Forum: Prospective Challenges

Discussing: The Hands of the King

The Hands of the King

No, not Anglachel's story, the real phenomenon.  I do not have a real strong track record with thinking up nuzguls that catch on, but I have no easy answers for this one. It intrigues me, so I will toss it out for others to chew on as well.

'Then an old wife, Ioreth, the eldest of the women who served in that house, looking on the fair face of Faramir, wept, for all the people loved him. And she said: 'Alas! if he should die. Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: _The hands of the king are the hands of a healer_. And so the rightful king could ever be known.' (RotK)

And just how did this come to be in the lore? Was there ever, at the time of the Kin Strife perhaps, a potential claimant to the throne, or a sitting king, who did not have 'healing hands'? Did a younger son ever have the ability and the elder not?  How dynastically important was it, at any point, for the 'heir' to show this ability? and how was it tested?

Since 'healing hands' come from Melian via Elros, no Man before the Second Age could have had them. Were they needed in Numenor? Remembered? Forgotten? How were the anti-evil healing properties discovered? and when?

It has to be available in the female line, as Elendil had it to pass on, but does it express in the females?  I wonder if Ar-pharazon had it?

Second Age is not my area of expertise, so I have no ideas on most of these speculations.

I'm sure it would have been enormously useful for Elendil and his sons to be able to 'heal' the effects of Black Breath during that seven year siege of Barad-dur, but did they already know they could? Or did they discover the ability on the spot, and, if so, how and where? 

How widespread is it? Is it a strict mendelllian distribution of the ability (needing two recessive 'healing' genes to express? one dominant gene? some combination of genes?) that many people in the population could potentially have? Or is it limited mystically to the primary heirs alone? It is obviously not available exclusively to 'the heir', as Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir and Aragorn all have it at the same time - or do the twins have it because they are Elrond's heirs and Aragorn because he is Elros's.

Does Arwen have 'healing hands' as well?  Has she ever used the ability? Or does she just have the 'potential' to have them, or pass them on to her descendants, if other heirs should fail?

Does this spark a nuzgul in anyone?



Re: The Hands of the King

Wow, that sparked me! I'll have to think about this...Wink




Re: The Hands of the King

Very interesting point, Gwynnyd. Oh, I have a thought. Did the descendants of Anarion have the healing hands? After all, they were not the rightful kings of Gondor.

Let me assme they did not. Maybe there was a group who supported Isildur's young son Valandil and used it as claim. On second thought, this thesis might seem unlikely for more than one reason.

1. The Lords of Andúnie must have had the gift. They were no kings and not descended 'from father to son'.
2. So it seems that it does not matter if you are the kings heir or younger son (Valandil was the fourth, after all).

This makes the first appearance of the piece of lore during the kin-strife highly possible. I think it's an allusion to Castamir's unrightful claims. I don't think that man had the 'healing-hands.'

My trail of thoughts leads me to the conclusion that it does not matter if the child is male or female, first or younger child. Having said this, I think that Arwen must have had the gift as well.

Ah, it's only sad that I do not have time.




Re: The Hands of the King

Very interesting point, Gwynnyd. Oh, I have a thought. Did the descendants of Anarion have the healing hands? After all, they were not the rightful kings of Gondor.

I think this can be interpreted all sorts of ways. That's most of the fun - working stories around the different possibilities.

If it's a 'genetic' inheritance, then every descendant can probably 'heal'. If it's 'mystical' or 'magic', then only the 'rightful heir' will have them.

And, of course, they probably would not have been needed in Numenor, so why would Elendil know he had them?

 Fun stuff to speculate about, even if it doesn't get enough interest to be a real challenge.




Re: The Hands of the King

After all, they were not the rightful kings of Gondor.

Ooooo, that's kind of a loaded statement, isn't it? I mean, there's no way to conclusively say that they were not "rightful" kings. The most you can say is that Aragorn may have had a better right. "Not rightful" implies illegality, chicanery, etc., and while Tolkien hints at the possibility that Meneldil may not have been the nicest of men, he doesn't categorically make him a usurper either.

I've always thought the healing power was a result of being of the line of Elendil (i.e. Elros). To the extent that Anarion's descendants are also of the line of Elendil, they would have the healing hands too.

Plus, the fact that "the hands of the king are the hands of a healer" is a Gondorian tradition (known to old wives like Ioreth) makes it more likely that any descendants of Anarion who became king probably did have healing hands. The belief has to come from somewhere, after all.



Re: The Hands of the King

I knew it, I knew that I shouldn't dare click the link for this forum, I knew it...

...and I did it anyway.  

I'll have to think about this one.  It's intriguing because I'm in the very early stages of plotting out a fairly long story, and this is a question that simply begs to be answered.  

Damn you, Carol!  Wink




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