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Denethor II

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Lord Denethor
John Noble portrays Denethor in the Motion Picture Trilogy.

Denethor II

Biographical information

Other names
Date of birth
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
March 15, 3019 (aged 89)[2]
Realms ruled
Sword and knife[3]

Physical description

Hair color
Dark, grey (in old age)
Eye color

This article is about the Steward of Gondor. For the other namesakes, see Denethor (disambiguation).
"Yet a Halfling still, and little love do I bear the name, since those accursed words came to trouble our counsels and drew away my son on the wild errand to his death. My Boromir! Now we have need of you. Faramir should have gone in his stead."
Denethor, upon meeting Gandalf and Pippin Took in Minas Tirith[4]

Denethor II was the twenty-sixth Ruling Steward of Gondor, and father of the War of the Ring heroes Boromir and Faramir.


Denethor was the third child and eldest son of Ecthelion II.[1] In TA 2976, he married Finduilas of Dol Amroth, daughter of Prince Adrahil II of Dol Amroth.[5] Together, the couple had two sons, Boromir and Faramir. A few years later, in TA 2988, Finduilas died, leaving Denethor grim and silent.[6]

He succeeded his father Ecthelion II as the twenty-sixth Ruling Steward in TA 2984. During his stewardship, Gandalf was less welcome in Minas Tirith and his counsels went unheeded.

War of the RingEdit

Denethor secretly used a Palantír to probe Sauron's strength, and he used it at the top of the White Tower in his secret chamber, above the Throne room.[7] The effort aged him quickly, and the knowledge of Sauron's overwhelming force exacerbated the depression that had taken root at the time of the death of his wife, Finduilas, in TA 2988. Sauron used the Palantír to drive him mad with despair. He retained, however, an air of nobility and power. The death of Boromir, his eldest son and favorite, and the siege and apparent doom of the capital city drove Denethor further along the path to madness. Following this, he became estranged from Faramir. Shockingly, Faramir still upheld his father's wishes.[5]

His actions, however, did not immediately proclaim his insanity. The Osgiliath mission was not obviously suicidal, as the city had not yet been overrun. The Warning beacons of Gondor had indeed been lit, although Denethor expected little help, because of the fatalistic mindset that he had at that time of sorrow.[8]

He committed suicide on March 15, 3019, having ordered his men to erect a pyre for him and Faramir in the Hallows of Minas Tirith. He threw a torch onto the pyre, then broke the white rod of his office over his knee and cast it into the flames, symbolizing the end of his stewardship and the end of the rule of the Stewards. He laid himself down on the table and so perished, clasping the Palantíri in his hands. His attempt to take the grievously injured and apparently dying Faramir with him was thwarted by the timely intervention of Beregond and ultimately, by Gandalf.[3]

Denethor II ruled as the Steward of Gondor for 35 years, from TA 2984 until his death on TA 3019. The title of the Ruling Steward was passed to his son, Faramir, who also became the first Princes of Ithilien.[9]


Denethor might have been named after the tenth Ruling Steward of Gondor, who, in turn, was named after a Nandorin Elf. The name comes from the Nandorin words dene ("strong, lithe") and thara ("tall, slender"), and gives the name a meaning of "Lithe and lank".[10]

House of HúrinEdit

of Emyn Arnen
Mardil Voronwë
Húrin I
Túrin I
Denethor I
Two daughters
Húrin II
Belecthor I
Ecthelion I
Belecthor II
Túrin II
Ecthelion II
Two daughters
Denethor II
House of Eorl

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit


Denethor was voiced by William Conrad in Rankin/Bass's 1980 animated adaptation of The Return of the King, and by Peter Vaughan in BBC Radio's 1981 serialisation.

The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

In Peter Jackson's movie trilogy, Denethor was played by John Noble and serves as the minor antagonist in the The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (film).

Denethor appears totally irrational, already completely overwhelmed by grief for Boromir's death. He sends his remaining son and a cavalry unit on a suicide mission to attack enemy-captured Osgiliath and refuses to light the beacons of Gondor to call for the aid of Rohan. Shortly before the initial Siege of Gondor commences, Denethor views the huge armies of Mordor outside his walls, and in a fit of panic, orders all the soldiers at Minas Tirith to flee their posts. It was then that Gandalf struck Denethor with his staff several times, knocking the crazed Steward unconscious, and then taking control of the city’s defenses himself. The demise of Denethor is also changed--later, as Faramir is placed on a funeral pyre and Denethor is about to torch him, Gandalf and Pippin burst in and rescue Faramir in the nick of time. An enraged Denethor then attacks Pippin for interrupting his ritual, but Gandalf saves him, to knock Denethor into the pyre. At this point, the Steward looks at Faramir one last time, coming to his original state of mind, and realizes in his last moments what he would have done to his last remaining son. Seconds later, the fire engulfs Denethor and he runs out of the hallows, totally consumed by flames, before leaping off the top end of the rock prow of Minas Tirith during the siege, plunging to his death down many high levels of the city.

The Palantír of Minas Tirith, which allowed Sauron to drive Denethor mad in the first place, was never shown in the movie, although it was hinted at in the Extended Edition. It is said that from the moment Denethor died with the Palantír in hand, that all that could be seen with the Palantír is a pair of burning hands. It is suggested however, that if a person had a strong enough will, that they could see more than just burning hands, however, this cannot be confirmed.

Voice Dubbing actorsEdit

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Rolando del Castro
Spanish (Spain) Carlos Kaniowski
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Renato Master † (ROTK)
Renato Márcio (Extended Edition TTT and ROTK)
German Roland Hemmo
French (France) Pierre Santini
Italian (Italy) Oreste Rizzini
Turkish Emir Tayla

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 迪耐瑟二世
Ruling Steward of Gondor
Preceded by
Ecthelion II
Denethor II Succeeded by
TA 2984 - TA 3019


  1. 1.0 1.1 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 12: The Peoples of Middle-earth, VII: "The Heirs of Elendil"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter VII: "The Pyre of Denethor"
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter I: "Minas Tirith"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (iv): "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Third Age"
  7. Unfinished Tales, Part Four: III: "The Palantíri"
  8. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Chapter IV: "The Siege of Gondor"
  9. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter V: "The Steward and the King"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels, Part Four: Quendi and Eldar, Appendix D: Kwen, Quenya, and the Elvish (especially Ñoldorin) words for 'Language'

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