The New Notion Club Archives
The New Notion Club Archives


Denethor was the twenty-sixth and last Ruling Steward of Gondor (T.A. 2935-3019). Indeed, he was a lordly ruler, as Pippin noted:

"Denethor looked indeed much more like a great wizard
than Gandalf did, more kingly, beautiful, and powerful; and
older." (LotR lit, p. 32.)

He wanted to send Faramir to the North rather than Boromir, perhaps foreseeing the peril to his overly proud heir. And Denethor became embittered in his later years, angry at the (he felt) inferior role of the Stewards: to hold the throne only until the return of the true King. He wanted Boromir to rule. Although Denethor was able to use the Palantir of Minas Tirith by right, and while he learned much to Gondor's profit, it proved tiring to him. He was not of the line of Elendil, and the Seeing-stone aged him prematurely. Worse, Sauron was able to manipulate the images in the stone to a limited extent, reinforcing Denethor's feeling that the West was doomed. His mind was burdened with an unbreakable gloom. Denethor was once a wise and strong-willed man. Nonetheless, the draining effect of the powerful Palantir, combined with the machinations of Sauron and the death of his beloved eldest son, were enough to drive him over the brink of sanity. In the end he took his own life in the funeral pyre he built to cremate himself and Faramir.

Denethor's Principal Items

  • Long Cloak
  • Mail
  • Sword — ("Steward's Blade"): gleaming mithril broadsword with fine inlays.
  • Palantir — Denethor was able — by right — to use the Palantir of Minas Tirith. It was part of the nature of the Seeing-stones as a gift from Feanor that only the heirs of Elendil and their designated aides were 'authorized' to use the Palantiri. Saruman and Sauron were able to use their Stones because of their power and nature, but it was much more difficult for them. It was because of this (and his strong will) that Denethor was able to retain his independent will against the Dark Lord, while Saruman was ensnared.