The Great beasts, or Great Siege Beasts, were used by Sauron's armies as burden beasts, most notably during the Battle at Minas Tirith. These beasts pulled the colossal battering ram Grond to the gate of Minas Tirith to destroy the Wall after the smaller battering rams failed, during the Siege of Gondor.
Speculations on OriginsEdit
Great beasts may have indeed been created by Eru himself or perhaps from a long line of giant creatures stemming from Melkor's corruption of the world before the destruction of Almaren long ago during the Years of the Lamps.
When in those far back days, Melkor's interference caused the appearance of monstrous beasts of "horn and ivory" that fought with other beasts and were forever marred by Melkor's evil influence, but this was never really explained.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit
In Peter Jackson's Return of the King they are depicted as gigantic rhinoceros-like creatures with a horn protruding from their heads. The special features section of the extended edition reveals that for the film these creatures were modeled after the extinct Megacerops.
- Great Beasts are also used as cattle by Mordor Orcs in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, and in The Battle for Middle-earth II very similar looking but fatter animals are used also by Dwarves as burden beasts and are referred to as yurgs or subterranean yaks (As Orcs are corrupted Elves and Trolls the "mockery" of Ents by evil forces, it could be that the Great Beasts are evil's mockery of these creatures).
- In The Lord of the Rings: Conquest you can see dead great beasts on the maps Weathertop and Pelennor Fields.
- The Lord of the Hunt DLC contains a memory about Great Beasts. Torvin describes how "Great Beasts appear to be distant cousins of the six-tusked Mûmakil" and that he has seen them "rampage and crush Orc, Troll and Man alike".