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Thread: Dunlendings- a wronged people?

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The Dunlendings are used by Saruman to fight his wars. To provoke them he inflames old hatreds between them and the Rohirrim. But are they savage wild men or just a severely abused peoples?
We know the Rohirrim at points have been pretty unpleasant to the Woses, hunting and killing them in the past, so it can be assumed they have also been pretty bad to the Dunlendings at some point.
As a people the Dunlendings seem to have first of all had their land stolen by the Rohirrim (or given away from under them by Gondor not sure which), been driven farther and farther into the hills and the foothills of the mountains (presumably where good farming land is scarce) then finally used by Saruman as mere pawns. This all seems quite harsh- they're not orcs what they do to deserve all this?
I believe that they were weak-minded men who accepted an appealing offer from Saruman. Of course, all men are weak. Rohan or Gondor could have fallen under Saruman's spell, for he definitely had a spellbinding voice. It just seems that their apparent wrongs and their miserable lives made them ready to accept any offer for betterment or revenge.
I really don't know the truth of what their story was, but I imagine that Saruman greatly distorted it so that their anger was directed towards the men in Rohan and the Westfold. "And the hearts of men are easily corrupted."
Thing is Beren I'm not sure what their 'apparent wrongs' were and their 'miserable lives' seem to have been caused by others. If I was born a Dunlending, treated badly by the Rohirrim, having to scrape an unprofitable bit of land as best as possible to keep my family alive whilst the 'Horse-Lords' lived it up on all the good land that used to belong to my people I think I'd be a bit annoyed too. And as you point out they can't really be blamed for falling in with Saruman, he's hard to resist when he gets talking. Far as I can see all they did was get robbed, abused and then follow the maxim 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'. Might make them bad at picking allies but not bad as a people- and what becomes of them under King Eomer I wonder? Nothing good I suspect.
The Dunlendings came from a group of people who had a long history of being screwed over by the so-called good guys. They were akin to the Men of Dunharrow (the Dead Men), and (probably) the ancient inhabitants of the lands directly west. Those people saw their homes devastated by Numenorean loggers (to the almost complete destruction of the ecosystem and the forest that had once linked Fangorn and the Old Forest), the Dead Men were caught in supernatural stasis as a result of an oath that had been sworn to Isildur, and the Numenorean refugees moved into lands long held by the Dunlendings and their cousins millennia before the founding of Rohan. The arrival of the Rohirrim resulted in even greater displacement, so I can hardly blame the Dunlendings for resenting the Rohirrim.

It's also worth noting that Helm Hammerhand murdered a prominent Dunlending, leading to some of the conflicts during the Long Winter. That can't have helped matters.
Angus McBride made them look like Scots.
Nice find Noom. Oddly enough when I was posting about the Dunlendings having been robbed of their lands ansd left to scrape a living from unprofitable land with the land owning Gondorians and later Rohirrim taking all their good stuff, I was inclined to comment it was not unlike being Scottish! Seems Mr McBride felt the same way.
Eldo -spot on with Lore as always. What about the people of Erech? Are they related, its the other side of the mountains but assuming there are passes or paths not geographically far.
On a similar matter did the Dunlendings construct the Paths of The Dead? The pukel-men that mark out the path to the entrance seem related to the Woses- does this imply some ancient friendship (or even kinship) between Dunlendings and Woses in an idylic pre-Numenorean time?
[quote="pettytyrant101":is763smx]What about the people of Erech? Are they related[/quote:is763smx]

I may be mistaken, but I believe that they [i:is763smx]are[/i:is763smx] the Men of Dunharrow. I believe the passage underneath the Mountain predated their becoming wraiths, so there could have been fairly easy travel.

[quote:is763smx]On a similar matter did the Dunlendings construct the Paths of The Dead?[/quote:is763smx]

I honestly don't know. If I had to guess though I would say they probably built it or expanded it from natural caverns.

[quote:is763smx]does this imply some ancient friendship (or even kinship) between Dunlendings and Woses in an idylic pre-Numenorean time?[/quote:is763smx]

I'm not entirely clear. The Woses are a subdivision of the Druedain who were known to live closely with the Men of Brethil in Beleriand (Tolkien states this quite clearly in UT). I would find it plausible that they had made a similar alliance, though UT makes mention of "the tall Men who drove them from the White Mountains" who came from the East. I can't think of anyone who this would refer to except the Men of Dunharrow, which makes me reconsider my earlier idea that the Dunlendings build the Paths of the Dead, since the statues near Dunharrow suggest that that area, at least, was built by Druedain. :ugeek:
If memory serves me right the pukel men and the watchmen the Druedain constructed were all in stone, which would imply they were quite skilled in this area- able for example to carve likenesses of themselves so good they were mistaken for the real thing- and therefore capable of constructing the Paths. But the Woses that are in the LoTR are creatures of woodland and skilled in plants and medicines. Which would not imply a history of great stone works. I suppose they could have lost the knowledge over the years but this doesn't seem likely in a race who seem to communicate skills by example and story.
Incidentally was anyone else burning with curiosity (I still am) as to what was behind the door on the Paths where they found the skeleton, apparently trying to get in? And could that be Brego (I think it was Brego) who took up the foolish boast of entering the Paths and was never heard of again?
I agree that the Dunlendings were an abused people. That and coupled with Sarumans persuasiveness I can't blame them at all for siding with Sarumans.

To be fair to the Rohirrim, Theoden did show them mercy after the battle at Helms Deep right? and Saruman lied to them saying the Rohirrim were very cruel and tortured and killed their captives or something. I apologize I don't have the book in front of me.
The Rohirrim did indeed offer them mercy and the Woses too, Theoden and Eomer were very magnanimous, but doesn't change the fact that for generations they were not kind to either peoples. If I'd have been a Dunlending I'd most likely have sided with Saruman [i:lpwziah3]and[/i:lpwziah3] believed I had right on my side.
Going with a Scots theme, it crossed my mind from a religious perspective that with JRRT being a RC, could it be possible that he was thinking of the Scots Covenantors??

Here is an interesting link to follow: [url:24qz0vdg][/url:24qz0vdg]
There is a distinct whiff of Class Warfare in the treatment of Dunlendings. Tolkien had a tendency to elevate the Middle Classes and disregard the Lower somewhat. This is rather due to his own view of his station in life I think. But the fact that he has Theoden act Mercifully towards them shows that he at least had a measure of understanding that Dunlendings were wronged peoples.

It's an interesting link Noom although (and I may be missing something here) I'm not sure what link you are making with the Dunlendings. Would you care to elaborate?
The link I am making with the Dunlendings is tenuous but there is enough in it to make me ponder. If I had to look at the Scots Covenanters from a Roman Catholic perspectivre, I would see them as traitors to the crown, they became outlawed and made pariah. They started to be seen as the hillmen of the mist because they had their meetings in the hills and glens. Also there is the story of how Sandy Peden was exhausted and prayed:

[i:wcwpmbpi]It is said that almost immediately they were hidden from the dragoons in a cloud of mist. The dragoons were then called upon by a messenger before the mist cleared. Peden`s escapes and evasions of capture were almost magical and it seemed that no"Let us pray to the Lord". They did so though reluctantly, he prayed "Lord it is thine enemies day, hour and power, I ken fine they mustnae be idle but hast thou nae ither work for them than to send them after them that ha` the power to flee, for our strength has gaen. Cast thy cloak o`er auld Sandy, and thur pair things, and save us this ain time mair. we`ll keep it aye in rememberance and tell it to the commendation o` thy goodness, pity and compassion. Lord, hear my prayer.’ [/i:wcwpmbpi]-one would be tempted by the one thousand merks placed on his head. He was also said to wear a mask to hide his identity, the mask is still in existence today.

The Scots Covenanters became seen as a wronged people because they recieved such harsh treatment (men, women and children killed in horrific ways)

So, in my mind if I had to transport the covenanters into LOTR, especially Angus McBrides picture, they would be seen as traitors to the King who were treated too harshly. I can see them siding with Sauron/John Knox lol

There is no more to it than that, as I wrote before, the link I am making with the Dunlendings is tenuous but there is enough in it to make me ponder.

Petty, what do you think, can you see anything though this smoke?
The Rohirrim mastered the Dunlendings - who were the Baddies. The Fellowship defeated the Forces of Nastiness (Sauron) - who were the Evil Enemy. The Allies defeated the Axis - who were the Bad Guys. The Winners write History. It's a simple equation. Why do you make your sums so complicated and convoluted, chaps? Two plus two equals four (in Australia, anyway) <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> The postive thing is, the Dunlendings became Good Guys in the end - after they had been Cleansed of their Badness in the Purifying Furnace of Defeat (just like the Germans have been). :ugeek:

Anyway... I better head back home... I [i:7mu8449r]MUST[/i:7mu8449r] have just [i:7mu8449r]dreamed[/i:7mu8449r] I was here.... Yes, that's it... :?
I am not trying to complicate things, I am not looking to find an alegory where there is none, I am just looking at a possible source of inspiration for JRRT. As the famous King Solomon wrote as his refrain in his book of Ecclesiastes, "there is nothing new under the sun." I just wonder if that 5% inspiration for the Dunlendings was taken from the covenanters, which JRRT, took and added his 95% originality to, and made them his own. The fun thing for meis because of this thread, I am becoming increasingly facinated by those Scots hillmen of the mist, wearing masks, hiding from dragoons in the mist and preaching at conventicles.
Proceed Noom! What you say is fascinating. Do I agree, though? Well, maybe it's possible Tolkien was inspired in some way by the Covenanters, your Scots in the mist. Mmm... maybe....? Sounds suspiciously like you're making an oblique allusion to Archetypical Stuff. If so, you can't be wrong then.
I see what you are getting at now Noom. Wether Tokien drew on this or not is a mute point but he was certainly aware of northern myths, legends and histories, so it's not impossible that hearing the tale at some point in his life sowed the germ of the idea.
Don't mind Wise Odo, he can be a bit, well the Wise can seem strange to the rest of us! (Good poetry mind). Mr Odo Banks on the other hand is a fine upstanding fellow, just not as wise!
"Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, if that is granted all esle follows."
In some forms of Esoteric Mathematics 2+2 can = 5 <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

It actually wouldn't surprise me if Dunlendings were based on Scots, Welsh, or even Irish, who have traditionally been "wronged" by the English Crown. The name itself sounds a bit Gaelic.