After King Arvedui died and Aranarth refused to ascend the throne after Angmar was defeated, what happened politically to the kingdom and the people, now that no king reigned the lands? Like, who ruled the people eventually?

Now I ain't talking about rangers, who were still ruled by Aranarth and his descendants. I'm talking about ordinary common people: peasants, craftsmen, marketwomen et cetera. Did each city/fiefdom of Arthedain become an independent city state like Bree? Or did Angmar essentially commit a genocide on the people of Arnor so that no one except the rangers lived in the lands to the north of Bree anymore? And if so, how could King Aragorn Elessar restore Arnor in the Fourth Age?

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    "Although the realm of Angmar was crushed at the Battle of Fornost in 1975,[3] the realm of Arthedain also came to an end and its lands remained mostly empty (except for the Shire) and its people became Rangers; until the reestablishment of the northern kingdom under king Elessar at the end of the Third Age" - tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Arthedain
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:35
  • @Valorum So that leads to the other mentioned question how King Elessar could have restored the Northern Kingdom. I don't get the impression that there are as many Dúnedain in the North as in Minas Tirith alone. And since rangers are fighters, I wonder how everyone out of all the common people could have become a ranger. Almost every ranger seems to be male, I know of only one female ranger.
    – Hannes
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:58
  • @Hannes:Three points, first, it's much easier reestablishing a kingdom if there is no existing polity to demur. Second, there were bits of settled land. We only hear about the Shire and the Breeland, but since they existed, there were probably at least a few others and they would welcome anything that cut down on the surrounding anarchy. Third, the crushing of the northern orcs during The Hobbit and of the southern bad guys fifty years later meant that the land which was once Arnor was now a fine place for settlement.
    – Mark Olson
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 17:26
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    I imagine Aragorn had to recolonise the land.
    – Mithoron
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 18:26
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    In the absence of a king or lord, the remaining people of Arthedain formed an anarcho-syndicalist commune. Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


There was essentially nothing left to rule over. The Witch King came to the North around TA1349 with the sole intention of destroying Arnor, or rather the three kingdoms that formed when Arnor split. With over 600 years of war, he achieved exactly that. Cardolan was destroyed and depopulated, and Rhudaur's Dunedain population was gone by TA1409. Arthedain had always been the most powerful of the three kingdoms but it was small compared to Gondor; see for example the reaction to Earnur's fleet:

... munition and provision for a war of great kings. Or so it seemed to the people of the North, though this was but a small sending-force of the whole might of Gondor.

Thus when the Witch King "captured Fornost, and drove most of the remaining Dunedain over the Lune" ... "the North-kingdom ended, for the Dunedain were now few, and all the peoples of Eriador diminished."

All quotes and information taken from LotR appendix A I parts (iii) & (iv).

As others have mentioned, there is evidence of small settlements scattered around Eriador (e.g. chapter 2 of the Hobbit), but there were no major cities or fiefdoms left; the North-kingdom was gone.

Tokien says very little about the later repopulation of Arnor, but there is a conversation between Gandalf and Butterbur in Homeward Bound (LotR book 6 chapter 7) that sheds some light on the matter. Gandalf remarks that

Indeed the waste in time will be waste no longer, and there will be people and fields where once there was wilderness.

Slighltly later

And many folk used to dwell away north, a hundred miles or more from here, at the far end of the Greenway: on the North Downs or by Lake Evendim.

'Up away by Deadmen's Dike?' said Butterbur, looking even more dubious. 'That's haunted land, they say. None but a robber would go there.'

'The Rangers go there,' said Gandalf. 'Deadmen's Dike' you say. So it has been called for long years; but its right name, Barliman, is Fornost Erain, Norbury of the Kings. And the King will come there again one day; and then you'll have some fair folk riding through.'

The implication is clear: the land is currently empty, and Gandalf expects settlers to move north from Gondor. After all, it seems likely that the population of Gondor would increase during the fourth age, in the absence of a powerful enemy waging relentless war against it.

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