One of the most important characters in the history of Middle-Earth in JRR Tolkien’s writings is Isildur, who was the one who cut the One Ring off of Sauron’s hands using Narsil and weakened the dark lord for thousands of years. Nevertheless, he could have ended Sauron’s darkness right then and there when he had a chance to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. However, he opted to keep the Ring for himself instead of destroying it. So, does that mean that Isildur was a bad person and was easily corrupted?
Isildur isn’t inherently bad just because he was tempted and corrupted by the One Ring. Instead, Isildur was simply human and was not strong enough to resist the One Ring’s temptation. But he wasn’t entirely bad because he helped save the Númenoreans from extinction by establishing Gondor on Middle-Earth.
The one thing about Isildur is that he can be a polarizing character that a lot of people wouldn’t exactly think is the nicest person around. Nevertheless, he was the epitome of what it meant to be human because he had his own ups and downs in life. He did a lot of good in his life, but he also ended up having his own dark moments as well. Now, let’s try to analyze Isildur as a character.
Was Isildur A Bad Person?
Those who’ve read The Lord of the Rings or were able to enjoy Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies should be familiar with the name Isildur. That’s because Isildur is one of the most important characters in any of JRR Tolkien’s writings, as he had one of the biggest roles among Men and Elves alike during the events of the Second Age.
The end of the Second Age allowed us to see the Last Alliance between Men and Elves fighting Sauron’s army. At that point, Sauron had grown to become extremely powerful because he had mustered up a large force of Orcs and had already completed the One Ring, which allowed him to corrupt all of the other bearers of the Rings of Power.
It was during the Last Alliance that his father, Elendil, died. That was when Isildur took his father’s shattered sword and used whatever blade it had left on it to sever the One Ring off of Sauron’s finger. Because of this act, Isildur was able to weaken Sauron’s body and spirit while also taking the One Ring.
The darkness in Middle-Earth could have ended right then and there when Isildur had a chance to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, which is the only thing that could destroy it. However, he ignored Elrond and decided to keep the One Ring for himself, as that seemed to be the only chance that anyone had to shatter Sauron’s spirit for good. And when Isildur took the One Ring home to him, it eventually became his undoing as he got ambushed by a band of Orcs later in his life while the One Ring was lost for hundreds of years.
So, while we do know that Isildur was one of the most important characters in the storyline, we also know that he ignored what could have been a chance of a lifetime by deciding to keep the One Ring instead. Does that mean that Isildur is a bad person?
In many ways, ignoring Elrond’s advice of destroying the One Ring meant that Isildur was a flawed person that wasn’t perfect in any single way. But it also didn’t mean that he was actually a bad person because he actually did a lot of good deeds in his life.
Back in Númenor, Isildur was one of the Faithful, and that meant that he was still loyal to the Valar and the Elves despite the fact that King Ar-Pharazôn had already been influenced by Sauron to worship Morgoth and to continue to hate the Elves. It was also he who saved a seed from the White Tree of Númenor called Nimloth when he found out that Sauron had influenced Ar-Pharazôn to have it cut down. As such, Nimloth was able to survive through the White Tree of Gondor when Isildur planted a seed of it in the new kingdom that he and his father established.
Of course, there’s also the fact that Isildur was one of the Númenorean Men that saved the people of Númenor when he and the other Faithful led the survivors of the Fall of Númenor to Middle-Earth, where they were able to establish a new civilization of Men and the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. And the fact that Isildur eventually joined forces with the Elves to fight Sauron in the Last Alliance proves that his heart was in the right place and that he was willing to fight for the purpose of ridding evil from the world once and for all.
Still, he ended up failing at the moment when he should have triumphed as he opted to keep the One Ring instead of keeping it. This means that he is a flawed character that has his own ups and downs as a person. Isildur’s fall was also proof of the fact that he is still human in the sense that he isn’t perfect. He may have fallen to the Ring’s temptation, but that didn’t take away the fact that he was still able to do a lot of good for the people of Númenor and the different races of Middle-Earth before he fell to the darkness of the One Ring.
Why Was Isildur Easily Corrupted?
To say that Isildur is easily corrupted is to say that the One Ring isn’t as powerful as it was. The fact is that much of Sauron’s darkness, power, and malice are in the One Ring, and that means that his very essence itself is in it. That means that anyone could easily fall victim to the One Ring’s temptation, and it just so happened that Isildur wasn’t strong enough to resist it.
Of course, there were also a lot of people who knew that they weren’t strong enough to resist the One Ring as well. Elrond was there with Isildur when he opted to keep the Ring instead of casting it into the fires of Mount Doom. The Elf lord knew that the One Ring would have also taken over his better judgment had he decided to forcefully take it from Isildur and destroy it himself. And Elrond himself never tried to take possession of the One Ring from Frodo because he knew that its power was too great for him to handle.
There’s also the fact that a lot of different characters were either tempted or were too afraid of the One Ring. Gandalf never tried to hold the One Ring because he feared its temptation. Of course, characters like Smeagol, Bilbo, Boromir, and even Frodo fell victim to its temptation as well.
So, to say that Isildur was easily corrupted is to say that he was weaker than all of the other characters in the storyline. The fact is that the One Ring is simply too powerful for anyone to handle, and only a handful of people have been able to resist its temptation. This also proves that Isildur, like anyone else, is still human in the sense that he isn’t perfect and can still fall victim to temptation whenever it’s too strong.