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Talk:House of Telcontar

[edit] ‘last surviving Heir of Elendil’

I have a problem with this statement. An ‘heir’ is the actual hereditary successor to someone, so the head of the house or family descended from that person or from an earlier ancestor that actually founded the house. In the situation with which Tolkien was familiar, that of British royal and noble houses, there is only one heir at any given time, at his death succeeded by the next heir, who up to that time is ‘heir apparent’ or ‘heir presumptive’. In the case of Elendil, the situation is somewhat unusual, in that for a long time there were two heirs at the same time: the Heir of Isildur, and the Heir of Anárion. Of course at the time of Aragorn II there was no longer any known Heir of Anárion, but Aragorn, as Heir of Isildur, was Heir of Elendil, but certainly not the last, because at his death he was succeeded by his son Eldarion in both positions.

In everyday parlance, ‘heir’ is often used to describe any descendant, whether or not actually having succeeded, so anyone who might eventually become ‘heir’ in the true sense. Apart from the fact that Tolkien is clearly using the true sense, not the informal wider sense, it is quite likely that several more members of the House of Isildur, that is descendants of Isildur in male line existed. Two or three generations earlier, clearly Dírhael was one such, and possibly Gilbarad (Ivorwen’s father), in Aragorn’s generation Halbarad may have been (he might have been Gilbarad’s heir).

In any case, it is clearly incorrect to describe Aragorn II as the ‘last surviving Heir of Elendil’. — Mithrennaith 20:15, 6 September 2010 (UTC)