Rangers of Ithilien
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Rangers of Ithilien, also known as the Rangers of the South and Rangers of Gondor, were an elite group of the Southern Dúnedain warriors who scouted in and guarded the land of Ithilien.
The Rangers were first formed at the end of the twenty-ninth century of the Third Age by a decree of the Ruling Steward of Gondor, for Ithilien was frequently subjected to enemies from Mordor and Minas Morgul. One of their chief bases was Henneth Annûn, the Window of the Sunset.
These Rangers were descendants of those who lived in Ithilien before it was overrun and, more distantly, of the ancient Númenóreans. Like their cousins, the Rangers of the North, they were able to speak Sindarin (or some variation of it), their preferred language as opposed to the Common Speech. Their camouflaging green and brown raiment proved to be a useful asset to their secret activities, which mainly concerned crossing the Anduin to assault the Enemy in a manner much akin to guerilla warfare. They were skilled with swords and bows or spears.
Members during the War of the Ring
Concept and creation
The names "Mablung" and "Damrod" occur elsewhere in Tolkien's legendarium. Mablung of the Heavy Hand was an Elf of the First Age, a warrior of Thingol, king of Doriath. "Damrod" was an earlier name for the Elven prince Amrod, son of Fëanor, who likewise lived during the First Age. In The Two Towers Mablung and Damrod protect Frodo and Sam while the other Rangers ambushed Men of Harad on the North Road.
The Rangers of Ithilien with their secret hideout at Henneth Annûn have been compared to the Christian Church in its times of oppression. Moreover, the Christian liturgy of the Gloria Patri may have been Tolkien's inspiration for Faramir's explanation of the Ranger's nightly ritual of observing a moment of silence: "We look towards Númenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be." This ritual is one of the very few explicit displays of prayer and "organized description of religion" in The Lord of the Rings.
Portrayal in adaptations
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy has an original Ranger of Ithilien named Madril, played by John Bach. He serves as Faramir's lieutenant. He helps defend Osgiliath, but is fatally injured and is eventually killed by Gothmog by a spear-thrust. New Zealand actor Alistair Browning played Damrod.
The likeness of the actor who portrays Anborn was also used in the 2006 EA video game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II as the portrait of the Men of the West's worker unit, and the Ithilien Rangers are playable archer-like units.
- Rutledge, Fleming G. (2004). The Battle for Middle-Earth: Tolkien's Divine Design in The Lord of the Rings. Roundhouse Publishing Group. p. 216. ISBN 978-0802824974.
- O'Neill, Timothy R. (1979). The Individuated Hobbit: Jung, Tolkien, and the Archetypes of Middle-Earth. Houghton Mifflin. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-395282083.