Wargs are canine beasts of Middle-earth in the Misty Mountains, used especially by Orcs of Isengard and Mordor in the Third Age. They are used by Orcs as a form of transportation, in the same manner that Men and Elves use horses. They appear first in The Hobbit, attacking Thorin and Company as they traveled east from the Misty Mountains. In the Fellowship of the Ring Wargs attacked the Fellowship as they traveled to Moria. That they were Wargs and not ordinary wolves searching for food, Gandalf remarked, was evident from the fact that the carcasses of the dead Wargs were gone the next morning. Later, during Theoden's retreat to Helm's Deep in Rohan, a scout reported that wolf-riders were abroad in the valley, but Wargs were not mentioned.
In T.A. 2941, the Wargs appeared once to meet the Goblins and organize a raid to the nearby villages, in order to drive the Woodmen out and capture some slaves. As a pack of Wargs approached east of the Misty Mountains to meet them, Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and Thorin and Company were escaping the goblins. Gandalf seeing the pack coming, suggested to climb the trees and Dori helped Bilbo in the nick of time.
The Wargs, thinking that the Dwarves are allies of the Woodmen, surrounded the glade and didn't let them descend. Gandalf then used his magic to light up pinecones and hurl them against the Wargs until he drove them out. The wolves that had caught fire fled into the forest and had set it alight in several places, since it was high summer, and on this eastern side of the mountains there had been little rain for some time. However the guards left under the trees did not go away. Eventually goblins showed up and lit the trees the Dwarves were onto, until the Eagles came to rescue them.
Physical attributes Edit
In the books, Wargs are described as being giant, intelligent, malevolent wolves.
The word 'warg' comes from the Old Norse word vargr, meaning 'wolf'.[Source?]
Portrayals in adaptationsEdit
The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit
In Peter Jackson's adaptation of Tolkien's works, two breeds are introduced. The first are a hyena-like breed used by Isengard and Mordor Orcs that roamed in western Rhovanion and the wilds to the east of the Misty Mountains. The second are the more wolf-like Gundabad Wargs whose appearance is closer to the original version of the story.
The eastern Wargs are measured about 5 feet at the shoulder, and could be up to eight feet in length from snout to hindquarters. The head has a short muzzle full of huge fangs, small eyes set on the sides of the head and ears at the back of the skull. This arrangement gave greatest sensory range while keeping its vulnerable areas protected, and the long prehensile neck gives it reach, flexibility and power when biting into flesh. There the forelegs when muscled hump above them, allowing it to move at high speeds to tackle potential prey. Apart from its ruff, the Warg had short dense fur, which would have kept injury from tooth and claw to a minimum. Not all damage could have come from the men and beasts it was attacking; Wargs were ferocious and could quickly turn on other members of their pack as well as their handlers. Coloration and patterning of the fur doesn't seem to vary throughout the breed. Powerful haunches and a dewclaw allowed the warg to climb.
Gundabad Wargs, being more wolf-like, usually have grey colored fur. But one Gundabad Warg, owned by Azog, is significantly larger than the others with a white pelt.
In The Two Towers film, Saruman sends out his Wargs and their riders (led by the Orc Sharku) to attack the people of Rohan as they make their way to Helm's Deep. A Warg later appears as the mount for Gothmog during the Siege of Gondor in The Return of the King film. In the commentary for the extended DVD, Jackson says that the scene was chaotic to shoot and the wargs were the only computer generated creatures he felt could have looked more convincing. He also thought the scene itself could have turned out better if his team had a more organized storyboard layout for the battle. Unlike most depictions of Tolkien's wargs and their fantasy derivatives, they are noticeably more hyena-like in appearance.
The Hobbit film trilogyEdit
The Wargs seen in the movie adaptation of The Hobbit are bred in Gundabad and were in service to Azog, who had survived the skirmish at Moria. As revealed in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey guide book, Azog's white Warg is confirmed to be the Warg Matriarch of her Master's Wargs.
During An Unexpected Journey:
- Two Wargs are first seen being ridden by Yazneg and Fimbul when spying on The Company while they were camping.
- After the Company is intruded upon by a frantic Radagast in the trollshaws, they are ambushed by two unmounted Wargs who, in the attempt to kill them, are killed themselves. Radagast then offers to distract the rest of the group of Wargs and Orcs by riding on his sled pulled by Rhosgobel rabbits. The same group of Orcs and Wargs are later ambushed themselves by the Elves of Rivendell after the Company, without Radagast, flee into the Hidden Pass having been entrapped by their foes. Only a few Wargs survived.
- They are next seen in Azog's 'head quarters', Amon Sûl, ready to attack the two survivors of the defense of the Company and the attack of the Elves. They then ravenously pounce upon the body of Yazneg, having been thrown into a pillar by an enraged and disappointed Azog, and commence into a feeding frenzy. They are then ordered, along with the remaining Orcs, to search for the Dwarves.
- Later, Azog's own white Warg is seen sniffing out the pathway of the Company with the rest of the pack behind him.
- In the last scene of the Wargs, they are chasing down the company in the Misty Mountains, knocking down every tree Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves have fled into. Outwitted by Gandalf's plan to throw flaming pines at them, they run away from the growing flames in fear. Having been summoned by Gandalf's incantation to a nearby moth, Gwaihir and his Eagles then attack the enemies by throwing them off of the mountains, crushing them under trees and using their immense wings to blow flames onto them. Some Wargs survived, though did not succeed in killing any of their enemies.
During the The Desolation of Smaug:
- Azog and his white Warg and a few Warg-Riders are first seen on the hunt for Thorin and Company. Azog fails to spot Bilbo who was hiding behind some rocks. Azog and his Warg-riders then carry on with the hunt.
- Bolg and a small force of Warg riders trail the company to Dale.
During the The Battle of the Five Armies:
- Azog rides his white Warg on the march to Erebor, and Bolg meets him before being directed to Gundabad.
- In the The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age video game there is a small colony of wild Wargs living in a hollow rock formation in northeast Rohan, one of which is particularly large and used as a mini-boss for a side quest.
- In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II and BFME 1 video games, the Isengard faction can train and use Warg Riders as a mounted unit.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online, Wargs can be found throughout the world. A Warg-Stalker is also a playable class as well in Monster Play.
Races of the Creatures of Arda