From Tolkien Gateway
Fay in a cat-form
Matěj Čadil - Tevildo the Prince of Cats.jpg
"Tevildo the Prince of Cats" by Matěj Čadil
Biographical Information
Other namesTifil/Tiberth (G)
PositionPrince of Cats[1]
LocationHalls of Tevildo
Physical Description
RaceFay in a cat-form
Hair colorCoal-black fur
Eye colorRed and green
ClothingGolden collar
GalleryImages of Tevildo
"Now Tevildo was a mighty cat—the mightiest of all—and possessed of an evil sprite, as some say, and he was in Melko's constant following; and that cat had all cats subject to him, and he and his subjects were the chasers and getters of meat for Melko’s table and for his frequent feasts."
Vëannë to Eriol in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Tinúviel"

Tevildo, also known as the "Prince of Cats", was said to be the mightiest of all cats "and possessed of an evil sprite, as some say,"[2]:15-16 according to the early version of the legendarium in The Book of Lost Tales.

History[edit | edit source]

Tevildo was said to be a mighty cat with a golden collar, which gave him much of his evil power. He was considered to be the prince of the cat-servants of Melko and dwelled in a castle on a cliff not greatly distant from Angamandi. He was also said to harbour a few mice, fierce and large as rats, that he allowed to dwell in dark holes for his own amusement.[2]:16 While his subjects feared the dogs that dwelled in the woods nearby, he had a particular scorn for Huan, the Captain of Dogs, for Huan had once nearly caught him, although Tevildo had paid him for it with a gash from his great claws. Tevildo remained prideful and wished to do harm to Huan.[2]:21

During his quest for the Silmaril, Beren was captured by Melko and was sent to work as a thrall in Tevildo's kitchens. Upon meeting Beren for the first time, Tevildo took an instant disliking of him due to smelling that he preferred dogs over cats. He initially assumed that Melko sent Beren for the cats "to make meat of him." When Melko's intent was made clear, Tevildo boasted that no race is better at catching birds and beasts than his subjects, but he gave Beren a difficult test to prove his skill as a thrall, tasking him to catch three fierce mice in three days. Beren failed, and Tevildo had him punished and made a scullion. So miserable did Tevildo make Beren that he wished he never saw Tinúviel.[2]:16-17

Later on, Tevildo was roused from his sleep when Tinúviel was brought before him by Umuiyan the Doorcat. Angry at being disturbed, Tevildo accused Tinúviel of having dealings with dogs. Tinúviel claimed that she had recently escaped from a mighty dog he knew well. Intrigued, Tevildo ordered Umuiyan to bring her to the kitchens. When Umuiyan instead fell asleep under the spell of Tinúviel's cloak, Tevildo ordered for him to be thrown from a cliff.[2]:23-24 After that, Tevildo brought Tinúviel to the kitchens himself, unintentionally allowing her to make her presence known to Beren. Tevildo considered bringing her to Melko, but chose to first listen to her story. Tinúviel told Tevildo of Huan laying injured in the woods nearby. Tevildo's wish to believe this was true led him to fall for Tinúviel's ruse and he followed her with two of his thanes, one of which was Oikeroi.[2]:41-45

When they come upon the seemingly wounded Huan in the Withered Dale, Tevildo planned to come on him from all sides, but Huan attacked as the cats approached. Huan managed to kill Oikeroi and chase the other thane away, leaving Tevildo to fiercely fight Huan on his own. Huan came close to killing Tevildo, but was struck in the eye, giving Tevildo the opportunity to escape up a tree.[2]:46-47 Huan refused to let him down until Tevildo revealed the whereabouts of Tinúviel and Beren, and then forced him to toss down his golden collar (a dishonour in it of itself) and to reveal the spell which held the stones of his castle together and filled his subjects with evil power beyond their nature. Returning to the castle, Tinúviel spoke the words of the spell and commanded the now shrunken cats to release every prisoner and thrall they had ever taken. However, Tevildo’s only prisoners were Beren and an aged Gnome named Gimli. Tinúviel lead Beren and Huan away. Eventually, Melko learned that Tevildo had lost his power over the cats and he cursed and banished him. Tevildo remained wrathful long after, desiring to regain his power and lost spell, and the race of cats ever after lived bitter lives.[2]:54-57

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

"...he was a mighty cat and coal-black and evil to look upon. His eyes were long and very narrow and slanted, and gleamed both red and green, but his great grey whiskers were as stout and as sharp as needles. His purr was like the roll of drums and his growl like thunder, but when he yelled in wrath it turned the blood cold, and indeed small beasts and birds were frozen as to stone, or dropped lifeless often at the very sound."[2]:15-16

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Tevildo is Qenya. Although it is not given a literal translation, it is said to derive from the root TEFE related to "hate" or "hatred".[3]

Other names[edit | edit source]

His Gnomish name was Tifil.[3] This Gnomish name was later changed to Tiberth; and he was given the titles Vardo Meoita in Qenya and Bridhon Miaugion in Gnomish, both meaning "Prince of Cats".[4]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

As Tolkien developed his mythology, Tevildo's place in the narrative was replaced by that of the Necromancer, Thû, who in turn became Sauron in the later legendarium. Thû was the "Lord of Werewolves", in contrast to Tevildo's position as "Prince of Cats"; the cat-versus-dog theme prominent in the "Tale of Tinúviel" was thus eliminated in later writings.[5]

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

Tevildo resembles in form the name Tybalt from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, who also has the title of "Prince of Cats".

Also noteworthy is Cath Palug, a monstrous cat in Welsh legend. In some Arthurian stories there are also mentions of a fight between King Arthur himself and a evil cat (sometimes named Cath Palug). In some stories Arthur is victorious, but in others the king is killed by the cat.

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", p. 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I, entry "Tevildo"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part II", entry "Tevildo"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel": "Notes and Commentary": "‘explanatory’ beast-fable (concerning cats and dogs) was to be entirely eliminated..."