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Old 03-12-2006, 06:50 AM   #1
A_Brandybuck
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Northern Line vs. Southern Line

While I was reading the Appendix of 'Lord of the Rings', I got stucked at the following text passage in Appendix A:

It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line [of the Dúnedain] that, though their power departed and their people dwindled, through all the many generations the succession was unbroken from father to son. Also, though the length of lives of the Dúnedain grew ever less in Middle-Earth, after the ending of their kings the waning was swifter in Gondor; and many of the chieftains of the North still lived to twice the age of Men, and far beyond the days of even the oldest amongst us.

What exactly could be the reason for the swifter waning of the Dúnedain of Gondor?
Does the reason only lie in the mingeling with other folk without númenórian ancestry? Was there no or less mingeling in Eriador? In Eriador there has also lived other non-númenórian folk, which could have mingeled with the Dúnedain.

Or does the reason lie in the different behavior of both lines? In later times it seems to me, that the Rangers of Eriador, have kept more true to their ideals than the Dúnedain of the South, although or just hence there was no more great realm in the North. The Dúnedain of the South acted more in things of power and glory, while the Dúnedain of the North acted more unselfishly. In example, by protecting the borders of the Shire. Maybe the presence of Elves or the contact to them let them treat their ideals more noble, than the southern Dúnedain, who had not really much contact to the Elves.

I am interested, which meaning you have on this topic.
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Old 03-12-2006, 07:23 AM   #2
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The basic myth of our forefathers (NB, not mothers!) living longer than ourselves is probably one of the most enduring stories we people have told to ourselves. So it's a kind of "paradise lost" -myth.

But why the southern brand of the Númenorians waned so much earlier? I think we come to Tolkien's "northern conservatism" here again (and how far is it from nazism and the stuff like it? I'm really concerned and interested in this one?).

People of the north had to endure hard climate and were morally purer than their southern counterparts. That's all nonsense of course (if we think of RL parallels), but probably was pretty serious stuff for J.R.R. himself. But it is no wonder that it would have been just this way. Think about the opposite and see for yourselves... Mordor in the west, the "land of the spirits" in the east, the villains as white people, the heroes as black, women taking charge...
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:09 AM   #3
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ha ha ha... Excellent point, I dare say... Never thought about that, really, but I have to agree with Nogrod here (though comparing Tolkien and the nazis might be a bit of an overreaction...). By the way, was Tolkien a christian? (Or just thinking like one?)
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:34 AM   #4
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By the way, was Tolkien a christian?
Yes, JRRT was a devout Christian, Roman Catholic.
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Old 03-12-2006, 11:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Or does the reason lie in the different behavior of both lines?
I agree with that; Gondor resorted to gaining territories, probably levying tributes (seeing how precious stones were said to be pebbles for children to play with) and the sons of Harad kings lived as hostages at the gondorian court. It is worth noting that, previously, the further the numenoreans drifted from morality, the quicker their lives shortened (cf Akallabeth: "and the lives of the Kings of the House of Elros waned because of their rebellion"). Similary, the initial shortening of the lives of Men occured also because they strayed from morality:
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Originally Posted by Atrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
Ye have abjured Me, but ye remain Mine. I gave you life. Now it shall be shortened, and each of you in a little while shall come to Me, to learn who is your Lord: the one ye worship, or I who made him.
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
But why the southern brand of the Númenorians waned so much earlier? I think we come to Tolkien's "northern conservatism" here again (and how far is it from nazism and the stuff like it? I'm really concerned and interested in this one?).
Careful where you go with this... Tolkien, it is true, was a devoted "Fan" of Nordic culture, but he did not have the Nazi view of Northern superiority...

Quote:
People of the north had to endure hard climate and were morally purer than their southern counterparts. That's all nonsense of course (if we think of RL parallels), but probably was pretty serious stuff for J.R.R. himself. But it is no wonder that it would have been just this way. Think about the opposite and see for yourselves... Mordor in the west, the "land of the spirits" in the east, the villains as white people, the heroes as black, women taking charge...
The thing though, is that the people of North were NOT more morally pure than those of the South. While we are not given as close a view of the North as we are of the South, the division of the kingdom after the reign of Eärendur, and following petty squabling between Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur- and indeed, the alliance of Rhudaur with Angmar- is no better or more pure than Gondor and the Kinslaying, for example, except that Gondor always managed to keep itself intact in the end.

Perhaps the longevity of the Isildur's Line is somewhat Biblical in the concept, a sort of a special blessing passed down from Eldest Son to Eldest Son- rather similar to the blessing Isaac received from Abraham, and which Esau was cheated out of by Jacob.

Of course, Valandil was Isildur's fourth son... but his line was the elder. Just a thought...
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil
The thing though, is that the people of North were NOT more morally pure than those of the South. While we are not given as close a view of the North as we are of the South, the division of the kingdom after the reign of Eärendur, and following petty squabling between Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur- and indeed, the alliance of Rhudaur with Angmar- is no better or more pure than Gondor and the Kinslaying, for example, except that Gondor always managed to keep itself intact in the end.
Wasn't it that Gondorians' morale declined earlier than Arnorians'? That would maybe have some effect on the waning.

Also, I agree that mingling with the un-númenórians affected their lifespan. It's just biology. I think it's the same that if a black person and a white person get a child, s/he is less black/less white than her/his parent. Similarily a child of a númenórean would have a shorter lifespan than his/her númenórean parent, but longer lifespan than his/her un-númenórean parent. Does that make sense?
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Old 03-14-2006, 04:10 AM   #8
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Did Eldacar, King of Gondor-who was half-Northman-live for a significantly shorter period than his predecessors? I don't recall so.

I always imagine Numenorean gifts as being more engrained in the spirit than running in the blood or genes. Denethor and Faramir had them, but not Boromir to the same extent.

I don't see any reason why, for instance, Faramir's son should live for a shorter span than his father because of being Eowyn's son too. I expect that Faramir's inherent spirit of Westernesse would pass itself down.

The Castamirioni were pure as anything, but that didn't help them. The "grace" of Numenor, if you like, had apparently been withdrawn from them.

So I would lean towards the "moral weakening" point of view, despite Formendacil's argument, which applies to the Kingdom of Arnor and Arthedain but not to the remnant of the Dunedain. Gondor had preserved its Kingdom and its wealth, but this was bound to lead to a more hubristic, lax moral state-which the Rangers, struggling for survival, would escape.

(We have to remember that Tolkien is no Hobbesian and in his world hard times always breed altruism better than easy times do. Hence we have the Rangers guarding the Hobbits, and that kind of thing, despite-or because of-their desperate state...)

A more simplistic and perhaps boring explanation might be simply the presence nearby of Rivendell, containing the greatest Healers of Middle-earth. Presumably Elrond's aid should at least be factored in.
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Old 03-14-2006, 10:09 AM   #9
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I find the comparison of Numenor-that-was to Eden interesting. A special place, given to the faithful, with a single, simple rule, all too easily broken under the influence of the fallen one. The difference was, there were enough people on Numenor that not all shared equally in the blame. The Castamirioni were absolutely guilty--but the Faithful, who had protested and denied involvement in the actions leading to the Fall, were not completely bereaved of the blessings they had been given. And if you look at it that way, that the Faithful still carried the innocence and gifts of Eden with them in the world, then it makes sense for those blessings to be more a matter of mindset than genetics.
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:41 PM   #10
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Good topic A_Brandybuck!
I'll answer your questions in your starting post according to my thoughts as theyhave to do with Middle Earth and not bother addressing things brought up in subsequent posts (nazism, christianity, etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Brandybuck
What exactly could be the reason for the swifter waning of the Dúnedain of Gondor?
Does the reason only lie in the mingeling with other folk without númenórian ancestry?
I would have to say that the proximity to Mordor, the battles, and keeping the watch on incursions into the lands were a primary cause. The men were evermore consumed with fighting and honing of their skills that they took less interest in marriage and and family. They married late and less children were born. This caused many of the pure Dúnedain lines to dwindle. Also, intermingling with the lesser peoples, and later with the Northmen led to their waning. There however was times and individuals who came along that seemed to embody the recessed genes of Numenor (Faramir for example). But I think less breeding with other Dunedain clans and more breeding with other was the primary cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Brandybuck
Was there no or less mingeling in Eriador? In Eriador there has also lived other non-númenórian folk, which could have mingeled with the Dúnedain.
There was definitely much less intermingling in Eriador. I think the only place that it occured was in Rhuadur after the division of Arnor in TA 861. Surely many of the Dúnedan intermingled with the hillmen of the Ettenmoors, and later those who hadn't were either slain or driven out and came back to Arthedain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Brandybuck
Or does the reason lie in the different behavior of both lines? In later times it seems to me, that the Rangers of Eriador, have kept more true to their ideals than the Dúnedain of the South, although or just hence there was no more great realm in the North. The Dúnedain of the South acted more in things of power and glory, while the Dúnedain of the North acted more unselfishly. In example, by protecting the borders of the Shire. Maybe the presence of Elves or the contact to them let them treat their ideals more noble, than the southern Dúnedain, who had not really much contact to the Elves.
Hmm.... I agree to some degree and disagree to some degree with this.
I don't think the Dúnedain of the north were less selfish, but initially more so. For while they had no real external enemies after the Last Alliance until the coming of the Witch King to Carn Dûm a thousand years later, they seemed to have slowly deteriorated into factions and feud among themselves which came to a head when King Eärendur divided Arnor between his sons. I have theories on how this came about but won't go into it here (at least not yet). After the division, they continued to fight and some erupted into all out war, first between Cardolan and Rhuadur over possession of Amon Sûl and its Palantiri ( though I'm sure Arthedain was not complacent during this time), and later between Rhuadur and Arthedain, with Rhuadur falling under the control of Carn Dûm. With the coming of the Witch King to the north, the northern Dúnedain now had a formidable external enemy, but their strength had been eroded by their in-fighting and sickness when the final blow came and Fornost was sacked. Now the elves of Lindon and Rivendell did help fight the Witch King in the years leading up to the fall of Arthedain, but it was the great armada that sailed from Gondor under Prince Eärnur that finally threw the tide of the war in the north in their favor, and the Witch King was drivin out of the north. The greatness of this armada really shows how much greater in might that Gondor hadcompared to Arnor. Despite centuries of war in the south and the plague, plus the fact Gondor had just battled the Wainriders only 30 years before when King Ondoher and his sons were slain, King Eärnil was able to muster such a force that he could spare to sail in aid of Arnor.

And afterward, Aranarth, eldest son of King Arvedui, and his brothers and the menfolk who remained of the Dunedain of the north took up the ways of the Rangers, and they rode as shadows, opposing evil whenever and wherever they could. I think in the fall of Arnor, they realized thenorthern Dúnedain had in part caused their own downfall, and learned from it all, and were evermore vigilent in their opposition of evil. As Formendacil said, the northern Dúnedain was not morally superior, they just declined differently. I think the enviroment was a considerable part of the difference(military might, proximity to the Eldar, etc.).
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:22 AM   #11
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I think this thread can shed some theories on the two lines of Dunedain.
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