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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Aragorn and kingship and the paths of the dead, in general.

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Jul 3, 9:30pm

Post #1 of 4 (1121 views)
Aragorn and kingship and the paths of the dead, in general. Can't Post

The discussion about Aragorn and kingship below gave me a few thoughts on the matter and I thought appropriate for another thread. But the basic question is how long and how undiluted could the northern line of Isildur last for? Aragorn did seem to set out much stall about the fact that it had lasted unbroken from father to son. But suppose that Aragorn had died at some stage. Would that have been that for the line of Isildur? Or possibly had he had a brother, a cousin or even a sister, could they have claimed leadership and pulled of the trick of the paths of the dead?

The Shire

Jul 4, 11:24am

Post #2 of 4 (1087 views)
Line of Succession [In reply to] Can't Post

Good question! Aragorn has family, by his own account in The Passing of the Grey Company. He lets Theoden know that the Rangers are "some of [his] own kin", and Halbarad replies that, in the thirty riders, he has gathered all of their kindred that he could manage on short notice. After another moment, Aragorn notices the standard and asks him: "What is that you bear, kinsman?"

But while there seem to be plenty of Aragorn's near or distant relatives about, perhaps none of them qualify as direct, father-to-son lineage. I can see Halbarad being his second cousin once removed on his mother's side, or something to that effect, but Aragorn appears to be the one and only remaining heir of Isildur, which would explain the secrecy of his upbringing in Rivendell and the multiple aliases under which he toiled.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the sill of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.

Grey Havens

Jul 4, 3:17pm

Post #3 of 4 (1074 views)
From Appendix A part V [In reply to] Can't Post

"It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line that though their power departed and their people dwindledthrough all the many generations the succession was unbroken from father to son."

To your question of How long and how undiluted could the northern line of Isildur last for? -- the answer is just long enough. Of course, Tolkien created that way on purpose.

But let's go speculative -- In section ii of Appendix A it lists the Northern Line -- in only two places are other that the direct descendent mentioned -- Amlaith of Fornost is said to be the eldest son implying he had at least one younger brother (about 30 generations back from Aragorn which could give you a lot of thinly related cousins though the Dunedain do not tend toward hobbit sized families -- indeed they seem lucky to have one or two children.) Then again Aranarth is said to be the eldest son again implyin at least one brother. This is about 14 generations back.

Given a small population they don't particularly have a lot of choice in partners so would wind up marrying second/third cousins (heck my uncle and his wife are double second cousins and my grandmother and grandfather were second cousins once removed while I have great great where three siblings in one family married three siblings of another family and then two generations later their kids were marrying...call a hobbit to figure out those relationships.)

Speculatively -- there were cousins to varying degrees around.... but in looking at the Southern lines-- Tolkien makes it plain that a lot of the problems they had came about when the line of succession shifted to a cousin/nephew etc.

Also I haven't really looked but did the Dunedain adopt /accept the first born inheriting rather than the first MALE ? The Numenoreans did changed the rule completely with Tar-Ancalime to make it the first born not just the first male-- guess her father really did not like his sister's son (unlike Theoden who acknowledges Eomer's right to inheritance due to Theodred's death).

Was Aragorn addressing the Rangers who showed up as Kinsmen indication of actually close relationship with possiblity of being in the line of succession or just greeting someone from his own people-- Tolkien never supplied family trees for those people....or are they around in HOME volumes?

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Jul 4, 5:18pm

Post #4 of 4 (1057 views)
For the line to end, not only the Heir would have needed to die but also his brothers and his parents. [In reply to] Can't Post

Or else they could have produced another heir.

Don't know if the counted lineage by female descent, but if they did there would be another source.

I Gondor they seemed to make some fuzz about true numenorean blood. Maybe because they had the kinstrife in times of old. Not sure if the same was true for the Norhtern line. Aragorn says they are very few, but it seems they kept much to themselves, and didn't mingle with the middle people. Or at least the royal line didn't.

Wonder if Aragorn had to prove that everyone in his lineage was of full numenorean blood before he was accepted as king of Gondor?


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