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Dunlendings

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Dunlendings
Race
DominionsDunland
LanguagesWestron
Average heightsmaller in stature than other men
Skin colordarker than other Men
Hair colordark
Lifespanas all men

Dunlendings were the ferocious, stunted and vicious men that lived in Dunland, close to Rohan. Also called the Wild Men of Dunland, they have long been enemies of the Rohirrim, becuase they are jealous that the rich lands of the old Númenórean province of Calenardhon were granted by the Gondorians to the Rohirrim instead of them.

Contents

History

Origins

The ancestors of the Dunlendings are also the ancestors of the Haladin, the second of the Three Houses of the Edain who led her people from East Beleriand to Brethil. They were a reclusive folk, dark-haired but smaller in stature than the Bëorians or the Marachians. They kept separate from the other Men. Their language was different from the ones that used by the other Edain.

After the fall of Beleriand, the survivors went to Númenor but those who didn't cross the Ered Luin settled upon either side of the Gwathló or in the Ered Nimrais. In the First Age, the Drúedain lived among them and shared close relationship, more than with any other race of men.

Númenórean contact

In ancient times the peoples who were the ancestors of the Dunlendings ranged over much Eriador and what later became Gondor, but they were increasingly driven back by the Númenóreans. Offshoots of these peoples survived in isolated places like the hilly country of Dunland or in the White Mountains: thus the Oathbreakers are akin to the ancient Dunlendings.

During the advance of the Númenóreans, many people overcame their fear of the Elves and fled from Minhiriath into the dark woods of the great Cape of Eryn Vorn. Those from Enedwaith took refuge in the eastern mountains that would become Dunland.[1] Interestingly, the Men of Bree are themselves actually an offshoot of the Dunlendings, who moved even further north until they reached what became the Bree-land, and were absorbed into Arnor.

Some of the Pre-Númenóreans were absorbed into the population of Gondor, and some stayed in the White Mountains. There are few records of the Dunlending language, due to their lack of a written history and poor oral tradition.

Dunlendings by Angelo Montanini

The Dunlendings occupied the Gondorian region of Calenardhon when it was underpopulated. Subsequently they were always angered this rich land was granted to the Rohirrim and constantly harassed them. The worst of these incidents was an all-out invasion by the Dunlending chief Wulf in T.A. 2758 which nearly overwhelmed Rohan during the Long Winter, though the people of Rohan survived the crisis due to the leadership of King Helm Hammerhand, and eventually the Dunlendings were driven out.

The Dunlendings were employed by the wizard Saruman to attack and raid the cities and settlements of Rohan. Since Gríma Wormtongue had corrupted the mind of King Theoden, the Rohirrim were absent for the most part, and the farm boys and old men who picked up rusty swords proved to be little contest to the ferocious Dunlendings.

Wild Men were also present at the Battle of the Hornburg (Battle of Helm's Deep), as well as an odd breed of Half-orcs, derived from Orcs and the Men of Dunland. They fought viciously against their old enemy, but when Gandalf stormed down the hill with a thousand Rohirrim at his back and his staff shining piercing light into the eyes of the Dunlendings, they dropped their weapons and surrendured. This proved to be a wise decision, as the Orcs who fled were killed by a massive forest of Huorns that blocked the entrance to the valley.

After Saruman's downfall, the Dunlendings retreated back into their homeland and did not trouble the people of Rohan. When the wizard Saruman attempted to take over the Shire, there were a number of Dunlendings with him. However, they were slain or driven away by Hobbits, Saruman died at the hands of his own servant, Wormtongue, Sauron, the basis of all evil, had fallen, and King Elessar took the throne of Gondor, the Dunlendings agreed never to trouble the free peoples of Middle-earth again, and their old and evil power was finally broken.

Names

A Sindarin name for the Dunlendings was Gwathuirim (gwathui "shadowy" + rim "people").[2][3]

Inspiration

It is possible that the rivalry between the primitive Dunlendings and the blonde-haired, pseudo-Anglo-Saxon Rohirrim who migrated into the lands neighboring them was meant by Tolkien to be analagous to the real life conflicts that arose between the Anglo-Saxons in England and neighboring Celtic peoples.

This is supported by the fact that placenames of Bree-land like Bree, Archet and Combe are Celtic. The Stoor Hobbits (who had stayed long in Dunland), have Celtic elements in their names. Tolkien mentioned that the survival of traces of the older language of the Stoors and the Bree-men resembled the survival of Celtic elements in England.

See also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men", p. 330 (note 76)
  3. Hiswelókë's Sindarin Dictionary (accessed 31 December 2010)