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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Should Hama be titled "the seneschal"?


Mar 25, 11:50am

Views: 38
Should Hama be titled "the seneschal"? [In reply to] Can't Post

A. So first off, what exactly is a Marshal, and why does Tolkien pick this particular title for Rohan’s top generals?
A great noble and praiseworthy knight, such as William_Marshal was.

B. Given that this is fantasy, where is Rohan on this scale of feudal vs. centralized military organization?
It seems pretty feudal, with Eomer's eored of his personal household and the Westfold marshals all of a sudden accepting Erkenbrand's authority.

C. Was Theoden the First Marshal, or not?
At first, yes. And then as he grew old, he found a bright young officer in his household to take over his duties as a substitute Marshal.

D. Am I misremembering? What was Theoden’s battle experience, exactly?
"Much must be risked at war" is Denethor. Theoden does speak to Hirgon about needing to give thought for his own realm's safety.

Before that - I suppose he did have some, but the story doesn't tell. Aragorn states that he did know him (when as Thorongil, he was down south).

E. Is Tolkien implying that Theodred “broke a few rules” (as Woody put it in Toy Story) when he presumed to command Elfhelm to leave Edoras and head to the Gap of Rohan?
I'm not sure that's what he means, but in a way, yes.

And why didn't Grima have Elfhelm banished for leaving the King undefended etc.? Recall his words when Gandalf came to Meduseld, how few men would be left to defend the King, had Eomer been in charge. Grima doesn't want to punish Elfhelm - he has bigger fish to fry; but he does use this "desertion" for his own purposes.
And besides, Elfhelm hasn't returned to Edoras yet. When he comes back - who knows what would have happened?

F. Can anyone locate “Aldburg in the Folde”? As in, post a map from a reputable source? And can you imagine what Éomer’s ancestral home looked like?
Didn't Michael Martinez have something about this somewhere? Anyway, I cannot.

G. Who decided when times were “unquiet”? Who decided when they were quiet again, and where did the Riders of the eored go then?

Well, I guess Eomer thought he could use his own discretion with his eored.

H. Does this arrangement speak to the relative amounts of wealth controlled by the aristocracy of Rohan? Was Eomer not just Third Marshal, but one of the richest men in the Mark after the King and his son?

Must have been. He likely had extensive lands, tilled by serfs, or war-prisoners.

I. What was the eored, really? Are there real-world examples we can look to?
They might have been Eopmer's vassals.

J. Wait, why didn’t he just become the new Second Marshal?

Someone needs to appopint him formally. So far, he hasn't even taken his oath of fealty.

K. What do you think?

I see were you are coming from.

L. Why then for the ride to Minas Tirith does Elfhelm as de facto Second Marshal lead the Riders of the East-mark, while Grimbold as de facto Third Marshal gets those of the West-mark?
Well, this might be simply a matter of seniority; however, in The Riders of Rohan, Eomer clearly stated that the West-mark was the fief of the Third Marshal.

And by the way, if Aldburg was Eorl's home - for sure the marshal of the West-mark should have been second, if only as a mark of honour?

M. What does the abandonment of the First-Second-Third Marshal system imply? What has changed?
As a matter of fact, this seems to move towards a simpler feudal system, with no real hierarchy which would imply a central authority to determine the relative seniority of the Barons.

N. Council?? What the heck?

Umm... perhaps this concept was lifted from Gondor?

I often wonder what spurred the writing of this archaeopolitical fantasy about Fourth Age Rohan?
Well, if you assume that the Rohirrim are an idealised Anglo-Saxon culture, it seems obvious that Tolkien is more interested in them.
And who knows, had The New Shadow progressed beyond the first conversation, perhaps we would have learned more about Gondor as well.

Subject User Time
**UT – The Battles of the Fords of Isen** 3. “When the war with Saruman began Theodred without orders assumed general command.” squire Send a private message to squire Mar 21, 7:28pm
    Marshalling my thoughts... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Mar 22, 5:09pm
    A few thoughts on Rohan's military Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Mar 22, 7:25pm
    I have a theory about your very last question demnation Send a private message to demnation Mar 24, 4:45am
    "Cadres decide everything!" Darkstone Send a private message to Darkstone Mar 24, 6:57pm
    Should Hama be titled "the seneschal"? sador Send a private message to sador Mar 25, 11:50am


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