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The Best-Loved Son cycle

 February, 23 2006

Anything dealing with this cycle of stories can be discussed here: Andra and Boromir as a couple, the Denethor/Imrahil/Andrahar rivalry, the politics of Gondor in the last days of the Third Age.

Inwai wrote: I'm going to return to the question about Boromir's area of authority. This has been bothering me for a while. How much land is under direct control of the steward? I would assume that Cair Andros and Osgilliath garrisons, besides the city guard, are the majority of the "Gondorian Army", with the rangers being a seperate group under the general umbrella. In theory, since I know the defenses have been scaled back, would these forces also patrol Lamedon, Lossarnach, etc?

I apologize for taking so long to answer this Inwai. The Ithilien Rangers are a part of the Gondorian Army, just like the city guard, and in Unabeauverse they do answer to Boromir. I think you are right in assuming that Cair Andros and Osgilliath garrisons are the biggest part of the Gondorian Army. After the war, in my take on things, there is also a garrison down by Poros. I think that while the army doesn't necessarily patrol Lamedon or Lossarnach, Forlong and the people of Lamedon could ask for help and they would give it.

The fuedal relationship seems to be working backwards. The southern lands are sending troops, and I assume paying taxes, without getting the protection from Minas Tirith in return.

The impression I get from ROTK is that the troops who arrive at Minas Tirith are being sent there specifically for the defense of the city, by pre-arrangement with the Steward and the rest of the time they are defending their home territories. There also seems to have been some latitude on the part of their lords as to how many to send, since they don't send anywhere near enough to reassure the inhabitants of the city and that is because of the threat of the Corsairs.

The people of Anorien were angry, and they were only paying allegiance in words, since they seemed to have no real contact with the government. You would think that the loyalty of everyone else would be wavering. The pulling back of central authority, and the near-desertion of Anorien, Ithilien and Osgilliath, which must have been important parts of the kingdom, shows the waning of Gondor, but it must have accelerated under Denethor, which fits in with the pattern of him as isolationist.

The situation in Anorien was of course of my own invention in the Unabeauverse, and I don't think it's strictly canonical. I had this vision that territory was only very sparsely inhabited, then later on I read a passage somewhere that seemed to contradict that. But I did indeed hit upon it as a way at least of further exhibiting that Gondor was waning-here you had this rich land within the very kingdom itself going unclaimed.

Aragorn would have had his work cut out for him, knitting it back into a Kingdom - not to mention adding Arnor, which hadn't been governed for centuries!

And the poor dear has another war to fight right off, thanks to Una.

Is Pelargir part of Imrahil's domain or an independent city-state?

Independent city state, to my way of thinking. And they have a good-sized Gondorian army garrison there, in Unabeauverse. The Corsairs didn't just sail into the city unopposed. At some point I'm going to have to decide exactly what happened down in the Bay of Belfalas-Dol Amroth's navy would have opposed the Corsairs, and Gondor's too.

What about Lebennin, which gets plenty of mention, but doesn't seem to be sending troops?

Your guess is as good as mine, as to why they would be exempt from a military levy, given that it seems to be a prosperous place. I'll have to mull that one over.

As to how far Boromir's writ runs, in Unabeauverse it's over all of Gondor save for Imrahil's territory, which covers Belfalas, Dor-en-Ernil and Dol Amroth itself. Imrahil's position is rather unique. He is the only royalty in Gondor, until Aragorn's arrival, but he obviously considers himself subordinate to the king, for though he is the individual who could make the most trouble for Aragorn, he immediately submits in fealty.

But I also figure that he has considerable autonomy, that his raising of armed forces and a navy out of the wealth of his own lands in considered a necessary and permissable evil by the Stewards, in that it lessens the area they have to defend and spares their budget, and they don't dictate to him how he defends his territory. The western part of Gondor looks to him more than Minas Tirith, I would think, as their figure of ultimate authority, yet the Gondorian army would be able to march into his lands without seeking his leave.

I'm still working out exactly who owes fealty to Imrahil and through him to the King, that sort of thing. It continually evolves.

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