The Guards of the Citadel, sometimes referred to as The Tower Guards, were an elite unit of soldiers in Gondor during the Third and Fourth Ages who guarded the upmost level (circle) of Minas Tirith, especially the courtyard that held the fountain and the White Tree of Gondor and gave way to the citadel.
They were mainly a stationary guard unit, rather than a mobile force, though were sometimes seen acting as a mobile guard when travelling with the Steward. They were headed by a Captain of the Guard, who was chosen by the Steward from nobility or high military ranks. As a whole, they were considered to be the best soldiers in the realm of Gondor. Known for their bravery, fighting skills, and unshakable loyalty, they swear an oath against their own lives to serve their lord.
The Tower Guards saw little combat during the War of the Ring. Though the city burned around them and the air swarmed with Fell Beasts at the Siege of Gondor, they remained at their posts, guarding their Steward and the White Tree all throughout the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
When Peregrin Took arrived with Gandalf the White in Minas Tirith, he offered his services as payment for Boromir's sacrifice to save his life. He was outfitted in the garb of the Fountain Guards, and was instructed by Beregond of the Third Company, though did not join the normal ranks, and acted as personal esquire to the Steward Denethor. Peregrin was the only Guard to leave the Citadel during the Battle of Pelennor Fields, fleeing to the city gates to fetch Gandalf to save Faramir from Denethor's madness. Beregond as well left his post and killed a fellow, breaking his oath and losing his position as a member of the Guard, in order to keep the fires from Faramir until Gandalf's arrival.
- Boromir (Captain during the War of the Ring until death at Amon Hen)
- Peregrin Took (Under service of the steward Denethor II)
The Citadel Guards wore similar armor to that of ordinary knights of Gondor, though finer crafted – believed by some to be a gift of the Dwarves to Gondor in an earlier time.
In the book they are described as wearing a uniform of black robes and black surcoats, embroidered in white with a tree in blossom under a silver crown and many-pointed stars. Their helms were high-crowned and pointed, with long cheek-guards fitting to the face, and above these were set the white wings of sea-birds to honor their seafaring Númenórean heritage; the helms were Mithril and heirlooms from ancient times. While they were Númenórean in design, they were not in origin. Few helms escaped the Downfall, save perhaps those of Elendil (which became the White Crown), Isildur and Anarion. Anarion's was crushed by a stone-cast from Barad-dûr.
In the film adaptation, the Fountain Guards stationed in the Fountain Court itself wore black capes that concealed most of their armor, and black cloths over the lower halves of their faces. The Citadel guards wore normal Gondor armor, but with small wings attached flush to the helmet.
They were mainly a spear-carrying unit; each soldier carried a spear as their primary weapon, as well as a thick wooden shield painted black with the tree and star of Gondor, and a short ceremonial sword for close combat.
As an esquire, Peregrin Took wore mail forged of black steel, a helm with raven-wings and a silver star in the center above the forehead, and a black surcoat with the device of the White Tree sewn in silver. He bore no spear or shield, being too small, but carried the ceremonial short sword, which for him functioned as a normal blade.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit
In and only in Peter Jackson's 3rd film The Return of the King, there are two different Guard variations. Guards of the Fountain shown guard the White Tree, and there are only four of them shown at any given time. The actual 'Citadel Guards' appear occasionally in the background, in Faramir's Osgiliath flashback guarding Denethor, and when Denethor attempts to burn Faramir.
- They appear in the game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth as Gondor's spear-carrying class.
- They return in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II as the Men of the West faction's pikemen class, and in The Rise of the Witch-king expansion-pack, the elite pikemen for Men of the West. They can only be created from a rank 2 Gondor Barracks and cost more to recruit than normal soldiers. Their formation is interchangeable between their default line formation and a dense "shield wall" formation, where they gain 80% armor but lose 75% speed. See Citadel Guards.
- Berethor is a member of the Citadel Guards in both The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age and Battle for Middle-Earth series.
- The Order of the Tower Guard is a lore-based kinship in Lord of the Rings: Online on the Landroval server; the Guard of the Citadel form the kernal of lore for the guild, who function as a mobile entity of the Guard. Lore focuses on the mysteries of the White Trees of Gondor and the transition of the Third Age to the Fourth Age, and has its roots in the Elven stewardship of Celeborn at Tol Eressëa.