"Bree-blood in the Brandybucks" and the change of Thain

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
In Episode 47 (yes, I'm still that far behind) the text being covered (Book 1 Ch 9) explained that "There was Bree-blood in the Brandybucks by all accounts."

It had also been explained previously that Gorhendad Oldbuck, then the Thain of the Shire, moved himself and his kin across the Brandywine to found the Buckland, in the process transferring the Thainship to the Tooks, who held it for the remainder of the extent of Shire records.

The status of the Buckland is ambiguous, even during the time of the War of the Ring.

Corey seemed unable to conceive of a convincing reason for Gorhendad to pick up and move to the Buckland rather than retaining his holdings and expanding to the other side of the river (similar to William, Duke of Normandy in 1066)

Given these facts, and the suspicion extended toward the Bucklanders by the Shirefolk seeming to be not greatly different to that extended to the Bree-folk, (and because speculation can be fun) I wonder if all of this gives enough evidence to suggest the following scenario:

Gorhendad Oldbuck, respected farmer of the Marish and Thain of the Shire, meets a Bree Hobbit (name not recorded) and falls in love. He wishes to marry her, but the heads of the other important families of the Shire (the Tooks chief among them) object to the idea of the Thain taking a foreign wife and potentially creating divided loyalties for his heir.
He refuses to turn away from his intent to marry his Bree-land lover and so is called upon by these other families to surrender the Thainship; the Tooks at least in part motivated by the opportunity to elevate themselves in esteem among the Shire-folk.
Incensed, he picks up his goods and chattels, gathers his kin, and moves across the Brandywine to be closer to her family, in the process claiming the land and declaring the Buckland to be a separate country, outside of the purview of the Thain. He either gives his Shire-lands to his former neighbours, or leaves them to relatives who don't follow him, the fine details being less important than the move.
The whole incident is so embarrassing for the remaining family heads that they appoint Isumbras Took as Thain, give an incomplete explanation to the general populace, and leave the status of Buckland ambiguous for all time: neither claiming it as part of the Shire, nor demanding no association between the Marish and Buckland.
Gorhendad Brandybuck is still respected by the remaining farmers of the Marish, who are more inclined to listen to the Master of Buckland (close-by) than some far off Took, but still recognise the Brandywine as the border of the Shire.
Centuries pass, and those who know the truth have taken it to their graves, leaving only speculation to provide an answer.

Discuss, if you wish!
 
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