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Gwaihir

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Gwaihir

Gwaihir

Biographical information

Other names
The Windlord, Gwaihir the Windlord
Titles
Date of birth
Possibly First Age
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Realms ruled
Spouse
Weapon
Claws, beak

Physical description

Culture
Eagles of Valinor
Gender
Male
Height
Hair color
Eye color
Gold
Actor
Voice
Character

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, probably Orcish.

War of the RingEdit

In the summer of TA 3018, Gandalf the Grey 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 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.

012408fellbeastveagle

Gwaihir against a fell beast

Gwaihir and his brother Landroval led a great company of Eagles to the Battle of the Morannon on March 25, 3019. They swooped in to attack the Winged Nazgûl, but the Nazgul 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 "Windlord".

The earlier form of his name was Gwaewar''.

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.

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

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.[2]

However, it is up for debate if Gwaihir was one of the eagles that saved Thorin and Company. In the whole Lord of the Rings Gwaihir carries Gandalf twice, and by the end of the book Gandalf says that Gwaihir had carried him twice;[3] this implies that Gwaihir never carried him before the timeframe of the book.

Appearances in the Books and FilmsEdit

Gwaihir appears in all books and films listed below:

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 Morannon 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

ControversyEdit

It has been pointed out by several observers that the entire War of the Ring could have been over almost as quickly as it began if only Gandalf had requested that Gwaihir simply take the ring himself and delivered it to Mount Doom to have it destroyed. This is not a reasonable possibility. Mordor was extremely well guarded and Sauron had many spies. Attempting this would have resulted in the ring being delivered into the hands of Sauron. It has nothing to do with how high the Eagles could fly (their Aeries were on the Peaks of the Hithaeglir, which were between 5,000 and 8,000 meters in height), or their willingness to take anyone (as noted in Book 6, Chapter 4 of The Lord of the Rings: The field of Cormallen, when Gwaihir says to Gandalf in response to his request to rescue Frodo: 'I would bear you," answered Gwahir 'whither you wished even if you were made of stone.' (it should be pointed out that prior references to "tidings" vs "burdens" use the term "bear," which derives from the Old English Barun, meaning "to carry a heavy burden" - Gwaihir at that point was referring not to his unwillingness to carry Gandalf, but to his simple inability to fly with him on his back), but simply due to the fact it is a bad idea. In addition to Mordor being well guarded. The One Ring must be dropped, not into Orodruin itself, but into the Sammath Naur (the Cracks of Doom). An Eagle flying towards Mordor could have tipped Sauron to this plan, where he would have ordered the Sammath Naur sealed, and waited outside it on the slopes of Orodruin with an army of a half million Orcs, tends of thousands of Easterlings, Haradrim, and Black Númenóreans, and nine Nazgûl awaiting the arrival of his precious ring.

It should also be understood that the mission to bring the One Ring to Mordor was appointed to Frodo by the Council of Elrond. Only Frodo alone should risk holding the Ring, this was due to Gandalf's perception that the hobbits tended to bear adversity and the temptation of the ring better than others. Gwaihir, had he been asked, and been assured of a reasonable plan that was not simply delivering the Ring back into the hands of Sauron, would have known it was his duty to do all he could to see it succeed (orc arrows or not - which, to be fair, are not such a threat, given that the Eagles could fly several miles high, even when burdened). The problem has nothing to do with it not being the responsibility of the Eagles, as fighting the Shadow is the responsibility of all of the forces sent by the Valar to be on guard against that same Shadow. The problem is that everyone would have know how incredibly pointless it would be to even attempt something so blindly foolish.

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 關赫
Russian Гваихир

ReferencesEdit

  1. The History of Mid'dle-earth, Vol. 11: The War of the Jewels, Part One. The Grey Annals
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter IV: "The Field of Cormallen"

External linkEdit

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