Tolkien Gateway

Were-worms

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[[Image:were_worms.jpg|frame|"Were-worm" by Angus McBride]]
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[[Image:were_worms.jpg|thumb|right|250px|"Were-worm" by Angus McBride]]
  
 
{{quote|Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the [[East]] of East and fight the wild '''Were-worms''' in the [[Last Desert]].|[[Bilbo Baggins]], from ''[[The Hobbit]]'', "[[An Unexpected Party]]"}}
 
{{quote|Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the [[East]] of East and fight the wild '''Were-worms''' in the [[Last Desert]].|[[Bilbo Baggins]], from ''[[The Hobbit]]'', "[[An Unexpected Party]]"}}

Revision as of 10:19, 20 October 2010

File:Were worms.jpg
"Were-worm" by Angus McBride
"Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert."
Bilbo Baggins, from The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"

Were-worms were creatures of an unknown kind, possibly mythical and presumably related to Dragons, that were said to dwell in the Last Desert.

Tolkien only ever mentions Were-worms once, in the quote given above, so we know almost nothing about them. We cannot even be certain that they actually existed — the Hobbits had a rich folklore full of fantastic creatures, and Were-worms quite possibly fall into that category.

Etymology

The element "were-" is a Germanic term that refers to humans. It suggests a shapeshifting creature like the werewolf of modern-day folktales. In Middle-earth, "Werewolves", such as Draugluin, did not shapechange and the name perhaps refers to the size and intelligence.

Thus Were-worms, if they did exist, could be a human-like type of Dragon, though this must remain in the realm of speculation.

Legendary Races of Arda
 Animals:  Dumbledors · Gorcrows · Hummerhorns · Pards · Swans of Gorbelgod · Turtle-fish
Dragon-kind:  Great glow-worms · Sea-serpents · Spark-dragons · Were-worms
Evil Races:  Giants · Gongs · Half-trolls · Hobgoblins · Ogres · Snow-trolls · Troll-men · Two-headed Trolls
Fairies:  Badger-folk · Dryads · Mermaids · Sprites · Sylphs · White cow
Other:  Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres
Individuals:  The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · Tarlang · Tim