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Lalia Took

Other Names:
Lalia Clayhanger
the Great
the Fat

Location(s):
Great Smials

Race/Species: Hobbit

Title(s):
the Took, head of the Took family (III 2980-3002)

Dates:
III 2883-3002 (SR 1283-1402)

Spouse:
Fortinbras Took II, 17th Thain of the Shire

Children:
Ferumbras III, 18th Thain of the Shire

Description:

Lalia Took, born Lalia Clayhanger, is the wife of Fortinbras Took II, 17th Thain of the Shire, and the mother of Ferumbras Took II, 18th Thain of the Shire:
In the case of large powerful families (such as the Tooks),... the head was properly the eldest male of what was considered the most direct line of descent.... If the master died first, his place was taken by his wife, and this included (if he had held that position) the titular headship of a large family or clan. This title thus did not descend to the son, or other heir, while she lived.... It could, therefore, happen in various circumstances that a long-lived woman of forceful character remained 'head of the family', until she had full-grown grandchildren....

A well-known case..., was that of Lalia the Great (or less courteously the Fat). Fortinbras II, one time head of the Tooks and Thain, married Lalia of the Clayhangers in 1314, when he was 36 and she was 31. He died in 1380 at the age of 102, but she long outlived him, coming to an unfortunate end in 1402 at the age of 119. So she ruled the Tooks and the Great Smials for 22 years, a great and memorable, if not universally beloved, 'matriarch'. She was not at the famous Party (SY 1401), but was prevented from attending rather by her great size and immobility than by her age. Her son, Ferumbras, had no wife, being unable (it was alleged) to find anyone willing to occupy apartments 1 in the Great Smials, under the rule of Lalia. Lalia, in her last and fattest years, had the custom of being wheeled to the Great Door, to take the air on a fine morning. In the spring of SY 1402 her clumsy attendant let the heavy chair run over the threshold and tipped Lalia down the flight of steps into the garden. So ended a reign and life that might well have rivalled that of the Great Took.

It was widely rumoured that the attendant was Pearl (Pippin's sister), though the Tooks tried to keep the matter within the family. At the celebration of Ferumbras' accession the displeasure and regret of the family was formally expressed by the exclusion of Pearl from the ceremony and feast; but it did not escape notice that later (after a decent interval) she appeared in a splendid necklace of her name-jewels that had long lain in the hoard of the Thains.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 214 to A. C. Nunn, 1958-59?


Notes
1[Though] he became Thain Ferumbras III in 1380, [he] still occupied no more than a small bachelor-son's apartment in the Great Smials, until 1402.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 214 to A. C. Nunn, 1958-59?

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 8May10

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