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Discussing: Dunedain of the North

Dunedain of the North

Somewhere I seem to remember seeing that the Chieftains of the Dunedain and their followers had a permanent settlement, so while the Rangers were out and about, their wives and children had a place to call home. Is this canon, and if so, does anyone know the name of the place, where it was located and perhaps when it was founded?



Re: Dunedain of the North

Sounds like you are thinking of Dwimordene's fics set in the Angle, particularly Semper Fidelis and Not In Our Stars. In those stories, the permanent settlement is in the Angle, the area between the great east road, the hoarwell, and the loudwater.

Is that canon? I do not believe so. For one thing, that area was not part of the old kingdom of Arthedain, where Aragorn's kin would have lived. Not that that precludes it, because it seems that those of the kingdom of Rhudaur, who held that territory, are long gone.

Fornost also known as Deadman's Dike was the chief enclave of rangers of Aragorn's kin well into the third age, but by the time of the war of the ring, it was deserted.

The "true" status of the rangers seems to be that they were "scattered and leaderless."

But there is nothing definite, meaning that you can definitely take some liberties here, IMHO. After all, the women and children had to live somewhere, unless they were nomads, and there is no indication that they were.



Re: Dunedain of the North

Martinez's theory is probably the ultimate source. Certainly, it's the most elaborate theory I'd seen when I started writing, and I agreed with much of what he'd said and so used it as the basis for all pieces that I subsequently wrote.



Re: Dunedain of the North

Yes, that is a lovely essay. I used it to guesstimate the number of villagers at 500 in my story. I probably found it through you, Dwim, though it may have turned up when I was looking for info two months ago on Tharbad.

What I like about it in particular is the emphasis on the apparatus of the state; the rangers didn't have one, so the local people developed their own. Nice tie in between chieftain and thain.

As far as timing: Dunedain in the Angle would not have included descendents of the kingdom of Arthedain, Aragorn's kin, until after the kingdom of Rhudaur went kaput.

While undoubtedly the three kingdoms mingled after the kingdoms collapsed, Rhudaur was the enemy of Arthedain for a brief time. Rhudaur collapsed in 1975 T.A., more than a thousand years before the time of LOTR. Plenty of time for the Dunedain of Arthedain to settle there.

I really like the idea of them settling there, because the location offers enormous geographical advantages. You have the two rivers for defense, and easy access to the East road, and you are between Bree and Rivendell. There is simply no better spot.



Re: Dunedain of the North

True enough about Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan, however, Arvedui took the title "King of Arnor"--by his time, both the other kingdoms had collapsed to the point where he was able to claim lordship over them, and afterwards, though Arnor ceased, the population centers in "Arthedain" would've been stronger, most likely, than those of Rhudaur, which was closer, iirc, to Angmar and would've suffered more. Migration eastwards might've been a project in Arvedui's reign, as people spread out again and tried to 'retake' what had been destroyed. Rhudaur's population couldn't have done that by itself.

But I'm sure if you check the Appendices, you'll get more concrete information as to dates to see if that's at all workable. Once again, I hate being without my books!



Re: Dunedain of the North

Martinez sums things up fairly well in saying:
"Tolkien says that at the end of the Third Age "no other Men [beside those of Bree] had settled dwellings so far west, or within a hundred leagues [about 300 miles] of the Shire. But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin." (Tolkien, "The Lord of the Rings", p. 161). These Rangers "roamed at will southwards, and eastwards even as far as the Misty Mountains; but they were now few and rarely seen.""

He also says:
"In the original version of the tale of Aragorn and Arwen (published in The Peoples of Middle-earth), Tolkien wrote: "In the latter days of the last age [> Ere the Elder Days were ended], before the War of the Ring, there was a man named Dirhael [> Dirhoel], and his wife was Evorwen [> Ivorwen] daughter of Gilbarad, and they dwelt in a hidden fastness in the wilds of Eriador; for they were of the ancient people of the Dunedian, that of old were kings of men, but were now fallen on darkened days....""

Plus he apparently noted that they lived in the Angle in one of his letters; but I've never seen the letter itself.

I'll agree that there is a certain amount of latitude in where and how the Dunedain lived, but Martinez makes a number of excellant points.

For my part, I don't think they could have been fully nomadic (which would permit their dwelling further west, or within 100 leagues of the Shire) because I don't think they could have maintained their culture and heritage to the standard that protecting Eriador for 1000-odd years would require. Maintaining Rangers to guard the Shire and Breeland would be a huge drain on the resources of any population - and the smaller and more nomadic the population, the bigger the drain. I think they need a literary and fairly advanced culture to do that, and to keep doing that, even if that isn't how they chose to appear to outsiders.

In addition, the population must be large enough to constantly support Rangers in the field - and to double, at Gandalf's request, the number on patrol around the Shire. And if the population is too small, in-breeding is going to be a serious issue after a few hundred years.

So in short, I don't think we're talking about a few Rangers with ragged wives and children and some goats roaming the North Downs. In the Angle or no, they were not an insignificant society. A good option in my mind, if you don't like the Angle, would be a Rivendell-type valley in the foothills of the Misty Mountains; something that would give cover and protection from the enemies spies, as well as have the arable land they would need to sustain themselves. And if I recall correctly a number of such defiles were mentioned in passing in the Hobbit, on the journey to Rivendell.

So there's my 2¢...but I'm without my books as well, so take everything with a grain of salt.




Re: Dunedain of the North

I am still trying to get a grip on the culture and lives of the Dúnedain of the North, so here's my 0.02 Euro:

In RotK, Appendix A (The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain) it sais:
When the kingdom ended the Dúnedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people, and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. Little now is remembered of them since Elrond departed.

For me, that reads that the Dúnedain themselves did not record their own history or at least did not maintain some sort of archive, like the Dúnedain in the South certainly did. I can well imagine that Annûminas would have been equipped with a sort of library/archive once it was rebuild in the fourth age, and that what records existed about the life and history of the Northern Dúnedain would be stored there, hence survived Elrond's passing. Records about the North Kingdom have survived (at least it was not noted that they were lost), but what knowledge survived the end of the North Kingdom for the most part survived in the memory of the Elves and passed from Middle-earth when Elrond departed.

I take this bit of information that Tolkien gave about them in LotR itself that the Dúnedain either did not have the means to maintain an archive or had more pressing matters to attend to (maybe both). Though I believe that lore and books played a non too insignificant role in their lifes.

As far as the question of settlement is concerned, I don't think that there was only one settlement. I go with Michael Martinez´ theory about a settlement (maybe even the major settlement) in the Angle, but there could have well been more than one village, given that the confluence of the Bruinen and the Mitheithel is about 95 miles south of the Great East Road, and the Mitheithel and Bruinen are about 50 miles apart at the northern end of the Angle. So there's plenty of room, but I don't think that all of the Dúnedain lived there. According to fliewatuet's very personal theory (which is based, big surprise, on absolutely no evidence in canon, and if there were such evidence, I would be glad for any hint to the right direction ), there are several settlements near the ruined cities of old, like Annûminas, Fornost and Tharbad. But, as I said, that's just my belief ....

Feel free to tear my beliefs to shreds




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