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Wargs by John Howe.

"So here you all are still! ... Not eaten up by Wargs or goblins or wicked bears yet I see"

Wargs were a race of evil, demonic wolves.[2][3] The Wargs were seen in Rhovanion and they were often allied with the Orcs of the Misty Mountains, and used as mounts. Wargs were sentient and had a language.



In Third Age 2941, the Wargs appeared once to meet the Goblins and organize a raid to the nearby villages, in order to drive the Woodmen out and capture some slaves. As a pack of Wargs approached west of the Misty Mountains to meet them, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and Thorin and Company were escaping the goblins. Gandalf seeing the pack coming, suggested to climb the trees and Dori helped Bilbo in the nick of time.

The Wargs, thinking that the Dwarves are allies of the Woodmen, surrounded the glade and didn't let them descent. Gandalf then used his magic to light up pinecones and hurl them against the Warg until he drove them out. The wolves that had caught fire fled into the forest had set it alight in several places, since it was high summer, and on this eastern side of the mountains there had been little rain for some time. However the guards left under the trees did not go away. Eventually goblins showed up and lit the trees the Dwarves were onto, until the Eagles came to rescue them.[2]

The goblins and the wargs insisted on looking for the band, since Gandalf had killed the Great Goblin, and also burnt the chief wolf's nose. They went as far as Beorn's homestead, but he caught a pair of them and stuck the goblin's head outside the gate and nailed the warg-skin to a tree just beyond[1]

Wargs appeared once more, rode by the Orcs, at the Battle of Five Armies.[4] After this, the Wargs had vanished from the woods, so that men went abroad without fear.[5]

A band of Wargs, unaccompanied by Orcs, attacked the Fellowship of the Ring in Hollin.[6]


J.R.R. Tolkien derived the word warg from Old English wearg-, Old High German warg-, and Old Norse varg-r.[3][7]

The Old Norse vargr is a term for "wolf" (ulfr). In Norse mythology, wargs are in particular the wolf Fenrir and his sons Skoll and Hati.

A list of Old English equivalents of Elvish words, associated with some fragmentary manuscripts of early versions of "The Silmarillion", glosses Balrog as having the equivalent Bealuwearg. As noted by Christopher Tolkien, the Old English word contains the elements bealu ("evil"; as in bale(ful)) and wearg ("wolf, outlaw"; whence the Wargs).[8]

Portrayal in adaptations

1982-1997: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Classified as Undead Beings, the Wargs are said to be bred from cursed wolves, inhabited by an evil spirit, "being artificially long-lived", and that their "body dissipates when slain". The Wargs are described as being larger, fiercer, and more intelligent than normal wolves.[9][10]

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Wargs are taller and darker than regular wolves, but due to the progression in the game, pose less of a threat; whereas wolves are only encountered by a stick-wielding Frodo, wargs appear only in levels in which the player is Gandalf or Aragorn.

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Wargs are portrayed a large wolves. They only appear in cutscenes, and are non-fightable.

2001-3: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy:

Wargs appear to be more like a "hyena-bear-wolf hybrid" rather than wolves, in an effort to distinguish them from regular wolves by presenting them as some sort of distant cousin. However, it should be noted that Tolkien never actually described Wargs beyond stating they were demonic wolves.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Non-player (NPC, computer controlled) wargs are found in a number of areas of Middle-earth. Players can play a warg in the Player-versus-Player (PvP) area of the Ettenmoors once the player reaches level ten. Wargs in Lord of the Rings Online have the ability to stealth and sneak up to attack players.
The appearance of wargs vary from zone to zone for NPC wargs and from rank to rank for player controlled wargs. They all look like very large wolves with broad shoulders. They range in color from white to grey to black. Many of them have black eyes but some of the stronger wargs have red eyes.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Queer Lodgings"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Gene Wolfe 7 November 1966" (letter)
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "The Return Journey"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
  7. Douglas A. Anderson, The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, pp. 146-7, note 9
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: Appendix 1: Fragments of a translation of The Quenta Noldorinwa into Old English, made by Ælfwine or Eriol; together with Old English equivalents of Elvish names", p. 209
  9. Ruth Sochard Pitt, Jeff O'Hare, Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1994), Creatures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2012), p. 129
  10. Zachariah Woolf (1995), Lake-town (#2016), p. 151

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