The Drúedain are a fictional race of Men which were counted amongst the Edain, who made their way into Beleriand in the First Age, and were friendly to the Elves. They are part of the Middle-earth legendarium created by J. R. R. Tolkien.
|Also known as||Woses, Drughu, Oghor-hai, Púkel-men|
|Created date||First Age|
|Base of operations||Drúadan Forest|
The Drúedain are based on the mythological woodwoses.
Names and etymologyEdit
The Drúedain called themselves Drughu. When the Drúedain settled in Beleriand, the Sindarin Elves adapted this to Drû (plurals Drúin, Drúath) and later added the suffix -adan "man", resulting in the usual Sindarin form Drúadan (plural Drúedain). Tolkien also used the form Drûg, with a regular English plural Drûgs.
Drughu became Rú in Quenya, with the later suffixed form Rúatan (plural Rúatani). The Orcs called the Drúedain Oghor-hai. The word used for them by the Rohirrim during the Third Age was represented by Tolkien as Púkel-men, which includes the Anglo-Saxon word pūcel "goblin, troll" (surviving also in Shakespeare's "Puck" and Kipling's "Pook's Hill").
The appearance of the Drúedain is entirely different from the appearance of the other races of the Middle-earth legendarium. They are a bit like Dwarves in stature and endurance, stumpy, clumsy-limbed (with short, thick legs, and fat, "gnarled" arms), had broad chests, fat bellies, and heavy buttocks. According to the Elves and other Men, they had "unlovely faces": wide, flat, and expressionless with deep-set black eyes that glowed red when angered. They had "horny" brows, flat noses, wide mouths, and sparse, lank hair. They had no hair lower than the eyebrows, except for a few men who had a tail of black hair on the chin. They were short-lived and had a deep hatred of Orcs. They were known to have certain magical powers and to be still in meditation for long periods of time.
The Drûgs were the first to migrate from Hildórien, the land where the race of Men awoke in the east of Middle-earth. Initially they headed south, into Harad, but then they turned north-west, becoming the first Men to cross the great river Anduin. Many of them settled in the White Mountains, where they were the first people.
Some of the Drúedain continued north-west, settling in Beleriand. There a band lived among the Second House of Men, the Haladin, in the First Age in the forest of Brethil, whence the Elves came to know and love them.
Although a number of the Drúedain came with the Edain to Númenor, they had left or died out before the Akallabêth, as had the Púkel-men of Dunharrow. At the end of the Third Age the Drûgs still lived in the Drúadan Forest of the White Mountains, and on the long cape of Andrast west of Gondor. The region north of Andrast was still known as Drúwaith Iaur, or "Old Drûg land".
The term Púkel-men used by the Rohirrim was also applied to the fearsome statues constructed by the Drúedain to guard important places and homes; some evidently had the power to come to life. Because of their ugly appearance and frightening statues the Drúedain were feared and loathed by other Men of the region; they were considered little better than Orcs, and there was much enmity between those peoples.
Nevertheless, the Drúedain of Ghân-buri-Ghân's clan came to the aid of the Rohirrim during the War of the Ring. A large company of Orcs had been sent to the Drúadan Forest to waylay the host of Rohan as it made its way to the aid of Gondor. It was the Drúedain who held off the Orcs with poisoned arrows whilst they guided the Rohirrim through the forest by secret paths. Without their help the Rohirrim would not have arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and Sauron would likely have triumphed. As a result, the Drúedain gained the respect of other Men, and King Elessar granted the Drúadan Forest "forever" to them in thanks.
Aghan the Drûg is a protagonist in "The Faithful Stone", a short story set in Beleriand in the First Age. In The Lord of the Rings, set in the late Third Age, Ghân-buri-Ghân is the chieftain of the Woses of the eponymous Druadan Forest, who assist the Rohirrim in the War of the Ring.
Ghan-buri-Ghan is portrayed on a Decipher card by Wii Kuki Kaa, a New Zealand actor from the Maori tribes of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu. Kaa was originally chosen to play Ghân-buri-Ghân in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but his character did not make the shooting phase. Weta Workshop subsequently designed the decipher card.
- Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", p. 385, note 8.
- Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", p. 377, 379.
- The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan".
- Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", p. 384.
- J. R. R. Tolkien (1980), Unfinished Tales, George Allen & Unwin, part 4 ch. 1 p. 383; ISBN 0-04-823179-7
- Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain: The Faithful Stone", pp. 380–382.