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Discussing: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

I notice that in many fanfics, Faramir is in charge of the Ithilien Rangers of Henneth Annun. Now, from my readings, I assumed it was a temporary position in TTT, not one he always held, but myriads of fanfics have Faramir always in Ithilien, as a almost Robin Hood character. Now, the only evidence I could find for or against this was in Appendix B of ROTK, where it says Faramir was sent "on an errand to Ithilien". That appears to me to imply that Faramir was not usually stationed there, but as I seem to be outnumbered in this matter, I thought I would ask if there was anything that I was missing. So...is Faramir the permanent captain of the Rangers of Ithilien, or was it a temporary post?

~MerryK 

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Good question, Merry.

If you go by the "errand to Ithilien" quote alone, then you could say that Faramir was only temporarily posted to Ithilien.   But he and the Rangers seem very familiar with each other, one of the Rangers speaks to the hobbits of Faramir's charmed life, Faramir's rule against harming animals for no reason (i.e. hunting for sport) is also mentioned (I think it's one of the Rangers who mention it), all of which implies, to me, that Faramir has been Captain of the Rangers for more than seven months or whatever.

 Now it is true that Faramir was at Osgiliath with Boromir and several hundred or thousand other men of Gondor, and that Faramir was in Minas Tirith at the time that Boromir's boat floated past on the Anduin.  But that can be explained...Faramir could have been called to Osgiliath, along with Boromir, to deal with the sudden build-up of forces, that culminated in the sudden attack, in June.  Once Boromir left, it could well be that Faramir had the job of coordinating Gondor's forces at the frontier; though I don't think he was given the rank of Captain-General as even a temporary measure.  So Faramir would probably have travelled around quite a bit between Ithilien, Cair Andros, Osgiliath and the City; preparing and gathering intelligence.  But he would have frequently returned to Minas Tirith to report to Denethor, strategize, and get new orders (or the same ones) from his liege-lord.

Canon doesn't say anything about Faramir's prior deployment; and considering his expertise in guerilla warfare, the reverence and familiarity felt by the Rangers for him, it seems to me very obvious that Faramir had been deployed as the Captain of the Ithilien Rangers for several years. 

RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

You make good points, Raksha, and I am more inclined after reading your post to say that Faramir was Captain in Ithilien for a long time (besides my personal inclination towards Guerilla!RobinHood!Faramir Wink). But I can't help but think that Faramir, as second son of the Steward, would be very well known in Gondor, and his inclinations, habits, idiosyncracies, etc., would be known by anyone who had ever met him, if not everyone. After all, the Stewards are the closest to a Royal Family that Gondor has, and the character of royalty has always been observed by the populace in history. Damrod and Mablung may know a good deal about Faramir, but none of their information is particular knowledge, or knowledge that everyone could not know.

~MerryK 

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Hi MerryK,

I agree with Raksha, and for the same reasons; my impression is also that Faramir had been captain of the Rangers of Ithilien at some point... though it is not clear whether he still served in that capacity after the Ring War began (with Sauron's assault on Osgiliath in June 3018 ).

I have a theory that Faramir, even if he was still based in Ithilien at the time that Boromir left for Rivendell, might have been recalled to Minas Tirith to fill in temporarily for Boromir, because Boromir, Denethor's heir, had left Gondor, and Faramir was the spare... so Denethor therefore might have wanted to keep him relatively safe. Though the Captain-Generalcy was clearly not a "safe" desk job (since Boromir was also at the attack on Osgiliath), it probably involved less time directly on the active front lines than being stationed in Ithilien.

And, as far as it being a "temporary" post, it might have been just one of several rotations in a military career marked for advancement. After all, if Boromir had become Steward, someone else would have to become Captain General, and perhaps Faramir was expected to fill that position.

But these are all theories, of course, since Tolkien didn't give us any explicit information about Faramir's career.

Hope this helps!
- Barbara

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

That was quite helpful, Barbara! Thanks!

Oh dear. I need to know one very trivial canon detail to know whether or not to have Faramir in Ithilien before the Ring War...and I end up having to think about Gondor's military rotation and the roles of Captain-General and Steward's Heir. No wonder I spend more time researching than writing. Wink

~MerryK 

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

That was quite helpful, Barbara! Thanks!

You're very welcome!

And, I was chatting with Tanaqui this evening, and she theorized that Aragorn made Faramir the Prince of Ithilien (instead of, say, Anórien) because of his personal ties there, probably stronger ties than just being descended from Húrin of Emyn Arnen many generations earlier.

If you're interested, she also has an essay about Gondorian military organization that you can read here: Gondorian Military Organisation and Government: some thoughts (link opens in a new window).

No wonder I spend more time researching than writing.

LOLOL! I *soooo* know what you mean.... in fact, I am working on a drabble series, Fell and Fair, that is 30% drabbles and 70% author's notes, mostly quotations from Tolkien...

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

And, I was chatting with Tanaqui this evening, and she theorized that Aragorn made Faramir the Prince of Ithilien (instead of, say, Anórien) because of his personal ties there, probably stronger ties than just being descended from Húrin of Emyn Arnen many generations earlier.

Now that really makes sense! Although, according to Tolkien, the princedoms of Dol Amroth and Ithilien were the most important in the land, so I always assumed Aragorn was just blessing Faramir with the highest honor. Thanks for the link!

~MerryK

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Although, according to Tolkien, the princedoms of Dol Amroth and Ithilien were the most important in the land, so I always assumed Aragorn was just blessing Faramir with the highest honor.

True, but that's after he *created* the Princedom of Ithilien, which, to my knowledge, did not exist before, whereas the Prince of Dol Amroth was a long-established title. So, yes, the two princedoms were the most important fiefs -- they were the only ones that had princes rather than common garden-variety lords.

Which doesn't make it any less of an honor, that Elessar chose to create a princedom just for Faramir...

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Which doesn't make it any less of an honor, that Elessar chose to create a princedom just for Faramir...

Oh, no, certainly not. Grin

But doesn't it say that Aragorn "gave him the Princedom of Ithilien" in ROTK? I thought that implied that it was aready a position, even if no one had held it for centuries. Considering that it was once the Garden of Gondor, and quite a large territory, I imagine that someone must have been in charge of it.

~MerryK

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

But doesn't it say that Aragorn "gave him the Princedom of Ithilien" in ROTK? I thought that implied that it was already a position, even if no one had held it for centuries.

Now look what you made me do! I had to actually go look it up in the books to answer you... such a hardship!

(All emphases in this post are mine. The really cool words are Tolkien's. There is no justice in this world. )

And Aragorn gave to Faramir Ithilien to be his princedom, and bade him dwell in the hills of Emyn Arnen within sight of the City.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 5, The Steward and the King


The way that is worded, I always interpreted it as establishing a new princedom; otherwise, Tolkien would have said something like "gave to Faramir the princedom of Ithilien".

And Faramir's ancestor was named Húrin of Emyn Arnen, which indicates to me that he was the lord of the smaller territory, not all of Ithilien. (BTW, Faramir also holds the title Lord of Emyn Arnen; he is called that in Appendix A, under the list of Ruling Stewards.)

Also, there is no mention of a prior Prince of Ithilien in any of the readings I have done in Unfinished Tales or History of Middle-earth, but there is a footnote in UT describing how an early lord of Dol Amroth was made Prince.

Now, HoME does give us some further detail, which not everyone will accept as canon, but I think indicates Tolkien's intentions in this case (thanks to the great Faramir-fancier, Tanaqui, for finding this quote when I couldn't):

It is said also that in 3020 Eowyn Eomund's daughter wedded Faramir, last Steward of Gondor and first Prince of Ithilien, in the king's house of Rohan.

The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 8, The Tale of Years of the Third Age


And, in the same book, in the family tree titled "The Line of Dol Amroth", Faramir and Éowyn's son, Elboron, is described as the Second Prince.

So, I think that Tolkien intended for Elessar to create a new title for Faramir and his descendants, one equal in honor to that of the Prince of Dol Amroth, in exchange for taking the "Ruling" out of "Ruling Steward of Gondor".

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

Thanks for the help, Barbara! I am one to consider HOME canon (or at least when its interesting and neat Wink), and look through it frequently...how could I have forgotten that quote? It certainly appears that Faramir was the first Prince, even if there might have been other lords who held a simliar position before.

~MerryK 

 

 

Re: Captain of the Rangers of Ithilien?

I am one to consider HOME canon (or at least when its interesting and neat )

LOLOLOLOLOL! I said in the other thread that I accept HoME as canon when it does not significantly contradict the books published in Tolkien's lifetime... but I think your formulation is actually more accurate in my case, too...

After all, I'm the one who's writing an enitire drabble series around the HoME quote about Elladan and Elrohir being at the forefront of the charge of the Riders of the North at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant....

- Barbara

 

 

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