A real world equivalent for "Ranger"

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Sounds bitter as well as romanticizing so yeah, i get where the g-comparison is coming from!
Hi Haerangil,

If this comment is towards my altered song, the song does not refer to Gypsies. The song is called "The Wild Rover', and I replaced rover with Ranger. Beyond the humor of Aragorn singing this song in the Prancing Pony, I think it illustrates that Ranger could just be a synonym for 'rover', which has almost no negative connotations.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Zigeuner is even more controversial as it doesn't or at times didn't only cover Romani people.
So it did not meant the ethnic Sinti even if the term originates from them?
I think in most Slavic contries for all the bad stereothypes they were highly admired for their music and dance. Because as far I do know their musical culture is praised not only in plenty of Polish, but also in Eastern Slavic folk songs and I assume their musical culture is also very admired and popular in Hungary.. Imho it is a pity the Dunedain did not sing and dance - they would be popular with the "Easterlings" at least. ;)
 

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
Can be, as in Poland there are tendecies to copy everything American - regardless of the fact if a given phenomenon has any cultural relavance in our own context or not.
Ha-ha, yes, I'm aware of the fact that my country tends to export its attitudes and mores to other countries, whether or not they're beneficial or even make sense, and that this is often a one-way process, which is certainly troubling. (I could expound my thoughts on this phenomenon, but again, I suspect the majority of folks in this forum would prefer we not stray too far down that particular road here.)


As for local populations here in the US, I'm afraid my knowledge when it comes to Romani peoples falls well short of yours. The most I know probably comes from Bury Me Standing Up, which I read over a decade ago, and I recall being a transnational ethnography.

My own knowledge of marginalized and traditionally persecuted groups in the United States has more breadth than depth - i.e., I know a little about a lot of groups, rather than knowing a lot about a few groups - and has mostly focused in other areas. So I'm afraid I can't be much help with your question.


What would it be like in middle-earth? I guess you'd also be careful whom you'd call a ranger ...
Imho it is a pity the Dunedain did not sing and dance - they would be popular with the "Easterlings" at least. ;)
I dunno, friends. It seemed to me like we were nearing agreement that "Ranger" isn't particularly analogous to the "g" word as North Americans like Corey and I understand it, with a sizeable faction rejecting the proposition that it's even any kind of rude word, except perhaps in parochial settings like Bree.
 

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
I'd suggest that in Bree there is distrust, but not active persecution of Rangers; if there were active persecution I'd expect a lynch mob gathered outside the Prancing Pony calling for the Ranger to be handed over after the horses were scattered, or at the very least all Rangers in town to be driven out of town.

Living in Australia, the Roma are largely invisible and the G- word doesn't seem to cause the same level of trauma, although I don't know from personal experience, and the g- word is often used to refer to a seemingly carefree itinerant lifestyle rather than a cultural group. That said, the group of retirees that buy caravans (travel trailers) and go wandering around the country are referred to as Grey Nomads, which avoids that word.

I think 'Tramp' is probably a better globally acceptable alternate term for Ranger, which allows the full range of interpretations to hold although interpreted differently in each location:
In the surrounds of Bree these people are seen as shiftless and untrustworthy; to be watched, as they might steal something and vanish into the wild.
In Ithilien it instead refers to the fact that they are not housed in obvious garrisons, but instead wander through the land potentially staying in a different spot each night, but for the benefit of those with fixed abodes (Noting that Tramp is not normally applied in a military context.)
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
I think it is clear that 'Rangers' was an honorable title in Gondor. It was probably also an honorable title in Eriador. The Dunedain in Eriador were probably proud to call themselves 'Rangers', as a role designated by the rightful King to protect Eriador. In Bree, it might have become a somewhat pejorative term, as the Breelanders might have been suspicious of outsiders with no fixed abode.

As such, I think 'Rovers' might be a good synonym. A 'rover' is sometimes looked on a bit morally askance by more 'settled' and 'respectable' people. 'Rover' has also sometimes been applied pejoratively, as in 'Sea Rovers' for pirates. However, 'Rover' is not really a word that is disapproved of by the 'woke'. It does not carry many negative connotations. But it does carry some for some people, in some circumstances. So, I think it is the best 'modern synonym' for 'Ranger', as used in TLOTR.
 

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
I'd suggest that in Bree there is distrust, but not active persecution of Rangers; if there were active persecution I'd expect a lynch mob gathered outside the Prancing Pony calling for the Ranger to be handed over after the horses were scattered, or at the very least all Rangers in town to be driven out of town.
And wouldn't it be fun to watch them try?
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Zigeuner is even more controversial as it doesn't or at times didn't only cover Romani people.It could at times also be applied to Jenische, or other groups such as "Mäkkesser" such as myself , who also at times would refer to themselves as such and at times reject the term as a slur.Zigeuner also originally usually was only applied to travelling folks, as soon as these settled down they became "Gewesene Zigeuner" , roughly "Former Gypsies".
Can you give me a source for "Mäkkesser"?I've found the Jenische but the not the Mäkkesser.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
I dunno, friends. It seemed to me like we were nearing agreement that "Ranger" isn't particularly analogous to the "g" word as North Americans like Corey and I understand it, with a sizeable faction rejecting the proposition that it's even any kind of rude word, except perhaps in parochial settings like Bree.

But what do you do with old cultural items like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gypsy_Baron

Do you rename such stuff? Or do you leave it unchanged?

Regarding the parallel between the Rangers and the gypsies (I do not call them Roma/Romani as this is a name of only one of the tribes, not of the whole ethnic-cultural entity, and I do not want to neglect the others without reason and devaluate their contributions to European culture in omitting them) - they both provided news about the wide world. The former by telling tales, the latter by being the only semi-professional entertainers to visit every remote village and bring with themselves the flair of the exotic, news about the current state of affairs, new styles, developments and ideas. So their visit was welcomend and anticipated, even if they were not necessary trusted.
 
Last edited:

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Can you give me a source for "Mäkkesser"?I've found the Jenische but the not the Mäkkesser.
Because it is a local term? It isn't very widely used but very common where i live. Sources? There be none official except for etymological resaerch and regional folklore. Jenische is not very known where i live.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Because it is a local term? It isn't very widely used but very common where i live. Sources? There be none official except for etymological resaerch and regional folklore. Jenische is not very known where i live.
Regional folklore is completely fine (I have been practically raised in an enthographical park beloging to the museum my mother worked in, so I am familiar in dealing with various folkore material), only accessible online would be fine - due to Covid I cannot travel far - Jenische have a Polish Wikipedia entry - and that even if we never had them here - so for me they are known enough. (They claim Celtic origin which is very interesting.)
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
So it did not meant the ethnic Sinti even if the term originates from them?
I think in most Slavic contries for all the bad stereothypes they were highly admired for their music and dance. Because as far I do know their musical culture is praised not only in plenty of Polish, but also in Eastern Slavic folk songs and I assume their musical culture is also very admired and popular in Hungary.. Imho it is a pity the Dunedain did not sing and dance - they would be popular with the "Easterlings" at least. ;)
No, not always.It referred originally to a way of life rather than one single ethnic group.And yes ,there is some romanticism involved with that stereotype too... which many Romani totally hate because a lot of them do not travel and do not sing and dance or entertain.On the other hand it is bad for artists the term nowaday is controversial... because that exactly is what gets people interested inmtheir art and music especially when it is folkloristic.You couldn't draw an audience with "Romani music" ,people wouldn't be interested or might even suggest gangsta rap, "Gypsy" music is interesting to folk fans... and draws attention to the artists while at the same time a lot of Romani totally hate the stereotype.


As For Rover or Tramp...
No, Rover somewhat invokes raiding or rustling, tramp ... yes that invokes poverty as well.Neither of it has the militaristic, law-enforcing component of the Ranger... who was historically as i said a royal woodsman enforcing the king's law. I agree that ranger might have heen negative among the Breefolk and maybe other eriadorian rustics, but not necessarily among the rangers themselves, certainly not the gondorian ones, the eriadorian ones... i believe there is an indication for both...
They knew it was used pejoratively by some people, but they also on and off used it for themselves as a badge of honor.
 
Last edited:

Halstein

Active Member
As For Rover or Tramp...
No, Rover somewhat invokes raiding or rustling, tramp ... yes that invokes poverty as well.Neither of it has the militaristic, law-enforcing component of the Ranger... who was historically as i said a royal woodsman enforcing the king's law. I agree that ranger might have heen negative among the Breefolk and maybe other eriadorian rustics, but not necessarily among the rangers themselves, certainly not the gondorian ones, the eriadorian ones... i believe there is an indication for both...
They knew it was used pejoratively by some people, but they also on and off used it for themselves as a badge of honor.
This makes me think of how "cop" might be used in present day US. They are law-enforcement, some use it as something neutral, some use it as something positive, and some use it as something negative.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well sure, but luckily our cops nowadays are formally subject to state authority, part of the official executive and not free roaming agents. If i had to draw a direct parallel from the rangers to similar shady organisations in our days i'd say militias, guerillas or paramilitary.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Well sure, but luckily our cops nowadays are formally subject to state authority, part of the official executive and not free roaming agents. If i had to draw a direct parallel from the rangers to similar shady organisations in our days i'd say militias, guerillas or paramilitary.
I think the Rangers would probably agree with the comparison to militias, but would consider that they (or at least their fighting forces) represented a properly constituted militia operating under the authority of the rightful Kings of Arnor. They were certainly operating under the state authority of the Chieftains of the North, who were the rightful heirs to the Kingdom of Arnor (and Gondor).
 

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
@Odola I'm afraid I'm not at all the right person to ask that question. The answer would have to come primarily from Romani peoples themselves (I acknowledge and respect your reasons for eschewing this word, due to its lack of clarity. Unfortunately, it's the only term I know, apart from the "g" word, which in my part of the world is generally understood to be extremely rude, which is why I go to some trouble to avoid it. Such are the imperfect linguistic realities we must navigate). I'm not only not a member of the affected group but, as I affirmed earlier, I'm not even well-versed as an outsider about the state of the conversation within their group about how best to deal with difficult terms like the "g" word (whereas I'm somewhat better plugged in to the state of conversation for other marginalized groups I'm not part of).

Having briefly scanned the plot synopsis, I'm seeing items that make me think there may be other insensitive stereotypes at play - "band of g*p***s" gives me pause - beyond merely troubling wording.

But here's where we come to the other way that I'm unqualified: I have very little interest in opera, and it seems to me that a proper evaluation of how best to handle a cultural artifact like the one you cited would have to account not only for its potential harm to an historically persecuted community, but also its artistic value, and I'm not in an authoritative position to assess either.


You make a fantastic comparison and contrast between the Rangers of Middle-earth and some of the most well known nomadic peoples in Europe. It makes me think there's a lot we could potentially glean by looking at the similarities and dissimilarities in closer detail.

One of the latter, which I wonder if you'll agree with, is that I always got the impression that the Dunedain make their visits to places like Bree individually, or in groups of fewer than half a dozen. I've assumed they never really come close to towns and villages in larger groups, including their children and other non-combatants. Or if they do, they keep themselves so concealed the town- and village-folk never realize their proximity. Does this match your reading of how they tend to operate?


@Flammifer Hmm. That makes me wonder, since the kingdom of Arnor is dissolved, and the line of Isildur in hiding until the last stages of the War of the Ring, what would be to stop some ambitious brigand leader to proclaim himself the rightful heir of Arnor - or just to be a humble vassal of the rightful heir, who must be kept secluded from his memories - and plundering the countryside in the name of the once and future king? Or, worse, what if some ambitious Dunedain were to fall into darkness, sometime after the death of Arathorn, and do the same? Obviously, the other Dunedain or Elrond could prove our hypothetical warlord an impostor, but because of the actual need for secrecy, it would be difficult to convey that to his victims. How would you disprove such a warlord's state authority when the state itself has gone completely underground and is impossible for the common folk to reach or communicate with?
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
@Flammifer Hmm. That makes me wonder, since the kingdom of Arnor is dissolved, and the line of Isildur in hiding until the last stages of the War of the Ring, what would be to stop some ambitious brigand leader to proclaim himself the rightful heir of Arnor - or just to be a humble vassal of the rightful heir, who must be kept secluded from his memories - and plundering the countryside in the name of the once and future king? Or, worse, what if some ambitious Dunedain were to fall into darkness, sometime after the death of Arathorn, and do the same? Obviously, the other Dunedain or Elrond could prove our hypothetical warlord an impostor, but because of the actual need for secrecy, it would be difficult to convey that to his victims. How would you disprove such a warlord's state authority when the state itself has gone completely underground and is impossible for the common folk to reach or communicate with?
[/QUOTE]

Hi Lincoln,

I imagine that the Dunedain Rangers would be quick to stamp out brigands of all types, impostors, or just common and garden brigands.

However, running a secret kingdom (secret from many of its 'subjects' as well as its enemies) poses many problems, some of which I questioned in a previous post called 'Why so Secret, Rangers?'

Aragorn says that the Rangers must be secret to keep simple folks free from care and fear. This seems a very different model of secret protection to that of the Valar (who seem to try to keep their assistance and protection secret from Men in Middle-earth to toughen them up and get them to stand on their own two feet).

Of course, the perhaps enviable low-government / no-government societies of The Shire and Bree are only sustainable due to the protection of the secret Kingdom. This is evidenced when the Rangers go off to the War of the Ring, and the Shire is taken over by brigands, and Bree is attacked by them.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Well they themselves see their group as a tribe for sure, not a kingdom, and not running a secret Kingdom, but they grow up with the idea that all these wild lands are rightfully theirs and they are their rightful rulers, benevolent ones, even if the stupid peasants do not realize or acknowledge.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
@Flammifer Hmm. That makes me wonder, since the kingdom of Arnor is dissolved, and the line of Isildur in hiding until the last stages of the War of the Ring, what would be to stop some ambitious brigand leader to proclaim himself the rightful heir of Arnor - or just to be a humble vassal of the rightful heir, who must be kept secluded from his memories - and plundering the countryside in the name of the once and future king? Or, worse, what if some ambitious Dunedain were to fall into darkness, sometime after the death of Arathorn, and do the same? Obviously, the other Dunedain or Elrond could prove our hypothetical warlord an impostor, but because of the actual need for secrecy, it would be difficult to convey that to his victims. How would you disprove such a warlord's state authority when the state itself has gone completely underground and is impossible for the common folk to reach or communicate with?
As someone familiar a little with an undeground state - we had one in the 2nd world war - there do exist secret courts of justice to prevent its members from going rouge. But of course the service of the state is greatly reduced, so it cover only the outmost important issues. The town or small entities govern themselves locally as before - like the Shire - but if needed the chosen local mayor might get "visited" by "strangers at night" wanting to persuade him away from e.g. accepting a Sauron's proposal. But nobody sees them in action on the levels below. And people high up in the hierarchy have some "red telephone" style ways to contact the "strangers" when needed, but never tell anybody below, only their successor.
 
Last edited:

Odola

Well-Known Member
You make a fantastic comparison and contrast between the Rangers of Middle-earth and some of the most well known nomadic peoples in Europe. It makes me think there's a lot we could potentially glean by looking at the similarities and dissimilarities in closer detail.

One of the latter, which I wonder if you'll agree with, is that I always got the impression that the Dunedain make their visits to places like Bree individually, or in groups of fewer than half a dozen. I've assumed they never really come close to towns and villages in larger groups, including their children and other non-combatants. Or if they do, they keep themselves so concealed the town- and village-folk never realize their proximity. Does this match your reading of how they tend to operate?
Butterbur states himself that Strider tells them many interesting tales. This is both education - as he chooses which memories and stories of the past he feeds them, but also information about current affairs - as such he influences their outlook on the world outside according to his own liking - trying to soften their prejudices, preserving the memories of their own ancient past and teaching them attitudes or even forgotten information through this stories. That is for sure planned, and a lone Ranger joining a camp fire or requesting shelter for the night in a storm at a lonely homestead can easily do the same.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
But here's where we come to the other way that I'm unqualified: I have very little interest in opera, and it seems to me that a proper evaluation of how best to handle a cultural artifact like the one you cited would have to account not only for its potential harm to an historically persecuted community, but also its artistic value, and I'm not in an authoritative position to assess either.
Have found this and this shows that there has been no problem using the world gypsy at least in artistic circles in the US at least as late as 2017 which is 5 years ago:

Strauss's Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) performed by MSM Opera Theater - YouTube
 
Top