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Discussing: When Myth clashes with RealWorld: Eowyn - Prince Faramir (son of King Ondoher): mythical heros or duty shirkers ?

When Myth clashes with RealWorld: Eowyn - Prince Faramir (son of King Ondoher): mythical heros or duty shirkers ?

Hi all, we had an interesting discussion about Martas Fic Of Dreams, Stars, and Fate (Essentially Beregond's musings on his namesake, Beregond the Steward. His thoughts include Gondorian naming conventions, the value of dreams, and memories of Boromir and Faramir as children.). The discussion that was sparked by Marta's story covered further many other interesting subjects. To make it easier for people who have not read Marta's story to comment on the discussion I open here a new discussion about Myth, mythical heros, the connections between Prince Faramir, Eowyn, and Steward Faramir. I will simply copy only my messages of this whole thread including the astrology parts. I do not know if the other participants would be comfortable with their messages copied. If they agree I will add their messages later. I hope this will work and you will all feel invited to take part in the discussion. Best wishes Elanor [Edit: This discussion becomes broader and broader, therefore I will add to the thread title: when Myth clashes with RealWorld]

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

essentially Beregond's musings on his namesake, Beregond the Steward. His thoughts cover a lot of territory, though, including Gondorian naming conventions, the value of dreams, and memories of Boromir and Faramir as children. Hi Marta, I read your SSP at HA in my 'daily digest'. I like your story for the sober and restrained style. I like Beregond's reflections. Compared to the LoTR Beregond he seems to be much older, much more restrained. Was this your intention ? What I did not like was the naming convention based on stellar constellations. Nowhere in Tolkien's writing I got until now the impression that names were chosen by lore masters. Elven mothers chose the names by some insight into their offsprings nature. I always thought Dunedain mothers would try to emulate this Elven custom. I always thought Dunedain chose the offspring's name with some hope for and dreams about their future life. I always thought Boromir's name was chosen to invoke the behaviour of his warrior ancestor. And I thought Faramir's name was chosen foreshadowing his selfwilled behaviour (the prince who ran away to battle endangering the Gondorian royal blood line). So for me there are no lore masters in Gondor who chose the names but Dunedain mothers either trying to invoke some ancestor's fate or chosing a name appropriate to the child's nature. Tolkien made so much efforts to chose the right names that I cannot believe in stellar constellations defining a name. Tolkien made these efforts to fit the name to the protagonist. I think Dunedain parents should and would make the same efforts. In A Mantle of Silver Stars nrink describes the wishes and hopes of the parents. Tanaqui described Faramir's naming in Cup of Bitterness: First Meeting by a vision of Finduilas, which overuled Denethor's chosen name. And Tanaqui wrote in Sufficient: Legolas’s voice broke into his thoughts. “Faramir, who gave you your name?” Faramir looked up at him. It seemed an odd question in the circumstances, although he knew the Elf must have understood his cry of despair. There was no reason not to answer. “My mother,” he said. He heard a rough edge to his voice as the suppressed emotion tried to force its way out. He swallowed, determined to speak indifferently. As it was, the Elf quite likely already thought he was mad. Like father, like son he thought hopelessly. “And did she have a measure of the foresight of your people, as you do?” ... “I think she must have been gifted with some foreknowledge, even if she did not fully understand what she saw,” Legolas said softly and with some wonder in his own voice. “Faramir, you are indeed a sufficient treasure. And it was exactly enough. Exactly what was needed.” In conclusion, I envision the naming in Dunedain culture to be performed by the parents who are guided by visions, dreams, and hopes. I realize that my thoughts are contrary to the plot of your story, but for me this is the main obstacle. Lore masters involved in future telling somehow seem too much of our world. IMO this fits not into Tolkien's world. Your description we turn our eyes to the stars, and name our sons what the fates decree for them, by the hour in which they enter the world. My father brought the lore-master three measures of grain -- the usual payment, for a farmer -- and the hour of my birth, and the lore-master gave him my name. is contrary to all what I have read until now, so I thought I might be allowed to voice my concerns. Thank you for sharing your story Best wishes Elanor ################################################## perhaps in his fifties or even sixties at the time of the War of the Ring Hi Marta, 'fifties' 'at the time of the War' for me somehow feels not right. He is not as serene as I would expect of an older man. He shows such an adoring and enthusiastic behaviour (all concerning Faramir) and a very open behaviour towards Pippin like a young man. I feel him to be no more than in thirties with Bergil an early child. That shows how much our minds differ when our brains react so differently to cannon words . Therefore I thought your story played long after the War. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry; in secret chambers withered men compounded strong elixirs, or in high cold towers asked questions of the stars. I took these words of Faramir (Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Window to the West) to refer to fairly useless "l'art pour l'art" occupations. I have not connected them to fates foretold but to old men seeking eternal life. The paragraph starts with "Death was ever present" and ends with "And the last king of the line of Anarion had no heir." I'd be willing to accept the idea that, in special cases, where a parent did have a strong prophetic sense regarding a child's name, a "special" name would be chosen by the parents, not the wise men, i.e., astrologers. But this would be a special case. We do know, for example, that Arvedui's name was chosen because of the prophecy of Malbeth the Seer: I do not think that all Gondorian or even all Dunedain families have strong prophetical abilities, but I think all parents have hopes and wishes for their children. And in Tolkien's world I think those wishes would stear the naming of the child. Tanaqui's examples I cited only to show the tip of the iceberg when providing Finduilas with such visionary abilities. That Malbeth the seer is cited to have given the name of Arvedui is for me a _very_ exceptional occurance so that it merited a rather long entry in the Book of Kings. I never connected this to a normal procedure done for all children. In myth it are the special children for which a seer will have a vision of their fate. So I gain quite the opposite impression from this Malbeth-reference. "Special" names are given by special persons. Ordinary names are given by the parents according to their hopes and wishes. (the prince who ran away to battle endangering the Gondorian royal blood line). Out of curiosity, is this canon? Hmm, I think it is cannon (as Barbara wrote). though I found no reference to selfwilled behaviour of the first Faramir in HOME or Appendix A. It is described in UT "Cirion and Eorl": This had always been the custom of Gondor, that the King, if he willed, should command his army in a major battle, provided that an heir with undisputed claim to the throne was left behind. ... he had two sons, both of age to bear arms: Artamir the elder, and Faramir some three years younger. and later But Faramir did not do so; he went to the war in disguise, and was slain. I do not know when "Cirion and Eorl" was written but I always connected these two names and their fates (naturally only after I had read UT). The foreshadowing of selfwilled behaviour in Faramir, Denethor's son, is most probably fannon though. But maybe Tolkien wrote prince Faramir with thoughts of steward Faramir in mind. I am no great student of classical astrology, but I think that if two people are born under the same stars they are supposed to have similar characters and fates. And the quickest way to identify two such people would be to give them the same names! Hmm, but what if the fate was bad ? Only good examples would be used I think. And then it is again all reduced to hopes and wishes. It is the human brain which sees order and fate in celestial constellations. And moreover, there are many more babies than known positive models with known birth constellation ;-). Especially female babies would experience such a lack of models. And why should Dunedain humans have the same fate as Elves even if born under the same constellation. Mumble, mumble ... You might have a point with Finduilas as to the fact that bad fate would not hinder the chosing of the name. Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, certainly had a bad fate. On the other hand maybe the Dol Amroth parents simply fancied the name itself, or that it was a name of a famous Noldorin princess, or there might have been other human Finduilases in the long row of years, a fact that would concur with both our impressions ;-). OK, I think we simply see Tolkien's world quite differently. For me the Dunedain are an enlightened people slowly slipping into superstitious medieval culture. You somehow see them already as a superstitious people. So let's agree to disagree ;-) Edit: [As Scott Atran says in "In Gods we trust, The evolutionary landscape of Religion" It is this cognitive architecture that makes it natural to render a supernatural interpretation of events under conditions of uncertainty. And the fate of a newborn child is certainly a uncertainty which would rise the need for supernatural interpretation: either by the interpretations of stellar constellations as you invoke or by wishes, dreams, and visions, as I ascribe to the Gondorians.] Best wishes Elanor #################################################### Fascinating discussion. Hi Liz, I enthusiastically agree: for me it is a very fascinating discussion as Faramir is my Tolkien role model and I see myself more in the place of the adoring Beregond. OK, "selfwilled" is my own invention I suppose. Looks into dictionary: http://www.answers.com/topic/self-willed&method=8 No, it is as I wanted to say it: "eigensinnig" in German. Faramir's decisions depend on noone else than himself. If he makes a decision he sticks to it. His father's wishes are counted far behind. That I wanted to express. For me that is the quality which makes a leader of men. Consider all facts, hear all persons concerned and then decide what you deem right (and stick to it). Maybe that is what you mean by 'strong willed'. OK, I do not think that Prince Faramir sought glory, he went in disguise to battle. He made a decision as Eowyn, I think, to fight for his people. But as he was the heir (as was Eowyn) his duty to his people was to stay home. As we all admire Eowyn, I think I myself admire Prince Faramir though he did not meet with success but with death. For me it was a very tragical fate, but a fate not of vainglory but of a self-willed decision carried through to the end. He never revealed his ancestry. Only when the leader of the Eotheod searched his body he found tokens that showed him to be the Prince. No, if you make Prince Faramir "glory-seeking" then I have to protest vehemently. And how we perceive Beregond depends much on our own nature and cultural background. I am a restrained person with a middle European calvinistic background. So for me Tolkien's Beregond is a very enthusiastic loving young personality: 'Faramir ! The Lord Faramir ! It is his call ! ... Help ! Help ! Will no one go out to him ? Faramir !' With that Beregond sprang away and ran off into the gloom. (LoTR) The last sentence reminds me of a young animal ;-) Though a Brazilian might find Beregond's behaviour even serene, I do not know. Liz wrote: In Gondor (even more so than in Arnor, I think) there are many of the population, perhaps the majority, who are not Dunedain/Numenorean by descent. This is particularly true for the "common people" as opposed to the lords. In other words, much of the population consists of "Middle Men" rather than "High Men". (There are quite a number of quotes supporting this in the Origins section of my WIP Gondorians bio.) I can easily see that the "common people" would be more mediaeval and superstitious than their Dunedain lords, just as most people in Europe were still mediaeval and superstitious even after the Enlightenment. I thought that I would have to embellish my thoughts ;-) OK, I think even the "common people" of Gondor are much more enlightened than peasants of the french country side around 1850. Why ? Because of Elves and Maiar. The Maiar KNOW Eru, they know that superstition is superstition. They live with the Elves and the Men of Arda. The Maia Melian lived for many hundreds of years with Elves. And the Istari wander around in Arda. These Maiar are not saints that see God only in visions, they have experienced God. As for me the unfathomable God defines rationality superstition cannot grow between persons who are educated by Maiar. The Religion of Gondor and Arnor is much more enlightened than the religion of the french country side around 1850. These are my arguments why I see no astrologers as name givers. One cannot detect fate in stellar constellations IMO. God shows not the fate of beings through stellar constellations. Would a deer and a Man born at the same time have the same fate ? Or would God create this special fate (that the astrologer infers from the constellations) only for the Mannish baby but not for the deer baby ? Have living beings born at the same place and in the same minute the same fate ? E.g. a cat and a baby, or even identical human twins cut out of the mother's womb ? I cannot believe this. It is the human brain that seeks order anywhere and uses any offered possibility to make sense out of uncertainty and chaotical informations. Stellar constellations and dreams provide such a possibility to divine a fate which instills order and sense into the uncertain future. I for my part can ere believe to experience God in dreams than I can believe that fate is defined by stellar constellations, but that's only me, others experience God maybe in stellar constellations. I am a physicist, I experience God in the universe but not in the two-dimensional projection of the stars in the intergalactic space around us. Best wishes Elanor - may the discussion go on (and please forgive if I sometimes use not the correct words) #################################################### Hi Liz, you are right "eigensinnig" has the connotation of headstrong in German also. But I wanted to use the connotation "independent", the rather direct translation "eigen" - self plus "sinnig" - "thinking". But I do agree that he is a strong and independent person capable of acting on his own initiative: fine qualities for a leader indeed. So I mean it in the sense of "independent", that is independently thinking. For me Faramir is a person who is a well balanced harmonious person who rests in himself (direct translation). But I think you're characterising Faramir very much in the way Tolkien characterises his father: "a masterful lord, holding the rule of all things in his own hand. He said little. He listened to counsel, and then followed his own mind." And yes, I see Faramir's personality to resemble his father's VERY much. The main difference for me is: Faramir takes pity on the lesser beings while his father scorns them. He (Faramir) read the hearts of men as shrewdly as his father, but what he read moved him sooner to pity than to scorn. (LoTR, App. A , The Stewards) Now to Prince Faramir. You are right, we do not know much of him. And what we know is filtered by our minds and then fitted into our value systems. Maybe I interprete his deeds with steward Faramir in the back of my mind which induces me to see more tragical myth than a failed adventure seeker. Looking again into UT. OK, in my mind, when the wain raiders and their allies (attacking from north and south) concentrate in the east (and who later overwhelm Ondoher from the side when he is re-forming his lines to counter their onslaught), Prince Faramir realizes the danger of the looming invasion for Gondor. Shirking his duty to wait for the end in Minas Tirith and having not enough confidence in the abilities of Earnil he joins the Eotheod in disguise. I agree, not in such depressed despair as Eowyn, but IMO with a more male background of proving himself a worthy warrior in times of need. He is a young male not a female spurned by her love interest. When I read those passages, I personally see a spoilt youth who is angry at being left at home. And, to me, it's not a sign of modesty but subterfuge that he's "in disguise" until he's killed: he'd be sent straight back home if anyone found out he was there. Up to here I see no difference to Eowyn's tale. Perhaps he's not "glory seeking" but I can't see his choice as the rational decision of a man on honour and sense. Hmm, mythical heros are not men of sense, often not even of honour. IMO he tries to be a hero in the sense of the mythical hero, the lone warrior proving his battle skills. To me, the tragedy of the end of the line of Kings in Gondor is precisely that too many of themlacked the necessary qualities to be good rulers. Hmm, maybe, maybe not. History is not always kind to leaders. History is written by the survivors. And the survival depends often less on the leader's qualities than it depends on chance occurences. Would the Rohirrim have come two days earlier, the Pelennor would not have been overrun, Faramir might not have been injured by an arrow, Denethor might not have commited suicide and Aragorn might have not become king, at least not uncontested. I think, history meets out good and bad chances evenly. IMO the rulers of Arnor are not a iota better than the rulers of Gondor, ere worse, quibbling and fighting as they were between themselves. And these are the forebears of our future Elessar. No, aside of the mythical need for a king out of a male-male blood line I see no better quality in Aragorn than in Denethor which would gain him the right to be king. But as this is myth, Aragorn has the one necessary quality: the unbroken line of male to male succession. (And if you want my honest opinion: I feel Denethor to be the better ruler, better educated for the government, with deeper roots in Gondorian society and economy and with quite a good understanding for the Ranger duties ;-). Gondor will have to subsidize Arnor's development with tremendous efforts. So for me Gondor will be the more important part of the double kingdom for a long time. And contrary to the long history of a unified upper and lower Egypt, I believe Arnor and Gondor will separate again early after Aragorn's death. In my mind it is the Stewards who will rule Gondor with the Kings as heads of state loved by the people because of their mythical qualities blood-line, healing powers, and Elven relationship.) And I really see no great difference between Eowyn (who had the luck to slay the the Witch King) and Prince Faramir (who simply died) with respect to fulfilling their duty. If Eowyn had been slayn you would judge her much harsher. History is kinder to the heroical survivors then to the undistinguished killed. Best wishes from Elanor who enjoys this discussion tremendously and who realizes belatedly that we have lost Beregond in between Edit: but I still feel they would not be as "enlightened" as the noblest families of Dunedain descent. They would personally have had little contact with Elves or Maiar. Look at how distrustful Eomer is of Galadriel and elves in general - and he has a Dunedain grandmother and is a nephew of a King. I think the common people of Gondor may be at a similar level of "superstition" to Eomer. I fully agree to that. Nevertheless, religion is defined by the religious thinkers and those educated to perform the rites. As in Numenor it was the king who performed the rites at Meneltarma, I expect that the Ruling Stewards also were the leaders of religious rites as before and after them the Kings (here I am reminded of the Pharaohs, kings of ancient Egypt, who were spiritual leaders, defining which God was currently the one most worthy of adoration, extreme example for this feature is Ikhnaton). Tolkien, UT, A Description of the Island of Númenor Near to the centre of the Mittalmar stood the tall mountain called Meneltarma, Pillar of the Heavens, sacred to the worship of Eru Iluvatar . … Thrice only in each year the King spoke, offering prayer for the coming year at the Erukeyerme in the first days of spring, praise of Eru Iluvatar at the Erulaitale in midsummer, and thanksgiving to him at the Eruhantale at the end of autumn. At these times the King ascended the mountain on foot followed by a great concourse of the people, clad in white and garlanded, but silent. With that in mind, I agree, surely superstition abounds in the less educated, but I cannot see that this encompasses consultations with astrologers about the fate of newborns. The catholic church condemned astrology: However, in the 16th and 17th cent., Christian theologists waged war against astrology. In 1585 astrology was officially condemned in a bull of Pope Sixtus V, and in 1631, Pope Urban VIII reinforced this with another bull. (http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=astrology&gwp=8 ). Somehow I do not see Tolkien to allow divination and astrology even for the simple folk ;-). So I see superstition practiced more in prayers to the Valar, or in folk practices as giving offerings to the Valar in hope to change fate or to receive help, or in such folk practices as "knocking on wood" to invite luck. ##################################################### Maybe the idea is similar to an AU in spirit. I think of it more like the stories in Dwim's piece "To Unwrite Them", where the idea isn't to contradict Tolkien but to go against the way we normally characterize someone or something and see where that leads us. Hi Marta, yes, I certainly agree with you here. I, as a purist, see it as AU in spirit and would label it so. I also labeled Ang's "Hands of the King" in my recommendation as AU because I cannot see Dunedain having bastards (I even cannot visualize them being married more than once). So Ecthelion's numerous "out of wedlock" offspring in Ang's "Hands of the King" makes the story AU in spirit for me ;-). I decided for once to step outside of what I and I think most people think about the meaning of names, develop a different scheme, and follow that scheme through to see where it lead. If people are able to suspend their disbelief long enough to enjoy the story, I think the story's a reasonable success. I think, there are certainly not so many purists out there in fandom who might feel as bothered as much as I feel ;-) If I feel bothered then I start to mull over what bothers me and that somewhat disturbs my enjoyment of the story. [I had once a lengthy discussion with Altariel about the reasons why Faramir's nervous breakdown in "A Game of Chess" bothered me so much. I learned quite many things in this discussion, about me, my perception of Faramir and his relationship with Denethor, and about the perceptions of others.] Many heartfelt thanks for this story which engendered so many thoughts about Gondorian culture Elanor ################################################ Hi Liz, so let's debate Prince Faramir (and Eowyn) further ;-) I don't particularly find Eowyn's actions in riding with the Rohirrim to be admirable. In HOME it is stated that Tolkien wanted a rider of Theoden's household to try to save him, if I remember rightly. And this one became Eowyn (early on described as Amazon, HOME7 p.437) when Tolkien found that Aragorn was too grim for Eowyn (HOME7 p.448 ): Probably Eowyn should die to avenge or save Theoden. Thus, only when Faramir came walking into the scenery Eowyn gained a right to live again as Faramir's bride (my interpretation). I see Tolkien using the scenes with Faramir to bring Eowyn back into a better balance between duty and personal inclination. (And I think the reverse is true: Tolkien uses Eowyn to remind Faramir that he has personal needs he should not sacrifice as completely to duty as he has been doing so far.) I agree to both. BUT, and this is a real large BUT, this is myth: Tolkien thought it more important that Eowyn should act as a warrior bound to her head of kin than that she should act as a medieval lady guarding the family realm. And coming from myth, I completely agree with this view. The rationality in the duty-debate somehow not really grapples with Tolkien's intentions IMO. I think the key words are the ones you have used: shirking his duty. Is that an admirable quality? Seeing a greater duty to a higher authority or principle, which is what I believe Steward Faramir does when he doesn't bring the Ring to Denethor, seems to me to be acceptable. Shirking ones duty when there is no greater duty does not seem acceptable to me. I in principle agree to that. BUT, for me it is the higher duty to try one's outmost to save the country than to sit at home and safeguard the royal bloodline. In both cases I am fairly sure there were enough experienced warriors at home to defend the populace left behind. So what is the higher duty for the heir ? Sit at home waiting to become King (Prince Faramir) or waiting to become the heiress of the land to be married to the future king (Eowyn) ? Or better ride out using the trained warrior skills in trying to save the land ? For me it is the second duty. I come from the mythical side not from the rational side. In myth the hero sets out on a quest, he does not wait at home to gain a kingdom. Some of these arguments I tried to voice in a discussion with MadGamgee about Problem of Eowyn, The: A Look at Ethics and Values in Middle-earth citation from first post: In conclusion, for me Eowyn chooses to ride as Dernhelm shirking her duty as an obedient proxy out of Theoden's kin because she decides to shield Rohan and her king herself and because she decides to seek either unexpected victory or honourable death on the battle-field together with her kin and king after having lost all hope for the future and especially for a honourable future as a great man's wife. ... citation from last post: In conclusion, I think 'shield-maiden' is a self-definition of Eowyn, who sets shielding her kin in glorious battle before shielding the people secured in Dunharrow by a host of experienced warriors waiting for the battle decision. She wants to be part of the decisive battle and she really seeks death in battle in contrast to Theoden and Eomer as she sees no other future for herself than in case of defeat to be butchered by Sauron's hordes or in case of victory to be married off to a Rohirrim noble. OK, for me Prince Faramir and Eowyn act in similar ways. Eowyn and Prince Faramir go the way of the mythical hero, but Eowyn succeeds and Prince Faramir fails. Maybe Eowyn only succeeds because Steward Faramir has to find an appropriate wife as matrimony and offspring is Tolkien's scheme to reward his heros unmarred by the Ring. but I have a hard time believing he could rationally consider Earnil to be incompetent. Prince Faramir has not to consider Earnil as incompetent, IMO he only has to lose hope that the armies will be able to defend Gondor. Then he is justified IMO to go to war. Maybe he is even trying additionally to safeguard the royal line by joining the Eotheod and not the Gondorian Armies ? This fact of joining the Eotheod opens many ways for speculation ;-). AND, knowing Tolkien's hard work in chosing the right names for his protagonists, I simply look on Prince Faramir with my most open mind and my kindest eyes as for me Steward Faramir is my most admired Tolkien personality. And in this I agree fully with you, my highest esteem has Faramir who shirks no duty whatsoever. Though, on the other hand, come to think of it, he has not to choose between being warrior and a 'sit at home heir'. [In my fic I give him such a choice as his father wants him to become a Minas Tirith soldier and self-willed Faramir gets the disapproving Denethor's consent to become a Ranger ;-) ]. Maybe if Denethor had not used his sons as weapons but had safeguarded them at home Faramir II had run away the same as Prince Faramir . Ducks and covers . I know many fanfic authors see Faramir as a being brutalized by his father but I see him as a personality who has more pity for than fear of his father. And he wants to defend the Gondorian culture. How should he do that in this society of continuous war than in becoming an accomplished warrior himself. I cannot see him sitting at home with scrolls even if his father had commanded this. It is not that he seeks the glory of a warrior, he uses his abilities simply to defend Gondor with all his might IMO. Whereas I think I read somewhere recently that prophetic visions in Tolkien were a form of interaction and guidance by the Powers, which I can see being similar to what I know of the concept of saintly visions in the Catholic church. Yes, dreams and visions I also can see as 'a form of interaction and guidance by' God. Thank you for this interesting discussion Elanor ################################################## Hi Liz, do not misunderstand me. I valour psychodramatic fics very much, I like them very often. And I like an elaborated cultural background. but I don't think either of us is going convince the other one to become comfortable with the other's interpretation, although we can recognise the other one as being a valid one. I do not know if I can become comfortable with a spoilt vainglory-seeking Prince Faramir. For any interpretation, being a purist through and through, I ask me always first: does this interpretation work within LoTR as it was written by Tolkien. And if it chafes it reduces my enjoyment because I constantly wonder how Tolkien would have written this. BUT, I think you can write without many problems such a brat Prince Faramir convincingly even to me ;-). Maybe I would label it AU in spirit. Despite of labeling it AU in spirit I like Ang's story 'Hands of the King' very much, nevertheless. my mind immediately leapt away to wondering if you would think it "heroic" for Faramir to abandon those scrolls (and the duty laid on him by Denethor) if those scrolls related to the supply lines and logistics for the Gondorian army. It's pretty hard in practical terms for warriors to do the heroic stuff without someone ensuring they have food, shelter and warmth - and the way my brain works, I simply can't ignore those needs. You see, though I come from the mythical side, it is not taciturn Aragorn, THE mythical saviour-king, who is my hero. No it is eloquent, sophisticated Faramir. The one character which speaks the most sentences in the whole book, more than all the other characters together I sometimes suspect. And in a fantasy story Faramir would sit behind the scrolls and steer the armies from the background as any realistic leader knowing that his mind's work is more important than the small part in the grand scheme he could play as a captain. Yet, to answer your question if [I] would think it "heroic" for Faramir to abandon those scrolls (and the duty laid on him by Denethor) if those scrolls related to the supply lines and logistics for the Gondorian army: yes, I would think it heroic to abandon the scrolls about military supply lines. In a myth there are no supply lines, there is often not even a military command structure. An heroic warrior band is a band of individualists like the Sarmatian knights portrayed in the movie "King Arthur", which I very much enjoyed as a mythical tale. IMO Clive Owen's Arthur represents much more the mythical saviour-king than Viggo Mortensen's doubting Ranger. If I think of LoTR Aragorn then I see Clive Owen's Arthur not Viggo's Aragorn. Especially, if I try to visualize a raven haired Dunedain. Mythical fights are between the main leaders, realistical leaders stay on the hill and lead through the command structure, surrounded by their elite troups. Only when the troups are in imminent danger to be routed a realistical leader would fight with his men at the front to bolster their courage. Because realistical troups nearly always are routed if the leader falls. So, while a realistical leader has to have a strategical mind, a mythical leader has to have very good battle skills. Ergo: Faramir being a protagonist in a myth has to leave the scrolls and go to hone his battle skills. Gondorian king Ondoher, on the other hand, is protagonist of a more historical narrative. He stays on the hill surrounded by his men, as is Theodred when he falls. You see: the realistical leaders fall despite behaving realistically. Only the mythical heros with supreme battle skills survive ;-). So Faramir save yourself, go and leave the scrolls, hone your battle skills ! As this is LoTR, the myth for England that Tolkien wanted to write, I think Faramir really has to comply to mythical surroundings somehow. So LoTR Faramir must be a warrior captain even if he would prefer to read and write. Rationality is not the right background for a myth. So for me Faramir is a role model because he does his duty as a mythical hero in a myth, and that is being a leader of warriors, though he would very much prefer to sit in the library. And in a myth young Faramir would set himself the goal to become an accomplished warrior, because hero myths are about lone warriors proving their battle skills outside of society. Only saviour-king heros come back from the wilderness into the towns, into society. Normal mythical heros stay in the wilderness, their wifes being often no more than quest prizes and bearer of offspring. So Steward Faramir is partly also a saviour-king type, but lacking the mythical blood-line he stays Steward and becomes not King. And LoTR works for me because it is a myth, not because it is a fantasy novel with developed characters. Nevertheless I can enjoy fantasy LoTR fanfiction. I enjoy it as fantasy, but not as LoTR gap fillers. As to the 'Eowyn' - 'Prince Faramir' - 'shirked duty' debate: I wonder why nobody ever wondered about Aragorn sauntering around in Arda endangering this precious mythical male-male blood line. No, it is accepted all around in the fanfiction community that there is no heir around sitting fast at home while Aragorn takes on tasks any able Ranger could have fulfilled (Halbarad comes to my mind; maybe Halbarad is additionally this heir, but unconvincingly he falls on the Pelennor, and that he can boast a male-male blood line back to the kings of Arnor I do not remember to have ever read). Again, any able Ranger could have tracked Gollum, lead the Hobbits to Rivendell and beyond. Why do you all accept Aragorns dangerous lone wanderings, while Eowyn has to sit dutifully at home and show the stiff upper lip to the not-fighting populace ? I think this is due to the fact that you accept Aragorn as a mythical hero but not Eowyn. Do you really think a realistic throne heir wanders around lonely in the wilderness like Sigurd dragon slayer ? He would have least some companions as the mythical Beowulf or a friend as mythical CuChulain. Yet, I never read that anybody wondered about Aragorn's lonely wanderings. And in this context, what about the Captain of the White Tower who seeks Imladris unaccompanied ? No real leader of men would make a journey like this. It is again the mythical quest of the warrior alone in the wilderness. And don't you wonder that this last heir of Isildur battles on the Pelennor and at the Black Gate? No, I think not, because of all the trappings of the mythical hero: named sword, named horse, and unsurpassable battle skills. So, why have Eowyn and Prince Faramir have to behave realistically but not Aragorn or Boromir ? Despite these questions I eagerly await your realistical Prince Faramir story Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir (son of King Ondoher): mythical heros or duty shirkers

Great thread, Elanor! I personally exonerate Eowyn of the charge of desertion, because I'm not sure she was what we would call fully competent at the time she made the decision to abandon her duty and go to battle. She was depressed, and some might say, suicidal. Also, since she was not a member of Theoden's army or Eomer's eored at the time Theoden gave her the duty, Eowyn can't be charged with Desertion - dereliction of duty, perhaps... As for the first Faramir, I'm not sure what motivated him, but there's no indication that he was suffering from years of being stalked, watching one's father decay, and being rejected by a hopeful love interest....But he should have stayed at home. And these are the forebears of our future Elessar. No, aside of the mythical need for a king out of a male-male blood line I see no better quality in Aragorn than in Denethor which would gain him the right to be king. But as this is myth, Aragorn has the one necessary quality: the unbroken line of male to male succession. (And if you want my honest opinion: I feel Denethor to be the better ruler, better educated for the government, with deeper roots in Gondorian society and economy and with quite a good understanding for the Ranger duties ;-). Gondor will have to subsidize Arnor's development with tremendous efforts. So for me Gondor will be the more important part of the double kingdom for a long time. And contrary to the long history of a unified upper and lower Egypt, I believe Arnor and Gondor will separate again early after Aragorn's death. In my mind it is the Stewards who will rule Gondor with the Kings as heads of state loved by the people because of their mythical qualities blood-line, healing powers, and Elven relationship.) Interesting comment. I think Aragorn, with Faramir's guidance and help in learning to handle local politics/civil administration, would make a better king than Denethor. Denethor's no fool, but he's also a self-isolated control freak. Aragorn would have the sense to listen to others' opinions, though not be totally dependent on them, and the charisma to attract intelligent friends and the ability to keep them... I personally envision a daughter or grand-daughter of Faramir's marrying Eldarion, but that's just me, not canon...As to whether Arnor and Gondor will separate after Aragorn's death, I'm not so sure. A lot depends on how the two halves of the Reunited Kingdom cross-pollinate. If the people of both lands stay home and don't mingle, then eventually there will be two separate kingdoms. If hordes of Gondorians go north to make lives in the open spaces and inter-marry with the Northern Dunedain, or at least work with them, and some Northern Dunedain settle in the more cosmopolitan and populated Southlands, the Kingdom could stay reunited... I concur that it didn't make much sense for the Dunedain of Arnor to let their Chief and the only Heir of Isildur go wandering about risking his hide all over M-e for 70 years. I think Elrond's ultimatum that Arwen would only wed Aragorn when Sauron was thrown down might have had a lot to do with it. Also, the only safe place for Aragorn would have been Imladris; and I don't think he would be content to stay there while others fought the minions of Sauron. Personally, I think the Valar were keeping a very close watch on Aragorn, helping him out unseen, perhaps at Gandalf's request (or Elrond, who must have had some status as a descendant of Melian and son of Earendil)... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I wonder why nobody ever wondered about Aragorn sauntering around in Arda endangering this precious mythical male-male blood line. snip Yet, I never read that anybody wondered about Aragorn's lonely wanderings. Well, I do. Constantly. Ask Liz or Marta. I bore them nearly to tears sometimes with my speculations on how what JRRT gave us "could have really been the truth if 'that' happened 'this' way". Now if I just wrote faster, more people would (at least have the chance to - I don't want to sound like anyone but me would be expected to read them and/or agree with my reasoning) know about them. It drove me crazy for 30 years to think about just how *would* baby Aragorn be hidden when his mother came with him to Rivendell. That's not very likely either, except in a very mythic sense. So, while a realistical leader has to have a strategical mind, a mythical leader has to have very good battle skills. I think we also have to make allowances in 'battle leaders' for what was expected in different historical periods. An Alexander was expected to be in the thick of the fighting. A Richard the Lionheart would be expected to be an able fighter, but could also just stand back sometimes and strategize the battles (although what he considered sound strategy and what modern military men think his military goals should have been are very different items). After Richard the Third (the last English King to die in battle) kings were expected to ONLY strategize and lead from the rear or assign the role of military leader to a general and not even show up onthe battlefield at all. I doubt very much if Arthur Wellesley was expected to do any more than direct from the rear. Would Alexander's troops have followed Wellesley? I very much doubt it. Did Wellesley's own troops love him and think him invincable? Yes, of course, because their expectations of what they wanted from a 'military leader' were very different from those troops who followed Alexander. Alexander's victories were not mythical. Neither were Wellesley's. And yet Alexander followed much more the 'mythical' pattern of nearly invincible warrior, personally leading his troops in charges. Alexander, like Faramir, was also something of a scholar; he studied philosophy under Aristotle. Was Alexander a less effective military leader because he followed the 'mythical' pattern rather than a 'strategic' one? Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I often wonder why the heck Arathorn was allowed to wait until the age of 58 before he fathered an heir? I could hardly believe that anyone, even the prospective bride's parents, hesitated when he and Gilraen's mutual hankering became known. You'd think they'd have arranged the wedding with indecent haste, called a Dunedain national holiday, and shoved Arathorn into Gilraen's bed as soon as the ceremony finished, after plying the couple with oysters. Alexander was an excellent, and very lucky, military leader. I don't think Aragorn had the temperament to sit back and let others do the leading and fighting for him; also, the tradition, as foolish as it might seem to us, was not for Dunedain chiefs to sit back and send their lieutenants to the fore of battle. And Aragorn also had an ultimatum to fulfill if he wanted Arwen, which he did, and he felt that he would have to actively work on it... How would baby Aragorn be hidden? Fairly easily, at least more easily in Imladris than anywhere else on M-e. Imladris is fairly isolated, far from strife. Orcs don't enter, or even, as far as I know, spy on it from the outskirts...And it's a fairly big place, with space for a child to wander around unseen by Enemy eyes. What I wonder is how Aragorn remained hidden from Enemy eyes and spies once he journeyed out into the world, or at least managed to constantly elude capture/killing. Maybe that's why he used so many aliases, as well as not being ready to knock on the door of the White Tower and tell Ecthelion and Denethor that the King had returned.... I also wonder if Aragorn, once he was crowned King, was allowed to go gallivanting about on military expeditions before Eldarion was born. JRRT says that Aragorn fought Easterlings, but he didn't say when...Could be an interesting story in there if Faramir decides to safeguard his king by any means possible... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir (son of King Ondoher): mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Raksha, I see you go for the psychodramatic interpretation: I personally exonerate Eowyn of the charge of desertion, because I'm not sure she was what we would call fully competent at the time she made the decision to abandon her duty and go to battle. She was depressed, and some might say, suicidal. Yet, I do not see her as not "fully competent". Despairing yes, suicidal maybe. But I think she did not desert in our sense of the word. She pondered different duties, different goals. IMO the duty to stay as Theoden's proxy at Dunharrow is a less honourable duty in the mythic or norse honour code sense than the duty to defend the king and head of your kin. As for the first Faramir, I'm not sure what motivated him, but there's no indication that he was suffering from years of being stalked, watching one's father decay, and being rejected by a hopeful love interest. For me these all are not honourable reasons to shirk duty. No, as Liz said, one has to see an higher duty to make this leaving of one's assigned duty honourable. Therefore I think, Prince Faramir, as Eowyn, saw an higher duty. For sure, I ascribe him that, but to make him a spoilt brat is an assignment also. And I prefer the honourable decision for a Gondorian Prince named Faramir ;-) I think Aragorn, with Faramir's guidance and help in learning to handle local politics/civil administration, would make a better king than Denethor. Denethor's no fool, but he's also a self-isolated control freak. Aragorn would have the sense to listen to others' opinions, though not be totally dependent on them, and the charisma to attract intelligent friends and the ability to keep them... Hmm, I think one has to define what a good king is. For me a good king serves his people to his utmost abilities, setting himself aside, setting his people first in all his thoughts. Denethor did this, he sacrificed himself and his family for Gondor IMO. What did Aragorn sacrifice ? Where did he set his people first ? When wandering around in Arda ? When battling at the Dark Gate ? When accepting the crown ? When being led by Gandalf to find the sapling of the White Tree ? Seemingly he could not even accomplish this kingly quest without Maia help. No, IMO his goal to vanquish Sauron is based on his wish to gain Arwen, to free the world of evil. But where does he set the people first aside of the night of healings in Minas Tirith ? [Probably my dislike for Aragorn strenghtens the more I think about him ;-) ] Maybe he sets the people first when he and his Dunedain Rangers patrol Arnor but for me this looks more like the elitist goal to retain as much of the former glory and warrior status of the Dunedain within their own secret society and not as if the Dunedain were the acknowledged warrior part of the Arnorian people. Another type of a good king is the spiritual leader as the Egyptian God kings. I think Aragorn is more such a type of king. He will serve the morale of the people, he will unify the domains. Yet, thinking on the White Tree sapling incident I see him even lacking real spiritual abilities. And I definitely see him not as an administrator, this is the part of the hereditary Stewards. So for me the Stewards are kings in effect while the precious blood line serves as a unifying symbol, a head of state. I personally envision a daughter or grand-daughter of Faramir's marrying Eldarion, but that's just me, not canon... I agree with your vision, though I see ere the marriage between a royal female and a Steward male. The royal males may need to marry outside the realm, other royals to gain or bolster peace treaties. So I see a marriage with the southern renegade Dunedain. On the other hand you are right in this: Dunedain tend to marry Dunedain, more so, they marry only for love, so your vision has a great chance ;-) As to whether Arnor and Gondor will separate after Aragorn's death, I'm not so sure. A lot depends on how the two halves of the Reunited Kingdom cross-pollinate. I base my assumption of an early separation only on the geographical map and the quite different past developments in Arnor and Gondor. Even if many Gondorians would settle in Arnor it is more like England and the colonies. Arnor and Gondor are separated by the White Mountains and Rohan. Direct connection possible only over the sea and a small coast strip. Arnor Dunedains a Ranger society since hundreds of years, Gondor Dunedains town and estate dwellers with many economic interests. Somehow I see only the royal family as an unifying band. And as the royal family has a strong Elven streak through Arwen I see a danger here that Eldarion and his heirs might become easily disconnected from the people by pride and aloofness. Though the populace will probably love them for their mythic blood line. Thus, where Men live there is hope as well as despair ;-) Personally, I think the Valar were keeping a very close watch on Aragorn, helping him out unseen, perhaps at Gandalf's request (or Elrond, who must have had some status as a descendant of Melian and son of Earendil)... Hmm, I do not see the Valar to take interest in Middle-Earth Elves, Dunedain or Men. They took interest in Sauron because he endangered their work and sent the Istari. But, the Maia Olorin aka Gandalf definitely took interest in Aragorn. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Gwynnyd, Yet, I never read that anybody wondered about Aragorn's lonely wanderings. Well, I do. Constantly. So well met, two wonderers here I think we also have to make allowances in 'battle leaders' for what was expected in different historical periods. An Alexander was expected to be in the thick of the fighting. A Richard the Lionheart would be expected to be an able fighter, but could also just stand back sometimes and strategize the battles (although what he considered sound strategy and what modern military men think his military goals should have been are very different items). Ok, let me explain. I base my view of realistic ancient warfare on Roman Republic and Early Empire warfare. This is rationalistic warfare. Earlier warfare is the base of mythic hero epics. The lonesome mythic hero (see Iliad and greek myth) is the rallying description of a model warrior those ancient warriors were supposed to emulate. Moreover, I do not believe that Alexander wandered around alone in the wilderness like Aragorn or Sigurd dragon slayer. Surely Alexander in the heat of the battle was still surrounded by his elite troups. There is a description of the Egyptian king Ramses II before Kadesh left by all his troops who calls to Amun and then vanquishes his enemies in a holy battle fury. I think this is a mythical description of the real battle situation. One might also say it is religious propaganda. But I know not of a similar description for Alexander. I suppose already for Alexander strategy was of more importance than unsurpassable personal fighting abilities. (Ramses defeated his enemies not by fighting skills but with the help of his God.) The King (be it Ramses or Alexander) surely served as a rallying point. And Alexander is shown in a mosaic in direct confrontation with the Persian enemy king. But again, I suppose here also the archetypical man-to-man hero fight has guided the artist in the description of the confrontation Alexander - Darius. But Tolkien's heros as the mythical epic heros survive due to their supreme fighting skills: Aragorn and Eomer and Imrahil ... These three were unscathed, for such was their fortune and skill and might of their arms, and few indeed had dared to abide them or look on their faces in the hour of their wrath. (LoTR, RoTK, The battle of the Pelennor Fields) Was Alexander a less effective military leader because he followed the 'mythical' pattern rather than a 'strategic' one? NO, assuredly not. I was discussing Liz' vision of an 'strategic' leader Faramir sitting behind scrolls in the surroundings of LoTR. I tried to say that with LoTR being essentially a myth the heros also have to have mythic qualities, you might say they have to have ancient warfare qualities, I say they have to have a mythic hero's personal battle skills . Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Raksha, I often wonder why the heck Arathorn was allowed to wait until the age of 58 before he fathered an heir? I could hardly believe that anyone, even the prospective bride's parents, hesitated when he and Gilraen's mutual hankering became known. You'd think they'd have arranged the wedding with indecent haste, called a Dunedain national holiday, and shoved Arathorn into Gilraen's bed as soon as the ceremony finished, after plying the couple with oysters. I completely agree with you here Sober again: IMO Dunedain love and marry once in their life. So the Northern Dunedain surely were not overly surprised that it took Arathorn so long to find his one love. There is simply no point to urge a Dunedain to marry, IMO he could not without love. And to find the love of one's life can be very difficult. But to the rest of your description I completely agree How would baby Aragorn be hidden? Fairly easily, at least more easily in Imladris than anywhere else on M-e. Imladris is fairly isolated, far from strife. Orcs don't enter, or even, as far as I know, spy on it from the outskirts...And it's a fairly big place, with space for a child to wander around unseen by Enemy eyes. Yes, I must say that this feature (though it is a mythic feature) seemed well explained to me by Tolkien. I agree to your take of the situation. Perhaps Gwynnyd will explain further, why she feels the situation unbelievable What I wonder is how Aragorn remained hidden from Enemy eyes and spies once he journeyed out into the world, or at least managed to constantly elude capture/killing. Yes, this is what I and Gwynnyd also wonder about. This is pure myth. Let me cite an excerpt of the mythical hero life's pattern according to Raglan as far as it applies to Aragorn: (1) his mother is a royal virgin = from the royal line (2) his father is a king = from a line of kings (3) often a near relative of his mother = not extremely near, I agree (4) the circumstances of his conception are unusual = father marries a very young relative (6) at birth an attempt is made to kill him = infered from the fact that Sauron searches the Heirs of Isildur as an intended attempt (7) but he is spirited away = hidden in Rivendell as Estel (8 ) reared by foster-parents = raised by Elrond (9) we are told nothing of his childhood (10) on reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom (11) after a victory over king/dragon/giant/wild beast = Sauron (12) he marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor (13) becomes king (14) for a time reigns uneventfully = not much is said about Aragorn's reign (15) prescribes laws = I assume so (Raglan, The Hero, A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama) That Aragorn manages to accord to 14 out of 22 possible mythic hero life patterns is more than Sigurd dragon slayer manages. Sigurd scores only 11 points. So in the theory of a mythical hero's life patterns Aragorn scores rather high. Therefore, I accept Aragorn as a mythical saviour king. Therefore, I accept his lonely wanderings. BUT, and this is a very large but, I do not understand why, if LoTR is such a mythical epic, fanfiction authors do not accept Eowyn as a mythical being also. Why is her honourable defence of her uncle as a 'shield maiden' (even if only she herself uses this definition in conversations with the two men she ponders to share her life with) seen as a desertion like she had been a real medieval lady entrusted to guard the family holdings ? Why has she to be excused by suicidal despair ? And coming back to Prince Faramir, why has he to be a realistic deserter ? Why can he not be also a mythic hero setting out alone on a quest very much like King Earnur, who tried to vanquish the Witch King (Lord of Minas Morgul) with a small escort of Knights ? Best wishes Elanor Yeah to this stimulating discussion

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Elanor! I have a question: (6) at birth an attempt is made to kill him What event is this referring to? I don't recall reading about any attempt on Aragorn's life as a baby, though I concede that I have not read HoME. Surely you are not suggesting that Aragorn accompanied Arathorn as he went on an Orc hunting trip with the sons of Elrond? - Barbara, curous

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I often wonder why the heck Arathorn was allowed to wait until the age of 58 before he fathered an heir? I could hardly believe that anyone, even the prospective bride's parents, hesitated when he and Gilraen's mutual hankering became known. You'd think they'd have arranged the wedding with indecent haste, called a Dunedain national holiday, and shoved Arathorn into Gilraen's bed as soon as the ceremony finished, after plying the couple with oysters. LOL! But for a people whose life-span could reach 160 years, 58 is only (does some calculations) 29 in Rohirrim years, for example (they lived to about 80). HoME sheds some light on this question: "Arathorn was a stern man of full years; for the Heirs of Isildur, being men of long life (even to eight score years and more) who journeyed much and went often into great perils, were not accustomed to wed until they had laboured long in the world." The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 9, The Making of Appendix A: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen - Barbara

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Barbara, (6) at birth an attempt is made to kill him What event is this referring to? I simply refer to the fact that baby Aragorn has to be hidden. Otherwise Sauron and/or his minions would kill him. For the Wise then knew that the Enemy was seeking to discover the Heir of Isildur, if any remained on earth. (LoTR, App. A, Tale of Aragorn and Arwen) From this sentence only I infer the intended attempt. I know of no described attempt. But somehow I have the impression that Gilraen feared or experienced such an attempt which induced her to hide Aragorn as Estel in Rivendell. The 'endangered baby' is such a well used mythical topos that I think I can safely infer this attempt But I will add "= infered from the fact that Sauron searches the Heirs of Isildur as an intended attempt" Thank you for this question Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

For the Wise then knew that the Enemy was seeking to discover the Heir of Isildur, if any remained on earth. (LoTR, App. A, Tale of Aragorn and Arwen) From this sentence only I infer the intended attempt. I know of no described attempt. But somehow I have the impression that Gilraen feared or experienced such an attempt which induced her to hide Aragorn as Estel in Rivendell. The endangered baby is a well used mythical topos that I think I can safely infer this attempt No real argument against this, as I think the presumption can be made that Sauron would have his minions on the look out to locate and kill the Heir of Isildur on general principles, but Aragorn being taken to Rivendell is *not* unique: After Arvedui the North-kingdom ended, for the Dunedain were now few and all the peoples of Eriador diminished. Yet the line of the kings was continued by the Cheiftans of the Dunedain, of whom Aranarth son of Arvedui was the first. Arahael his son was fostered at Rivedell, and so were all the sons of the cheiftans after him; and there also were kept the heirlooms of their house: the ring of Barahir, the shards of Narsil, the star of Elendil, and the sceptre of Annuminas. (LoTR, App. A, (iii) Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur) emphasis added So, the Heir of Isildur was traditionally protected in Rivendell, though it appears, from the Tale of Aragron and Arwen, that he might not have been taken there at birth. Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Ang, but Aragorn being taken to Rivendell is *not* unique: I completely agree to that, but the fact that "Arahael his son was fostered at Rivedell, and so were all the sons of the cheiftans after him" says for me only that all Heirs of Isildur were 'endangered babys' in principle. This agrees nevertheless to the hero pattern of life IMO ;-) Uh, I understand, you refer to my impression that Gilrean experienced an attempt. OK, no, I agree, probably Gilraen simply followed the normal pattern of hiding Isildur's heir at Rivendell. That leaves only the intended attempt in its general sense. And, taking this pattern of rising Isildur's heirs into account I can understand Gwynnyd's worries, how this hiding place could have been still safe after so many years. (I had forgotten this pattern of hiding all heirs of isildur.) Yet, Elrond and his Elves seem to have been very able defenders of Rivendell and its secrets, so this 'Isildur heir' hiding place could be still unknown to Sauron after centuries IMO. Thank you for this remark Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I completely agree to that, but the fact that "Arahael his son was fostered at Rivedell, and so were all the sons of the cheiftans after him" says for me only that all Heirs of Isildur were 'endangered babys' in principle. This agrees nevertheless to the hero pattern of life IMO ;-) Oh, absolutely. I don't see anyway to interpret the fostering at Rivendell except as an attempt to keep the Heir as safe as possible, using the power of Vilya wielded by Elrond to keep all enemies at bay, particularly given how effective Angmar was at destroying the human kingdom. Sauron is the biggest threat because he is determined, powerful, and immortal, but there are others. The question of how the hiding place could be kept secret probably needs to be explained through reference to Elrond's use of Vilya, just as Galadriel used Nenya to defend Lothlorien, particularly against Dol Guldur. Why couldn't someone with a palantir, for example, just look north and see Imladris? A collection of reasons, but the Elven Rings probably play a part. If Sauron can't successfully attack Rivendell, then it is a good place to stick the heirs. Besides, they're family... ;-) Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Elrond's use of Vilya, just as Galadriel used Nenya to defend Lothlorien, particularly against Dol Guldur. Why couldn't someone with a palantir, for example, just look north and see Imladris? A collection of reasons, but the Elven Rings probably play a part. Very good argument. Thank you Ang ! Especially the reference to Rivendell hidden from Sauron's screening Palantir convinces me. Mythical Ring saves mythical blood line from mythical stalker Sauron. That should be convincing enough, Gwynnyd Best wishes Elanor who has to retreat to bed now before her children awake

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I don't see anyway to interpret the fostering at Rivendell except as an attempt to keep the Heir as safe as possible, using the power of Vilya wielded by Elrond to keep all enemies at bay, particularly given how effective Angmar was at destroying the human kingdom. Sauron is the biggest threat because he is determined, powerful, and immortal, but there are others. A tiny quibble: even without the threat of Sauron, I believe that the Heirs would have spent at least some time in Rivendell simply to get a well-rounded education. Perhaps the fostering may have begun as educational, but became more protective after the Wise realized that Sauron was regaining power, sometime around 1100 III. If Sauron can't successfully attack Rivendell, then it is a good place to stick the heirs. Besides, they're family... ;-) Yes, and as everyone knows, wise older relatives (with rings of power) make the best babysitters. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

(6) at birth an attempt is made to kill him What event is this referring to? I simply refer to the fact that baby Aragorn has to be hidden. Otherwise Sauron and/or his minions would kill him. Oh, absolutely. The threat was very real, even in the absence of specific attempts. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Perhaps Gwynnyd will explain further, why she feels the situation unbelievable That one at least, I've already written. For my reasons you can read Not Without Hope (or at least the author's notes at the end where I spell out the argument for why I wrote the story the way I did.) (6) at birth an attempt is made to kill him = infered from the fact that Sauron searches the Heirs of Isildur as an intended attempt I will counter with 'what changed in the 18 years between Aragorn being spirited away to Rivendell and finding out who he really was?' Did the northern Dúnedain acquire the ability to resist the incursions by orcs/trolls/etc that killed both his father and grandfather in just two years? I highly doubt that. Elanor asked what Aragorn did for 'his people'. I think he 'went out into the wilderness' and did not take up his place as Lord of the Dúnedain as his first sacrifice. He can't have preferred to 'walk in the wilderness alone' for all those years. I see him as going in disguise to Rohan and Gondor and other places east and south in order to learn how to be a king because he could not be the Chieftain without endangering his people. Where else in Middle Earth would he acquire the practical experience he would need and want? I'm sure that Elrond could give Aragorn an education that would fit him for the king/chieftainship. Elrond was entrusted with the education of 15 generations of chieftains, after all. He must have been teaching them at least adequately how to govern. I have not read Raglan, but reading the 15 points you give Aragorn, most of those apply equally to Richard III, who was certainly no mystical warrior-king. I'll have to look up Raglan. Thanks for the pointer. And coming back to Prince Faramir, why has he to be a realistic deserter ? Why can he not be also a mythic hero setting out alone on a quest very much like King Earnur, who tried to vanquish the Witch King (Lord of Minas Morgul) with a small escort of Knights ? He does not have to be a deserter. But as just another mythic hero in a story littered with them, he would make a much less interesting person that way. Earnur and Faramir son of Ondoher commmitted the error of being wrong and dying for their mythic quests. Had Aragorn or Éowyn or Faramir son of Denethor also died during their mythic quests, we might also judge them more harshly. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

The question of how the hiding place could be kept secret As I read it, the son(s) of the chieftains were fostered at Rivendell, but until Aragorn there was no attempt to keep the heir's name and location a secret. That was new with Aragorn and the concerted attempts to locate and wipe out the remaining heirs of Isildur that killed his father and grandfather (and presumably a whole bunch of other Rangers as a nice aside for Sauron). Prior to that time, IMO, Sauron did not have the power or the desire to do so. He had other things to do. He did not think the Northern Dúnedain enough of a threat after his minion the Witch King essentially destroyed the kingdoms to do more than harrass them for the next thousand years. It was only when he started to regroup and grow in strength that he tried to wipe out the last remaining Heirs of Isildur before he made his final push on Gondor. There would have been no reason to hide the heirs before Aragorn. Which is why I wonder, even though it was much the safest place to put him, why they tried, and apparently got away with, hiding Aragorn in what amounted to plain sight. If the Chieftain's heirs are always sent to Rivendell and a boy of approximately the right age is there, well who is he if he's not the 'heir you are looking for'? YMMV of course. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

That one at least, I've already written. For my reasons you can read Not Without Hope (or at least the author's notes at the end where I spell out the argument for why I wrote the story the way I did.) Hi Gwynnyd, I find your notes very convincing (have yet not read the story). Yes, I agree it functions only if nearly nobody knows what became of baby Aragorn and mother Gilrain, even within the Dunedain. So they must have installed another chieftain. And Elrond must have had very good hiding capabilites indeed. No Rivendell Elve captured by Orks and no contact between Dunedain visitors and Gilraen at Rivendell. That alone could have driven Gilraen into depression. Did the northern Dúnedain acquire the ability to resist the incursions by orcs/trolls/etc that killed both his father and grandfather in just two years? I highly doubt that. I agree fully to that, but a trained warrior can hide and defend himself better than a baby is my take here. In this myth Aragorn is an unsurpassable fighter, I assume his fighting abilities to be much better than those of father and grandfather and Aragorn less prone to daring behaviour. I think he 'went out into the wilderness' and did not take up his place as Lord of the Dúnedain as his first sacrifice. He can't have preferred to 'walk in the wilderness alone' for all those years. I see him as going in disguise to Rohan and Gondor and other places east and south in order to learn how to be a king because he could not be the Chieftain without endangering his people. Hmm, cannot contradict this. But this sounds as if he knew he would become king. And not 'to take up his place as Lord of the Dúnedain' is for me not a sacrifice but shirking his duty as Eowyn is accused of shirking her duty. If it was really like that I would esteem him much lower than Eowyn. Why would it be his first duty to be educated as a king if all his forebears never claimed the kingship. He wants to save Middle-Earth ? For that he has not first to become king. No, he wants Arwen. For that he needs to become king. He wants her for himself. This is selfish IMO. Not honourable. I always thought that he acted a few years as chieftain and looked to it that the Northern Dunedain were properly seen to as during the time when Isildur's heir was in hiding. And then he went on a honourable warrior quest 'wandering alone in the wilderness'. Educating himself, I see it alike, by visiting Rohan and Gondor. I'm sure that Elrond could give Aragorn an education that would fit him for the king/chieftainship. Elrond was entrusted with the education of 15 generations of chieftains, after all. He must have been teaching them at least adequately how to govern. A Dunedain chieftain is not the King of Gondor and Arnor. And education in technicalities is not all. A king needs more knowledge of his people, he has to get acquainted with the populace for which he has to serve as king. Therefore I am fairly sure Aragorn acted additionally some years as chieftain of the Northern Dunedain before he went away. How would he otherwise bind his Dunedain emotionally to him ? I have not read Raglan, but reading the 15 points you give Aragorn, most of those apply equally to Richard III, who was certainly no mystical warrior-king. I agree that I fitted the patterns to a more realistical king-life. Mythically the mother would be a very near relative (daughter or sister) of the kingly father, who often is not the genetical father. The 'circumstances at the conception very extraordinary' usually means the father is a God, often in disguise. The attempt on the baby's life would be real and often excuted by the social father. And a usual mythical king doesn't leave his throne to his direct body-heirs. But as this is neither an antique Greek, Dark Ages Norse, nor medieval Welsh myth (even the Arthur myth is nearer to the old patterns, scores 19) but a modern myth I think one can fit the mythical patterns to patterns more acceptable to the modern audience (more like allusions to the old topoi), which is what Tolkien did, I think. He wrote this myth not with a pagan but with a catholic value system in the back of his mind. And, as Raglan remarks, heros of history score not more than 6 points, Alexander the Great reaching the maximum of 7. On the other hand, Robin Hood scores 13 points, whereby Raglan adapts the royal hero patterns to a medieval noble's life. But as just another mythic hero in a story littered with them, he would make a much less interesting person that way. Hmm, for me he would not be less interesting but more interesting if he is another person fitting into mythic background. People's minds are very different Thank you for your very interesting remarks Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

There would have been no reason to hide the heirs before Aragorn. Which is why I wonder, even though it was much the safest place to put him, why they tried, and apparently got away with, hiding Aragorn in what amounted to plain sight. If the Chieftain's heirs are always sent to Rivendell and a boy of approximately the right age is there, well who is he if he's not the 'heir you are looking for'? You argue very convincingly for me. But I did not think that Elrond hid Aragorn in 'plain sight'. But to avoid 'plain sight' as you rightly argue after taking the custom of all the chieftains heirs educated in Rivendell into account Elrond must have gone to great lengths to avoid any knowledge about the existence of a man child living at Rivendell (and even of Gilrain the former chieftain's wife) spilling to the Dunedain or to the Orks raiding around Rivendell. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

That one at least, I've already written. For my reasons you can read Not Without Hope Yeah, great story. I read it and in itself it is VERY convincing. But for me, being a purist through and through, it somehow feels more like AU in spirit. I have to mull it over why I feel it to have a too modern plot. I will come back to you, probably in your own discussion. Many thanks for writing such a well written, well thought, lively, and realistic feeling story Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hmm, cannot contradict this. But this sounds as if he knew he would become king. And not 'to take up his place as Lord of the Dúnedain' is for me not a sacrifice but shirking his duty as Eowyn is accused of shirking her duty. If it was really like that I would esteem him much lower than Eowyn. Why would it be his first duty to be educated as a king if all his forebears never claimed the kingship. He wants to save Middle-Earth ? For that he has not first to become king. No, he wants Arwen. For that he needs to become king. He wants her for himself. This is selfish IMO. Not honourable. We do have very different approaches. And this is fun to discuss. I don't think he knew he would be a king, but he certainly knew he was from 'kingly' stock. He called himself "Isildur's Heir, Lord of the Dúnedain" when he introduced himself to Arwen. His 'duty' is to be Chieftain of the Northern Dúnedain, but JRRT never said that he took up his duties at this time. Whenever it is mentioned it says quite clearly "Aragorn goes out into the wild." "'Then Aragorn took leave lovingly of Elrond; and the next day he said farewell to his mother, and to the house of Elrond, and to Arwen, and he went out into the wild. " - Tale of Aragorn and Arwen "2951 (bits snipped) Arwen, newly returned from Lórien, meets Aragorn in the woods of Imladris. Aragorn goes out into the Wild." Tale of Years In the HoME volumes the wording is slightly different and he is said to "Go out into the world", but in no case does it say 'takes up his duties as Chieftain of the Dúnedain" when he leaves Imladris. So, why? I can't believe that JRRT did that casually and that he meant to say that Aragorn took up his duties and it just came out wrong. In any back story that I write, I try hard to follow the exact letter of what Tolkien told us happened. If at 20, by announcing himself to be Aragorn and an Heir of Isildur alive after all, he would bring down the same kind of concerted effort to wipe out the Dúnedain as killed his father and grandfather, could the Dúnedain have survived that at all? After being fooled once, would the minions of Sauron have stopped before all the Dúnedain were dead? I think Aragorn's 'duty' to keep his people in existance would be more important to him than his 'duty' to lead them personally. But he must do something with his life, so he goes off to Rohan and Gondor to get the kind of practical hands-on experience with leading men and being a commander that he could not get alone 'in the wild.' The 'sacrifice' that he makes is to be anonymous and in disguise for 30 years rather than be openly Isildur's Heir and Lord of the Dúnedain. Many years later, around the time of the Ring War, Aragorn is called the "Cheiftain" or in UT other Rangers say "their chief was far away" so at some point he does take up his duties. I personally see that as after he comes back from Gondor, not before. At that time, he has been presumed dead for almost 50 years, Saruman is blocking the passes into Eriador, and Sauron is focussing on Gondor. It may be possible for Aragorn to cautiously be around his own people as himself once in a while. Again, YMMV on this. And I don't, darnit, have the story of him choosing to go out into the wild in good enough shape to show yet. Thanks for your kind words about Not With Hope. When you figure out why it feels AU to you, please do let me know. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hmm, this brings up a question I'd been dealing with, albeit somewhat tangentially, in a story I'm polishing off-site - at what point does Aragorn start to think of himself as the not only the heir to the throne of Gondor, but the man who was going to claim the kingship in his own lifetime? I've been assuming that by the time LOTR begins, Aragorn thinks of himself as a king-in-waiting, biding his time until the proper moment, when he is needed, not wanting to march in as a usurper - but determined nonetheless. Not because his kingship is a condition of getting Arwen as his bride, or at least not only because of it; but because he was reared to believe it was his destiny that he was at least the only real claimant to the throne of the South-Kingdom, with a better claim to Gondor's rule than the Stewards have. Am I wrong? Did Aragorn only begin to think of claiming the throne of Gondor during the Council of Elrond, or afterward, during the Fellowship, i.e. when he passed the Argonnath? RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

he was reared to believe it was his destiny that he was at least the only real claimant to the throne of the South-Kingdom, with a better claim to Gondor's rule than the Stewards have. With Elrond making pronouncements of greatness to Aragorn at 20 - "Aragorn, Arathorn's son, Lord of the Dúnedain, listen to me! A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil, or to fall into darkness with all that is left of your kin. " Starry-eyed with unrequited love and visions of grandeur he sets out into the wild. I'm sure he spent a lot of time at odd moments during his life trying to figure out what Elrond meant, exactly, by that prophecy. I'm also sure there were moments, like any one of the nights during the run across Rohan before they meet up with Éomer (Gandalf's dead, Boromir's dead, Frodo's trying to do the impossible, they can't even catch up to Merry and Pippin, and he's got nothing but himself, one dwarf, one elf, and Andruil to bring to Gondor for the final defense, assuming he can even get there in time to be of any use at all) when it seemed like they were all going down in darkness. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

I don't think he knew he would be a king, but he certainly knew he was from 'kingly' stock. He called himself "Isildur's Heir, Lord of the Dúnedain" when he introduced himself to Arwen. His 'duty' is to be Chieftain of the Northern Dúnedain, but JRRT never said that he took up his duties at this time. Whenever it is mentioned it says quite clearly "Aragorn goes out into the wild." ... So, why? I can't believe that JRRT did that casually and that he meant to say that Aragorn took up his duties and it just came out wrong. In any back story that I write, I try hard to follow the exact letter of what Tolkien told us happened. ~*~*~ Hey there, Gwynnyd. Nice analysis. Got a question for you. Would it necessarily follow that going out in the wild and taking up his duties as Lord and Chieftain be mutually exclusive? I have to say, I've always interpreted Aragorn's going out into the wild as meaning that he turned his back on the comforts of civilization and took up his role as the Chieftain of the Rangers, where he led those that wander the wilds of lost Arnor and protect the free folk that are left there. I'd imagine he'd prefer to hang out in Rivendell as much as possible, where he could be near to Arwen, but cannot press his claim and so chooses to forego that delightful torture. I'm on the fly, so going by memory here, but doesn't Tolkien refer to much of the land between the Shire and Rivendell as the Wild? ~Silli

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Silli, Gwynnyd, and Raksha, I have to say, I've always interpreted Aragorn's going out into the wild as meaning that he turned his back on the comforts of civilization and took up his role as the Chieftain of the Rangers, where he led those that wander the wilds of lost Arnor and protect the free folk that are left there. I had the same impression as Silli. 'Aragorn going out into the wild' meant for me he went first to the Ranger Dunedain and took part in Ranger duties. Arnor territory feels for me as wild as the outback in Australia or the Western frontier in the USA of the 19th century. Imladris is Elven civilization, Gondor is Mannish civilization. There are ruined towns in Arnor, but I see only villages still inhabited, the villages though built as strongholds and refuges. In myths, the hero sets out to claim his inheritance, when he gets at least an hint of a realm waiting for him. I agree that Aragorn here already had heard Elrond's ambiguous prophecy. But somehow I cannot see a mythic hero willingly relinquishing his heriditary leadership to protect his people, this is modern thinking IMO. The society was built as a pyramid with the heriditary leader at the tip, who took it for granted that his people is there to protect him and vice versa. Which king went into hiding to protect his people ? I know only of kings hiding if they had lost their retainers, lost their power to hold the nobility via charisma, persuasion, honours and lands to distribute. Faramir wanted a king for Gondor because he felt this to be the right state of affairs, beneficient for the people. The rightful heir sitting in the seat of power is felt to make the world right. It closes an aching wound. No, I cannot see Aragorn leaving his people wandering directly into the wilderness. He has an obligation to close the wound aching in the Northern Dunedain society. A mythic hero wanders in disguise if he wants to infiltrate the enemy, tries to evade overwhelming enemy numbers, or (as Aragorn does IMO) if he wants to reconnoiter secretely in unknown territory. IMO our mythic hero, as soon as he knows of his ancestry secures first the base of his hoped for further rise to power: the Chieftainship of the northern Dunedain. A mythic hero would only abstain to claim his inheritance if he knew he was opposed by a mighty opponent sitting securely in the seat of power. Then he would first have to gather help mates. So, coming from myth, IMO Aragorn leaves Rivendell, reveals himself to the Dunedain, is welcomed as Chieftain, takes part and later leads Ork raids and realm patrols. He forges a friendship with Gandalf. And Gandalf with his huge background knowledge nudges Aragorn on. Thus, when his chieftainship is secured he leaves to gain more knowledge about the regions he hopes to claim when a possibility arrises. And IMO he didn't went to Gondor to claim the crown but to reconoiter the possibilities, to look if Gondor still wanted a king of Isildur's line, as well as providing himself with an education in open military warfare (opposed to the guerilla warfare of the Rangers) . BUT, I agree with Gwynnyd, as soon as Sauron's minions would have realized that Isildur's heir is back in Arnor they would have enhanced their activities. Therefore I do not think, that Saurons minions had much contact to the secret and wandering Dundain, a secret society melting into the wilderness: When the kingdom ended the Dunedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people. and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. (LotR, App.A, The North kingdom and the Dunedain) For me this description means: though the Dunedain themselves know still the line of Isildur's heirs, no-one else, neither the populace in the villages nor raiding Orks, knows of the line, at least not for certain, only from rumours not very interesting for the populace toiling, solving their own problems. This populace would wish for a king, any king to protect them, to make the streets safe. [IMO the wish for a king of a certain line was much more institutionalized in Gondor and that by the will of the Stewards who used the lost line of kings to secure their own hold on power.] A wandering and secret people for hundreds of years can protect the secret of their chieftains well enough IMO. Only when Sauron begins to doubt that the line has ended, the danger increases, but then the Dunedain are already very long in hiding and an accomplished guerrilla force, subterfuge their daily life. So I see not the large medieval estates that you, Gwynnyd, used in your story. For me the Dunedain are more a nomadic warrior people melting into the woods. The warriors that come in contact with the normal people appear to the populace of Arnor more like disreputable travelling warriors, outlaws. I think the soil-bound populace was very worried by these nomads when the Rangers appeared in their villages. Frodo was frightened of Strider. Butterbur was supicious of Rangers (LoTR, FoTR, Prancing Pony, Strider). But you are right, these nomads need to have an economic background. Herds of cattle and sheep ? Warriors-for-hire ? Trading goods made by the women (books, artistry, weavings, clothing) ? Secret demesnes I do not believe in. Dunedain villages in the Angle, between the Bruinen and Mitheithel rivers, fortified but easily to abandon in case of unwanted visitors, hidden deep in the woods, surrounded by a wide outer ring of no-man's land patrolled by a large number of nomadic Dunedain, that I can accept. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Secret demesnes I do not believe in. Dunedain villages in the Angle, between the Bruinen and Mitheithel rivers, fortified but easily to abandon in case of unwanted visitors, hidden deep in the woods, surrounded by a wide outer ring of no-man's land patrolled by a large number of nomadic Dunedain, that I can accept. I think we are talking at cross purposes. I see the Northern Dúnedain settlements not even as large as villages, but individual estates - Tolkiens' "hidden fastnesses". PoME - " In the latter days of the last age [> Ere the Elder Days were ended],(1) 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" What is the difference between a 'hidden fastness" and a 'secret demense'? Your description of how you think they live sounds exactly like what I said was happening on "Arathorn's estate" in Not Without Hope. They have to farm somewhere or they will have no supplies to support the wandering Rangers. Do the Dúnedain have their own mines (iron, copper, tin, zinc, lead, fuller's earth, etc.) salt pans, forges, grain mills? Even if they don't have their own mines and forges, they have to have some sort of goods or food items to trade to the dwarves for metal items. What could they trade besides wagon loads of grain and produce? Furs? Where do they get their salt? Historically, it takes about two square miles of land to support 100 people at a level of technology found in England in 1066. If you speculate that the Dúnedain are strictly hunter-gatherers (a completely wandering people) then they need about 400 square miles in a reasonably temperate climate for every 100 people. If they are pastoral nomads it will take roughly 40 square miles to support the same 100 people - and the livestock (Each household has large variety of stock, with minimal # of each (in traditional subsistence regime) being 25-30 cattle, 10 camels, 100 small stock (goats & sheep), & 10-12 donkeys (Note: household = women + children associated with a single adult male who must have more than one wife to provide the necessary labor.) http://courses.washington.edu/anth457/pastoral.htm) and they will still have to trade for grain with someone farming somewhere. Herding and hunting-gathering are extremely labor intensive lifestyles. If most of the male population is syphoned off to do Ranger/warrior duties, I have a hard time figuring out how they survived at all. Maximum population of the Angle using: a pastoral nomad population density is still 6000 people. A hunter-gather density is only 600 people. A farming density is much higher, but I doubt very much if they approached maximum population density at any time. (I know, NONE of this is mythic.. sorry. I have an anthropology degree and I can't help but think this way.) I don't see why they have to be limited to living in the Angle when they have all of the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Arnor to hide in. Some places would be avoided (the old area of Angmar, for example) but there are other places where hidden fastnesses could be tucked away. The Angle is only about 50 miles across the widest end and 100 miles long. Arnor covered an area of about 500 by 400 miles (with a chunk in the center set aside for the Shire). I always wondered (and I don't have a theory to account for it yet) why the Angle was the primary area that is supposedly settled in Ring War times when the royal line was preserved in Arthedain which was much farther west. The Angle is on the far eastern edge sort of between Cardolan and Rhudaur. I know it's closer to Rivendell, but still, why move from the more secure west to the unsettled east? But somehow I cannot see a mythic hero willingly relinquishing his heriditary leadership to protect his people, this is modern thinking IMO. The society was built as a pyramid with the heriditary leader at the tip, who took it for granted that his people is there to protect him and vice versa. Which king went into hiding to protect his people ? It probably is modern, rather than a strictly mythic interpretation. I never claimed to be writing to strictly mythic paradigms (although I'm not above exploiting them if they can be reconciled with a more historical interpretation). Hmm, maybe we need a challenge to come up with explanations for Aragorn's odd behavior in being alone in the wild, not just in his hereditary domain, but also in Rohan, Gondor, and 'places where the stars are strange' and why his own people did or did not accept this. I think that Tolkien portrays Aragorn's behavior as honorable and right within the mythos he was creating. I can reconcile it using a historical rather than a mythical interpretation. How do you reconcile it? Or do you say, "No, Aragorn was just a rat bastard who shirked his responsibilities even though he had the 'right' bloodlines." That does not seem to me to be in the same spirit as JRRT thought of Aragorn. Thus, when his chieftainship is secured he leaves to gain more knowledge about the regions he hopes to claim when a possibility arrises. And IMO he didn't went to Gondor to claim the crown but to reconoiter the possibilities, to look if Gondor still wanted a king of Isildur's line, as well as providing himself with an education in open military warfare (opposed to the guerilla warfare of the Rangers) . I could more easily accept this line of reasoning if he was gone for a year or two but I can't see him doing al lhe was said to do in Rohan and Gondor in that shhort a time? He went on many journeys with Gandalf but more and more often went alone as theyears wore on. And he 'went alone far into the East and deep into the South. ' According to your mythic ideals he should have brought along a troop of companions. But he obviously didn't. And I agree that he went for the experience, and not to claim the crown. Therefore I do not think, that Saurons minions had much contact to the secret and wandering Dunedain, a secret society melting into the wilderness: I'm not sure that is possible in a world where Strider can say, "Not all the birds are to be trusted, and there are other spies more evil than they are.' ( FotR - chapter 11. "A Knife in the Dark") It's hard to hide or 'melt away' from birds. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Gwynnyd, what a absorbing discussion ! I have an anthropology degree and I can't help but think this way. Yeah to an expert ! I like a well founded background in LoTR stories ! OK, back to discussion. I think we are talking at cross purposes. I see the Northern Dúnedain settlements not even as large as villages, but individual estates - Tolkiens' "hidden fastnesses". Hmm, for me a stockaded small village is a fastness, some noble Dunadain families (relatives mostly) and some soil or cattle working lesser Dunadain people all owning soil and cattle communely (commune: A relatively small, often rural community whose members share common interests, work, and income and often own property collectively.). Your description of how you think they live sounds exactly like what I said was happening on "Arathorn's estate" in Not Without Hope. No, from the words you used I got the impression to see a medieval estate with a much larger difference in status between nobility owning the soil and cattle and the servants dependent on them for food, clothing and sleeping quarters: This fortress was her husband’s home I think more of a hall house, I think more of Turin's homestead which feels more like a skandinavian farm. So I envision such a fortified village as some large hall houses and barns enclosed in a stockage, which the people will leave if uninvited visitors would come near, not because they fear them but because they want to be a secret, a shadow. she could see through the slats in the shutters into the courtyard below. This invokes in me the picture of at least two floors, more like a medieval two storey house made of stone. I envision wooden houses built from the wood around not from stones or brick. And 'courtyard' reminds me very much of a noble castle complex. With shutters closed, the room was dim, but the small fire burning in the hearth lent a warm glow to the hangings on the walls and was welcome for chasing away the chill of the cool autumn afternoon. Again, a room with a fire within reminds me of castle rooms not of the large hall with a large fire in the middle I envision for Dunedain houses where alcoves are built in at the head of the house while cattle may stand on the other end of the house. I envision the living quarters of the village Dunedain to be much more primitive. Carlenna, the nursery maid, to me feels like a larger social difference than I would ascribe to a nomadic people of more even status. The Hall below was filled with revelers, but Gilraen and Aragorn waited upstairs to greet Arathorn who had ridden in late. The sounds of the party drifted through the open door to the suite of rooms reserved for the Chieftain. Again, your description invokes a rather modern, developed castle, with many many rooms. Even the early castles had only one room separated for the lord of the manor. “Would you miss being the great lady if you lived in a small house with no servants and no responsibility for the estates for a while?” Servants and estates in plural invokes in me the vision of a noble duke with many holdings. Stir the pot herself? She had not since she was barely tall enough to reach the spoon and had haunted her mother’s kitchens bothering the cooks. Again, this is such a highborn lady with so many servants that she has not had to stir the pot herself since she was a small girl. And she has cooks in abundance, for me this is a very rich medieval household. I see not the nomadic Dunedain to be able to accumulate such riches. They cannot gather taxes as they are a secretive people. back to Arathorn’s headquarters in the fortress in the Angle. invokes in me the picture of a large castle. The great demesne farms of Arathorn’s estates would still be worked, Again, I see the holdings of a great medieval lord worked by serfs not the patches of soil accorded to the Dunedain chieftain, worked communely by other Dunedain to relieve the chieftain of this weather-dependant work. she had faced Elladan and Elrohir in the reception room of her suite. Again, too modern for me. IMO the Dunedain could not have accumulated such riches to build suites for their chieftain. And moreover, a reception room gives me the impression of a 18th century manor. This is not even medieval anymore IMO. I was out with the bailiff estimating the yield of the barley. There is a field that I think should have been left fallow an extra year or perhaps turned into pasture. Here again I see the great lady of large estates not the noble farmer I would ascribe a noble settler Dunedain woman to be (bailiff: An overseer of an estate; a steward.). noted with approval that a pitcher and glasses, along with a plate of sandwiches, were in easy reach Feels very modern to me, unseen servants providing food in the garden ;-) You were never raised to deal with ugly wounds, Gilraen. What, a warrior thinks there might exist a noble warrior woman who is not able to care for the wounded ? Unbelievable modern to me. You will have a new family to raise soon. and When you remarry you will have estates of your own to manage again. This does not accord with my vision of the Dunedain love life (once in a lifetime) ;-) How could you think to pass as a nursemaid when all Eriador looks to you and follows your fashions? A lady setting fashions does not accord to my vision of rural and nomadic life style I ascribe to the Dunedain. And you will cooperate with my seneschal, giving him his full authority and diminishing your own. Hmm, sounds definitely like a medieval high society household to me. (seneschal: An official in a medieval noble household in charge of domestic arrangements and the administration of servants; a steward or major-domo). Master Elrond, you have fostered fifteen generations of Chieftain’s heirs. I memorized the lists of kings and chieftains and the histories of our people like every other child of the Dúnedain and I will teach my son in his turn. I never heard that you fostered any children of Men who were not of the line of Elros. and Surely someone will make the connection between the strange boy in Elrond’s household and the heir of Isildur who would be the same age and has vanished. These are VERY good arguments. I understand your concerns, but babies would not be in evidence when I received visitors in any case. By the time he is old enough to sit at my side and learn statecraft, it will be accepted that he is just there. No one will expect that boy to be the heir of the Dúnedain. It would only be your presence that might remind them of the connection. ‘Aragorn’ will be rumoured dead and forgotten years ago. This works also well for me. IMO Gilraen has to stay hidden all the time, that is a sacrifice a mother would be willing to do. And it would account for her deeply settled depression. Gilraen's vision is very convincing for me. In the small dressing room off the bedchamber sounds like a very richly built house, 18th century. From what information I can gather, the enemy feels that he has nothing to fear from the ‘rag-tag remnants’ of Arnor,” he bowed to Halbeleg in apology, “without the hope of an heir of Isildur to rally them. Aragorn is the last who could be considered Isildur’s heir. There will never be peace, but I believe that the worst of the attacks would have ceased if the Enemy believed Isildur’s Line was ended.” sounds convincing to me. “So he wanted you to think. You never came to see me, Uncle, or you would know the truth. I have two sons.” Gilraen ran her hand down the side of her gown, outlining her curves. “Is it so hard to believe that another man would find me desirable or that - “ Gilraen made a moue of distaste - “I would prefer another man to Arathorn when he was so dour and rarely here?” Now comes the part that makes it truely AU for me. Women of old had only their honour, their standing in the eyes of the society. The destroyed honour was a reason to kill for men and to be killed for women. No, I really cannot see Gilraen to relinquish her own honour and her son's birthright as a means of protection. “Lightly? What price do you put on my son’s life? Or the lives of your men who you tell me are dying to protect him? If losing my honour saves them, surely it is value well spent,” Gilraen turned determined eyes on her uncle. “And it is not truly diminished. I love Arathorn. That he is not here does not diminish my love. I know the truth, and so do you both, and so will my son someday.” Though you anwser my protest here . I am not convinced that this is how a mythic woman would feel. Myth is for education of the audience, would you expect any myth to be told like this, a noble woman relinquishing her honour and her son's birthright ? No, IMO noble women die defending her honour otherwise their male relations would not feel safe with respect to the bloodlines. Now back to your post: Herding and hunting-gathering are extremely labor intensive lifestyles. If most of the male population is syphoned off to do Ranger/warrior duties, I have a hard time figuring out how they survived at all. I fully agree to your observations. But the eastern rider warriors (Skythes, Sarmatians, Mongols) syphoned their male populations off to war and still remained a vigorous people. Women are able herders, hunter-gatherers, even warriors (see Sauro-Sarmatian warrior women). don't see why they have to be limited to living in the Angle when they have all of the boundaries of the old Kingdom of Arnor to hide in. I agree to that. It is probably due to some remarks of Tolkien who settled them in the Angle. And I envision it to be easier for a small people to guard one region than to guard many fastnesses sprinkled in the woods of a large realm. I think that Tolkien portrays Aragorn's behavior as honorable and right within the mythos he was creating. I can reconcile it using a historical rather than a mythical interpretation. How do you reconcile it? Or do you say, "No, Aragorn was just a rat bastard who shirked his responsibilities even though he had the 'right' bloodlines." That does not seem to me to be in the same spirit as JRRT thought of Aragorn. I fully agee to that. Aragorn is THE mythical hero, the saviour-king. For sure he is honourable ! And I do not see him shirking his duties, I thought I stated this in an earlier post. For me these wanderings alone in the wilderness is a topos of the myth of the epic hero (Sigurd dragon slayer as well as Oedipus come to my mind) as it is described expansively in Dean A. Miller's 'The mythic hero'. I accept it as myth not as reality. It makes Aragorn a mythic being and adds to his aura of the lone warrior with unsurpassable fighting skills. It's hard to hide or 'melt away' from birds. Yes, it is hard, but it can be done if you know for what to look as the fellowship managed it to do when hiding before Saruman's birds, if I remember rightly. Whow, what a great discussion! Thank you very much indeed Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Whow, what a great discussion! Thank you very much indeed : Elanor: We are probably boring the people who read the forums welcome page to tears as they have to scroll down through our very long posts. But, yes, I'm having great fun with this, too. Carlenna, the nursery maid, to me feels like a larger social difference than I would ascribe to a nomadic people of more even status. Hmm, interesting. The Númenorian descended 'lords' are certainly a much smaller part of the population than the total amount of people living there. You don't see any social differences between the 'class' layers? Or do you see strictly 'noble Numenorian bloodline" groups living together with no interaction with the men who never went to Númenor? Even so, I don't see Núnemorians as being class neutral. They clearly had a layered and differentiated class structure with king, noble households, and masses of others they ruled. We know there was intermarriage or *all* the Dúnedain would have 'pure' bloodlines, and we know that's not the case, or there wouldn't be such a fuss about Aragorn's. The biggest problems we have in coming to some kind of consensus between us on how they lived, is that I don't see the Dúnedain as 'pastoral nomads' and I don't see them as strictly mythic. A 'fortified manor house' with one wooden tower a few storeys high and a stockade wall around it enclosing a courtyard and gardens (I keep wanting to describe them as 'fortalices' to distinguish them from castles or bigger strongholds, but Liz won't let me. She says no one will know what I mean without a dictionary.) does not seem to me to be outside the realm of possibility. It apparently does to you, so I think we will just have to disagree on some points. I don't think it will ruin our enjoyment of each other's stories. The most telling point against the Dúnedain living as 'pastoral nomads' is that, if that was the case, they would have to bring their herds and women and children along with them. I can't reconcile this with the descriptions of 'hidden fastnesses' or with the men travelling alone to protect the other people living in the north. Tolkien does create a group of 'fighting pastoral nomads', but they are the Wainriders who come from the east and nearly overrun Gondor. Another problem is that, to the people living during the time, no matter how small, depressing and/or dirty we would find it, to them it is 'normal' and when I'm writing about it I try to look at it like they would, not as how I would see it. I think that, as in real medieval times, the most precious thing a leader could command is 'privacy'. To give the Chieftain's wife a separate room was to show luxury in her own terms. I didn't think I made it look like an18th century salon. I certainly do not envision it that way. (one storey open hall with a tower about 25 feet square, storage on ground floor, access to main hall probably with 'offices' on first storey, chief's quarters on second storey unevenly divided into several small-ish spaces, probably a guard post on the roof, and the guards have to tramp through the 'reception' space to get up and down.) One of the problems of the limited 3rd POV, I guess. I can't step outside the viewpoint character and give an objective description of what things look like. It's probably my failing as writer, but I didn't see a need to describe it in any more detail. It's also hard for me to see a balance between what was true for medieval/dark age times and what the Dúnedain might remember and have from a more advanced Númenorean/elven tradition. I agonized over the windows (glass?, no glass? Bag End and Tom Bombadill's house both have glazed windows, does the Prancing Pony? Oh, no, it doesn't say! but would...?) and the mirror and the possibility of having some kind of running/heated water in Gilraen's dressing area for far too long. I think I left some things ambiguous because I couldn't decide and some things I wanted for storyline purposes. I don't think people can behave only as mythic characters while they are living their lives. It's the people who come after them who turn then into myths. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

We are probably boring the people who read the forums welcome page to tears as they have to scroll down through our very long posts. ~*~*~ Ooooo. Not at all, at least for me. I think I've read your and Elanor's posts about three times each, trying to set the details to memory. ;) Hmmmm. I could use some feedback, then, if you don't mind. I've been thinking of something like this, specifically the Bayleaf Farmhouse, as a model for the family home of the Lord of the Dunedain. Pros? Cons? Feasible? Outlandish? Off my rocker? Weald and Downland ~Silli

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Silli, your link to the virtual tour doesn't work for me, neither with Mozilla nor with Internet Explorer. For me, the building shown in http://www.wealddown.co.uk/ looks medieval, too much advanced for a people wandering in shadow. Look at 'The Chieftain Hall Rodeborg' in Viking houses. Like this I envision the houses of the noble settled Northern Dunedain. Or see a smaller Viking house for a lesser Dunedain settled family. Yes, I see the secret Dunedain much more like commune-oriented Vikings or hall-building Anglo-Saxons than like medieval manor building Normans (Medieval Life - The Medieval Manor, or Medieval Manors in England or Castles in England and Wales). These wandering Dunedains simply have not the means any more for large buildings. There are no taxes, IMO there are no serfs or slaves to exploit. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Thanks Elanor, your link to the virtual tour doesn't work for me, neither with Mozilla nor with Internet Explorer. Oh, that's too bad. It's a cool-looking virtual tour. For me, the building shown in http://www.wealddown.co.uk/ looks medieval, too much advanced for a people wandering in shadow. Hmmmm... chimney... tall 2 story building... yeah.. that pic doesn't really capture what I was looking at for a reference, unfortunately. What I had in mind had a more primitive feel, particularly on the inside. Thanks for the links, which really help as a reference point for how rustic it may have been. I have to wonder, though, if the Dunedain weren't able to settle and build up their holdings a bit more during the Watchful Peace. ~Silli

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi again Gwynnyd, Hmm, interesting. The Númenorian descended 'lords' are certainly a much smaller part of the population than the total amount of people living there. You don't see any social differences between the 'class' layers? [snip] They clearly had a layered and differentiated class structure with king, noble households, and masses of others they ruled. We know there was intermarriage or *all* the Dúnedain would have 'pure' bloodlines, and we know that's not the case, or there wouldn't be such a fuss about Aragorn's. No, they have definitely classes. But they are not the reigning classes any more, they are a people in shadow, a secretive society. IMO a secretive society develops a more communal culture than a king-nobility-populace society in the open with all the visual signs of class. The Vikings had classes also, the Mongolians, every human society develops classes. But the poorer the people is the smaller are the differences if the nobility does not claim all resources for themselves. As for me the Dunedain are honourable, they do not claim all resources, IMO they even have no serfs and no slaves. They cannot gather taxes from the normal populace IMO, so where would they gain riches to maintain a highly segmented culture ? A 'fortified manor house' with one wooden tower a few storeys high and a stockade wall around it enclosing a courtyard and gardens (I keep wanting to describe them as 'fortalices' For me that is not secretive enough, this sounds as a Bree noble would build IMO. But, I see nothing that would really contradict your view. The most telling point against the Dúnedain living as 'pastoral nomads' is that, if that was the case, they would have to bring their herds and women and children along with them. I can't reconcile this with the descriptions of 'hidden fastnesses' or with the men travelling alone to protect the other people living in the north. No, I do not see the warriors wandering with women, children and cattle. That would be no secret wanderings. Yet, I am able to envision small families wandering around with cattle and sheep, the male fighting part of the family away, the women able to defend themselves. BUT, I agree, I see the Dunedain families mostly settled in the Angle, but in relatively primitive conditions, and with herds wandering around for which herders are needed to wander with them. I think that, as in real medieval times, the most precious thing a leader could command is 'privacy'. To give the Chieftain's wife a separate room was to show luxury in her own terms. I didn't think I made it look like an18th century salon. OK, I really do not see medieval times in LoTR (see my essay Time-line of Gondor and Rohan with respect to European history). I know that many authors see it as medieval, but for me personally this view doesn't work . But I agree somewhat on you take on 'privacy'. Yet, I do not know how much this is due to my modern western upbringing and how much this is really an human need. I perceive humans to be horde animals who would normally prefer to stay and to sleep together. Might 'privacy' be a status symbol as 'privacy' eats up resources ? As humans are cultural animals the need for 'privacy' might be simply a need culturally added on. This is a question to the anthropologist . Nevertheless, Tolkien surely saw 'privacy' as a luxury to be coveted. Yet, the term 'reception room' in my mind instantly invokes a 18th or 19th century room. I cannot delete my 'Jane Austen' allusions here I don't think people can behave only as mythic characters while they are living their lives. It's the people who come after them who turn then into myths. I completely agree to that. But IMO honour is not a mythic characteristic. Women and girls are killed even in our days in our neighborhoods because their male kin perceived a slight to the family honour. Therefore, knowing that honour was an important value in older times also in western societies I cannot see Gilraen relinquishing her honour in the manner you described. But there are many people for whom your description works quite right . Let us simply accept that all minds work differently, depending on their learning history, depending on their favourite pastimes, depending on the connections in their brains. Every brain forges its own reality . Best wishes Elanor and many thanks for this engrossing discussion

 

 

Re: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers

Hi Silli, I found a link directly to 'Bayleaf Farmhouse': http://www.wealddown.co.uk/bayleaf-tudor-timber-framed-hall-house.htm. Yes, it might be that Gwynnyd sees such a house. Maybe even Tolkien saw such a house for the Dunedain. For me it looks too settled, not belonging to a secret people in shadow. But this is my personal view. Additionally for me this is much too much a medieval style . IMO, you have to look for Dark Ages or late Roman Empire to get the right style. This is my very personal opinion, but based on my readings of Tolkien's letters (see my essay Time-line of Gondor and Rohan with respect to European history). As the Northern Dunedain are not settled farmers IMO, but guardians of Arnor, Rangers, where would they find the resources to build such elaborate houses ? I personally see simpler hall houses. But I see nothing that really contradicts such timber framed two storeyed hall houses. Many thanks for these interesting remarks Elanor

 

 

When Myth clashes with RealWorld (was: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers)

Hi Gwynnyd, here comes an afterthought to your words on 'pastoral nomads': The biggest problems we have in coming to some kind of consensus between us on how they lived, is that I don't see the Dúnedain as 'pastoral nomads' and I don't see them as strictly mythic. When I read Tolkien's words When the kingdom ended the Dunedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people. and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. (LotR, App.A, The North kingdom and the Dunedain) I see the Dunedain wandering for centuries. These words might allude only to the warriors, but in my mind 'wandering people' means all of them. And to reconcile soil bound grain-growers, wandering herds (your 'pastoral nomads' as which I really do not see the Dunedain, I see much smaller herds wandering near the villages, the livestock is NOT central to the Dunedain livelihood IMO and NOT the basis of their culture), and wandering warriors, I propose the secret and defensive Dunedain used the method of itinerant farming. This would accord to a wandering people, would accord to subsistence farming, provide the possibility of melting into the woods whenever needed by simply building another village out of the reusable material and beams of the previous houses. This would accord to Viking style houses to be easily de- and reconstructed. In my vision the period of staying in one village would be longer than in jungle itinerant farming. Firstly the Arnorian soil is much better and secondly the Dunedain would give up IMO the old village normally only for secrecy purposes. What works for me with respect to the picture of the Dunedain as 'pastoral nomads' are the SURVIVAL STRATEGIES of 'pastoral nomads' which apply IMO also to 'itinerant farming': Mobility Because nomads live in areas of climatic extremes they’ve had to be flexible and opportunistic. Mobility allows them to profit from widely-dispersed resources whose availability varies from year to year. Mixed Economies Pastoral nomads raise several kinds of animals: usually one large prestigious species and several smaller animals like goats and sheep. Disease or drought affects each species differently, thus increasing the nomads’ chances of survival. They also combine animal raising with small-scale farming, fishing, petty trading or migrant labour. And though nomads are subsistence-oriented, they have strong commercial skills, trading or selling animal hides, milk and meat in exchange for grain, tea and modern consumer goods.1 Tribal Sharing Most nomadic peoples are organized into tribes or clans which have a customary claim over a specific territory. Tribal elders control who has access to common property like water, pasture, game or wild foodstuffs. Outsiders have to ask permission if they want to use resources on land which traditionally belongs to another group. Strong tribal identities are also one way pastoral nomads have of banding together to defend their livestock against theft by their neighbours. cited from http://www.newint.org/issue266/facts.htm BUT, in contrast to 'pastoral nomads' the mobility for the Dunedain is their means to ensure their secrecy, they do not wander because they have to follow the herds. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: When Myth clashes with RealWorld (was: Eowyn - Prince Faramir: mythical heros or duty shirkers)

BUT, in contrast to 'pastoral nomads' the mobility for the Dunedain is their means to ensure their secrecy, they do not wander because they have to follow the herds. Whoa! Wait, stop! Let me see if I understand the scenario you are proposing. Our typical Dúnedain small family unit has moved into an area, re-built their house, cleared a field, plowed it, planted it, grown a crop that is supposed to feed them for the winter and provide seed for the next year's crop when they spot a roving band of orcs heading their way. They send out the menfolk to harrass the orcs, the women and older children quickly knock down the house, load the beams onto wagons, the younger kids gather up the livestock, harness the oxen to the wagons filled with family goods and house beams, and they all set out for the next area to hide in, abandoning their crops to the orcs. Questions: Why don't the orcs follow the trail? It's hard to sneak away while carrying tree sized beams. And who teaches the herds to walk stealthily through the forest? What do they plant next year? Assuming they don't starve over the winter anyway. Are the orcs so stupid that they raid only after the crops are stored and hidden? To be more serious: There are two kinds of "itinerant farmers": one that is more nomadic- they settle down in an area, build a rudimentary house, farm the land for several years until it gives out, then move on and abandon the house with the area - or a second type that has a fixed habitation but moves around the area where the permanent settlement is located to till different fields as the soil becomes exhausted. I agree that the Dúnedain are forced onto marginal land, perhaps more mountainous areas where they can be concealed more easily, and have to be far more careful in how they use the soil so as not to exhaust the places that are secure. I can't believe that they would be so careless (or so unfamiliar with 'proper' farming techniques - did they learn nothing from associating with elves?) as to exhaust the soil and have to move for that reason. Or that they could with equanamity abandon crops on the kind of regular basis that you seem to be proposing. Part of your theory seems to be that they could trade surplus food and crafts for things they could not manufacture themselves, but your scanario also seems to involve them abandoning food and goods and spending inordinate amounts of time clearing fields (is this north European soil? the kind best tilled with a wheeled mold-board plow and a team? or are they using scratch plows? which is a more labor intensive method and can't efficiently break ground but involves less technology) and building houses. I also think you have failed to take into account the one thing that seems to distinguish the "Númenorean" from the other men of Middle Earth: their fascination with monumental architecture that they no doubt learned from the Noldor. The absolute first thing that any of them did was to build a city. I can't believe that, even in the degenerate days at the end of the Third Age, the Dúnedain Chiefs wouldn't want somewhere permanent to live. It would be a symbol that I don't think they could abandon entirely. I am not saying that all the Dúnedain lived behind walls - I am very sure that there were many scattered small farms that did better fit the itinerant farmer model you propose - but I have to also take into account the 'hidden fastnesses', which to me are more permanent structures, for the Chiefs and Lords to inhabit. Their general location is certainly known. Butterbur says: "But there's no accounting for East and West, as we say in Bree, meaning the Rangers and the Shire-folk, begging your pardon. " And who drinks at the "Forsaken Inn, a day's journey east of Bree"? And where do they get the malt to make their beer? There must be lot of small farms and the odd village in places that are officially 'empty' all through Eriador. The rather small fortress with demesne farms that I have Gilraen living in in Not Without Hope is the chief's residence and main administrative center and supply depot for the northern Dúnedain Rangers. It's the biggest, best guarded, and probably most secret of the few permanent 'hidden fastnesses' that I think the northern Dúnedain must have. and it's still, in objective terms, not very big. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: When Myth clashes with RealWorld: hidden wandering Dunedain

Let me see if I understand the scenario you are proposing. Our typical Dúnedain small family unit has moved into an area, re-built their house, cleared a field, plowed it, planted it, grown a crop that is supposed to feed them for the winter and provide seed for the next year's crop when they spot a roving band of orcs heading their way. They send out the menfolk to harrass the orcs, the women and older children quickly knock down the house, load the beams onto wagons, the younger kids gather up the livestock, harness the oxen to the wagons filled with family goods and house beams, and they all set out for the next area to hide in, abandoning their crops to the orcs. Questions: Why don't the orcs follow the trail? It's hard to sneak away while carrying tree sized beams. And who teaches the herds to walk stealthily through the forest? What do they plant next year? Assuming they don't starve over the winter anyway. Are the orcs so stupid that they raid only after the crops are stored and hidden? Hi Gwynned, many thanks for your probing questions OK, normal Ork raids should be taken care of by patrolling rangers at the outer rim, the no-mans land surounding the Dunedain heart land. IF an uninvited visitor (Men, Dwarves, Elves, Orks), who should not know where and how the Dunedain live, comes along (I cannot see how friendly and obstinate visitors (maybe traders) can be dealt with by the Rangers, you will show me certainly ) comes into the heart land, then I envision the Dunedain to leave the village for a short time ('melting into the woods') leaving the uninvited visitors to consult with shadows. Only if a larger problem arises (maybe once in hundred years ? maybe larger Ork intrusions that cannot be handled by the Rangers ?) then the village will be de-constructed and the soil abandoned in my vision. This would be a planned strategical retreat, not a hasty tactical flight. Why don't the orcs follow the trail? It's hard to sneak away while carrying tree sized beams. And who teaches the herds to walk stealthily through the forest? A strategical retreat means a retreat covered by Rangers. The Orks do not follow because of the Rangers. The herds roam as ever. Part of your theory seems to be that they could trade surplus food and crafts for things they could not manufacture themselves, but your scanario also seems to involve them abandoning food and goods and spending inordinate amounts of time clearing fields Yes, they trade surplus. And they are not 'itinerant farmers' in our sense of the word (because of meagre soil) but they wander because of their wish for stealth . I do not think they abandon food and goods. If they abandon tactically a village they have to leave a good part of goods like any farmer in ancient war (you need even think back only to the thirty years' war in Germany 1618-1648 ). If they abandon strategically a village, they take with them what they need IMO. I also think you have failed to take into account the one thing that seems to distinguish the "Númenorean" from the other men of Middle Earth: their fascination with monumental architecture that they no doubt learned from the Noldor. The absolute first thing that any of them did was to build a city. I can't believe that, even in the degenerate days at the end of the Third Age, the Dúnedain Chiefs wouldn't want somewhere permanent to live. It would be a symbol that I don't think they could abandon entirely. No, I did not forget their 'fascination with monumental architecture'. But for me this is not possible anymore for a wandering people in shadow. IMO they would try to build monumental wood architecture. Gondor is the 'Stone-land' sc. 'Stone (-using people's) land' (Letter 324), Arnor is the 'royal land' (Letter 347) as Tolkien distinguished the realms in his letters. Moreover, in Letter 244 Tolkien calls Gondor 'the one surviving Numenorean state' (emphasis by me). In Letter 131 Tolkien writes: But in the north Arnor dwindles, is broken into petty princedoms, and finally vanishes. The remnant of the Numenoreans becomes a hidden wandering Folk, and though their true line of Kings of Isildur's heirs never fails this is known only in the House of Elrond. Taking these clues together, I see no monumental architecture anymore in Arnor, not even a state. I see a tribal organisation with a chieftain who strives to hold the remnants of bygone glory together. And the most distinctive feature for me is: the Dunedain are a 'hidden' as well as ' wandering Folk'. I can't believe that, even in the degenerate days at the end of the Third Age, the Dúnedain Chiefs wouldn't want somewhere permanent to live. It all depends on what you mean by 'permanent to live'. Is a stockaded village in use for a hundred years not 'permanent' enough? Even if it where only for a dozen years, IMO that would be a more permanent life than the medieval dukes had who rotated their living quarters from one holding to the next. And I expect a Dunedain chieftain would be more a wanderer than anybody else. I see no CENTRAL hidden fastness. IMO the chieftain would take his administration with him around in the Angle as he takes care of his people and of emergencies. And also ancient Generals (which is the other RealWorld position I would the Dunedain chieftain primarly compare to) had a very unsteady life IMO. OK, I understand your 'hidden fastnesses', but somehow I cannot reconcile them with Tolkien's words about a 'wandering people' When the kingdom ended the Dunedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people. and their deeds and labours were seldom sung or recorded. (LotR, App.A, The North kingdom and the Dunedain) IMO a 'hidden fastness' has by no means to be a 'permanent' fastness. PoME, HoME12 p.263 - " In the latter days of the last age [> Ere the Elder Days were ended],(1) 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 Dunedain, that of old were kings of men, but were now fallen on darkened days." A 'hidden fastness' could as well be a stockaded village founded a dozen years ago Many thanks for giving me always new thoughts to mull over Elanor

 

 

Re: When Myth clashes with RealWorld: hidden wandering Dunedain

I just wanted to mention how much I'm enjoying this thread - it's a pleasure to see two experts debating on such a knowledgeable level. If I were looking at the authorities cited here, i.e. LOTR, the Appendices, and HoME and the Letters, in American legal terms; the book trilogy LOTR, including the Appendices would be what we call Primary, and Binding (or Mandatory) Authority, and HoME, LETTERS, UNFINISHED TALES, etc., would be Secondary, or Persuasive Authority. For a legal argument, one can cite Secondary Authority, but one must, or at least one should, have Primary Authority. So, since, as far as I have found (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), the Dunedain's hidden fastness is mentioned in HoME but not in LOTR/Appendices, and the latter says that the Dunedain became a secret and wandering people, my vote is for the Dunedain being nomadic, and not ever staying in one place for more than a season or two, and not building anything that was permanent. I could see them coming back to areas they had lived in before, though, if they were safe and fruitful...And perhaps there were some secret places inside caves they could stay when they needed to, if only temporarily, retreat to a sturdier abode. Which doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy every bit of Gwynnyd's well-written story, btw...There are many stories out there that I love, even if I don't agree totally with the writer's interpretation of Tolkien lore... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: When Myth clashes with RealWorld: hidden wandering Dunedain

I just wanted to mention how much I'm enjoying this thread Hi Raksha, I am glad that there are participants who take part through reading all this stuff . my vote is for the Dunedain being nomadic, and not ever staying in one place for more than a season or two, and not building anything that was permanent. Yes, this is what I thought when I read these words in LoTR. But after reading Gwynnyd's story I began to think about the economical and cultural background of these mythical wanderers ('hidden wandering people' - here myth again clashes with Real World). The only hidden people I know of are hunter-gatherers in the Amazonian jungle or head-hunters in New-Guinea. These are in our view very primitive societies in very secluded regions of the world. I cannot see the Dunedain to live such primitive lifes. As soon as this hidden people makes contact with the outer world through trading and Ranger duties they are not hidden anymore IMO. So how did this people hide, what did they live of ? If one thinks about the facts of life that the Dunedain have to comply with then it seems not probable anymore that they were simple nomads. To feed the families the herds have to be huge, such herds cannot be hidden IMO. IMO the Dunedain had to hide the families actively. And providing a good screen they could also have maintained subsistence farming. IMO it easier to hide small farms in a large wood than to hide wandering herds which normally roam the steppes. But to hide completely the Dunedain had had to hide any evidence of their actual existence. That they could have contrieved by posing as normal farming folk (which is not really a possibility IMO as Numenoreans have a distinctive facial appearance and body height) or they must have deflected any discovery of their Dunedain families, be they settled in wood cottages or stockade surrounded villages or be they nomads. IMO it is easier to hide wood farming folk than to hide nomads that have to follow their herds. Uninvited visitors must be intercepted in the wood by Rangers and deflected from the family habitats. And thinking on the distinctive appearance of the Numenoreans it is nearly not believable that the normal populace did not connect the Rangers to the Dunedain. So the Dunedain were not really a hidden people. To make the words 'hidden wandering people' working either these words belong only to the wandering Rangers who are not really hidden or they have to describe the families, the generative part of the people where the offspring is raised. IMO it is this feature that was hidden: the fact that there was a people from which the Rangers stemmed. So one could reconcile 'hidden wandering people' perhaps even with the vision of wandering Rangers and hidden families, who might even be permanently settled in the Angle (which is Gwynnyd's view I assume). I prefer the vision that even the families had to wander around from time to time to avoid discovery. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

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