The sixth King of Númenor (r. S.A. 883-1075), Aldarion, was
born in S.A. 700. The only son and eldest child of Tar-Meneldur,
he delighted in the wisdom of the Eldar and loved the woodlands,
forests, and bays of Numenor. His curiosity and wanderlust,
however, led him to spend most of his time away from the Blessed Isle. Proud, bold, and thrill-seeking, Aldarion's greatest joy was
to sail the seas and explore the lands beyond the horizons. On these
journeys he met and became friends with Gil-galad and Cirdan,
who taught him the greater secrets of ship construction.
He returned home to Numenor a year before Tar-Elendil passed
the sceptre to his father, Tar-Meneldur. During this time he formed
the great Guild of Venturers and the hardiest and most skillful
voyagers joined. They created ever-grander vessels and desired
ever-greater sojourns, and it was not long before they became
bored with sailing short distances. The Venturers sought new
challenges and tired of traveling under lesser commanders, so Aldarion was compelled to lead them into the unknown.
By this time, Aldarion had gained great renown as a ship-builder
and sailer and wrote many journals of his travels and accounts of
the lands he explored. His works became indispensible guides for
the Dunedain who followed in his wake.
Unfortunately, Aldarion's penchant for travel kept him away from his family for years at a time. Month, even years, passed before they received word. A shadow of worry and anguish robbed his household of happiness. His father attempted to restrain him by bringing to mind his many obligations, for Aldarion was destined to become King, and it was his duty to produce an heir. But Aldarion built greater ships, and his Men became known as the Uinendili, the lovers of Uinen, the Maia of the inner seas. The Uinendili grew in number and reputation. And Tar-Meneldur began to restrain Aldarion, forbidding further cutting of lumber for ships. Finally. Tar-Meneldur forbade Aldarion to travel any more, declaring him to be the King's Heir. And for a while there was peace between them.
Finally his mother Almarian found a beautiful woman to be Aldarion's bride: Erendis, daughter of Beregar of the house of Beor. Erendis was graceful, dark, and slender, a prize among women. She fell in love with Aldarion; but he could only hear the call of the sea.
Aldarion set out again, this time for six years. On his return, though, his father showed only anger, despite the fact that he bore fabulous gifts. Tar-Meneldur became disquieted against his son, and Aldarion remained out of his presence at the Court. Although he enjoyed his mother's support, as well as the love of the Númenorean people, his estrangement kept him away from Armenelos. Instead, he stayed on his ship Eambar in the anchorage he built at Tol Uinen (at Rómenna), keeping time in the company of the Venturers. There, he resolved to build the greatest vessel ever constructed by Men, Palarran, or "Far Wanderer."
When Palarran was completed Aldarion decided to set out again. His father would not bless his going or return but Erendis did, and in that moment Aldarion returned her love. His heart finally captured, he hastened his return. He brought many gifts, especially a great diamond for Erendis. Still, Meneldur scoffed at his son and challenged Aldarion to declare his intentions toward the woman who loved him so dearly.
Aldarion refused, instead treating Erendis with coolness. He would not change his plans or his feelings. His father ordered him to stay home, but he would hear none of such nonsense. With winter's end, he set sail again, this time for the harbor called "Vinyalonde" (Q. "New Haven"), which he had founded in Endor at the mouth of the Gwathló.Tar-Meneldur reacted to the rebuke with utter disdain, for it smacked of rebellion. The King ordered the shipyards of Rómenna closed and shut the Guildhouse of the Venturers. A moratorium was placed on tree-cutting. So it was for five years, until Aldarion returned again. This time he arrived home with two ships he had fashioned in Middle-earth, and all his vessels were laden with lumber from Eriador, Many rejoiced, but no welcome came from the King.
Embittered by the steps his father had taken, Aldarion felt the sea call again. He saw no peace in Numenor. Leaving later the same year, he took three ships and the best of his men and started out on a voyage that lasted fourteen years. By the time he came home, few believed him to be alive. Erendis had gone away. Aldarion did not pursue her, but after some years she came back. After much wooing, for Erendis no longer trusted him, they were engaged atop the Meneltarma. For fifteen years Aldarion had stayed in Numenor. Now with his bride-to-be he had been engaged more than three years. However, the day came when the Venturers prevailed on Aldarion and called him back to the sea and his building of ships. He wrestled hard with the sea-longing and finally broke under it, and left again for six years. When he returned, even the Queen seemed cool, and the hearts of the Dunedain had turned against Aldarion and his glorious Venturers. Erendis was ill, and many felt that the Mariner had mistreated her. Aldarion reflected and reawakened his heart. The next spring he married Erendis.
It was a glorious time, for even the Eldar sent a ship of embassy, bearing gifts and good will. Two years later (S.A. 873), Erendis bore Aldarion a daughter, Ancalime, but in the eighth year he completed the building of his greatest vessel. It was like a floating castle, with masts like towers. Many called it Turuphonto, the Wooden Whale, but Aldarion named it Hirilonde, the Haven- finder.
Aldarion was gone for three years rather than (he two he had
promised. Finally, Erendis' love broke and she became bitter. The
great passion that kept her loyal throughout her youth turned
against Aldarion, and the two were never again kind to one another.
Erendis raised her daughter, Ancalime, with a stubborn will and
tried to drive her to detest all men.Moving back to the Westlands,
she retreated from her husband's memory.
When Aldarion returned, he discovered Erendis' departure and rode to her house near Emerie. There, Erendis forced him to eat and sleep apart from her, and Aldarion became enraged. Unfortu- nately, his pride and anger prevented him from admitting any wrong; instead, he shamed his wife, ignoring her before Ancalime. Erendis watched as he answered his daughter's query regarding his identity, and a deep hurt gripped her spirit when Aldarion failed to declare himself her father. Their love was forever gone, and Erendis bore no more children. For the first time, only a daughter was left to continue the Kingly line of Elros.
While Aldarion was away in the White House of Erendis, his father received a letter from Gil-galad. Not knowing of the Prince's estrangement, the Elf-king of Lindon had given Eldarion amessage for Tar-Meneldur informing him that he had long valued Aldarion's visits. Gil-galad noted that, in all Aldarion's voyages, the Mariner had been helping the Elves resist the machinations of an Evil Power that was growing in Endor. Unbeknowst to Aldarion, who believed the foe to be ireful Men, the Elf-lord realized that the enemy was far more dangerous. Gil-galad wrote that it was actually an ancient servant of Morgoth, although at that time he did not know it was Sauron. He concluded by asking his Numendrean counterpart to work with Aldarion in order to assist the peoples of Middle-earth.
Tar-Meneldur suddenly understood that his son had been needed in Endor, and that the Elves would require further aid from the Dunedain, This saddened him, for he knew that his feud with Aldarion had blinded him to this need. It was a requirement that he had long ignored, for he never saw Númenor's role as being one of a protector.
Reflecting on his own age, his ignorance, his troubled relations with his heir, and the fact that he could not in good conscience commit his people to safeguarding the Endoreans, Tar-Meneldur resigned his Kingship. In S.A. 883 he proclaimed Aldarion King and retired to Andûnie. He died there in S.A. 942. So, the Mariner became Tar-Aldarion, He prepared the fleets of Numenor for the evil to come for, unlike father, he had no qualms about involving himself in the affairs of those across the Belegaer. Unburdened by his family (from whom he lived apart), Tar- Aldarion used his reign to build ships and fill them with men. Westernesse was prepared for the war that would not come until another six centuries passed. It was said: "Aldarion was too late, or too early. Too late: for the power that hated Númenor had already waked. Too early: for the time was not yet ripe for Numenor to show its power or come back into battle for the world." (UT p. 206.) In the early years of his armament, the new King decided to punish his wife and, at the same time, resolve the question concerning the identity of the future King. Breaking with the ancient Adan custom of patrilineal succession, he named his daughter as heir. Thus, he enacted a formal law for the royal house: "...that the eldest child of the King, whether man or woman, should receive the sceptre." (LotRlIIp. 391;UTp. 208.) In S.A. 1075, after ruling 192 years, Tar-Aldarion surrendered the sceptre. He left Numenor again in 1098, leaving his strange and strong-willed daughter Ancalime as Numenor's first Ruling Queen. Fittingly, on his last voyage to Middle-earth, he died.
Aldarion's Principle Items
The following items became hereditary possessions of the Kings of Numenor:
- Rod of the Venturers — (Sceptre of the Sea-lords): Symbol of the High-captain of the Uinendili of Numenor, the Guild of Venturers. It was fashioned of mithril, a rod three feet long designed to resemble a stalk or branch. At the tip was a beautifully made flower with five tall petals. Set within the flower, on tall stamens, were five glittering white adamants. The sceptre shimmered with a silvery light, and conferred upon its holder a True Aura.
- Hammer (Aratocam) — (Q. "Captain's Hand"): A gift of the Eldar, the hammer was a pearl-inlaid ithilnaur weapon.
- Ring (Sulrosendil) — (S. "Friend of Sea and Foam"): A sister-ring to that worn by Cirdan of Lindon.
- Armor (Rosennon) — (S. "Foam Armor" or "Foam Cloak"): Again a gift from Cirdan, this blue laen inlaid ithilnaur chainmail was unencumbering and floated in Water.
Aldarion's Lesser Items of Note:
- Full Shield: blue steel and silver mithril
- Short sword: silver mithril blade and gold mithril basket hilt,
- Foster, Robert. The Complete Guide to Middle-earth.