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Haradrim cavalryman by TurnerMohan Haradrim cavalryman by TurnerMohan
"Southward beyond the road lay the main force of the Haradrim, and there their horsemen were gathered about the standard of their chieftain. And he looked out, and in the growing light he saw the banner of the king, and that it was far ahead of the battle with few men about it. Then he was filled with a red wrath and shouted aloud, and displaying his standard, black serpent upon scarlet, he came against the white horse and the green with great press of men; and the drawing of the scimitars of the Southrons was like a glitter of stars.

Then Theoden was aware of him, and would not wait for his onset, but crying to Snowmane he charged headlong to greet him. Great was the clash of their meeting. But the white fury of the Northmen burned the hotter, and more skilled was their knighthood with long spears and bitter. Fewer were they but they clove through the Southrons like a fire-bolt in a forest. Right through the press drove Theoden Thengel's son, and his spear was shivered as he threw down their chieftain. Out swept his sword, and he spurred to the standard, hewed staff and bearer; and the black serpent foundered."

ROTK chapter 6: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Of all the designs in the lord of the rings movies, the "evil" men in service to Sauron were a bit of a disappointment to me, mostly because I got the sense alot of their design process was hampered by the requirement not to offend anyone, so whereas the gondorians got to draw from all this long history of beautiful italian art, and the rohirrim were ancient anglo saxons almost to the letter, the invading men from the south and east just kind of ended up looking like mishmashed videogame villains. I suppose I can understand the necessity; phrases like "the white fury of the northmen" are among Tolkien's more shall we say uncomfortable lines, at least for modern tastes, but this design is alot closer to what was in my head while reading the books. the costume is drawn mostly from arabic and turkish armor with a little ancient persian and rajput thrown in for good measure
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:iconseasonsapart:
seasonsapart Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
Wow! Amazing! I like it a a lot!
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:iconelemmireofvalinor:
Oh it seems you have done what I wanted to see, I didn't notice.
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:iconelemmireofvalinor:
Really nice and much better than those from the movies, who look a bit stupid for me. 
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:icontroyodon:
Troyodon Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Can you draw a Mūmaki? I'd love to see how you would draw a mumakil.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
sounds like a good next project to me!
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
The Rajput and Persian influences could be combined with a swarthier skin to make him one of the horsemen from the further ends of Harad, the lands of the Mumak riders.The axe is much longer than a horseman would use. See Stone's Glossary of Weapons and armor for a nice page of Asian hand-axes, or the Osprey MAA book of your choice. :) Other than that, it looks nice.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
the axe was based on a design popular with turkish cavalrymen, and admittedly the haft is far too long for a horseman to use, my bad on that one.
I tend to think of this guy as being one of the brown skinned men of near harad, rather than the black, sort of south-saharan-eque men of far harad, who, I like to think would serve, in addittion to their own companies of footsoldiers, as the mahouts for the giant mumaks. he's a very generic "anywhere in near-harad" warrior, if i were to break up the designs a little more by area, I'd tend to think things would get more solidly east-persian empire/indian as you go southwest into Khand, and other unnamed lands beyond.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013
I think that was Tolkien's idea, to have Harad progress from Near-East to Middle-East to Pakistan-India, with the Dark Continent as Africa. I do not know precisely what to say about the Men of Khand, the Variags. They seem to have been very devoted to Sauron from an early time in the Second Age, but he said very little otherwise. You are free to speculate there.
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013
You said you were glad to have a Tolkien's fan so let's see if you'll stay glad after a few critics. :P
I had a few discussions on Middle Earth weaponry (joke inside : it's a lot more than a few) and it came out that, opposite to the Rohirrim, the Hardrim riders likely don't use spears. Why ? Cause of the sentence (be indulgent : it's a translation of my native language, french) "And when the southrons draw their scimitars it was like stars glistering". It's situated at the beggining of their charge so a long time before using some potential spears, leading us to the conclusion that a Southron cavalryman use first his sword as a main weapon (and that's why the Rohirrim won the battle).

And just one more : "Haradrim" is a group-plural (meaning "People of the South", like Galadhrim = "People of the Trees", Rohirrim = "People of the horses / horse-masters", Mithrim = "Grey People", Falathrim = "People of the Coast", etc...).
So you cannot say "Haradrim cavalryman" and, unfortunately, we don't know the singular (like for most of the examples I used, except Rohirrim where it's probably 'Rochir' or "Rohir'). Then the best way is to use the English translation : Southron Cavalryman.

Yes I'm harsh on you but you deserve it for being so cool and thougtfull in your drawings (I'm definitely in love with your Bolg... yeah I know : weirdo!) and it's my only critics on all your drawings except another one (but you already noticed it) : too much plate-armor for ME. :) Impatient to see what'll be next !

(and my apologize for the numerous grammatical mistakes)
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
well I have no rebuttal to offer for your criticism of the pretty quick decision on my part to refer to this piece as "haradrim cavalryman." I was considering "southron cavalryman" but southron seems (especially in context, as used by the men of the west) a sort of pejorative term, I rather like giving them the dignity of referring to them as "haradrim" (as tolkien seems to give the evil men in sauron's service considerably more respect as formidable fighters than orcs, which are usually just cannon fodder) although I can see your point, I might have tried "harad cavalryman" although I am certainly not the only person to make such a mistake (as I recall among sideshow weta's collectible statues back in the LOTR days was a "galadhrim archer")
as for the spear issue, i mostly put it into this drawing because it worked compositionaly, same thing with that middle eastern style cavalry axe (Tolkien does mention one branch of easterlings/southrons that are short and bearded like dwarves and carry axes, but they're foot soldiers, I'll have to draw those at some point) but if tolkien did indeed intend the southron horsemen not to use spears in addition to their swords, then they are something of a rarity among horsemen, in real history and in middle earth. I was working mostly from influences like the saracen cavalry during the crusades, or the persians in antiquity, who used spears.

glad you enjoy my work, and as always I'm glad to run into a tolkien fan so astute, as those are the critics whose opinions I most care about.
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013
For the name I know it's really a detail, cause you have to know a little bit of Sindarin to notice it, I don't wanna look like a close-minded person so I can assure you : I don't have heart's attacks when I see a "Haradrim Cavalryman" or a "Galadhrim Archer" ;)

If "Harad Cavalryman" is correct in English then it's probably the best choice. But "Southrons" and "Haradrim" are basically the same word (meaning being the same) and it's the point of view of the men of the West in both cases (I doubt "Haradrim" was used by Elves cause they never came close of this region as far as I remember, except for this former haven in Dor-i-Ernil) cause Sindarin was spoken by Numenoreans as well.
As "Easterlings", "Southrons" are only called given to the place they come from, their ennemies don't know much about them and even if they spare their lives in most occasions they don't have that much respect for them (given to Mablung and Damrod's discussion). So we don't know anyway how the Haradrim call eachother. In the other hand it's probably the same for them : the Easterlings of the First Age called the House of Hador "Straw-Heads".

On the spear question. The axe don't disturb me (their could be a few, like for spears, and it's extremly classy). For the rarity of this composition I agree with you. In the same time the Haradrim seems to be technologically late compared to the people of Middle Earth, or even to the easterling. Why ? Cause they seems to use bronze and no steel or even iron. When Samwise look at the dead southron in Ithilien he only have a brazen scale armor. Although Gollum tell the Hobbits about "Swarthy men, dressed in red, with red paintings on the cheeks and red spears" or Tolkien talk about "red swords of the South". I made the hypotesis that their weapons are red cause they are in bronze, Tolkien often describe bronze as being red (like in the Unfinished tales when Tuor arrive at the "Bronze Door" of Gondolin the Bronze is associated with the color red).
Then, if the Haradrim are really at the "Bronze Age" of Middle Earth it's possible that they don't have stirrups (like in your drawing btw), like the riders of this time, making a charge with spears really dangerous (they may be projected from their horse on the floor each time they hit an ennemy).
Of course it's only a deduction but I like to explore details in Tolkien work to explain every aspect of it :P

If you like to talk then I'll continue on the influences. You are right on them : Persians and Saracens. May be even a few things from India to mix more cultures and make them look even more "Tolkienish" (being different from everything in our History but still familiar in many ways). PJ used Aztec's influences too (to avoid the "bad guys = Arabs" feeling) which is not a stupid idea. In general any civilisation in a sunny climate which appeared like rich and mysterious for Europeans in the Middle Age is right.
How is Tolkien's Harad ? In fact a friend of mine was explaining how this is really a stereotype of the way Europeans were seeing Nothern Africa (for most Haradrim of the LotR, the "swarthy" ones) and "Dark" Africa (for the black ones, from Far-Harad) not in Tolkien's time but in what the English call the "Dark Age". Which means that they are caractherized by three elements : wealth (the red colour, the gold on the horns of the Mūmakil or as ear-rings), cruelty (here it's really subjective of course but the Haradrim are described as crual many times in the book) and mythics animals (the Mūmakil).
I think there Persia, India or even Mexico or Hyper-Borea are a little more appropriate than the Saracens cause it's fitting this description a little better but arabs are closer of the geographical situation of the Haradrim compared to ME, also they are the most menacing people invading Europe in the Dark Age (not speaking of their Barbary Pirates) so they are probably an inspiration too.

The bearded axe-men are Easterling so they have nothing to do with the Haradrim ;)

Looking for more Tolkienic discussions :D
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
The term "Harad" does mean the "South" and Haradrim or Haradwaith might be "Southron" in the most general sense. However, this geographical nicety might well be lost on the folk of Gondor, who tended to see little in the way of any Southrons except their war-hosts, who tended to have a similar look to them anyway. There still would have been a lot of cultural variety, since there would be Harondor (Gondor's "Middle East"), Near Harad, the Bay of Umbar, the great desert, and then the true Far South where the mumakil roamed. Plus, there was a "Dark Land" continent to the south, and coastal lands bordering the desert, which would have had many rulers through the centuries. All of these would be inhabited by "Haradrim", all different but with a general sameness to Gondorian eyes.(The Muslim-ruled Middle-East and Africa has similar cultural traits as a result of language, religion, and trade.) The greatest similarity being their ability to send hosts of fighting-men of quasi-Saracen, quasi-Moor, quasi-Persian, and quasi-Indian to trouble Gondor at the behest of their Dark Lord.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
I have to disagree on the haradrim being stuck in the bronze age, technologically. middle earth at the end of the third age (for the most part) seems to be pretty solidly dark age/early medieval era, and tolkien describes the drawing of the haradrim's swords as "like the glitter of stars" which seems a much more likely description for steel or iron than bronze, and is the same exact same descriptive language he uses for the drawing of the (definitely steel) swords of Turgon's army at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Moreover the scimitar, which is the word tolkien almost always uses to refer to the curved swords of orcs and evil men, didnt really come about until the early middle ages, first coming to western attention during the crusades. there were curved swords before then, like the forward curving greek flacata, but these were mostly iron age weapons as well (most bronze age swords were straight, except for those sickle-shaped egyptian things) and I tend to think when tolkien used the term "scimitar" he was most likely referring to the type of sword most people would think of when hearing that word; the classic backward curving middle eastern sword, which were made of steel (of famously high quality steel no less).

One of my favorite ways to read middle-earth (certainly for design opportunities) is as, in many respects, a mythic "alternate version" of ancient european history, for example the breakdown of western europeans into three genetic types (which was popular among 19th and early 20th century academics though a bit unfashionable nowadays) is mirrored in tolkien's three houses of the edain (the first men to reach "the west") Beor, Haleth and Marach/Hador, which vaguely correspond to, respectively, the mediterranean, celtic, and germanic peoples in the descriptions of their societies and physical appearance. The rohirrim, for example, a branch of the 'northmen,' and remarked by faramir as undoubtedly the long decendents of those of hador's people who remained in middle earth, are very clearly, in their language and customs, dark age anglo saxons, and have this emnity with the shorter, brown haired, rather celtic dunlandings (descendants of Haleth) who nurse this very celtic/british grievance against the rohirrim for stealing their land and driving them into the western hills (it's little doubt who tolkien favors in that conflict, and as a person of mostly scottish and irish descent, his very overt anglo-snobbery is, let's just say, not my favorite thing about his writings) just as the very italic people of gondor, decedents of atlantian numenore, maintain this very rome/carthage type rivalry with the black numenoreans in umbar. I'd love to do a series of Illustration depicting Umbar as this grand carthaginian port city, like a more exotic, hot-weather version gondorian cities like osgiliath, with cruel but regal black marble palaces, streets like morrocan market places bustling with traders and slave markets from Harad and Khand, and this very bloodline-conscious ruling class of tall, pale-white, black haired, castilian looking decendants of Numenor. I think the cruel but beautiful Queen Berśthiel, who I always imagined decked out in eastern style robes and henna hand tattoos like Eva Green in "Kingdom of Heaven" would rate a portait.

all that said I've always thought it was a pretty furstrating cop out of the films not to assign perceptible paralleles in real history to the 'bad men' from the south and east, as was done for the rohirrim or the gondorians, and it was undoubtedly done so as not to offend audience members (I think a few members of the WETA design team even said as much when addressing the design process for the easterlings and haradrim). I'm in agreement with your freind's theory; Tolkien envisioned the lands traversed by the fellowship in the Lord of the rings (and occupied by the "men of the west") as existing in the north west of the world, just as europe does in the real life (old)world, and beyond many subtler parallels, I think he always saw the easterlings and southrons as in keeping with the thousands of years old (and certainly popular in the dark and middle ages) european perception of Enemies coming from the south and east; continued waves throughout history of what the orator in "Gladiator" referred to as "ferocious mercenaries and warriors of all brute nations" like the invading persian armies of Darius and Xerxes in ancient greece, the north aftricans under Hannibal, the Huns, the muslims under Saladin, the encroachment into southeastern europe of the Ottoman Turks. My only regret, from an artistic point of view, about this filmmakers' attempt at political correctness (which I can understand as nescessary) is that these cultures (or designs closely evoking them) just like the ancient germanics with their chainmaille and longswords, would have looked great on film. History offers such a rich, deep aesthetic well to draw from, and i would have loved to see the easterlings and southrons decked out in those beautiful persian/saracen chainplate and lamellar armors with onion dome helmets, or like the Golden Horde under Atilla, instead of being boxed in to requirements not to be offensive. that's what I'd pictured in my head when reading anyway, and after seeing movies like "kingdom of heaven" or "alexander" (neither of which i liked but both of which i love looking at) I realized how beautifully those styles read on screen, and how badly missed they were in LOTR (by me anyway)
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
I have to admit you were right and I thank you to bring me to the conclusion that the Haradrim were as much advanced as any people in ME at this time of the TA.
What bring me to this conclusion ? In the Book IV, chapter 4 (?), Sam hear the sound of "steel against steel" and "swords on iron helmets" during the fight of Faramir's rangers company against Southrons. The rangers probably don't have helmets so those helmets are Haradrim's.
Leading us to the conclusion that the use of bronze for armors is either due to a lack of iron in Harad or to a criteria of rank or richess among the soldiers. So the standard Haradrim warrior have some variations of this basic equipment :
- an iron helmet
- a scimitar made of steel
- a bronze corselet
- a red-headed spear for footmen (bronze?)
- a yellow and black shield
- a bow

Looking for other open discussions ;)
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013
Bronze was used for armor long after iron came into use for weapons. This was because bronze is easier to cast into desired shapes than iron. Like, say, shield bosses, single-piece helmets, and the uniform plaques of a scale corselet. (Tolkien's depicition of the men of Far Harad is similar to the description of the Indian army Alexander met.) The Romans used bronze armor until the end in the West, although by then it had long been relegated to the auxiliaries. (That includes horsemen, whom the Romans considered secondary to the battle line.) The"Dark Age" European states had gone all-iron by the time of Charlemagne. In the MIddle East and Central Asia bronze remained a component for armor until the 12th century AD or so.
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013
Here are the explanations :D Thanks for all the details, I'm gonna use your message as an explanation (with credits) on my forum, some people I know will be glad to see that every piece of the puzzle fits !
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm glad to hear it, and this revised conception of the haradrim's armament seems about right.
If you're looking for more open discussions (which is one of the main things I'd hoped for by posting semiregular tolkien work, it's great to hear from other people who love middle earth, and see what they think about how my work sits with their own vision) there's some pretty interesting back and forth going on with the easterling, and Queen beruthiel (which you've seen)
I think the bad guys are more conducive to discussion for some reason, and I have to say, with all the encouragement I've been recieving lately I'll definitely be doing more "middle-earth bad men" (working on a couple umbar sketches, and some more easterlings at the moment) stay tuned my friend
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013
I'm gonna follow your discussions of course. I'm kinda of busy with my job lately but I'm gonna be in a break at the end of July so at this time I'll be able to criticize even more ;)

That's cool to see some bad guys cause they are really the worst interpretation in my opinion in the movies (the Easterlings have nothing to do with what they are in the books : riders and axemen replaced by phalanxes of samurais ? Same for the Haradrim)with almost nothing to do with how in envision them (opposite to Gondor, Isengard or Elves which I don't like cause they look to much standardized but with a lot of interesting elemnts).

So I'm gonna stay tuned ;)
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:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013
It's the "for the most part" that could be a problem.
Think to Saruman and Sauron mastering powder, to the Numenoreans who had flying boats (hot air baloon?), I'm not sure you can put each people of ME in the same era of our own history. Of course Gondorians and Rohirrim are more dark age but a lot of the ennemies looks more antic to me : Wainriders have a lot in commons with Goth and Huns and, as you said, Haradrim with persians (even if persians last until the XIIIth century if I'm not wrong).
But you are right on the drawing of the swords and you seem to know a lot more than me about scimitars. And you are right : except in the Hobbit there is no other one-handed weapon for Orcs than scimitars. In the Lay of Luthien they are described as "hell-swords".
Then it's probably a question of quantity : the elite cavalry use steel (may be only for their swords) and the rest of the troops have to stay with bronze. Cause I repeat it : the armor of the dead man in Ithilien is in bronze, and for me the "red-swords" and "red-headed spears". May be those are only for foot-men. That could explain at least why the cavalry use swords : they are considered as more important and so are the only weapon for which they use the rare steel they can make.
Just hypotesis still but I try to put all the strings together (don't know if thi image work in english...)

I like the way you envision the Three Houses of the Edain, I never thought about it before and never heard of such lecture but it's making a lot of sense. Still : in terms of weaponry Tolkien is more applying his own models than the traditionnal weaponry of those people. If the Dunedain are really "greekish and romanish" (especially the Numenorean soldier description in the Unfinished Tales III is really close of a Roman Legionary)the House of Beor is culturally probably the more "civilised" (as Roman and Greeks saw themselves) but they have good archers and sword-men, not really the traditionnal weapons of the greeks (spear) and romans (gladius).
The same for Hador : okay they have axes and swords but they are riders, like the Rohirrim more than like the germans. And the house of Haleth is armed with axes and bows (a really common association in Tolkien's writinh : look to the rangers of Doriath) and fight in the woods, not really celtic to me. And given to Cesar the Celts were more blond hair than dark hair and taller than the Romans.
Still interisting though :)

But your interpretation for Third Age conflicts (Rohirrim / Dunlendings and Gondor / Umbar) is corresponding even more.
I doubt that Tolkien take the side of the Rohirrim in this conflict (the side of Gondor that's sure), I think for him it's more a way of showing that his world is not only black and white but grey (the most present color in Middle Earth) and that even the people on the "good" side (here the Rohirrim) have maid their own mistakes. Dunlendings are really victims in Tolkien's writing : hunted by the Numenoreans like savages, despite of their common origins, then by Gondor and finnally chased by the Rohirrim. There is another example with the Druedain, and their ancestors were living alltogether, who wers hunted and chased too (even if it was for different reasons and if they had different reactions : hiding for the Druedain and striking back on any occasion for the Dunlendings).

I like the way you see Beruthiel (I never saw her as beautiful, which was a mistake I think : she is obviously a version of the seductive but dangerous witch) and I'm looking forward to your future drawings of Umbar. Even drafts will be welcome if you don't have the time to do more you know :)

The way you sum up my opinon and the one of my friend on ME southern culture and add your own thougts and references is really pleasant to read. If you like coherent-dark-age inspiration you should look (if you haven't yet) to Merlkir's gallery : [link]
I'm not found of everything but I couldn't thanks him enough for all the stuff he did, bringing a lot of new food to my corrupted-by-the-movies imagination.

Something striking me is that you are making a lot of parallels with Easterlings and Haradrims. So yes their roles are kinda similar but they don't seems to me like being inspired by the same cultures (given to their differences and to their different locations). As I said the Haradrim are really persians, indians, saracens or even aztecs, but the Easterlings are probably more hunnics, gothics, russianics or mongolish, don't you think so ? But I may go to far here...
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
yes it is true that middle earth is quite anachronistic in places (never moreso than when it comes to the hobbits, who smoke tobacco, have a post office, and are in many other respects more like victorian englishmen than anything out of ancient sagas) as with the examples you mentioned of saruman with his gunpowder, and the numenorean airships (though apparently tolkien abandoned that one sometime in the 30's) and so "for the most part" are indeed the operative words, though generally I think many people perceive middle earth as, in some respects, a mythological overlay/alternate telling of european history. that said I have never heard anyone else propose my theory about the three houses of men, it is as far as I know my own theory only, but I think a likely one, and it does seem that many (good) tolkien artists (though perhaps without articulating it verbally) have come to similar conclusions; Merlkir for example (who I am indeed familiar with, and a big fan of) seems to have settled on a very celtic/la tene interpretation of the dunlandings, and his Numenorean guardsman is, for me, a pretty pitch-perfect use of just the right, not-too-overt late antiquity/Imperial roman style [link] of course his rohirrim also look like anglo saxons, but tolkien really spells that one out for us)

I wouldn't say that I think of the easterlings and haradrim as all being the same or even close to one another (all things considered the myriad tribes and nations in service to Sauron probably represent a much broader genetic diversity than the all-caucasoid edain) but Tolkien does seem to lump them into the same armies together, and they both occupy the position of the 'other' and 'enemy' at pelennor fields (my only attempt at an easterling to date is pretty much entirely hunnic in inspiration [link]

That's the thing, I think; Tolkien thought about his own fantasy world in very european-centric and, more specifically, northern european-centric terms, so it's not so surprising that the bloodlines and histories of his (human) protagonists, nearly all of whom are at least distantly related, are given more in-depth explanation, whereas the people of Rhun, Khand and Harad are given a comparatively rather rushed and dismissive treatment. One of his aims (he often said as much) was to create a body of mythology for England, and it seems that everything in his stories is taken from a very "English" vantage point, even the conflict with the rather "british" dunlandings who, while you are right that that conflict is not all black and white, it must be said that we don't get to hear too much about the men of dunland, and have to hear often about how tall, keen-eyed, flax-haired and wonderful the anglo-saxon Rohirrim are; Tolkien seems to have really been in love with his presentation of his 'own' people there (also the case with the house of Hador in the first age) almost to the point where his language in describing them gets a little bombastic, and coming back to your point that the real-life Celts encountered by Julius Ceasar were described as being (comparatively) tall and fair haired, i think that when tolkien describes the three houses of the edain, he is not so much in line with the descriptions of those people provided by caesar or tacitus, nor by writers of medieval europe, but (somewhat surprisingly) with the oppinions of his own time: the division of real-world europeans into the "Nordic" "Italic" and "Alpine" types was a popular bit of scientific racism which permeated academic circles of the 19th and early 20th centuries (the world tolkien came from) and the generally accepted breakdown was that the nordic types were tall, fair haired and long skulled, whereas the alpine(celtic) type was shorter and broader, with brown hair and a rounded skull (just think the difference between the very anglo-saxon looking Bill Nighy and a welshman like Michael Sheen or Anthony Hopkins) This sort of thinking was especially popular among intellectual circles in Northern Europe, which tended to elevate the nordic race, and, while not denying the great accomplishments and merits of the mediterreanians (it would be impossible to do so), was generally contemptuous and dismissive of the alpines(celts) as "peasant-types," neither intellectualy nor physically remarkable. Similarly the house of Beor and his descendents may be the senior most branch of the edain, and have the 'spiritual authority' of having been the first to encounter elves, (it is telling that "beor" is not the man's original name, but a title of honor meaning "vassal (to the elves)" as if to imply that, for early man, to be so would have been the highest calling) but the men of the House of Hador seem to be the ones for whom tolkien seems to possess the most fervent passion. I'm reminded of a letter Tolkien wrote to his son during WWII (which you might well be familiar with) In which he expresses a personal grudge against Adolf Hitler for "ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light…" the much less quoted second half of which reads "Nowhere, incidentally, was it (the noble northern spirit) nobler than in England, nor more early sanctified and Christianized." it's always struck me as interesting (and very telling of tolkien's dual zeal for the catholic faith and the english cultural identity) that he considered the christianization by the roman catholic church, of the 'virtuous pagan' anglo saxons to be the big ennobling factor (as apposed to say, a thinker like Nietzsche, who rather asserted that the christianization of the heroic barbarians of ancient europe was a weakening factor, stealing their native, beowulfian thunder and turning them into sheep); I tend to think of this line of his in relation to the "special relationship" between gondor and rohan, beginning with the oath of Cirion and Eorl; This is, I believe (one of many many moments in middle earth history that parallel european history) a M-E reinterpretation of the christianization and consolidation of the newly formed germanic kingdoms (and specifically anglo saxon england) by rome during the dark ages. I think that gondor during most of the third age (if it may be said to be a veiled stand in for rome) is not so much like empirial rome at the height of it's power, wealth, and decadence (that seems a much better fit for numenore) but is rather like the more somber, backward looking and (significantly) Christian Rome of the dark ages (this was heavily, and brilliantly, alluded to in the design of the gondorian architecture in the film, more romanesque, even byzantine, than classical roman.) Of course in middle earth the "religious" authority of the Gondorians is not Christian (one would imagine that the middle earth equivalent of palastine and the birth place of jesus would have to be somewhere in near harad where the traditional enemies of the free people come from) but comes rather from their superior knowledge of the elves and by extension the powers in the "true west."
Cirion grants the lands that become the riddermark to the Eorl and his people for their valor in service to gondor, with very little regard for the barbarous native inhabitants of that land, and once again in middle earth (as in european history) the celtic people are thrown under the bus, so to speak. In this I do not hold tolkien to be simply a guiltless, removed recounter either; the oath of cirion and eorl, taken as a mythic parallel to the christianization of anglo-saxon england, is propaganda in it's own way (propaganda being, I believe, a huge, central part of all "cultural mythologies," such as the one tolkien was trying to craft) in reality the native celtic inhabitants of the british isles had been christianized centuries before the invading anglo saxons, and the embracing and co-opting of the anglo saxons (as with the Franks in france or the Lombards in northern italy) by the church in rome was not because they were "noble and swift and there was great friendship between them" (or whatever other very romanticized way tolkien might have put it) but was rather a cold, political maneuver on Rome's part, joining with the prevailing power and even largely abandoning and selling out their own faithful. It would be as though, to bring it back to Cirion and Eorl, the dunlandings had had alliances with gondor for centuries, which the gondorians merely cast aside with the arrival out of the north of the Eorlingas. I've always thought that this partisanship on tolkien's part probably had a lot to do with why he was none-too-fond of the King Arthur mythology, and claimed it to be a largely transplanted corpus from the French-Norman court (the influence of which on the english language and identity he always regretted, and sought to undo) and therefore not an appropriately native english mythology, but in reality (a reality that tolkien must have been aware of, and one which for him probably constituted something of an inconvenient truth) while things like lancelot and guenivere were Norman additions, the oldest and most central parts of the Arthurian legends (and the parts most likely to have had a foundation in history) were not Norman at all but British, and while not "english" (as in anglo saxon) they were in fact more indigenous to the british isles and people than any imported literature of the invading saxons (like beowulf, which takes place entirely in denmark and sweden) could ever claim to be.

So, while I don't think tolkien was especially racist, even within the very abstracted reality of his own fantasy world (he certainly didn't seem to have anything against the people of Haleth per se, and regarded them favorably, as with the amiable men of Bree, also decedents of Haleth) he was, I think, a participant in the prejudices of his day, which are, to one degree or another, present in his fictional work.

again, this is largely my own conclusion from reading his work, and I'll be interested to know what you make of it. It's always great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth, especially with someone who knows what they're talking about.
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:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013
You might get around to doing some Dunlending or Rhudauran illustrations, some time, I imagine. The fate of the "Haladin" peoples of Middle-Earth has not been good. Tolkien seems to have captured them in the ambiguous tomes of the Roman and English chroniclers detailing the Gauls and Britons and Irish. It's not that the Dunlendings were bad, but their ancestors had lived under the Shadow, and it marked them in a way the Northmen and Numenorians escaped. Occasionally the Dunnish folk could be befriended and tamed, and from those folk came the men of Bree and the swarthy but sturdy folk of Gondor's mountainous regions. But the Shadow-mark and the heedless dominion of imperial Numenor left the Dunnish folk feeling perpetually ill-treated, somehow drinking from the empty half of the cup. (It's also worth noting that Dunland is in the eastern section of Enedwaith, the uncivilized buffer zone between Gondor and Arnor.) The ill will towards the Dunedain seems to have backfired since Cirion gave Calenardhon to Eorl without a second thought, and the Rohirrim were more than capable of defending their awarded home on their own account.

The situation in Rhudaur was different than Dunland, although the Hill-men of Rhudaur might have been influenced by the displaced Gwathurim moving up-river to them instead of Dunland. The Dunedain of Rhudaur intermarried with the Hillmen after the sundering of Arnor, and the (probably mixed-blood) Hillman who took the throne and allied against Arthedain with Angmar was defending his own claim to rule despite Argeleb's proclamation of sovereignty. Of course, by joining hands with a Nazgul the Rhudarans put themselves definitely on the wrong side of history, but they wanted revenge, not peace or justice.   
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
Tolkien often spoke favorably (if a bit condescendingly at times) of the celtic languages and people, particularly the Irish, though often in terms of needing to be "tamed" as you put it (his remarks on the inherent evil of the Emerald Isle, held in check only by the committed Catholicism of the people, rank as some of his more, well, batshit crazy remarks) He seems, from his writing, to have been a lot more interested in celtic culture and mythology, and less on board for their wholesale dismissal as ignorant untermenchen than alot of the anglophile academics of his time (I once read a book on the scottish people written by some St. Anthony's college don in the 20's that basically painted a picture of irredeemably criminal subhumans)

As a person of mostly Irish and Scottish ancestry myself, I've always been interested by Tolkien's mixed relationship with the celts, I definitely think his work is a bit "racist" (only insofar as cultural mythologies such as the one he was trying to craft are, by design, inherently racist by modern, global-culture standards) but far more specifically so than the rather simplified accusations of "white people=good, colored people=bad" that his books usually draw; it's a mythology for the anglo-saxon people (and by the incredibly exclusionary standards of authentic ancient cultural mythologies, the world of middle-earth is actually very open minded)
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(3 Replies)
:iconelrondperedhel:
ElrondPeredhel Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013
Splendid presentation. You bring to me a lot of new ideas to think about.
I'll just moderate first what you said about Athur's myth and Tolkien. Tolkien did like the Arthurian myth on one side cause, at the origin (or the supposed origin), it was for him the connection between pagan litteracy (like Beowulf) and christianity. Also don't forget he wrote a new version of "Gawain and the Green Knight" and another tale called "The fall of Arthur".

Then I'll have to make up my mind on all that (as you can see I was kind of discouraged by the size of your message).
Once again the main heroes in Tolkien's work are those who combine the qualities of all peoples of Middle Earth (even if there is not a lot of Halethlings heroes, a lot of heroes from Tolkien's writing coming from the houses of Hador and Beor, Turin, Tuor and especially Beren, have the same qualities as the Halethlings : proximity with nature, skills in the woods, etc...
I think Tolkien value a lot those qualities.
Also he said many times that he didn't like parabols and I think his message is so subtle that it's really difficult to know what he really thinks. The people of Haleth, like the Druadan, are the weaks, persecuted by their cousins. But in the same time Tolkien learn us that the hope is in the weaks (Hobbits) and that the will of power (something Nietzche theorize) is always dangerous, the will to climb higher than you are, a problem which really comes with the Beorians and the Hadorians while the people of Haleth (and some of their descendants, like Hurin) have this true wisdom that you can find in Samwise Gamgee ;)
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:iconlordpendragonofcaria:
LordPendragonOfCaria Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Beautiful design here, but I actually felt like the Haradrim were pretty well designed in the film. I think they captured that "middle east"-esque feel pretty well, especially since, being a fantasy world, they didn't NEED to look like any one, particular society (by real world standards). But, that's just my opinion.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Professional General Artist
thanks, and I didnt think the design work for the easterlings and haradrim was bad, per se, it just didnt do it for me like most of the rest of the design work for those movies did. to each his own.
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:iconlordpendragonofcaria:
LordPendragonOfCaria Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, okay :)
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:iconblueflamebluerose:
blueflamebluerose Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
nice! i always thought that the Haradrim would wear lamellar armor
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
me too, dont know why. just seems fitting somehow i guess. thanks!
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:icondarkendrama:
Darkendrama Featured By Owner May 21, 2013
Incredible detail!
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
thank you!!
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:iconkonquistador:
Konquistador Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, that's what a man of Harad have to look like.
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:iconturnermohan:
TurnerMohan Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
glad you like it
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