In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, the Thain was the traditional military leader of the Hobbits of the Shire (compare Thegn). The Hobbits first chose a Thain to "hold the authority of the king" when Arvedui, last King of Arnor, was lost and the kingship in the North discontinued. The Thainship was originally held by the Oldbuck Clan. In 1740 SR, it passed to the Tooks, and has remained a hereditary position in their clan ever since. Though a viceregal position, the Thain never wielded significant political authority, as the Shire remained a very loosely organized society and rarely faced military threats from outside.