In the movie The Two Towers, Gollum leads Frodo and Sam to the Black Gate of Mordor, where they watch an army of humans marching past the Black Gate, and then inside into Mordor. I can't recall seeing these troops fighting in any future scenes in either The Two Towers or Return of the King (I think I would have recognized them because of their impractical helmets!) and the only human troops I can recall fighting for Sauron is the group of mercenaries that arrive by corsairs and the men who are part of the Oliphant brigade. Why show a human army marching into Mordor if they weren't going to make an appearance in any battle scene? What happened to Mordor's human army?

  • I will see if i can find evidence in the book, but i think that was to show that Sauron was amassing armies. And i also think those uniforms were similiar to the ones worn by the oliphant brigade.
    – Chris
    Mar 24, 2012 at 4:30
  • I can't give a concrete answer, but there was more than a single front in Saurons war. The Dwarves were fighting Saurons forces at the same time. The human part of his army may have been off fighting that part of the war. Mar 24, 2012 at 5:34

4 Answers 4


While not as plentiful as Orcs, and not as prevelant in the movies, Men took the field in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields:

Southward beyond the road lay the main force of the Haradrim, and there their horsemen were gathered about the standard of their chieftain.

The Haradrim were Men from lands on the southern border of Gondor. The Haradrim and Corsairs of Umbar were also those vanquished by Aragorn's host of the Dead, of which mention is made in the books but the battle was "off screen".

Men were also present at the Battle of the Black Gate:

But the Men of Rhûn and of Harad, Easterling and Southron, saw the ruin of their war and the great majesty and glory of the Captains of the West. And those that were deepest and longest in evil servitude, hating the West, and yet were men proud and bold, in their turn now gathered themselves for a last stand of desperate battle. But the most part fled eastward as they could; and some cast their weapons down and sued for mercy.

Finally, there were more armies of Men amassed behind the Black Gate, ready to continue the assault on the West.

Yet armies he had. As far as their eyes could reach, along the skirts of the Morgai and away southward, there were camps. ... '...These are Men not Orcs, or my eyes are all wrong.' Neither he nor Frodo knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide realm, beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Núrnen; nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to tributary lands, from which the soldiers of the Tower brought long waggon-trains of goods and booty and fresh slaves.

So basically Men were present in large numbers in Sauron's armies. They just didn't make in on screen in the movies.

All quotes from the Return of the King.

  • 8
    My guess (hence a comment rather than answer) is that Peter Jackson showed more Orcs than Men because showing men killing Orcs gets you a friendly rating than men killing men.
    – dlanod
    Mar 24, 2012 at 6:08
  • 4
    Why, but that's speciesist! (Yeah, there is an actual word for that) Mar 24, 2012 at 9:58
  • 3
    @dlanod It doesn't need to be about content ratings. The movies don't introduce a theme of "war is ethically complex" much at all, so showing a major fight to be against humans wouldn't fit the themes they were portraying. Mar 24, 2012 at 10:34
  • So, any of the armies listed above could be the army represented as Mordor's army in TTT? Mar 24, 2012 at 15:43
  • @Slytherincess Yes, though I think they would be more likely to be one of the armies present at the Battle of the Black Gate or being kept in reserve, given the timing of their entry into Mordor.
    – dlanod
    Mar 24, 2012 at 19:50

Nothing when Grond is setting up, but there's at least two Easterlings running through the gate!

enter image description here


The Easterlings - the ones with the impractical helmets - were not featured in The Return of the King. This is presumably because there was some (understandable) backlash over the Easterlings representing either Middle Eastern or Asian nations.

  • 3
    This is interesting! Do you have a link to a source verifying that these were the Easterlings (or a quote from TTT book) and that there was a backlash based on ethnicity issues? I'd really like to read that. :) Mar 24, 2012 at 15:50

The Return of the King movie also shows a clip of the soldiers of Rhûn moving into formation when Grond sets up at the gate and charging in after the trolls.

  • 2
    Welcome to this website! I tried to find some capture picturing these soldiers, but nothing yet: Would you have some precise reference?
    – Eureka
    Feb 9, 2014 at 22:23

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