- "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"
The Were-worms were only mentioned once so almost nothing is known about them. It is not even certain that they actually existed — the Hobbits had a rich folklore full of fantastic creatures, and Were-worms quite possibly fall into that category.
The element "were-" is a Germanic term that refers to male 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.[source?]
Thus Were-worms, if they did exist, could be a man-like type of Dragon, though this must remain in the realm of speculation.
Other Versions of the Legendarium
In the earliest fragment of The Hobbit, Bilbo offered to walk to the "Great Desert of Gobi and fight the Wild Wire worms of the Chinese". In a slightly later version J.R.R. Tolkien made this "the last desert in the East and fight the Wild Wireworms of the Chinese".
Portrayal in adaptations
- Azog's forces use giant worms to tunnel underground towards the city of Dale, which Azog calls "earth eaters". When the creatures appear during the Battle of Five Armies, Gandalf identifies them as "were-worms". Apparently they are only used for tunneling, not fighting, because they do not take part in the ensuing battle.
- Their appearance has caused fans to find a supposed "plot hole": many believe that azog could have used the worms to enter erebor. However, as it is practically impossible to navigate underground without having an idea of what is situated above, there is a considerable chance of missing the mountain. Furthermore, azog is aware of the wood elf army, which may have made him change his plans into attacking the armies outside the mountain first.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Pryftan Fragment", p. 9
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, The First Phase, "The Bladorthin Typescript", p. 40
|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 · Two-headed Trolls|
|Fairies:||Dryads · Mermaids · Sprites · Sylphs · White cow|
|Other:||Badger-folk · Great beasts · Lintips · Mewlips · Nameless Things · Spectres|
|Individuals:||The Hunter · Lonely Troll · Man in the Moon · The Rider · River-woman · Tarlang · Tim|