Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Inspiration for the Charge on Pelennor Fields

So, I was reading a post on Reddit about the best movie moments and came across a strange tidbit of information. During the Battle of Pelennor Fields, the Rohirrim arrive and charge down the line of orc soldiers.

This was actually inspired by real events, namely the Battle of Vienna, wherein 30,000 cavalries charged the ottoman lines and drove them back. The Ottoman forces numbered 175,000.

What other mid evil tactics do you think Tolkien was inspired by?


  1. Though I don’t really know much of medieval war tactics, I think the Battle of Hastings probably had a large impact on Tolkien.
    I say this because it was the beginning of the Norman conquest of England and the Anglo-Saxons. Knowing how Tolkien loved his Saxons and his wanting of a mythology for England, I feel he would have incorporated this somehow. I also feel like Tolkien would have at some point studied the Bayeux Tapestry- which is over 230 feet long and tells all about what happened before, during, and after the Norman attack.
    The battle was similar to the one you’re talking about in that the Normans had around 10,000 soldiers while the Anglo-Saxons had around 7,000- with the Normans had cavalry, infantry, and archers and the English had mostly infantry and a few archers.
    Unlike your battle, Hastings was a decisive victory for the Normans. Which I’m sure Tolkien felt was a most disappointing thing.

  2. It would seem to me that Tolkien was definitely influenced by medieval siege tactics. These involved battering rams, scaling ladders, catapults, and other various machines. These are particularly evident in the The Battle of the Hornburg which utilizes all three. In the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the forces of Sauron use the infamous Grond battering ram on the gates of Minas Tirith.
    Beyond siege warfare, I think the basics of Tolkien's influences come from medieval battle. His characters all use typical medieval weapons such as swords, daggers, bows, and axes. It's interesting to note that he actually pulls influence from specific battles. I'd be interested to know if he ever wrote with other battles in mind.