Little about the Variags is known about apart from the fact that they fought for Sauron in the War of the Ring. They first appeared in TA 1944 in the northeast of Middle-earth, fighting alongside the Easterling tribe known as the Wainriders. On March 14 - 15 of TA 3019, the Variags fought in Sauron's army at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Tolkien never described the Variags, and most information about them is speculative. It has been speculated that they were axe-wielding berserkers, based on the real world Varangians.
Portrayal in adaptations
Variags have, however, been 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 constant close allies with them. This interpretation is taken from Tolkien's work alone due to the absence of Variags in the trilogy.
They are portrayed as axe-wielders as well as using bows. They are also noted as skilled horsemen, using chariots in combat as well. The Khandish warriors also have banners attached to their backs in a similar fashion to Japanese samurai of the medieval period.
Behind the scenes
- In the real world, Variags is another name for the Scandinavian Varangians.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Kazakh||Варіагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)|
|Serbian||Вариагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Вариагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)|
The People of Middle-earth
- Matthew Ward, A Shadow in the East, 2005, ISBN 1 84154 695 X, p 48
- Ibid p 18
- Ibid pp 4–5