The Silmarillion Recap: Ar-Gimilzôr and the Dúnedain’s New Low (Or How to Get Under the Valar’s Skin)

Want to catch up on The Silmarillion so far? Check out the Silmarillion Recaps page here.

Last week, the Dúnedain took some serious steps towards straying dangerously far from their origins. This week, the new king, Ar-Gimilzôr, crosses a serious line.

Akallabêth part 7

Life has been hard for the Elendili for many years now. Long ago, the decisions of the 13th King of Númenor (Tar-Atanamir) split the Dúnedain into two distinct groups: the King’s Men and the Elendili.

The King’s Men are completely loyal to the Kings of Númenor… even though they have been openly against the principles that Númenor was founded on and no longer show proper respect to the Valar, who saved them from Morgoth and gave them the blessed island to live on in the first place.

The Elendili, on the other hand, have wanted to follow the kings, but they know that the kings are headed in the wrong direction and refuse to give up their loyalty to the Valar. They still are friends with the Elves and seem to remember where their people came from, even if they do fall into the same fear of death that the King’s Men have.

Up until now, the Elendili have lived torn lives but have remained part of society. However, when the 23rd King of Númenor, Ar-Gimilzôr, takes power, things change dramatically. Ar-Gimilzôr sees the Elendili as an outright enemy and feels disdain towards the Valar and the Elves. That special White Tree from Valinor that the Elves had brought as a gift now withers in the castle’s courtyard. It’s the perfect symbol for how he feels towards the Valar and Elves, and it’s like foreshadowing of what comes during his reign.

While his predecessor, Adûnakhôr (20th King of Númenor) settled at refusing an Elvish name (as they had been doing since the beginning), Ar-Gimilzôr takes it to the next level. Not only is there to be no Elvish spoken in Númenor, but the Elves aren’t even welcome in Númenor anymore. On top of this, he removes the Elendili from the western part of the island — the part closest to Valinor and at the port where the Elves from Valinor used to visit. It’s a bold move and a strong statement.

During this time, many of the Elendili decide to spend more time in Middle-earth, where they can socialize with the Elves who stayed there (like Gil-galad) in peace. Though the Elendili do it secretly, Ar-Gimilzôr knows, but he’s just glad to have them off the island and far away from the Elves of Valinor. After all, the Elves of Valinor see the Valar face to face often, and he’s convinced that they’re actually spies for the Valar. If they were to find out all of the things he has planned, then it would be serious trouble for him.

Unbeknownst to him, though, the Valar know exactly what’s happening on Númenor, as well as what Ar-Gimilzôr is planning in secret. And the Valar are angry about it. In fact, Ar-Gimilzôr doesn’t have to tell the Elves to stop coming to Númenor. The ships just stop coming. Not only will the Kings of Númenor find themselves without the friendship of the Elves, but the Valar have removed their protection over them as well. The king doesn’t realize it, but he’s made a huge mistake.

Next week, all hope might not be lost. Sometimes the loyal are just hiding in the shadows… even in the king’s own court.

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