From Tolkien Gateway
Stefano Baldo - Wainriders.jpg
"Wainriders" by Stefano Baldo
General Information
Locationslands east of and around Rhûn; Rhovanion
Languagesvarious Easterling tongues

The Wainriders were a people, or confederacy, of Men from the East. They journeyed in great wagons, and their chieftains rode chariots in battle.[1] They camped in fortified camps of wagons. Their young women were also trained in arms, and they, along with old men and youths, stayed behind, able to defend their homes from attackers.[2]

These Easterlings were stirred by Sauron to descend upon Gondor and its allies, some two centuries after the time of the Great Plague; being better armed than previous invaders, they remained a dire threat to the South-kingdom for nearly a hundred years.


The Wainriders entered history in T.A. 1851. They quickly overran Rhovanion and soon came to battle with Gondor itself.[1] In T.A. 1856 Narmacil II was lost in battle, and for a time all of Gondor's possessions east of Anduin were lost to it. Narmacil's son Calimehtar won a temporary reprieve in 1899 when the enslaved Northmen revolted against the Wainriders, and he took advantage to defeat the Wainriders on the plain of Dagorlad.[3]

After that defeat, the Wainriders planned a crushing revenge. Allying themselves with the Men of Near Harad and Khand, they orchestrated a simultaneous assault on Gondor from the north and the south, and the South-kingdom came close to destruction.[1] In T.A. 1944[3] King Ondoher was lost in the northern battles, but his general Eärnil defeated the southern invaders. The victorious Wainrider army in the north, celebrating their victory over Ondoher, suddenly found themselves set upon by Eärnil. In an encounter that became known as the Battle of the Camp, the Wainriders were put to rout, and those that survived fled back to their eastern domains.[1]

It was later seen that the invasions of the Wainriders, as so many of Gondor's perils, were engineered by the emissaries of Sauron. While Gondor's control of the lands east of the Anduin had been lost, the borders of Mordor had been open, and during this time the Nazgûl had taken advantage of Gondor's plight to re-enter the land of their master.


Andreas Moehn notes that some ancient peoples traveled in wagons, such as the Hamaxobioi from Greek sources, or the Scythians.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", "(i) The Northmen and the Wainriders"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  4. Andreas Moehn, "The Men of Darkness", Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages (accessed 30 September 2022) [Amaxoluoi is an error].