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In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Rangers were two secretive, independent groups organized by the Dúnedain of the North (Arnor) and South (Gondor) in the Third Age. Like their Númenórean ancestors, they appeared to possess qualities closely attributed to the Eldar, with their keen senses and ability to understand the language of birds and beasts. They were great trackers and hardy warriors—defending their respective areas from evil forces.
The two groups of Rangers were the Rangers of the North and the Rangers of Ithilien. The two groups were not connected to each other, though distantly related by blood.
Rangers of the North
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.
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.
- Chance, Jane. Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power. The University Press of Kentucky, 2001, p. 39
- Tresca, Michael J. (2011). The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games. McFarland & Company. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-7864-5895-0. https://books.google.com/books?id=8H8bzqj6S4sC&pg=PA40.