Tolkien Gateway


Revision as of 14:36, 21 October 2010 by Sage (Talk | contribs)
"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
This article or section needs expansion and/or modification. Please help the wiki by expanding it.
Gwaihir by Roger Thomasson.

Gwaihir was the Lord 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 Luthien from Angband.

In the Third Age, he was the Lord of the Eagles and resided in the eyrie of the Misty Mountains. He was the greatest and the swiftest of the Eagles of the North.

Once he suffered from a poisoned wound, and was healed by Gandalf and thenceforth they became friends. He and his people served Gandalf and Radagast as spies and messengers.

The adventurers finally escape the dangers of the Misty Mountains.

During the Quest for Erebor, they saved Thorin and Company as they flew from the Goblin-town and brought them to the eyrie[1]; later they played a crucial role in the Battle of the Five Armies[2]. After T.A. 2941 Gwaihir became King of All Birds.

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[3]. 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[4]

Gwaihir, Meledor 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[5].


Gwaihir comes from the Sindarin gwaew "wind" + hîr "lord". His name could be translated "Windlord".

Since the name contains gwaew, it's unknown why its form is Gwaihir, and not *Gwaehir.

It's possible that the name is influenced from some Sindarin dialect, perhaps Silvan from the Elves of Mirkwood. Ilkorin is an Elvish language where ai represents Sindarin ae.

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[6]. 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.[7]

Portrayal in Adaptations

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

Gandalf whispers "Gwaihir" repeatedly to the 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.

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
  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