Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hierarchies

There are a lot of hierarchies in Middle-earth; Gondor, Rohan, Numenor, and pretty much all elven realms display clear patriarchal monarchies.  There is generally little to know questioning of kings or their authority.  Now why is this?

All citizens of these various hierarchies have sincere respect for their kings.  The people of Rohan are notable for this because they are willing to follow their King Theoden into battle even though their odds at success are slim.  Gondor also shows this; everyone is anticipating the return of the king and rejoices when he finally comes.  The elven people also display a respect for their kings.  All of these people are humble and accept that their kings are above them and accept their rule.

That is not to say, however, that the people will bend to any whim of their king.  Ar-Pharazon, the king of Numenor rebelled against Eru Illuvatar and began worshiping Melkor.  The Akallabeth recounts this conversation.  "'Would you then betray the king?' said Elendil.  'For you know well the charge that they make against us, that we are traitors and spies, and until this day it has been false.' 'If I thought Manwe needed such a messenger,' said Amandil, 'I would betray the king.  For there is but one loyalty from which no man can be absolved in heart for any cause.'"

Even though Ar-Pharazon has been acting very erratically lately, Elendil still has his reservations and still asks if Amandil is sure he wants to betray the king.  This shows the extent that their respect for the king goes.  But Amandil makes it clear that his real king is Eru and any earthly king is second to him.

I think the general theme throughout all of Tolkien's works is that firstly, monarchies only work when you have good people both in charge and being ruled over.  You must have a king who respects the people and is a good leader.  In turn, the people must be willing to be humble and bend their knee to him in order for the system to function.

Secondly, monarchies on earth and kings on earth are not infallible and Eru is the true king and is the most important person to remain loyal to.

The comparison between Eru and God is fairly obvious, so this theme can be applied to our lives.  God is a good leader and we must be the good servants and be willing to bend our knees to him just as the good people of Middle-earth do to their various kings.


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