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Meaning: wind-lord

Location(s): Misty Mountains

Race/Species: Beasts & Monsters

Lord of the Eagles of the Misty Mountains

Dates: late Third Age

descendant of Thorondor of Beleriand

Siblings: Landroval


There came Gwaihir the Windlord, and Landroval his brother, greatest of all the Eagles of the North, mightiest of the descendants of old Thorondor, who built his eyries in the inaccessible peaks of the Encircling Mountains when Middle-earth was young. Behind them in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen

'And the Eagles of the Mountains went far and wide, and they saw many things: the gathering of wolves and the mustering of Orcs; and the Nine Riders going hither and thither in the lands; and they heard news of the escape of Gollum. And they sent a messenger to bring these tidings to me.

'So it was that when summer waned, there came a night of moon, and Gwaihir the Windlord, swiftest of the Great Eagles, came unlooked-for to Orthanc; and he found me standing on the pinnacle. Then I spoke to him and he bore me away, before Saruman was aware.' ...

'"How far can you bear me?" I said to Gwaihir.

'"Many leagues," said he, "but not to the ends of the earth. I was sent to bear tidings not burdens."

'"Then I must have a steed on land," I said....

'"Then I will bear you to Edoras, where the Lord of Rohan sits in his halls," he said; "for that is not very far off." ...

'"Are the Men of Rohan still to be trusted, do you think?" I said to Gwaihir, for the treason of Saruman had shaken my faith.

'"They pay a tribute of horses," he answered, "and send many yearly to Mordor, or so it is said;1 but they are not yet under the yoke. But if Saruman has become evil, as you say, then their doom cannot be long delayed."'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

'And naked I lay upon the mountain-top. ... And so at the last Gwaihir the Windlord found me again, and he took me up and bore me away.

'"Ever am I fated to be your burden, friend at need," I said.

'"A burden you have been," he answered, "but not so now. Light as a swan's feather in my claw you are. The Sun shines through you. Indeed I do not think you need me any more: were I to let you fall you would float upon the wind."

'"Do not let me fall!" I gasped, for I felt life in me again. "Bear me to Lothlórien!"

'"That indeed is the command of the Lady Galadriel who sent me to look for you," he answered.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 5, The White Rider

'No, I did not find [Merry and Pippin],' said Gandalf. 'There was a darkness over the valleys of the Emyn Muil, and I did not know of their captivity, until the eagle told me.'

'The eagle!' said Legolas. 'I have seen an eagle high and far off: the last time was three days ago, above the Emyn Muil.'

'Yes,' said Gandalf, 'that was Gwaihir the Windlord, who rescued me from Orthanc. I sent him before me to watch the River and gather tidings. His sight is keen, but he cannot see all that passes under hill and tree.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 5, The White Rider

Behind [Gwaihir the Windlord and Landroval] in long swift lines came all their vassals from the northern mountains, speeding on a gathering wind. Straight down upon the Nazgûl they bore, stooping suddenly out of the high airs, and the rush of their wide wings as they passed over was like a gale.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen

Then Gandalf ... stood upon the hill-top and called; and down to him came the great eagle, Gwaihir the Windlord, and stood before him.

'Twice you have borne me,2 Gwaihir my friend,' said Gandalf. 'Thrice shall pay for all, if you are willing. You will not find me a burden much greater than when you bore me from Zirakzigil....'

'I would bear you,' answered Gwaihir, 'whither you will, even were you made of stone.'

'Then come, and let your brother go with us, and some other of your folk who is most swift! For we have need of speed greater than any wind....'

'The North Wind blows, but we shall outfly it,' said Gwaihir. And he lifted up Gandalf and sped away south, and with him went Landroval, and Meneldor young and swift. And they passed over Udûn and Gorgoroth and saw all the land in ruin and tumult beneath them, and before them Mount Doom blazing, pouring out its fire. ...

And so it was that Gwaihir saw [Frodo and Sam] with his keen far-seeing eyes, as down the wild wind he came, and daring the great peril of the skies he circled in the air: two small dark figures, forlorn, hand in hand upon a little hill, while the world shook under them, and gasped, and rivers of fire drew near. And even as he espied them and came swooping down, he saw them fall....

Side by side they lay; and down swept Gwaihir, and down came Landroval and Meneldor the swift; and ... the wanderers were lifted up and borne far away out of the darkness and the fire.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 4, The Field of Cormallen

1 [Said Aragorn,] '... it grieves me more than many tidings that might seem worse to learn that Sauron levies such tribute. It was not so when last I was in that land.'

'Nor is it now, I will swear,' said Boromir. 'It is a lie that comes from the Enemy. ... [The Rohirrim will not] buy their lives with horses. They love their horses next to their kin.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

2 The two prior times that Gwaihir bore Gandalf include his rescue of Gandalf from Orthanc after Gandalf's imprisonment by Saruman, and his rescue of Gandalf from the peak of Zirakzigil after the Battle of the Peak.

Gwaihir the Windlord therefore cannot be the (unnamed) Lord of the Eagles from The Hobbit, who rescued Thorin's company from the tree-tops after the goblins set them on fire. However, it is possible that Gwaihir is a descendant of that Lord of the Eagles, since royalty among eagles seems to reside in the descendants of Thorondor.

Commentary by Elena Tiriel

Levade, 01.12.03
Lyllyn, 3.2.03
Elena TIriel 31Jul06

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