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Old 02-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #9
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If I may continue the patronage discussion, I think that if we settle whether we're looking at a travelling troupe vs. a more sedentary company (ala. the Renaissance), we'll end up with a decision regarding the need for patronage.

I quite agree with Mnemo that an active dramatic tradition in Gondor is almost certainly a renaissance and recent development. It's hard to see it flourishing in the declining Gondor of Denethor, focused culturally on the omnipresent Mordor problem.

That said, just because it is a renaissance of drama in Gondor does not mean that drama in Gondor must follow the (capital R) Renaissance model--though, as mentioned in my last post, I like it. It seems equally plausible to me that travelling troupes would have been among the first developments after the War of the Ring. Perhaps some Hobbits, encouraged by the example of Messrs. Baggins, Gamgee, Took, and Brandybuck set out to Bree and started reŽnacting the Battle of Bywater after their purses ran out, and in the entrepreneurial spirit of the Restored Monarchy, this turned into a bi-racial travelling troupe making money in the Mannish lands of the South by mixture of having exotic Hobbits and stories that played off the popular sentiments of victory.

Or maybe (as Mnemo suggested), they have their origins in the Mannish cultures of Rhovannion (aka Dale), gone south to a more cosmopolitan setting where there's "steady" work and a larger affluent audience. Maybe it started in the cultured estates of Dol Amroth.

I think that even if we accept travelling troupes as the origins of 4th Age drama, that it's possible one or more of the travelling troupes could have settled more or less permanently in Minas Anor. As the main city of the Reunited Kingdoms--and a growing city, too--it would have been able to supply a regular audience, and would have had enough resident/visiting aristocracy to make patronage possible--and I would contend, based on the Renaissance model, that patronage would be needed to subsidize a sedentary company. What's more, I think that the climate of post-Ring war Gondor would have encouraged nobles to support the arts, and that there might even have been friendly competition in this respect.

Oh! And a random thought... perhaps the "dragon" is a not-always-functioning "toy" from the marvellous craftsmen of the Lonely Mtn/Dale, ala the toys at Bilbo's party?
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