Arvedui was the son of King Araphant of Arthedain. He was born in T.A. 1864 and came to the throne in 1964 at the death of his father. His name meant Last king, and he was named so because of a prophecy by Malbeth the Seer:
- "Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to the Dúnedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will change his name and become king of a great realm. If not, then much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again." — Appendix A: "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
Arvedui married Fíriel, daughter of King Ondoher of Gondor, who was killed in 1944. This was the first renewal of contact between Arnor and Gondor, after a long estrangement, when both realized that both kingdoms were coming under simultaneous attack from the regrouping forces of Sauron (Angmar against Arthedain, the Wainriders against Gondor). At Ondoher's death, Arvedui sent messages to Gondor claiming the throne as a direct descendant of Isildur and as the husband of Fíriel, the only surviving child of King Ondoher (since the King and both his sons perished in the battle against the Wainriders). Arvedui was refused by Pelendur the Steward of Gondor: the Gondorians appointed general Eärnil as King instead.
Arvedui became King of Arthedain soon after, inheriting a shattered Kingdom that was struggling to hold back the assaults of Angmar. In T.A. 1974 Angmar made one final push against Arthedain, capturing the capital of Fornost and driving the surviving Dúnedain away. He and his guard hid in the old Dwarf mines of the northern Blue Mountains near the Ice-bay of Forochel. Gondor sent help in the form of a great fleet, but it was delayed and came too late: Arthedain was overrun and its people all perished almost to the last. Starvation drove Arvedui to seek the aid of the inhabitants of Forochel, the Lossoth snowmen. Though the inhabitants were initially reluctant to aid, they helped the gaunt King out of pity, and also out of fear of their weapons.
Círdan of Lindon sent a ship north to rescue him in 1975, and against the advice of the Snowmen of Forochel, Arvedui boarded it. Before departing, he gave his ring, the Ring of Barahir to the chief of the Snowmen. Shortly after leaving land, the ship was crushed by ice packs and the king drowned. In this shipwreck the palantíri of Amon Sûl and Annúminas were lost forever. Shortly afterwards, a Gondorian army under Eärnur managed to destroy Angmar with the help of Círdan, but Arthedain and all of Arnor were no more, and the kingship had ended.
His son Aranarth became the first of the Chieftains of the Dúnedain. Despite the fall of the North Kingdom, the line of Isildur remained unbroken. Arvedui's claim was never forgotten by his descendants, though it would be centuries before Aragorn invoked the claim.
It is commonly thought that the line of Anárion had ended, as Eärnil's son Eärnur had left no heir. However, it is worth noting that the line of Anárion did run in Arvedui's descendants, thanks to his marriage to Fíriel who was directly descended from Anárion.
The prophecy became truth, for Arvedui was indeed the last King of Arnor, and likewise the line of the Kings of Gondor also ended with Eärnil's son Eärnur. The realms were not reunited until a thousand years later, when Aragorn became King Elessar.
In The Lord of the Rings Online, Arvedui plays an important role in the Epic volume quests for Book 13: The Doom of the Last King. The ghost of Arvedui can be found at the wreck of the ship that was sent to rescue him in TA 1975 but was destroyed by ice, where he gives players several important quests that advance the games Epic Story-line plot.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king, Arvedui appears as a hero unit in the final evil campaign mission where he leads the defenders at the Battle of Fornost.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. (2005). The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition. Harper Collins. p. 1041. ISBN 0-261-10325-3.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. (2005). The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition. Harper Collins. p. 1050. ISBN 0-261-10325-3.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "Appendix A", ISBN 0-395-08256-0
- Tolkien, J.R.R. (2005). The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition. Harper Collins. p. 1043. ISBN 0-261-10325-3.
- Tolkien, J.R.R. (2005). The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Edition. Harper Collins. p. 1044. ISBN 0-261-10325-3.
- "Arvedui". LOTRO Wiki. Retrieved 17 November 2013.