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The Northlands is the name of the mountainous north-western region of the Old World.
The nature of the political status of this region is a matter of debate because the collection of material from canon concerning the area is ambiguous when looked at as a whole.
Extent and Status of The NorthlandsEdit
The first mention of The Northlands in canon is on the first page of the introduction to The Tasks of Tantalon. The fact of King Constain's assassination is revealed, and part of the detail is that he and his Queen were "ambushed and butchered by Northlanders in Narrow Pass." The only geographic clue is in the name Northlanders.
The North KingdomEdit
Further on in the introduction, however, the issue of Baron Tag being brought to justice for his part in Constain's death is discussed. Tantalon muses: "Fagorn, the blind seer, or perhaps the Four Princes may know of Tag's whereabouts; they were all from the north kingdom." The Four Princes are the Ham Princes, suggesting that The Ham is included within the north kingdom. However, The Ham appears to be unequivocally within Gallantaria judging from the map of Gallantaria in the hardback version of The Tasks of Tantalon. The fact that the "north kingdom" is spelt uncapitalised also suggests this is referring to the north "of the" kingdom, as opposed to a separate political entity. However, one would expect the use of the term "north of" or "northern", and so this issue is by no means closed and will be revisited below.
The issue of the north kingdom is thrown back into question, however, by the preamble to the ninth of Tantalon's tasks, - the deduction of Tag's whereabouts. Here we learn that on the day of Constain's assassination, "Tag himself was escorting the King, riding with his queen back towards Forrin from the North Kingdom. When they reached Narrow Pass, a party of rebellious Northlanders isolated the royal party and all were slain." Thus, now the North Kingdom is more definitively identified. It also appears that the North Kingdom definitely extends beyond Narrow Pass. However, the fact that the Northlanders are described as "rebellious" in relation to their act of killing the King of Gallantaria would suggest that they are rebelling against Gallantaria, which in turn suggests that the North Kingdom, although identified as a kingdom, is in fact subservient to Gallantaria. Alternatively, the North Kingdom, if not subservient to Gallantaria, could have had a favourable relationship with Gallantaria, thus the rebelliousness could have been in relation to a policy of the leaders of the North Kingdom which was one of peace towards Gallantaria.
Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World first refers to The Northlands in the map of the Old World. In the case of this continent, countries are labelled on the map. Thus we have Gallantaria, Analand, Lendleland, Brice etc. Importantly, The Northlands is labelled in the same manner, which strongly suggests it is a separate political entity. However, the introduction to Gallantaria in the tour of the Old World, states that Gallantaria's turbulent past is mostly because of the warlike ambitions of Brice and the inhabitants of the Northlands. If it had simply said "and the Northlands", this would have suggested the Northlands was a political unit similar to Brice. However, saying "and the inhabitants of the Northlands" is suggestive of the Northlands not being a unified political entity.
Importantly, Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World goes on to firmly define that the Cragrock Peaks are the northern border of Gallantaria. We know from the map of the Old World that there is a significant amount of land, named The Northlands, beyond this, which therefore appears categoric proof that The Northlands is separate from Gallantaria.
The War of the Four KingdomsEdit
In 175AC Brice invaded Gallantaria, but at the same time, "rebellious subjects from the Northlands began encroaching into Gallantaria via the Cragrock Peaks." This tells the reader two things. First, The Northlands is separate from Gallantaria, because Northlanders were encroaching into Gallantaria, as opposed to into southern Gallantaria. However, once again "rebellious subjects" are mentioned. Despite the possibility that this could mean these subjects were rebelling against their own political leaders in the Northlands, it seems more weighted towards them rebelling against Gallantaria. This then suggests a more complex relationship between Gallantaria and The Northlands than just neighbouring states. It seems more likely that The Northlands was more akin to existing under the suzerainty of Gallantaria.
King Constain's first act of the War of the Four Kingdoms was to attempt to repel the Northlanders. Whilst in the Northlands, Constain spent several days inspecting troops in their positions in the Northlands. Thus, he had a military presence in the Northlands. The passage in Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World that deals with this confirms that this took place beyond the Cragrock Peaks because it confirms that Constain returned back through the Narrow Pass mentioned in The Tasks of Tantalon, and that the pass was in the Cragrocks. This further cements our understanding that the Northlands is beyond the Cragocks. Importantly, it also confirms that the North Kingdom, when used as a proper noun, is synonymous with The Northlands. Given that the Cragrock's are Gallantaria's northern boundary, and that the Northlands are the Northern Kingdom, it is perhaps not a leap too far to suggest that despite a probable vassal status, the North Kingdom could have been one of the eponymous four kingdoms of the War of the Four Kingdoms. However, later canon specifically brings in Lendleland as a kingdom, whilst firmly relegating The Northlands to subject status:
“ Next, Gallantarian colonies in the Northlands rebelled and sent an army down into their parent country to win their independence, and it did not take long before the nearby nations of Femphrey and Lendleland got caught up in these terrible events. Thus began the War of the Four Kingdoms. ”
This passage in fact goes further than to suggest subject status. It intimates that the forces that came down from the Northlands were colonial forces of Gallantaria. This suggest the Northlands is akin to an uncharted territory with pockets of Gallantarians colonising certain areas. However, the fact that its is described as the North Kingdom, would suggest they were more than colonies, or indeed that some other power held sway over the Northlands, alongside Gallantarian colonies.
The Four Princes and Fagorn revisitedEdit
Given that canon firmly establishes that he North Kingdom/The Northlands begins beyond the Cragrocks, and the The Ham is definitely within the map of Gallantaria, it would seem that the reference to the Four Princes and Fagorn coming from the north kingdom is as discussed, a reference to the north of the kingdom. The use of "north kingdom" and "North Kingdom" within the same text but apparently meaning different things has led to confusion among scholars. What compounds the issue is that Tantalon felt that the very fact that the Four Princes and Fagorn were from the north kingdom was reason why they might know of Tag's whereabouts following his treachery with the Northlanders. However, Tag was on the run in northern Gallantaria, hence the reference is more likely due to this presence in the north of the kingdom, than because of Tag's dealings with the North Kingdom.
The fact that the Four Princes are princes suggests that they have some sovereignty within The Ham, which would run parallel to The Northlands having a measure of sovereignty whilst being subject to Royal Lendle. However, this does not make The Ham part of the Northlands. It may more probably be that it is indicative of the nature in which Royal Lendle exerts its power, which would lend weight to the larger Northlands being more of a tribute state than a Gallantarian province.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Tasks of Tantalon - p.?
- ↑ The Tasks of Tantalon - p.?
- ↑ Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - p.??/27
- ↑ Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/33
- ↑ Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/34
- ↑ Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/88
- ↑ Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World - ??/89
- ↑ Legend of the Shadow Warriors - Background