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Biographical Information
Other namesRed Maw, Anfauglir
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Carcharoth

Carcharoth was bred from the foul breed of Draugluin, the first Werewolf, and fed with elvish and mannish flesh by Morgoth himself. Carcharoth was set as a guard on the Gates of Angband.[1]



Carcharoth became involved with the Quest for the Silmaril when Beren and Lúthien had to pass him on their way in. Lúthien enchanted him with her magic, but on their way out Carcharoth attacked before Lúthien could enthral him again. Beren held out the captured Silmaril in an attempt to stay the beast, but Carcharoth bit off Beren's hand at the wrist with Silmaril and all.

The Silmaril burnt away Carcharoth's insides, and he became crazed with pain. A terror to Eldar, Men and Orcs alike, he passed south through Beleriand, until he arrived in Doriath. There Beren, King Thingol, Beleg Cúthalion and Mablung joined with Huan the Hound in the Hunting of the Wolf.

At last, he was discovered within the borders of Doriath itself, where he fought his last fight with Huan: the wolf and the hound took one another's lives in that combat.

Both Beren and Huan were slain. When Mablung cut open the belly of the beast, he found there the Silmaril with Beren's hand still around it, but when he touched the flesh it was swept away by a wind.[1]


The name is translated as Red Maw;[1] the known elements we know from Sindarin are car(a)n "red" and carach "jaw".[2] Perhaps the name can be analyzed into the unattested words *carn (an alternate version of caran) and *caroth "maw".

Note that the final letter of car(a)n + the initial letter of carach/oth- produce the sound ch (IPA: x) with the phenomenon called nasal mutation.[3][4]

Other Versions of the Legendarium

Originally Carcharoth's name was Karkaras, the Knife-fang, who was the father of wolves. He was a great grey wolf.[5]


The story of Beren losing his hand to Carcharoth was perhaps modelled after the Germanic legend of the god Tyr, who lost his hand to the wolf Fenrir.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names" (entries for carak- and caran)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Note on Pronunciation"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names", "Consonants"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Tinúviel", p. 21

Individuals: Carcharoth · Draugluin · (Wolf-Sauron)
Races: Wargs · Werewolves · White Wolves