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  1. #1

    Dúnedain authority

    I have a question concerning what authority the Third Age Dúnedain would, or might, have had. I am of the opinion that they represented the highest authority as pertains to matters of the war - but tended to stay out of "local crime and politics" - and would consider themselves above local authority should the crime(s), or criminal, pertain to servants or actions of Sauron or Saruman. I take this opinion from the following article and would like other opinions as well.

    http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2012/...-the-dunedain/

    I don't believe they would force their views on others, like folks in Bree, for example. However, if, say, they had tracked a servant of Sauron to Bree and intended to arrest (or kill, if necessary) this person - after informing the Mayor of their intent - that they would be well within their rights to do so. If this person had, somehow, gained the trust of the Mayor who then told the Rangers they couldn't arrest the man, I still believe they would feel they had the right to do so, regardless of the Mayor's flawed trust.

    Does this seem reasonable from a lore perspective?

    Thanks for any replies.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldrushSE View Post
    I have a question concerning what authority the Third Age Dúnedain would, or might, have had. I am of the opinion that they represented the highest authority as pertains to matters of the war - but tended to stay out of "local crime and politics" - and would consider themselves above local authority should the crime(s), or criminal, pertain to servants or actions of Sauron or Saruman. I take this opinion from the following article and would like other opinions as well.

    http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2012/...-the-dunedain/

    I don't believe they would force their views on others, like folks in Bree, for example. However, if, say, they had tracked a servant of Sauron to Bree and intended to arrest (or kill, if necessary) this person - after informing the Mayor of their intent - that they would be well within their rights to do so. If this person had, somehow, gained the trust of the Mayor who then told the Rangers they couldn't arrest the man, I still believe they would feel they had the right to do so, regardless of the Mayor's flawed trust.

    Does this seem reasonable from a lore perspective?
    Don't get the game mixed up with the books. As far as the original goes, the Bree-folk don't know who the Dunedain are and hence the Rangers not only have no authority, they're seen as being shady because they don't tell people who they are, what they're up to or even what their names are. There is no mayor of Bree in the book, either, no apparent civic authority because it's only a village - Turbine have turned the place into the typical FRPG hub town but it shouldn't really be like that,

    Given the Rangers' character as a sort of fantasy Special Forces outfit, it's not hard to imagine how they might deal with known servants of Sauron and that'd be more likely to involve abducting them in the dead of night, or seizing them if they ever set foot outside Bree. The Bree-folk wouldn't have a clue what was going on.

    As far as the game goes the Rangers still wouldn't have any formal authority. That had gone away long before when the kingdom ended, when there was no longer a king to act as the ultimate authority. But equally, they wouldn't be bound to respect civil authority, either. In that case you mentioned, they couldn't afford to let someone in authority fall under the sway of someone working for Sauron so they'd have to do something about it. whether the Mayor would like it or not. It'd be for his own good in the long run.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Don't get the game mixed up with the books. As far as the original goes, the Bree-folk don't know who the Dunedain are and hence the Rangers not only have no authority, they're seen as being shady because they don't tell people who they are, what they're up to or even what their names are. There is no mayor of Bree in the book, either, no apparent civic authority because it's only a village - Turbine have turned the place into the typical FRPG hub town but it shouldn't really be like that,

    Given the Rangers' character as a sort of fantasy Special Forces outfit, it's not hard to imagine how they might deal with known servants of Sauron and that'd be more likely to involve abducting them in the dead of night, or seizing them if they ever set foot outside Bree. The Bree-folk wouldn't have a clue what was going on.

    As far as the game goes the Rangers still wouldn't have any formal authority. That had gone away long before when the kingdom ended, when there was no longer a king to act as the ultimate authority. But equally, they wouldn't be bound to respect civil authority, either. In that case you mentioned, they couldn't afford to let someone in authority fall under the sway of someone working for Sauron so they'd have to do something about it. whether the Mayor would like it or not. It'd be for his own good in the long run.
    Yeah, I knew there wasn't really a Mayor or strict civic system in lore, so was just sort of combining books with ingame, since this would have to do with Roleplaying. I also definitely agree they are "special forces" who work in secret and that's how I've always RP'd my Ranger characters. They never (or very rarely, in cognito) go into town. I also agree about not being bound to any civil authority and protecting any authority figure (ingame) against corruption...albeit as secretly as possible.

    I appreciate your reply. It mostly confirms what I thought and how I RP my Rangers.

    I just wanted to make certain it made sense and didn't skew too far from lore.

    -Goldrush
    *******

  4. #4
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    As Rad said, I tend to think of the Dúnedain in the books as sort of a ' Shadow Ops group. They kept their identities and missions as secret as possible more out of necessity than anything else.

    From The Council of Elrond-

    'If Gondor, Boromir has been a stalwart tower, we have played another part. Many evil things there are that your strong walls and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom do you say? The North would have known them little but for us. Fear would have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills, or creep from sunless woods they fly from us. What roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were all sleep, or all gone into the grave?'

    'And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names. "Strider" I am to one fat man who lives within a days march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet we would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so. That has been the task of my kindred, while the years have lengthened, and the grass has grown. '
    Today is a good day for Pie.

    Do not meddle in the affairs of Burglars, for they are subtle and quick to shank you.

  5. #5
    I agree with Radhruin_EU: be very, very careful when dealing with sources of Middle-earth lore.

    There is a very large difference between material released "officially" that is part of, and supported by, the Legendarium (including historical inferences/interpretation) - and 3rd party content produced by license holders to support their commercial products. This is not meant to impugn anyone's product. It is meant to differentiate what Tolkien said/meant/implied and what has been added on by others (with the best intent) but which might be found on closer examination to contradict Tolkien, despite working phenomenally well for the 3rd party product's story line. A quick example of this is how, in Peter Jackson's LotR movies, Arwen takes the morgul-blade wounded Frodo by horse to Rivendell, escaping the Blackriders. Of course, we all know that this never happened. At least, not as depicted by PJ, it was Glorfindel, not Arwen, who accomplishes this feat in the book. However, millions of viewers will forever remember the events of the movie and argue that Tolkien is wrong!

    Now, with that said...

    Mr. Martinez is quite learned and has revealed many underlying ideas and concepts that I missed entirely. I agree with the vast majority of that article. The only thing that I find a bit odd is that he seems to be assuming that their is some kind of codified and universally applied judicial system, comparable to current real world legal systems which guarantees the right to legal council, a trial, etc - and not a feudal system of law. In a feudal system the reigning authority is the King. The King can appoint others with whatever level of legal authority he deems appropriate. Appealing the judgement of these legal representative can only be made to the King himself. Otherwise these legal reps' ruling is final - literally - since they could very well have the right to pronounce a death sentence.

    IMO, based on a feudal legal system, the actions of the Rangers effectively supersedes all wishes, actions and interests of any other social/political/military parties. They are the duly appointed legal representatives of the King (Aragorn). Almost all of Middle-earth as we know it owes allegiance to the King whether or not they realize it at present (ie, the Hobbits were granted the Shire by the former King and over the years forgot this fact after the fall of Arnor). Keep in mind that Aragorn inherits all of former Arnor (most of Eriador), Gondor (itself, and all subject lands, including Rhovanion by marriage) and can claim most of the rest of north-western Middle-earth through historical conquest (including Umbar and Harad - we'll conveniently ignore their re-conquest in the 4th Age for the moment) or allegiance. So looking at Tolkien's map of north-western Middle-earth, Aragorn inherits maybe 90% of it all. Only properties owned by the Elves and Dwarves are definitely excluded at the moment the crown is placed on Aragorn's head (possibly Lossoth as well); other areas may be open to dispute.

    So to answer your question, I think that the Rangers would operate as the security forces of a shadow government which exists above, and outside the boundaries of, any other legal authority excepting those of the Elves and Dwarves and some other very finite locals never beholden to Elendil, et al. (For instance, the Dreudain/Woses were not conquered despite being pushed/marginalized into the mountains.)

    PS: This message written while you were responding to Rhadruin_EU in case anything sounds a bit odd, timing-wise.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    There is no mayor of Bree in the book, either, no apparent civic authority because it's only a village

    You are completely correct in what you say here, Tolkien never tells us explicitly whether or not the was a form of governing body for Bree and it's surrounds. On the other hand there must have been someone in charge. Tolkien tells us that Bree had a hundred houses of stone, that's just the town of Bree alone. Add to that the surrounding villages of Combe, Staddle and Archet, as well as the many farms in the district and you have quite a community going there.

    Bree had the hedge that surrounded it for security, as well as the two gates and associated gatekeepers. Who maintained the hedge and paid the gatekeepers? There would be many other facilities for the common good of the community that would need looking after and the was no "federal government" to handle things. Some sort of local authority would be needed, even if it was relatively small.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfhelm View Post
    You are completely correct in what you say here, Tolkien never tells us explicitly whether or not the was a form of governing body for Bree and it's surrounds. On the other hand there must have been someone in charge. Tolkien tells us that Bree had a hundred houses of stone, that's just the town of Bree alone. Add to that the surrounding villages of Combe, Staddle and Archet, as well as the many farms in the district and you have quite a community going there.

    Bree had the hedge that surrounded it for security, as well as the two gates and associated gatekeepers. Who maintained the hedge and paid the gatekeepers? There would be many other facilities for the common good of the community that would need looking after and the was no "federal government" to handle things. Some sort of local authority would be needed, even if it was relatively small.
    I'd imagine something along the lines of a small village council. Yes, obviously as there was upkeep needed then they'd have to collect dues to keep the gatekeepers employed and so on but by implication it'd have to be low-key as otherwise, it'd have made its presence felt.

  8. #8
    Completely made up, but...

    Bree could also move more legal/military minded pensioners to Gatekeeper duty as a means of gainfully employing and housing someone who might otherwise be a drain on the community's resources. This might work very well for retired merchant caravan or town guards, any "adventurous" sorts, and any others likely to have a bit of combat experience.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AccessDenied View Post
    Completely made up, but...

    Bree could also move more legal/military minded pensioners to Gatekeeper duty as a means of gainfully employing and housing someone who might otherwise be a drain on the community's resources.
    "I used to be an adventurer like you, until..." You know the rest

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    "I used to be an adventurer like you, until..." You know the rest

    I actually laughed out loud, good one!
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
    Continuing the never ending battle to keep Lobelia Sackville-Baggins in check

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by AccessDenied View Post
    Mr. Martinez is quite learned and has revealed many underlying ideas and concepts that I missed entirely. I agree with the vast majority of that article. The only thing that I find a bit odd is that he seems to be assuming that their is some kind of codified and universally applied judicial system, comparable to current real world legal systems which guarantees the right to legal council, a trial, etc - and not a feudal system of law. In a feudal system the reigning authority is the King. The King can appoint others with whatever level of legal authority he deems appropriate. Appealing the judgement of these legal representative can only be made to the King himself. Otherwise these legal reps' ruling is final - literally - since they could very well have the right to pronounce a death sentence.
    While it is true that only the king could revoke the decisions of his legal representatives (on a side note, the English title for those were 'Reeves' from which not only was the word Sheriff first derived, but Turbine got their word for Rohan's regional lords), in a feudal system, it was more than likely that those representatives would devolve that power even further, usually to local magistrates, which meant they were an avenue of appeal. (As it has no bearing on anything to do with LotR, I'll ignore the authority of the church).

    IMO, based on a feudal legal system, the actions of the Rangers effectively supersedes all wishes, actions and interests of any other social/political/military parties. They are the duly appointed legal representatives of the King (Aragorn). Almost all of Middle-earth as we know it owes allegiance to the King whether or not they realize it at present (ie, the Hobbits were granted the Shire by the former King and over the years forgot this fact after the fall of Arnor). Keep in mind that Aragorn inherits all of former Arnor (most of Eriador), Gondor (itself, and all subject lands, including Rhovanion by marriage) and can claim most of the rest of north-western Middle-earth through historical conquest (including Umbar and Harad - we'll conveniently ignore their re-conquest in the 4th Age for the moment) or allegiance. So looking at Tolkien's map of north-western Middle-earth, Aragorn inherits maybe 90% of it all. Only properties owned by the Elves and Dwarves are definitely excluded at the moment the crown is placed on Aragorn's head (possibly Lossoth as well); other areas may be open to dispute.
    It's true that in the time Martinez is quoting, Arnor is in the process of being restored with Aragorn as it's king, therefore his rangers (and Sam) probably have a certain degree of authority. However, for the previous 900 years, the chieftains of the dunédain had been exactly that, chieftains. They may have had the right to become king, but for whatever reason did not do so. That would put a dampener on their authority to appoint the dunédain to upkeep the kingdom.

    Rhovanion, Umbar and Harad, really? If anyone still ruled the largely depopulated Rhovanion in the practical sense, I'd probably have gone with Dale or Rhûn. And that's not counting the technically valid claim Éomer has on it.

    And unless I'm remembering wrong, The Shire had various terms and conditions.

    So to answer your question, I think that the Rangers would operate as the security forces of a shadow government which exists above, and outside the boundaries of, any other legal authority excepting those of the Elves and Dwarves and some other very finite locals never beholden to Elendil, et al. (For instance, the Dreudain/Woses were not conquered despite being pushed/marginalized into the mountains.)
    To state the obvious there is also Rohan.

 

 

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