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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Prince Imrahil?
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Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Mar 11 2014, 10:00pm

Post #1 of 32 (604 views)
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Prince Imrahil? Can't Post

I'm currently reading ROTK for the first time and noticed a character named Prince Imrahil being involved in several scenes. IIRC from my reading last night, he's the one who realized Eowyn wasn't dead and told the men of Rohan to take her to the house of healing.

He seems like an interesting character, but I'm confused about who he is, where he came from, and if he's an elf or a man. Can someone please shed some light on him for me?

"So fare thee well, my own true love
I'll think of you night and day
A place in my mind, you will surely find
Although I am so far away
And when I'm alone, far away from home
I'll think of the good times once more
Until I can make it back someday here
To Paddy's green shamrock shore"
--The High Kings


demnation
Rohan

Mar 11 2014, 10:39pm

Post #2 of 32 (379 views)
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He is from Dol Amroth [In reply to] Can't Post

A city on the Gondor's coast. He's a man, but the princes of Dol Amroth have some elvish blood. ( I think.) Here's some helpful articles that sum up this character and where he comes from better than I ever could.

http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Imrahil
http://tolkiengateway.net/...Prince_of_Dol_Amroth
http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Dol_Amroth

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


dik-dik
Lorien


Mar 11 2014, 10:41pm

Post #3 of 32 (380 views)
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Without further RotK spoilers, and superbriefly: [In reply to] Can't Post

- location: a southern province of Gondor
- race: Man with some lower-Elven blood in his veins through a distant ancestress (disputed, as it's in UT only)
- family: Faramir and Boromir's uncle (their mother Finduilas's brother), hence their close ties and alliance

A source like the Encyclopedia of Arda (or some of the TORN bookworms Wink will tell you more:
http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/i/imrahil.html

"A journalist once asked me what I would like my epitaph to be and I said I think I would like it to be 'He did very little harm'. And that's not easy. Most people seem to me to do a great deal of harm. If I could be remembered as having done very little, that would suit me." ~ Paul Eddington


(This post was edited by dik-dik on Mar 11 2014, 10:43pm)


Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Mar 12 2014, 12:12am

Post #4 of 32 (350 views)
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I've wondered about his title Prince [In reply to] Can't Post

Did he have Gondorian royal blood in him? Might he have had a vague claim to the throne of Gondor but lacked the means and desire to pursue it?


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 12 2014, 2:18am

Post #5 of 32 (333 views)
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Prince isn't always the title of a king's son. [In reply to] Can't Post

"Prince" comes from the Latin for "leader" or "first" and indicates the foremost rank. Sometimes the monarch of a country is called Prince rather than King (i.e. Prince of Monaco). Or it may be the leader of a tributary country or principality.

For instance, King Elessar named Faramir Prince of Ithilien (a hereditary title passed down through his descendants). He was the Steward's son, and therefore of noble but not royal blood and had no claim at all to the throne of Gondor. I believe that Dol Amroth was a princedom closely allied to Gondor and ruled by Princes of Numenorean descent, but not from the line of Earendil.

Silverlode

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dűm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."



Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 5:06am

Post #6 of 32 (338 views)
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Not all that "disputed". [In reply to] Can't Post

When Legolas met him after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, he immediately recognized his Elven blood:


Quote
At length they came to the Prince Imrahil, and Legolas looked at him and bowed low; for he saw that here indeed was one who had elven-blood in his veins. ‘Hail, lord!’ he said. ‘It is long since the people of Nimrodel left the woodlands of Lórien, and yet still one may see that not all sailed from Amroth’s haven west over water.’

(RotK: "The Last Debate")








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 12 2014, 5:07am)


Elthir
Gondor

Mar 12 2014, 2:08pm

Post #7 of 32 (325 views)
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disputations or something [In reply to] Can't Post

Good point. Can Legolas be wrong? An elven character that the reader 'knows' well enough and generally trusts?

My dispute would not be so much that the 'other' information comes from Unfinished Tales [alert: 'canon' consideration! run away!] but that this idea always seems to be put in the context of a legend. So I would agree there is some level of internal dispute, even had Tolkien published these passages from Unfinished Tales.

While on the other hand, Elizabeth, you make a great point in my opinion...

... I think the reader is at least arguably 'ready' to accept the eyes and ears [if of disputed shape] of Legolas.


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2014, 5:27pm

Post #8 of 32 (281 views)
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Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Idk, but if Legolas sees him and immediately acknowledges him as having elven blood then I, as the reader, am pretty willing to accept it as being true. My interpretation of what I was reading was that everyone in Gondor thought there was something elvish about Prince Imrahil and I thought so to. I haven't read the Unfinished Tales yet but from the combination of your and Elizabeth's points, it sounds like Tolkien may have been using Legolas' reaction to him to confirm the legends? That's my completely uninformed theory anyway.

"So fare thee well, my own true love
I'll think of you night and day
A place in my mind, you will surely find
Although I am so far away
And when I'm alone, far away from home
I'll think of the good times once more
Until I can make it back someday here
To Paddy's green shamrock shore"
--The High Kings


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 7:08pm

Post #9 of 32 (283 views)
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Tolkien knows his "legends"! [In reply to] Can't Post

Since they are his, we can generally accept these "legends" as credible. The only exceptions are where he changed his mind over the years, and I'm afraid there are a few flagrant examples of that! The most notable is that Galadriel's backstory evolved over the years. This was discussed here recently, in this thread and this one.








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 12 2014, 7:09pm)


Bladerunner
Gondor


Mar 12 2014, 10:00pm

Post #10 of 32 (259 views)
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I find it interesting... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that in all four known instances of unions between elves and men, the males have all been men and the females elves.
That sounds funny - elven females and manly men?
There was never a case of an elven male being smitten by a mannish(?) female ;0).
Or is the proper phrasing - human female?
(I think elves and men are both a part of humanity so that term doesn't feel right either).


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 10:08pm

Post #11 of 32 (264 views)
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True. The closest we come to that is [In reply to] Can't Post

the story of Aegnor and Andreth, though that love was never consummated.


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 12 2014, 10:17pm

Post #12 of 32 (246 views)
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Maternal longevity? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...that in all four known instances of unions between elves and men, the males have all been men and the females elves.
That sounds funny - elven females and manly men?
There was never a case of an elven male being smitten by a mannish(?) female ;0).
Or is the proper phrasing - human female?
(I think elves and men are both a part of humanity so that term doesn't feel right either).


I can only speculate (wildly, I suppose!), but based on JRRT's own past and the early loss of his mother if that construct of a human mother dying untimely soon (much shorter lived than her Half-elven children perhaps) was not something JRRT wished to write about. (?)

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Bladerunner
Gondor


Mar 13 2014, 1:05am

Post #13 of 32 (268 views)
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Aegnor and Andreth... [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, I wasn't familiar with this relationship until now.

Although I've read the Silmarillion a couple of times, and Unfinished Tales a few times as well, it appears it would be very much worth my while to purchase the volumes of The History of Middle-earth also.

Thanks!


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 1:34am

Post #14 of 32 (232 views)
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Morgoth's Ring contains the story: Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth [In reply to] Can't Post

Rembrethil recently led a discussion of it here. I've never read most of HOME, so it was new to me. Densely philosophical, the most dense of any of Tolkien's writings that I've read, all about life and death for Elves and Men. It's like a Socratic dialogue between Finrod and Andreth, a mortal woman who's in love with Aegnor, but they don't marry, and she's bitter over that and the fact that she'll die and he won't, though that's just scratching the surface. It's great for revealing a lot of Tolkien's thoughts about M-earth (plus it puts Finrod in a good light and gives him significant character development). It also appears in some versions of The Silmarillion.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 1:45am

Post #15 of 32 (215 views)
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RL example: Liechtenstien [In reply to] Can't Post

Liechtenstein is a 'principality' and the Head of state is a 'prince'.

I think it would be similar, but Imrahil was probably MUCH more powerful.


The meanings of words are skewed and changed by time. Think of 'gay', 'awful' (awe-full), 'careful' (care-full), and a myriad of others

'Tyrant' once meant ruler, but not necessarily a bad one. Tolkien was using an archaic definition.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 1:51am

Post #16 of 32 (228 views)
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They were '...biologically, one race.' [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien said this in Letter #153. Since they could produce fertile offspring, he concluded that they were quite similar. As to the exact details of the Biology, he issued the (almost?) famous Tolkien-ism-- 'I do not care.'

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 2:14am

Post #17 of 32 (214 views)
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Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth - thank you Rem! [In reply to] Can't Post

And let me say yet again what an amazing discussion that has been. Angelic

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 2:18am

Post #18 of 32 (218 views)
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It's a good story in its own right. [In reply to] Can't Post

If the philosophy bogs you down, stick to the narrative and come back to it.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 6:43am

Post #19 of 32 (214 views)
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Dwarves, on the other hand... [In reply to] Can't Post

Fortunately, Tolkien never went there. But I have trouble imagining that it could work. Their origins were too diverse.








acheron
Gondor


Mar 13 2014, 12:22pm

Post #20 of 32 (204 views)
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Roman history aside [In reply to] Can't Post

Augustus specifically took the titles "Princeps" and "Imperator" to avoid any connotation with monarchy -- the Romans had overthrown kings in their past, and were very sensitive about any type of monarchy returning. Of course, eventually those titles evolved to have monarchist meanings anyway -- whence "prince" and "emperor".

For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much -- the wheel, New York, wars, and so on -- while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man, for precisely the same reasons. -- Douglas Adams


Eruvandi
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 4:25pm

Post #21 of 32 (189 views)
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On occasion... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Tolkien's use of the archaic definition of certain words/phrases has caused me some momentary confusion.

I don't remember exactly where it was, but somewhere earlier on in ROTK (I believe it was in reference to something Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were doing) it said "And they all passed out at once into the darkness beyond" or something along those lines. For some reason the words "passed out" totally caught me off-guard and for several minutes I kept re-reading the section trying to figure out why on earth the three of them had just passed out (fainted, become unconscious) all at the same time! *facepalm* Finally I realized that he was simply saying that they had exited the tent and gone into the darkness beyond it. Duh.BlushTongueBlush

"So fare thee well, my own true love
I'll think of you night and day
A place in my mind, you will surely find
Although I am so far away
And when I'm alone, far away from home
I'll think of the good times once more
Until I can make it back someday here
To Paddy's green shamrock shore"
--The High Kings


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 4:58pm

Post #22 of 32 (182 views)
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An addition or accompaniment [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, Dwarves were Aulë's work, though adopted by Eru.

If we think of the story as a song, I think that Dwarves were an extra bass line or harmony. Never mixing with the melodic interweaving of the Firstborn and Secondborn. Accentuating, but never dominating.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


elaen32
Gondor


Mar 13 2014, 8:48pm

Post #23 of 32 (166 views)
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I like this analogy Rem [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps like a big Church or concert organ, the dwarves were the foot pedal ground bass notes, while the upper and lower keyboards represent the First born and the FollowersSmile


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in April. Happy writing!



BlackFox
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 9:22pm

Post #24 of 32 (162 views)
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Translation to music [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If we think of the story as a song, I think that Dwarves were an extra bass line or harmony. Never mixing with the melodic interweaving of the Firstborn and Secondborn. Accentuating, but never dominating.

Excellent description! Smile

"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere." - Albert Einstein


PhantomS
Rohan


Mar 14 2014, 2:15am

Post #25 of 32 (172 views)
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The Prince with his silver swan [In reply to] Can't Post

He is the leader of Belfalas, one of Gondor's fiefdoms near the coast. His land once hosted an Elven harbor for Wood-Elves to go to the Undying Lands, so there are legends that there are men with elven-blood in them. Legolas immediately recognizes the Prince as one of these people, and also likens him to one of the men from Gondor's glorious ages. Gandalf also hints that Imrahil is one of the 'names among us that are worth a thousand knights' when they are marching to Mordor.

Imrahil is also Denethor's brother in law, hence Faramir and Boromir's uncle- his sister Findulas was Denethor's wife. This position, along with his existing title makes him essentially third in command after Denethor and Faramir. He is the last of the captains to arrive, and the only one who brings mounted cavalry with him although he also has the largest army overall of the lords. Until the Rohirrim arrive, Imrahil is the only cavalry Gondor has although Aragorn brings the southern fiefs to win the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. His skill in battle is such that only he, Eomer and Aragorn come out of the battle with no wounds.

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