Woodmen

From Tolkien Gateway
Woodmen
People
Angelo Montanini - Woodmen.jpg
"Woodmen" by Angelo Montanini
General Information
OriginsNorthmen
LocationsMirkwood
Physical Description
Lifespanshorter than Númenórean
GalleryImages of Woodmen

The Woodmen were those Northmen who dwelt in Greenwood the Great in the Third and Fourth Ages.

Despite being troubled by evil creatures of Dol Guldur such as Orcs and Spiders, they survived until the War of the Ring and the Fourth Age.

Origins[edit]

See also: Northmen

The Woodmen were descended from the Edain who migrated to the West or from Men who were closely related to the Edain. As a consequence, their language was related to Adûnaic.[1]

At the end of the First Age some of those Men had settled in the northern and eastern borders of Greenwood.[2] Some migrated from the east of the Greenwood along its southern edge and up the the vales of the river Anduin or between its northern edge and the Grey Mountains. During the First and Second Age the Northmen, such as the ancestors of the Woodmen, had been allies of the Longbeards and the Dwarves of the hills surrounding the Greenwood, and were enemies of the Orcs and Easterlings.[3] The Woodmen maintained friendly relations with the Elves of the Greenwood.[4]

History[edit]

On 4 October[5][6] in T.A. 2,[7] the Woodmen noticed the disastrous battle between the Dúnedain and the Orcs at the Gladden Fields. They sent runners to Thranduil and assembled a force to ambush the Orcs in order to rescue the Dúnedain, but by the time they arrived at the site of the battle it was too late: Isildur and almost all his Guards had been killed. All the Woodmen could do was to drive away the surviving Orcs, before they could mutilate the bodies of the dead. It was probably those Woodmen who found the stunned Estelmo alive under his master Elendur's dead body.[4]

In T.A. 1636 the Great Plague spreaded north from Gondor,[8] but it is not recorded how the Woodmen fared.

The Eagles used to feed on the Northmen's sheep, who defended them with their bows of yew; thus they were afraid to fly anywhere near where men lived. The Wargs and the Orcs of the Misty Mountains also usually did not dare to approach as they were brave and well-armed.[9]

At the time of the Quest of Erebor in T.A. 2941 the Woodmen settled in Mirkwood south of the Old Forest Road near the western edges of the forest.[10] Around T.A. 2941 some bold Woodmen and their families were attempting to make their way back to the north, cutting down trees, and building settlements among the woods in the valleys and along the river-shores. This time Orcs and Wargs started planning a joint raid against them to capture slaves. When the Orcs discovered Thorin and Company, they thought they were spies of those Woodmen and hunted them down, fearing they would warn their people.[9]

Obviously the raid never took place, thanks to the subsequent events, including the Battle of Five Armies where Orcs and Wargs were devastated. After the Battle, Men could travel without fear and many came to Beorn's home to celebrate Yule, and some gathered under him as a chieftain.[11]

A couple of years later, Gollum traversed Mirkwood in search for his Ring and its thief; this terrified the Woodmen who talked about "a ghost that drank blood", that even crept into houses to steal babies.[12]

After the cleansing of the forest, the Woodmen and the Beornings were given the central portion of Eryn Lasgalen, between the Narrows of the Forest and the Woodland Realm.[13]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Gandalf mentions at the meeting of the White Council that Greenwood the Great is now called "Mirkwood" by the Woodmen.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men", p. 1129
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages", first paragraph
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Relations of the Longbeard Dwarves and Men", third and fourth paragraph
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", The sources of the legend of Isildur's death, first paragraph
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", "Notes", note 9, Isildur started his journey on 5 September and was killed on the thirtieth of his journey
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", sixth paragraph
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 1634
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Map of Wilderland"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Shadow of the Past", p. 58
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", p. 1094