From Tolkien Gateway
The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - Púkel-man.png
One of the Púkel-men
Other namesWatch-stones[1]
LocationThe Crossings of Teiglin[1] and the Stair of the Hold
The Crossings of Teiglin[1] and the Stair of the Hold
GalleryImages of Púkel-men

The Púkel-men, or Watch-stones, were ancient carved statues of men, that stood at each turn of the switch-back road to Dunharrow, the Stair of the Hold, on a steep mountain slope on the north side of the White Mountains. They resembled huge men with clumsy limbs, squatting cross-legged with short arms folded across their fat bellies. Some had eroded over the years so that they lost all features, except the eye holes that semmed to stare sadly at those who passed by.[2]

The Rohirrim called the statues Púkel-men and hardly looked at them and ignored them when they passed them. Nobody in Rohan knew who carved the statues. The identity of the men who carved the statues in the Dark Years before a ship came to the western shores of Middle-earth and before the Dúnedain established the realm of Gondor had been forgotten and not remembered in any song or legend.[2] When Merry later saw Ghân-buri-Ghân, the chieftain of the Drúedain of Drúadan Forest, on March 14, T.A. 3019, he noticed that he resembled the statues on the road to Dunharrow.[3] It is possible that the statues had been carved by the Drúedain, because they had settled in the vales on the northern side of the White Mountains in the First Age and the Second Age[4] and the Drúedain in Beleriand had carved statues of themselves, which they called watch-stones and placed at turnings of woodland paths[1].


The word pucel in Old English means "devil" or a minor sprite and is often used for ugly, mishappen persons.[5][6] The element púc "goblin" is related to the name Puck and the modern English word "pug".[7]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

One or more of such statues can be seen near the scene where Elrond gives Andúril to Aragorn at Dunharrow.

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

After Gandalf and Radagast leave the High Fells of Rhudaur, and discuss their realisation that the Necromancer of Dol Guldur is Sauron, there is a statue nearby.[source?]