Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Crowning of the Queen

Crowning of the Queen

Is there any information of the crowning of a Queen in middle earth? We know how the crowning of the king should work - at least in Gondor. But what of her?

Since there are no priests in Arda - except the númenorean priest-kings - would the King crown the Queen? Would she be crowned at all? If yes, when would she be crowned?

~Vilwarin

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

I have no clue! With Arwen showing up and all you'd think JRRT would have mentioned a 'queen's crown' or SOMETHING if there was one!

If anyone finds a reference, I'd love to see it, too.

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

Vilwarin,

There is nothing specific about Middle-earth, but there is Numenor. From the appendices:

"The sixth King left only one child, a daughter. She became the first Queen; for it was then made a law of the royal house that the eldest child of the King, whether man or woman, should receive the sceptre."

and from UT, in the notes about Aldarion and Erendis:

"For this reason she was known as Tar-Elestirnë, the Lady of the Star-brow; "and thus came, it is said, the manner of the Kings and Queens afterward to wear as a star a white jewel upon the brow, and they had no crown" (p. 225, note 1. This tradition cannot be unconnected with that of the Elendilmir, a star-like gem borne on the brow as a token of royalty in Arnor; "

Now, I am not sure whether the Queens here refers to just the ruling queens, but the fact that Tolkien calls them ruling queens and calls queen all the wives of kings and the ruling queens... well, I think you could make a case for there being a precedent for a wife of a king wearing a special "white jewel upon the brow".

Personally, I think that if there was a crown for a queen Tolkien would have mentioned it being brought out. It probably wouldn't be with Earnil's body like the king's crown was; Earnur didn't have a wife.

As for no priests.... well, there are none set up canonically, that's for sure. But that doesn't mean that there wouldn't have been religious officials. With all of the stress on death in Gondor under the Stewards and the fact that Aragorn knows something awaits for him after death, I can see some sort of group of loremasters who would prepare bodies, officiate at funerals, and otherwise serve the Numenoreans in this regard. There is the reference in UT to the stewards making a pilgrimage to Elendil's grave, which just screams the shrine cults you see in Greek Orthodox Christianity in the Middle Ages. And the Rohirrim had to have a solid belief in the afterlife for Theoden to say he "goes now to the halls of my fathers" when he's dying.

No Priest doesn't mean no religious officiators -- just no sacrifice system. The religious leaders could be more like rabbis than priests, you know? But I have a hard time imagining there wouldn't be *anything* of that sort.

If there wasn't, there would probably be a political person, an advisor of the king. Faramir or some other noble. Faramir is actually the choice that springs to mind first, though as a prince I wonder whether singling him out for too many honors would cause civil strife between people who might be jealous of the powerful position Faramir has been placed in as steward and prince. It might be better to to choose a powerful but less obviously powerful man, like Hurin.

Oh, and just a thought -- if we're talking about Arwen, I have always imagined that there would be a separate ceremony to give her some formal status so she could marry Aragorn as an equal. Elven society is different, and Gondorians might see her as a social climber if they didn't understand her status and that she really was a worthy bride (and in a way actually marrying down).

*sigh* Can you tell this is a long-dormant nuzgul of mine? I've thought about these questions a *lot*.

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

"For this reason she was known as Tar-Elestirnë, the Lady of the Star-brow; "and thus came, it is said, the manner of the Kings and Queens afterward to wear as a star a white jewel upon the brow, and they had no crown" (p. 225, note 1. This tradition cannot be unconnected with that of the Elendilmir, a star-like gem borne on the brow as a token of royalty in Arnor; "

Thank you for that quote. The white jewel is a good idea .

Personally, I think that if there was a crown for a queen Tolkien would have mentioned it being brought out

In the case of Arwen: I do not see why he should have. Tolkien is concerned with the king and, like many chronists in history, was not very much concerned with the women. If she had been present at his coronation, the maybe. But see how 'important' the weding is for Tolkien.

Oh, and just a thought -- if we're talking about Arwen, I have always imagined that there would be a separate ceremony to give her some formal status so she could marry Aragorn as an equal.

I do not think that this would have been the case. Evryone was expecting a dream wedding and rather less care for a formal stauts. I like th idea of including whatever king of crowning there as into the edding ceremony. So it could look that in marrying the king she was also marrying the country. It would not look too good to show the people that Arwen actually has a higher status than their king Elessar.

I thought as well about the case that the king as already married before actually becoming king. I looked into the history of he holy roman empire of German nations (or whatver is was called). In the middle ags, she was crowned alongside her husband, but later her coronaton was a few days later and not in the same town. This seems to give her lot more imporance than she used to have. They gave her the royal insignia (the crown, the sceptre and the 'apple', but of course not the sword.)

No Priest doesn't mean no religious officiators -- just no sacrifice system. The religious leaders could be more like rabbis than priests, you know? But I have a hard time imagining there wouldn't be *anything* of that sort.

Loremasters would be a good idea. But what about the invocation of Eru at the weddings? It must somewhere be in LaCE, if I do not err. So there must have been officials with the authority. This does not neccessarily have to be a political person. That reminds me of: 'Gandalf, do you perform weddings?'

Anyway, Eru is not mentioned in th coronation ceremony, the king can do it all by himself. It would not seem wrong if he did it also for the Queen.

*sigh* Can you tell this is a long-dormant nuzgul of mine? I've thought about these questions a *lot*.

So I have woken it up, then?

 ~Vilwarin

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

Hi Vilwarin,

The white jewel is a good idea .

 Glad you like it.

Personally, I think that if there was a crown for a queen Tolkien would have mentioned it being brought out.

In the case of Arwen: I do not see why he should have. Tolkien is concerned with the king and, like many chronists in history, was not very much concerned with the women.

You do have a point there, and Tolkien doesn't seem to give Arwen much attention there, period. So you probably have more latitude there than I originally thought.

if we're talking about Arwen, I have always imagined that there would be a separate ceremony [snip]

I do not think that this would have been the case. Evryone was expecting a dream wedding and rather less care for a formal stauts.

It depends on who you're talking about. If you're talking about an average joe, then I think you're right. If we're talking about a nobleman, then they would care very much about Arwen's status. This is the woman who is taking away the possibility of their female relatives' becoming queen of Gondor, or for the ones more practically-minded, if they do not view Arwen as important enough, Aragorn's bachelorhood would be prime political advantage. He could be married to Eowyn to reward Rohan and strengthen those political ties, or to a Haradric princess as a way to solidify the peace. 

I think that Arwen would need to have some status before her marriage to Gondor. And Gondorians would never have heard of Rivendell, so I imagine being the lady of that would hold little currency. It wouldn't need to be a huge affair for the masses - it's more for the nobles, anyway, and for Arwen so she would be thought of well.

But none of this is canonical, just my own reckoning. So if someone else doesn't see the need for something like this, they wouldn't be wrong, just a different conception of the political and social situation. 

No Priest doesn't mean no religious officiators -- just no sacrifice system. [snip]

Loremasters would be a good idea. But what about the invocation of Eru at the weddings?

I haven't ever read LACE, so I can't really help you there. What I'm suggesting doesn't necessarily suggest that these people would not be somehow set apart. Earlier I suggested rabbis because to my mind there is a sharp divide in the period when there was still a Temple, between the priests who offered sacrifices and rabbis who became spiritual and community leaders to the Jews. A better example might be the medieval monks who did not offer sacrifices but lived somehow set apart - they did not have families and at least in principal denied themselves luxuries.

I can see there being a group of Gondorians who similarly had set themselves apart somehow. Maybe they were vegetarian or were not allowed to hold on to personal wealth or whatever. There could be an official "order" of sorts that had devoted themselves to the holy. The leaders could officiate at any sort of service that needed such officiating, and a marriage and/or crowning would definitely be such a situation. Many of them would be lorematters, specializing in those things seen to be more connected to Eru. Others would undoubtedly be drawn in other directions.

Anyway, Eru is not mentioned in th coronation ceremony, the king can do it all by himself. It would not seem wrong if he did it also for the Queen.

 Fair enough! I really need to re-read ROTK.

*sigh* Can you tell this is a long-dormant nuzgul of mine? I've thought about these questions a *lot*.

So I have woken it up, then?

A little bit. You definitely have me thinking about this stuff. With no time or energy to actually write it, unfortunately, but we shall see. 

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

I think that Arwen would need to have some status before her marriage to Gondor. And Gondorians would never have heard of Rivendell, so I imagine being the lady of that would hold little currency. It wouldn't need to be a huge affair for the masses - it's more for the nobles, anyway, and for Arwen so she would be thought of well.

You're very right in saying that there are two audiences for whatever ceremony you choose to create: the common people and the Dúnedain of the South.  For the common folk, all you need is an excuse to lay aside their work and celebrate, with a backstory that makes them feel that they have something special and enough splendour to assure them of its value.

For the nobility of Gondor, who will already be thinking of marrying their children or grandchildren to the royal line, I think the issue would be less one of mere status (should we treat her as a marquise or a duchess?) and more a question of--to be blunt--race.  For all that they will know some version of the story of Beren and Lúthien, and Tuor and Idril--after all, the basis of their pride of birth comes from that admixture of Elvish blood--there must also be the stories that made Boromir wary of the Lady of the Golden Wood . . . who is Arwen's grandmother, after all.  And comes to the wedding.

I'd like to see any Gondorian matron sniff in Arwen's direction within earshot of herGrin

I don't think there's any fear of Arwen being seen as "unworthy"; with the return of a King, everyone is going to be dragging out the stories of ancient days, and her kin run through them like a river.  If they skipped Númenor, given the end it came to, that is not necessarily a bad thing, and her father was the herald of Gil-galad when he and Elendil stood against Sauron.  (Oh, and look--there he is now, walking the city with the King!)  Aside from all that, she will have the Elven glamour and power of glance.  (If you believe her leavetaking with Elessar at the bitter end, she might still have gone West, so she did not become mortal by wedding him, but by her final choice.)

So I think the more serious problem would be unease with her "uncanniness," a resentment of her beauty and power and grace that would lead the more spiteful cats to emphasize her alienness.

Men account it great merit to "capture" a woman of superior race--but their own womenfolk rarely see it that way.  Look at the exchange between Brynhild (former valkyrie, now wife of Gunnar) and Gudrun, Sigurd's wife, in the Volsunga saga: Gudrun takes a vicious triumph in telling Brynhild that it was really Sigurd, not Gunnar, who rode through the fire for her, when Brynhild claims to have the better husband.  Foolish, of course, since that incites Brynhild to bring about Sigurd's death in revenge for the deception and dishonor.  But the contest for alpha female is never pretty, even if the combatants are.

I have further thoughts on the question of religious ritual, but let me put them elsewhere, or this posting will never end.

Cheers--

Adaneth

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

Good thoughts from both of you. That brings me to the topic of weddings. Dynastics is always a great issue in a noble society. Parents raise their children to perfectness. They give them a full scedule and see to it that no time is wasted in order to make a proper lady of them.

And then there comes, out of legend, the unmarried king. No one knows that he is alread betrothed (it is news even to Frodo) But how shall you negotiate with a person that has no social ties except that he is king? I can imagine that many fathers would remember their friendship/close ties to Faramir, who has lived in the city all his life. He knows the important people in the realm and would be the perfect person to point out possible queens.

Then they might sent their daughters to the court, a crowning is a perfect excuse. To see a queen arriving might not be the prettiest picture for them and it would cause envy. Arwen is beautiful, and she is queen. She came from out of nowhere andis now the head of socity. I, as student of history, have so good resources to the topic. And it is interesting to see what woman do.

And another thouht, the dowry? What would Elrond give his daughter? Money? I do not know. I would go for things like dresses and juwelry.

I think a large entourage is very impressive for everyone. You see that she is not poor and has ome station.

So I think the more serious problem would be unease with her "uncanniness," a resentment of her beauty and power and grace that would lead the more spiteful cats to emphasize her alienness.

That is in human nature. If there is something you cannot have or soeone better than you, you will do anything to see it brought lower. 

~Vilwarin

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

Hi Vilwarin,

One quick comment, slipped in between essay-writing (procrastination is a good and noble thing...)

And another thouht, the dowry? What would Elrond give his daughter?

Ooh, very good question. Though I am not sure Elves would think in terms of dowries. If I understand correctly dowries were essentially given in lieu of inheritances, which were for the males. As Elves did not expect to die, I am sure the males did not expect to inherit, so it makes little sense for the female to be given their measure of the family wealth at this point in time.

This does not mean that elves wouldn't give of their wealth at weddings. They want to be generous setting their kids up and in the case of nobles they want to show off how wealthy they are, I'm sure.

An idea - in addition to Arwen's personal affects, I can see Elrond might help with the rebuilding of Arnor's infrastructure. That would make perfect snese since that's where Rivendell is, but would be of very little value to Gondorians. Just a thought.

 

 

Re: Crowning of the Queen

Tolkien said in one of his letters:

"the 'hallow' of God and the Mountain [the Meneltarma in Numenor] had perished, and there was no real substitute. Also when the 'Kings' came to an end there was no equivalent to a 'priesthood': the two being identical in Numenoriean ideas. So while God (Eru) was a datum of good Numenorean philosophy, and a prime fact in their conception of history, He had at the time of the War of the Ring no worship and no hallowed place.....They had (I imagine) no petitionary prayers to God; but preserved the vestige of thanksgiving. (Those under special Elvish influence might call on the angelic powers for help...)"

Tolkien also mentioned in the same letter that the High Elves didn't have religious practices either, since that was handled by the Valar, praising and adoring Eru.

I am not sure that it is necessary to have a priesthood strictly speaking for the maintenance of tombs. A designated official would be sufficient,I should think, since Gondor clearly had an organised bureaucracy. The Numenoreans didn't need religion\us practices in the same way that some Primary World people do, since they had access to accurate knowledge of the supernatural set-up in Arda.

As for weddings, from the "Laws and Customs of the Eldar" essay, Eldar appear to have married themselves, generally but not necessarily before witnesses. Since the Numenoreans were so strongly influenced by Eldarin practice, it seems plausible that Arwen and Aragorn's wedding was of similar sort ie they pledged themselves to each other before witnesses and declared themselves married henceforth. There would then be no need for a third party to actually perform the wedding. Though of course having Gandalf as a witness would add extra oomph.

I somehow doubt that any Gondorian would regard the daughter of Elrond (niece of Elros, grand-daughter of Earendil and Galadriel, great-great-grand-daughter of Beren and Luthien!) as a social climber!

Though I suppose it might need pointing out that her ancestry probably makes her the next heir to the throne of Gondor after Aragorn himself, if her brothers are left out of reckoning. Not to mention that as the last heir of both the Noldorin and Sindarin royal lines she is arguably the High Queen of the Eldar in Middle-earth.

 

 

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