Dunland: An Introduction

Saruman's allies. The ancient enemies of Rohan. Men who were willing to fight alongside the Uruk-hai. The Men of Dunland: a mysterious people, turned to evil, and ready to fight against the heroes of the West. Who were the Dunlendings, and what motivated them to fight on the side of Sauron? It may surprise you to learn this, but extensive research reveals...

...they were a bunch of angry, disgruntled hermits. :) "In the foothills of the western side of the Misty Mountains lived ... the Dunlendings: a sullen folk..." (Unfinished Tales, pp. 374-5). "Only in Dunland did Men of this race hold to their old speech and manners: a secret folk, unfriendly to the Dunedain, hating the Rohirrim" (Return of the King, p. 408 hardback). "The Dunlendings... were afraid of Elvish folk, though few indeed ever came to their country..." (Return of the King, p. 261 hardback).

The Dunlendings had originally lived in the vales of the White Mountains (Return... p. 407-8), and presumably were really pissed when Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, sent them an eviction notice and gave the entire land away to Eorl and the people of Rohan (Return... p. 345). They relocated to present-day Dunland and became sullen and grouchy, with their biggest annoyance directed towards the Rohirrim who had moved onto their old property.

Rohirrim and Dunlendings also hated the color of one another's hair, it appears, since they used it to deride one another: "Of [Dunlendings'] language nothing appears in this book, save the name Forgil which they gave to the Rohirrim (meaning Strawheads, it is said). Dunland and Dunlending are the names that the Rohirrim gave to them, because they were swarthy and dark-haired..." (Return... p. 408)

There's very little to learn about Dunlendings' culture, at least not from the information I have at hand. We do know that they get married... or at least they try to. Freca, a man who "claimed descent from King Freawine [of Rohan], though he had, men said, much Dunlendish blood, and was dark-haired..." [note the hair reference!] "...asked the hand of Helm's daughter for his son Wulf." King Helm of the Mark didn't go for it, insulted him, and then later on killed Freca by punching him to death. (Return... pp. 346-7) The people of Rohan evidently thought this a delightful and appropriate way to treat a Dundending, nicknaming King Helm "Hammerhand" and proudly relating the story to one another for generations afterwards.

Freca's mixed Dunland/Rohan ancestry, incidentally, is not unique. The Histories make it clear that the Dunlendings were willing to breed with anybody. In addition to the Dunlendish/Rohirric mix, the guards of the Ring of Isengard for many generations were a mix of Dunlendish and Numenorean blood (Unfinished Tales pp. 376-7). There are even indications that Saruman bred the Uruk-hai by combining Orcs with his Dunlendish troops (Two Towers, p. 76-7), but this is still unconfirmed.

The people of Dunland have a curious mix of relatives in their history as well. Some of the people of the White Mountains moved North long before the Rohirrim took over all the good real-estate; they became subjects of Arnor, and the Men of Bree eventually descended from them. On the other hand, some of those same people (including the King of the White Mountains) went a little way South instead and swore an oath of loyalty to Gondor; later on they decided not to fulfill it, and ended up being cursed by Isildur himself. They died out but, still held to Middle-earth by their oath, became the Dead Men of Dunharrow (though eventually they redeemed themselves by becoming Aragorn's pals, and conquering the black fleet of Umbar at Pelargir during the War of the Ring). (Return... pp. 54-55,153,408) The moral of the story is this: If you're a Dunlending, go North. :)

...In short: The people of Dunland lived in the White Mountains until they were forced out by Cirion and Eorl, and were really ticked off at everybody afterwards as a result. It's hard to know more than that about them, however, because... well, bluntly put, the winners wrote all the history-books. :)

Modern-day Dunland has changed greatly from its historical past, however, and now has a strong tourist trade. Many people visit Dunland to see such natural wonders as the famous redwood groves. Dunland also has golf courses, resorts, ski areas, and many other recreational facilities, as well as excellent incentives for relocating businesses and industrial development into Dunland. Dunland welcomes both the practical investor and the lighthearted tourist! Don't delay; make your next vacation, trade show or investment one to remember! Call 1-800-DUNLAND to find out more about our fine line of hotels and convention facilities. We'll be waiting for your call!

Back to the Tolkien Sarcasm Page
Incidentally, did you know King Helm Hammerhand was the Abominable Snowman? Return of the King, pages 347-8.