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Rings of Power: Who Is Isildur? The Hero Who Succumbed To One Ring’s Corruption

By Rishabh Shandilya
September 5,2022

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has already dropped its first two pilot episodes on the streaming service, and the show is no doubt moving towards its heyday. During the final moments of episode 2, we see Hall brand, and Galadriel being rescued by an unknown and mysterious figure, and rumors have it that the mysterious man is none other than Isildur, the one brave warrior that severed the one ring from Dark Lord’s hold and helps the Final Alliance won a battle against Evil.

Isildur

Isildur in Rings of Power

Let’s dive into Isildur’s history and know how this warrior turned the tide of war.

Who Is Isildur?

Isildur was Elendil’s eldest son and Anárion’s older sibling. He and his brother, Anárion, established and controlled Gondor, whereas their father remained in Arnor. Isildur’s life was full of bravery and valor.  Emperor Ar-Pharazôn of Numenor kidnapped Mordor and dragged him to his realm.

The reason Sauron let himself be kidnapped was so that he could deceive the Nmenóreans and deliver them their destruction. He appealed to their need for dominance and eternity to make them reject Eru in favor of worshipping Morgoth.

Isildur

Isildur in Lord of the Ring movie

Isildur found out that Mordor ordered Ar-Pharazôn to destroy Nimloth, the sacred Tree that had traveled all the way from the Undying Lands. In order to steal fruit from Nimloth, Isildur snuck into the Great hall masquerading as his real self. They found him and struck him, but he was able to get away with the fruit, as well as limbs intact.

Isildur was hailed by many for this act of bravery. For days he lay on the threshold of death, however when the Tree’s fruit finally started to ripen, he awakened.

The Battle Against The Mordor

Sauron

Sauron in LOTR Movie

In SA 3434, The Battle of the Last Alliance got underway. After defeating Sauron’s armies in the War of Dagorlad, the host of the Final Alliance marched into Sauron’s domain and set up camp surrounding Barad-dûr. Anárion, Isildur’s brother, perished in SA 3440, after a siege that spanned around a decade and claimed the lives of countless Men and Elves.

By SA 3441, Sauron had finally descended from his fortress. Along with Gil-galad and Elendil, he battled on the foothills of Mount Doom. Gil-galad and Elendil were killed in the battle, however, the carcass of Sauron was slammed down. Elendil’s sword Narsil shattered at his feet.

Isildur

Isildur with the severed finger of Sauron

The warrior picked up the broken blade and slashed the One Ring out of Sauron’s grasp with the shattered remnants of the blade. Sauron’s soul left his form, however, it would return so long as the Ring, which contained much of his might, remained. Isildur stole the Ring because he was captivated by its splendor. Even though Sauron was gone, the One Ring did the job and corrupted Isildur.

The One Ring Finally Betrayed Isildur

Orc

Orc in LOTR movies

It was on September 5 of TA 2 that Isildur left the fortress of Minas Anor alongside his three eldest children and a band of warriors. From the east bank of the stream, the army advanced up the Vales of Anduin toward the High Pass in the Lonely Mountain. Based on advice from his oldest son and closest advisor, Elendur, he planned to hand the One Ring down to Elrond.

Isildur’s group was ambushed by Orcs at the Gladden Fields a month later, on October 4th. The Orcs were lured to Isildur without realizing he was in possession of the One Ring. Massively overpowered ten to one, Isildur’s soldiers were able to temporarily stave off the Orcs’ first onslaught by erecting a shield wall. However, after dusk had fallen, the Orcs resumed their onslaught, and the soldiers were finally overrun.

Isildur

Isildur’s death at the hands of Orc armies

Though it hurt, Isildur strapped the Ring and headed towards Lake Anduin. He disarmed himself and plunged into the creek in an attempt to ford it. He was powerful, but the flow still pushed him into the Gladden Fields’ wetlands. After then, Isildur took the Ring from his finger, and it disappeared into the ocean. A group of Orcs saw him emerge from the river and immediately shot him to death with bows.