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In The Return of the King, a guardian of the Citadel of Minas Tirith, named Beregond, befriends Pippin, and later, helps Pippin save Faramir from Denethor's madness. Denethor has the unconscious Faramir carried to the tombs of the Stewards, along with wood and oil, intending to burn himself and Faramir to death.

While Pippin runs to get Gandalf, Beregond tries to postpone the pyre. The gatekeeper will not let him pass, so Beregond kills the gatekeeper, runs to the tombs, and blocks the guards carrying Faramir (and the wood and oil) from entering the tombs. In the process, he is forced to kill two of the guards. Gandalf arrives in time, and saves Faramir, but Denethor kills himself. Beregond is relieved of duty and awaits judgement for his actions.

Later, Aragorn becomes king, and has to decide Beregond's fate.

"Beregond, by your sword blood was spilled in the Hallows, where that is forbidden. Also you left your post without leave of Lord or Captain. For these things, of old, death was the penalty. Now therefore I shall pronounce your doom1."

"All penalty is remitted for your valour in battle, and still more because all that you did was for the love of the Lord Faramir. Nonetheless you must leave the Guard of the Citadel, and you must go forth from the city of Minas Tirith..."

Beregond assumes that he is being exiled, and is heartbroken. But Aragorn continues:

"So it must be, for you are appointed to the White Company, the Guard of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and you shall be its captain and dwell in Emyn Arnen in honour and peace, and in the service of him for whom you risked all, to save him from death."
-The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 5: "The Steward and the King"

[Emyn Arnen is a hill about 20 miles from Minas Tirith, and the passage I quoted above goes on to say that it is "within sight of the City"]

Nothing in this passage suggests to me that Beregond is forbidden to enter Minas Tirith again, but Tolkien Gateway's entry on Beregond says:

Beregond was... forbidden from returning to the White City ever again.

Wikipedia's entry on Beregond and Bergil says Beregond was "banished" from Minas Tirith. So does the LotR wiki entry on Beregond. The book titled The Complete Guide to Middle-earth also says he was "banished", and the Tolkien Gateway entry cites this book as a reference.

Do we know if this is true? Was Beregond banned from Minas Tirith for life? The text itself certainly never says so.


Note 1: Tolkien uses the word "doom" here in the archaic Old English sense: it means "law or judgement", not "something inherently horrible and unpleasant". From the Wikipedia page for The Domesday Book ("Domesday" is a variant spelling of "Doomsday"):

The word "doom" was the usual Old English term for a law or judgement: it did not carry the modern overtones of fatality or disaster.

Note 2: This is apparently a subject of some debate among Tolkien fans and scholars. One interesting suggestion is that Beregond was banned from living in the city, but more as a result of the requirements of his new job than as part of an actual punishment.

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    It seems pretty clear that this is Aragorn's idea of humour. He tells him that he's remitted (cleared) of all charges but then allows him to think that he's been exiled, then reveals that he's actually had a sizeable pay rise and a promotion. Nothing about this exchange says that he's been barred entry. – Valorum May 31 '15 at 20:31
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    I always understood it to mean that he must leave his position in the citadel guard and leave Minas Tirith only because he was appointed to his new position, not because of him being banned by King Elessar. I don't agree with the Tolkien Gateway on this point. – maguirenumber6 May 31 '15 at 20:32
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    @Richard - I think so too. He says "go forth" but not "and stay forth". Tolkien Gateway is usually very good, so I am surprised that this entry is apparently off base. – Wad Cheber May 31 '15 at 20:33
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    Nothing about this in HoME or Unfinished Tales. It's possible that Aragorn had to do something to Beregond, as punishment for breaking the law, and just chose the least-objectionable form of banishment. I can't find anything more specific than RotK – Jason Baker May 31 '15 at 20:38
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    @JasonBaker - that makes sense, but if we pursue this line of thought, Beregond is now Faramir's bodyguard. Faramir will certainly go to Minas Tirith frequently. Would Aragorn really expect Faramir to leave the captain of his Guard outside the gate until his business is done? Granted, a guard wouldn't be necessary inside the city, but it would still be humiliating and disrespectful, especially to Beregond, but also to Faramir himself. – Wad Cheber May 31 '15 at 20:43
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+50

No, he is not banned from the city.

The quotes you brought above prove this. The only reason he must leave the city is so that he can take up his new job:

"All penalty is remitted for your valour in battle, and still more because all that you did was for the love of the Lord Faramir. Nonetheless you must leave the Guard of the Citadel, and you must go forth from the city of Minas Tirith..."

...

"So it must be, for you are appointed to the White Company, the Guard of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and you shall be its captain and dwell in Emyn Arnen in honour and peace, and in the service of him for whom you risked all, to save him from death."

The crucial words here are "for you are appointed to the White Company". More specifically, the word "for", when combined with the previous words "so it must be", is saying that this is why. This is providing an explanation for why he has to leave the city.

Being the captain of Faramir's guard may mean he has to stay in Emyn Arnen, but if Faramir goes down to Minas Tirith Beregond does not have to remain outside.

This appears to have been Aragorn playing a practical joke.

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    +1, you brought up the idea of Faramir going to the city literally while I was raising the same point in my comment to Jason. – Wad Cheber May 31 '15 at 20:44
  • Leave it to a king to tell a man what a reasonable commute for his job is. Why shouldn't he be able to live in Mina's Tirith and commute to Emyn Arnen? Maybe he likes the exercise? :) – Paul May 4 '18 at 12:09
  • Why do you think this is a practical joke? It would be very out of character for both Aragorn and Tolkien to have made it a practical joke. – Edlothiad May 4 '18 at 13:02
  • @Edlothiad - I don't think it would be too out of character for Aragorn. It's a practical joke in that he makes Beregond think he's been exiled but then reveals he's not. – Mithrandir May 4 '18 at 13:04
  • I'm unsure what's particularly amusing about that, or in what way that isn't Tolkien just writing a good story. – Edlothiad May 4 '18 at 13:12
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He is banned from the city

And the King said to Beregond: ‘Beregond, by your sword blood was spilled in the Hallows, where that is forbidden. Also you left your post without leave of Lord or of Captain. For these things, of old, death was the penalty. Now therefore I must pronounce your doom.

‘All penalty is remitted for your valour in battle, and still more because all that you did was for the love of the Lord Faramir. Nonetheless you must leave the Guard of the Citadel, and you must go forth from the City of Minas Tirith.’

Then the blood left Beregond’s face, and he was stricken to the heart and bowed his head. But the King said, ‘So it must be, for you are appointed to the White Company, the Guard of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien, and you shall be its captain and dwell in Emyn Arnen in honour and peace, and in the service of him for whom you risked all, to save him from death.’

(The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 5, The Steward and the King)

Tolkien Gateway says-

Beregond was brought forward to receive judgement for leaving his post and for killing Denethor's guards on hallowed ground. The penalty would have been death, but the King showed mercy as the deeds were done out of love for Faramir, and Beregond was merely forbidden from returning to the White City ever again. For his bravery in battle, Aragorn appointed him the Captain of the Guard of Faramir, which was also called the White Company.

  • Welcome to SciFi.SE! After reading the question, and then your answer, you seem to just be repeating what's already stated in the question without providing any additional evidence. Is there any other evidence showing that Beregond was banned from Minas Tirith? – F1Krazy May 4 '18 at 12:07
  • Oops. Looks like I forgot. Anyways, I'll try to see if there is anything else in The Return of the King – MiddeEarthHistorian May 4 '18 at 12:09

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