Tolkien never described the Variags, and most information about them is speculative. Some speculate that they were horsemen similar to the Huns based on Khand's presumed climate and its known status as a supplier of horses to Mordor. It has also been speculated that they were axe-wielding berserkers, based on the real world Varangians.
Potrayal in adaptations EditNo Variags appear anytime in the film in the War of the Ring, not at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields or the Battle of the Morannon, probably because Peter Jackson had so little to go on due to a lack of description in the novels.
Variags have however featured in The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, which was based mostly on Jackson's films. In this the Variags, also called the Khandish, have an oriental theme with an Eastern Asian look, much like the Easterlings, who were constantly close allies with these less advanced people. This interpretation is taken from Tolkien's work alone due to the absence of Variags in the trilogy. The Variags of Khand have since been discontinued, however.
Like the books, they were portrayed as axe-wielders as well as using bows. They were also noted as skilled horsemen as well as using chariots in combat as well. The Khandish warriors also had banners attached to their backs in a similar fashion to Japanese samurai of the medieval period.3
Appearances in the BooksEdit
Behind the Scenes Edit
- In the real world, Variags is another name for the Scandinavian Varangians.
- 1:Matthew Ward, A Shadow in the East, 2005, ISBN 1 84154 695 X, p 48
- 2:Ibid p 18
- 3:Ibid pp 4–5
The People of Middle-earth