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Middle-earth kingdoms


Oct 10, 5:28am

Post #1 of 4 (433 views)
Middle-earth kingdoms Can't Post

Would Tolkien have likely modeled Middle-earth kingdoms off of British-style hierarchies?

I know Rohan is more Scandinavian in style, but there are many others, including the large elven kingdoms (Nargothrond, Doriath, etc) of the First Age, that may have been influenced more by your typical British Monarchial system.

What are your thoughts? I know this may be speculative, but I'm also wondering if Tolkien ever said anything about the structure of kingdoms in Middle-earth. I'm particularly interested in elven kingdoms, as it was (more or less) expected that the king would live forever...and yet, we see the Noldorin, and some Sindarin, crowns pass in a very patrilineal way amongst even the elves in the Silmarillion, due to the violence wrought by Morgoth's wars with the elves.

The British monarchy was also, for the longest time, patrilineal in its line of succession to the throne. There were others, as well, in Europe.

I'd be curious to know what your thoughts are, and if Tolkien mentioned kingdom system setups at all in his works, or extraneous works Smile

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Oct 10, 6:15pm

Post #2 of 4 (387 views)
Not really sure [In reply to] Can't Post

My first instinct is to say that a kingdom is a kingdom and a monarchy is a monarchy.

What are the differences between Scandinavian hierarchies or Monarchial systems and British hierarchies and Monarchial systems that you're thinking of?

I suppose in the case of the Elves, in times of peace, barring accidents, or murder, the King or Queen would rule while the world lasts. King Ingwe ought to be such a case I think.


Fri, 4:08pm

Post #3 of 4 (225 views)
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune of the Shire.... [In reply to] Can't Post

And now, for something completely different...well, not really. Just the administration of the Shire, devoid of central rule, with mayors elected for seemingly ceremonial reasons as toastmasters at parties.

Tolkien never quite explained the funding for a post office, shirriffs and bounders. Evidently, the position of mailmen and shirriff were full time jobs. Who paid them? We never hear of taxation in the Shire (or the minting of currency or postal rates, for that matter). There are numerous references to a lot of letter writing and a high volume of correspondence sent. I'm not certain a voluntary crew of high-minded Hobbits did this work gratis. Halflings gotta eat.

The only mention of a hidden tax occurs when Sharkey and his ruffians instituted the "gathering and sharing" that was detested by such upstanding Hobbits as Farmer Cotton. More of a cash grab, but what tax isn't? Wink

I guess the only thing one can say about the Shire is that it was a "squirearchy", a loose affiliation of powerful families (Tooks, Brandybucks, etc.) who maintained a limited rule over the rest of Hobbit society.

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Fri, 10:00pm

Post #4 of 4 (195 views)
On Postal Rates (and birthdays) [In reply to] Can't Post

Your post got me thinking about the hobbit tradition of sending other people presents on one's birthday. I wonder if that tradition held firm across all socioeconomic groups within the Shire? I don't have the book on-hand at the moment to see the text's wording of relevant passages, but it's notable that we only see this tradition through those coming/going out of Bag End - a house of considerable wealth and status. Perhaps only the wealthier, well-to-do families observed this tradition at a level comparable to Bilbo's (practically giving something to every hobbit in the Shire). In part due to having sufficient material goods to send folks, but also the means to incur the postal fees (assuming they exist!).

Or perhaps it's all a benevolent form of your squirearchy, in the end, and they're subsidizing these services rather than there being any kind of flat tariff/taxation system.

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