Wargs were a breed of wolves in Middle-earth who lived in the Misty Mountains and were captured and used especially by orcs of Isengard and Mordor in the Third Age. Though wargs are not specifically evil themselves, they are almost exclusively bred by orcs. They were used by orcs as a form of transportation, in the same manner that men and Elves used 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 their carcasses were not to be seen the next morning.[1]

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 specifically mentioned.


In T.A. 2941, the wargs appeared once to meet the goblins and organize a raid on 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 just in time.

The wargs, thinking that the Dwarves were allies of the woodmen, surrounded the glade and didn't let them descend. Gandalf then used his magic to light up pine-cones and hurl them against the wargs, until they were driven 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 hiding in, until the eagles came to rescue them.

In TA 3019 on January 13, the Fellowship of the Ring was attacked by a group of wargs. These wargs were presumably sent by Saruman to waylay the Fellowship after their failed attempt to cross the Redhorn Pass. The wargs fled after their first assault, but came back with reinforcements. Eventually, this second assault also failed, and the wargs fled again. Under the cover of night, the wargs dragged the bodies of their fallen comrades away from the site.

Physical attributesEdit

In the books, wargs are described as being giant, intelligent, and malevolent wolves.


The word 'warg' comes from the Old Norse word vargr, meaning 'wolf'.[citation needed]

Portrayals in adaptationsEdit

Peter Jackson's adaptionsEdit

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.


A Warg as seen in The Two Towers.

The eastern Wargs seen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy are noticeably more hyena-like in appearance. An eastern warg measures 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 neck gives it reach, flexibility and power when biting into flesh. 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 pattern of the fur doesn't seem to vary throughout the breed. Powerful haunches and a dewclaw allowed the warg to climb.


Wargs from The Hobbit

The Gunbabad wargs, wolf-like with grey fur, are bred by the orcs of Mount Gundabad. Throughout the events of The Hobbit Trilogy, a pack of wargs are in the service of Azog, who had survived the skirmish at Moria. Among these wargs is a larger one with a white pelt that Azog rides, revealed in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey guide book to be the Warg Matriarch of the Gunbabad Wargs. Gandalf once stated in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that the Gundabad wargs are faster than any other warg breed.

The Hobbit film trilogyEdit

During the events of An Unexpected Journey, a warg pack under Warg riders led by Yazneg and Fimbul stalk The Company of Thorin II Oakenshield before making their presence known in the trollshaws. Though Radagast offers to distract their pursuers by riding on his sled pulled by Rhosgobel Rabbits, the warg riders see the Company and chase after them before finding themselves ambushed by the elves of Rivendell after the Company flees into the Hidden Pass. Azog later feeds Yazneg to the wargs at the orc camp at Amon Sûl. Azog later rides the Warg Matriarch to personally hunt Thorin, who manages to elude him with the aid of both the Great Eagles at the Misty Mountains and Beorn. The Gundabad wargs make fewer appearances in the The Desolation of Smaug, when Bolg and a small force of warg riders trail the company to Dale, and The Battle of the Five Armies, where Azog rides the Warg Matriarch on the march to Erebor before instructing Bolg to retrieve their reinforcements in Gundabad. In the extended edition of The Battle of the Five Armies, a company of forty Gundabad wargs, including between fifteen and twenty warg riders, are part of Azog's massive army and also participate in the final battle outside the city of Dale and the dwarven kingdom of Erebor.

The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

Warg 2

A Warg staring Gimli in the face

In The Two Towers film, Saruman sends the orc Sharku with a company of warg riders 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.

Video gamesEdit

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 座狼
Spanish Huargo

See alsoEdit

Races of the Creatures of Arda
Free Folks:

Ainur | Dwarves | Ents | Hobbits | Men | Elves | Great Eagles

Servants of the Shadow:

Dragons | Orcs | Wargs | Werewolves | Spiders | Trolls


  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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