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Ted Nasmith - The Aid of the Wild-men.jpg
"The Aid of the Wild-men" by Ted Nasmith
General Information
Other namesDrû, Drû-folk, Drúath, Drughu, Drûg-folk, Drûgs, Drúin, Oghor-hai, Púkel-men, Rógin, Rú, Rúatani, Wild Men of the Woods, Woses
LocationsBrethil, Númenor, Drúwaith Iaur, Drúadan Forest
LanguagesDrúadan language
MembersAghan, Ghân, Ghân-buri-Ghân
Physical Description
LifespanShorter than most Men[1]
DistinctionsGood stoneworkers, mysterious powers, glowing red eyes
Average height4 feet[1]
Hair colorDark
GalleryImages of Drúedain

The Drúedain (sg. Drúadan) or Drúath (sg. Drû) was a race of wild Men. The Rohirrim called them Woses or Wild Men of the Woods.

They were a clearly good-hearted people who suffered at the persecution by the malice of evil people; or by ignorance, as their "unlovely" (according to the Elves) appearance led many to believe they were savage beasts. Although some of their numbers joined the Edain and some briefly remained on Númenor, they largely held themselves apart from the troubles and calamities of Middle-earth, and possessed their own mysterious ways and magic.


[edit] History

[edit] First Age

The Drúedain were part of the Edain who left Hildórien for the West. They were harried and persecuted by other Men which made them secretive and suspicious. They wandered west seeking a land where they could be hidden and have peace.[2]

Historians in Gondor believed that they came from lands south of Mordor, and before reaching the coasts of Haradwaith they turned north into Ithilien. They were the first to cross the Anduin (probably near Cair Andros) and settled in the northern vales and wooden lands of the White Mountains in both sides; this people carved crude figures of stone, and would later be known as Púkel-men.[2] The Drúedain who remained in the Mountains were hunted by tall Men from the East, and were all but annihilated. The survivors fled into the forests of Anórien and down the Cape of Andrast into Drúwaith Iaur.[2] Groups of remaining Drúedain became numerous but were troubled by a barbarous fisher-folk which dwelt in the marshlands between the mouths of the Gwathló and Isen.[3][4]

Others among the Drúedain who continued west were joined by the ancestors of the Haladin and stayed on friendly terms. When the core of their team was pressed to wander on, some Drúedain accompanied them to Beleriand. Those lived among the Haladin, in the forest of Brethil.[2] When Túrin was found by the Haladin, he identified himself as a "Wildman of the Woods".[5] When the Haladin fell into ruin and Morgoth had destroyed all the realms and strongholds of Elves and Men, the Drúedain of Brethil dwindled to a few families, mostly women and children, of which some found refuge at the Mouths of Sirion.[2]

[edit] Second Age

When the Dúnedain of Beleriand set forth for the island of Elenna, where they would establish the kingdom of Númenor, the Drúedain refugees who had dwelt at the Mouths of Sirion were permitted to join them, where they greatly prospered. However, they started leaving the island during the time of Tar-Aldarion, foreseeing the evil that would come. By the Downfall of Númenor, all Drúedain had left the island.[2]

Those between Isen and Gwathló were reduced to a few tribes of fishers and fowlers.[4] They began to fear the Númenóreans and when their occupation of the coastlands began, they retreated in the mountains of Andrast, which was never occupied by the Númenóreans.[2] Some Pre-Númenóreans also wished to flee the Sea Kings, however they were afraid of the Púkel-men and did not cross the Isen nor take refuge in the Cape.[6]

[edit] Third Age

Ghan-Buri-Ghan by John Howe

At the end of the Third Age they still lived in the Drúadan Forest of the White Mountains, and at the long cape of Andrast west of Gondor. The region north of Andrast was still known as Drúwaith Iaur, or "Old Drûg land". Known also as Woses, they feared Sauron, and the Rohirrim, who hunted them for sport.

During the War of the Ring the chieftain of the enclave of the White Mountains was Ghân-buri-Ghân. Their most significant contribution to the Free peoples was showing the Rohirrim paths through the Drúadan Forest, thus helping them reach the Pelennor Fields soon, evading the Orc army that was waiting for them along the North-South Road. The Woses also used their tactics to hold off an army of Orcs searching for the Rohirrim.

[edit] Fourth Age

After the War of the Ring, King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest to be theirs forever, forbidding anyone to enter without their permission. They never showed their faces again, nor was any alliance or trading system struck up between them and Gondor in the Fourth Age. It is clear that they never mingled with the Free Peoples, content to live their reclusive mysterious life until they faded away into the mists of history and legend.

[edit] Characteristics

In appearance, the Drúedain were short, stumpy-bodied men with thick short legs, possibly related to the Púkel-men of ancient Rohan. In build, stature, and endurance, they resembled the Dwarves.[1]

Their faces were considered "unlovely" in appearance by Elves and some Men, being wide-faced with heavy brows and flat noses. Their wide mouths were the most expressive of their usually impassive features. They had small, sunken eyes that were so black the pupils could not be distinguished, though their eyes glowed red when they were angry or suspicious. Their hair was sparse and lank, never growing below the eyebrows with the exception of some men who grew black tufts on their chins.[2]

The Drúedain spoke in deep, guttural voices, though their laughter was hearty and pleasantly contagious to other Men and even Elves.[2]

[edit] Culture

They were primitive but were woodcrafty and skilled stone workers, but also had mysterious powers of clairvoyance and healing, and magic related to the control of stone.[1]

In temperament and character they were merry like Hobbits; but in their grim side (although not as the Dwarves) they could be sardonic and ruthless. They were frugal and ate sparingly and drank only water, even during peaceful or plentiful times.[1]

A hardy people, in the early First Age they used caves in the mountains as store-houses, which they used also as sleeping-places during severe weather. They maintained this custom in Beleriand (except the most hardy. These places were guarded and didn't allow even their Haladin friends to enter. Otherwise they were content to live in tents or makeshift shelters built round large trees.[1]

For weapons, the Woses of Drúadan used poison-darts and arrows.

[edit] Etymology

Drúedain means "Drû-men".

The element Drû is an adaptation of Drughu, which is how that race calls themselves in their language. As the Elves came to know the Drû better, and to recognise their bitter enmity to the Orcs, they acquired the element Edain.[7]

The word Wose represents Tolkien's translation of the actual word róg of the Rohirrim into archaic English.

"Woses" is Anglicized (modernized) from the Old English word wāsan meaning "wild, neglected". It is seen in the name Wuduwasas (who are the direct inspiration of the Woses) and means "Wild men of the woods".

[edit] Other names

  • Drughu: the Drúedain's own name for themselves. Drughu is ultimately the source of the Sindarin 'Drú' and many of the other names they are known by.
  • Drú/Drúin: Simple Sindarin term for the Drughu, singular and plural.
  • Drúath: An earlier Sindarin collective (that means, plural) term for the Drúedain, modified as early as the First Age when it became known that they were enemies of the orcs. Later used to refer to a large number of the Drúedain as opposed to 'Drúin' which was a simple pluralisation (As 'Woses' to the singular 'Wose') and Drúedain, used to refer to the race as a whole.
  • Drúadan/Drúedain: Meaning 'Drú-men'. It also has possessive qualities as in the case of Drúadan Forest
  • Drûg-folk: Rarely used collective term.
  • Róg/Rógin: Rohirric terminology, singular/plural respectively (as in 'Drúg'/'Drúedain'. In Tolkien's text it is translated as Wose(s)).
  • Wose/Woses: A term borrowed from Old English by Tolkien as a translation of the Rohhirric 'Róg'. This is perhaps the most common term used by readers of the text.
  • /Rúatani[7]: Quenya terms for the Drughu, derived from their Sindarin counterparts. Singular/plural respectively.

[edit] Inspiration

In Western folklore, the "wuduwasa" or "wood man" is a hairy, troll-like being supposed to inhabit woods and forests; the figure was used on coats-of-arms and illuminations during the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance.

Both the description of Woses, as well as the word "Wose" itself, derives from this folkloric figure. According to Tolkien his idea was to show the actual existence of wild folk, remnants of former peoples driven out by invaders, living a debased and savage life in forests and mountains.[8]

In the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight poem, the word wodwos appears, which Tolkien translated as "wood-trolls".[9]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

Drúedain in adaptations
"Woses of the Eryn Vorn" in the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game  

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

The card game features three different factions of the race: the "Woses of the Drúadan Forest" and the "Woses of Old Pûkel-land" in the set The Wizards, and the "Woses of the Eryn Vorn" in the expansion Against the Shadow.[10]

2016: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Other than the settlement in the Drúadan Forest, another group of Drúedain is found in Mordor where their ancestors stayed before migrating westward. At the end of the First Age, a cataclysm caused the mountains to rise and cut off the Nêbh Rûdh, the Red Sky Clan, from the valley which they shared with Easterlings. Separated from the Plateau of Gorgoroth to the west by an unreachable mountain pass, they were trapped within a small forest where they lived in peace and isolation for thousands of years, away from the Great Eye's reach. When the One Ring is destroyed, the eruption of Mount Doom causes a rockslide that makes the pass traversable again, exposing the Red Sky Clan to whatever evil still remains lurking in Mordor.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "The Atani and their Languages"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", note 6
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, pp. 764-5
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 555
  10. "(Results from search for cards in the game Middle Earth)", (accessed 27 March 2014)