Author Topic: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?  (Read 148 times)

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Online ST

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Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« on: April 15, 2014, 12:38:34 PM »
In the LOTR world, those who fought for Sauron were not only orcs and similar creatures (like trolls). There were also two human nations, the Easterlings (inhabitants of Rhûn, east of Mordor) and the Haradrim (inhabitants of Harad, south of Mordor).

I wonder, why did they fight for Sauron? I've encountered several claims/guesses/explanations:

1. They were enslaved by Sauron.

2. They had an old conflict with Gondor, and Sauron promised them the land of Gondor in exchange for them fighting for him.

3. One of the Nazgûl was an Easterling (Khamûl the Easterling) and when he became a servant of Sauron, his people followed suit. This would not explain why the Haradrim fought for Sauron though.

Does anyone here know the answer to this? Did Tolkien ever give an answer?

Online amysrevenge

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2014, 12:46:39 PM »
Sadly, the best answer is probably "brown people are bad".

There was also some subjugation of the Haradrim by the "Black Numenoreans" (colour only linked to skin coulour by "happy" coincidence) - Numenoreans corrupted by Sauron in the 2nd age.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2014, 12:47:47 PM »
My recollection is it was 2 and 3.  I don't recall any of Tokiens description including skin color but I haven't read the books in 30 years.

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 01:17:13 PM »
Sadly, the best answer is probably "brown people are bad".

Disagree. It's been some time since I read the books, but to the best of my recollection the only time one of these guys gets any attention at all other than as a background character, it's to point out that he's a human being with his own life and family and everything too.

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 01:27:44 PM »
It's more firmly established in the ancillary works.  Silmarillion and beyond.
Big Mike
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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 04:49:23 PM »
Well I read that stuff once, long ago. :P

Online amysrevenge

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2014, 04:53:34 PM »
Me too, also long ago.  I don't really remember the gory details, but I vividly remember being disappointed by them.
Big Mike
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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2014, 05:05:45 PM »
Me too, also long ago.  I don't really remember the gory details, but I vividly remember being disappointed by them.


Why? I think the Easterlings are such badasses who should have inherited Middle-Earth. Just look below how cool they look:



Easterling March (High Quality)

Online amysrevenge

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2014, 05:16:20 PM »
Me too, also long ago.  I don't really remember the gory details, but I vividly remember being disappointed by them.


Why? I think the Easterlings are such badasses who should have inherited Middle-Earth. Just look below how cool they look:



Easterling March (High Quality)


By "them" I mean the details of how JRRT handled the non-chosen races of Men, not the Easterlings/Southrons/Haradrim themselves.  Need to rewind about 60 years from movie stills...
Big Mike
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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 01:46:09 PM »
Me too, also long ago.  I don't really remember the gory details, but I vividly remember being disappointed by them.


Why? I think the Easterlings are such badasses who should have inherited Middle-Earth. Just look below how cool they look:



Easterling March (High Quality)


By "them" I mean the details of how JRRT handled the non-chosen races of Men, not the Easterlings/Southrons/Haradrim themselves.  Need to rewind about 60 years from movie stills...


Did he handle them much at all? Very little is known about their culture. At most there are deducings by fans who look at their armor and conclude that they must be a wealthy and technologically advanced people. I don't think Tolkien even gave them a language. Which might explain why they are silent in that clip, except for the war chant.

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2014, 01:57:43 PM »
All of the Men out of the East, right back to the First Age, are both "swarthy" (used to mean dark of skin) and lesser.  You can almost chart how awesome a particular man is as proportional to how white he is.  The Rohirrim are the awesomest (and whitest) of the lesser men of the East.
Big Mike
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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2014, 03:33:15 AM »
All of the Men out of the East, right back to the First Age, are both "swarthy" (used to mean dark of skin) and lesser.  You can almost chart how awesome a particular man is as proportional to how white he is.  The Rohirrim are the awesomest (and whitest) of the lesser men of the East.


Even if some sort of implicit racism was the cause behind it (which I doubt), there must be some reason in the Middle Earth world why they chose the way they did.

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2014, 10:27:57 AM »
It seems to me the racism common in Tolkien's England tended to regard swarthy people as inferior not so much evil.  Assuming the characterization of Easterlings and Hardrim is the result of Tolkien's racism, I'd also assume that the cause of their siding with sauron was due to jealousy, bribery and blackmail and not because they were outright evil.

Also, its not so hard to believe that Tolkien was racist.  Keep in mind, tolkien grew up in a time when eugenics was a pretty popular theory and notions of racial equality were pretty uncommon among white people.

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Re: Why did the Easterlings and the Haradrim fight for Sauron?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2014, 04:13:09 PM »
notions of racial equality were pretty uncommon among white people.

Who was it common among back then? It is still not very common outside of European and European-settler countries.