Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 00:44, 26 April 2014 by Wingfoot (Talk | contribs)
John Howe - Variag

The Variags were a little-known people who dwelt in the land of Khand.



They were allies of both Rhûn and Harad, to neither of which they belonged.

Khand was southeast of Mordor at the time of the War of the Ring.[1] The Variags were allied to Sauron and their warriors were seen at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[2]


Variag is a word of a Harad language[3], but its meaning is unknown.


Variag is a Slavic word derived from Norse Varingar "mercenary people" (vár "contract"). The Varamgoa Guard were Norse body-guards of the Byzantine Emperor and founded Kiev. In modern Russian it means "travelling pedlar".

It has been suggested that Tolkien adopted the Slavic term to indicate that the Variags were possibly mercenaries serving a possible Lord of Khand.[4]

Portrayal in adaptations

Variags of Khand in MECCG

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Variags, who speak the tongue Varadja, share ties with both Easterlings and Haradrim.[5][6]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

Variags of Khand is a Man Faction.

See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Appendix on Languages
  4. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, Obscure Languages
  5. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, hardcover) (#2000)
  6. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. et al. (1987), Lords of Middle-earth Vol II: The Mannish Races (#8003)