From Tolkien Gateway
"To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying,
The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying.
― From the poem sung by Legolas in The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"

Gulls or mews were birds found on all shores in Arda.

History[edit | edit source]

Gulls were common in all sea-bordering lands (perhaps especially abundant on the cape of Bar-in-Mŷl, the "Home of the Gulls", in the land of the Falas[1]), and for that, they were often attributed to Ossë.[2] The Teleri that dwelt in the Havens were very fond of them, and their mewing welcomed Tuor to their land.[3] They were also known in Númenor[4] and Gondor.[5]

Their association with the sea caused a great sense of longing for the journey to Valinor among Elves that were not familiar with their sound. One of those was Legolas.[5]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

In the Etymologies, one Noldorin and one Quenya word for "gull" appear, both from the same root: maew and maiwë.[6] A later recorded Sindarin word is mŷl,[1] which replaced gwael.[1]

In manuscripts related to the Etymologies Tolkien also experimented with the Noldorin form cuen, glossed as "small gull, petrel".[7]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In the earliest version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales, the house of the Wing wore swan or gull-like feathers on their helmets.[2]

In the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion, the Lindar were at one point considered the "Lords of the Gulls" among many other names.[8]

Other fiction[edit | edit source]

In the story Roverandom, a seagull named Mew brings the dog Rover to the moon. On their way, Mew stops to visit other sea-birds, among them the "oldest and most important of all the Blackbacked Gulls".[9]