[LMB] HH chapter 7

Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Wed Apr 19 15:30:54 BST 2006

--- Scott Raun <sraun at fireopal.org> wrote:

> I wonder if we're arguing degrees here?  If not, we
> may have to agree to disagree.

I think we are coming at it from different angles. I
had thought Ingrey was a commoner, with no noble rank
whatsoever, a hireling of Hetwar - and I was surprised
to learn he has a cousin - a first cousin at that -
who is in the upper ranks of the aristocracy.  Seems
to me that in this kingdom, you can't get higher than
Earl without being in the Royal family.

> As I see it, Ingrey is unlanded lesser nobility -

Unlanded, certainly. Exiled, yes. Disowned? - not that
I recall, but I might be forgetting.  He is a nobleman
down on his luck - but that makes him no less a

> that grants him status above any non-noble, 

Which was mainly my point. And of course he only gets
as much of *that* status as he cares to claim, which,
since he is trying to keep his head down and not
attract attention because of the wolf thing, is
precious little. 

But it's entirely different from what I had been
picturing: that he was a middle-class type who had
gained his status from his work for Hetwar. That might
be his role, but it isn't his status.

Put another way: he may be more of a ronin than a
samurai, but he's neither servant nor peasant.

> but still less than any landed noble, 

Hmm. That is debatable, and without knowing the
specific laws of the kingdom, it's a moot point. 
Certainly land confers power and wealth, which
themselves confer rank and status, but rank and status
through birth are another thing entirely. Land can be
taken away from him, birth cannot. 

Now, if we assume it is analogous to our history,
birth confers all sorts of significant things totally
independent of land or wealth - the legal option of
making certain marriages, wearing certain clothes,
taking certain oaths - we can't judge the details
because the text doesn't give them to us.  So it's
somewhat irrelevant.  

> let alone one of the great Earls.  

No, but he's a cousin of a great Earl, and that alone
gives him positon higher in the hierarchy than most

> To me, it looks like Ingrey's aunt
> married up significantly.  

I had that impression too, though we might disagree on
the meaning of 'significantly' here. I would say...
she married up considerably.

> Ingrey may be assumed to have more status
> than any other unlanded noble, but he still wouldn't
> have anywhere near the status of, say, a 
> middle-ranked landed noble.

Do such exist?  Do we hear about nobles other than
Earls and Princes?


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