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Isfhandijar of Bakshir

Dates

b. ? - d. 2970 (assassination)

Title

Khan of Bakshir or kha-kan of Bakshir

Home City

Bashidra

Spouses

Two unnamed wives; Ariyë (slave-concubine)

Children

With wives: Unnamed older sons, Iskhandar, unnamed daughters; With Ariyë: Andrahar


Isfhandijar was a warlord ruler of Bakshir , one of the preeminent realms of Harad .

Differing titles and backgrounds within the UnabeauverseEdit

Titles and general cultural background: SoledadEdit

"In my imagination, Harad is a land that we would call "oriental" as opposed to our Western culture." - Soledad's author's notes to Pawns and Symbols[1]

The general cultural background that Soledad develops for Harad is drawn from the mythology and languages of Persia and China. In this context, she introduced the character, Isfhandijar, to flesh out Iskhandar , his son and the kha-kan of Bakshir at the time of the Battle of the Pelennor fields.

Isfhandijar was the kha-kan of Bakshir, meaning a warlord or ruler of a people primarily nomadic in character.[2] The term may also indicate the head of a family or chieftain of a tribe.[3] He was a vassal of the padisakh of Bakshir (the king of this realm and its people), and supported by military captains (khans). Whether he himself lives a nomadic life or is settled is not entirely clear, though it seems he is attached to a city, Bashidra.


Titles and general cultural background: IsabeauEdit

“You honor me more than I deserve, my lord, but if you truly wish to know--my father was Isfhandijar, late the khan of Bakshir.” - Kin-Strife , ch. 3

Although it may be that a khan can also be the kha-kan, it seems that the preferred title for Isfhandijar (and so by extension for the son who eventually succeeded him, Iskhandar) is khan of Bakshir, rather than kha-kan. It is also not clear whether, in Bakshir itself, there is anyone above Isfhandijar to whom he must answer.

Whether all the cultural elements developed by Soledad are carried over into Isabeau's stories is not entirely clear, possibly because her stories have tended to be set in Gondor among Gondorians, or else have focused on more limited familial interactions, where the more elaborate cultural background of Soledad's stories has less opportunity to be deployed.

Dwimordene has tended to follow Isabeau's forms of address for Isfhandijar, and write him as the khan of Bakshir, and to use "kha-khan" to designate a rank above "khan." Altariel has yet to write anything concerning Isfhandijar.


Other inconsistenciesEdit

Although Pawns and Symbols has Isfhandijar purchase and take Ariyë as a lover after the death of his (singular) wife,[4] Princes of Dol Amroth, entry 21, gives Isfhandijar two wives, and they are alive at the time that he acquires Ariyë and makes her his concubine.[5] Hence it is not only his sons who are dismayed by his favoritism of Ariyë and her son.

Pawns and Symbols also has it that Isfhandijar intended to legitimze Andrahar when he reached first maturity; in other stories and entries, no mention is made of this. Journal entry 21 speculates that Isfhandijar kept Ariyë as a slave, and never acknowledged her son in order to try to appease his wives and their children and prevent the two from seeming to be a threat. This may not be an inconsistency, so much as a question of Andrahar's perception versus a more objective assessment.

Dwimordene's stories have followed the journal entry version of Isfhandijar's family relations.

For the purposes of simplifying the biography, where Pawns and Symbols or The Face of the Enemy contradict Isabeau's stories, the biography follows Isabeau's stories, and notes differences here.


BiographyEdit

Isfhandijar had at least one younger brother, Isulhar of Bakshir , who became a merchant.[6] The family of the khan (or kha-kan) of Bakshir is known to have Númenorean blood in it, through intermarriage with families in Umbar:

But his father [Isfhandijar] had the blood of Westernesse in his veins, descending from the old rulers of Umbar. - The Face of the Enemy , ch. 5

Isfhandijar, like his children, therefore had a longer span of life before them than many of their subjects. This was a cause of some dismay to ambitious sons,[7] who were impatient to inherit and whose own mothers were not from families of Black Númenoreans.[8]

Although there is no direct description of Isfhandijar himself, it is said more than once that Andrahar resembles him closely:

“Do you know, I actually encountered your father years ago?” he [Adrahil] said thoughtfully. “I was doing some trade negotiations for Ecthelion. I did not speak to him, but he was there with the delegation and I was told who he was. You look a great deal like him--which explains the feeling I’ve had from time to time that I’d seen you somewhere before.” - Kin-Strife , ch. 3

And that resemblance is given in general terms as "handsome, hawkish features [Andrahar had] inherited fro his father [...]."[9] According to Andrahar, in Pawns and Symbols, his own complexion, though dark by comparison with that of the Dúnedain, is considered light in Harad, implying that either Isfhandijar or Ariyë or both may have had relatively light skin, which they passed on to their son.[10]

Isfhandijar married at least twice (see "Other Inconsistencies" above), and sired several legitimate sons and daughters with his wives, of whom only Iskhandar, the youngest, is named. At least thirteen years before his death, Isfhandijar won a feud with another noble house in Umbar, and bought as a slave from among the members of the fallen house one of the daughters.[11] This was Ariyë , whose family likewise had much Númenorean blood in it: he grew to love her, made her his concubine, and had an illegitimate son with her, Andrahar.

Isfhandijar favored his concubine, who was also considered a heretic, heavily.[12] This greatly displeased his wives and their children. He loved the son that he had with Ariyë very much, too, which antagonized his legitimate sons.[13] [14] [15] Isfhandijar raised Andrahar to the values and codes of a noble-born warrior of high caste, and suggests that his intention is for his son to serve as some form of military champion for his house:

“You will serve our house well, my tiger, when your claws have come in,” he said softly. “I wish that you could rule instead of serve, but that is not your destiny." - Kin-Strife , ch 3.

Political roleEdit

The khan of Bakshir is said to be one of the most important rulers in Harad.[16] So important, that by the time of the Ring War, Isfhandijar's son, Iskhandar , who had assumed rule of in his stead after the deaths of his brothers, is vying with other great houses for the rule of all of Harad directly under Sauron's authority:

The realm that would prove the most useful in conquering the White City could also expect to become the most influential one in Harad. The warlord of that realm was to become the Overlord of all Haradric realms, triumphant over the others, after thousands of years spent in embittered, fruitless struggle among each other.
So had the Shadow Lord promised, speaking for the Dark Power that dwelt in Mordor. - The Face of the Enemy , ch. 1

The khan of Bakshir served in delegations on behalf of Harad, treating with Gondor at need.[17] His military power was considerable, and as a result, the Bakshiri were reputed to be both arrogant[18] and eager for war.[19]

As khan of an important noble house, Isfhandijar also served as a religious figure for his people and was responsible for the proper performance of the rites of the household.[20] His tolerance and even encouragement of Ariyë in the practice of a differing set of rites would have had both religious and political implications that must have alarmed his wives and legitimate children.


DeathEdit

In 2970, Isfhandijar died, and his concubine was accused of poisoning him. He may well have died of poison, but not by Ariyë's hand, though this was never put forward or proven in Harad.

The Princes of Dol Amroth, entry 9, claims that his older sons poisoned him to prevent him from legitimizing his favorite son, and to gain power that otherwise they might have had to wait much longer to inherit.[21]


ReferencesEdit

For Want of Roses

Kin-Strife

Pawns and Symbols

Princes of Dol Amroth journal

The Face of the Enemy

Ultimatums