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In the Third Age he was the greatest and the swiftest of the Eagles of the North.
During the War of the Ring, he noticed Gandalf on the pinnacle of Orthanc while trapped by Saruman and carried him to Edoras. 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
Since the name contains gwaew, it's unknown why its form is Gwaihir, and not *Gwaehir.
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. 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.
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.
At one point Gandalf said that Gwaihir had carried him twice while the proper count would have been three or four times if Gwaihir and the Lord of the Eagles had been the same individual.
Portrayal in Adaptations
- Gandalf whispers "Gwaihir" repeatedly to the moth that arrives at Isengard. Later, Gwaihir rescues Gandalf from Isengard, and carries him to safety.
- 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.
|Valar||Lords|| Manwë · Ulmo · Aulë · Oromë · Mandos · Irmo · Tulkas · |
|Queens||Varda · Yavanna · Nienna · Estë · Vairë · Vána · Nessa|
|Maiar||Arien · Eönwë · Ilmarë · Melian · Ossë · Salmar · Tilion · Uinen|
|Wizards||Saruman · Gandalf · Radagast · Blue Wizards|
|Evil||Sauron · Balrogs (Gothmog · Durin's Bane) · Boldogs|
|Music · Valarin · Almaren · Valinor · Valmar · Second Music • italics indicates Aratar|
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The White Rider"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part One. The Grey Annals" p. 68
- ↑ 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
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part One: The End of the Third Age: V. The Field of Kormallen"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"