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Old 07-28-2020, 07:33 AM   #1
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Boots Last Prince(ss) of Cardolan

Was the last ruler of independent Cardolan a woman?

By T.A. 1409, Arveleg of Arthedain was accepted as overlord of Cardolan, but the kingdom still had its own line of princes. (Arveleg also claimed Rhudaur, but was resisted on that score.) In that year, Angmar attacked in strength, ravaging the North Kingdoms:

Originally Posted by Appendix A (iii)
A great host came out of Angmar in 1409, and crossing the river entered Cardolan and surrounded Weathertop. The Dúnedain were defeated and Arveleg was slain. [...] Cardolan was ravaged. Araphor son of Arveleg was not yet full-grown, but he was valiant, and with aid from Círdan he repelled the enemy from Fornost and the North Downs. A remnant of the faithful among the Dúnedain of Cardolan also held out in Tyrn Gorthad (the Barrowdowns), or took refuge in the Forest behind.
Originally Posted by Appendix A (iii)
It is said that the mounds of Tyrn Gorthad, as the Barrowdowns were called of old, are very ancient, and that many were built in the days of the old world of the First Age by the forefathers of the Edain, before they crossed the Blue Mountains into Beleriand, of which Lindon is all that now remains. Those hills were therefore revered by the Dúnedain after their return; and there many of their lords and Kings were buried. [Some say that the mound in which the Ring-bearer was imprisoned had been the grave of the last prince of Cardolan, who fell in the war of 1409.]'
It seems that Araphor ultimately reclaimed the remnants of Cardolan, and absorbed them into Arthedain, but the initial description of his defence as 'repell[ing] the enemy from Fornost and the North Downs' suggests the reconquest took some time. So... who led the Dunedain of Cardolan during their long siege on the Downs? Who buried the last prince, and then continued the fight in his stead?

Two points suggest the possibility that the last leader of Cardolan was a woman:

1/ We know Tolkien liked to reuse elements of the Silmarillion in his Third Age writings (see, for example, the very name Minas Tirith). One of the classic Silm stories he didn't make notable use of was Lady Haleth's defence of her people after her father and brother were killed. That, too, was a siege, and was 'relieved' by Elves only after the battle was effectively won. The situations seem analogous (assuming Cirdan didn't just help out on the North Downs and then say 'welp, kid, you're on your own now').

It seems relevant that the 'native' population of Cardolan, such as the Bree-Folk, are of Haladin descent; Tolkien draws a direct link between them and the Dunlendings, and between the Dunlendings and the Haladin. So the Cardolan-Haleth connection does canonically exist.

2/ Tom Bombadil (him again) claimed a brooch once the Great Barrow was broken:

Originally Posted by FotR: Fog on the Barrow Downs
He chose for himself from the pile a brooch set with blue stones, many-shaded like flax-flowers or the wings of blue butterflies. He looked long at it, as if stirred by some memory, shaking his head, and saying at last:

'Here is a pretty toy for Tom and for his lady! Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder. Goldberry shall wear it now, and we will not forget her!'
While the Barrow itself may be older, Tom and the Hobbits repeatedly and exclusively associate it with Cardolan. So this seems to be a woman of Cardolan, who Tom is familiar with. That implies she probably lived on the Downs for at least a while (rather than just being buried there), which strongly points at the resistance in 1409. But what sort of woman would be buried alongside the Prince? I suggest that a wife or sister would be most likely - and that, per the Haleth example, she would be a likely choice as 'ruler' during the siege.

(The original thought here was 'Who buried the Last Prince of Cardolan?', but the survival of the kingdom after 1409 forced a rethink.)

I know, it's not a terribly strong case. But it answer two questions ("Who did the brooch belong to?" and "Who defended the Barrow-Downs in 1409?") by evoking a Silmarillion comparison, so I quite like it.

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