They were simply large hyena-related wolves (shown that way in the films) that roamed in western Rhovanion and the wilds to the east of the Misty Mountains. They appear first in the Fellowship of the Ring, attacking the Fellowship before their entrance into Moria, but in the book they are only called Wolves, from Isengard.
In a way they took the place of the more powerful Werewolves from earlier ages. Like so many foul creatures, the Warg may have first been bred in Angband by Morgoth, the result of mixing two animals to produce a true monster. Wargs were said by some to have been very intelligent predators; it is rumoured that they had a crude understanding of some orc words and their Black Speech. Wargs appear in J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, in which they attack Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the dwarves that are traveling to the Lonely Mountain (Erebor).
Physical attributes Edit
Wargs measured about 5 feet at the shoulder, and could be up to eight feet in length from snout to hindquarters with a muzzle full of huge fangs and a long, prehensile neck; its eyes were small and set back to each side of its head, its ears at the back of the skull. This arrangement gave greatest sensory range while keeping its vulnerable areas protected, and the long neck gave it reach, flexibility and power when biting into flesh. There was a large well muscled hump above its forelegs, that propelled it at high speeds, not only allowing the beast to run swiftly but also smash and tackle prey and foes.
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. Many warg riders displayed gruesome scars from encounters with their mounts. Coloration and patterning of the fur doesn't seem to vary throughout the breed. Powerful haunches and a dewclaw allowed the warg to climb.
The term Warg is anglised from a Vargr of Norse Mythology.
SocietyEditNot much is known about Warg society, but one can infer that warg packs are organized tribally, as in The Hobbit, Tolkien describes the wargs as having a sort of leader or chieftain. In the same chapter it is mentioned that Wargs sometimes form a sort of alliance with Orc tribes of the Misty Mountains. To their mutual benefit, Wargs allow Orcs to use them as mounts during raids on villages lying on the western edge of Mirkwood. This displays Wargs' ability to communicate and reason with one another, displaying their intelligence.
Portrayals in AdaptationsEdit
In the Two TowersEdit
In The Two Towers film, Saruman sends out his wargs and their riders (lead by the orc Sharku) to attack the people of Rohan as they make their way to Helm's Deep. Wargs later appear as the mount for Gothmog during the Siege of Gondor in The Return of the King. 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.
In An Unexpected JourneyEdit
The Wargs seen in the movie adaptation of The Hobbit are very different from those in the Two Towers film. In the movie, these wargs were bred in Gundabad and were in service to Azog, who had survived the skirmish at Moria. Throughout the film Azog and his troops followed the Company of Thorin across the Misty Mountains, and at the end they nearly killed Thorin before being driven off by Great Eagles. They are much more wolf-like in appearance than they were in The Two Towers. The Warg ridden by Azog is significantly larger than the others and is white in colour.
|Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.|
- 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 books Wargs are barely mentioned with respect to Rohan except to say that occasionally a band of Wargs could be seen now and again raiding villages throughout Rohan when Theoden is retreating to Helm's Deep.
- 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.
- It seems likely that Tolkien took the word warg from the Old Norse word "vargr", which means wolf in that language. Interesting enough the word "hound" which in English is used for a large dog is silimar to the Swedish word "hund" which means dog and the Swedish word "varg" means wolf, meaning that Tolkien might have used the same logic for his large wolves.
- In the Song of Ice and Fire series of books, warg is one of the terms for a person who can control the actions of one or more animals, for example dire (i.e., giant) wolves.
Races of the Creatures of Arda