Tolkien Gateway

Gulls

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"To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying,
The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying.
"
Legolas[1]
Excerpt from illustration by Ted Nasmith

Gulls or mews were birds found on all shores in Arda.

Contents

[edit] History

Gulls were common in all sea-bordering lands (perhaps especially abundant on the cape of Bar-in-Mŷl, the "Home of the Gulls", in the land of the Falas[2]), and for that, they were often attributed to Ossë.[3] The Teleri that dwelt in the Havens were very fond of them, and their mewing welcomed Tuor to their land.[4] They were also known in Númenor[5] and Gondor.[6]

Their association with the sea caused a great sense of longing for the journey to Valinor among Elves that were not familiar with their sound. One of those was Legolas.[6]

[edit] Other versions of the Legendarium

The House of the Wing wore swan or gull-like feathers on their helmets.[3] The Lindar were at one point considered the "Lords of the Gulls" among many other names.[7]

[edit] Etymology

In the Etymologies, one Noldorin and one Quenya word for "gull" appear, both from the same root: maew and maiwë.[8] A later recorded Sindarin word is mŷl,[2] which replaced gwael.[2]

In manuscripts related to the Etymologies Tolkien also experimented with the Noldorin form cuen, glossed as "small gull, petrel".[9]

[edit] Other fiction

In the story Roverandom, a seagull named Mew brings the dog Rover to the moon. On their way, Mew stops to visit other sea-birds, among them the "oldest and most important of all the Blackbacked Gulls".[10]

[edit] References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Four. Quendi and Eldar", pp. 379, 418 (note 8)
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Fall of Gondolin"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 215
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies" (Root MIW)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Addenda and Corrigenda to the Etymologies — Part One" (edited by Carl F. Hostetter and Patrick H. Wynne), in Vinyar Tengwar, Number 45, November 2003, p. 24
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Christina Scull, Wayne G. Hammond (eds.), Roverandom, "[Chapter] 2"