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A Variag, by John Howe

The Variags were Men from the land of Khand.

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.[1]

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

No Variags appear in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, likely because of the Variags' scant appearance and description given in the books.

They have been featured in The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, based mostly on Jackson's films. Called the Khandish, they are depicted in an oriental, East Asian theme, much like the Easterlings, their close allies. They are portrayed as axe-wielders as well as using bows. They are skilled horsemen in the game, using chariots in battle. They have banners attached to their backs, similarly to the Japanese samurai of the Medieval period.[2][3]

A group of Variags in The Lord of the Rings Online

In Standing Stone Games' The Lord of the Rings Online, Variags are first encountered as enemies in Far Anórien, guarding the road to Minas Tirith against the passage of Rohirrim. Another group of Variags is found in North Ithilien after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, attempting to retreat home into Khand. Unlike the Easterlings and the Haradrim, the Variags are mercenaries, following Sauron not out of fear or worship but because of the riches promised to them. As such, they hold no real hatred against the Men of the West and at several points players have the option to simply pay them to defuse an armed situation.

Behind the scenes

  • In the real world, Variags is another name for the Scandinavian Varangians.

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ቫሪኣግስ
Arabic فارياجس
Armenian Վարիագս
Belarusian Cyrillic Варіагс
Bengali ভারিয়াগস
Bulgarian Cyrillic Варяги
Chinese (Simplified) 了維瑞亞人
Georgian ვარიაგები
Greek Βάριαγγς
Gujarati વેરિઅગ્સ
Hebrew ואריאגים
Hindi वरिअग्स
Japanese ヴァリアグ
Kannada ವರಿಅಗ್ಸ್
Kazakh Варіагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)
Korean 바리악
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Вариагс
Macedonian Cyrillic Вариагс
Marathi व्हेरियॅग्ज
Mongolian Cyrillic Вариагс
Nepalese भेरियाग्स
Pashto واریاګس
Persian واریاگس ?
Punjabi ਵਰਾਇਗੇਟਸ
Sanskrit वरिअग्स्
Serbian Вариагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)
Sinhalese වරිඅග්ස්
Tajik Cyrillic Вариагс
Tamil வரிஅக்ஸ்
Telugu వరిఅగ్స
Ukrainian Cyrillic варягів
Urdu واریاگس
Uzbek Вариагс (Cyrillic) Variags (Latin)
Yiddish וואַריאַגס
The People of Middle-earth

Edain | Dúnedain | Númenóreans | Haradrim | Easterlings | Variags | Northmen | Dunlendings | Drúedain

Vanyar | Ñoldor | Teleri | Sindar | Eldar | Avari

Durin's Folk | Firebeards | Broadbeams | Ironfists | Blacklocks | Stonefoots | Stiffbeards


References

  1. Matthew Ward, A Shadow in the East, 2005, ISBN 1 84154 695 X, p 48
  2. Ibid p 18
  3. Ibid pp 4–5