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Gwaihir, also known as Gwaihir the Windlord, was the greatest of the Great Eagles during the Third Age. He is best known for his deeds during the events of The Hobbit and the War of the Ring.

BiographyEdit

Gwaihir was descended from Thorondor, the greatest Eagle who ever lived. It was said that he and his brother Landroval aided Thorondor in rescuing Beren and Luthien from Angband.[1]

At some point in his life, Gandalf the Grey saved him from a poisoned arrow.

War of the RingEdit

In the summer of TA 3018, Gandalf asked Radagast the Brown to send word among his friends the birds to learn what they could of the Enemy's plans. The Great Eagles flew far and wide and gathered news of the Nazgûl and the mustering of Orcs and Wargs, and of the escape of Gollum from Mirkwood.

LOTR mega-eagle

Gwaihir rescues Gandalf from Orthanc.

Gwaihir went to Isengard to bring this news to Gandalf. In the early hours of September 18, he found Gandalf imprisoned by Saruman on the pinnacle of Orthanc. Gwaihir bore Gandalf away, and when the Wizard said that he needed a horse, Gwaihir set him down in the land of Rohan.

On February 17, 3019, Gwaihir was searching for Gandalf at the request of Galadriel when he found the Wizard atop the Silvertine. Gandalf had vanquished the Balrog in the Battle of the Peak, but the entrance to the Endless Stair had been blocked and he had been unable to escape from the mountaintop. Gwaihir once again bore Gandalf and he found his burden to be as light as a feather, for Gandalf's old life had been burned away and he had been reborn as Gandalf the White.

The Eagle brought Gandalf to Lothlórien and then at the Wizard's request he flew to seek news of the Fellowship. Aragorn and Legolas both saw him circling above the Emyn Muil. Gwaihir returned to Gandalf with the news that Merry and Pippin had been captured by Saruman's Uruk-hai.

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Gwaihir against a fell beast.

Gwaihir and his brother Landroval led a great company of Eagles to the Battle of the Black Gate on March 25, 3019. They swooped in to attack the Winged Nazgûl, but the Nazgûl fled when Sauron summoned them to fly to Mount Doom where Frodo Baggins stood at the Cracks of Doom with the Ring. After the Ring was destroyed, Mount Doom erupted and Frodo and Sam were stranded on a hill amid flowing lava and falling ash. Gandalf asked Gwaihir to bear him a final time. Accompanied by Landroval and Meneldor, Gwaihir raced swiftly to Mount Doom and with his keen sight, he spotted the Hobbits through the fumes. The Eagles lifted Frodo and Sam and bore them away to safety.

EtymologyEdit

The name Gwaihir comes from the Sindarin terms gwaew ("storm, wind") and hîr ("lord, master"), translating his name to "Wind-lord".[2]

AbilitiesEdit

Gwaihir had keen eyesight and was the swiftest of the Great Eagles. He was large and strong enough to carry a grown man. Gwaihir was intelligent and was capable of speech.

AppearancesEdit

In the booksEdit

In the filmsEdit

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

In earlier versions, his name was "Gwaewar" and he was Thorondor's (then leader of the Great Eagles) vassal. As Gwaewar, he was called the "Lord of the Wind".[3] He was also among the Eagles present to save Beren and Lúthien from Angband.[4]

In TA 2941, a character called "Lord of the Eagles" saved Thorin and Company from Wargs and Orcs. He later arrived in the Lonely Mountain and fought in the Battle of Five Armies.[5]

However, it is up for debate if Gwaihir was one of the eagles that saved Thorin and Company. In the whole of The Lord of the Rings Gwaihir carries Gandalf twice, and by the end of the book Gandalf says so [6]; this implies that Gwaihir had not bore him before the years of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gwaihir arrives at Isengard to rescue Gandalf. Later in The Return of the King, Gwaihir, Landroval, and the other Great Eagles arrive at the Battle of the Black Gate and attack the Nazgûl and their fell beasts. After the destruction of the One Ring, Gwaihir bears Gandalf and rescues Frodo and Sam from the rocks of Mount Doom.

In the Hobbit Trilogy, Gandalf uses a moth to call Gwaihir and the other Great Eagles to help them escape Azog and his hunters. Later, Radagast rides Gwaihir during the Battle of the Five Armies after seeking his aid along with an army of Great Eagles.

Video gamesEdit

Translations around the worldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic جوير
Armenian Գվայհիր
Belarusian Cyrillic Гвайхіра
Chinese (Hong Kong) 關赫
French Gwaihir le Seigneur des Vents
Georgian გვაიჰირი
Gujarati ગ્વાઇહર
Hebrew גואיהיר
Japanese グワイヒア
Kannada ಗ್ವೈಹೀರ್
Marathi ग्वाहीर
Nepalese ग्वाहिर
Persian گاواهیر
Russian Гваихир
Serbian Гваихир (Cyrillic) Gwaihir (Latin)
Sinhalese ග්වෛහිර්
Tajik Cyrillic Гwаиҳир
Tamil கிவைஹிர்
Telugu గ్వాఇహిర్
Ukrainian Cyrillic Гвайгір (Боривітер)
Urdu گوایہیر
Yiddish גוואַיהיר

ReferencesEdit

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels, Part One. The Grey Annals
  2. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. V: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Two: "Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings"
  4. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 9: Sauron Defeated, Part One: The End of the Third Age, V: "The Field of Kormallen"
  5. The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter IV: "The Field of Cormallen"