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Discussing: Just curious ...

Just curious ...

There's no real reason for this question other than curiousity.

I vaguely recall reading "somewhere" that Denethor had two sisters.

1- Is this right, or have I lost my mind? (about that)

2-Would husbands of those sisters be in line for the Stewardship, before Denethor had children?

2a- After Boromir was born, if Denethor were to die, would one of those uncles serve in a sort of regent position, until Boromir came of age?

3-if there are no sisters of Denethor and therefore, no uncles on that side, who would hold the Stewardship if #2 occurred? Imrahil or Adrahil?


Thanks!

Edoraslass

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi Edoraslass!

There's no real reason for this question other than curiousity.

And that is a problem.... how?

I vaguely recall reading "somewhere" that Denethor had two sisters.
1 - Is this right, or have I lost my mind? (about that)


I interpret the following to mean that Denethor has two older sisters, and probably one or more younger brothers ("first" son). But there is nothing to indicate that any siblings (or their spouses) lived until his adulthood.

"26. Denethor II. ... He was first son and third child of Ecthelion and more learned in lore than any Steward for many generations."

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor

2 - Would husbands of those sisters be in line for the Stewardship, before Denethor had children?

In my interpretation of this HoME passage, I do not believe that husbands of sisters would inherit the stewardship, only Stewards' sons, nephews, or their father's nephews.

"From [Húrin of Emyn Arnen's] time on the kings usually chose their steward from this family, though a son did not necessarily succeed a father. But in fact it had descended from father to son since Pelendur, Steward to King [Ondoher], and after the ending of the kings it became hereditary, though if a Steward left no son, the office might pass in the female line, that is to his sister-son, or to his father's sister-son.

The choice was made according to their worth among the near kin by the Council of Gondor. But the Council had no power of choice if there was a son living."

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor


As for your questions 2a. and 3. -- I suggest that you get Liz's opinion on these; sorry, but I am not all that good at speculation -- and she has a lot more patience for Gondorian politics than I do.

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi EL,

1- Is this right, or have I lost my mind? (about that)

You're right. There's an HoME quote referring to Denethor as the oldest son and third child, meaning the two prior children had to be sisters.

2-Would husbands of those sisters be in line for the Stewardship, before Denethor had children?

I doubt it. I base this decision on the decision of Pelendur's council:

'On the death of Ondoher and his sons, Arvedui of the North-kingdom claimed the crown of Gondor, as the direct descendant of Isildur, and as the husband of FÌriel, only surviving child of Ondoher. The claim was rejected. In this Pelendur, the Steward of King Ondoher, played the chief part.

'The Council of Gondor answered: "The crown and royalty of Gondor belongs solely to the heirs of Meneldil, son of An·rion, to whom Isildur relinquished this realm. In Gondor this heritage is reckoned through the sons only; and we have not heard that the law is otherwise in Arnor."


While this only applies to the kingship, it seems odd to me that the stewarcy would be allowed to pass along the same lines. It would raise weird questions if Gondor said some hereditary positions could be passed matrilineally and others couldn't.

2a- After Boromir was born, if Denethor were to die, would one of those uncles serve in a sort of regent position, until Boromir came of age?

Nothing solid to base this on, but I assume it would be whoever the boys' guardian was?

3-if there are no sisters of Denethor and therefore, no uncles on that side, who would hold the Stewardship if #2 occurred? Imrahil or Adrahil?

See my answer to (2)The directest tie I can think of to the line of the Princes of DA is through Finduilas, and if my assertion to (2) is right, then Adrahil and/or Imrahil wouldn't be eligible through that. It's quite possible that a son from Denethor's line married a daughter of DA's, and so their sons would be eligible.

Basically the question is:

(a) Is there any suitable man related to Denethor? Did Ecthelion have any brothers, for example? If so, Ecthelion's brother(s) and nephews through those brothers would be eligible. The same could be said for the generation before (Turgon's) -- is there a viable male line from one of Turgon's younger sons? I'm not sure how far back the Gondorians would want to go, as the further back you go the further removed the heir is from the line of Hurin. Probably not too many generations beyond Hurin. In any case I don't think it would be traced through a female line (i.e., the sons of the daughter of a steward), only a male one.

(b) If not, the line is officially "ended" so you have to choose a new steward. In which case The Prince of DA starts to look good as one of the most powerful nobles around, though it's quite possible the Gondorians wouldn't want to concentrate too much power in one place and so would choose someone else as steward. Hurin of the Keys might be another good choice.

hope my conjectures help!

Marta

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

[Barbara quoted HoMe 12:]

though if a Steward left no son, the office might pass in the female line, that is to his sister-son, or to his father's sister-son.

Interesting! That pretty much shoots the reply I just made in the foot. I was concerned that I was extrapolating too much from the fact that Pelendur said the kingship wouldn't pass down through female lines. Clearly, if you accept HoMe as canon then the stewardcy could pass to a sister-son.

Barbara, do you know what draft this was from? I'm wondering whether Tolkien's idea on Pelendur's council were pretty much set in stone at this period of his writing -- i.e., if he concurrently thought that the stewards would deny the claim made through Firiel daughter of Ondoher, and that they would at the same time accept the right of a sister-son to inherit the stewardcy.

Of course daughter's husband is different than daughter-son -- wonder if the Gondorians could have made such a strong case for a child of Firiel's and Arvedui's.

Marta

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi Marta!

Yes, it's always difficult to decide when to accept the details from HoME as canon or not, especially it's the only place that supplies the details that we really, really, really want...

However, in this case, I think that the observation that the stewardship could be inherited by a sister-son (of some degree) is accurate, since it actually did occur: Denethor I (10th Ruling Steward) is the son of Rían, Dior's (9th) sister. Also, Egalmoth (18th) is the grandchild of Morwen, who is Orodreth's (16th) sister.... (Ecthelion I was 17th).

(Of course, I just realized that all these genealogical details come from the same source, so.....)

But, I haven't seen any indication that husbands of daughters would have any standing in the succession.

My totally off-the-wall theory is this: the House of Húrin became the House of Stewards because Húrin of Emyn Arnen practically single-handedly kept Gondor together through the deaths of two kings (Mardil 1634, and Telemnar 1636), and a third king, Tarondor, who was relatively young and inexperienced and inherited a Gondor totally devastated by the Great Plague. To me, that indicates that the Stewards were, in some sense, even more important than the Kings -- they provided continuity, so it stands to reason that the inheritance laws might be a bit more relaxed, allowing inheritance through the female line.... Kings come and go, but it's the Stewards that hold the kingdom together!

Does that come even close to answering your questions, Marta? Sorry, I'm getting tired and a bit, er, punchy....

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi folks

Having put in enough caffeine to get my brain working, I may finally be coherent enough to answer...

Barbara has already cited the canon quote on the sisters. Given the way Tolkien phrases things elsewhere, I also interpret "first son" as Tolkien intending that there was at least one younger son. (Elsewhere he refers to "only son" where that's the case.) As Barbara noted. we don't know if any of Denethor's siblings survived until adulthood.

Regarding 2 and 3, Barbara and Marta have cited various quotes from HoMe 12 and Appendix A. It's worth bearing in mind that, as I understand it, the concepts in HoMe 12 were never formally and specifically rejected by Tolkien. It was simply that he had extremely limited space for the Appendices, so much of the detail had to go. (LotR was originally printed in three volumes because there were still paper shortages in Britain in the early 1950s.)

In support of this view, the interpretation in HoMe that sister-sons could inherit is backed up by a quote in Appendix A, although it's so subtle you'd miss it if you blinked. It says in Appendix A: "after the days of Pelendur the Stewardship became hereditary as a kingship, from father to son or nearest kin." (My emphasis.)

I think we can safely assume they only allow male Stewards. I also take "nearest kin" as meaning blood relatives, rather than relatives by marriage i.e. husbands of sisters. Let me give you two examples to show why I think the Gondorian nobility would be extremely unlikely to sanction a law that allowed husbands of sister to become Steward. Firstly, imagine the Steward's only sister ran away with a kitchen porter who was a first generarion Haradric refugee. Secondly, imagine the Steward's only sister married the King of Rohan. I don't imagine the Gondorian nobility countenancing either an uneducated immigrant or the King of Rohan becoming Steward, do you?

This is, in part, why Arvedui's claim was rejected. However, I do think Tolkien intended a certain amount of hypocrisy on the part of Pelendur and the council in rejecting any possibility of Firiel's children inheriting. Although there's also the point that at that time Aranarth would have been less than three years old and Gondor maybe felt it couldn't afford a child-king in the aftermath of a war, especially if the regent (his father) was also king of a kingdom 1000 miles away....

So, having ruled out husbands of sisters, what might Tolkien mean by "nearest kin"? Firstly, I think there is a strong preference for descent through the male line where possible, so I think a nephew who is a brother-son by a younger brother would "trump" a nephew who is a sister-son by an older sister.

Secondly, I think a nephew who is a sister-son would "trump" a cousin (or son of that cousin) who is the son of a brother of the deceased Stewards's father. Er, that's horribly complicated...

As an illustration, if Ecthelion had a brother who had a son (Denethor's cousin), I think Denethor's nephew by his oldest sister would trump Ecthelion's brother's son under the "nearest kin" rule, because you would have to go back to an extra generation to Ecthelion's father, Turgon, for the nearest common ancestor, rather than just to Ecthelion.

*sigh* I'm not sure that made sense....If it didn't, I'll sketch out a family tree and try and explain it with concrete examples.

Now, where were we? Ah, yes....

2a- After Boromir was born, if Denethor were to die, would one of those uncles serve in a sort of regent position, until Boromir came of age?

That's possible. While I don't think husbands could inherit, it would be perfectly possibly for one of them to be chosen as regent, since regents were often appointed historically, rather than being an "automatic" choice by law and were often not even be blood-kin. I think a regent might well be a choice by the council rather than their hand being forced by strict rules to select someone. So (to go back to my earlier example) they could relatively easily and without causing too much political trouble turn down the kitchen porter or King of Rohan and select someone else as simply being felt to be more appropriate. (Boy, there would be some "politicking" going on at that council meeting!)

3-if there are no sisters of Denethor and therefore, no uncles on that side, who would hold the Stewardship if #2 occurred? Imrahil or Adrahil?

Even if there were sisters of Denethor with husbands, I think it's highly likely that the Prince of Dol Amroth, as the second most important noble in the kingdom (that's stated in a quote from Letter 244: "Also to be Prince of Ithilien, the greatest noble after Dol Amroth in the revived Numenorean state of Gondor...") would be made regent. He would outrank, say, Angbor or Forlong, even if they were married to Denethor's sisters.

Of course, for lots of reasons, the council might select one of the other nobles as regent. As Barbara Edit oops, it was Marta said that. Sorry! noted, the council members might not want all power to be concentrated in the hands of the Princes of Dol Amroth for 20-odd years. Or it might be that the Lord of somewhere like Lossarnach, which is relatively secure, might have more time an attention to devote to being regent without being distracted by his hereditary duties than the Lord of somewhere like Dol Amroth or Lebennin, which are subject to constant attack from the Corsairs.

Oh dear. That was a very long ramble. But I hope it explains my extrapolations from canon on the subject.

HTH

Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Just curious ...



Y'all certainly do know how to satisfy curiousity, don't you?

Thanks so much, everyone,especially for all the detail!! YAY for detail!

I wish I had some sort of bizarre A/U in mind, so I could use all this info in a story, but it was really just a wondering that came up in a forum discussion, and then wouldn't let go!

*sigh* I'm not sure that made sense....If it didn't, I'll sketch out a family tree and try and explain it with concrete examples.

Liz, that really just made me

Thanks again!

EL

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi everyone!

Liz said: *sigh* I'm not sure that made sense....If it didn't, I'll sketch out a family tree and try and explain it with concrete examples.

I *think* I understand. Let me rephrase slightly, into terms that a programmer can understand :

A Steward X dies (or is getting old), and a successor is needed. This is the hierarchy of successors:

- a son (read: male descendant of any degree), if alive (read: and, presumably, has the capacity to govern now or in the future).

- a brother, if alive.

- a brother's son, if alive.

- a sister's son, if alive.

Only if all of those possibilities fail would the search start all over again with the generation of X's father... then his grandfather.

Is this what you meant, Liz?

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Barbara wrote: Is this what you meant, Liz?

Yes! Thank you! That is SO much clearer.

Just to add:

- a son (read: male descendant of any degree),

Implying: or a grandson (with descent through sons given precedence over descent through daughters, and descent through an elder child of a particular gender given precedence over descent through a younger child of the same gender). Yes.

Only if all of those possibilities fail would the search start all over again with the generation of X's father... then his grandfather.

Exactly. Of course, when you go up a generation, then "a son of the father of X" is equivalent to "the brother of X" in the first pass....

Thanks again, Barbara.

Cheers, Liz
(who is probably making EL even more with her obsessiveness)

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Then there's the template offered in ROTK. When Denethor dies and his only heir is ill, Imrahil takes charge of things under Aragorn's not-yet-assumed-but-presumed authority. When Imrahil leaves for the Morannon, I think that Hurin of the Keys is officially in charge until Faramir resumes his duties, which I think was a week. I would imagine that Hurin of the Keys was somehow related to Denethor, or at least their houses were closely allied...

I can't see a Prince of Dol Amroth taking full charge of Gondor if Denethor perished when Boromir was a child, unless that Prince had someone else who could rule Dol Amroth for him. So, depending on the timeframe, Adrahil could have become Acting Steward for Boromir while Imrahil took over the day-to-day running of Dol Amroth. But how long did Adrahil live? I think he died before Boromir grew up...



RAKSHA, speculating....

 

 

Re: Just curious ...

Hi Raksha

Then there's the template offered in ROTK. When Denethor dies and his only heir is ill, Imrahil takes charge of things under Aragorn's not-yet-assumed-but-presumed authority.

Excellent point! Although a country on a war-footing might react differently in peacetime.

When Imrahil leaves for the Morannon, I think that Hurin of the Keys is officially in charge until Faramir resumes his duties, which I think was a week.

Hurin is certainly in charge of Minas Tirith, although I'm not sure he's in charge of Gondor as a whole. (Although I would suspect he has the authority delegated to him to deal with anything in Imrahil's absence and Faramir's incapcity.)

I would imagine that Hurin of the Keys was somehow related to Denethor, or at least their houses were closely allied...

My personal fanon is that Hurin is Denethor's nephew by one of his older sisters (and around the same age as Imrahil). But that's pure fanon! Tolkien certainly originally considered him pretty important, in that he had Eomer married off to Hurin's daughter in an early draft of the Appendices.

But how long did Adrahil live? I think he died before Boromir grew up...

Adrahil lived until 3010, when Boromir was 32.

Cheers, Liz

 

 

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