It's quite possible that I've just managed to miss this, even though I read so slowly, but there seemed to be a big build-up when the "Wild Men" were talking to Théoden king and it seemed like they were going to become an important force to aid the Horsemen of Rohan as they in turn aided Gondor for the greater good.

But after revealing the secret/forgotten paths (which, admittedly, was also quite valuable), there seems to be not a word about the Wild Men? Perhaps further ahead than where I currently am, with Aragorn healing Faramir, but at least they haven't been mentioned yet and I also have no memory of this happening at any point.

Is it just implied that the Wild Men did their part? I wished to at least get some brief mention of a bunch of a dead orcs with spears in their throats or something, clearly accomplished by the Wild Men before they disappeared into the woods or something. But... nothing. I hope I've just missed that part.

  • 4
    In fact there is a mention of Wild Men killing orcs in the War of the Ring, but not the same tribe, and not in the Lord of the Rings. After the battles of the Fords of Isen, Wild Men attacked Saruman's scattered forces. See note 13 to the Druedain in the Unfinished Tales. Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 19:42
  • "Perhaps further ahead than where I currently am…" suggests you haven't finished your first reading. Is that so? Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 17:39
  • Could you make clear what, for you, would constitute "actual help"? Whatever their numbers, the wild men would have needed organisation to send an army… Do you think they had that kind of organisation? Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 17:44

2 Answers 2


The Wild Men never intended to fight in a big way, although were not averse to killing the odd Orc in the woods:

‘No, father of Horse-men,’ he said, ‘we fight not. Hunt only. Kill gorgûn in woods, hate orc-folk.

The approach route for the Rohirrim to Minas Tirith is guarded by a large force; they risk being defeated before getting near the city, and certainly being delayed and the forces or Mordor being alerted and able to prepare.

But gorgûn and men out of far-away,’ he waved a short gnarled arm eastward, ‘sit on horse-road. Very many, more than Horse-men.’

The secret road bypassed this force, and let them strike directly at the besieging forces.

‘More than one road he knows. He will lead you by road where no pits are, no gorgûn walk, only Wild Men and beasts. [...] Road is forgotten, but not by Wild Men. Over hill and behind hill it lies still under grass and tree, there behind Rimmon and down to Dîn, and back at the end to Horse-men’s road.'

Lastly, they did not just show Theoden the route, but escorted the Rohirrim along it:

Each company was guided by a wild woodman; but old Ghân walked beside the king.

It's not possible to give a quote to prove there was no further mention of them, but the last mention after acting as guides does indicate a fairly final departure:

with that, in a twinkling as it seemed, he and his fellows had vanished into the glooms, never to be seen by any Rider of Rohan again.

  • 35
    This was more critical to the outcome than anything they could have done by fighting in the battle. The victory at Pelennor was a matter of very lucky perfect timing as much as anything else. The wild men got them there without allowing them to be delayed or obstructed, and at literally the best possible moment. And allowed them to attack with complete surprise.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 11:59
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    Your third quotation seems to be partially mispasted.
    – Oliphaunt
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 8:00

In addition to what @Michael says, Aragorn certainly thought that their help was essential, and gave them a rich reward.

Without haste and at peace they passed into Anórien, and they came to the Grey Wood under Amon Dîn; and they heard a sound as of drums beating in the hills, though no living thing could be seen. Then Aragorn let the trumpets be blown; and the herald's cried:

`Behold the King Elessar is come! The Forest of Drúadan he gives to Ghân-buri-ghân and to his folk, to be their own for ever; and hereafter let no man enter it without their leave!'

Then the drums rolled loudly, and were silent.

This forest is part of Gondor. So Aragorn is giving up a significant chunk of land. The wain road was not made by the Wild Men, so at one time it was used by the men of Gondor. It is clear that Aragorn recognises the decisiveness of their aid to the outcome of the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

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    One could argue just how significant the land is to Gondor, as most of Eriador is open for resettlement. (We'll ignore any question about relations between the Reunited Kingdom and, say, Dunland, as well as what amount of negotiation and/or warfare might be involved in reclaiming South Gondor from the Corsairs and the Haradwaith.) But the forest is certainly significant to the Drúedain, and the de jure recognition of their claim to the land (which predates the arrival of the Númenóreans) is what's important.
    – chepner
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 15:35
  • 1
    And I'm wondering how far Tolkien went in developing the Wild Men's language.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 0:01
  • 3
    Not far at all, as far as I know. Unless there is material in the later volumes of HoME or in NaME, the only other writing concerning them is in the essay "The Drúedain" in Unfinished Tales. (A quick, overly simplistic summary is that they spoke a dialect of the language spoken by the Folk of Haleth, itself separate from what the other two houses of the Edain spoke and not well attested.)
    – chepner
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 15:21

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