Name: Denethor II, son of Ecthelion II Canon: Lord of the Rings (Mostly bookverse) Canon point of entry: 1 March III 3019. Boromir was killed on 26 (Feb. There are 30 days in Middle-earth 'Feb') and Faramir dreamed of seeing his brother in a boat on the Anduin. He finds the broken Horn of Gondor and brings it to his father with word of Boromir's death. On 1 March, Denethor orders Faramir back to Ithilien. This is when Denethor appears in the village. (It also happens to be Aragorn's birthday.)
Born 26 August III 2930 to Ecthelion II and Haleth. He has two older sisters who do not figure much into his life. During his grandfather Turgon’s time as Steward, Sauron returned to Mordor (III 2942) after having been driven out of Dol Guldur in III 2941. Also in 2941, the eleven year old Denethor was likely re-enacting the death of the great wyrm Smaug. In III 2953 Turgon dies (Denethor is 33) and Ecthelion II becomes Steward.
Denethor is in the military in 2951 when the Nazgûl emerge from Mordor, ordered to reclaim Dol Guldur (in Mirkwood.) Three years later, Mount Doom erupts and the last residents of Ithilien flee across the Anduin River, leaving the Ithilien Rangers there as a last line of defense. From 2957-2980, a man named as Thorongil (later known to be Aragorn) serves in Rohan and Gondor, working his way up to the rank of captain. Steward Ecthelion praises Thorongil, often at the expense of his own son, making Denethor (also a captain) resentful of this ‘stranger’.
Denethor marries late, in 2976. He is 46 and she is 26. Two years later they have a son (Boromir) and five years after that another son (Faramir.) In III 2984, Ecthelion dies, leaving Denethor II as Lord Steward. In 2988, Finduilas dies at the very young age of 38, leaving her sons (ages 10 and 5) and the Steward, who becomes a very changed man.
On 20 June III 3018, Sauron’s forces attack simultaneously from Dol Guldur and in eastern Gondor, officially beginning the War of the Ring. Weeks later, on 4 July, Boromir sets out for Imladris after Faramir (and he) dream a mysterious riddle. On 1 March 3019, Denethor sends Faramir back to Ithilien. Faramir had dreamed of a boat on the Anduin and found the broken Horn of Gondor after Boromir’s death on 26 Feb. (Second month has 30 days in it.) The Horn was brought to Denethor, who learned of his heir’s death.
Denethor’s early life showed him to be serious and studious, as well as a bit of an idealist. He lived a military life, far apart from that of his two much-older sisters, and understood from a very young age that he was going to rule Gondor one day—likely a very troubled Gondor. As a result, he was never truly carefree, never ‘young’ or really innocent.
He didn’t find his ideal wife until he was in his forties, and when she died twelve years later he became grim and serious. By this time he was Lord Steward, and Sauron had been back in Mordor since Denethor was eleven years old. Denethor turned very dark and driven, existing more for his land than himself or his family. His heir Boromir was praised and groomed for the future while his second son Faramir fell by the wayside.
In truth, Denethor sees a lot of himself in his second son and feels not a little jealousy. Denethor would rather have not had to be Steward, or would have liked a companion and brother growing up. Father and second son are more alike than Denethor and Boromir, and Denethor resents Faramir for it, even while knowing that it’s not his fault, not anyone’s fault. The Steward is a demanding and unforgiving man, of himself most of all.
Denethor is tall (6’2”, to Boromir’s 6’1” and Faramir’s 6’) and very strong for his age, which is 89 years old in 3019—when he comes into the village. He couldn’t fight all day, but he could still wield his sword well enough and he wears his chain mail under his robes every day. He has no obvious or visible infirmities. (Illness of the mind is just getting obvious, but is not visible.) His hair was black, but is now iron grey, and is worn long in the fashion of Gondor. He’s clean-shaven and has always shaved himself except for his investiture as Steward and wedding. His eyes are dark and mostly look grey but can shine into blue during rare moments of good mood. He has deep lines of worry on his face, but still his appearance is perhaps that of a man of sixty. He wears his long, black robes of state made of rich furs, trimmed in silver (Gondor’s colours) over black clothing and chain mail. He wears the ring of the Stewards and the Hûrin signet, a small dagger and very often his sword.
You may leave a message on Lord Denethor's voice mail here: 783-9273 (That's STE-WARD.)
This will be an account for role-playing at the Hearts & Minds community. I own nothing of the character, canon, or the Australian actor John Noble.