Werewolves were servants of Morgoth, bred from wolves and inhabited by dreadful spirits (fallen lesser Maiar or the fëar [souls] of orcs) imprisoned in these wolfish forms by Sauron. Unlike werewolves in other literature, the werewolves of Middle-earth do not transform from man to wolf at night and their behavior is not influenced by the full moon or other lunar cycles.
They inhabited Tol-in-Gaurhoth, which became known as the Isle of Werewolves.
The first werewolf was Draugluin at Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and the greatest werewolf after him was Carcharoth, the guardian of Angband, and a descendant of Draugluin as all other werewolves were. The form of the werewolves was first thought of by Sauron, who was their lord, and took the shape of a great wolf himself at least once.
Gandalf suggests in his talks with Frodo after the Ford of Bruinen that werewolves survived into the Third Age, and makes a distinction between them and wargs. The latter, though, might simply be descended from werewolves, as they could speak, suggesting they had fëar (souls).
The werewolves of Middle-earth were not shape-shifters, and were always in the form of great beasts. The fangs of Carcharoth were venomous, though it is not known if all werewolves had venomous fangs.
Werewolves are similar to wolves and wargs, and were quite large even compared to wargs. Known to be stronger and faster than the famous warg race, they were also as intelligent as a mortal man, which made them capable of negotiating and communicating with others. Thus they were able to speak the Black Speech, Westron, and the Elvish languages.
The name werewolf appears to have been chosen because they were in essence sapient (but evil), and thus had a status similar to men rather than beasts — the word "were" in the word werewolf being from the Anglo-Saxon word were, meaning man, so the term werewolf can be translated to man-wolf. They were known by the elves of their time as 'gaurhoth'.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Translations around the WorldEdit
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||人狼|
|Dutch |Weerwolven |}
- Werewolves appear in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king in the form of the Shade of the Wolf. (The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king)
Races of the Creatures of Arda
- ↑ The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIX: "Of Beren and Lúthien"
- ↑ The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
- ↑ Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, by way of Google Books