Forum: Challenges: Story Discussions

Discussing: Death to Fanon!

Death to Fanon!

Break the bonds of fanon... Allie

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Thanks to Marta for pointing out that I already have a story that fits this challenge. One of my bugbears is the fanon that sex in loving and happy relationships is always perfect - and everything the couple tries is wonderful for both of them, and works out perfectly, no matter how inexperienced one or both of them may be. So I offer you Homecoming, in which you will find Inconsiderate!Faramir and Incompetent!Eowyn having less than perfect sex within the context of an extremely loving relationship. You have been warned. (Hmm, Aeneid, was this really what you wanted when you said "it steals away a lot of the glamour from these mythical heroes - but it also has the potential of adding a whole new dimension of realism to them"?) Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm glad you entered Homecoming. I read it awhile back, and though a little shocked at first (well, I'm always a little shocked reading Tolkien characters in sexual situations), I thought it really stayed true to who the characters are. It also addressed some of my biggest fanon pet peeves: first, that Faramir never had sex with a woman before marrying Eowyn; and second, that he was still this fantastic lover the first time around. I thought the non-fanon situation you've put them in is very interesting, because it's not just about sex (and of the unpretty, non-simultaneous YES!YES!YES! variety) but how each of them reacts to it. Eowyn's anger, in particular, just struck me as being very authentic. She's curious and she loves him, but still resents the power politics of sex to some degree. I really enjoyed the story because it flushes out the sexual side of their relationship in a way that gives Faramir and Eowyn more dimension, rather than just for the sake of writing about sex alone. Not that I'm opposed to F/E sex fic. At all.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Hi Marastar - thank you so much for sharing your reactions. It's very gratifying to know you appreciated the piece in the way I intended it. And that someone else shares two of my other pet fanon peeves! Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

And that someone else shares two of my other pet fanon peeves! Add me to that list -- the "he read it in books" explantion drives me up the wall. There's a difference between theoretical/intellectual knowledge, and practical, hands -on knowledge! Pun very much intended. Oooh...this discussion just made me realize that this would be the perfect challenge for my "lie still and think of Rohan/Imladris/Dol Amroth" idea. edit because I am a dork and I wrote something here pertaining to an entire different challenge.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I really enjoyed the story because it flushes out the sexual side of their relationship Yeah, I was pretty flushed after reading it, too... - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

EdorasLass wrote: Add me to that list -- the "he read it in books" explantion drives me up the wall. There's a difference between theoretical/intellectual knowledge, and practical, hands -on knowledge! Oh, well, if you want my response to the "he read it in books" fanon, I'll have to SSP The Influence of Kindred Desires and/or Chance Meetings. In which you will find my answer to the question of how the noble Numenoreans stay noble while dealing with their natural urges. EdorasLass wrote: Oooh...this discussion just made me realize that this would be the perfect challenge for my "lie still and think of Rohan/Imladris/Dol Amroth" idea. Not that I would encourage anyone to go near the nuzgul hutch... (umm, OK, yes I would ), but I think there are several other nuzgul regarding sexuality that your story might suit. I can't really tell from your synopsis of your idea, but there's one on Culture and sexuality that might be relevant. Barbara wrote: Yeah, I was pretty flushed after reading it, too... There, there, Barbara. I believe a nice chapter of "Author's Notes" is as effective as a bucket of cold water... Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Liz! (Hmm, Aeneid, was this really what you wanted when you said "it steals away a lot of the glamour from these mythical heroes - but it also has the potential of adding a whole new dimension of realism to them"?) Yes! This is exactly what I meant - in fact, I'm surprised I hadn't thought of your fic earlier, as I read it a few months ago. It's perfect for this challenge - because it's not supposed to destroy canon, it's supposed to destroy fanon - and so all those fanonical conventions need to get thrown out the window. Your fic's great because it addresses one of the major fanonical conventions - the Scene of Perfect Sex - and makes both characters, with all their human foibles, completely believable. Woohoo! Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Your fic's great because it addresses one of the major fanonical conventions - the Scene of Perfect Sex - and makes both characters, with all their human foibles, completely believable. Someone should get Jedishampoo to submit Sacrificial Maiden for this challenge. Drunk!Eowyn and quick-on-the-draw Faramir never cease to amuse me. Wow. My knowledge of available F/E smut is extensive.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Wow. My knowledge of available F/E smut is extensive. Then why aren't you sharing this knowledge more? Purely for research purposes, of course.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I can't really tell from your synopsis of your idea, but there's one on Culture and sexuality that might be relevant. The idea sprang from the fact that Tolkien looked as if he was basing his world on the Middle Ages, or within a hundred years of that time period. And in that time period, women in general and perhaps noble women in particular, seemed to view sex as a rather irritating duty, rather than a fun way to pass the evening. They weren't all that concerned if their husbands went out whoring - it kept the husband from having sex with them. And the men seemed to be more or less taught that it was an imposition on their wives, the wife isn't going to enjoy it, so really sex was had just to get an heir and not for fun. So if you go with that, then Eowyn or Lothiriel actually wanting to have sex, pursuing their husband when they're all hot and bothered is very anti-time-period. It's probably anti-period to have them hot and bothered. It's not so much one-culture specific as it is the entire universe. I don't know if I'll ever get to writing that one specifically, but I'd love to see something wherein sexual attitudes are more Middle Ages than what fans have created as the wildly-varied Middle Earth attitude. Or maybe I'm totally off-base about the whole "nobility's attitude toward sexuality in the Middle Ages" thing and have just read the wrong books.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Oh, well, if you want my response to the "he read it in books" fanon, I'll have to SSP The Influence of Kindred Desires and/or Chance Meetings. In which you will find my answer to the question of how the noble Numenoreans stay noble while dealing with their natural urges. ****** I had to go look to make sure with one of those, but yes, I have read both those stories, and I was ever so pleased! Because I don't buy Celibate! Yet World-Rockin'!Faramir.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

The idea sprang from the fact that Tolkien looked as if he was basing his world on the Middle Ages, or within a hundred years of that time period. And in that time period, women in general and perhaps noble women in particular, seemed to view sex as a rather irritating duty, rather than a fun way to pass the evening. They weren't all that concerned if their husbands went out whoring - it kept the husband from having sex with them. And the men seemed to be more or less taught that it was an imposition on their wives, the wife isn't going to enjoy it, so really sex was had just to get an heir and not for fun. So if you go with that, then Eowyn or Lothiriel actually wanting to have sex, pursuing their husband when they're all hot and bothered is very anti-time-period. It's probably anti-period to have them hot and bothered. I don't know much about Ye Olde Medievalle Sexe, but you could also argue that Tolkien, himself was being "anti-time-period" in LotR because all of his couples were truly in love, rather than thrown together for some political purpose (with the possible exception of Eomer and Lothiriel, whose relationship we learn nothing about in canon). (There's a lot you could do with anti-fanon there, since the fanon convention seems to be that it was a love-match and not an arranged marriage) I would say that much of LotR is written like a tale from the Middle Ages, rather than a prevailing Medieval "reality." For example, there were plenty of Medieval/Renaissance stories and poems about courtly love and passionate romance, and probably comparatively few about bored men and women trapped in loveless political marriages from which they had no recourse, even if the latter was the reality at the time. But yes, F/E smut...v. v. good, carry on!

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

but you could also argue that Tolkien, himself was being "anti-time-period" in LotR because all of his couples were truly in love, rather than thrown together for some political purpose Oh, yeah, I have gone off about that in other places, but I thought I would spare this thread that particular rant.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

But then again, where's the fun in writing about a couple who aren't attracted to each other at all? I mean, it's kind of like writing about Eomer, without him being wet or holding a small child.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

One of my bugbears is the fanon that sex in loving and happy relationships is always perfect - and everything the couple tries is wonderful for both of them, and works out perfectly, no matter how inexperienced one or both of them may be. So I offer you Homecoming, in which you will find Inconsiderate!Faramir and Incompetent!Eowyn having less than perfect sex within the context of an extremely loving relationship. You have been warned. (Hmm, Aeneid, was this really what you wanted when you said "it steals away a lot of the glamour from these mythical heroes - but it also has the potential of adding a whole new dimension of realism to them"?) Cheers, Liz Actually, I didn't think that Faramir came off Inconsiderate, or Eowyn "Incompetent!", in HOMECOMING. Faramir doesn't coerce or push Eowyn to do oral sex with him; she begins to explore, and he...um...gets caught up in the moment. I don't think many newly married men, while in the midst of sexual bliss, would necessarily stop to consider whether their bride was or wasn't having an equally enjoyable experience. Faramir is empathic, but he's still a man, and not a 21st century one at that. It's much to his credit that he does finally realize that Eowyn is grossed out and mortified and takes steps to assure that she won't have such an unpleasant experience again. Eowyn was very young, sexually inexperienced (only been married what, a few weeks if that), not incompetent. She's trying to learn the ropes as far as sex and marriage are concerned. It was rather brave of her to initiate something she didn't fully understand; and typical; Eowyn wouldn't be a lie-back-and-think-of-Rohan type of woman, not with a man she cared about... Interesting viewpoints in this thread, especially the point that medieval women wouldn't have felt hot and bothered and initiated sex so freely as in LOTR fanfic...I can think of at least one medieval woman who apparently enjoyed sex; Catherine Howard comes to mind - she should definitely have been less free with her favors, and eventually paid for her boldness with her life. I'm not blaming her; but she does come across as someone who, at least once she came to power and should have been most circumspect of her position, went looking for love in all the wrong places (like with a handsome young man rather than her elderly, sick husband). Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting if the Eomer/Lothiriel marriage wasn't a love match and never became one where the feelings went beyond liking and mutual respect...I could see Imrahil pushing the marriage, since he quickly becomes fond of Eomer and thinks that he would make a great hubby for his little girl, and Lothiriel going along with it.... RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I mean, it's kind of like writing about Eomer, without him being wet or holding a small child. Well, he doesn't have to do either of those things - I mean, he could be warmongering and righteously angry and unshaven and kickin' some Grima heiny. ......while in the rain, protecting an orphanage. Yeah, you're right. That makes it better.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Interesting viewpoints in this thread, especially the point that medieval women wouldn't have felt hot and bothered and initiated sex so freely as in LOTR fanfic...I can think of at least one medieval woman who apparently enjoyed sex; Catherine Howard comes to mind - she should definitely have been less free with her favors, and eventually paid for her boldness with her life That's a definite point, and I'm sure there were women who actually did enjoy and/or initiate sex -- I just mean it didn't seem to be the normal attitude. Of course, you can blame a lot of that on religion, which isn't an issue in LOTR. Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting if the Eomer/Lothiriel marriage wasn't a love match and never became one where the feelings went beyond liking and mutual respect... That's exactly what I mean! I've been trying to think up a way to write that story, and have had an impossible time of it because of my own personal Eomer liking.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Raksha wrote: Actually, I didn't think that Faramir came off Inconsiderate, or Eowyn "Incompetent!", in HOMECOMING. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek with my descriptions. However, the fanon convention is that Faramir would never, ever, even unintentionally, cause Eowyn pain. Faramir does indeed get "caught up in the moment" and I wanted to show that he wasn't beyond that without it making him not-Faramir. And the fanon convention is that even sexually inexperienced young women are capable of performing any act (and that act in particular) in a mutually satisfying way. One of my beta readers seeing this for this first time said something along the linesof "but it doesn't have to be that uncomfortable". The point is that Eowyn simply doesn't know how to give Faramir pleasure while minimising her discomfort — how could she? Raksha wrote: Interesting viewpoints in this thread, especially the point that medieval women wouldn't have felt hot and bothered and initiated sex so freely as in LOTR fanfic...I can think of at least one medieval woman who apparently enjoyed sex; Catherine Howard comes to mind - she should definitely have been less free with her favors, and eventually paid for her boldness with her life. There are also examples from the c. 12 cent Lais of Marie de France that suggest young wives seeking romantic/sexual satisfaction outside loveless marriages were not uncommon. (I believe more than half the Lais involve a married woman - usually with an elderly husband - and an unmarried man.) Certainly mediaeval men, especially churchmen, wanted woman to think sex was not enjoyable, but that's in large part because of concerns about property and inheritance! We apparently have no factual accounts of what women felt about sex, so we can only deduce their attitudes from their behaviour. Tolkien himself seemed to believe in mutual sexual desire, for Elves at least, although he saw sexual desire being reduced once children had been born. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Tyellas's excellent essay Warm Beds Are Good: Sex and Libido in Tolkien's Writing for a study of what Tolkien did say about sex. Raksha wrote: Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting if the Eomer/Lothiriel marriage wasn't a love match and never became one where the feelings went beyond liking and mutual respect... EdorasLass wrote: That's exactly what I mean! I've been trying to think up a way to write that story, and have had an impossible time of it because of my own personal Eomer liking. I can imagine it may be hard to get past your own personal preference but it could be that Eomer simply isn't Lothiriel's "type"? So that, as Raksha has suggested, there's companionship, and sex between them wouldn't unplesant, but simply no "spark". Consider the fact that there are plenty of movie stars who are objectively considered handsome, but I bet half of them don't get you all hot and bothered like the other half do. One tentative argument for why the Eomer/Lothiriel relationship might have been a love match (apart from the fact Tolkien seems to favour those) is that Lothiriel (like Gilraen) married before the age at which Dunedain women were accustomed to marry (she's 21 or 22 rather than 25). Of course, Eomer needs an heir as quickly as possible, but surely there were other Gondorian noblewomen of a more suitable age around? (I think that in an earlier draft of the appendices, Eomer was married off to the daughter of Hurin of the Keys.) Anyway, enough rambling.... As Raksha said, there have been some very interesting thoughts thrown up in this thread. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

The fanon convention is that Faramir would never, even unintentionally, cause Eowyn pain? That's silly. People are people, and people in love, even the kindest of people, married people, can cause each other pain, unintentional or otherwise. Even someone who can read the hearts of others isn't gonna necessarily be able to read every thought, especially while himself in the transports of sexual pleasure. Sexually inexperienced women are capable of performing any act in a mutually satisfying way? If their name is Mary Sue, perhaps... Marie de France - Wasn't she related to Eleanor of Aquitaine? Eleanor always struck me as an independant-minded lady who managed to get some sexual satisfaction, particularly in her early and middle years (cuckolding the King of France, marrying her young lover and becoming Queen of England soon after when he took the throne). I'd forgotten that Lothiriel was so young. Hmm. Now I'm visualizing a drunken Eomer and an infatuated Lothiriel hitting the sheets in celebration of Aragorn's coronation or marriage (Eomer wouldn't force her, but he'd have more restraint when sober), and Lothiriel getting pregnant. And Eomer quickly volunteering to do the honorable thing; after all, he needs an heir, he likes Lothiriel's father, and Eomer is an honorable man...but Eomer and Lothiriel's sexual desire does not ever become true, passionate, all-round love. Still, it's possible that they could have a good life; but it wouldn't be easy. A lot would depend on how well Lothiriel acclimates to a less literate culture... RAKSHA THE DEMON, getting out of here before other nuzgul come along, I've got too many already!

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

but it could be that Eomer simply isn't Lothiriel's "type"? So that, as Raksha has suggested, there's companionship, and sex between them wouldn't unplesant, but simply no "spark". :::tilts head, regards screen curiously::: Not...her "type"? That ...does not compute. Oh, you mean make her deranged, and/or blind. Really, though, I see what you mean - but I may not be the girl to do that particular story, much as I might like to. I've been an Eomer girl since the age of 12, and to me, saying he's not someone's type (in that world) is just -- mystifying. I might be able to work it at some point, but it certainly won't be any time soon. Lothiriel (like Gilraen) married before the age at which Dunedain women were accustomed to marry (she's 21 or 22 rather than 25) This is another issue that really bugs me. I mean, really. Until recently (historically speaking) 25 was considered fairly late to marry. And in a society such as LOTR, I can't imagine that people were regularly waiting til their mid-20s to get married, if for no other reason than that life-spans would be shorter. In Gondor particularly, I'd think you'd want to snap up a man as soon as you found one, because the constant state of war the country was in makes it likely that the number of available men was quite low. Wars always lower the male population, and leave all these women to become old maids. With the Dunedain women, their lifespan would be longer, so 25 wouldn''t really that late. Ok, I'll buy that the stronger your Numenorean blood, the longer you could wait, but I have a hard time understanding why perfectly eligible nobles wouldn't be married beforethe age of 25,, when there were other perfectly eligible nobles running around with whom to make alliances-by-marriage. It's not as if they were waiting to finish college, so they'd have a career to help support the family.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'd forgotten that Lothiriel was so young. Hmm. Now I'm visualizing a drunken Eomer and an infatuated Lothiriel hitting the sheets in celebration of Aragorn's coronation or marriage (Eomer wouldn't force her, but he'd have more restraint when sober), and Lothiriel getting pregnant. And Eomer quickly volunteering to do the honorable thing; after all, he needs an heir, he likes Lothiriel's father, and Eomer is an honorable man...but Eomer and Lothiriel's sexual desire does not ever become true, passionate, all-round love. So you just GO, and LEAVE this nuzgul here to bite me in the a-- ankle?! I just said that I didn't think I could do this one any time soon, and you've got to try to make a liar out of me! Man....what did I ever do to you? Fortunately, I have at least three other things that are currently more lively in my head...but I sense this idea is now simmering on the back burner.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Raksha wrote: The fanon convention is that Faramir would never, even unintentionally, cause Eowyn pain? That's silly. [...] Sexually inexperienced women are capable of performing any act in a mutually satisfying way? If their name is Mary Sue, perhaps... I know it's silly. You know it's silly. But that's the point of fanon conventions that need debunking. They often are silly. and unrealistic. Edoraslass wrote: Not...her "type"? That ...does not compute. *snork* I have the same problem with Faramir.... Edoraslass wrote: This is another issue that really bugs me. I mean, really. Until recently (historically speaking) 25 was considered fairly late to marry. [...] Ok, I'll buy that the stronger your Numenorean blood, the longer you could wait, but I have a hard time understanding why perfectly eligible nobles wouldn't be married beforethe age of 25,, when there were other perfectly eligible nobles running around with whom to make alliances-by-marriage. Well, that one is canonical and all JRRT's own. Given it still applied in Arnor, where life was even more precarious than Gondor, I guess we just have to work with it. And I too like Raksha's suggestion of a rather unwise start to Eomer and Lothiriel's marriage. Since Tolkien doesn't give us a date for the birth of their son (which could be taking as "glossing over a slightly embarrassing incident"), its entirely possible he was concieved before the marriage. However, Eomer and Lothiriel are married in "the last year of the Third Age" ir 3021, so it would have to be some event later than Aragorn's coronation or wedding when they have their drunken fling. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Raksha wrote: Hmm, wouldn't it be interesting if the Eomer/Lothiriel marriage wasn't a love match and never became one where the feelings went beyond liking and mutual respect... EdorasLass wrote: That's exactly what I mean! I've been trying to think up a way to write that story, and have had an impossible time of it because of my own personal Eomer liking. Actually, Katakanadian wrote a fic about Eomer and Lothiriel's wedding night, in which neither is in love with each other, although there's no problems in the lust department. It would make a good addition to the challenge, I think, as it breaks the fanon concept of the Perfect Wedding Night pretty well. By Previous Arrangement All in the name of research... I swear!

 

 

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Eomer and Lothiriel's wedding night, in which neither is in love with each other, although there's no problems in the lust department. It would make a good addition to the challenge, I think, as it breaks the fanon concept of the Perfect Wedding Night pretty well. *snork* Yeah, yeah it does.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Edoraslass wrote: Not...her "type"? That ...does not compute. *snork* I have the same problem with Faramir.... I do have a line in a fic where Eowyn actually says, "Nobody doesn't fancy Faramir."

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I do have a line in a fic where Eowyn actually says, "Nobody doesn't fancy Faramir. Strange. I say that all the time. One tentative argument for why the Eomer/Lothiriel relationship might have been a love match (apart from the fact Tolkien seems to favour those) is that Lothiriel (like Gilraen) married before the age at which Dunedain women were accustomed to marry (she's 21 or 22 rather than 25). Of course, Eomer needs an heir as quickly as possible, but surely there were other Gondorian noblewomen of a more suitable age around? (I think that in an earlier draft of the appendices, Eomer was married off to the daughter of Hurin of the Keys.) Yeah, I'm thinking it was purely a marriage of convenience for Tolkien -- given the friendship between Imrahil and Eomer. Actually, I find the Eomer/Lothiriel arranged marriage to be a major fanon staple -- most commonly along the same lines as The Taming of the Shrew. It irks me to no end, because it usually involves Lothiriel acting like a shrieking harpy and Imrahil as the insensitive father who pawns her off on the nearest available noble. I hate both incarnations. Lothiriel is fair game, I'll admit, but leave Imrahil's honour and spine intact.

 

 

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Not that I've read that many Eomer/Lothiriel fics, but the ones I've read, or the appearances of the couple in F/E fics, seem to depict Imrahil as delighted to see Eomer and Lothiriel making goo-goo eyes at each other or otherwise indicating a mutual attraction, and allowing the marriage when he's satisfied that both parties want it. I can see Tolkien having a strong fondness for both the golden young horse-Lord and the grave and the elf-blooded Prince of Dol Amroth, and wanting to unite them in marriage. Didn't Tolkien say somewhere, in UT or HoME, that Eomer and Imrahil became post-Pelennor pals, and that Eomer and Lothiriel's son Elfwine was the splitting image of Imrahil? (which is more description than he gave to Faramir and Eowyn's son) But there's nothing to indicate that it was a successful marriage in terms of the happiness of Eomer and Lothiriel...or otherwise. Though I doubt that JRRT envisioned Eomer taking to drink and having flings with various local blondes or Lothiriel fading away in loneliness and homesickness like her aunt....So I think they did have a good life together. RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

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Lothiriel is fair game, I'll admit, but leave Imrahil's honour and spine intact. Preach it, sister. Preach it. Why make Imrahil a bad guy, or even an irritating guy? He's great, and if RiverOtter were here, I could get a witness! If Eomer's going to have flings with local women, they should redheads. Just to make me happy. Seriously, Raksha, you did give me an idea of how to do the "married but not in love" angle. Although I suspect Lothiriel may not come out too well in it -- you know, if I ever get it done. But she won't be a shrieking harpy, that I promise.

 

 

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but the ones I've read, or the appearances of the couple in F/E fics, seem to depict Imrahil as delighted to see Eomer and Lothiriel making goo-goo eyes at each other or otherwise indicating a mutual attraction, and allowing the marriage when he's satisfied that both parties want it. That one Marastar recommended - and now I don't remember the name - had the two as bethrothed since Lothiriel was 17, which I liked. Again, in the societal context, I'd think there'd be more arranged marriages between nobility. However, we all know that Tolkien preferred love matches, even making an effort to point out that Denethor loved Finduilas, so I think it would be safe to assume that he considered Eomer and Lothiriel a love match as well. But I'd think Imrahil would be all over trying to set the two up, simply because it's a very smart political move. I need to write more Imrahil.

 

 

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I've always wondered what JRRT was thinking when he married Eomer off to Lothiriel. Here the Dunedain have spent centuries perfecting their Numenorian bloodlines by only marrying other Numenorians....and suddenly, after the War of the Ring, two members of the House of Eorl marry into the two most blueblooded Houses in Gondor? Is this some sort of "reward" to the Rohirrim for showing up just in time to save Gondor's bacon? (And yes, I know...Morwen of Lossarnach was married to Thengel...)

 

 

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roh_wyn wrote: Is this some sort of "reward" to the Rohirrim for showing up just in time to save Gondor's bacon? It could be that, but it could also be an acknowledgement by the noblest Dunedain that "purity" is not necessarily an admirable goal and that they need the Rohirrim to reinvigorate them. Elena Tiriel recently pointed out in another thread that there were, in any case, very few "pure blood" Dunedain left after the Kinstrife of the 1400s. An insistence on "pure blood" and the longevity that comes with it is often not seen as a Good Thing. Racial pride is also one of the contributing factors in the Downfall of Numenor. Being "isolationist" is also something that is rarely looked on favourably by Tolkien. Gandalf rebukes Denethor for it, and the importance and mutual benefits of the alliance between Rohan and Gondor are repeatedly stressed. (As are the alliances between men and elves in the First Age.) On the other hand, there are also many instances where the importance of ancestry, blood lines and their purity is stressed in Tolkien. Part of that is undoubtedly Tolkien working within the conventions of the saga or heroic narrative, but it could be that either Tolkien's own views were rather muddled on the topic or he was acknowledging that people in general have muddled views about this stuff. Cheers, Liz

 

 

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roh_wyn wrote: Is this some sort of "reward" to the Rohirrim for showing up just in time to save Gondor's bacon? I'm sure Eomer would have preferred a lifetime supply of ale instead.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm sure Eomer would have preferred a lifetime supply of ale instead. Maybe that was the dowry Lothiriel brought with her? Cheers, Liz

 

 

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I'm sure Eomer would have preferred a lifetime supply of ale instead. No doubt. But my earlier point wasn't as much about purity of bloodlines, but more about the "elevation" of Rohan. It seems to me like JRRT wanted to make sure that Gondor no longer saw Rohan as a sort of vassal state that owed allegiance to Gondor, but as a true ally...and one way to cement the alliance was to have more of these Rohan-Gondor marriages. For all we know, one of Aragorn's many daughters probably ends up married to Elfwine!

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

It seems to me like JRRT wanted to make sure that Gondor no longer saw Rohan as a sort of vassal state that owed allegiance to Gondor, but as a true ally. Ah, I see your point now. Perhaps I was confused because I'm not sure Gondor (speaking of it as a polical entity) does see Rohan as a vassal state rather than an equal ally, at least in book!verse. JRRT was quite clear that Calenardhon is fully ceded to Eorl and Gondor reliquishes any claim to the territory (demonstrated by Cirion removing the tomb of Elendil from Amon Anwar). The alliance between them is mutual (Gondor has sent aid to Rohan at times) and Rohan governs itself entirely independently and appears to pay no taxes to Gondor. Nor does it appear to be under any mandatory requirement to contribute anything towards Gondor's defence, which would be the case for a vassal state: when Gondor sends the Red Arrow , the messenger specifically says Denethor "asks" for help and "does not issue any command". Of course, individual Gondorian lords may well expect the Rohirrim to do what Gondor wants or look down on the Rohirrim as inferior "Men of the Twilight", but I still personally struggle to see them considering Rohan a vassal state when it doesn't betray any of characteristics of one in the way Tolkien wrote it. And a few political alliances, even at the highest levels, would not stop Rohan being a vassal state if it was one, although they might acknowledge its importance. YMMV Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

You're right. "Vassal state" was an unfortunate usage of the term on my part. Rohan is clearly an independent and sovereign entity and Gondor doesn't exercise any type of authority over politics or economics in Rohan. However, I do think it's interesting that the Oath of Eorl is a solemn promise that imposes an obligation on Rohan to come to Gondor's aid, whenever requested, but there's no reciprocal Oath of Cirion, and Gondor aids Rohan only as a matter of comity, not as a matter of obligation (i.e. it's a unilateral treaty, not a bilateral one). That suggests to me a certain power structure between Gondor and Rohan. And yes, the Red Arrow missive is phrased as a "request," but since the Rohirrim aren't oathbreakers, it might as well be a command. To take this to an even sillier place, if Eomer and Faramir meet up, who bows first? What about Eomer and Aragorn?

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Not at all silly. Rather interesting. My two silver pennies: Faramir bows to Éomer, because Éomer is a ruling king and Faramir is only Prince/Steward. But Éomer bows to Aragorn, because the kingship of Gondor precedes the kingship of Rohan historically. Yours JunoFascinated

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

roh_wyn wrote: there's no reciprocal Oath of Cirion, and Gondor aids Rohan only as a matter of comity, not as a matter of obligation (i.e. it's a unilateral treaty, not a bilateral one). But Cirion does swear a reciprocal oath. In Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Cirion and Eorl, after Eorl has sworn his oath, it says Cirion "vowed that Gondor should be bound by a like bond of friendship and aid in all need". And that's why Theoden feels perfectly within his rights to only send 6000 men to Gondor rather than the 10000 he might have sent when he learns of new threats on his own borders. If they hadn't seen off Saruman at Helm's Deep, Theoden would almost certainly have sent a polite "sorry, would love to help but can't spare more than this small group right now" answer back and just sent a token force. As for who bows first - perhaps Eomer bows first when they're in Gondor and Aragorn bows first when they're in Rohan? But yes, I think Faramir would generally bow first to Eomer, being of lower social status. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

However, I do think it's interesting that the Oath of Eorl is a solemn promise that imposes an obligation on Rohan to come to Gondor's aid, whenever requested, but there's no reciprocal Oath of Cirion, and Gondor aids Rohan only as a matter of comity, not as a matter of obligation (i.e. it's a unilateral treaty, not a bilateral one). Sorry, Roh_wyn, but that is incorrect. I have to leave in a few minutes, so don't have time to expound (lucky you!), but you can read the details about both oaths, the Oath of Cirion and the Oath of Eorl, in the HASA Resources Library here. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

As for who bows first - perhaps Eomer bows first when they're in Gondor and Aragorn bows first when they're in Rohan? But yes, I think Faramir would generally bow first to Eomer, being of lower social status. I don't think Faramir is of lower social status - he's of very old Numenorean blood and his ancestors ruled Gondor. But he is of lower rank, as a Prince and non-ruling Steward; so after Aragorn's coronation, Faramir would bow first to Eomer. I'm not sure how much attention they paid to the intricacies of the convention, though, unless at very formal state occasions; after all, Faramir and Eomer became brothers by marriage. I can't see Eomer and Aragorn getting huffy about who bows. Perhaps a nod, such as Eomer gave Aragorn in the movie, in the scene of Aragorn's coronation? RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Ok, I stand corrected. However, in my defense, I was referring only to the information in the Appendices to LoTR (and didn't even think to reference Unfinished Tales. What can I say? It's been a long day. Cirion granted to Eorl [Calenardhon] to dwell in, and he swore to Cirion the Oath of Eorl, of friendship at need or at call to the Lords of Gondor. Based on this, it's not clear that there's a reciprocal relationship between the two kingdoms. I realize the Appendices aren't definitive and have to be taken in the context of the whole history of Middle Earth as written by Tolkien, but I personally still can't shake the feeling that Rohan is supposed to be, at least up to the War of the Ring, a sort of lesser kingdom... As for who bows to who first, I think it depends on where they are. In Rohan, Eomer bows to nobody. He is King, after all. But I think in Gondor, with its very stratified society and its obsession with bloodlines and such, Eomer might even have to bow to Faramir. Sure, Faramir's only a steward, but he's royalty and the second most powerful man in Gondor.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

The Appendices aren't definitive? They are as far as I'm concerned. But there's a lot that the Appendices don't say, which leaves room for the great stuff in UT and HoME... Raksha

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Well, IMO the Appendices are incomplete, because they provide only part of the historical context. So basically, it was incorrect for me to make statements about the lack of a reciprocal oath from Cirion, without taking into account what's in HoME and Unfinished Tales... Throw the new girl a bone already!

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I realize the Appendices aren't definitive and have to be taken in the context of the whole history of Middle Earth as written by Tolkien, but I personally still can't shake the feeling that Rohan is supposed to be, at least up to the War of the Ring, a sort of lesser kingdom... That impression may be left by the accounts of the time before the Oath of Eorl, where the Northmen were accepted as allies but seen by many in Gondor as a lesser race than the Numenoreans. I'm glad Tanaqui mentioned the Kin-Strife, as the war itself was precipitated by the rejection of a marriage between the King's son Valacar and the daughter of the King of Rhovanion (precursors to the Rohirrim). The widely held belief that her blood would lessen the life-span and "purity" of the King's line led to the rebellion following Valacar's death and the outbreak of war between Valacar's son Eldacar's supporters and those of Castamir, who laid claim to the throne. Eldacar, I should also mention, was born in Rhovanion and spent much of his life there. However, Eldacar actually lived a very long life, although much of it was spent trying to gain his rightful position as King and witnessing the destruction of his family, Osgiliath, and most of the exiled Numenorean nobility. Still, I think there are also examples where racial mixing was not looked upon favourably -- the mixed Dunlendings-Rohirrims, for instance. There's a story in the appendices where Helm Hammerhand kills a lord of this particular mixed race, Freca, after Helm rebuffs an offer of marriage between Freca's son, Wulf, to Helm's daughter. Actually, Helm insults him, and then Freca insults Helm, and Helm "takes him outside," as it were, and kills him. So there are examples of racial intolerance that I don't believe are necessarily frowned upon by Tolkien. (Or, at least, in my opinion, as there is no evidence that Freca, before that incident, had done anything that should make Helm distrust him; other than getting rich, having lots of land, and, of course, being of Dunlendish blood.) Wulf did take his revenge, however, by successfully taking over Rohan, and Helm did meet a horrible end, although I'm not sure if that was meant to "punish" Helm in a literary sense or even demonstrate that he had acted with poor judgment.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Roh_wyn wrote: I personally still can't shake the feeling that Rohan is supposed to be, at least up to the War of the Ring, a sort of lesser kingdom... FWIW, I also think that, despite the formal position of equality, there would be some Gondorian lords who would regard Rohan as the junior partner in the alliance simply because of that whole cultural superiority thing the Numenoreans have going on. Aragorn goes to some lengths to stress publicly that Eomer is his equal, which you could take as evidence that he's been hearing comments from the Gondorian nobility disparaging Rohan. However, I'm now a bit confused that you appear to be saying Faramir is royalty.... I'm sorry if I seem to be giving you a very hard time. It's your bad luck in this thread to have run up against two of HASA's most obsessive research geeks — Elena Tiriel/Barbara and myself — who happen to be fans of Rohan and Gondor respectively. (Barbara wrote a lot of the Research Library entries relating to the Rohirrim). I know I can sometimes be a tad overzealous when I see someone making a statement that I think contradicts what Tolkien wrote.... So I'm sorry if my responses have upset you at all. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Liz wrote: It's your bad luck in this thread to have run up against two of HASA's most obsessive research geeks — Elena Tiriel/Barbara and myself Ah, it's because you two are such research geeks that I love you to pieces! Allie

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm sorry if I seem to be giving you a very hard time. It serves me right to throw out blanket statements without doing my homework! I stand properly chastised... I'm now a bit confused that you appear to be saying Faramir is royalty.... Ok, in the Peoples of Middle Earth, there is a suggestion that although the Hurinionath are not direct descendants of Elendil, they are ultimately royal. I take this to mean that they're either not male-line descendants of Anarion, or that they became royalty sometime later, when the men of the House of Hurin married women of the Royal House of Gondor. So that makes Faramir royal, although not a ruler. At the very least, he's about as blueblooded as it's possible to be in Gondor, without being King.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I think Faramir can claim to be royal to a degree, by virtue of his mother's line. Unless, by "royal," we're referring to the line of High-Elven kings, which are only found in Elrond's family and Aragorn, I believe.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm not an expert, but I think that half of Gondor could be descended from Elros one way or another; and that Elendil wasn't the only descendant of Elros to come over the sea. I mean, the descent from Elros was only recorded as it affected the Kingship of Numenor, not the nobility - there might well have been more progeny of his descendants, from daughters and younger sons omitted from the Appendices... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

OK, I think I'm probably using a much more narrow definition of the word royal in thinking about who is royal and who is not. It would indeed be very surprising if the House of Hurin hadn't intermarried with distant relatives of the kings (after 3000 years, the noble houses of Gondor must be horribly interrelated!) and have some very distant kinship with Aragorn. However, to my mind, that's not quite the same as being royalty, which to me means "of the Royal House" or "in the royal line" and in with a chance of inheriting the throne (which Tolkien repeatedly says the Stewards are not). The two different drafts of Appendix A discussed in HoMe 12 do indicate there is royal blood in the Hurinionath. Draft B says "These may be added, for though not in the direct line, the Hurinionath, the family to which Pelendur and Mardil belonged, were of Numenorean blood hardly less pure than that of the kings, and undoubtedly had some share in the actual blood of Elendil and Anarion." (The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Stewards of Gondor ) Draft C says "The names of these rulers are here added; for though the Hurinionath were not in the direct line of descent from Elendil, they were ultimately of royal origin, and had in any case kept their blood more pure than most other families in the later ages." (The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor ) However, the version that made it into the Appendices, published during Tolkien's lifetime, omits the reference to the Hurionath having connections to royalty - perhaps because it would have slightly complicated the issue of why the Stewards didn't later claim the throne? Also Draft C says "No male descendants of clear title (or nearly pure blood) of Elendil could be discovered" at the time of Earnur's disappearance. (The Peoples of Middle-Earth, HoME Vol 12, Part 1, Ch 7, The Heirs of Elendil: The Ruling Stewards of Gondor ) We also do have one really clear statement we have from what Tolkien published in his lifetime, Faramir's conversation with Frodo in Ithilien: "We of my house are not of the line of Elendil. though the blood of Numenor is in us. For we reckon back our line to Mardil, the good steward, who ruled in the king's stead when he went away to war." The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West In UT (which, of course, has no more "authority" than most of HoMe 12 and we have no idea whether Tolkien would have let these statements stand if he'd published these materials himself), there are several quotes relating to who is royalty: "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 [stewards] judged that by the words "an heir of Elendil" Isildur had meant one of the royal line descended from Elendil who had inherited the throne" (Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Tradition of Isildur ) Whereas it also says "Eärnil [was] a member of the Royal House, being a descendant of King Telumehtar, father of Narmacil II." (Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: The Northmen and the Wainriders) I prefer to follow the rule that "anything published in Tolkien's lifetime trumps anything published after his death that contradicts it" and the only clear statement we have is Faramir's to Frodo. Also, as I say, it's probably a "definition" issue of how I would classify someone as "royalty". For the same reason, I wouldn't classify the Princes of Dol Amroth as "royal". Of course, both the Hurinionath and Princes of Dol Amroth are the highest levels of nobility. But (to get back to the original discussion) Eomer as a King outranks Faramir as (to my mind) a non-royal if very senior aristocrat. And having conclusively prove my obsessive research geekiness ( to Meril. I'm so glad someone appreciates it!), I will try and shut up and not open up another debate about whether it's Faramir or Imrahil who is the highest ranking man in Gondor after the King... *sigh* why couldn't Tolkien just write one definitive version of anything.... Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Also to add from Appendix A: The sons of Earendil were Elros and Elrond, the Peredhil or Half-elven. In them alone the line of the heroic chieftains of the Edain of the First Age were preserved; and after the fall of Gil-galad the lineage of High-elven Kings were also in Middle-earth only represented by their descendents. I'm not sure if I would classify "royalty" as only those "descendants of Elendil" who had inherited the throne or had a chance of doing so. If we are only classifying as "royal" those who came from the line of High-elven Kings, fine. (And, in that case, we would also have to include Elrond and his children.) But the Elves that came to Middle-earth often founded realms of their own, to which they called themselves King or Prince or whatever (such as Oropher, Legolas' grandfather). If they can do that and call themselves royalty, why can't Dol Amroth? For all we know, Imrazor -- a nobleman of Numenor -- may have been descended from Elendil. To me, the foundations of what is considered "royalty" in Middle-earth seems to be tied more to the possession of territory, which is passed down by direct descent. YMMV.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

So I'm beginning to rue opening this can of worms at all! ;) My definition of "royal," for the sake of this discussion is anyone who could claim descent from Elendil, not only those who might have a legitimate claim to being of the Royal House. I do like your rule that anything published in JRRT's life controls, so.... I've always taken Faramir's statements to Frodo in TTT as an indication that the Hurinionath are not direct lineal male descendants of Elendil, i.e. they have no claim on the throne. However, they could well be distaff relatives of Elendil. Elendil could have had sisters or daughters [although Tolkien's references to female offspring tend to be somewhat limited]. So Faramir could be Aragorn's cousin, about 30 times removed (give or take a few generations). Whether Faramir is lower on the hierarchy than Eomer, is IMO, open to debate. Whether he's royal or not, he's still from one of Gondor's most ancient and noblest (and pureblooded) houses, and I think (at least in Gondor), that means he's higher in the pecking order than any member of the House of Eorl, king or not. Just my two cents... Imrahil and Faramir is a more interesting question. I think that when the Ruling Stewards ran the show, Dol Amroth was next in line. Since Aragorn allows Faramir (and his descendants) to continue on in the role of steward and returns Ithilien to the Hurinionath, I'm not sure where that puts Imrahil. If Aragorn rides off to war (with Eomer, of course) and dies without an heir, who's in charge of Gondor? I would guess Faramir, because Gondor has a tradition of the stewards ruling in place of the king. Also, doesn't Aragorn technically have heirs, even before the birth of Eldarion? He must have closely related kin among the Rangers of the North.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Hi Roh, Jumping in late here with my two silver pennies: My definition of "royal," for the sake of this discussion is anyone who could claim descent from Elendil, not only those who might have a legitimate claim to being of the Royal House. I do like your rule that anything published in JRRT's life controls, so.... I'd respectfully disagree with this. Elendil's heirs have been intermarrying for three thousand years. If anyone who can trace their bloodline to a king or a king's child, or the child of a king's child, etc... Well, the term loses its meaning for me. It's too encompassing, and would refer to many noblemen. Personally, I'd prefer a definition more like "a member of the household of the ruler of some completely autonomous land". So Gondor and Rohan both have their own royalty, but FA Ithilien and Dol Amroth have ruling nobility who are pledged to the king and so are not true royalty. Whether the princes of Dol Amroth were royalty is an interesting question, but unfortunately it's one I'm not qualified to answer. (Barbara! Help!) I think it says in HoME or the Silm or somewhere that the princes acknowledged a vassal relationship with Elendil? If so, the princes are not royalty because Dol Amroth is not truly autonomous. If the princes of Dol Amroth were royalty then Finduilas would also be royalty -- but Boromir and Faramir are not royalty. If you read the appendices, specifically the section on Pelendur and Arthedain's claim on the throne of Gondor, it is made clear that titles are passed through the father only. If the Stewards had any claim to Anarion's line, I'm sure they would have made it long ago! Or if anyone else had such a claimt hey would have challenged Mardil's right to rule (or at least the right of his sons or his grandsons, who were never accepted into Earnur's service). But if Boromir and Faramir are at all royal, it would have to come through Denethor. I've always taken Faramir's statements to Frodo in TTT as an indication that the Hurinionath are not direct lineal male descendants of Elendil, i.e. they have no claim on the throne. However, they could well be distaff relatives of Elendil. Elendil could have had sisters or daughters [although Tolkien's references to female offspring tend to be somewhat limited]. So Faramir could be Aragorn's cousin, about 30 times removed (give or take a few generations). That's certainly possible. :-) It would also explain the resemblance between Thorongil and Denethor... In any event, I think part of our disagreement is that we're working under two different definitions of royalty. Whether Faramir is lower on the hierarchy than Eomer, is IMO, open to debate. Whether he's royal or not, he's still from one of Gondor's most ancient and noblest (and pureblooded) houses, and I think (at least in Gondor), that means he's higher in the pecking order than any member of the House of Eorl, king or not. Just my two cents... I personally think that Eowyn was of higher social rank than Faramir. Eowyn was the sister of the king and the highest-ranking lady in a sovereign kingdom. Her title of princess was also inherited by virtue of being adopted by Theoden. Faramir is certainly nobility, and a prince, but that title is bestowed and is given as leader of a vassal kingdom, not as blood-relative of the king of a sovereign kingdom. As for being higher in the pecking order... well, Faramir has pledged fealty to the king so he is a step "below" Aragorn in terms of the nobility hierarchy. Eomer, on the other hand, is Aragorn's ally -- they are equals. I keep comparing this to the non-profit my parents work for. My dad works in a small department (communications), and his boss is a vice president. My mom, on th other hand, is an office manager (one level below vice president) in a larger department (donations). My mom has more people working under her. She probably has more power in many ways than my dad's boss. But the fact is that my dad's boss is still a vice president, and my mom is not. I envision the relationship between Faramir and Eomer as being somewhat similar. Also, doesn't Aragorn technically have heirs, even before the birth of Eldarion? He must have closely related kin among the Rangers of the North. Aragorn has no heirs because he has no sons. He has kinsmen like Halbarad, but we have no way of knowing how remote or through what side of the family. I think Tolkien is pretty clear that if Aragorn dies, Isildur's line dies with him (doesn't Elrond say something to that effect in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen")? So there would still be chieftains perhaps, if Aragorn had died, but they would not be heirs of Isildur. They would not be royalty, and they could not claim the kingship of Arnor, just as Denethor's familiy could not claim the kingship of Gondor. Marta [Edit: used "true nobility" to refere to DA and Ithilien above, when I meant "true royalty". Is now corrected.]

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Re: the idea that medieval women were sexless - no way. Women were actually thought to be more sexual than men. Temptresses. This is why monks were supposed to stay cloistered; even seeing a woman could be too much (hence distrust of the mendicant friars, who wandered around). There were lots of quite explicit bits of jewelry back then, too; replicas can be found at this site, with things like crowned vulvas and flying cocks. Tolkien had his own issues about sexuality; I think those explain the lack of it in M-e more than any modeling on the historical past. Cel

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

the idea that medieval women were sexless - no way. Women were actually thought to be more sexual than men. Temptresses Not "sexless" per se - just that they weren't supposed to want it, because it was unseemly and they were supposed to control their sinful urges and be covered from head to toe so that they couldn't drive men mad with desire simply by showing an ankle. I will go off endlessly about how it was ALL the fault of women if men couldn't keep it in their pants. And how they backed the theory up with religion. There are few things that make me as crazy.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Tolkien had his own issues about sexuality; I think those explain the lack of it in M-e more than any modeling on the historical past. Where can I find out more about this? Aside from fixating on his teenage romance, I didn't think there was anything unusual about JRRT's sexuality or "issues". RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I think if you're talking about the ideas about female sexuality circulating in the Medieval period, you've got to consider that you're talking about a stretch of what, 400 years? in which there is known to have been a shift from bawdiness, where people where very open about sex, the body, prostitution, adultary, homosexuality, the whole lot, that was followed by a later shift to conservatism. However I think the point is that, in the days where marriage, at least among the upper classes, was mostly for soicio-political contracts rather than romantic relationships, attitudes were different; one was not expected to fancy one's wife, still less one's husband- even though obviously the pair of you had to breed, but, as EdorasLass keeps saying, it wasn't meant to be fun. At different periods, this was reconciled either with both sexes commonly taking courtly lovers, or with the denial of the existance of female sexual desire, or with the idea that women had no control over thier lusts and therefore had to be contrained at home. There's Medieaval and there's Medieaval, basicly; things didn't stay the same all through that period. Soubrettina

 

 

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things didn't stay the same all through that period. Oh, I know this well - I'm a professional medieval historian. Just didn't want to leave people with the impression that women were, or were expected to be, asexual in the medieval era. My sense of it is that the shift really begins in the 16th century, with the Reformations; and it's in the 19th century that prudery becomes rampant. Cel

 

 

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I don't think I'm going to be able to cite something specific off the top of my head. There are hints in Carpenter's biography of Tolkien, but somewhere else (no longer sure where) I have read that he considered sex even within marriage to be sinful, and confessed it regularly as such. Which suggests that his attitude was not quite the official attitude endorsed by his Church, which is that sex within marriage for procreative purposes is just fine. Cel

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

JRRT seems to have managed to have enough in-marriage sex to produce what, four children? If he truly did regard marital sex as sinful, I wonder if the attitude resulted from growing up without a father, with a strict though kind father-figure and a mother who turned Catholic and then died when JRRT was 12. Didn't JRRT say in HoME that elves lost the desire for sex after they had kids? RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Ah, there you are! I (finally) remembered that there was a thread about the Oath of Cirion and Oath of Eorl that I wanted to return to, but lost track of where it is... assumed it was in one of the Resources forums... all those posts about Faramir's sexual practices at the top of this thread threw me into a frenzy er, distracted me. First, let me apologize for the terseness of my original post. I started to create a reasonable answer (honestly!), got a phone call, and by the time I got back to it I was late in leaving for an appointment... Ok, I stand corrected. However, in my defense, I was referring only to the information in the Appendices to LoTR (and didn't even think to reference Unfinished Tales. What can I say? It's been a long day. You know, when I first read UT I was so thrilled to get the full story about the Oaths, that it never occurred to me that the Appendices version was not just truncated, but actually misleading. If I had thought about it when I only had the Appendices to consult, it would indeed have seemed to be a unilateral treaty. I'm glad that we have the Resources Library, where we can put the entire story from Unfinished Tales of the Invasion of Calenardhon by Balchoth and Orcs (the event that eventually triggered the Oaths) where HASA members can read it. (Okay, that turned into an incredibly shameless plug -- sorry!) - Barbara

 

 

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(Or, at least, in my opinion, as there is no evidence that Freca, before that incident, had done anything that should make Helm distrust him; other than getting rich, having lots of land, and, of course, being of Dunlendish blood.) Well, there's a little more to it: "... [Freca] made himself a stronghold and paid little heed to the king. Helm mistrusted him, but called him to his councils; and he came when it pleased him." The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl So, he was insolent and failed to give proper respect to his king (which Helm certainly thought he was qualified to be, whether Freca agreed or not). Whether that warrants a death penalty is not for me to say -- but if I were Helm's daughter, I'm pretty sure I'd be glad to see Freca unable to press a claim for my hand to be given to his son... (can you tell I tend to empathize with the "little" people?) - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

FWIW, I also think that, despite the formal position of equality, there would be some Gondorian lords who would regard Rohan as the junior partner in the alliance simply because of that whole cultural superiority thing the Numenoreans have going on. Aragorn goes to some lengths to stress publicly that Eomer is his equal, which you could take as evidence that he's been hearing comments from the Gondorian nobility disparaging Rohan. Yes, I agree with you on this. Nobles are often snobs. It's your bad luck in this thread to have run up against two of HASA's most obsessive research geeks — Elena Tiriel/Barbara and myself — who happen to be fans of Rohan and Gondor respectively. (Barbara wrote a lot of the Research Library entries relating to the Rohirrim). Obsessive? Moi? Well, I believe that I, too, can be overzealous at times (imagine that!) Sorry if I sounded tactless in my original post. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I stand properly chastised... Oh dear, just pull up a chair and have a cup of tea... we don't bite nearly as hard as we'd like people to think... - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm not an expert, but I think that half of Gondor could be descended from Elros one way or another; and that Elendil wasn't the only descendant of Elros to come over the sea. We know that's the case: there's Imrazor the Númenórean, for example, from whose line descended the Princes of Dol Amroth. There are also the Black Númenóreans, some of whom became lords in Harad, and from whose line came the Mouth of Sauron. There were also thriving Númenórean settlements along the coast, like Belfalas and Umbar, before the Downfall... I mean, the descent from Elros was only recorded as it affected the Kingship of Numenor, not the nobility - there might well have been more progeny of his descendants, from daughters and younger sons omitted from the Appendices... Although there is a relatively large family tree of Elros in the Unfinished Tales, you are right, there are still plenty of branches that are not completely filled in. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

*sigh* why couldn't Tolkien just write one definitive version of anything.... Cheers, Liz Amen to that! - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I've always taken Faramir's statements to Frodo in TTT as an indication that the Hurinionath are not direct lineal male descendants of Elendil, i.e. they have no claim on the throne. However, they could well be distaff relatives of Elendil. Elendil could have had sisters or daughters [although Tolkien's references to female offspring tend to be somewhat limited]. So Faramir could be Aragorn's cousin, about 30 times removed (give or take a few generations). My wholly unsubstantiated theory is that the House of Húrin descends from one of three unnamed children of Anárion mentioned in Unfinished Tales and The Peoples of Middle-earth. They did not inherit the kingship as Meneldil did, so they must have been younger, or female, or dead before Anárion died. It seems like a reasonable opportunity for descendants outside the kingly line. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Whether the princes of Dol Amroth were royalty is an interesting question, but unfortunately it's one I'm not qualified to answer. (Barbara! Help!) I think it says in HoME or the Silm or somewhere that the princes acknowledged a vassal relationship with Elendil? If so, the princes are not royalty because Dol Amroth is not truly autonomous. Marta, is this what you're referring to? It's not direct, but I infer that since Elendil granted the title, the Princes of Dol Amroth would owe allegiance to Elendil and his heirs. "The Lord of Dol Amroth had this title [Prince]. It was given to his ancestors by Elendil, with whom they had kinship. They were a family of the Faithful who had sailed from Númenor before the Downfall and had settled in the land of Belfalas, between the mouths of Ringló and Gilrain, with a stronghold upon the high promontory of Dol Amroth (named after the last King of Lórien). [Author's note.] ..." Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 39 Aragorn has no heirs because he has no sons. ... So there would still be chieftains perhaps, if Aragorn had died, but they would not be heirs of Isildur. I agree with you. I think Tolkien is pretty clear that if Aragorn dies, Isildur's line dies with him (doesn't Elrond say something to that effect in "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen")? I reread that tale, but didn't see it there. Perhaps it's somewhere else? - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I will go off endlessly about how it was ALL the fault of women if men couldn't keep it in their pants. And how they backed the theory up with religion. There are few things that make me as crazy. I also have the same cynical take on history, EdorasLass. If it wasn't written by women about women, then it's probably wrong... and, furthermore, deliberately slanted to match the views of the historian or the Church or the royals or other powers-that-be. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Didn't JRRT say in HoME that elves lost the desire for sex after they had kids? Yes, he did -- and that always struck me as odd and somehow unhealthy... (just as unlikely as fanon portrayals of raging lascivious perverts...) - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Aragorn has no heirs because he has no sons. Ok, not to split hairs or anything, but legally an heir any person who can receive your property when you die, whether by right or because you designate them as such. So Aragorn certainly could name one of his Northern kin his heir. This is distinguished from the heirs of the body, which refers only to a person's issue (and in fact excludes even people who are legally considered heirs, like spouses, siblings and adopted children). On the question of whether a designated heir of Aragorn would be an heir of Isildur, it all depends on whether Arathorn or even Arador were only sons. If Arathorn had a brother, or even an uncle, presumably the sons of that person would be descended from Valandil, in the same way as Aragorn. Valandil himself was not an eldest son, so the primogeniture limitation wouldn't apply. Obviously, this is all wild conjecture... On a completely different note, I realize why Tolkien doesn't mention (or name) female offspring...but what did he have against living mothers? Many of the characters in LoTR have dead mothers (Frodo, Aragorn, Arwen, Boromir, Faramir, Eowyn, Eomer, ...even Theodred). What's up with that?

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

My sense of it is that the shift really begins in the 16th century I'm not a professional historian, but that's probably a good date for such a shift, because it's also when property rights and the laws governing property become well developed (particularly in England). Female chastity and prudery is really all about property. Paternity (and therefore inheritance) was pretty difficult to prove back in the day, and the only way a man could ensure that his sons really were his was by ensuring his wife didn't stray. Since human beings aren't naturally monogamous, the only way to make sure that women denied their urges was if extra-marital sex were both a sin and a terrible social taboo.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

On a completely different note, I realize why Tolkien doesn't mention (or name) female offspring...but what did he have against living mothers? Many of the characters in LoTR have dead mothers (Frodo, Aragorn, Arwen, Boromir, Faramir, Eowyn, Eomer, ...even Theodred). What's up with that? I think it's a reflection of Tolkien's own life experience. His mother sickened, then died when he was 12. His father had died when he was four or so. Tolkien's later upbringing was supervised by a Jesuit priest, to whom his mother had left her two sons' guardianship. RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Quote: Didn't JRRT say in HoME that elves lost the desire for sex after they had kids? Yes, he did -- and that always struck me as odd and somehow unhealthy... (just as unlikely as fanon portrayals of raging lascivious perverts...) Actually, he did NOT say that. It is a question of how you choose to interpret the relevant passage of LACE. The relevant passage is: "Doubtless they would retain for many ages the power of generation, if the will and desire were not satisfied; but with the exercise of the power the desire soon ceases, and the mind turns to other things." "Desire" in this passage does not necessarily mean "desire to have sex". It can just as well be interpreted as the "desire to exercise the power of procreation". This seems to make more sense to me, since getting children involves according to Tolkien an exercise of will on the part of both parents that can be very exhausting for both and especially for the mother. Also, it would seem odd to me, given the time when Tolkien wrote this, and what I know about his religious and ethical views that he was talking about "sex drive" here. But even if you insist on interpreting it as "sex-drive", "many ages" certainly covers more than the four ages Tolkien covered in his writing. Last but not least, I think we should be very careful with any information given in LACE. From what we know about that essay, Tolkien fashioned it in a way that it was written by a man and not not by an elf. Therefore - if we use Tolkien's own approach, and pretend, as he did with most of his writings, that they are real historical documents - it is necessary to ask before using any information provided in this essay: what can it mean that it was written by a man? Did he really know everything? Or did the elves refrain from telling him the juicier bits of elvish culture? Can a man really understand all there is to say about elvish laws and customs? Would he lie? Yours JunoMagic

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Female chastity and prudery is really all about property. I would think it also had something to with the rise of Christianity in Europe, and the subjugation of women's power under the context of convertion from "pagan" practices, such as midwifery. Um, I'm not a huge follower of Tolkien's personal life, but I believe the Catholic Church views sex for any reason other than procreation as sinful. So if there is a belief that even sex within marriage can be wrong. And I know that I read somewhere in UT that Cirion was a descendent of Elendil. I just can't find it.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

At different periods, this was reconciled either with both sexes commonly taking courtly lovers, or with the denial of the existance of female sexual desire, or with the idea that women had no control over thier lusts and therefore had to be contrained at home. I was going to reply to this, but it's just turning into a huge screaming rant about oppression of women, so probably I'd better not. edit cause I just realised it was all italics.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Quote: Didn't JRRT say in HoME that elves lost the desire for sex after they had kids? Yes, he did -- and that always struck me as odd and somehow unhealthy... (just as unlikely as fanon portrayals of raging lascivious perverts...) Actually, he did NOT say that. It is a question of how you choose to interpret the relevant passage of LACE. [snippage of explanation] Thanks for pointing that out, Juno. I just wanted to SSP two of Tyellas' essay on this subject: About elves and sex - "What Tolkien Officially Said About Elf Sex" About canonically sex generally, between elves and otherwise - "Warm Beds Are Good" (Links will open a new window.) Perhaps someone already pointed to these, but the thread has gotten so long I've lost track. Marta

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Um, I'm not a huge follower of Tolkien's personal life, but I believe the Catholic Church views sex for any reason other than procreation as sinful. So if there is a belief that even sex within marriage can be wrong. FYI- I'm 90% sure the current theology is sex within marriage is okay, even if no children are desired, if you do not specifically use contraception. So you can have sex and not desire a child, you can even do it purposefully at time you know you're infertile and abstain during those times when you are. You just can't have sex and actively try to avoid conception, by using the pill or a condom or some other form of contraception. Doing this is supposed to thwart god's will. I'm not a Catholic, so perhaps I'm getting this wrong. And I certainly don't want to start a theological debate; I'm just stating the facts, without commenting on whether I actually agree with them or not. It should be noted that this is the *current* belief. Catholicism in Tolkien's day was probably even more conservative. Marta

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

"Desire" in this passage does not necessarily mean "desire to have sex". It can just as well be interpreted as the "desire to exercise the power of procreation". Yes, you're right, that also makes sense. But doesn't Tolkien say somewhere that it was common for couples to live apart for many years (maybe my memory is being influenced by the UT story of Celeborn and Galadriel)? That influenced my initial interpretation that Tolkien was referring to sexual desire rather than procreation. Last but not least, I think we should be very careful with any information given in LACE. From what we know about that essay, Tolkien fashioned it in a way that it was written by a man and not not by an elf. Ah, I didn't know that, not having studied LaCE closely. That would indeed influence how to interpret its contents. The more I read Tolkien's works, the more I respect the sophistication of his indirect commentary on cultures by how their differing points of view are expressed, and how they view other cultures. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

And I know that I read somewhere in UT that Cirion was a descendent of Elendil. I just can't find it. Perhaps you are thinking of the mention in UT of Eorl, who was apparently a descendant of Vidugavia, the King of Rhovanion? If so, I'd like to SSP my research article, Notes on the Lineage of the House of Eorl. Seriously, Marastar, I've done genealogies for all of Tolkien's characters, and have scoured UT and the later volumes of The History of Middle-earth for genealogical information, and there is no direct mention of a connection between the Cirion and Elendil. However, Liz detailed the earlier hints from HoME (which is not usually considered canon when seemingly contradicted by published works) that there was a connection in this post, and I gave my unsupported theory about how the connection might have occurred here. - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Quote: Ah, I didn't know that, not having studied LaCE closely. Well... I am qualified as a lawyer and for my second degree my second subject is history... so I am used to pick apart texts... I think part of the fascination Middle-earth holds for me is that there are so many texts and bits of text about its history that are set in its history, that I can actually work with them as I would with real-world historical documents (especially keeping in mind the Professor's own pseudo-historical approach. Quote: (...)that it was common for couples to live apart for many years(...) Yes and no. Tolkien says: "(...) Thus, although the wedded remain so forever, they do not necessarily dwell or house together at all times; for without considering the chances and separations of evil days, wife and husband, albeit united, remain persons individual having each gifts of mind and body that differ. (...)" (LACE, bold by me) I don't think that Tolkien had sexual urges in mind when he wrote that. It seems to me that the emphasis is on the last part of the sentence, especially "remain persons individual having each gifts of mind and body that differ". Not looking beyond that sentence, it seems to me that Tolkien tries to see how a marriage that lasts for many thousands of years will work in daily life. And he is smart enough to know that a woman will not be content to be a housewife for milennia... Taking into account that it is implied that a man wrote LACE... if that man saw the living arrangements of the elves, then it might also be that he saw female and male elves living apart and he had to find an explanation for that fact. Please note that I do not claim that any of the following thoughts is supported anywhere in HoMe. This is only an example of the kind of questions that can be asked... Historical real world texts about different cultures are also often a kind of propaganda... that is, they don't necessarily give the truth about the other culture, but rather select aspects of that culture that can serve as a good example for the home country, to serve as the good example against moral decay. If for example, the writer of LACE comes from a society that has the ideal of indissoluble marriage, but that ideal does not really work out, he could want to present the elves as living proofs of how the world ought to be. If, however, the real arrangements of living among the elves don't fit his ideal (for example, because their marriage is not as inseverable as he would like to believe), then he needs to come up with an explanation for the facts that don't suit his aim... presenting the glowing example of neverending marriage to his own society. I know... my mind is a weird place... Yours Juno

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

You're probably right, Barbara. I'll look at it again, but if you haven't seen it, I probably just imagined it. Maybe I'm thinking of Ciryon... In the hands of the overly caffeinated, a copy of UT can be a dangerous thing.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Umm, getting back to the actual challenge.,, Count me in! I have one or two plotbunnies that might fit, though they don't break any fanon conventions outright, but are examples of our heroic characters behaving in a less than heroic fashion - will that do, or must there be a specific bit of fanon broken/killed in the process? Hmm, wait a minute; one fanon convention seems to be that when Legolas or Aragorn or Faramir (or any combination or one of them) goes on a post-Ring War hunting trip, wackiness ensues, i.e. orcs, wargs, bandits, Haradrim, Easterlings, pain, wounds, torture, angst, and occasionally slash but at least some hurt/comfort occurs. I'm thinking that post-Ring War Faramir should not be allowed out of Emyn Arnen or Minas Tirith without a 500-troop escort , a bell collar around his neck, and an i.d. bracelet saying "If found, return to Eowyn Wraithbane". Anyway, I think I could do something with the Hunting Trip fanon. Might take me a couple of years to get to it, though - the darn nuzguls have multiplied. Does anyone know how the fanon of Elboron as not only The Perfect Son but physically resembling Boromir, or Eomer, or both, began, and if there are any stories that go in a different direction? I'm not knocking it, heck, I've written Elboron that way myself, but it might be fun to write something where Faramir's firstborn is the spitting image of Denethor, or a blond version of young Faramir, or a quiet, shy and geeky kid who feels he can't measure up to his legendary mother and beloved-by-all father.... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

So. Still Shining and I warn you that might not be the last of them either. So. What do you make of it? So far, is it sufficiantly fannon? Or does it tip over the boundery into being anti-cannon? Or is it just too incohearant to tell?

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm thinking that post-Ring War Faramir should not be allowed out of Emyn Arnen or Minas Tirith without a 500-troop escort , a bell collar around his neck, and an i.d. bracelet saying "If found, return to Eowyn Wraithbane". This reminds me of a perfect Spike-ism when Buffy suggests they put a bell on him : "Comes with a nice leather collar, does it?" :smirk: Ah. Good times. Oh, what did you expect, putting the words "collar" and "Faramir" in the same sentence?

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

My attempt to break the bonds of fanon is up and can be found here. Paying the Price It's a semi-serious, mostly-humourous look at a king both noble and human. Comments are always welcome. You can even clone them into the copy of the story found in the Death to Fanon Workshop. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

This seems as good a place as any to ask... Does anyone know of any canon referance to Faramir and Beregond being good friends prior to the Seige of Gondor? I'm not recalling any, but it could be my faulty memory. I'd like to know if a good friendship is something Tolkien established or if it is yet another prevailing fanon idea. Le hannon ah bado na siidh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Hi Berz! Does anyone know of any canon referance to Faramir and Beregond being good friends prior to the Seige of Gondor? Having just done a search through RoTK, I think that it is clear that Beregond knows and greatly esteems Faramir from well before the Siege of Gondor. However, I see no evidence whatsoever that it is anything other than the love of a common soldier for his great (and charismatic) captain -- a love that is shared by many in Minas Tirith. This one quote seems to sum it up well (emphasis mine): "Pippin pressed forward ... and when he saw the pale face of Faramir he caught his breath. It was the face of one who has been assailed by a great fear or anguish, but has mastered it and now is quiet. Proud and grave he stood for a moment as he spoke to the guard, and Pippin gazing at him saw how closely he resembled his brother Boromir - whom Pippin had liked from the first, admiring the great man's lordly but kindly manner. Yet suddenly for Faramir his heart was strangely moved with a feeling that he had not known before. Here was one with an air of high nobility such as Aragorn at times revealed, less high perhaps, yet also less incalculable and remote: one of the Kings of Men born into a later time, but touched with the wisdom and sadness of the Elder Race. He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings. 'Faramir!' he cried aloud with the others. 'Faramir!'" The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor So, I believe that the concept of any kind of prior personal relationship between Beregond and Faramir are fanon -- neither supported nor explicitly denied by canon. HTH, - Barbara

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Eeeeexxcellent! Mwahahaa! Thanks muchly! ^_^ Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Just a reminder that this challenge closes January 7, so if you have any more lovely stories written for it, please enter them soon - before it's too late! 

~Nienna

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Bah!  I get computer access again, remember that this was a challenge I was interested in, and then realize I'm three days past the deadline.  Typical.

Oh, well.  *cuddles anti-fanon Elladan and Elrohir*  Don't worry, boys, I'm still going to write you.  Someday.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

You can enter a story in a closed challenge. So go ahead and make 'anti-fanon Elladan and Elrohir' happy.

RiverOtter

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I can?  Oh, is that through the Oliphaunts feature?  Or is there some other way to enter in a closed challenge?  I feel like I should know this, but I don't.

*looks around for Elrohir muse*  You've received permission to come out and play!  Please, though, keep it short!

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I think it's through the Oliphant feature. Send an inquiry to Challenge Manager and I'll consult my team.

RiverOtter

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

The Oliphaunt feature is the only way I know of to enter a closed Challenge. A story entered in an Oliphaunt is listed with that challenge member-side, but is invisible to the public.

~Nienna

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

Thanks, Nienna!  I'll enter it for the Oliphaunt, then.  When I actually finish it, that is.  Elrohir is quite happily telling me about his entire life; if he'd just pick a short time period, I could handle this, but no, he can't decide!  Maybe I'll make Elladan choose.

 

 

Re: Death to Fanon!

I'm glad that helped, Wolfwind!  I hope Elrohir starts behaving soon.

~Nienna

 

 

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