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John Howe - Variag

The Variags were a little-known people who dwelt in the land of Khand.


[edit] History

They were allies of both Rhûn and Harad, to neither of which they belonged.

Khand was southeast of Mordor at the time of the War of the Ring.[1] The Variags were allied to Sauron and their warriors were seen at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[2]

[edit] Etymology

Variag is a word of a Harad language[3], but its meaning is unknown.

[edit] Inspiration

Variag is a Slavic word derived from Norse Varingar "mercenary people" (vár "contract"). The Varamgoa Guard were Norse body-guards of the Byzantine Emperor.

It has been suggested that Tolkien adopted the Slavic term to indicate that the Variags were possibly mercenaries serving a possible Lord of Khand.[4]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

Variags of Khand in MECCG

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Variags, who speak the tongue Varadja, share ties with both Easterlings and Haradrim.[5][6]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

Variags of Khand is a Man Faction.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Appendix on Languages
  4. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, Obscure Languages
  5. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, hardcover) (#2000)
  6. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. et al. (1987), Lords of Middle-earth Vol II: The Mannish Races (#8003)