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Gwaihir by Roger Thomasson.

Gwaihir was the greatest and the swiftest of the of the Eagles of Middle-earth at the time of the War of the Ring.



A descendant of Thorondor, it is said that Gwaihir was his vassal in the First Age and helped him rescue Beren and Lúthien from Angband.

In the Third Age he was the greatest and the swiftest of the Eagles of the North.

When the Eagles heard about Gollum's escape from Mirkwood, Gwaihir was sent to bear the news to Isengard, as they had been told by Radagast.

Stephen Hickman: Escape from Orthanc

During the War of the Ring, he noticed Gandalf on the pinnacle of Orthanc while trapped by Saruman and carried him to Edoras[1]. Later he was sent by Galadriel to find Gandalf; he found him on the peak of Celebdil after the Battle of the Peak, and carried him to Lothlórien[2]

Gwaihir, Meneldor and Landroval helped the Free peoples in the Battle of the Morannon during which they brought Frodo and Sam out of Mordor after the destruction of the One Ring[3].


Gwaihir comes from Sindarin gwaew ("wind")[4] and possibly hîr "lord". His name could thus likely be translated as "Windlord".

Other versions

Eagles named "Gwaihir" and "Landroval" (or, in even earlier texts, "Gwaewar" and "Lhandroval") appeared in early Silmarillion, as vassals of Thorondor who helped to bear Beren and Lúthien from Angband[5]. These references were removed by Christopher Tolkien to escape the seeming discrepancy with The Lord of the Rings, although later he admitted that he was not sure about his father's intentions.[6][7]

It is generally thought that Gwaihir is the Lord of the Eagles of The Hobbit, although Tolkien never makes a connection nor mentions that Gwaihir was Lord of the Eagles. This notion is also seen in Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth.

In the whole Lord of the Rings Gwaihir carries Gandalf twice, and by the end of the book Gandalf says that Gwaihir had carried him twice[8]; this implies that Gwaihir never carried him before the timeframe of the book.

Portrayal in Adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

Gandalf whispers "Gwaihir" repeatedly to a moth that arrives at Isengard. Later, Gwaihir rescues Gandalf from Isengard, and carries him to safety.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Gwaihir and his Eagles come to aid at the Battle of the Morannon. They attack the Nazgûl and their fell beasts. After the battle is won and the One Ring destroyed, Gwaihir along with Gandalf and a second Eagle rescue Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from the rocks of Mount Doom.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Gwaihir is first mentioned by Gandalf when the player meets up with him at the Prancing Pony.[9] The player first sees Gwaihir when entering Galadriel's garden in Lothlórien for the first time.[10]
Gwaihir is also the name of a German server. It was originally hosted by Codemasters, but was taken over by Turbine on 1 June 2011.[11]

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The White Rider"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 33-4
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part One. The Grey Annals" p. 68
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion" Chs. 12–15, p. 301–3
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part One: The End of the Third Age: V. The Field of Kormallen"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  9. The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, "The Red Maid", Foreword: "Aiding the Order"
  10. The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria, "The Shadowy Abyss", Chapter 9: "The Mirror of Galadriel"
  11. "Turbine's LOTRO Service Goes Global" dated 24 April 2011, A Casual Stroll to Mordor (accessed 2 January 2012)