The Rangers of Middle Earth – Lord of the Rings Lore

The Rangers of Middle-Earth are one of the
most secretive factions, an elite group of warriors skilled in the arts of stealth and
ambush. Though both the Rangers of the North and the
Rangers of Ithilien were often referred to as the Rangers, these two factions differed
immensely in their culture, history and the roles they played in the lands of Middle-Earth. Hey guys it’s Karl here, and in today’s
video we’ll be delving into the history and customs of these two different Ranger
groups of Middle-Earth, those of the North and those of Ithilien. So the Rangers of the North were descendants
of the Dunedain of the Northern Kingdom of Arnor which had once occupied vast amounts
of land between the Misty Mountains and the Blue Mountains. This Kingdom would meet a tragic end at the
hands of the Witch-King who devastated its lands and massacred most of its people, and
after the death of their last king called Arvedui, the Dunedain of the North abandoned
their kingship, and Arvedui’s son called Aranarth became their first Chieftain. The loss of their Kingdom caused the Dunedain
to become a shadow of their past glory, for their numbers had dwindled significantly and
their lands were occupied by other factions, and so the Dunedain grew to be a secret and
wandering people and they became known as the Rangers of the North. The heirlooms of the Northern Kingdom of Arnor
such as the Ring of Barahir, the Shards of Narsil, the Star of Elendil and the Sceptre
of Annuminas were given to Elrond for safekeeping in the year 1976 of the Third Age, and Aranarth’s
son called Arahael was sent to Rivendell where he was fostered by Elrond. This would start a new tradition, in which
all the sons of the chieftains of the Dunedain were also fostered and grew up in Rivendell. Now over the years the blood of Numenor seemed
to diminish at a faster rate in the lands of Gondor than those of the North, and so
the Rangers of the North had a longer lifespan than their southern kinsmen. For the most part, the Chieftains of the Dunedain
would live long lives, though their lands and people would often face troubles and hardships
and some of the chieftain’s lives would end in tragedy. In the year 2327 of the Third Age, their fifth
chieftain called Aragorn was killed by wolves in Eriador, and during the rule of Arahad
their seventh chieftain, an army of orcs that had secretly occupied the Misty Mountains
descended from their strongholds into the lands of Eriador and they attempted to occupy
and block its passes. These Orcs would be defeated, and they were
forced to retreat back into the Misty Mountains, and it’s very likely that the rangers played
a crucial part in this victory. For the next 200 years the Orcs of the Misty
Mountains recovered their strength, and they would descend once more from the Strongholds
during the reign of Arassuil the Eleventh Chieftain of the Dunedain. These orcs ravaged the lands of Eriador, and
though the Rangers of the North and the sons of Elrond would succeed in defeating them,
some of the Orcs managed to slip past their defenses and they reached the lands of the
Shire where they were driven back a group of hobbits led by Bandobras Took. Now Arador was the fourteenth chieftain of
the Dunedain, and Aragorn’s grandfather, and he succeeded his father as chieftain in
the year 2912 of the Third Age, though his reign was short lived, for he was captured
and killed by a group of Hill-trolls in the Coldfells, North of Rivendell, after just
18 years of rule. His son Arathorn would succeed him as chieftain
and he chose to marry Gilraen the Fair who was also a descendent of the first chieftain
of the Dunedain, and after 1 year into their marriage their son Aragorn was born. Arathorn would suffer a tragic end just like
his father and three years after his marriage, he rode out with the sons of Elrond to hunt
some Orcs, and during one of their battles an Orc-arrow pierced his eye and slew him. Now at the time of his death, His son Aragorn
was still very young, being only two years old, and his mother took him to Rivendell
and they lived together for a while in the House of Elrond. Since Sauron was seeking out the Heirs of
Isildur, they chose to hide Aragorn’s true identity and heritage from him to ensure his
safety, and they named him Estel which meant Hope. Elrond would come to love Aragorn as a son
and he grew up to be a great warrior and man, and when he was 20 years old Elrond called
him by his true name, and he revealed to him everything about his heritage. He also gave him the heirlooms of his House
such as the Shards of Narsil and the Ring of Barahir, though Elrond chose to keep the
Sceptre of Annuminas until Aragorn earned it by becoming the King of Gondor and Arnor. Now before I discuss the role that the Rangers
of the North played in the War of the Ring, I’d like to go over other parts of their
history, culture and lifestyle. So the Rangers lived lonely and hard lives,
wandering the wild lands even as far as the Misty Mountains. They were taller and darker than the Men of
Bree and they wore rusty green, brown and grey clothing along with a dark green cloak
that was pinned to their shoulder by a brooch in the form of a Silver rayed star, called
the star of the Dunedain. Their clothing provided them with excellent
cover and camouflage in the wilds, and their nomadic lifestyle made them experts of the
flora and creatures of the Northern Lands. This knowledge allowed them to survive in
the wild, by finding food such as berries and roots, or herbs for healing such as Athelas. They were also great huntsmen and exceptional
trackers, with a heightened sense of sight and hearing, and it was said that the rangers
were able to understand the language of beasts and birds. The Rangers also tried to maintain what they
could of their past lore and history, for we know that the Palantiri were still remembered
in a rhyme of Lore among the Dunedain of the North. Now the Rangers were known to sometimes travel
and camp in the Deadman’s Dike which was the ruins of Fornost, the ancient capital
city of Arnor. Another common camping spot was Weathertop,
which was also a ruin from their past, and its height provided them with a good vantage
point to look over and maintain vigilance over the surrounding lands. The Rangers of the North were also known to
sometimes use runes to leave messages and communicate with each other. When they weren’t traversing the wilds of
Eriador, they would occasionally rest at the Prancing Pony in Bree, and they brought with
them news from faraway lands and strange forgotten tales that were eagerly listened to. Bree also served as a hub for many other travelers
across the lands, and by staying there the Rangers could probably hear news that was
of importance to them in regards to the safety of Eriador. Now the people of Bree did not befriend the
Rangers, for they regarded them with suspicion and distrusted them. They were often treated scornfully, yet despite
this poor treatment the Rangers still took care of these people and kept their lands
safe even though this went largely unappreciated. Perhaps the Rangers kept this vigilance since
these lands had once been a part of the kingdom of Arnor or maybe it was simply out of the
good will of their hearts. Now the life of a Ranger did not only consist
of travelling and surviving in the wilds, for they would also ride out and hunt down
evil creatures. Without them the lands of Eriador would have
known very little peace, for when evil creatures crept out of the hills and woods, it was the
Rangers that held them at bay and kept the surrounding villages safe. These creatures should not be underestimated,
for according to Aragorn there were foes that lived merely a day’s march away from Bree
that could destroy the village and leave it in ruins, if it was not for the constant vigilance
of the Rangers. While hunting and in battle the Rangers would
often use a spear, bow and sword, a clear indication of their versatility and adaptability,
and Gandalf was a close friend of their people, sending messages and asking for their aid
in times of need. In fact around seventeen years before the
events of the Lord of the Rings, many evil spies such as beasts and birds started to
gather around the Shire, and Gandalf reached out to the Rangers asking them for help, and
they doubled their watch and guard over this land. Gandalf would also seek out Aragorn, to help
to find and capture Gollum, and together they managed to trace his path and capture him
and interrogate him. In the year 3018 of the Third Age, on the
22nd of September, the Nazgul attacked the Rangers that stood watch on the Southern borders
of the Shire in an area called Sarn Ford, and the Rangers were unable to hold them back,
and the survivors were forced to flee Eastwards. Four of the Nazgul pursued them for a short
while, before turning aside to watch over the Greenway Road, and the Rangers’ defeat
allowed Khamul the Ringwraith to enter the Shire through its Southern borders. After Gandalf returned as Gandalf the White,
he brought with him a message from Galadriel for Aragorn, telling him that the time was
approaching for the Dunedain of the North to come forth and join Aragorn on the Paths
of the Dead. In fact Galadriel sent out a message to the
Rangers of the North telling them that Aragorn needed their help and that they should ride
out to find him in Rohan. Thirty of the Rangers of the North would answer
these summons led by a ranger called Halbarad, and they were known as the Grey Company. It might seem like a small number though it
was all they could gather in haste and Halbarad brought with him a standard that Arwen had
created for Aragorn in secret. Now these rangers had a lordly and strong
appearance similar to Aragorn and they shared a strong bond with their horses, who loved
them so dearly that they were willing to follow their masters into the Paths of the Dead. After Aragorn secured the allegiance of the
Oathbreakers, the Grey Company rode swiftly to Pelargir where they defeated the Corsairs
of Umbar and boarded their ships. During this battle, Aragorn sent one of the
Dunedain to each of the great ships to comfort and free the slaves that were upon it, and
together they set sail to join the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. When they arrived at the battlefield Halbarad
unfurled the standard that bore the White Tree of Gondor and the signs of Elendil, though
tragically he would be slain in this battle. The rangers that survived would join Aragorn
in his attack upon the black Gate and they formed part of the vanguard, and they were
later present for Aragorn’s coronation in Gondor. Now it seems that when the Rangers travelled
to the South to help Aragorn, very few of them were left to protect the Northern lands
and this allowed many evil creatures and men to creep in and terrorise its people. The once bustling town of Bree now lay quiet
and wary, for countless strangers had entered their lands through the Greenway Road, and
some of them were evil and mischievous committing acts of murder and theft. The roads were no longer safe, and bandits
would attack unarmed folk, robbing them of their goods. Worst of all were the wolves that would creep
around the fences of Bree at night howling as they sought out prey, and dark dreadful
shapes were seen wandering in the woods nearby. These evil creatures and men were driven out
when the Rangers returned and the Northern lands would be at peace once more. Some of the people of Bree such as Barliman
Butterbur would finally start to appreciate and truly understood how much the Rangers
used to help and protect them from the evils that surrounded their lands. After Aragorn’s coronation, the Northern
Kingdom of Arnor and the Southern Kingdom of Gondor were reunited, and Elrond gave him
the scepter of Annuminas. Under his rule the Ancient cities of the Rangers
such as Fornost and Annuminas were restored, and so it would seem that the Rangers didn’t
remain a wandering people. It’s incredible that despite all the hardships
that the Northern Kingdom faced, the line of kings would go unbroken from father to
son for so many generations. It is also sad to know that after Elrond left
the lands of Middle-Earth, a lot of the history of the Rangers of the North was lost forever,
for they had been a secret people, and there were very few beings left alive such as Elrond
who knew of their deeds and history. So now I’d like to discuss the Rangers of
Ithilien. So these Rangers were probably established
soon after the year 2901 of the Third Age during the stewardship of Turin the Second,
for in this year an army of Orcs came out of Mordor and attacked the lands of Ithilien
and many of Ithilien’s people abandoned their homes and fled to Minas Tirith. Under Turin’s orders, several secret areas
of refuge were built for his soldiers in Ithilien including Henneth Annun which was the one
that was guarded for longest, and it was still being used towards the end of the Third Age. Now during the events of the War of the Ring,
the Rangers of Ithilien were handpicked by Denethor the Second, from descendants of the
people that had once lived in Ithilien before it was overrun. These men were led by Faramir, the son of
Denethor, and they would cross the river Anduin through secret paths to ambush the armies
of Sauron that roamed between the Mountains of the Shadow and the river Anduin. Frodo would come across these Rangers on one
such mission, when they had sallied forth to ambush a regiment of Haradrim that was
travelling towards Mordor. Now these rangers wore brown and green clothing
and gauntlets along with green hoods and masks and this provided them with the perfect camouflage
for the lands of Ithilien. They were armed with spears, swords and great
bows , and their strength did not lie in numbers or outright battle for Faramir’s company
only consisted of around 300 men of so, but rather in surprise, ambush and knowledge of
the lands. Once these rangers successfully attacked their
enemies they would flee back across the Anduin before Sauron could send out an army after
them, and so it’s clear that their attacks mostly consisted of hit and run tactics. Now following their victory over the Haradrim,
Faramir led his company along with Sam and Frodo to their refuge of Henneth Annun on
the 7th of March, and to protect and ensure its secrecy, the Hobbits were blindfolded
while they journeyed towards this area. No Orcs or servants of Sauron had ever found
this refuge yet and it was an ideal defensive location for its layout would allow its defenders
to hold off much greater numbers with a small force. Now whenever the Rangers camped in Henneth
Annun, they would perform a tradition before their evening meal, in which they would turn
and face the West for a moment in silence, looking towards Numenor and the Undying Lands. Many of these Rangers still bore the proud
features of Numenor, having grey eyes and dark hair, and at times they spoke in Elvish
to each other. Now earlier, Faramir had sent out some of
his keenest huntsmen to find and capture Gollum, though he managed to avoid them. However later that night, the Rangers spotted
Gollum in the pools of Henneth Annun and Faramir would choose to spare him, after Frodo vouched
for him and promised to keep him in his care. Now before the siege of Minas Tirith, Faramir
sent out his rangers to Osgiliath to strengthen its defenses and he would later join them
to lead his men. These rangers would also take part in the
Battle of the Pelennor fields, and after Faramir’s injury at the hands of a Nazgul, a ranger
called Mablung took command of the company and they formed part of Aragorn’s assault
on the Black Gate. Thanks to the Ranger’s skill and their knowledge
of the lands, the forces of the West managed to locate an ambush of Orcs and Easterlings
that was lying in wait for them, and they turned the trap on itself and defeated them. Now we don’t know what happened to these
Rangers after Sauron’s defeat, whether they still remained active or if they were disbanded,
though I’d like to believe that they formed part of Faramir’s White Company after he
was granted the title of Prince of Ithilien. I think it would be awesome if these men that
were so devoted to him could still guard and protect him,and I feel this role would be
quite appropriate for it would allow them to return to the lands of their forefathers
once again. I’d like to hear your thoughts on these
two factions, and which one you’d prefer to be more? Would you rather be a Ranger of the North
and a kinsman of Aragorn, or a Ranger of Ithilien that kept the lands of Gondor safe? I’d also like to mention that a fellow Lord
of the Rings Youtuber called Men of the West will also be covering this topic later this
week for we happened to be working on the same thing simultaneously. So keep an eye open for it, and send him some
love from the Geek community. Anyway friends this wraps up today’s video
and I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re interested check out our Facebook,
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