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Gondorian Succession

I read a few fanfics recently that mentioned that if Aragorn were to die without an heir, Faramir would succeed him. That strikes me as odd, and it started me wondering about how Aragorn became King in the first place and who would make sense to follow him. Obviously, situation had a lot to do with him gaining the crown; if it were just a matter of his bloodline, any one of his ancestors could have showed up in Gondor and claimed the throne. The fact that none of them did implies that there were reasons not to. What might those have been? On the Chieftens' parts, perhaps there were pressures on them not to reunite the kingdoms. I don't get the impression that Elrond offered to reforge Narsil at any earlier time, so perhaps there were prophecies or just a sense that the time was not right. On the Gondorian side, it's possible that the desire for the return of the King grew as things got darker; without disaster on every side and a great victory to show, would Aragorn have been so widely accepted? Trying to proclaim oneself King of a kingdom that doesn't want you seems like a bad idea. Could the Stewards have argued that the heir of Isildur was not necessarily the heir to the throne of Gondor? Come to think of it, they did, with Arvedui. So the situation finally comes about that they're happy to welcome the return of the King. But what would happen if Aragorn died without heirs? Would Gondor return to the Stewardship? They were so excited to have a King that I think they'd be rather depressed about that option. Would they accept whoever would succeed him in the North? I personally assume that Aragorn has some second cousin twice removed who can also claim direct male-male descent, but YMMV. If he did, though, would that be good enough for Gondor? Aragorn was their savior; I'm not sure distant kin would cut it. But what other choices do they have? Crown Faramir? But that brings up the whole "how many years" question. OK, so I have a couple of questions here. Why didn't other Chieftens try to claim the throne of Gondor? And if Aragorn died without heirs, who would follow him? I want to get some other opinions on this, because I'm arguing myself in circles. (Just to clarify: I'm not planning to write an AU about this. But they must have thought about these things when Aragorn set out to assume the throne. And if Eldarion wasn't born until 20-odd years after Aragorn and Arwen's marriage, someone's bound to have worried about the succession. What would they do?) ~Wolfwind

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

I've often thought about the fourth age issues of it all, myself. It boils down to the fact that Tolkien never thought it important enough an issue to say what would have happened. After the War of the Ring, it was enough for Tolkien to say that Eldarion was born eventually, thus continuing Aragorn's line, and that was that. So, unless there's an obscure letter of Tolkien's floating around out there that I don't know about (anyone?), I don't think there's really any research to be done on it. We can only make our own theories about it. As for me, I don't believe everyone in Gondor would have accepted a Steward becoming King. Heck, I don't think that Steward would have accepted becoming King, himself. There's just too much tradition against it in Gondor and I think many peoples' eyebrows would go up if it happened. I figure lots of nobles who claimed lineage from Eärnil or any of the kings from that era would probably pop out of the woodwork. Basically, it would all hearken back to the time just after the loss of King Eärnur when they couldn't decide who should be king (necessitating the first Ruling Steward, Mardil). Except that without the threat of Mordor, all these factions would be more free to wage war on one another for the throne. So, my prediction is civil war. There's the added twist of Arnor in there, as well. Aragorn's closest blood kin are in the north and presumably some of them would make a claim, as well. So, not only civil war, but a war Middle-earth-wide. Of course, all this is negated if Aragorn names some sort of interim successor until he has a kid. A logical choice would be Faramir, in that case, but I'm still not sure that would fly in Arnor. As for none of the chieftains making claims to the throne of Gondor between the time of Arvedui and Aragorn, I surmise they were more or less busy just keeping their own people from getting picked off in the woods one by one. Don't forget, there's a remnant of the Witch-king's forces up in the area of Fornost (not the Witch-king himself at that point; he was defeated by Eärnur, then a prince in the same campaign in which Arvedui was killed). And with no clear capitol or seat of power, the northern Dúnedain would have had something of a time of it. Essentially, the chieftains held their people together with two hands for 1000 years. I doubt they were thinking much about Gondor at that time. Just a lot of supposition on my part, so don't take it as the gospel truth. But, I hope it helps somehow. ^_^ Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

Just to clarify: I'm not planning to write an AU about this. But they must have thought about these things when Aragorn set out to assume the throne. And if Eldarion wasn't born until 20-odd years after Aragorn and Arwen's marriage, someone's bound to have worried about the succession. What would they do?) I think it very likely that Aragorn and Arwen managed to produce at least one daughter in the first 10 years of their marriage, possibly two or more...If say, thirty or forty years had passed with no son born, I would think that the Aragorn could easily have gained the support he needed to change the royal succession laws to prevent future kin-strife, so that his oldest daughter would inherit, or her first male son or grandson. It wouldn't hurt if that daughter was married to someone suitable to the Gondorians, such as Imrahil's grandson, or son, or Elboron... If Aragorn and Arwen had no children, or their children died without issue, I would think that Faramir would be the best choice of an heir to rule Gondor. Aragorn could choose to name him a future king...And they'd be wise to set up a marriage between Faramir's heir, Elboron or Elboron's oldest son, and a distant cousin of Aragorn's from Arnor... If Aragorn named Faramir or a son of Faramir's as future King, I think the people of Gondor, as well as Faramir, would go along with it... And I could definitely see the Great Council willing to change succession laws to prevent Kin-strife if Aragorn and Arwen had daughters but no sons. After all, women ruled in Numenor.... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

I like supposition, Berz! That's why I brought up the issue. You're right; there isn't enough info to know the truth. But speculation is always fun. So, my prediction is civil war.... Of course, all this is negated if Aragorn names some sort of interim successor until he has a kid. A logical choice would be Faramir, in that case, but I'm still not sure that would fly in Arnor. I agree that civil war would be a threat. But would naming Faramir as an interim successor be enough? Especially if it's been over a decade and there's no heir. And as you said, there's a lot of tradition behind Faramir's family *not* becoming Kings. Not to mention the fact that if he had the least opportunity to refuse the Kingship, he would. If it starts to look possible that the interim successor would actually assume the throne, people are going to start jockeying for that position. I'm sure the nobles you mentioned - who would be perfectly willing to start a civil war to get the throne - would try to get the King's support (or the appearance of his support) while he was still alive. On the other hand, I don't see any of these people as actually wanting him to die. He ought to live another hundred years, if he's going to die of old age, so there's time. But one thing Tolkien does tell us is that he rode to war often. That's got to start worrying people - the King is riding out to war without a successor? But what can they do about it? I assume they'd blame Arwen. Traditionally, the woman was blamed, if there were no offspring. Could they actually do anything about that, do you think? What do you think about divorce among the Numenoreans? Or, more darkly, remarriage? If Arwen were to happen to die somehow, would the King be forced to remarry? I would imagine so, although the idea would be pretty abhorrent. And what about Arnor, as you said? A Middle-earth-wide war is just what everyone doesn't want. I think the two would separate again. Whoever Aragorn's heir was in the North would rule there, and leave Gondor to sort itself out. I think Aragorn's best choice would be to say that if he died, the two would split and whoever's ruling as his regent in the North would continue to rule there. He might try to name Faramir his successor in the South, but I can see the Council completely deadlocking there. He could say they'd go back to being under a Ruling Steward, or name one of the other nobles as his interim heir. But that wouldn't really prevent the threat of civil war. The Council might keep stalling, even trying to keep him from riding to war. I'm not sure exactly how much power they have, but nobles are very powerful in any monarchy. They're basically in a no-win position; there's no way out except for the production of an heir. And unfortunately, those don't just come on demand (at least, not for humans, and for the sake of this argument not for a peredhel/human mix). That's a very unpleasant corner to be backed into. I'm sure they'd try to do something, but I can't figure out what options they have. ~Wolfwind (This whole post completely ignores Raksha's, which I'm going to reply to in just a minute)

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

Hi Raksha, Hmm, I hadn't thought about how a daughter might change the succession. I agree, getting the council to name her son the heir shouldn't be impossible, given Aragorn's standing and their desire to avoid another kin-strife. And marrying her off to Faramir or Imrahil's kid would also help. And the son's bride should probably be from the North, to strengthen ties up there. I hadn't realized how handy marriage brokering really is! No wonder they used it all the time. That is the simplest answer. Unfortunately, the nuzgul gnawing at me was not dislodged by it. Stupid beast. It still wants everyone to think Arwen's barren. So I'm going to keep playing with that idea. I like yours better, though. I completely agree that Faramir would be the best choice as an heir, but making everyone go along with it still seems tricky. On the one hand, you may be right that in their desire to prevent another kin-strife the Council and the people would go along with it. On the other, you have the infamous "how many years?" bit. There are years of traditions, and possibly even laws, that are against the House of Hurin assuming the throne. Aragorn might have the power to overturn them; he's their savior-king, everyone likes Faramir, they don't want war. But he might not; Gondor can be very tradition-bound, if there are laws they're probably very complex, and that kills anyone else's chance of getting the position. There are probably at least a few power-hungry nobles in Gondor. I suppose that eventually Aragorn would find a way to name Faramir the interim heir, but it would probably take a lot of politicking. I wonder what other ideas the Council might have, though. ~Wolfwind

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

I assume they'd blame Arwen. Traditionally, the woman was blamed, if there were no offspring. Could they actually do anything about that, do you think? What do you think about divorce among the Numenoreans? Or, more darkly, remarriage? If Arwen were to happen to die somehow, would the King be forced to remarry? I would imagine so, although the idea would be pretty abhorrent. ~*~ All very good questions, and ones that I am struggling with. I don't really have any answers, just more questions. Under what conditions would a "divorce" or remarriage be acceptable or forced upon a King of the Numenoreans in exile? ~Silli

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

Hi all around, here come my speculations: No, Faramir would not succeed Aragorn as King if Aragorn dies without a stated will, he would become again Ruling Steward. And I do not see any northern Dunedain cousin waiting, but this is at least possible. Faramir would search for him. After Aragorn having been installed as Elendil's heir, any Dunedain in a male-male blood-line from Elendil is eligible. But I do not think that any is known. Aragorn is the mythical saviour-king. not any unknown Dunedain in the northern wilderness. So taking the institutionalized Stewardship into account which settled the Stewardship for all descendants of Hurin through a male-female-mixed blood-line Faramir would become Ruling Steward again. To avoid Kin-strife between the Gondorian nobles the Stewardship is an acceptable means for all. BUT, we have the people of Gondor to take into account. If Aragorn states he wants Faramir as his heir and the people of Gondor agree to that (as the people of Minas Tirith were asked if they accepted Aragorn, heir of Elendil) then Faramir could become king. As the Ruling Stewards have no better blood-line than other Gondorian nobles, Hurin's heirs could become kings only due to the decision of the last King and especially with the acceptance of the Gondorian populace , a feat the former Stewards never tried to achieve. Aragorn's decree might tip the scales. The King's decree would found a new ruling and the acceptance by the populace would provide the means to avoid the Kin-Strife. The Council is part of the populace. So first Aragorn would have to discuss the decree with the Council to investigate if such a decree were acceptable with the nobility. The nobility would be the main obstacle. The problem is, that LoTR is a myth, and I see no mythical trappings for Faramir. A realistical Steward would have snatched the kingship long ago, see the Karolingean kings replacing the Merovingean kings in France. Or the scottish Stewarts who gained the kingship through a daughter of Robert Bruce. I assume the Ruling Stewards have a female connection to the Anarion-line, but that was deemed not to suffice. So I see not that a marriage to a daughter of Aragorn could gain the kingship for the Stewards in itself. It could be a means to gain the acceptance of the Council and the populace though. But again, LoTR is a myth, and in a myth not politicking but fate results in the making of a king. Neither Faramir nor Elboron seem to me fated to become king . Therefore, Aragorn will wait for the male heir. And the Stewards will be waiting with him, and in case of emergency they will resume the Ruling Stewardship and wait for an heir of Elendil, who will then be revealed to the trusting and hoping populace by a deus ex machina. [Edit: Somehow I cannot envision a ruling queen as a solution. This is not safe Numenor, but lands infested with Orks, frontiers endangered by enemies. The main-land kings long ago decided that only a male-male descendance gained the heritage, and the Ruling Stewards strengthened this ruling by rejecting Firiel's claim. But Raksha is right Aragorn could topple these rulings.] And concerning marriage politicking: IMO Dunedain marry only for love and love only once in their life, this is an Elven heritage which would be strengthened through Arwen in the King's line. So no marriage brokerage for Aragorn's children. If marriage brokerage would have been possible I think that the males in Anarion's line had wed such women which would have secured their claim to the throne. They did not, they married for love and relinquished their birthright. And a second marriage is really exceptional, divorce means only separation, not remarriage. Otherwise childless kings would have tried to gain an heir through multiple marriages as did so many RealWorld Kings. And no Bastards in this mythical Middle-Earth. So many bastards achieved kingship in RealWorld, but not in ideal Middle-Earth. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

Very interesting topic, and not one that I haven't thought about! As for one of Aragorn and Arwen's daughters marrying Elboron or Imrahil's grandson... for political reasons, I don't think it would happen, if only because of the difference in life-spans between the two. Aragorn lives to be 210, and Faramir lives to be 120. Aragorn lives to a little less than twice the age of his Steward. I'd assume his children wouldn't live any less, especially since their mother is Elven. I can't see it happening as an arranged marriage- for love, perhaps. That's just my opinion. Though there are obvious problems with this... I'd say Arwen is the most qualified to take the throne! Not only is she the wife of the accepted King... well, she's Elros' niece. Being the niece of the first King of Numenor has to count for something! And while Arwen ruling probably would not work because even if she did want to, the people probably wouldn't want to be goverened by another race... it's still a thought.

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

The thing is, Aragorn's daughters are going to have to marry lesser-lived men, unless they marry Elves, which is not as likely, since the Elves are fading or leaving. The lines of Imrahil and Faramir are among the longest-lived around, with the possible exception of the Northern Dunedain. It might well be that the princesses will fall in love with either Alphros or Elboron; I would assume that they'd see them as part of a peer group, spend time in Ithilien and Dol Amroth. They might find them more compatible than Elfwine...or not. But among Men, there aren't many of higher rank or better genes than Alphros or Elboron, at least in the South. There's just Elfwine, who does have Numenorean blood and resembles Imrahil rather than his golden-haired paternal bloodline....There is the possibly that one of the princesses could marry someone of Laketown, or, as I said, someone among her Northern kin - but the lifestyle would be very different (which could be appealing...or problematic). Ditto the Haradrim; and I don't see any lady of Gondor voluntarily marrying a Southron or an Easterling for a long, long time... There's no indication that Arwen has much interest or training in statecraft or battle, so her only qualification to be a Ruling Queen of Gondor is that she's Elros' niece. Which wouldn't count as much as her daughters' having the blood of Aragorn, the hero-King. RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

I don't see any lady of Gondor voluntarily marrying a Southron Hi Raksha, I humbly endeavour to disagree here. There are renegade Numenoreans in the south ! I for myself have always seen the Gondorians marrying those southern Numenoreans after the Ring war binding the South to Gondor. There are simply not many Northern Dunedain left. But in the south I see large cities, refined culture, and IMO very pure Numenorean lines though they belong to the black Numenoreans who succumbed to Sauron or those Numenoreans who left Gondor during the Kin strife. In my vision such Numenoreans would be very attractive . Concerning movie characters I often find the dark character more attractive than the simply one-dimensional good one. I could very well envision that a Gondorian princess falls in love with a rogue or sinister southern Numenorean during a state visit. Best wishes Elanor

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

The thing is, Aragorn's daughters are going to have to marry lesser-lived men, unless they marry Elves, which is not as likely, since the Elves are fading or leaving. Wow. Very true. Hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense! (And my theory doesn't!)

 

 

Re: Gondorian Succession

I must agree with Elanor. A marriage between a noblewoman of Gondor and a Numenorean of the south could happen. After all, Tolkien said little about what exactly goes on in the south. For all we know, they could have a highly sophisticated civilization down there. As for the Numenorean blood, the Numenoreans do seem a little obsessed at times with purity of blood which led to years and years of inbreeding among those of the north. New blood from Black Numenorean bloodlines would seem more attractive than marrying, say, a third cousin. The only problem is that there's so many years of distrust between the two groups. The Black Numenoreans did remain faithful to Sauron for so many years, and Gondor probably wouldn't forget that for a long period of time. They were, after all, so close to being destroyed by Sauron during the War of the Ring. Then, it was Ar-Pharazon's arrogance and foolish belief in Sauron's promises that led to Numenor's downfall. And there has been so many battles between the north and south. If you think in terms of the world we live in, it will take a LOT for them to reconcile. However, I agree with you on another point. I have a fondness for darker characters and anti-heroes which is why I adore and have written about the Haradrim and Easterlings. They ARE a lot more interesting than perpetually good characters at times. Like you, I could see a young, naive Gondorian lady falling in love with a rogueish southern Numenorean during a state visit. Namarie! Loremaster

 

 

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