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Hethlin of Anorien

By:Isabeau
 February, 25 2006

I know CMC's a done deal, but since I intend to give it a thorough editing in the future, I'll include it in this thread, as well as make this a place for any other Heth questions not appropriate for the Silver Swan thread.


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162 replies


 [51] Nargil:

I often wondered if sending Faramir to Henneth-Annun was a kind of punnishment to his scholarly son from Denethor, he and Heth are probably close because she can read, and so they can discuss books, it must have been torture for him to be kept away from the library.

I don't think Faramir would have had the luxury to indulge in much reading whether he was with the Rangers or with the regular army. And he has too much a sense of duty and responsibility to wish he had, or to let that influence his decisions.

I have always imagined that it was Faramir who wanted to join the Rangers, maybe even against the wishes of Denethor. It strikes me as something that was maybe too much "dirty" work, and it was much more dangerous than being in the regular army, I assume. It strikes me as a a decision motivated by a wish for independence, either from the large shadow of his brother, or to be away from his father.

Naturally, there is no textevidence either way, and I don't remember how things are in the Unabeauverse.

Imhiriel
Posted:May 15, 2006 18:03 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [52] Rebecca: ...but surely Faramir would have perceived that Hethlin's education was unusual.

He certainly seems surprised enough in Blackbow. (From near the end of Ch. 1: "With a tingle of excitement, he wondered if it were possible that she could actually read?") Whether that's because she's a woman or because of her perceived class/station at the time, or both...?

On literacy levels in Gondor, could there also be a distinction between Numenorean and non-Numenorean or or those of mixed ancestry? Meaning that you could have two poor families, and the one with a stronger Num. heritage would be more likely to maintain a higher literacy level out of pride; vs. the other who would only do so where it would be of immediate practical benefit. Heth's Num. blood would have been pretty obvious, I'd think, and so maybe her literacy level was unremarkable in that sense. That assumes, of course, that not all people of Num. descent in Gondor were actually nobles, whereupon Heth's whole family situation would be very unusual to their neighbors...

Denise
Posted:May 15, 2006 19:43 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [53] Rebecca wrote: Despite their youth and inexperience, is it possible that Lorend and Hethlin might be part of the small group of people in Faramir's inner circle because they can "get" him to some extent? For all the Hethlin thinks of herself as a rough country bumpkin, her literacy surely must set her apart from the average Anorien homesteader or rank-and-file Ithilien Ranger.

I think that's a good point, and one I'd not considered, at least in regards to Lorend. He seemed more the court jester of the Rangers to me at first.

Or do you see literacy as being more common in Gondor, Isabeau? I think we were discussng this earlier in the Monster Thread, although I can't recall what the answer was.

Having to actually think about it, I think literacy is more prevalent in Gondor in my mind than in our actual medieval history. Definitely more common than in Rohan, which still has a strong oral tradition in the Unabeauverse. And I suspect that after Aragorn becomes king, it becomes more prevalent still. I'm thinking it's much more common in Minas Tirith than in rural areas, ergo Idren's family's illiteracy in Lossarnach Yule.

I was wondering how it was that Hethlin didn't already know that her parents were probably high-born, or at least more so than their neighbors in Anorien, given their education and the fact that they made sure that Hethlin was at least minimally educated.

I don't think that was ever put to her as a high-born issue. I think it was probably her mother who did most of her teaching and Liranael probably just always presented it as the way things were done up North.


Posted:May 16, 2006 14:13 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [54] Chris wrote: When she met Faramir's rangers, she probably noticed that her abilities were unusual, but then she knew that her father was from the Northern Dunedain. Maybe she thought literacy was more common in the North among the rangers there.

Exactly. I've not decide how literate the settlers in Anorien were. I'm tending towards having Dorthanson and the rest be illiterate, but it's not graven in stone yet.


Posted:May 16, 2006 14:19 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [55] Rebecca wrote: I realize that the Gondorians didn't have a lot of knowledge about their northern kin at that time, but surely Faramir would have perceived that Hethlin's education was unusual.

Ah, but she's so unusual in so many respects, I have to wonder if he just doesn't think it part and parcel of the package. I'm sure he thinks Halaran had some very eccentric ideas about child-rearing...;-)

Anyway, regardless of whether or not her literacy could have or should have been a clue to Hethlin and others about her family's status, I would imagine literacy would have given her (and Lorend) something in common with Faramir that would have made it easier for him to relate to them, thus accounting for their rather intimate knowledge of Faramir's relationship with his father. Unless it was the case that all or most rangers could read -- and maybe they could. Gondor had fallen since the days of its Numenorean founders, but maybe not *that* much.

I'm thinking that there are more literate Rangers than literate regular army. I don't know why-perhaps because they do so much scouting and intelligence work.


Posted:May 16, 2006 14:25 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [56] Nargil wrote: Somehow it struck me that the in-keeper already thought of Hethlin as odd, at one point they describe her as running around in those raggedy breaches with narry a dress to your name, or somthing like that I don't know the exact quote. But anyway compared to that perhaps reading and writing isn't that unusual, and the in-keeper would have been able to read and write so perhaps it never struck him as strange anyway.

I think Merelan thought the whole family were a bit odd (what do you expect from foreigners?), but tolerated them because the Sunlanders have a respect for individuality and Halaran had certainly more than contributed his fair share to the community at large.

I often wondered if sending Faramir to Henneth-Annun was a kind of punnishment to his scholarly son from Denethor, he and Heth are probably close because she can read, and so they can discuss books, it must have been torture for him to be kept away from the library.

Ah, but whether he was in the Rangers or the regular army, he still wasn't going to have access to the library. I do think Denethor insisted on military service, but I suspect that he left the choice of how to serve up to Faramir. Though he probably would have objected to Faramir becoming a Swannie....


Posted:May 16, 2006 14:31 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [57] Imhiriel wrote: I have always imagined that it was Faramir who wanted to join the Rangers, maybe even against the wishes of Denethor. It strikes me as something that was maybe too much "dirty" work, and it was much more dangerous than being in the regular army, I assume. It strikes me as a a decision motivated by a wish for independence, either from the large shadow of his brother, or to be away from his father.

I think this is very possible. And it may also be simply because of his skill-set-unlike his brother, Faramir is an archer. And Una has established that he's also a damn good archer. Which is a little odd when you think about it-you don't get good with a longbow unless you start early and keep at it. Now while I can see why archery would appeal to Faramir-it is a martial skill that requires skill and concentration as opposed to brute force, the question niggles at me-who got him started in archery? And influenced him to the extent that he never gave it up? He doesn't strike me as someone who would enjoy hunting (remember the remark about not slaying man nor beast except at need?) and given the martial influences in his life, you would think he would have ended up a cavalry man, not an archer.

I wrote about him needing a new bow in The Best Gift of All because he was fourteen and would have been shooting for a number of years, but I still wonder who started him off. I'll cheerfully chuck this little beastie in Una's direction! (drop-kicks nuzgul across the Pond)



Posted:May 16, 2006 14:40 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [58] Rebecca: ...but surely Faramir would have perceived that Hethlin's education was unusual.

Denise: He certainly seems surprised enough in Blackbow. (From near the end of Ch. 1: "With a tingle of excitement, he wondered if it were possible that she could actually read?") Whether that's because she's a woman or because of her perceived class/station at the time, or both...?

Probably more because of her perceived class. Faramir's known too many well-educated women to assume all women are ignorant.

On literacy levels in Gondor, could there also be a distinction between Numenorean and non-Numenorean or or those of mixed ancestry? Meaning that you could have two poor families, and the one with a stronger Num. heritage would be more likely to maintain a higher literacy level out of pride; vs. the other who would only do so where it would be of immediate practical benefit. Heth's Num. blood would have been pretty obvious, I'd think, and so maybe her literacy level was unremarkable in that sense.

I think that's a very reasonable assumption. At least it would make it seem somewhat more plausible to Faramir.

That assumes, of course, that not all people of Num. descent in Gondor were actually nobles, whereupon Heth's whole family situation would be very unusual to their neighbors...

I'm thinking that blood was spread around across the social spectrum, ergo Idren speaking of his father's Sea-man blood. Though he did note Hethlin's particularly pure-blooded appearance as well.



Posted:May 16, 2006 14:48 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [59] All this makes good sense to me, Isabeau (and everyone else). Although on the question of how widespread literacy might have been I do have one further thought: since Amrothos hasn't yet invented the printing press, books would have been very expensive, hand-copied treasures. (All of a sudden one of the vignettes from Soledad's Yule series popped into my head!) Anyway, point being that learning to read fluently requires repeated exposure to a variety of written materials. One very dense and wide-ranging book like the Bible might often suffice for most people, so that a not-so-well-off family could manage to get the children taught with only one book in the house. But a) that wouldnt' work for everyone, and b) even one such book would be terribly expensive.

If I seem kind of hung-up on this idea I apologize, I'm a doctoral student in developmental psychology and one particular area of interest are the ways that education affects the way people think.

Rebecca
Posted:May 16, 2006 15:50 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [60] Rebecca wrote: Although on the question of how widespread literacy might have been I do have one further thought: since Amrothos hasn't yet invented the printing press, books would have been very expensive, hand-copied treasures. (All of a sudden one of the vignettes from Soledad's Yule series popped into my head!) Anyway, point being that learning to read fluently requires repeated exposure to a variety of written materials. One very dense and wide-ranging book like the Bible might often suffice for most people, so that a not-so-well-off family could manage to get the children taught with only one book in the house. But a) that wouldnt' work for everyone, and b) even one such book would be terribly expensive.

That's an interesting point. I'm thinking Halaran and Liranael might have had a book or two, maybe even a handful. They were of course destroyed when the farm was burned. But it's interesting to speculate about what they might have been about....


Posted:May 16, 2006 19:07 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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