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Thread: The Last Prince

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    912

    The Last Prince

    Does anyone know if the tale “The Last Prince” that is attributed to Barliman Butterbur in the quest The Search for Lalia is based on any poems or short tales that Tolkien wrote either in canon or versions in HoMe?


    I have found:


    Cold be hand and heart and bone,
    and cold be sleep under stone:
    nevermore to wake on stony bed,
    never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
    In the black wind the stars shall die,
    and still on gold here let them lie,
    till the dark lord lifts his hand
    over dead sea and withered land.


    Though this doesn't seem to be the type of tale that would inspire a curious hobbit lass to run off on a dangerous quest seeking a prince.


    I am aware of the references in Appendix A. concerning the war of 1409 and the history of Tyrn Gorthad, The Great Plague and the sending of the Barrow-wrights to the barrow-downs by the Witch-king. And I understand that the Cairn that Frodo and company found them self in is probably the tomb of The Last Prince of Cardolan and Merrys vision of being pieced in the heart by a spear was probably how the prince died. But I was wondering if there was any other references or possible prototypes for this tale written by JRRT or if its just a device extrapolated by Turbine from the professors writings to use as a quest bestowal.


    If you can shed anymore light on this subject and/or refer me to places in the source that I can glean more understanding of the possible inspirations of the tale The Last Prince, or any related tid-bits, I would be grateful.


    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Dwarendele; Jan 13 2013 at 07:37 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Yes, the prince was real, when the armies of Angmar and Rhudaur attacked Cardolan in the year 1409 of the Third Age, they took over Amon Sul. Later they ravaged the rest of the lands also killing the last prince. The remaining Dunedain retreated to the Barrow Downs and The Old Forest, thus his body being carried there. Later on, when the With King sent the Wights, they must have awakened him to life.

  3. #3
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    Iron Crown made a similar extrapolation in Middle earth role playing, so Turbine wasnt the first company to place the Hobbits in a barrow of the prince of Cardolan. Merrys dream, "’The men of Carn Dum came at us by night, and we were worsted. Ah the spear in my heart!", places the death of the barrow occupant some time after the founding of Angmar circa 1300 and the infestation of the Barrow downs in 1636. Two kings of Arthedain died in battles in this period, being Argeleb in 1356, and Arveleg in 1409, Argeleb fighting Rhudaur specifically not Carn Dum. I cant find the specific text but the interweb indicates that Cardolan was incorperated back into Arnor in 1356 possibly due to the extinction of the line of Isildur in Cardolan at the same battle that killed Argeleb, but was ruled then on by a Dunedain who was titled prince of Cardolan, and this is why the barrow the hobbits were trapped in is described as that of a prince and not a king, and this is why its not thought to be the barrow of King Arveleg.

    Turbine seems to have burried all the kings of Arnor and Arthedain in Annuminas, ICE chose to burry all the kings of the North in tyrn Gorthad apart from Isildur and Elendil, and have separate barrows for the kings of Arnor, and Communal longbarrows for the three successor states of Arnor untill the extinction of the Dunedain kings in those states or the cessation of use in 1636.

    My two cents, sending the barrow wights in 1636 to disturb the resting places of the edain would seem to be sort of redundant, if your aim was demoralise the remaining men of Cardolan who had no one left to bury there after 1409, as a blow against Arthedain, if all their kings were burried safely in Annuminas then this would hardly affect them either. I tend to think this indicates Arnor and its successor states were using this as a shared royal cemetary, and the wight infestation was directed at Arthedain aswell as Cardolan, of course wights could have gone to Annuminas and Fornost, and this never required mentioning as it was beyond the scope of Lord of the rings.

    The more I think about it the more I think turbine erred in trying to differentiate their Barrow downs from ICEs, ICE assumed that the first age barrows would all be largely collapsed and not inhabitable by spirits who liked to play dress ups in the grave goods of dead kings, this is why they needed 16 centuries of third age barrows to play in rather than 6 centuries of Cardolan barrows. Considering there were ten kings of Arnor and nine kings of Arthedain upto the 16th century, theres theoretically only going to be eight kings/princes of Cardolan in the same period, given the lifespans of the dunedain, which if you have one wight per body or non collapsed barrow only gives you eight wights, hardly an infestation. Of course in Tolkiens world we have elvish blades that resist rusting in damp troll holes for 7000 years so the barrows in middle earth may not collapse like the do in the UK after only 1000 years.
    Last edited by Morthaur; Jan 18 2013 at 02:42 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarendele View Post
    Does anyone know if the tale “The Last Prince” that is attributed to Barliman Butterbur in the quest The Search for Lalia is based on any poems or short tales that Tolkien wrote either in canon or versions in HoMe?

    I have found:

    Cold be hand and heart and bone,
    and cold be sleep under stone:
    nevermore to wake on stony bed,
    never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.
    In the black wind the stars shall die,
    and still on gold here let them lie,
    till the dark lord lifts his hand
    over dead sea and withered land.

    Though this doesn't seem to be the type of tale that would inspire a curious hobbit lass to run off on a dangerous quest seeking a prince.
    Indeed it does not, particularly when this poem is spoken by a barrow-wight! Frodo heard this “incantation” as he lie in the barrow alongside his four companions with a sword lying across their chests. (See the chapter ‘Fog on the Barrow-downs’ in The Fellowship of the Ring.)
    Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. – J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    1,714
    The Last Prince is drawn from this passage in the Appendices, regarding end of Cardolan: "[Some say that the mound in which the Ring-bearer was imprisoned had been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who fell in the war of 1409.]"

 

 

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