Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Build me an army worthy of Mordor...

"Build me an army worthy of Mordor!" commanded Sauron, and the traitor Saruman does just this. Working from a stock of goblins and orcs he breeds a larger, fiercer orc warrior, able to tolerate daylight and travel great distances at need, and still fight. Thus Uruk-Hai of Isengard have come to Middle-Earth, to destroy the race of men.

Saruman the White, also known as Curunir to the elves. Once the greatest of the Istari; Maiar sent down by the Valar in the guise of old men, as wizards, to help the fair races of Middle-Earth in their ongoing battle with Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor. Saruman, over many years, centuries indeed, comes to feel the battle against Sauron, cannot be won, and thus over time, and also through using the Palantir of Orthanc, he is seduced into joining forces with Sauron.

Saruman and Grima Wormtongue inspect their troops, with encouragment from an Uruk-Hai shaman.

The Fighting Uruk-Hai, clad in heavy harness of war and wielding long pikes. Although Tolkien never specifically mentions pikes in his descriptions of the Uruk-Hai, Peter Jackson and and his team, came up with the idea, as it seemed logical based on their immediate foes; The Rohirrim, a mainly mounted force of cavalry. History tells us that the horse was countered with the pike, and thus pikes would be the ideal weapons to defeat Rohan in open battle.

However, the forces of Rohan retreat from this threat to the fortress of Helms Deep. Here normal soldiery wielding swords and shields, will contribute ably to the fight. PJ's designers also hypothesized that a long pike might also be useful in such a siege, being able to "hook" the defenders from the walls, and allow a ladder assault to be easier for the Uruks. I know of no historical precedent for this, but it makes for great theatre...

Regular orcs of Isengard also pour forth from the pits below Orthanc, and swell the ranks. Here led by a captain, drummer, taskmaster with whip and banner bearing the White-Hand of Saruman.
To help scale the walls of Helms Deep, an Uruk-Hai siege assault ballista, hurls its huge missiles to erect tall scaling ladders against the Hornburg. Again more ideas from PJ, but it makes for great drama during the siege.

Warg riders, lend speed and mobility to the attack of Isengard, acting as forward scouts, and engaging the flanks of the enemy during the crossing of the Isen, and hastening the demise of the Westfold and retreat from the River Isen.

Wild Isengard berserkers lead the assault up the scaling ladders, to bring death and destruction with their huge and fearsome two-handed swords. Driven to a berserk rage, their helmets are first filled with the blood of their enemies before the helm is placed on their heads, dripping blood down their bodies and filling their nostrils with the scent of their enemies. Truly fearsome warriors.

A great troll of Isengard. This is again not in the explicit canon of Tolkien, nor is it one of PJ's inventions. It appears, from what I can tell, to have been driven by the desires of the gaming fraternity, who wanted a troll to add to Isengards forces. I believe Tolkien always wanted others to develop further his world of Middle-Earth and the creatures therein, and stories there-from. As such, I feel it is within the bounds of possibility, that Saruman could have bent the will of trolls, simple creatures at best, to his command. The voice of Saruman was all powerful...

I still have many more units to add to this force, including Uruk-Hai scouts, crossbowmen, and Dunlendings.

I will hope to update this blog post in due course.

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