Noble Ranks distinguish firm levels of authority between different types of nobility in the Helmut Kingdom. Two nobles with different titles, but at the same rank, can be considered to have similar levels of authority, though officially some titles will be higher even within the same rank.
There are ten recognized ranks of nobility within the Helmut Kingdom. These ranks are taken from Chapter 29 of the light novel, "Reunion with Erich-nii-san".
Noble titles in the neighboring Holy Urqhart Empire follow a similar pattern, specifically with regard to the titles for duke and below, though there are some differences and the Empire does not appear to tranche their noble titles into ranks but instead treats them as self-evidently higher or lower than other peerage titles.
- 1 Rank 1: The King
- 2 Rank 2: The Royal Family
- 3 Rank 3-4: High Nobility
- 4 Rank 5: Middle Nobility
- 5 Rank 6: Lower Nobility
- 6 Rank 7-10: Knights/Pseudo-Nobility
- 7 Honorary Peerage
- 8 Hereditary Retainers (No Rank)
- 9 Non-Hereditary Retainers (No Rank)
- 10 Difference between a Retainer/Vassal/Patron
- 11 Differences between Helmut Kingdom and Holy Urqhart Empire
Rank 1: The King
Rank one belongs solely to His Majesty, the King of Helmut.
Rank 2: The Royal Family
The queen, as well as any princes or princesses, including the crown prince. This rank does not normally refer to any more distant relatives of the king, however relatives that were a prince or a princess under the prior king (other than the crown prince), will likely be allowed to keep their title upon ascension of a new king.
Rank 3-4: High Nobility
Ranks 3 and 4 are generally considered to have the same level of authority, but rank 3 is typically reserved for members of the royal family who cannot otherwise claim rank 2, while rank 4 are not typically members of the royal family.
Duke (Rank 3)
- The novel simultaneously suggests that rank 3 has dukes as well as other royals, but in the light novels, the only time we ever see duke used is for a member of the royal family, while the anime adaptation has Amadeus Freitak von Bleichröder holding this title.
Margrave/Marquis (Rank 4)
- Margrave is the title of the noble who proxy-controls the major regions of the Kingdom, such as Margrave Breithilde in the south (in the light novel) and Margrave Browig in the east.
- The English translations of the anime adaptation, Margrave Breithilde is introduced as a Duke Bleichröder. This is likely because for American audiences, margrave is a much less recognized title.
- In Chapter 73 of the light novel, the king promotes Gerd Oskar von Browig, younger brother of the prior Margrave Browig and uncle to Karla von Browig, to the rank of margrave, but states that he is promoting him to the third rank. This is a clear discontinuity with the list used here, but may be reconcilable on the basis that the Browig family was one of the oldest and most distinguished lines in the kingdom, stretching back over 1000 years, which the margraves of the west and south cannot similarly claim.
Rank 5: Middle Nobility
Unlike ranks 3 & 4, two ranks with approximately equal authority, this rank is explicit in that the separate titles within the rank are formally of differing levels of authority. Listed in order from highest precedence to lowest:
Count/Earl (Rank 5, Upper)
- Earl is the British term for count, and can be used interchangeably. The web/light novel translations preferentially use earl, while other media tend to use count.
- Wendelin was elevated to this title upon successfully initiating the development of the undeveloped lands on the southern edge of the Baumeister Knighthood.
Viscount (Rank 5, Middle)
- This title is held by Cardinal Hohenheim. This title is also bestowed upon court magician Christoph von Armstrong after participating in the subjugation of the dragon in the grasslands. Prior to this, Armstrong was a baron.
Baron (Rank 5, Lower)
- Wendelin was elevated to this title after participating in the subjugation of the dragon in the grasslands.
Rank 6: Lower Nobility
Baronet (Rank 6)
- The web/light novel translations often list this as associate baron.
- This is the first title Wendelin is granted, after successful subjugation of the bone dragon.
- Katharina was granted an honorary baronet title when her family nobility was restored, a rare honor as the Helmut Kingdom does not allow women to hold noble titles.
Rank 7-10: Knights/Pseudo-Nobility
The world of Hachinan tte, Sore wa Nai Deshou! treats Knights as a form of nobility, though with far less gravitas than the formal nobility ranks listed above.
Hereditary Knight (Rank 7)
- This is the rank that Artur Baumeister, as head of the Baumeister Family, held as lord of their territory.
Non-Hereditary Knights (Ranks 8-10)
- Ranks 8-10 can be made hereditary by appointment of the king, but are presumed to not be by default.
- Some high-ranking nobles have been granted permission by the king to name non-hereditary knights that are tied specifically to their territory, though this is rarely done.
In addition to formal peerage, both the Helmut Kingdom and the Holy Urqhart Empire recognize honorary peerages. These grant all the rights and privileges of the rank, including the annual stipend, but do not come with territory and are not hereditary.
- The first example of this is when Katharina is awarded honorary baronet. This is noteworthy for two reasons: first, since the Helmut Kingdom does not grant peerages to women, the honorary peerage is a clear reflection of her abilities as a magician and of her family's past noble title; second, the Waigel household only had a rank 7 Hereditary Knighthood before it had been stripped, and with the reinstatement of the household (starting with her child) it will be restored to the same Knighthood, not her baronet title.
- The second example is when Duchess Philip of the Holy Urqhart Empire offers Wendelin the title of honorary count/earl. This takes place during the Empire Rebellion Arc, and the reasoning is that acting as only a mercenary on behalf of the Liberation Army means other Urqhart nobles don't readily listen to him, but granting him an actual peerage would create long-term difficulty since he is still a citizen of the Helmut Kingdom. This move would allow more active military campaign contribution without the same long-term risks.
- Duchess Philip pushes for this in her capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Liberation Army. However, since she is not the Empress, the legitimacy of such a move could be questioned. In the web novel, the Emperor, who had only been enthroned just before the rebellion started, grants recognition of the title to Wend after the liberation army pushes Duke Nurnberg's forces out of the imperial capital. In the light novel, the new Emperor does not take any action on it, and dies soon after with his two oldest sons in a failed attack on the Duke, while his third son grants recognition of Wend's title in his capacity as the newly-created post of Prime Minister, running the empire until a new emperor (likely to be himself) is elected.
Hereditary Retainers (No Rank)
While retainers of higher-ranking nobles likely have noble titles and ranks of their own, there are many instances of Retainers who do not have their own rank, but are given hereditary status. This status is inferred from context, and is therefore not explicitly listed as a rank in the novel.
- Erwin von Arnim, Wendelin's first retainer, holds a position that will become hereditary. Louise Yorande Aorelia Oufelbeik and Iina Suzane Hirenbrant, who were also Wendelin's retainers prior to becoming his fiancees/wives, likely would have been in a similar position.
- Rhodrich, estranged son of the late Baron Ruckner and nephew of Minister Ruckner, is acting as territory governor of the Baumeister Earldom, a hereditary position. He refused to inherit his father's title as Baron, but it will be reinstated with his heir when they take his position as governor.
- Klaus, former village headman for the primary village in the Baumeister Knighthood, held his position as a hereditary grant from the territory's lord, until he was forced to resign following a coup attempt.
Non-Hereditary Retainers (No Rank)
Some retainer positions are because of special skills. For example, since magic has low heritability, it is not always necessary for a retainer magician without any rank to be made hereditary. This status is inferred from context, and is therefore not explicitly listed as a rank in the novel.
- Brantark Ringstat is a good example of this. He is a retainer to Duke Bleichröder in the position of Head Magician, but because his power cannot be passed down, the position is not appropriate to make hereditary.
- Despite this, Brantark has significant assets from his adventurer days, and as a deliberately single man is constantly involved with ladies from the red light district. In order to avoid a dispute over his inheritance with prostitutes claiming their child is his, Duke Bleichröder insists he get married and produce an appropriate heir.
Difference between a Retainer/Vassal/Patron
- A Retainer is someone *hired* by a noble for the purpose of serving that noble in an official capacity. It is not used for low-level positions in a noble's household, such as servants. Unless otherwise noted, a retainer is a hereditary position. A retainer may or may not also be a noble.
- A Vassal is a person possessing a noble title, and typically possessing a territory of their own, who is technically under the authority of a higher noble.
- It is also possible to be a vassal for more than one noble simultaneously, if the intermediate-ranked noble is themselves a vassal of the higher one. For example, a knight may be the vassal of a baron and a margrave if the baron is also a vassal of that margrave. In that case, it is customary to refer to the vassalage by the closer-in-rank connection.
- A Patron is a noble of sufficiently high rank that they have a lower noble under their authority. It is the inverse side of the Vassal relationship.
- All nobles are vassals of the king, and in turn have the king as their patron, however it is customary that the term is reserved for noble-noble relationships rather than noble-royal relationships.
- The sole exception is for those knights who have been granted a non-hereditary peerage directly by a high-noble such as a margrave, and with that peerage tied directly to that high-noble's territory. The right to exercise the exception has to be explicitly permitted to the high-noble by the King first.
Differences between Helmut Kingdom and Holy Urqhart Empire
While the general structure of nobility is largely similar between the two nations, there are several key differences.
- The first difference is that the Empire fully permits women to hold and inherit noble titles, all the way up to the role of Emperor (however no woman has ever succeeded in becoming the Empress).
- The second difference is that there are several unique royal and noble ranks, as well as specific rules regarding some of those ranks. These are discussed in more detail below:
Since the Empire was formed by the uniting of distinct groups, the role of Emperor (which can often be translated to mean "king of kings") was that of a unifier of those groups. Interestingly, in order to ensure stability of the Empire, the role of Emperor is not hereditary; when an emperor dies, candidates are put forward by several of the highest noble houses, and votes are conducted by a Congress of Nobles from throughout the Empire.
The Prince Electors are the heads of the highest seven houses, all of the noble title of Duke, who are allowed to present themselves as candidates for becoming the next Emperor. A Prince-Elector is not required to seek the title, and it is also customary for those over the age of 60 not to compete as well as for the household of the immediately-prior Emperor to abstain.
The Prince-Electors are composed of six territorial Dukes and one Duchy representing the "Imperial Family." This family is, in effect, the territorial Duke for the imperial capital, and as such styles itself differently, using the title grand duke instead.
- In European noble ranks, a grand duke is a title sometimes used for someone with all the authority of a King within their own domain, but whose effective kingdom is notably smaller than that of a normal kingdom.
Within the Empire, there is one group, the Mizuho people, who have resisted being fully subsumed into the Empire's structure. In an effort to end the strife, a past emperor made peace with the Mizuho by promising independence of the group within the Empire in exchange for them accepting being part of it, and elevated the head to a new title, high earl. The High Earl of Mizuho has authority more like that of a Duke, but is not a Prince-Elector nor do any of the nobles from the territory participate in the Congress of Nobles.