Isildur, King of Gondor. He was a confidant of Gandalf and part of the quest to destroy the One Ring and defeat the Dark Lord Sauron. He fell in love with the immortal elf Arwen, as told in The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen; her father, Elrond, forbade them to marry unless Aragorn became King of both Arnor and Gondor.