COTW: LOTR App. AI ii/iv: The Stewards

7 views
Skip to first unread message

Matthew T Curtis

unread,
May 16, 2005, 6:39:33 AM5/16/05
to
App. AI ii/iv: The Stewards

The Stewards [1] were appointed from the descendants of Hurin of Emyn
Arnen [2], who held the office during the time of King Minardil. The
first to hold executive power was Pelendur, in the interregnum between
the death of Ondoher and his sons in 1944, and the accession of Earnil
II a year later. Pelendur 'played the chief part' in the rejection of
Arvedui's claim to the vacant throne [3]. After him, the office of
Steward became strictly hereditary.

Mardil Voronwe, known as 'the Steadfast' or 'the Good Steward' was the
first Ruling Steward. He had tried to dissuade King Earnur from
responding to the Witch-King's challenge to single combat (ultimately
unsuccessfully); when it became clear the king would not return, there
being no obvious candidate 'of pure blood, or whose claim all would
allow', Mardil assumed the reins of office, although not the trappings
('[they] never sat on the ancient throne...wore no crown, and held no
sceptre [4][5]).

The first few centuries of Stewardly rule were period known as the
Watchful Peace, when Mordor was quiescent, but in the days of the
tenth Steward, Denethor I, Mordor invaded Ithilien with a new breed of
strong orcs ('Uruks'). They were repulsed, but Osgiliath was ruined,
and the steward's son and heir [6] received a Morgul-wound which left
him weakened and eventually caused him to die young [7]. Henceforth
Gondor was in a near-continuous state of war, or at least hostile
peace, from several sides [8]. The twelfth Steward, Cirion, suffered
an invasion from the north, by which was only repulsed with the aid
of Eorl and the Eotheod, summoned from the north. In gratitude Cirion
granted them the province of Calenardhon, which became the kingdom of
Rohan [9]. Ecthelion I (seventeenth Steward) rebuilt the White Tower
of Minas Tirith.

Later, under the stewardship of Beren (nineteenth Steward), Gondor had
to fight off a sea-borne invasion from the Corsairs of Umbar, at the
same time as Rohan was at war with the Dunlendings. In the aftermath
Beren allowed Saruman to take residence in Orthanc [10]. Beren's heir
Beregond, a great leader, recovered some of Gondor's strength,
notwithstanding an infestation of Orcs from the Misty Mountains
fleeing the war with the Dwarves.

The White Tree of Minas Tirith, descended from the sapling Elendil had
brought from Numenor (and ultimately from Telperion itself) died at
the same time as the twenty-first Steward, Belecthor II [11].

In the time of the twenty-third Steward, Turin II, Mordor invaded
Ithilien, which became largely depopulated. Turin constructed
fortifications to defend the west-bank of the Anduin, as well as
secret refuges for his soldiers in Ithilien. He also, with the aid of
Rohan, repulsed a Haradrim invasion of South Gondor; the sons of King
Folcwine of Rohan died in the battle [12]. In the next Stewardship,
that of Turgon, Sauron returned to Mordor [13], and the last
inhabitants of Ithilien departed.

In the time of the twenty-fifth Steward, Ecthelion II, Gondor won a
great victory over Umbar under the leadership of a mysterious man
known as Thorongil ('Eagle of the Star'), who had previously served
the King of Rohan. After the victory he did not return to Minas
Tirith, but left in the direction of Mordor [14]. Ecthelion's son
Denethor had been Thorongil's rival [15]. When he succeeded to the
Stewardship, Denethor became the first ruler of Gondor to use the
/palantir/ of Minas Tirith in nearly a thousand years, since Sauron
had gained control of the stone of Minas Ithil. Denethor gained great
knowledge thereby but was 'aged before his time by his contest with
the will of Sauron' [16]. He had two sons, Boromir and Faramir; 'but
of all that befell these three in the War of the Ring much is said
elsewhere'.

Notes, Questions, Comments, and Sundry Opportunities for Discussion:

1. The Stewardship would have been originally an administrative
position in the royal household; most high offices in monarchies began
as domestic positions - _Chamberlain_, chamber-ling, in charge of the
royal bed chamber; _Constable_, count of the stables, in charge of
mucking out the horses, et cetera. Household servants tended to be
very important because they saw the King every day.

2. Emyn Arnen was near Minas Anor/Tirith. Interesting to note that the
move from Osgiliath came after House of Hurin got hold of the
Stewardship. Was King Tarondor subtly influenced by a Steward who
wanted his master closer to his own power base? We Are Not Told.

3. Again, what was Pelendur's agenda here? Did he truly have Gondor's
interests at heart, or was he trying to protect his own position by
rejecting a less pliable king?

4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to
have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
years wore on.

The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor of the
Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th century, who got
Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian dynasty and become
king.

There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a sort of
sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match: using a Palantir
and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men of Dunharrow, or just
'the hands of a king are the hands of a healer'. Kings have a divine
sanction that Stewards do not.

5. 'His successors ceased to used High-elven names'. Why was this?

6. Boromir the elder is the first-named of the House of Hurin to be
renowned as a general. By this time, four centuries after the death of
Earnur, the Stewardship had aggregated the military responsibilities
previously held by the monarchy.

7. Boromir's wound was less deadly than those suffered by Frodo,
Eowyn, Faramir, or Merry, as he lived and functioned (if not well) for
several years thereafter. Merely a flesh wound, or does this indicate
that the effect of the Witch-King got stronger with the waxing of
Sauron?

8. 'The reach of Gondor had grown short.' An indication of the
narrowing of Gondor's horizons is that whereas Vorondil father of
Mardil was able to go hunting for the kine of Araw as far afield as
Rhun, by Cirion's time that land was the home of a hostile power so
dangerous that he was 'hard put to it to hold the line of the Anduin'.
By the time of the War of the Ring, even an expedition to Ithilien was
a major undertaking.

9. Would the Kings have been so sanguine about giving away a large
province, even as a reward to a friendly power?

10. What was the position of Orthanc before Saruman came? Was it
garrisoned by Gondorean troops, or was it neglected since the retreat
from Calenardhon? And where was Saruman living before he took up
residence?

11. Interesting - the tree was so associated with the Kings, it would
have been more poetically apt for it to have died contemporaneously
with Earnur. Tolkien was normally very keen on this sort of symbolism.

12. 'The Riders buried them after the fashion of their people, and
they were laid in one mound... Long it stood, /Haudh in Gwanur/... and
the enemies of Gondor feared to pass it.' An example of a symbol in
Tolkien having real psychological power.

13. 'Barad-dur was raised once more, and Mount Doom burst into flame.'
What would have been the effect of Sauron's return? Did the Gondoreans
realise what was happening? Did anybody suspect Sauron was still alive
previously?

'Saruman took Isengard for his own, and fortified it.' Was this when
Saruman went bad, or earlier? Was he originally a loyal lieutenant at
Orthanc, only changing after he looked into the Palantir, or did he
have this in mi9nd from the start?

14. Did anyone in Gondor have any idea who Thorongil really was?

15. Aris Katsaris said it best in 2003:
<http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_thread/thread/5a542b33aec6d57d/02da756e9b46d9ad?q=%22faramir+to+thorongil%27s+boromir&hl=en#02da756e9b46d9ad>
>I think that Denethor may very well have once been Faramir to
>Thorongil's Boromir, in his own father's eyes.

16. 'Pride increased in Denethor together with despair, until he
saw... only a single combat between the Lord of the White Tower and
the Lord of Barad-dur, and mistrusted all others.' Sauron was not able
to break Denethor's will through the Palantir, but he was able to
break his spirit.

--
Matthew T Curtis mtcurtis[at]dsl.pipex.com
HIV+ for 24 Glorious Years!
The most scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was
only accused of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest.
- Edward Gibbon

Michael Ikeda

unread,
May 16, 2005, 7:02:47 AM5/16/05
to
Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in
news:dlkg8110109e90bdn...@4ax.com:

(snipped)

>
> 4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil
> seems to have been a good man without personal ambition, but it
> must have tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir
> definitely thought so). At first there was a danger of civil war
> - there would have been some pretenders with weak claims - but
> this would have lessened as the years wore on.
>
> The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor
> of the Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th
> century, who got Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian
> dynasty and become king.

There's also the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan (1603-1868) where the
Emperor was viewed as the ultimate "source" of legitimacy but was
entirely a figurehead (until the very end of the period) while real
power was vested in the Shogunate.

(The Emperor had been basically a figurehead for a long time before
the Tokugawa, but the Tokugawa were in power longer and more
securely than their predecessors.)

>
> There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no
> Pope, to authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a
> sort of sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match:
> using a Palantir and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men
> of Dunharrow, or just 'the hands of a king are the hands of a
> healer'. Kings have a divine sanction that Stewards do not.
>

Also claiming the kingship would have violated the traditional Oath
of Office of the Stewards.

(snipped)

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

Kevin

unread,
May 16, 2005, 9:28:58 AM5/16/05
to
In alt.fan.tolkien Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

> 2. Emyn Arnen was near Minas Anor/Tirith. Interesting to note that the
> move from Osgiliath came after House of Hurin got hold of the
> Stewardship. Was King Tarondor subtly influenced by a Steward who
> wanted his master closer to his own power base? We Are Not Told.

This is wild speculation, but I'm guessing not. I rather imagine
that Gondor was experiencing a general economic decline during this period
and that it was becoming more important to have a defensible capital, so
the move to Minas Tirith was a natural choice.

> 3. Again, what was Pelendur's agenda here? Did he truly have Gondor's
> interests at heart, or was he trying to protect his own position by
> rejecting a less pliable king?

I'm guessing it was some of each. It would have been very easy to
convince himself that Gondor needed him and that the other king from way
up north was unable to understand Gondor well enough to lead it.

> 4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to
> have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
> tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
> so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
> some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
> years wore on.

As the years went by, the title of Steward would have become more
prestigious, almost as good as the title of king. Taking that title
would have served little purpose.

> There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
> authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a sort of
> sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match: using a Palantir
> and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men of Dunharrow, or just
> 'the hands of a king are the hands of a healer'. Kings have a divine
> sanction that Stewards do not.

Agreed.

> 10. What was the position of Orthanc before Saruman came? Was it
> garrisoned by Gondorean troops, or was it neglected since the retreat
> from Calenardhon? And where was Saruman living before he took up
> residence?

Isn't that discussed in some detail elsewhere in Appendix A? As
I recall, Dunlendings had taken over Isengard at some point.
As for Saruman, no idea. He is known to have spent a lot of time
far in the East at some point. I rather imagine that he wandered around
a lot like Gandalf.

> 11. Interesting - the tree was so associated with the Kings, it would
> have been more poetically apt for it to have died contemporaneously
> with Earnur. Tolkien was normally very keen on this sort of symbolism.

I think the idea is that the tree died when things were starting
to look _really_ bleak.

> 13. 'Barad-dur was raised once more, and Mount Doom burst into flame.'
> What would have been the effect of Sauron's return? Did the Gondoreans
> realise what was happening? Did anybody suspect Sauron was still alive
> previously?

I'm guessing that they did indeed suspect, and that when the mountain
burst into flame their suspicions were confirmed.

> 'Saruman took Isengard for his own, and fortified it.' Was this when
> Saruman went bad, or earlier? Was he originally a loyal lieutenant at
> Orthanc, only changing after he looked into the Palantir, or did he
> have this in mi9nd from the start?

I'm guessing that at the very beginning Saruman was indeed loyal.
But he probably found the palantir very shortly after moving into Orthanc,
even if he didn't actually use it for many years thereafter. He should
have reported its presence to the Steward and/or to the White Council...
and he failed to do so. That, I suspect, was his first step towards
treachery. But for a long time, he must have acted loyally in most ways.
That wouldn't have been hard for him, as the Stewards largely left him
alone.

> 14. Did anyone in Gondor have any idea who Thorongil really was?

I am fairly certain that Denethor did.


Kevin

Graham Lockwood

unread,
May 16, 2005, 12:44:35 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 08:28:58 -0500, Kevin wrote

> In alt.fan.tolkien Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
{snip}

>> 10. What was the position of Orthanc before Saruman came? Was it
>> garrisoned by Gondorean troops, or was it neglected since the retreat
>> from Calenardhon? And where was Saruman living before he took up
>> residence?
>
> Isn't that discussed in some detail elsewhere in Appendix A? As
> I recall, Dunlendings had taken over Isengard at some point.

Not sure where it's said, but the Gondorian guards at Isengard eventually
became a heriditary position and, being very far away from Gondor, began to
interbreed with the locals (Dunlendings). Eventually, they were more
Dunlendish than they were Gondorian and pretty much did their own thing.
Presumably, when the Stewards kicked them out in favor of Saruman, they went
to live with their family, the Dunlendings. This undoubtedly annoyed the
Dunlendings, adding to their already annoyance at the invasion of their lands
by the Rohirrim and the previous invasion by the Numenoreans.

> As for Saruman, no idea. He is known to have spent a lot of time
> far in the East at some point. I rather imagine that he wandered around
> a lot like Gandalf.

I think that's said somewhere. The bit on the Istari in UT maybe.

{snip}


>> 14. Did anyone in Gondor have any idea who Thorongil really was?
>
> I am fairly certain that Denethor did.

Or at least strongly suspected. By the time of the War of the Ring at least,
he seemed well aware of his existence, who he was, and that he wanted to
reclaim the throne. It wouldn't surprise me if he had been spying on the
remnants of Arnor with his palantir. It's highly unlikely that he would have
seen Aragorn himself in that way, but he may have been able to discover that
the Dunedain of the North were not as dead as all that, although (to his
mind) they had "fallen" quite a bit. A question might be: were any of the
previous stewards even aware of the continuance of the Line of Isildur?

---
Graham

AC

unread,
May 16, 2005, 12:48:08 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 11:39:33 +0100,
Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

<snip>

> 4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to


> have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
> tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
> so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
> some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
> years wore on.
>
> The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor of the
> Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th century, who got
> Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian dynasty and become
> king.
>
> There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
> authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a sort of
> sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match: using a Palantir
> and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men of Dunharrow, or just
> 'the hands of a king are the hands of a healer'. Kings have a divine
> sanction that Stewards do not.

I think the latter explanation likely explains it, though I also have
something of a suspicion that the actual nobility of Gondor preferred the
king-like powers with the at least formal lack of kingly position. A
steward in a kingdom where theoretically a king could still come back might
be somewhat more pliant and less likely to abuse his position.

<snip>

> 8. 'The reach of Gondor had grown short.' An indication of the
> narrowing of Gondor's horizons is that whereas Vorondil father of
> Mardil was able to go hunting for the kine of Araw as far afield as
> Rhun, by Cirion's time that land was the home of a hostile power so
> dangerous that he was 'hard put to it to hold the line of the Anduin'.
> By the time of the War of the Ring, even an expedition to Ithilien was
> a major undertaking.

There's no doubt at all that Gondor had been in wane for some time, and
though with the aid of the Rohirrim (and more distant aid in the form of
Sauron having to split his strength to attack people like Dain and
Thranduil) they managed to hold on after the first assault, I think it was a
given that Gondor would have been smashed in what was to come.

>
> 9. Would the Kings have been so sanguine about giving away a large
> province, even as a reward to a friendly power?

I'd say no.

>
> 10. What was the position of Orthanc before Saruman came? Was it
> garrisoned by Gondorean troops, or was it neglected since the retreat
> from Calenardhon? And where was Saruman living before he took up
> residence?

I gather that it was pretty much abandoned.

<snip>

> 13. 'Barad-dur was raised once more, and Mount Doom burst into flame.'
> What would have been the effect of Sauron's return? Did the Gondoreans
> realise what was happening? Did anybody suspect Sauron was still alive
> previously?

I imagine once Barad-dur was raised again, Gondor certainly knew. The Valar
must have known that Sauron was still around, because they sent the Istari.

>
> 'Saruman took Isengard for his own, and fortified it.' Was this when
> Saruman went bad, or earlier? Was he originally a loyal lieutenant at
> Orthanc, only changing after he looked into the Palantir, or did he
> have this in mi9nd from the start?

I don't know if it stated anywhere, but I have a feeling he wanted to be
rather close to the Anduin, and the Gladden Fields.

>
> 14. Did anyone in Gondor have any idea who Thorongil really was?

Denethor certainly did.

>
> 15. Aris Katsaris said it best in 2003:
><http://groups.google.co.uk/group/rec.arts.books.tolkien/browse_thread/thread/5a542b33aec6d57d/02da756e9b46d9ad?q=%22faramir+to+thorongil%27s+boromir&hl=en#02da756e9b46d9ad>
>>I think that Denethor may very well have once been Faramir to
>>Thorongil's Boromir, in his own father's eyes.

Very likely. I really do think Denethor is the ultimate tragic character of
LotR, a tragedy as great as Turin's. Such a brilliant mind, such keen
sight, a Numenorean and probably the second mightiest Man next to Aragorn.

>
> 16. 'Pride increased in Denethor together with despair, until he
> saw... only a single combat between the Lord of the White Tower and
> the Lord of Barad-dur, and mistrusted all others.' Sauron was not able
> to break Denethor's will through the Palantir, but he was able to
> break his spirit.

I think Faramir's injuries, which Denethor thought to be fatal, had a large
part as well.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Graham Lockwood

unread,
May 16, 2005, 12:52:23 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 06:02:47 -0500, Michael Ikeda wrote

> Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in
> (snipped)
>> 4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil
>> seems to have been a good man without personal ambition, but it
>> must have tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir
>> definitely thought so). At first there was a danger of civil war
>> - there would have been some pretenders with weak claims - but
>> this would have lessened as the years wore on.
>>
>> The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor
>> of the Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th
>> century, who got Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian
>> dynasty and become king.
>
> There's also the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan (1603-1868) where the
> Emperor was viewed as the ultimate "source" of legitimacy but was
> entirely a figurehead (until the very end of the period) while real
> power was vested in the Shogunate.
>
> (The Emperor had been basically a figurehead for a long time before
> the Tokugawa, but the Tokugawa were in power longer and more
> securely than their predecessors.)
{snip}

Most of the Caliphates of the Islamic world ended up more or less like this
eventually. The Caliphs were (theoretically, anyway) both the political and
spiritual leaders of Islam. Kind of like an Emperor combined with a Pope.
Partly because of this, it was difficult to "officially" depose them, but
palace-coups and even invaders often took over real power but kept the Caliph
as a figurehead.

A common theme among all of these is that the monarch involved is seen as
having a divine mandate and so officially deposing them would be seen by the
populace as an offense to god/the gods. So the new leaders must keep them in
order to keep the populace in check. Eventually, it doesn't really matter.
Denethor was a king in all but name.

---
Graham

the softrat

unread,
May 16, 2005, 1:44:31 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 06:02:47 -0500, Michael Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com>
wrote:

>
>There's also the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan (1603-1868) where the
>Emperor was viewed as the ultimate "source" of legitimacy but was
>entirely a figurehead (until the very end of the period) while real
>power was vested in the Shogunate.
>
>(The Emperor had been basically a figurehead for a long time before
>the Tokugawa, but the Tokugawa were in power longer and more
>securely than their predecessors.)
>
But Japan had an over eight hundred year tradition of this kind of
government, back into the Heian Period, IIRC: one family of emperors
and several sequential families of shoguns. There was *always* an
emperor even if there (temporarily) was no shogun.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Cajon Pass.
Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for sixteen hardened
criminals.

Michael Ikeda

unread,
May 16, 2005, 5:41:12 PM5/16/05
to
the softrat <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in
news:8omh81pmscjdq9m3i...@4ax.com:

> On Mon, 16 May 2005 06:02:47 -0500, Michael Ikeda
> <mmi...@erols.com> wrote:
>>
>>There's also the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan (1603-1868) where
>>the Emperor was viewed as the ultimate "source" of legitimacy
>>but was entirely a figurehead (until the very end of the period)
>>while real power was vested in the Shogunate.
>>
>>(The Emperor had been basically a figurehead for a long time
>>before the Tokugawa, but the Tokugawa were in power longer and
>>more securely than their predecessors.)
>>
> But Japan had an over eight hundred year tradition of this kind
> of government, back into the Heian Period, IIRC: one family of
> emperors and several sequential families of shoguns. There was
> *always* an emperor even if there (temporarily) was no shogun.
>

From what I gather, the shogunate as a permanent institution appears
to have been an innovation of the Hojo family at the beginning of the
13th century AD. The tendency of a separation between the the source
of legitimacy (the emperor) and the actual center of power is much
older than that and goes back to the beginnings of the Fujiwara
ascendancy in the 9th century AD.

Incidentally, the Hojo set up an interesting situation where the head
of the Hojo family was acting for a figurehead shogun who was acting
for a figurehead emperor.

the softrat

unread,
May 16, 2005, 7:11:26 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 16:41:12 -0500, Michael Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com>
wrote:
>

>Incidentally, the Hojo set up an interesting situation where the head
>of the Hojo family was acting for a figurehead shogun who was acting
>for a figurehead emperor.

You left out the figurehead retired emperor. The Japanese carried this
indirection to an extreme.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

I don't have a solution, but I admire the problem

Emma Pease

unread,
May 16, 2005, 10:01:49 PM5/16/05
to
In article <dlkg8110109e90bdn...@4ax.com>, Matthew T
Curtis wrote:

> 4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to
> have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
> tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
> so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
> some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
> years wore on.
>
> The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor of the
> Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th century, who got
> Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian dynasty and become
> king.

Also Charlemagne's claiming/getting of the title of Emperor. There
had been no Emperor in the West for centuries though an Emperor still
reigned in the East.

Note also Stewards of Gondor and the Scottish royal family of
Stuart who started as stewards of Scotland and ended up kings when the
royal line failed (admittedly they had a claim through the female
line).

> There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
> authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a sort of
> sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match: using a Palantir
> and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men of Dunharrow, or just
> 'the hands of a king are the hands of a healer'. Kings have a divine
> sanction that Stewards do not.

The Stewards could legitimately use the Palantir but the danger was
that Sauron had one also. Even the last couple of kings of the
Southern line had not used it once the Minas Ithil palantir had been
captured. If Aragorn had been weaker than he was, he would have not
been able to wrench it to his use.

> 5. 'His successors ceased to used High-elven names'. Why was this?
>
> 6. Boromir the elder is the first-named of the House of Hurin to be
> renowned as a general. By this time, four centuries after the death of
> Earnur, the Stewardship had aggregated the military responsibilities
> previously held by the monarchy.

Are there any other generals mentioned between the fall of the Kings
and Boromir the first? Upon the failure of the Kings, the Stewards
got all their responsibilities though not necessarily all their
privileges. Ordering the defense of Gondor is a responsibility.

> 7. Boromir's wound was less deadly than those suffered by Frodo,
> Eowyn, Faramir, or Merry, as he lived and functioned (if not well) for
> several years thereafter. Merely a flesh wound, or does this indicate
> that the effect of the Witch-King got stronger with the waxing of
> Sauron?
>
> 8. 'The reach of Gondor had grown short.' An indication of the
> narrowing of Gondor's horizons is that whereas Vorondil father of
> Mardil was able to go hunting for the kine of Araw as far afield as
> Rhun, by Cirion's time that land was the home of a hostile power so
> dangerous that he was 'hard put to it to hold the line of the Anduin'.
> By the time of the War of the Ring, even an expedition to Ithilien was
> a major undertaking.
>
> 9. Would the Kings have been so sanguine about giving away a large
> province, even as a reward to a friendly power?

Given the need possibly (Unfinished Tales has more) or possibly not.
However note that Cirion made it a gift that would last only until the
King returned. Elessar repeated the gift and made it perpetual.

Faramir notes that the Stewards were more forward looking and that the
Kings in the Southern line had been looking more to their ancestry
then to the common good. This might be an example. One of the
Southern line kings might not have thought of giving away land that
had been marked as part of Gondor by Isildur and Anarion (the statues
on the Anduin that the party passes). The stewards or at least one as
great as Cirion saw the need to repopulate the land with people loyal
to Gondor but also saw that they needed their own laws and rulers and
their own land.

According to Unfinished Tales, Cirion invoked the Valar and Illuvatar
as witnesses something that was very rarely done even by the Kings.
The only other oath that I can remember with similar witnesses was
that of Feanor and his sons. Was it legal for the Stewards to do this
sort of invocation that seems to have been restricted to the Kings
alone [much like sitting on the throne or being crowned] (or should we
leave this discussion till we get to Unfinished Tales). For that
matter was it legal for the Stewards to give away land or was it legal
since Cirion set the return of the King as revoking the give away?

--
\----
|\* | Emma Pease Net Spinster
|_\/ Die Luft der Freiheit weht

Graham Lockwood

unread,
May 16, 2005, 10:40:34 PM5/16/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 21:01:49 -0500, Emma Pease wrote
{snip}

For that
> matter was it legal for the Stewards to give away land or was it legal
> since Cirion set the return of the King as revoking the give away?

I think it was more like a loan than a gift. Revocable upon word from the
king. However, since no one really expected the king to ever come back, it
was effectively the same thing. Besides, if a king HAD returned and had
wanted Rohan back, I suspect he would have a hard time evicting the
tenants...


---
Graham

Larry Swain

unread,
May 17, 2005, 1:36:42 PM5/17/05
to

Graham Lockwood wrote:
> On Mon, 16 May 2005 08:28:58 -0500, Kevin wrote
>
>>In alt.fan.tolkien Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>
> {snip}
>
>>>10. What was the position of Orthanc before Saruman came? Was it
>>>garrisoned by Gondorean troops, or was it neglected since the retreat
>>>from Calenardhon? And where was Saruman living before he took up
>>>residence?
>>
>> Isn't that discussed in some detail elsewhere in Appendix A? As
>>I recall, Dunlendings had taken over Isengard at some point.
>
>
> Not sure where it's said, but the Gondorian guards at Isengard eventually
> became a heriditary position and, being very far away from Gondor, began to
> interbreed with the locals (Dunlendings). Eventually, they were more
> Dunlendish than they were Gondorian and pretty much did their own thing.
> Presumably, when the Stewards kicked them out in favor of Saruman, they went
> to live with their family, the Dunlendings. This undoubtedly annoyed the
> Dunlendings, adding to their already annoyance at the invasion of their lands
> by the Rohirrim and the previous invasion by the Numenoreans.

I can't find it, but I was under the impression that though Gondor still
claimed Isengard as a fortress for its Western border, that Gondor had
not been able to sustain a force there and the Western wardens had
interbred and disappeared from the scene--i. e. Isengard was empty when
Saruman asked to dwell and was given the keys.

Larry Swain

unread,
May 17, 2005, 3:15:42 PM5/17/05
to

AC wrote:
> On Mon, 16 May 2005 11:39:33 +0100,
> Matthew T Curtis <little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>>4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to
>>have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
>>tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
>>so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
>>some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
>>years wore on.
>>
>>The closest historical analogy would be with the Frankish Mayor of the
>>Palace (read: Steward), Pepin the Short, in the 8th century, who got
>>Papal sanction to depose the effete Merovingian dynasty and become
>>king.
>>
>>There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
>>authorise it; secondly, the Kingship in Tolkien had a sort of
>>sacerdotal quality which lesser mortals cannot match: using a Palantir
>>and surviving unscathed, releasing the Dead Men of Dunharrow, or just
>>'the hands of a king are the hands of a healer'. Kings have a divine
>>sanction that Stewards do not.


I seriously question whether the case of Pepin and the Frankish Mayor of
the Palace is the closest parallel to the Stewards of Gondor. For one
thing, the entire purpose of the Mayor and the Stewards were
exceptionally different, and of course there is that little problem that
there were actually kings running about when Pippin made his play.

I think a better historical analogue is the High Steward of England, one
of whose functions particularly in the later middle ages was to hold the
crown and power between the death of a king and the coronation of the
next, w/ the Steward then being the acting functionary conferring the
rights and power of king--literally transferring it from himself to the
new king. In my view this is precisely the image we have of the
Stewards of Gondor: they held the power in trust from one king to the
next--granted that the Lord High Steward did so a matter of months at
most, usually mere days, and the Gondoran Stewards for a millenia, but
still. Now we also see Faramir fulfilling his office by bringing the
crown to Aragorn, seeking the assent of the people (as is proper at a
coronation), and then giving the crown to Aragorn (who then acknowledges
his debts to others for brining him there.) I would say then that the
roles the Lord High Steward of England played throughout English history
is more akin to the Stewards of Gondor than any other historical
analogue we could name.


>
>>9. Would the Kings have been so sanguine about giving away a large
>>province, even as a reward to a friendly power?
>
>
> I'd say no.

Depends on the situation. If all other things remained the same, save a
king on the throne, I'd say they probably would have done the same
thing. Besides, there is plenty of historical example of this on which
to draw in Late Antiquity and the MIddle Ages: especially note Normandy.


>
>>'Saruman took Isengard for his own, and fortified it.' Was this when
>>Saruman went bad, or earlier? Was he originally a loyal lieutenant at
>>Orthanc, only changing after he looked into the Palantir, or did he
>>have this in mi9nd from the start?
>
>
> I don't know if it stated anywhere, but I have a feeling he wanted to be
> rather close to the Anduin, and the Gladden Fields.

He certainly had turned that direction by 2851 (having taken up
residence in 2759) when he was searching the area near Gladden Fields
for the Ring.


Steve Morrison

unread,
May 18, 2005, 11:33:46 PM5/18/05
to
Larry Swain wrote:
>
> I can't find it, but I was under the impression that though Gondor
still
> claimed Isengard as a fortress for its Western border, that Gondor
had
> not been able to sustain a force there and the Western wardens had
> interbred and disappeared from the scene--i. e. Isengard was empty
when
> Saruman asked to dwell and was given the keys.

Is this it? From the essay on the /Palantiri/:

"Calenardhon, never densely populated, had been devastated by the Dark
Plague of 1636, and thereafter steadily denuded of inhabitants of
Numenorean descent by migration to Ithilien and lands nearer Anduin.
Isengard remained a personal possession of the Stewards, but Orthanc
itself became deserted, and eventually it was closed and its keys
removed to Minas Tirith. If Beren the Steward considered the Stone at
all when he gave these to Saruman, he probably thought that it could
be in no safer hands than those of the head of the Council opposed to
Sauron."

The other material -- on the keepers of the forts becoming a hereditary
group who intermarried extensively with the Dunlendings -- is found in
the appendix to "The Battles of the Fords of Isen".

Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 22, 2005, 12:25:40 PM5/22/05
to
Is it ever conclusively stated that Thorongil was Aragorn's alias? It seems
to imply in the Stewards section of the appendix that Thorongil went to
Mordor and died there. Although Aragorn mentions that he's used many
aliases, I don't recall reading that he conclusively states that Thorongil
was one such.

GRH


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 22, 2005, 1:56:24 PM5/22/05
to
Gregory Hernandez <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> Is it ever conclusively stated that Thorongil was Aragorn's alias?

Yes. See Appendix B (Tale of Years), Third Age:

"2957-80 Aragorn undertakes his great journeys and errantries. As
Thorongil he serves in disguise both Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II
of Gondor."

> It seems to imply in the Stewards section of the appendix that
> Thorongil went to Mordor and died there.

"For he took boat and crossed over Anduin, and there he said farewell to
his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen his face was
towards the Mountains of Shadow." (Appendix A, LotR)

He was last seen heading in the direction of Mordor, but Thorongil
obviously did survive, as he is indeed none other than Aragorn. As to
what he did on his errantries, there is this bit here where Aragorn
tries to answer Boromir's doubts:

"I have crossed many mountains and many rivers, and trodden many plains,
even into the far countries of Rhun and Harad where the stars are
strange." (The Council of Elrond)

But first he went back to Rivendell, stopping off at Lorien:

"It came to pass that when Aragorn was nine and forty years of age he
returned from perils on the dark confines of Mordor [...] Aragorn went
forth again to danger and toil." (Tale of Aragorn and Arwen)

Presumably this is the journeys to Rhun and Harad. So the sequence seems
to be Rohan, Gondor, Mordor [brief break in Lorien and Rivendell], Rhun
and Harad.

> Although Aragorn mentions that he's used many aliases, I don't recall
> reading that he conclusively states that Thorongil was one such.

Aragorn makes several references to his past life as Thorongil, though I
think you are right in that he never explicitly mentions the name
Thorongil. One of these moments is when he talks to Eomer at their first
meeting on the plains of Rohan:

"I have been in this land before, more than once, and ridden with the
host of the Rohirrim, though under other name and in other guise." (The
Riders of Rohan)

This would be an indirect reference to Thorongil.

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

the softrat

unread,
May 22, 2005, 10:16:19 PM5/22/05
to

You are a hard man to convince, Gregory Hernandez!

PS: JRRT did *not* spell everything out for the back of the class.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you
tried. -- Steven Wright

Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 22, 2005, 11:00:17 PM5/22/05
to
"the softrat" wrote:
>
> You are a hard man to convince, Gregory Hernandez!
>
> PS: JRRT did *not* spell everything out for the back of the class.
>
Gee, I was just enthralled with the idea that there might have been another
thrilling mystery in the Prof's work, like whether Balrogs have wings, who
was Tom Bombadil, etc. I didn't think someone would consider me a dunce for
asking. Consider my pointed cap put on, I suppose.

GRH


Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 22, 2005, 11:02:05 PM5/22/05
to
"Christopher Kreuzer" wrote:
>
> "2957-80 Aragorn undertakes his great journeys and errantries. As
> Thorongil he serves in disguise both Thengel of Rohan and Ecthelion II
> of Gondor."
>
This seems to be the clincher, as the other references leave some room for
doubt. As always, thanks for your expertise, Christopher.

Greg


Graham Lockwood

unread,
May 22, 2005, 11:58:58 PM5/22/05
to
On Sun, 22 May 2005 22:02:05 -0500, Gregory Hernandez wrote
(in article <NIbke.5835$M36...@newsread1.news.atl.earthlink.net>):

When it first occurred to me that Thorongil and Aragorn were the same person,
I looked them up in the index. IIRC, the Thorongil entry refers you to the
Aragorn entry.

---
Graham

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
May 23, 2005, 3:56:05 AM5/23/05
to

Softrat has a reputation for this sort of thing...


Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 23, 2005, 11:17:47 AM5/23/05
to
> Gregory Hernandez wrote:
>> Gee, I was just enthralled with the idea that there might have been
>> another thrilling mystery in the Prof's work, like whether Balrogs
>> have wings, who was Tom Bombadil, etc. I didn't think someone would
>> consider me a dunce for asking. Consider my pointed cap put on, I
>> suppose.

to which "Christopher Kreuzer" responded:


> Softrat has a reputation for this sort of thing...

Ah, thanks for the heads-up. Makes two delightful members on this list to
be wary of.


Mästerkatten

unread,
May 23, 2005, 11:33:27 AM5/23/05
to
"Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote in

And who's the other guy?

--
Mästerkatten

"If the best you can do is lame excuses
and obfuscations, you will never escape
the fantasy world in which you are totally
enmeshed"

Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 23, 2005, 12:49:16 PM5/23/05
to
>>> Gregory Hernandez:

I didn't think someone would
>>>> consider me a dunce for asking [my question].

>> "Christopher Kreuzer":


>>> Softrat has a reputation for this sort of thing...

>>> Gregory Hernandez:


>> Ah, thanks for the heads-up. Makes two delightful members on this
>> list to be wary of.

Masterkatten:


> And who's the other guy?
>

>>> Gregory Hernandez:
Not interested in starting a flame war. It's just the nature of things I
suppose that people are more caustic in these anonymous forums than they
might otherwise be in "real life".

GRH


AC

unread,
May 23, 2005, 1:10:48 PM5/23/05
to

I think Thorongil's history explains Denethor as well, if not better, than
it does ARagorn's. Denethor, in his last madness, revealed that he knew
that the Heir of Isildur was coming (though that lineage didn't seem to
impress him much), and JRRT sure writes it like even when Thorongil had been
hanging around Gondor that Denethor had suspicions about him then. Perhaps
Denethor had been expecting the return of Thorongil for some time. Makes
you wonder how ugly things would have gotten if Denethor hadn't conveniently
lit himself on fire.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

AC

unread,
May 23, 2005, 1:11:41 PM5/23/05
to

I think that's almost a guaranteed, though I think Softie's just as soft in
real life.

--
mightym...@hotmail.com

Mästerkatten

unread,
May 23, 2005, 2:09:24 PM5/23/05
to
"Gregory Hernandez" <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote in
news:gQnke.6372$uR4...@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net:

>>>> Gregory Hernandez:
>>> Ah, thanks for the heads-up. Makes two delightful members on this
>>> list to be wary of.
>
> Masterkatten:
>> And who's the other guy?
>
>>>> Gregory Hernandez:
> Not interested in starting a flame war.

No, of course not. It's allright.

> It's just the nature of
> things I suppose that people are more caustic in these anonymous
> forums than they might otherwise be in "real life".

Yes. It's a magic lens, that magnifies your bad sides and weaknesses...
:-)

Gregory Hernandez

unread,
May 23, 2005, 11:28:39 PM5/23/05
to
> Gregory Hernandez wrote:
>> I suppose that people are more caustic in these anonymous forums than
>> they
>> might otherwise be in "real life".

AC responded:


> I think that's almost a guaranteed, though I think Softie's just as soft
> in
> real life.
>

Ah, soft in the head is he?
(sorry, couldn't resist)

GRH


the softrat

unread,
May 24, 2005, 1:28:55 AM5/24/05
to
On Mon, 23 May 2005 16:49:16 GMT, "Gregory Hernandez"
<greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:

>It's just the nature of things I
>suppose that people are more caustic in these anonymous forums than they
>might otherwise be in "real life".
>

I'm not. It's part of my ineffable charm.

"He's about as subtle as a chainsaw, but lacking the social grace."


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

Barium: What you do with dead chemists.

Arkady

unread,
May 25, 2005, 3:01:42 PM5/25/05
to

"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:9ge591lts5ilevic0...@4ax.com...

> On Mon, 23 May 2005 16:49:16 GMT, "Gregory Hernandez"
> <greg...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>>It's just the nature of things I
>>suppose that people are more caustic in these anonymous forums than they
>>might otherwise be in "real life".
>>
> I'm not. It's part of my ineffable charm.
>
> "He's about as subtle as a chainsaw, but lacking the social grace."

Actually softy, those of us who have met you remember you as a charming and
rather fascinating raconteur. I remember with particular fondness your words
of wisdom one mild February morning in Oxford; "Wherever you go in the
world, drunkards are always the same". Perhaps you remember the Grade A
dickheads who harrassed us that day in the White Horse.

However, here you quite evidently go out of your way to be an antisocial,
borish sociopath.

*shrug*

Yours

Arkady


the softrat

unread,
May 25, 2005, 11:08:52 PM5/25/05
to
On Wed, 25 May 2005 19:01:42 +0000 (UTC), "Arkady"
<reda...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>Actually softy, those of us who have met you remember you as a charming and
>rather fascinating raconteur.

Uh, ..... that's RATconteur!

> I remember with particular fondness your words
>of wisdom one mild February morning in Oxford; "Wherever you go in the
>world, drunkards are always the same". Perhaps you remember the Grade A
>dickheads who harrassed us that day in the White Horse.
>

Why, thank you, Arky. Those are very kind words.

>However, here you quite evidently go out of your way to be an antisocial,
>borish sociopath.
>

However, believe me, it is not out of my way at all, just out of
punching distance. At other times, I bite my tongue until it is raw,
or puke over the side of the Magdaline Bridge. Stress does that to me.


the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

"I notice that you still think that vulgar is 'strong'. It's
not; it's weak. It demonstrates a lack of vocabulary, courtesy,
culture, education, and limber mental processes." -- the
softrat, 6/25/99

Arkady

unread,
May 26, 2005, 3:10:10 PM5/26/05
to

"the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message
news:ppba91hf4nmuopqsh...@4ax.com...

> On Wed, 25 May 2005 19:01:42 +0000 (UTC), "Arkady"
> <reda...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>Actually softy, those of us who have met you remember you as a charming
>>and
>>rather fascinating raconteur.
>
> Uh, ..... that's RATconteur!
>
>> I remember with particular fondness your words
>>of wisdom one mild February morning in Oxford; "Wherever you go in the
>>world, drunkards are always the same". Perhaps you remember the Grade A
>>dickheads who harrassed us that day in the White Horse.
>>
> Why, thank you, Arky. Those are very kind words.

My pleasure.

>
>>However, here you quite evidently go out of your way to be an antisocial,
>>borish sociopath.
>>
> However, believe me, it is not out of my way at all, just out of
> punching distance. At other times, I bite my tongue until it is raw,
> or puke over the side of the Magdaline Bridge. Stress does that to me.

You're a very curious individual, comrade.

> "I notice that you still think that vulgar is 'strong'. It's
> not; it's weak. It demonstrates a lack of vocabulary, courtesy,
> culture, education, and limber mental processes." -- the
> softrat, 6/25/99

You lecturing people on courtesy? Mmmm. And quoting yourself? Mmmmm.

Arky

Morgil

unread,
May 26, 2005, 3:24:18 PM5/26/05
to
Arkady wrote:
> "the softrat" <sof...@pobox.com> wrote in message
> news:ppba91hf4nmuopqsh...@4ax.com...

>>"I notice that you still think that vulgar is 'strong'. It's


>>not; it's weak. It demonstrates a lack of vocabulary, courtesy,
>>culture, education, and limber mental processes." -- the
>>softrat, 6/25/99
>
>
> You lecturing people on courtesy? Mmmm. And quoting yourself? Mmmmm.

He was a different rat back in '99...

Morgil

the softrat

unread,
May 26, 2005, 5:55:08 PM5/26/05
to
Yeah. Droll, aint it!

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

Visualize using your turn signal.

Öjevind Lång

unread,
May 26, 2005, 10:44:11 PM5/26/05
to
AC wrote:

[snip]

> When it first occurred to me that Thorongil and Aragorn were the same person,
> I looked them up in the index. IIRC, the Thorongil entry refers you to the
> Aragorn entry.

>I think Thorongil's history explains Denethor as well, if not better, than
it does ARagorn's. Denethor, in his last madness, revealed that he
knew
that the Heir of Isildur was coming (though that lineage didn't seem to
impress him much),

Well, that was what Denethor needed to believe in order to justify
clinging on to power even if the rightful heir to the throne claimed
it.

Öjevind

Öjevind Lång

unread,
May 29, 2005, 7:55:11 PM5/29/05
to
The softrat wrote:

>On Mon, 16 May 2005 16:41:12 -0500, Michael Ikeda <mmik...@erols.com>
wrote:

>>Incidentally, the Hojo set up an interesting situation where the head
>>of the Hojo family was acting for a figurehead shogun who was acting
>>for a figurehead emperor.

>You left out the figurehead retired emperor. The Japanese carried this
indirection to an extreme.

They had a great veneration for ancient practices. The first retired
emperor retired in order to conspire behind the scenes in an attempt to
regain the power from the shogun. This was kept up by his descendants,
though after a couple of generations, the retired emperor no longer
actually conspired to regain the power - he just pretended to do so
because it had become traditional.

Öjevind

Michael Ikeda

unread,
May 30, 2005, 6:02:21 AM5/30/05
to
"Öjevind Lång" <ojevin...@bredband.net> wrote in
news:1117410910....@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

Not the shogun. The shogun hadn't become a permanent office yet.
The office of "retired emperor" was created to counter the dominance
that the Fujiwara family had established over the imperial court.

--
Michael Ikeda mmi...@erols.com
"Telling a statistician not to use sampling is like telling an
astronomer they can't say there is a moon and stars"
Lynne Billard, past president American Statistical Association

Öjevind Lång

unread,
May 30, 2005, 4:47:04 PM5/30/05
to
Michael ikeda wrote:

>Öjevind Lång" wrote in...

[snip]

>> They had a great veneration for ancient practices. The first
retired emperor retired in order to conspire behind the scenes
in an attempt to regain the power from the shogun. This was kept
up by his descendants, though after a couple of generations, the
retired emperor no longer actually conspired to regain the power
- he just pretended to do so because it had become traditional.

>Not the shogun. The shogun hadn't become a permanent office yet.
The office of "retired emperor" was created to counter the dominance
that the Fujiwara family had established over the imperial court.

You are right, of course. The official title of the ruling Fujiwara was
"kampaku", wasn't it?

Öjevind

Michael Ikeda

unread,
May 30, 2005, 5:23:00 PM5/30/05
to
"Öjevind Lång" <ojevin...@bredband.net> wrote in
news:1117486024.0...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

According to "Japan, From Prehistory to Modern Times" by John Whitney
Hall, Kampaku was the title used for the regent for an adult Emperor
(the regent of a child Emperor was called Sessho). Regardless of the
exact title, the head of the Fujiwara family would, of course, be the
regent.

the softrat

unread,
May 30, 2005, 10:11:14 PM5/30/05
to
On Mon, 30 May 2005 05:02:21 -0500, Michael Ikeda <mmi...@erols.com>
wrote:

>
>Not the shogun. The shogun hadn't become a permanent office yet.
>The office of "retired emperor" was created to counter the dominance
>that the Fujiwara family had established over the imperial court.

HA! The office of the 'retired' emperor was created by an emperor who
didn't really want to retire, as tradition demanded, and whose
successor was inexperienced. Thus are new traditions born.

the softrat
"Honi soit qui mal y pense."
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

'Sarcasm: the last resort of modest and chaste-souled people
when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively
invaded' - Dostoevsky (after Paddy)

R. Dan Henry

unread,
Jun 21, 2005, 2:43:28 AM6/21/05
to
On Mon, 16 May 2005 11:39:33 +0100, Matthew T Curtis
<little...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

>App. AI ii/iv: The Stewards
>Notes, Questions, Comments, and Sundry Opportunities for Discussion:

>2. Emyn Arnen was near Minas Anor/Tirith. Interesting to note that the
>move from Osgiliath came after House of Hurin got hold of the
>Stewardship. Was King Tarondor subtly influenced by a Steward who
>wanted his master closer to his own power base? We Are Not Told.

Probably more to do with the waning of Gondorian power. Osgiliath
wasn't as centrally located as it used to be and with enemies close
enough to worry about, Minas Anor is much more defensible.

>3. Again, what was Pelendur's agenda here? Did he truly have Gondor's
>interests at heart, or was he trying to protect his own position by
>rejecting a less pliable king?

Probably a little of neither. By this time Gondor and Arnor had
separate identities long established and the Steward was probably a
patriot who preferred to see a Gondorian King on the throne of Gondor.
Also, consider the practical difficulties involved: if the claim of
the Northern Line to the Kingship of Gondor was accepted, it would
almost certainly mean attempting to reunite the two kingdoms, which
would have been very difficult.

>4. Why did the Stewards never try to claim the crown? Mardil seems to
>have been a good man without personal ambition, but it must have
>tempted more than a few of his successors (Boromir definitely thought
>so). At first there was a danger of civil war - there would have been
>some pretenders with weak claims - but this would have lessened as the
>years wore on.

Lessened perhaps, but not vanished. As long as the people hoped for a
King to return and the legitimacy of the line's authority was
established under the title of Steward, it would be far too risky.

>There are two possible reasons: firstly, there was nobody, no Pope, to
>authorise it;

Or to examine the case directly, without resort to reasoning by
analogies, we can see that there is simply no mechanism at all
established in their traditions for establishing a new dynasty without
establishing a new kingdom. Numenor, Gondor, even Arnor, had all kept
to a single royal family, even if it occasionally didn't go father to
son. To attempt to create a new royal family would disrupt tradition
and invite one's enemies to accuse you of all sorts of bad things.

>5. 'His successors ceased to used High-elven names'. Why was this?

Doesn't seem to have the sinister tone of the change of Numenorean
Kingly names. Just that the Elves were fading and there was less and
less contact. Elvish names were becoming less relevant, so they passed
out of use in favor of celebrating the heritage of Men.

>7. Boromir's wound was less deadly than those suffered by Frodo,
>Eowyn, Faramir, or Merry, as he lived and functioned (if not well) for
>several years thereafter. Merely a flesh wound, or does this indicate
>that the effect of the Witch-King got stronger with the waxing of
>Sauron?

Without more details, there's really no way to say anything meaningful
about it.

>9. Would the Kings have been so sanguine about giving away a large
>province, even as a reward to a friendly power?

Would a possible non-existent King from a non-extinguished
hypothetical continuation of a fictional family line have done
something different in circumstances that are only roughly defined to
begin with? Sorry, too hypothetical for me.

>12. 'The Riders buried them after the fashion of their people, and
>they were laid in one mound... Long it stood, /Haudh in Gwanur/... and
>the enemies of Gondor feared to pass it.' An example of a symbol in
>Tolkien having real psychological power.

That, and the machine gun nest they kept at the top.

>'Saruman took Isengard for his own, and fortified it.' Was this when
>Saruman went bad, or earlier?

I think that's when he reached his personal point of no return,
although he'd have been sliding towards temptation before decided to
become a Power.

>14. Did anyone in Gondor have any idea who Thorongil really was?

Denethor had some sort of suspicion. He may well have thought
Thorongil was less than direct father-to-son descendant through all
the generations back to Isildur. But doubtless he figured out he was
of the northern Dunedain, of noble lineage, and possibly with some
sort of claim to the Arnorian kingship, which would be enough for
Gandalf to try to put him forward for the Gondorian throne in these
dark times, when the people are desperate for some sign of hope,
however feeble the rational justification.

>16. 'Pride increased in Denethor together with despair, until he
>saw... only a single combat between the Lord of the White Tower and
>the Lord of Barad-dur, and mistrusted all others.' Sauron was not able
>to break Denethor's will through the Palantir, but he was able to
>break his spirit.

I don't think so. Denethor was worn down, but not by Sauron in any
direct sense. The man would have been wary and avoided any direct
contact with Sauron; he didn't take up the palantir because he wanted
to pad his resume with "supervised and conducted observations by
Seeing Stone", he was in a desperate situation and knew he only had a
chance at all of stopping Sauron if he could gain an edge. The
palantir was a dangerous gamble, but I am unconvinced that Denethor's
decision to take that gamble was the wrong one.

--
R. Dan Henry
danh...@inreach.com

Öjevind Lång

unread,
Jun 22, 2005, 11:44:12 AM6/22/05
to
R. Dan Henry wrote:

>On Mon, 16 May 2005 11:39:33 +0100, Matthew T Curtis
<littleblee...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

>>App. AI ii/iv: The Stewards
>>Notes, Questions, Comments, and Sundry Opportunities for Discussion:

[snip]

>>3. Again, what was Pelendur's agenda here? Did he truly have Gondor's
>>interests at heart, or was he trying to protect his own position by
>>rejecting a less pliable king?

>Probably a little of neither. By this time Gondor and Arnor had
separate identities long established and the Steward was probably a
patriot who preferred to see a Gondorian King on the throne of Gondor.
Also, consider the practical difficulties involved: if the claim of
the Northern Line to the Kingship of Gondor was accepted, it would
almost certainly mean attempting to reunite the two kingdoms, which
would have been very difficult.

Still, Malbeth the Seer (probably speaking for Tolkien) said that if
Arvedui was accepted as king by both the realms ("the less likely
choice"), that would be infinitely better for all the Dunedain.

[snip]

>>5. 'His successors ceased to used High-elven names'. Why was this?

>Doesn't seem to have the sinister tone of the change of Numenorean
Kingly names. Just that the Elves were fading and there was less and
less contact. Elvish names were becoming less relevant, so they passed
out of use in favor of celebrating the heritage of Men.

Well, "High-elven" means Quenya. The kings still used names of Elvish
origin (whether borne in the past by Elves or Men or both), but the
preferred language now was Sindarin, which was actually the mother
tongue of many Dunedain even as late as the time of the War of the
Ring. Even the common people used Sindarin names, with a very few
exceptions. Possibly the only exception we are told about is that of
Forlong, the lord of Lossarnach, who wore a name of pre-Numenorean
origin; Tolkien tells us that the people in Lossarnach were largely
descended from people who had never left Middle-earth and whose
original tongue was not Adûnaic. Still, Beregond of the Tower Watch
came from Lossarnach, and his entire family seem to have had Sindarin
names.

Öjevind

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages