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Question about Sauron's army during his campaign against Celebrimbor and Eregion


Oct 16, 3:16pm

Views: 1117
Question about Sauron's army during his campaign against Celebrimbor and Eregion

Did his army consist mainly of orcs, goblins and trolls? Were there other allies such as easterlings, haradrim, dark creatures like wargs, giant bats and the remaining werewolves in Middle Earth?


Oct 16, 3:43pm

Views: 1083
Orcs, Trolls and Men?

It seems awfully likely that Sauron's forces included Men. We know that he had followers among the indigenous people of Eriador (including cults that persisted in Eryn Vorn) as well as in the East and South. I don't think that Tolkien went into much detail, though, about the make up of Sauron's armies in that conflict. I do suspect that Sauron was commanding many more Men later in the Second Age when he declared himself the King of Men and Lord of the Earth.

I do think that if Sauron had Orcs in his armies, that would have included cavalry forces of Warg-riders.



Oct 16, 5:26pm

Views: 1076
The best easterlings and harad warriors selected to lead orc armies

Is it possible some high rankin men from the east and south were leading Sauron's orc armies in different fronts? Or were they lead by high ranking orcs?


Oct 16, 5:47pm

Views: 1077
Yes and no.

As a rule Haradrim or Easterlings would not lead Orcs. There would most likely be great distrust between them and the Orcs.

The only exception of course is that if one of the Haradrim or Easterlings held a very high command position in Saurons hierachy then he could decide where to send the Orcs, but the Orcs would be let by their own mostly.

For the rest it is likely that the majority of Saurons army in the Eregion campaign were men from the East and the South, but probably there were also Orcs.


Oct 16, 6:16pm

Views: 1069
Mostly easterlings and harad?

I thought Sauron's main forces he use to conquer Eregion were orcs. In addition with trolls, other orc-breed like goblins and warg riders. The men from the east and south contributed to the warfare as well?


Oct 16, 6:54pm

Views: 1064

Tolkien did not write a whole lot about the War of the Elves and Sauron. As far as I can find, all we really know for sure is that his forces included Orcs, which is not surprising. I haven't found any reference to Men in his army so far, but he did apparently become a powerful influence among the Men in the East before he relocated to Mordor. Whether some of those Easterlings joined his campaign against Eregion and Eriador is something I don't know.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Oct 16, 7:12pm

Views: 1063
Tolkien doesn't concern himself with that type of detail.

The primary account is in Unfinished Tales, in the chapter about Galadriel. Throughout, the words used are "host" and "forces". That orcs were part of the host is confirmed by the use of orc-arrows to decorate Celebrimbor's corpse.

Any detail about the Dark Lord's army, from the races involved to the leadership structure below Sauron himself, is left to the imagination of the reader. Tolkien tells us nothing.

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Oct 16, 7:29pm

Views: 1062
Likelyhood of easterlings and haradrim in Mordor's army

Even though Tolkien doesn't mention them directly, we can assume he had them in his army? At least the easterlings since they have been with the dark forces since the first age(Ulfang).

(This post was edited by Victariongreyjoy on Oct 16, 7:32pm)

Grey Havens

Oct 16, 10:25pm

Views: 1052
my annoying aside

Goblins and orcs are exactly the same thing. Goblin is an English translation of the Westron word Orc (see Tolkien notes added to the Third Edition Hobbit).

banakil -- "halfling"
Sûza -- "Shire"
orc -- "goblin"

True, Tolkien did not always see the matter this way, but this is what he ultimately landed on, published in The Hobbit, and explained to translators of The Lord of the Rings.


Oct 17, 12:16am

Views: 1054
One can assume anything, of course

My response was to a question of what is known, via Tolkien's own writings.

Now in 'The Rings of Power', final section of the published Silmarillion, there is some description of Sauron's rule during his War on the West in the Second Age. The focus is on the tale of the Rings of Power. But being written (I believe) somewhat earlier than the Galadriel essay that we see in Unfinished Tales, the Silmarillion chapter does not mention at all his defeat in the North by the Numenorean/Elvish alliance. It says rather that the war was kind of endless, with all of Middle-earth except the northwestern Elven kingdoms coming under his sway in the "Black Years". And at this point there is some language that you might find supports your idea of an extended army of many evil and dark forces:
"...[Sauron] gathered again under his government all the evil things of the days of Morgoth that remained on earth or beneath it, and the Orcs were at his command and multiplied like flies. Thus the Black Years began, which the Elves call the Days of Flight. ... But in Lindon Gil-galad still maintained his power, and Sauron dared not as yet to pass the Mountains of Ered Luin nor to assail the Havens; and Gil-galad was aided by the Númenóreans. Elsewhere Sauron reigned, and those who would be free took refuge in the fastnesses of wood and mountain, and ever fear pursued them. In the east and south well nigh all Men were under his dominion, and they grew strong in those days and built many towns and walls of stone, and they were numerous and fierce in war and armed with iron. To them Sauron was both king and god; and they feared him exceedingly, for he surrounded his abode with fire." - The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" [bold by squire]
So yes, Sauron had control over all evil things and beings East of the Blue Mountains at this time. But did he employ them all in his assault on the Elves in a war that this earlier chapter does not really describe, which was invented only in a later essay (in UT) in which there is no description of his forces beyond Orcs? It's up to the imagination of the reader.

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Oct 17, 5:53pm

Views: 955
Just orc soldiers enough to overrun a Noldor stronghold?

Let's say that the vast majority of Sauron's army against Eregion were orcs, hundreds of trolls and assumably warg-riders. As far as Tolkien writes, there seems to be no special units like the Nazgul, Oliphaunts, and Olog-Hai that he used in the third arge. Could a massive numbers of orcs manage to destroy the Noldor elves of the likes of Celebrimbor?


Oct 17, 9:20pm

Views: 934
Sauron's armies in the War of the Elves and Sauron... and an ethnographic side quest

As squire says, there's nothing specific beyond a single reference to Orcs when it comes to the armies that Sauron fielded in the War of the Elves and Sauron - and even that is indirect, via poor Celebrimbor's body being shot through with orc-arrows.

I agree with you that it's not a big stretch of the imagination that Sauron deployed human soldiers in his invasion of Eriador. As you say, Sauron lorded it over various Men in the centuries after the outbreak of the War of the Elves and Sauron in II.1693 but even the compressed timeline discernible in 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' (The Silmarillion), indicates that he was on the way to such overlordship before that war, and presumably had many human subjects already: "Men he found the easiest to sway of all the peoples of the Earth". Sauron's invasion of Eriador in II.1695 experienced two distinct deployment phases, with a second wave of reinforcements summoned after the destruction of Eregion for the purposes of a push on Lindon. This could be read as Sauron throwing pretty much all that he had into the Eriador campaign in order to achieve his goal of seizing all of the Rings of Power. Although Tolkien leaves it up to the imagination of the reader on the specifics of these armies, it seems likely that Sauron wasn't going to be fussy about mobilising either Orcs or Men - they were all expendable minions to him, after all.

The most substantive evidence for humans forming part of Sauron's forces in Eriador relates to the indigenous populations of Men in that land, as you've already flagged. A bit more on that then. There were Edainic or proto-Edainic Men in Eriador at that time, with the 'Of Dwarves and Men' essay being an excellent source (HoMe XII), as well as 'Aldarion and Erendis' from Unfinished Tales. Around Lake Evendim, the North Downs and the Weather Hills dwelt distant relatives of the Folk of Bëor and the Folk of Hador; and in Minhiraith and Enedwaith dwelt the distant kin of the Folk of Haleth. The 'Grey Annals' refer to descendants of the people of Bór, ie. Easterlings in the First Age sense, living in Eriador but this reference is otherwise obscure (HoMe XI). Nothing is written of these Bëorians or Hadorians playing a specific role in this war, although given that they had already been befriended by the Eldar of Lindon and the Númenóreans by this time, if they played any part at all, it would presumably have been against Sauron. There is a single reference that supports this theory where, in the main source for the war, 'Of Galadriel and Celeborn' (Unfinished Tales), Sauron's bid for total "mastery of Eriador" includes: "as he ravaged the lands, slaying or drawing off all the small groups of Men and hunting the remaining Elves...". Given that the Númenóreans are always named as such in that essay, this reference to Men very likely refers to the aforementioned Bëorians and Hadorians.

That leaves us with the distant relatives of the Folk of Haleth, of whose sad history this war tells us quite a bit. The account of the war in 'Of Galadriel and Celeborn' indicates that at some point between the founding of Vinyalondë at the mouth of the River Gwathló (not before II.739 but no later than II.800) and Sauron's invasion of Eriador in II.1695, the Númenóreans had thoroughly alienated the indigenous population of Minhiriath and Enedwaith, to the point of hostilities. This sad state of affairs stemmed from the Númenóreans insatiable appetite for timber for the building of ships, which had devastated the once heavily forested lands that the distant kinsmen of the Folk of Haleth had called home. The impact of this was that two Edainic peoples, the Númenóreans and the indigenous people of Minhiriath and Enedwaith, became violently estranged. The latter thus became prime targets for Sauron to recruit into his war: "the exiled natives welcomed Sauron and hoped for his victory over the Men of the Sea". However, rather than being enrolled as soldiers, these dispossessed peoples were recruited as "spies and guides for his [Sauron's] raiders", who attacked and burned "many of the great wood-stores of the Númenóreans." With Sauron's defeat in II.1701, these remnant peoples remained exiled and confined to marginal territories: the Minhiriath to Eryn Vorn and the Enedwaith to Dunland.

I'm not aware of the cults of Eryn Vorn but certainly the ongoing difficulties and exploitation of the Dunlendings by evil is well documented.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Oct 17, 10:39pm

Views: 931
Easterlings and Haradrim through the Ages

'Easterling' is both generic and flexible in its usage by Tolkien, as it applied to various peoples hostile to 'the West' throughout the Ages of Middle-earth. The Easterlings of the First Age were not necessarily the same as those of later Ages. Early in the 'Akallabêth', Tolkien writes that:

"...the evil Men who were not destroyed [in the War of Wrath] fled back into the east, where many of their race were still wandering in the unharvested lands, wild and lawless, refusing alike the summons of the Valar and Morgoth. And the evil Men came among them and cast over them a shadow of fear, and they took them for kings."

I take from this that this remnant of the First Age Easterlings became the ruling caste of much larger groups Men, who were neither good nor evil in Tolkien's typology. It's from these peoples, corrupted by followers of Morgoth, that we then likely get the much later Easterlings of Rhûn and the Haradrim. These peoples, lorded over by the survivors of Morgoth's catastrophic defeat, are also likely to be among those who Sauron came to dominate in "the east and south", many centuries later in the Second Age - and probably deployed in his invasion of Eriador. However, the first specific mention I can find of the Haradrim is from the final two centuries of the Second Age, in the shape of the renegade Númenóreans, Herumor and Fuinur, who "rose to power among the Haradrim, a great and cruel people that dwelt in the wide lands south of Mordor...". I can't find any reference to Easterlings specific to the Second Age, beyond the exodus of these surviving servants of Morgoth, and an intriguing singular reference in the 'Grey Annals' to descendants of the people of Bór having settled in Eriador. Just to complicate things a fraction more, the incomplete story of 'Tal-Elmar', as published in HoMe XII, features non-Edainic Men living in fear of their King, Sauron, in the years before the Akallabêth. Christopher Tolkien located these folk of Agar and Udul as dwelling somewhere between the Mouths of the Anduin and the Langstrand. Neither east nor south in the Easterling or Haradrim sense but just as likely to be enrolled as cannon fodder in Sauron's armies.

So, setting aside the complications of the Tal-Elmar story, Men from the "east and south" probably marched in Sauron's armies during the War of the Elves and Sauron, yes. But were they Easterlings and Haradrim as we usually understand them and as featured in either Morgoth's First Age wars or the wars Gondor fought in the Third Age? Unlikely, although the longer range links are there.

This heterogeneity and the function of these generic terms is confirmed in other writings specifically concerned with the Third Age, where 'Easterlings' and 'Haradrim' were clearly Gondor-centric terms for anyone who didn't like Gondor and happened to come from the East or South of Gondor respectively. In 'Appendix A' of The Lord of the Rings, the Wainriders, also referred to as Easterlings, are specifically described as "a confederacy of many peoples", and later Easterling invaders, from the Balchoth to the axe-men at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, seem too have little in common other than they they hailed from beyond the Sea of Rhûn. Similarly, the vast tracts on the map of Middle-earth covered by Near Harad and Far Harad, not to mention Haradrim-dominated Umbar, were shorthand for all sorts of diversity.

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


Oct 18, 10:00am

Views: 867
I think we're now being asked about what kinds of speculation people think are plausible

We have now surely settled what is known, via Tolkien's own writings (answer - that there were orcs there, no other information).

I expect we'll shortly conclude that we can't infer anything further with any certainty (e.g. it won't prove possible to infer the presence of non-orc forces from the resistance Sauron's army put up, though that's an interesting line of argument to try, Victariongreyjoy). And my guess is that there isn't anything helpful in Tolkien's writings as a negative inference either - e.g. no note somewhere obscure that says the harad were first contacted by the west at a later date than the battle we're discussing.

Victariongreyjoy, I get the strong impression you know what you'd like to be true. I think you'd like permission to include easterlings and harad warriors, if you see what I mean. Perhaps you want to imagine the battle that way. Or perhaps you are interested in making some tangible creative work of your own. For example, maybe you want to make fan-fiction, art or a game of some kind? If so, you might be asking us this because you want to see how including easterlings and harad warriors would go. I can see that being a good precaution to take before you spend many hours writing/drawing/designing rules for these characters, only to find that people are rude about having them included. (And yes, people do get disrespectful about these things, even on these boards - see a good discussion here of possible reasons, and why it's an anti-social behaviour anyway).

But if you're seeking permission for a certain kind of speculation, I don't know who can grant it. Personally, I'm tempted to say "why not include what you want?" - I don't suppose you can prove you are right, but I don't suppose it can be proved that you're wrong either. So it's a plausible reconstruction, but not the only possible one. If you make a work that others see, you may have to tolerate some folks who are sure you're wrong or have in some way been disrespectful to Tolkien or whatever. But hey - you "produced a work and put it out into the world, and the work itself is not in any way altered by anyone's opinions of it. It remains there, on the bookshelf or the media shelf, exactly as it was made." (To quote Silverlode in his above appeal for people to be less combatitve on the Hobbit movies board).

But I'm not sure whether that's helpful, or whether there's some other way folks here could help?

Lastly, a thought for everyone else - Victariongreyjoy' posts read like the writing of a native speaker of English But I note from his bio that he's from Norway, so maybe he is operating in a second or third on nth language. So maybe the careful system of follow-up questions is someone being especially careful to check they've fully understood the answers they are getting? (That is, as opposed to someone who won't take 'no data' for an answer, whcih might lead to some frustrated responses).

"You were exceedingly clever once, but unfortunately none of your friends noticed as they were too busy being attacked by an octopus."
-from How To Tell If You Are In A J.R.R. Tolkien Book, by Austin Gilkeson, in 'The Toast', 2016


Oct 22, 11:40pm

Views: 569
Men at least contributed. It was partly their lands being fought in.

I thought Sauron's main forces he use to conquer Eregion were orcs.

No doubt he brought in Orcs for the seige of Ost-in-Edhil and for clearing out mountain passes. I don't know if the rest of Eregion would be very suitable for Orcs though, but maybe.

When I say men from the East and the South I do not necessarily mean Easterlings and Haradrim, though there may have been elements of these people involved too, especially riders. (Oliphaunts would be extremely unlikely)
What I mean is in the second age there is no Gondor, no Dunedain, so from the pow of the storytellers here Anything south and east of Eregion where men lived. That includes all of what would later become Gondor, Rohan and Dunland. And there were men living there. Forefathers of the indigenous people of the White mountains. Forefaters of the Dunlendings. Many of these men had little or no contact with either Numenoreans or Elves at this time. Amongst these people Sauron will have done his ususal powerplays, and in most cases his folk would have emerged as their leaders. So I think that at least half, maybe more, of Saurons forces would have been Men.

Trolls he might have brought a few, though they would have been few and used for special purposes. They would also have been useless in daylight.

Warg-riders he would have made use of certainly.

(This post was edited by InTheChair on Oct 22, 11:40pm)