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Old 08-08-2000, 06:07 AM   #1
The Barrow-Wight
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Ring Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

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bmilder asked me an interesting question about Gwaihir last night. In the newest quiz, gaplsi asked a question that had the answer of (something like) 'Gandalf had pulled a poisoned arrow from the wing of Gwaihir.' bmilder asked if the Eagle that Gandalf aided was really Gwaihir?

I always assumed that the Lord of the Eagles (LotE) in The Hobbit was Gwaihir. But bmilder told me that according to the 'Annotated Hobbit', it may have been a different Lord of the Eagles that was healed by the wizard.

A quick look in Robert Foster's Complete Guide to Middle-Earth agreed with galpsi's (and my) assumptions - saying that Gwaihir was the same LotE.

So I decided to research the matter a bit and see why the annotated version might have thought differently. And I found that perhaps Gwaihir wasn't present in The Hobbit.

Besides the fact that the LotE is never named in The Hobbit, in the RotK chapter 'The Field of Cormallen', Gandalf asks Gwaihir to take him to Mount Doom, prefacing his request with ' Twice you have bourne me...I would ask for a third time' (or something like that, but the 'twice' is definitely what he said). The two times were (1) from Orthanc; and (2) from the Peak of the mountain after Gandalf returned to Middle-Earth as 'The White'. If Gwaihir had been the LotE in The Hobbit, the count would have been three, bringing the total to four.

Robert Foster's description of Gwaihir in his Guide matter-of-factly says that the 'two times' meant 'during he time fo the War of the Ring'. But I don't see how he could have assumed that.

Any thoughts on all of this?



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Old 08-08-2000, 06:46 AM   #2
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

I believe it's a plot-hole.

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Old 08-08-2000, 03:47 PM   #3
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/nenya.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

I like this discussion because it points to the several strengths of our little fellowship: BMilder's quick eyes and sharp mind, RKittle's encyclopediac thoroughness, and Noldo's sound judgement.
I confess that my identification of the LotEs was poorly arrived at. I had based my identification on Gandalf's comment to Gwaihir on Celebdil,&quot;Ever am I fated to be your burden, friend at need.&quot; I know that this interpretation flies in the face of the more exact reference to two previous rides in the last battle sequence. I had concluded that the good doctor had simply erred in that passage because ever suggests to me a longer association than one previous ride only four and half months earlier.
Certainly I was wrong to have concluded this decisively as the evidence is tenuous and equivocal for any clear identification (leaning, it now seems to me, against the identification of Gwaihir as LotEs in the Hobbit). Sorry for any inconvenience to the quizees. I imagine that you should all curve your scores on your behalf.

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Old 08-10-2000, 12:37 AM   #4
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

As my name is shared with the Lord of the Eyries, I feel that I am expected to say something here.

I believe it's the same.
Gandalf's 'Ever am I to be your burden, friend at need,' points to two things. The first, the most obvious and the most dodgy, the 'Ever am I to be you burden' section could possibly mean that Gandalf had been carried several times by Gwaihir, on top of what the Windlord did for him in LotR. But this isn't exactly sound evidence, as the two or three times in the War of The Ring could be sufficient.

The most significant statement in this phrase is 'friend'. The Eagle Lord in the Hobbit formed a lasting friendship with Gandalf when he cured him of an arrow-wound. If Gwaihir in LotR was a good friend of Gandalf's then you can see the possible connection.

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Old 08-10-2000, 11:13 PM   #5
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

could it be that Gwaihir was the lord of the tribe present in the Hobbit but that some other eagle in gwaihir's tribe [?] bore Gandalf away from the goblin/wolf meeting?


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Old 08-11-2000, 12:25 AM   #6
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

From The Hobbit:

<blockquote>Quote:<hr> 'For just a that moment the Lord of the Eagles swooped down from above, seized him (Gandalf) in his talons, and was gone.'<hr></blockquote>

So we can definetely say that it was the Lord of the Eagles -- presumably Gwaihir -- that bore Gandalf away from the flaming tree.

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Old 08-11-2000, 03:37 AM   #7
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

I figured that was likley -sorry I didn't get my lazy self up and down the hall to the bookshelf.
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Old 08-13-2000, 02:09 PM   #8
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

For those curious, the exact quote from the Annotated Hobbit, page 123, is:

&quot;Many Tolkien commentators have been tempted to equate the Lord of the Eagles in The Hobbit with Gwaihir, the Windlord, the eagle who rescues Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. The evidence, however, is inconclusive, and one is left with the thought that if Tolkien had intended them to be the same, he would most likely have stated it.&quot;

I had assumed that Gwaihir and the LotE were the same, but I can't help agreeing with annotator Douglas Anderson that Tolkien would probably have mentioned it. For example, the Elvenking of the Hobbit is clearly stated to be the same person as Thranduil, but no such claim is made about Gwaihir/LotE.


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Old 08-13-2000, 02:29 PM   #9
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

I don't think that you'll find concrete evidence anywhere that the Lord of the Eagles is Gwaihir in LOTR but how many eagle lords can one guy know? It doesn't seem probable that Gandalf has two eagle-buddies that cart him all over Middle Earth.

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Old 08-13-2000, 10:54 PM   #10
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

No, no evidence. Only opinions. I agree with Oliphaunt, who agrees with me. Milder does have a point, though.

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Old 08-15-2000, 08:33 PM   #11
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/bluepal.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gwaihir in the Hobbit?

I love your cadence in that last post, Gwaihir. You sound like Gollum lamenting the absence of birds in the Dead-Marshes.

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Old 08-15-2000, 09:28 PM   #12
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/wight.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Gollum

Oh no, my preciousss.

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Old 08-16-2000, 01:23 PM   #13
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/wight.jpg" align=absmiddle> Lord of the eagles

couldn't there be more then one lord of the eagles..
cose UT says in the index: Thorondor Lord of the eagles of the Crisseagrim


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Old 08-16-2000, 09:01 PM   #14
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/wight.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Thorondor

In the Hobbit it said &quot;THE Lord of the Eagles&quot; not &quot;A Lord&quot;. I always though there was only one Lord of the Eagles in the whole of Middle-Earth -- or the West of Middle-Earth anyway. Your theory is interesting though. Any other phrases or quotes from or about Thorondor? Maybe we can find out his origins.

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Old 08-17-2000, 05:02 AM   #15
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/wight.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Thorondor

I believe there was only one Lord of the Eagles. But the Lordship would pass on from genereation to generation...they were birds, after all, and not Maia or elves.... they died natural deaths. I wonder what the lifespan of a Great Eagle was?

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Old 08-17-2000, 06:07 AM   #16
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/wight.jpg" align=absmiddle> Re: Thorondor

Although their constant intervention in events in Arda and the passage at the end of Of Aule and Yavanna make even that simple and reasonable claim complicated.

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Old 07-12-2003, 07:49 PM   #17
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Just to post (I'm dying to contribute [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] ) I'd like to disagree with the BW's last post. I've always thought that the eagles of Manwe were Maia themselves that had taken on the shape that their master willed. I'm reminded of a passage in the Silmarillion that speaks of Manwe's throne on Taniquetil. Here it is:
Quote:
Spirits in the shape of hawks and eagles flew ever to and from his halls; and their eyes could see to the depths of the seas, and pierce the hidden caverns beneath the world. Thus they brought word to him of well nigh all that passed in Arda; yet some things were hidden even from the eyes of Manw and the servants of Manw, for where Melkor sat in his dark thought impenetrable shadows lay.
I think that is good proof that they were not mere birds.

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Old 07-13-2003, 12:36 AM   #18
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Was Gwaihir necessarily the eagle that bore Gandalf in Hobbit? There WAS more than one eagle!
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Old 07-13-2003, 01:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
Just at that moment the Lord of the Eagles swept down from above, siezed him in his talons, and was gone.
Actually, the evidence given in this thread can leave little doubt that the 'Lord' of the Eagles in The Hobbit was in fact Gwaihir.

He was very long-lived, in that case -- quite adult in the Hobbit, and still young-seeming and fit enough to do battle with the hosts of Mordor, fly swiftly and carry people around the place. But then so was Thorondor, who apparently survived with similar vigour throughout the First Age. We don't know what happened to him, but I have an idea that he may, after Beleriand was broken, have returned to Taniquetil and to Manwe. Perhaps Gwaihir was alive then, and took over leadership of the Eagles directly after, although that seems unlikely -- Eagles were slain, and probably frequently returned to Valinor to be, perhaps, replaced by others. Mount Everwhite was their home, and they reported directly to Manwe.

It would therefore seem that the Eagles are not simply normal birds of prey, animals. They were far more brainy for a start, on that level of true, high intelligence; more than that, they seem to be strongly connected to Manwe and the Valar. Manwe, it was said, in fact sent them to Middle-Earth in the first place. They seemed to be able to report back to him on Taniquetil, reaching him by flight. What were they? It is probable that they are a strain of Maiar. There is also the strange possibility that they were a different race of some sort, little-documented, the knowledge of their roots hidden, created by Illuvitar to serve the Valar and to live in Middle-Earth.
They seem to be the two possibilies, don't you think?
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Old 07-13-2003, 04:40 AM   #20
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There is also the strange possibility that they were a different race of some sort, little-documented, the knowledge of their roots hidden, created by Illuvitar to serve the Valar and to live in Middle-Earth.
Doubtful. The only races that Iluvatar created are his Children. All other animals were created by the Valar, before Arda was Marred.
Quote:
...there shall go forth with wings like the wind the Eagles of the Lords of the West... ...High shall climb the trees of Kementari, that the Eagles of the King my house therein!... ...In the mountains the Eagles shall house, and hear the voices of those who call upon us...
-Manwe talking to Yavanna
~Of Aule and Yavanna
Seems pretty obvious who owned the Eagles. They were like Ents, probably. Ents are not exactly Maiar, more like carers and protectors of certain things. So were the Eagles: more than birds, yet not divine.

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Old 07-13-2003, 04:45 PM   #21
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But again, look at that quote I gave. It says "spirits in the shape of eagles". Also, the ents were "awakened" by the first elves, and there weren't exactly any flying elves that could "awaken" eagles. Plus, Ent's couldn't change their shape, while the passage suggests that these hawks and eagles could.

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Old 07-13-2003, 05:57 PM   #22
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Just to throw more confusion to the mix, here is something from Morgoth's Ring
Quote:
The same sort of thing may be said of Huan and the Eagles: they were taught language by the Valar, and raised to a higher level- but they still had no fear. (soul)
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Old 07-17-2003, 07:27 AM   #23
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Wasn't Gwaihir one of the Eagles who saved Gandalf, the Dwarves and Bilbo from the goblins? He and Gandalf were always friends so I expect it was Gwaihir who was one of the eagles who saved Gandalf's company.
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Old 07-18-2003, 12:40 AM   #24
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Assuming I am not forgetting any evidence I would try and [somewhat artificially] reconcile the passages thusly:

It was certainly the Lord of the Eagles who picked up Gandalf, but that it was either Gwaihir's sire or Gandalf was speaking loosely or only of very recent events with his 'twice you have borne me'.

After all the previous bearing of gandalf was what 70 or 80 years previous?

As for THe Eagles as maia's

The Silm quote [taken from I believe a text more fully presented in HoMEXI] does strongly suggest a Maia origin.

But we never have a race of Maia settling in Middle-Earth and pre-creating generation after generation. Melian is the only exception to the a-procreative Maia/Valar rule, and her descendants were quickly absorbed into the general Atan/Quendi population, bereft of nearly all attributes of divinity except those belonging to [Dun]Edain anmd Eldarin nobility.

The HoM-EX quote provided by Nils definetly showed JRRT was having doubts, but as is virtually everything in the Myth's Transformed section of X, much is torn down, but little is offered in the way of a stable replacment structure. The Orcish Fea question is another such example.

Personally I find the idea of Huan as simple Narnia like talking dog to fail to do Huan justice. But that's just me...
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Old 07-18-2003, 01:39 AM   #25
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Quote:
Doubtful. The only races that Iluvatar created are his Children. (Aredhel)
Do not forget the Ainur. The Children are the only beings Eru created in Arda, but not the only ones he created at all.
Thanks for raising the Ent-like possibility, by the way.
Admittedly, the prospect of Eagles being created by Illivitar is somewhat unhopeful. Since their origins are so dark, however, it's a suggestion.

Quote:
Also, the ents were "awakened" by the first elves...(Iarwain)
Ents -- the 'Shepherds of the Trees' -- were created in Middle-Earth by Yavanna, not by the Elves. It was the Elves who 'enlightened' them though, I believe. However -- the Eagles, were they an Ent-like being, would presumably have been 'enlightened' (with language etcetera) by the Valar themselves.

Quote:
It was certainly the Lord of the Eagles who picked up Gandalf, but that it was either Gwaihir's sire or Gandalf was speaking loosely or only of very recent events with his 'twice you have borne me'.

After all the previous bearing of gandalf was what 70 or 80 years previous? (lindil)
The latter proposal is likely. Gwaihir had carried Gandalf twice in quick succession over the last year, and in the same project -- i.e. the War of the Ring; the first time eighty years ago, and in a different event, would easily have been overlooked.

Gandalf knew Gwaihir well. He knew the Hobbit Lord of the Eagles just as well. If Gwaihir was in fact the Hobbit Lord's son, Gandalf may well still know him, but it is doubtful whether he would have had the same friendly relationship with him as with his father.

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Personally I find the idea of Huan as simple Narnia like talking dog to fail to do Huan justice. But that's just me...
Not just you. =/ There are talking 'animals' in Arda, but they are not simply the Narnian variety. Huan is most definitely a Maia, but one who has taken on the form of, and thus the shackles of being, a dog. He was probably a dog-like Ainu in mind to begin with. After all, he came from Valinor.

If I may, I might just use this neat oppurtunity to say that Ungoliant, who has frequently been discussed as a Bombadil-like anomaly, was also a Maia. Rarely for decision on Tolkien issues, I am totally assured of this.

Hmmm, a lot of quotes in this isn't there? Anyway. I think we can conclude, at least, that the Eagles are not Dragon-like beings, which are seemingly created and then filled with a spirit of some descript (rather dimly known about I'm afraid) but an actual, individual race of creatures with a definite divine tinge to them.

[ July 18, 2003: Message edited by: Gwaihir the Windlord ]
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Old 07-18-2003, 04:43 AM   #26
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It seems that throughout all the works there are 'spirits' that dont seem to be Maia or valar, such as Ungoliant, Bombadil, dragons spirits, etc. I believe that the eagles, ents and huan, etc are of the same type.

And if this spirit group is not a group by itself, then I would think that they are a very low order of maia, perhaps the least powerful. But or course, that means Bombadil cannot be involved.

I will have to go with 'another order' of spirits.
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Old 07-18-2003, 08:52 AM   #27
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Worth it's own topic I would say it is...
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Old 07-21-2003, 06:49 AM   #28
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If i remember correctly, it states at the end of the hobbit that the Lord Of the Eagles was given a circlet of gold as a gift from the dwarves, does Gwaihir bear a circlet?

[ July 21, 2003: Message edited by: Osse ]
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Old 07-21-2003, 06:53 AM   #29
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In reply to an earlier post, i was under the impression that the eagles were created by Manwe as they were his vassals and messengers. The eagles of the time of the War of the Rings were the descendants of these beasts.
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Old 07-21-2003, 06:54 AM   #30
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As Yavanna (or was it Varda?) created the Ents so did Manwe create the eagles.
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