Seven Great Houses (S . Belegmair ) dominate the aristocracy of the kingdom of Arthedain . Each owns considerable property and maintains a military force more-or-less independe t of royal control .The Lords (S . Hirereter ) of the Great Families are permanent members of the Royal Council . The Tarmas ,strongest in wealth and influence among the ruling families of Arthedain , gain their prestige by both numbers and talent , contributing many family members to both the military and civilian sectors of government and to the Council of Seers and the Guardians of the Palantiri . Their chief stronghold , Tarmabar , sprawls over a hilltop south of Lake Evendim , unconfined by keep walls . Although the aging Hiratar Tarma seldom travels into Siragale , his policies and prejudices play a key role in local events . The Tarma lands share a border with Siragale ; the leaders of House Tarma have sought privileges and control within the Elvish province for centuries . The first Tarmas came to Siragale in the late Second Age as keepers of an observatory on Cloudbreak Watch , the tallest of the hills overlooking the southern shores of Lake Nenuial . More family members and retainers arrived during the persecutions of Ar-Pharazon . Always friendly with the Wood-elves of the Pinnath Aelinhith (S . "Lake-mist Downs, " "Lake Moors") , the refugees founded a second observatory and monastery at Tarmabar , at the western end of the moors , in T.A . 2 . Over the course of many centuries , the family' s wealth and prestige grew steadily . Tarma influence in Arnorian politics was second only to that of the royal family . As Arthedain's power has dwindled over the years , the Tarmas have come to be seen as a threat . Other powerful families , such as the Orro and Hyarr Houses , now routinely oppose their influence . For centuries , the Hirereter (Lords ) Tarma have accumulated privileges and charters in Siragale , with the expectation that the decline of the Siranna Elves would allow them to exploit the province to their advantage . King Argeleb and his advisers , while denying such intentions publicly , granted the Periannath ([[Hobbits ) settlement rights to the Shire in large part to block Tarma expansion . Finralin Tarma , the Hireter these past eighty years , could not defeat the King in council , but has striven mightily to resist Hobbit expansion into the province . Most of the villages and strategic points in northern Siragale show a Tarma presence . Their soldiers , clad in distinctive silver-grey tunics , have the power to investigate and prosecute crimes , both real and imagined , as far south as Michel Delving . Where royal soldiers might strike Hobbits as aloof , Tarma officials show arrogance and often outright hostility . Hobbits fear them , avoiding their soldiers and hired thugs as best they can. The traditional Tarma lands are relatively green and prosperous , good for farming and grazing , as well supporting a selection of limestone and marble quarri - Their western reaches , around Tarmabar , are dotted with terraced gardens and orchards. Along the southern edge : the Tarma fiefdom lie the Meadow Downs (the North Moors to Hobbits).Between the Lake Moors and the Meadow Downs lies Gladelands—fertile , rollin g country , where grains and good oak mix with stone cottages barns . The peasants of this goodly country are loyal to Tarma and convinced that the "Halflin ' and Gob ' hordes to the south" mean to take what they have . Hobbits who cross the border into this otherwise peaceful country are in severe danger of a beating or lynching .