It appears that the appearance of Mûmakil in the recent Warner Bros. concept art has sparked dire thoughts that the production is already going off-track and that the apocalypse is nigh.
Fear not: I think people are misremembering the contents of Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings. That’s okay — I forget things all the time only to be reminded of something really obvious like “Oh, Finrod is a blonde, duh”.
The good news is that we don’t have to dig far here to get at the substance of the argument. First, Appendix A: II: The House of Eorl. Second, we want to look at the corresponding entries for the Stewards of Gondor. That is, anything mentioned during the stewardship of Beren.
This comprises the core of our knowledge about this period of the history of Gondor and Rohan.
Looking more closely at the histories, two passages stand out.
First, turning to the House of Eorl, we find this passage describing events in the years after Helm Hammerhand killed the Dunlending, Freca, with a blow from his fist at Edoras:
Four years later (2758) great troubles came to Rohan, and no help could be sent from Gondor, for three fleets of the Corsairs attacked it and there was war on all its coasts. At the same time Rohan was again invaded from the East [my emphasis], and the Dunlendings seeing their chance came over the Isen and down from Isengard. It was soon known that Wulf was their leader. The were in great force, for they were joined by enemies of Gondor that landed in the mouths of Lefnui and Isen.Appendix A, The Lord of the Rings
Now, I’ll agree from the east is vague. Do the Balcoth, who assaulted Gondor during Cirion’s stewardship, still exist as a threat? Could that be referring to them? Or folk out of Rhûn? Not impossible. That the folk of Harad would circle all the way around Mordor in order to cross the Brown Lands and cross the Anduin at The Undeeps seems … less than likely.
But I don’t think it actually matters.
Because more details emerge from the Appendix A section that discusses events during the lifetime of the Steward of Gondor, Beren.
In the days of Beren, the nineteenth Steward, an even greater peril came upon Gondor. Three great fleets, long prepared, came up from Umbar and the Harad [my emphasis], and assailed the coasts of Gondor in great force; and the enemy made many landings, even as far north as the mouth of the Isen.Appendix A, The Lord of the Rings
Joining these two together, I believe, solidifies an argument for the presence of Haradrim (and thus, potentially Mûmakil at Edoras when it’s taken by Freca’s son Wulf).
Because as Appendix A also states:
The Rohirrim were defeated and their land was overrun; and those who were not slain or enslaved fled to the dales of the mountains. Helm was driven back with great loss from the Crossings of Isen and took refuge in the Hornburg and the ravine behind (which was after known as Helm’s Deep). There he was besieged. Wulf took Edoras and sat in Meduseld and called himself king. There Haleth Helm’s son fell, last of all, defending the doors.Appendix A, The Lord of the Rings
Thus, what the concept art shows is Wulf’s final assault on Edoras with the assistance of Haradrim allies. Haradrim allies who were part of those three fleets (along with the Corsairs of Umbar). Haradrim allies who landed at the mouths of the Lenfui and the Isen. And Haradrim allies who travelled all the way up from the south coasts to support Wulf in his invasion. His invasion of, first, Westfold, and subsequently the rest of Rohan.
If they happen to bring Mûmakil in tow, well is not that lore-accurate, too?
The Haradrim need not have invaded from the east at all. In fact, the invasion from the east is probably another, different folk. Rather, the Haradrim were with Wulf all along. And the Mûmakil? Well, what better weapon to overthrow the horselords? As we see in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields…
But wherever the mûmakil came there the horses would not go, but blenched and swerved away; and the great monsters were unfought, and stood like towers of defence, and the Haradrim rallied about them.The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, The Lord of the Rings
About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis. The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOnering.net and other staff.