Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Ancient Numenorean Law

Ancient Numenorean Law

I remember reading, more than once, of a Numenorean law stating that a King and his heir could not leave the realm at the same time; a law that might have been followed in Gondor by the old line of Kings and, by inference, the Stewards. Trouble is, I have no idea where it's mentioned in LOTR or elsewhere. Is it canon, or something mentioned in HoME or the LETTERS? Raksha the Demon

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

Hi Raksha, Here are a few quotes of varying relevance that I remember off the top of my head (their location, not their content ), but they all deal with Gondor: It was also Rómendacil I who established the office of Steward (Arandur "king's servant"), but he was chosen by the King as a man of high trust and wisdom, usually advanced in years since he was not permitted to go to war or to leave the realm. He was never a member of the Royal House. [Author's note.] Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 53 The northern army was commanded by King Ondoher himself. This had always been the custom of Gondor, that the King, if he willed, should command his army in a major battle, provided that an heir with undisputed claim to the throne was left behind. Ondoher came of a warlike line, and was loved and esteemed by his army, and he had two sons, both of age to bear arms: Artamir the elder, and Faramir some three years younger. Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders It is possible to make out, however, that men of the Éothéod fought with Ondoher; and also that Ondoher's second son Faramir was ordered to remain in Minas Tirith as regent, for it was not permitted by the law that both his sons should go into battle at the same time (a similar observation is made earlier in the narrative...). But Faramir did not do so; he went to the war in disguise, and was slain. Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders Hope this helps... - Barbara Edit: P.S. I suggest reading the chapter on Aldarion and Erendis in Unfinished Tales... that sounds like something that might be found there.

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

Thanx much, Barbara! It sounds like the law about the Steward not being allowed to go to war or leave the realm can be regarded as not strictly canonical (JRRT contradicts it, at least in the case of Fourth Age Gondor, in his LETTERS). Of course, I'm not sure that UT is considered wholly canonical; but it's good to know the background on the law. I remember the first Faramir; he was as brave as his later namesake, but, it seems to me, not as smart. RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

I remember the first Faramir; he was as brave as his later namesake, but, it seems to me, not as smart. Very true... but he was smart enough to hang out with good-looking Éothéod guys (ancestors of the Rohirrim...) - Barbara

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

It sounds like the law about the Steward not being allowed to go to war or leave the realm can be regarded as not strictly canonical (JRRT contradicts it, at least in the case of Fourth Age Gondor, in his LETTERS). Oh, thank the Valar! I was about to go bash my head into a wall repetedly. 'Cause, wow, that woulda killed a LOT of plot bunnies that I currently hold very dear! ^_^; Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

Letter #245: "Until much had been done by the restored King, the P. of Ithilien woul be thte resident march-warden of Gondor, in its main eastward territory, and clearing it of outlaws and orc-remnants, not to speak of the dreadful vale of Minas Ithil (Morgul), I did not, naturally, go into details about the way in which Aragorn, as King of Gondor, would govern the realm. But it was made clear that there was much fighting, and in the earlier years of A.'s reign expeditions against enemies in the East. The chief commanders, under the King, would be Faramir and Imrahil; and one of these would normally remain a military commander at home in the King's absence." It was mentioned in the ROTK appendices that every time Aragorn rode to war Eomer happily accompanied him - I envision Eomer viewing war-making with Aragorn as the equivalent of father-son camping trips - but Faramir would have gone to war occasionally in my opinion, and sometimes he would not have. The thing is, he had the option of going, probably did go at least once, as long as Imrahil was ready and willing to hold the fort in his absence. You should buy Tolkien's LETTERS - there's some great stuff there.... RAKSHA

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

Raksha In answer to your original question about Numenor, there was some kerfuffle about Aldarion leaving the island when he was Heir and a lot of kerfuffle about him leaving when he was King (they had to appoint a regent), but I didn't turn up any actual laws forbidding it in a quick scan of the stuff in UT. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

Letter #245 Thanks, Raksha! So, there was the practice of leaving one of the two Princes (Ithilien or Dol Amroth), but no mention of a law. Sounds like good planning to me. (I wonder what how they adapted that when Eldarion came to manhood?) Actually, I do have the Letters, but haven't ever had the time to sit down and just read them... usually I just look up specific items... just like HoME. - Barbara

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

In the Fourth Age story I co-write on ff.net and SoA, we have a situation where Aragorn must end up taking his only son to war with him (for purposes of plot); so I needed to know what laws would apply to the situation. Since I'd also given Aragorn and Arwen twin daughters; I'm having Aragorn steer the Council into naming one of the girls as his heir in case he and Eldarion don't return. Faramir, who has four sons in this story, is leaving the younger two boys at home. Imrahil will hold the kingdom. I didn't want to have another Great Council meeting to write; since I don't particularly enjoy writing politics, so it was just referenced in Aragorn and Faramir's dialogue... I think there's room for improvisation, since there doesn't seem to be a definite canonical stand on the issue, and one can use UT and LETTERS as guidelines, but don't be strangled by them. When all else fails, one can always go AU, which my co-written epic is anyway (since Saruman didn't die at the end of ROTK) I haven't read all the LETTERS either; but I have all the ones referencing Faramir or Denethor, and some others too... RAKSHA

 

 

Re: ?Ancient Numenorean Law

I think there's room for improvisation, since there doesn't seem to be a definite canonical stand on the issue, and one can use UT and LETTERS as guidelines, but don't be strangled by them.
Many of the essays published in UT are as JRRT left them - even to the author's notes he himself wrote (Christopher is very clear about what is his father's). The main thing is that as long as it doesn't contradict what is in LotR there shouldn't be any problem with relying on information found in UT, the Silm, or even HoM-e and Tolkien's published letters. The only possible exceptions are a couple of matters that Christopher notes should have been corrected in the text (and I think that refers mainly to corrections to the Silm that show up in HoM-e). And appending author's notes stating which canon - or non-canon - sources have been used is always a plus. ~Nessime *As an aside, a similar injunction existed in Rohan after the Ring War:
In time of war a special appointment was made to the office of Underking: its holder either ruled the realm in the King's absence with the army, or took command in the field if for any reason the King remained at home. In peace the office was only filled when the King because of sickness or old age deputed his authority; the holder was then naturally the Heir to the throne, if he was a man of sufficient age. But in war the Council was unwilling that an old King should send his Heir to battle beyond the realm unless he had at least one other son. (UT: The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix (i))
Though that seems to contradict LotR - with Théodred's death Éomer was named Théoden's heir, yet the two rode together to war in Gondor - apparently the desperate nature of that war, when all things seemed to hang in the balance, outweighed all other considerations. And Éowyn essentially stood in the place of a second son (though she acted out her own version of Faramir the first's disobedience - interesting then, is it not, that she should wed Faramir the second?) I also think that the Council's unwillingness to allow an old King's only Heir to ride to battle beyond the realm, as stated in this appendix, could very well find its origins in the near extinction of Eorl's line during the Ring War.

 

 

In Forums

Discussion Info

Intended for: General Audience

This forum is open to all HASA members. It is read-only for the general public.

Membership on HASA is free and it takes only a few minutes to join. If you would like to participate, please click here.

If you are already a member, please log in to participate.

« Back to Research Questions

Stories linked to the forum