What news from the North?

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What news from the North?

Postby scirocco » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:53 pm

When Aragorn hails the Riders, he asks them "What news from the North, Riders of Rohan?"

I've always been a bit puzzled by why he says this. What sort of news is he looking for? And where in the North does he think they will have news from? Eriador? Dale? Mirkwood? Lorien? Rivendell? The areas that the Rangers patrol?

And why does he assume that the Riders would know anything about that anyway? Their concerns are with Isengard and Mordor and Gondor. The North is the last place they will be thinking about.

How would they be expected to have got any news faster than Aragorn who has just recently come from the North himself having presumably been brought up to date while in Lorien.

Or is he just being friendly and saying the Middle-earth equivalent of "wassup?"

Any thoughts?
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:33 am

It's my guess the Rhohirrim came from the direction of Fangorn which was Northwest of where Aragorn & Co. Later in that passage Éomer says, "'Indeed in this riding north I went without the king’s leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard. But scouts warned me of the orc-host coming down out of the East Wall three nights ago, and among them they reported that some bore the white badges of Saruman. (...) We are needed south and west." [/quote]
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby scirocco » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:55 pm

Yes, I guess that is the most logical answer, especially as Aragorn and Co. are looking for news of the hobbits.

But it was the upper case "North" that looks strange. When you think of Aragorn using that term you are usually thinking on a continental scale, as in Arnor, the North-kingdom. Aragorn has been out of western Eriador for months and I wondered if maybe he is looking for home-country news that has come down the Greenway and through the Gap of Rohan.

But perhaps he is just putting himself in the shoes of the Rohirrim, within whose little country and limited horizons Fangorn probably is "The North" (like you see on signs on the A1 motorway :) ) and not just "north".
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby Otaku-sempai » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:52 pm

Remind me: Had the Riders been patrolling the region known as the Wold? That's the only part of Rohan that was actually north of where the Three Hunters were coming from; the rest of Rohan was spread out to the south and east. Aragorn's question might make sense in that context.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby scirocco » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:02 am

They may have been onto the Wold. But that still doesn't really explain the upper case "North". Why didn't Aragorn just say "north"? Tolkien never does stuff like that without a good reason.

"North and "South" have quite definite meanings in Middle-earth-speak, specially if you're descended from Isildur :D. The Wold up to the Limlight was originally part of Gondorian territory before it was ceded to the Rohirrim. And Gondor is definitely "South", not "North".
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby Otaku-sempai » Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:40 am

In Rohan, I would assume, the term 'North' might have a more specific connotation, namely: those regions east of the Misty Mountains that include the Wold, Wilderland, Mirkwood and East Rhovonion. However, Eriador might be included in a more general sense (as might Dorwinion to the east). The Rohirrim did emigrate from the Vales of Anduin and their ancestors before that came from East Rhovanion. Aragorn, as someone who had ridden with Thengel the father of Théoden, would understand this.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby scirocco » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:06 pm

That does make sense. Certainly true that there are references to the ancestors of the Rohirrim (e.g. Eorl the Young) being from The North (Rhovanion etc.), so "North" in that sense rather than north in the "kingdoms of Gondor" sense.

I think by that time that Aragorn was aware that some of the orc raiders were from the Moria / Dimrill Dale area, so that might also have factored into his thinking.

I'm also uncomfortably aware of the absurdity of reading too much into a verbal question. It's not like the Riders would have been able to hear whether Aragorn said "North" or "north"! It's just that JRRT never does anything by accident. There's always a significance.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby wilko185 » Thu Mar 05, 2020 5:09 pm

Possibly an echo of Aragorn's similar phrasing in Boromir's lament a few pages earlier, where he addresses the North wind?
What news from the North, O mighty wind, do you bring to me today? What news of Boromir the Bold? For he is long away.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:06 pm

Hey, wilko! :hihi:
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby wilko185 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:44 pm

Hey Voronwe, and scirocco and everyone else :) . I have "been long away" myself, no saying when I might be back. Hope you're staying safe in these difficult times.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby scirocco » Mon Mar 23, 2020 10:19 am

Hi wilko. Hope you’re well. Here’s hoping for some “good news from the North” before too long.
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Re: What news from the North?

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:58 pm

wilko185 wrote:Hey Voronwe, and scirocco and everyone else :) . I have "been long away" myself, no saying when I might be back. Hope you're staying safe in these difficult times.


You too, my friend. And everyone else.
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