The Haradrim or Southrons were the proud and warlike people of the Harad, in the south of Middle-earth. The ancient enemies of Gondor, they allied with Sauron during the War of the Ring. Tolkien provides a description of one of their dead in the Lord of the Rings:
- "...a man fell, crashing through the slender trees, nearly on top of them Frodo and Sam. He came to rest in the fern a few feet away, face downward, green arrow-feathers sticking from his neck below a golden collar. His scarlet robes were tattered, his corslet of overlapping brazen plates was rent and hewn, his black plaits of hair braided with gold were drenched with blood. His brown hand still clutched the hilt of a broken sword..."
- ― The Two Towers
During the Second Age the Men of Númenor built a great city in the firth of Umbar, a vast natural harbour on the southern shores of the Bay of Belfalas, eventually turning the city into a fortified citadel from whose gates the Men of Númenor could levy great tributes upon the tribes of Harad.
In order to maintain their rule over the lands of Harad, the lords of Umbar installed client kings, chieftains who had submitted to their will. Any chieftain who opposed their rule was quickly slain. In order to facilitate their rule, the lords of Umbar established the order of the Hásharii.
At the time of the War of the Ring, the Southrons were in league with Sauron and fought alongside his Orc army. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, they deployed cavalry and gigantic, elephant-like Mûmakil. King Théoden of Rohan killed their leader, who bore the standard of the Black Serpent, during the battle.
Once Sauron was destroyed, the Southrons submitted to the rule of King Elessar.
In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, the Haradrim appear briefly in The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam witness a raid on one of their columns by Faramir's rangers. They are featured more prominently in The Return of the King, in which the battle between the Rohirrim and the Mûmakil is a major action sequence.
While the book depicts the Southron army as primarily cavalry armed with scimitars, we see no horsemen in the movie: the Haradrim fight almost exclusively from platforms mounted on the backs of their monstrous oliphaunts. They have also adorned the animals' tusks with spikes and shafts that crush and impale numerous enemy horsemen.
The costumes of the Haradrim in the movie are Middle Eastern in style and dark brown or black in color, while the Haradrim wore red livery in the book.