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"Carcharoth" by Álvaro Fernández González
Biographical Information
Other namesRed Maw, Anfauglir, Borosaith
BirthMid-First Age
DeathF.A. 466
Notable forTaking the Silmaril from Beren by biting off his hand
Parentagedescendant of Draugluin
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Carcharoth

Carcharoth was bred from the foul breed of Draugluin, the first Werewolf, and fed with elvish and mannish flesh by Morgoth himself. He was the greatest, most powerful wolf to ever live. Carcharoth was set as a guard on the Gates of Angband, and later he mortally wounded both Huan, the Hound of Valinor, and Beren.[1]


After hearing of the Fall of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, where Huan had defeated Draugluin and Sauron, Morgoth decided to create a werewolf to kill Huan, who could only be killed by the greatest wolf to have ever lived. Carcharoth became involved with the Quest for the Silmaril when Beren and Lúthien had to pass him on their way into Angband. He stopped them, suspicious of Draugluin, (Beren in disguise) as he had heard of Draugluin's death. Lúthien enchanted him with her magic, but on their way out Carcharoth attacked before Lúthien could enchant him again. Beren held out the captured Silmaril in an attempt to stay the beast, but Carcharoth bit off Beren's hand at the wrist with Silmaril and all.

Huan's Leap by Ted Nasmith

The Silmaril burnt away Carcharoth's insides, and he became crazed with pain. A terror to Eldar, Men and Orcs alike, he passed south through Beleriand, consumed with an overpowering thirst. From this comes his name of Anfauglir, meaning 'Jaws of Thirst'. He arrived in Doriath where Beren, King Thingol, Beleg Cúthalion and Mablung joined with Huan the Hound in the Hunting of the Wolf.

At last, he was discovered within the borders of Doriath itself, where he fought his last fight with Huan: the wolf and the hound took one another's lives in that combat.

Both Beren and Huan were mortally wounded. When Mablung cut open the belly of the beast, he found there the Silmaril with Beren's hand still around it, but when he touched the flesh it was no more.[1]


The name is translated as Red Maw;[1] the recogniseable Sindarin elements are car(a)n ("red") as well as carach ("jaw")[2] or carch ("fang").[3] Based on the above, perhaps the name can be analyzed into the unattested words *carn (an alternate version of caran) and *caroth ("maw"), the latter ending with the augmentative suffix -oth also seen in Nogoth "(Big) Dwarf" = naug + oth[4] ("maw" = "big jaw").

Note that the final letter of car(a)n + the initial letter of carach/oth- produce the sound ch (IPA: x) with the phenomenon called nasal mutation.[5][6]

His later name Anfauglir, is probably composed of Sindarin and ("long") + faug ("thirst") + lîr ("jaws").[7]


d. F.A. 465
d. F.A. 466

Other versions of the legendarium

Originally Carcharoth's name was Karkaras, the Knife-fang, who was the father of wolves. He was a great grey wolf.[8]

Borosaith meaning "Everhungry" is another name for Carcharoth, and it is said to be used in old songs.[9]


For the creation of Carcharoth, Tolkien was clearly influenced by the wolf Fenrir in Norse mythology, who bit off Týr's hand, and was also tormented by ceaseless pains.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", carak- and caran
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", "KARAK"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 45
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Note on Pronunciation"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names", "Consonants"
  7. Compound Sindarin Names
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", p. 21
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "III. The Quenta: [Section] 10", p. 115, note 9

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