The Hobbit trilogy was a fantastic way for Peter Jackson to bring us back to Middle-Earth when we were able to see the prequel story of The Lord of the Rings on the big screen. Of course, the third movie of that trilogy was called The Battle of the Five Armies, which involved a huge war that focused on the battle for Erebor after the death of Smaug. But while there were several different armies that fought in that war, who exactly are the five armies in The Battle of the Five Armies?
The five armies were the Dwarves, Men, Elves, Orcs, and Wargs. The final army was not exactly stressed out in The Hobbit movie, but it was actually mentioned in the book that the Wargs participated in The Battle of the Five Armies as a separate army that sided with the Orcs instead of acting as simple mounts.
Of course, the first four armies that participated in that battle were quite obvious, considering that they were the four main races in Middle-Earth. But the thing is that the Wargs were always portrayed in the book to be quite intelligent instead of just acting as simple mounts for the Orcs during the battle. That said, let’s talk more about the five armies that participated in The Battle of the Five Armies.
Who Are The Five Armies In The Battle Of The Five Armies?
More than a decade after The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was released, we saw the conclusion of The Hobbit trilogy that began with An Unexpected Journey, which was released in 2012. The Hobbit trilogy was meant for us to see the prequel story that happened decades before the events of The Lord of the Rings. And the conclusion was The Battle of the Five Armies that happened right after the death of Smaug.
During that time, Thorin Oakenshield’s company had already taken Erebor back. But the Men of Lake-town were looking to get what Thorin had promised to them before he took back the Lonely Mountain from Smaug. On top of that, the Elves also wanted something from the Dwarves.
But the problem was that Azog the Defiler had been ordered by the Necromancer (Sauron) to take Erebor because of the fact that it had a strategic location that was a key part of the plans to take over Middle-Earth. In that regard, the Pale Orc went to Erebor to start a battle that soon became The Battle of the Five Armies. But who exactly are the five armies in that battle?
The Dwarves were the first army in The Battle of the Five Armies. We are not even talking about the Dwarves that were hiding in Erebor because those Dwarves were called Thorin’s company. Instead, we are talking about the Dwarves of the Iron Hills led by Dain Ironfoot, who was a relative of Thorin Oakenshield and was the lord of the Iron Hills Dwarves.
Dain and his Dwarves arrived on the battlefield just in time to protect their kin from the Lonely Mountain, as Thorin had previously sent a message to them to ask for their help. In that regard, Dain and his Dwarves were more than willing to defend Erebor from the Elves that tried to take the white gems from Thorin’s company. Of course, like any Dwarf, Dain hated King Thranduil and the Woodland Elves.
The second army that participated in The Battle of the Five Armies happened to be the weakest out of all of them, as we are talking about the Men of Lake-town. These were the very same Men that Bard the Bowman led from their ruined town after he killed Smaug, who decimated Lake-town upon getting awakened by Thorin’s company. As such, they were hungry and had no real fighters and weapons that they could use against any of the other armies that participated in The Battle of the Five Armies.
The only reason why the Men of Lake-town were even there was to ask for the help of Thorin’s company, as they were promised gold for sheltering them and providing them tools and weapons back in Lake-town. In that regard, they only wanted enough gold to start fresh but were forced to defend themselves in The Battle of the Five Armies after they decided to find shelter in the ruined city of Dale.
The Elves that participated in The Battle of the Five Armies were the Woodland Elves led by King Thranduil, who you might be familiar with as the father of Legolas. This was the very same king that earned the ire of Thorin’s company when they escaped his dungeons during the events of the second The Hobbit movie. However, Thranduil did not come to Erebor to help the Men of Lake-town or to quarrel with the Dwarves. Instead, he simply wanted to take the white gems that were in Erebor.
In that regard, the Woodland Elves were forced to fight the Dwarves during the earlier part of The Battle of the Five Armies as neither Thorin nor the Dwarves of the Iron Hills were willing to give up the white gems to Thranduil, who was never exactly friendly with the Dwarves. The battle between the Elves and the Dwarves was rather short due to the arrival of the fourth army.
It was the arrival of the Orcs that allowed The Battle of the Five Armies to truly commence, as the first three armies now had a common enemy that they needed to fight. The Orcs were led by Azog the Defiler and his spawn, Bolg. And while Azog had every reason to kill Thorin and end the line with Durin, his job was to take the Lonely Mountain because of how strategic its location was for Sauron’s war.
In that regard, Azog was there on the orders of Sauron, who was hiding in the form of the Necromancer. He led his Orcs by using underground tunnels created by wyrms. And Azog’s army was composed of Orcs, Goblins, and Trolls.
Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that the fifth army in The Battle of the Five Armies, as far as the book was concerned, were the Wargs. In The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, the Wargs were simply relegated to the role of mounts for the Orcs. However, in Tolkien’s writings, they were much more intelligent than simple oversized wolves.
Of course, there are also some people that believe that the fifth army was the other army of Orcs led by Bolg, as he was the one leading the Gundabad Orcs while Azog was leading the Dol Guldur Orcs. This might be true as far as the movie is concerned. However, in the book, the fifth army was always the one composed of Wargs, which were aligned with the Orcs.
Why Weren’t The Eagles The Fifth Army?
There are also some people that believe that the Eagles were also the fifth army in The Battle of the Five Armies, as they arrived to help turn the tide of battle in favor of the ones protecting Erebor from the Orcs. So, why weren’t the Eagles considered the fifth army?
The Eagles weren’t considered the fifth army because they arrived too late in the day to be considered one of the major armies that fought in that battle. In that regard, they were simply backups that helped the Dwarves, Men, and Elves in their fight against the Orcs, as Gandalf was a good friend of the Eagles.
As such, they were merely allies that aided in the battle instead of constituting an entire army itself. That is the reason why the Eagles weren’t considered the fifth army in The Battle of the Five Armies.