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The New Notion Club Archives


Harondor (S. "South Gondor"; Har. "Harmaka", "Golden Land"; S. "Laergardh", "Summerland", before T.A. 810) was the name given to all the lands between the Poros and Harnen rivers. It was generally a barren desert area, but was often contested by Gondor and Harad.

  • Type: Upland Plains.
  • Area: 145.300 square miles.
  • Elevation: average: 600 feet; lowest point: sea level; highest point: Amon Halitan (S."Salt Ridge") 5,602 feet.
  • Climate: average annual precipitation: 20-40 inches; mean annual temperature: 60-70°F; average low: Narwain 40°F; average high: Ivanneth 105°F
  • Composition: The bedrock of Harondor is igneous in character. Near the coast, basalt is very common. Farther inland, granite becomes more frequent. No valuable minerals have been found in the region, but the production of salt is very important along the coasts.
  • Notes: Harondor is best described by splitting it into three broad zones. Its fertile coastal strip receives sufficient rainfall to support a variety of trees (cedar, oak, juniper, and palm) and domestic crops (olives, dales, wheat, gourds, grapes, plums, pomegranates, and citrusfruits). Inland and along the upper Harnen, vegetated dune-fields, badlands, and hilly scrublands predominate. Some of this bursk is suitable tor grazing. The desert of the interior features active dunes, bare rock plains, and salt flats. Lacking the frequent rains common to Gondor, much of Harondor appears stale compared to its northerly neighbor. While not quite the wasteland that Harad is, Harondor presents many difficulties to those accustomed to a more temperate climate. Herding is more viable than agriculture, and the tribes native to the region rely upon their animals for most of their necessities. Some plants grow in sheltered valleys; most notable are the powerful healing herbs that thrive in the arid and warm climate.

Harondor and Harithilien in TA 1650

Harondor Detailed Map

  • Political Organization: Harondor: Occupied Territory, Harithilien Region of the Province Ithilien.
  • Rulers: Elatar, Prince of Gondor and Commander of the Southern Army; Donvar, Hir of Emyn Arnen; Pallas, Governor of Harondor.
  • Administrative Organization: Four military districts in Harondor, each ruled by a Hando appointed by the Cáno, who is in turn appointed by the Prince. Nine noble families hold most of Harithilien, relying upon royal justice only when local affairs become too grave to handle amongst themselves. The Prince has been acting to unify local interests; many Haradan tribes in Harondor have autonomy. Attempts to settle Gondorians on their own land in the region have not been successful.
  • Population: 400,000 Gondorians, 600,000 Southrons.
  • Military: 3,000 Gondorian soldiers, 1,000 Gondorian cavalry; 900 Southrons, 900 Southron Light Cavalry.
  • Products: spices, herbs, salt, silver.

The politics of Gondor's southern marches are frighteningly complex. Harithilien, technically part of the province of Ithilien, nonetheless falls under the military jurisdiction of the Southern Army, making Prince Elatar its virtual Governor. The Emyn Arnen, occasionally a vacation home of the Royal Family, plays more of a role in the wars against the Haradrim than it does in the courts of Minas Ithil. The Hando of Emyn Arnen, Donvar, commands his own elite troop of several hundred heavy cavalry, the largest private army in the realm of Gondor. Meanwhile, the status of Harondor is even less certain. Both Gondor and Umbar claim the territory as their own. Though poor in natural resources, possession of Harondor gives the ruling power a decisive strategic advantage over its adversary. Gondor currently has control, but her authority rests upon the strength of arms, and the native population resists their nilers with growing frequency. King Telemnar installed a civilian Governor in the region in hopes that Harondor would begin to evolve into a more typical and prosperous Gondorian territory. However, due to the constant skirmishing with Haradaic and Umbarean forces, the military still has supreme authority. Harondor and Harithilien are dry regions, each receiving a fraction of the rainfall that occurs in other parts of Gondor. Nonetheless, the terrain is richly varied, from the rugged shoreline and fishing villages of the coast to the stark mountains of the Ephel Dúath to the deserts of Harad's northern reaches. The Gondorians who settle there, promised their own land by the King, quickly adapt to the rough landscape. A sizeable population of ethnic Haradrim inhabit the region. King Tarondor permits them to keep their own nobility as lesser lords, and he even enlists units of locals as skirmish troops for the regular army, though some of these units are known to change sides with the passing of the seasons. Most of these indigenous inhabitants of Harondor do not care which side governs them; they wish only for a peace and stability they have never known. Salt deposits in the Ethir Anduin and small veins of silver in the Emyn Arnen provide some basis for trade in Harithilien. Herbs and spices form the remainder of the exports from the region and are the sole exports from Harondor. Though the Kings of Gondor and the Oligarchs of Umbar refuse to transact business with one another on an official basis, independent merchants try to make their fortunes on the dangerous route from Gondor to Umbar. Though this trade is not technically illegal, neither nation will commit troops to protect caravans or ships along the route. Since Tarondor forbade the trade in spices and herbs with the South, the number of smugglers has increased. Umbar even subsidizes merchants to make the passage across the Bay of Belfalas, mainly to annoy Gondorian officials.


Though this region was not called "Harondor" until the early Third Age, it came under Númenórean influence in the Second. The Faithful of the Pelargirean League knew the upland country as the Laergardh (S. "Summer Land"), the country where summer heat was harder on men then winter cold, but also as Aegardh (5. "Fell Country"'), for the fierce Eraguk nomads who dwelt there, and later Porosardh (S. "Border Realm"), as the highlands fell under the rule of their fellow Dúnedain. Other Númenóreans knew the Summer Land as part of Harnendor, the vast Stretch of Near Harad draining into the lower Harnen.

The Númenórean presence in the region was limited prior to Ard the Vain´ss rebellion in S.A. 2280. Her defeat marked the beginning of an extensive Númenórean colonization and engineering effort along the Nan Harnen and the coasts. Noblemen founded estates in the lowlands improving their agricultural yield by building systems for the control of the river's floods.

The native Donan and Haruzani peoples could offer little resistance to the Men of Westernesse. Their towns and their Culture developed over the centuries, but the dependence on Númenor never lessened while the age lasted.

At the beginning of the Third Age these lands caught between the expanding spheres of influence Gondor and Umbar. The early centuries were filled' with great fluctuations in political and military hegemony Tarannon Falastur was the first king to extend royal influence any great distance into the lands south of Poros and it was by his order that the province Harondor was founded in T.A. 830. The region suffered badly as Gondor and Umbar came into direct conflict and it was not until Umbarean forces were forced south of the Harnen in T.A. 913 that some measure of peace was brought to much of the region. Yet along the Harnen, war continued to rage and devastate Harnendor until Hyarmendacil I smashed the last remnants of Umbarean resistance in T.A. 1050. Now peaceful, the lands bordering the Harnen were designated as Harnendor, after the old Númenorean domain of the same name.

Hyarmendacil, wishing to improve conditions in the province, offered free farmland along the middle and lower Harnen to landless peasants who were willing to settle there permanently. Many accepted the generous offer, and the region's population, which had been experiencing a decline for a long time, quickly increased. The various ethnic groups living west of the Hyarmentie intermingled and lost most of their distinctive traits. The Kin-strife barely touched Harondor. The province was solidly under Castamir the Ursurper's control, due to its strategic importance and its inhabitants' support for the traditionalist confederacy.But when Eldacar of Gondor returned to power in T.A. 1447, the long peace came to an end. Though Castamir had fallen in T.A. 1448, his followers continued to hold Umbar and Harondor, excepting only Methir. Northern Harondor became an exposed border march, and the rich farmland along the Poros was slowly abandoned as it became a battlefield between Eldacar in Harithilien and the traditionalists holding the Emyn Laer, Retreating from the siege of Pelargir in T.A. 1448, many of the confederates entrenched themselves in these hills, while others traveled south to the cities of Harnendor, where later Castamaite, denied his father's crown, organized the refugees into raiders and led them in a multitude of attacks against Gondorian shipping and coastal settlements. The T.A. 1540-1551 war was fought across Harondor. All the lands west of the Hyarmentie fell in the first year of the war, but it took another decade to fully secure the region. The lower and middle Harnen valley was devastated as the rebels were forced across the river. The old province could never be rebuilt as it had been, for there was no peace along the great river.The lands along the Poros did recover in the years afterward, since the formerly contested frontier was never again a battlefield until the Second Wainrider War.

During the intervening centuries, Harondor suffered from repeated Corsair and Haruze incursions. Many coastal villages were burned or deserted, and their inhabitants fled let the few fortified towns or gradually migrated northwards. The Plague, killing perhaps a third of the region's inhabitants, weakened royal hold over southern and eastern Harondor. Harnendor and its capital of Mirlond were captured by Sangahyandion, the acting governor of Umbar's Harnen territories and nephew of Angamaite. Confirmed as governor, Sangahyandion held Harnendor despite everything Gondor sent against him. King Tarondor, realizing the necessity for political reform in Harondor, granted its governor extraordinary (almost dictatorial) powers. The first governor, the king's own able son-in-law Barahir, ordered the construction of several border fortifications, reorganized the army, and recruited Northman settlers to replace losses caused by the Plague. Eventually, he liberated Gobel Mirlond, killing Sangahyandion and many of his troops. These efforts greatly improved Harondor's security, giving it a semblance of peace for several generations.

The territory did not suffer another full-scale invasion until T.A. 1944, though border troubles continued unceasingly as its inhabitants steadily migrated northwards. The men of Umbar and nomad clans continued to raid across the Harnen. Though they managed to seize small pieces of territory along the north bank of the Harnen, they were unable to hold them. Harondor's governors opposed these encroachments, and numerous small campaigns were fought for the control of forts, bridges, and mined rowns.

After reconquering Umbar in T.A. 1810, King Telumehtar turned his attention to his inland frontier, having the same desire to improve the region's conditions as did Hyarmendacil eight centuries earlier. To this end his forces took firm control of the north bank of the Harnen. Yet along the south bank of the Harnen, Umbarean forces and refugees continued to resist Gondor and the king was unable, to dislodge them. Gondors strength had waned, and few could now be enticed to settle in an area still subject to raiding and arracks. The recovery attempts met with limited success, mostly centered along the Ethir Harnen and the inland territories of the Westmarch.

In T.A. 1940, the Umbarean exiles dwelling along the Harnen seized Umbar. Though the victorious Umbareans made no moves into Harondor, the threat they posed could not be ignored. Yet four years later, another disaster occurred. The Wainriders returned from the East. Instead of Umbarean troops, it was the Wainriders and their allies—the Haruze and the Khandians—which invaded Harondor, decimating the Territory. Villages were pillaged and razed, fields torched, and captured locals massacred or enslaved. The civilians fled north in a panic, causing serious problems for Gondor's overburdened army. The invaders soon crossed the Poros but a skillful general, Eärnil I of Gondor, defeated and routed them in a huge battle in Harithilien. Harondor never recovered from the Wainrider invasion. The territory was largely depopulated and Gondor now lacked the resources to defend it properly. The kings still claimed sovereignty over Harondor but, in practice, Gondor's southern border had moved almost back to the Poros. The army used the brief calm after Earnil's victories to dismantle its fortifications along the Harnen and to rebuild those along the Emyn Laer in the far north of the territory. The population loyal to the Winged Crown migrated to the southern Anduin valley. Gondor's position was further weakened when the Witch-king's host captured Minas Ithil in T.A. 2002. Suddenly there were enemies on a new front, and King Earnil had to accept that Harondor was lost for good.

For the rest of the Third Age, Harondor was split and divided; portions were controlled by Umbar, Nomads, and a varying number of petty Haruze tyrants. Only the Corsairs of Umbar and the best of the Haruze leaders showed the skills or will needed to rebuild what the Dúnedain had abandoned. Several times during the sub sequent centuries, Southron dynasties (or the minions of Mordor who increasingly dominated them) made major attempts to break the power of Gondor. When this occurred, armies of both sides made forays across Harondor. Raids and invasions devastated the land anew and left many of its people impoverished and miserable- Only in the early Fourth Age, under the benevolent rule of Aragorn Elessar, did hope return to the people of Harondor.

The Land

On Gondorian maps, Harondor has clearly defined borders: the Poros to the north, the Ephel Duath to the northeast, the Harnen to the south and southeast, and the Bay of Belfalas to the west. Thus it was the largest province in southern Gondor. Physically, culturally, and economically, however, Harondor had always been bound to the larger spheres of Near Harad and Umbar. Despite determined efforts by the Ship-kings and others to populate the country with Gondorians and to wall off outsiders, the history of Harondor had always turned on events occurring beyond the Harnen.

From north to south, the traveler crossed Harondor from temperate lands to dry. First, one came to the lowlands of the Laergaladrin along the Poros and the Ethir Anduin, well-cultivated country' much like neighboring Lebennin and Harithilien. Many trails and passes climbed from the settled lands into the Echorbel, the hilly edge on the Harondoran uplands. These hills, the jumbled Emyn Annûn near the sea and the ravine-cut Emyn Laer reaching inland to the foothills of the Ephel Duath, were inhabited where the soil was good and were nowhere rugged, but they did serve to mark a decisive change in the landscape.

Beyond the Emyn Laer lay the Aegardh, a flat, grassy plateau that stretched some hundred miles south and two hundred southeast. Broken occasionally by deep river gorges (the most impressive of which was that of the Carnen) and undulations of hill country, it turned into desert scrubland before dropping off into the valley of the Harnen.This country was the natural domain of herdsmen, save where good water and soil were found together. Around rivers and springs, the land responded to careful husbandry and was spotted with abundant, stone-edged gardens, fields, orchards, and vineyards.

To the south, the edge of the Aegardh was marked by the Emyn Imladrim known to the Haruze as the Ausk Harmaka , which formed the southern arm of the Echorbel. Rougher, drier, and more vividly canyoned than their northern counterpart, the Emyn Laer, they harbored many small spring-fed valleys, marked by villages and farms that seemed dug into the hills like Dwarven-holds. Most of Harondor's soil, even when carefully tended, was inferior to that of the Vale of Anduin. To exploit its agricultural potential, the Gondorians had constructed extensive terraces and irrigation systems during the peaceful centuries before the Kin-strife. The farmers grew wheat, olives, melons and figs, and their settlements were decorated with orchards and often boasted a vineyard or two. Many of the villages, estates, and irrigation systems along the Harnen were abandoned and destroyed during the war in T.A. 1540. Away from the river the land Hired both better and worse. Though less ravaged by war, the general instability in Harondor caused many to leave their homes for more secure lands in Gondor or Umbar, depending on the individual's political leanings. About the same tune within the East March, the nomadic clans started to gain a measure of independence which increased over the following centuries, as oversight of the district was neglected due to file conflict with the rebels in Umbar. Following the Second Wainrider War, the nomads also controlled much of the Aegardh in the former West March as well. The lands around its borders never fully recovered from their raids while the Third Age lasted. The Laergaladrin remained partially inhabited until the reign ot the first Steward of Gondor, when the realm's military power waned. The few that had remained after the Wainriders and their allies had been defeated now left for Ithilien and Lebennin. The area became a disputed border region which eventually, like Harithilien, reverted to a mix of woodlands and grassy fields.

Harondor had a dry climate, with hot summers and mild winters with some rain. Spring came early, already in Nenui, when plants and trees blossomed, and the greenery absorbed the last of the winter moisture. This beautiful season was over by Lothron, when the hot summer began and all vegetation, save trees and that along the rivers, turned brown. During the late summer, the East Match occasionally sffered from the Sûl Rhûnen (S. "East Wind"), a hot and dry wind from the Haradwaith, bringing temperatures over 100° F and turning the sky a yellow brown from the dust and dirt it picked up and carried along with it. This weather was a strain on all Men, causing headaches and flaring tempers, and precluding strenuous work as the temperatures stayed well above normal, even during the dark of night.

For all the severity of its weather and landscape, Harondor could be traversed with relative ease by anyone at peace with its inhabitants. The coastal regions, while boasting few large ports, were readily visited by small merchantmen and fishing craft. The Poros and the Harnen flowed leisurely from the Ephel Duath through wide and flat valleys. The Harnen could be navigated by sailing ships up to Tharven, where the Iant Harnen spanned the river. The Poros was shallower, and could only be utilized by small river craft. Good roads and trails crossed the Echorbel along many routes, the best being the Hyarmentie, the great Nútmenórean highway running from Hyarpende in Harithilien to Gobel Metharn in the Utter South. Along with portions of the Men Harnen, it was known as the Men Harad, linking Gondor by land with the cities of Haradwaith. Only the Emyn Gonngaran, the eastern foothills of the Ephel Duath, caused, great difficulty for the traveler. Those not familiar with this rugged country faced a maze of broken ravines, with the only water running along the bramble-choked canyon bottoms.

Olvar & Kelvar

Harondor's encircling ring of rolling hills and a central plain were covered by low, hardy grasses. When water was plentiful enough, there grew copses consisting mostly of wild fig trees, pines, olive trees, and occasional oaks and beeches. Willows and lime trees could sometimes be found growing along small brooks and creeks, while large, thorny shrubbery, took up land where nothing else could grow.

The fauna west of the Hyarmentie were fairly harmless to the traveler, the big predators, such as lions, brown bears, panthers and wolves, were hunted near to extinction early in the Third Age, but these predators returned within a few generations of the Gondorian withdrawal from the region in T.A. 1944, the land reverting into the wilderness it had once been. Foxes, wild dogs and an occasional black bear remained even in tamer lands. Wild goats and sheep were common herd animals, while feral cattle and horses were much rarer. Antelope and boar challenged the hunter, as both made good speed on their native ground, yet even their plentiful numbers steadily declined through the mid-Third Age. The only animals persistently dangerous to men were a few species of poisonous snakes.

The People

Main article: Men of Harondor

Characters of Note

Bel'zordin Berkhalimur Donvar Elatar Gwanor Thúrin

Regions and Bodies of Water

Harondor map by Galendae-Foro

Aegardh Ailinring Amonduin Anduin Angast Annun Argon Argonduin Athrad Poros Auduca Núrn Ausk Harmaka Bay of Belfalas Blistering Erg Bursk Merag Carnen Carnentir Celebduin Chelkar Cirith Núrn County of Imlad Carnen Desert Path Doriant East March Echorbel Emyn Annûn Emyn Gonngaran Emyn Imladrim Emyn Laer Emyn Winion Ephel Dúath Ered Eryn Eredtir Eryn Annun Eryn Falas Falasduin Ethir Anduin Ethir Harnen Falai Foothills of Ephel Dúath Foothills of Mordor Forethir Gaelon Harfalas Harnen Harnendor Harnen river valley Harnen Territory Harn Passage Harondor Waste Imlad Carnen Imlad Fuin Imladuin Kruk Ard Laerduin Laergaladrin League of Abârlôni Lothsîr Malduin (River) Malduin Valley March of Aegthelion March of Amonost March of Caradhram Miraz Mirlond Nan-i-Gorthrim Nen Falastir Ode Kupasha Ode Pezar Ode Tarskal Ode Tesar ode Trihja Parachduin Pin Himgren Poros Porosard Poros Valley Principality of Mirlond Ram Galen Ras Arish Rast Forn Rast Harn Rhuntir Romenor Sir Annun Sir Hingren Sir Ruli Sir Winion Sir Zalim Sireithel Thurin Tallath Brann Tallath Parch Tharven County Tol Mund Toldil Passage

Settlements and Points of interest

Abad Aranel Aegthelion Amon Eithel Amon Halitan Amonost An Rulin An Sakal An Tarim An Turim Athrad Hingren Athrad Poros Ausk Dubat Ausk Harmaka Bar Malduin Bar Morvegil Bar Nepos Bar Númendur Barad Annun Barad Dirnen Barad Harn Barad Hyarmen Barad Laer Barad Sûl Baradruin Benish Armon Brundath Cairn of the Colruh Hazurbal Caradhram Caras Athrad Caras Mirilond Caras Ohtari Carnenost Celebiant Celedath Celentir Cirith Núrn Deshgar Dirnen Echorbel Echorost Eithel Thurin Erdegil Farmstead Foropende Firguld`s Lair Galadrin Galenwath Garmagoum Gethron's Manor Gilin Glamorgarth Gobel Ancalimon Gobel Mirlond Gold Mine Gondraim Gwiniant Harmindon Harthalond Has Adri Has Annûn Has Faday Has Sebiya Has Yayb Haudh-in-Gwanûr Herumál's Tower High road Hingrenost Hospice of lost faith Hyarpendë Iant Amrûn Iant Carnen Iant Harnen Iant Lond Iant Rulin Iant Zalim Imlad Carnen Imladris Irit Núrn Ironmine Kadar Kal Nargil Karmâh Kas Shafra Kiba Korb Chelkar Korb Taskral Korb Ugartha Krath Zabar Kres Lugal Laergaladrin Lag-malmabus Lugarlûr Men Dirnen Men Dubat Men Falas Men Harad Men Harnen Men Harondor Methiant Rath Khand Methir Minas Airenaréva Minas Menost Nar Amrûn Nargil Pass Nelbel Neledhnín Nen Falastir Neporos Nindad Estolad Ode Tesar Old Mine Oliphaunt Graveyard Oud Ilaz Rhungardh Pin Hingren Porosîr Poros Road Ramlond Rath Amrûn Salt Mine Shadowy Vale Silvermine Stone Seats Suk Abârrim Suk Oda Taen Iant Taloc Passage Târik an-Ârûrud Tharven Tir Argon Tir Bannor Tir Ethir Tir Ethraid Tir Forearnen Tiras Amrûn Tiras Harnen Tiriant Forn Tiriant Harn Tirith Argon Tisgila Keep Toltir Torech Singren Saltmines Wathduin