Thain (Middle-earth)

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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 740 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.

Other officers in the Shire include the Master of Buckland, the Mayor of Michel Delving in the White Downs, and (in the Fourth Age) the Warden of Westmarch created by King Elessar.

List of Thains of the Shire[edit]

Third Age[edit]

  • Bucca of the Marish (first Thain, elected in T.A. 1979 after Arvedui of Arnor died)
  • eleven additional Thains of the Oldbuck clan (the clan was probably named for Bucca)
  • Gorhendad Oldbuck (possibly the 12th Thain), crossed over the Brandywine and became the first Master of Buckland
  • Isumbras I Took (became 13th Thain and first of the Took line in 2340)
  • eight Took Thains (including Isengrim I, Isumbras II, Ferumbras I, and Paladin I)
  • Isengrim II Took (22nd Thain and 10th of the Took line in 2683;[1] died 2722)
  • Isumbras III Took (23rd Thain)
  • Ferumbras II Took (24th Thain); older brother of Bullroarer Took.
  • Fortinbras I Took (25th Thain)
  • Gerontius Took, the Old Took (26th Thain 2848-2920)
  • Isengrim III Took (27th Thain)
  • Isumbras IV Took (28th Thain); brother of Isengrim III
  • Fortinbras II Took (29th Thain)
  • Ferumbras III Took (30th Thain, died childless in 3015)
  • Paladin II Took (31st Thain in 3015); cousin of Ferumbras III

Fourth Age[edit]

The line of Thains continued in the Fourth Age of Arda until the end of the Shire.

See also[edit]

The dictionary definition of thane at Wiktionary


  1. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, 2nd edition (1966), George Allen & Unwin, Appendix B p. 369; ISBN 0 04 823047 2