Tolkien Gateway


This article is about the insect. For the the Gnomish word for "sheep", see Sheep.
Luthien Tinuviel by Simona Brunilde Jero
"...thousands of dark-grey and black moths, some nearly as big as your hand"
The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"

Moths were nocturnal insects of a kind closely related to butterflies. Thorin and Company saw them fluttering about at nightfall when they were trying to find the route to Rivendell.[1] Curiously, they are also mentioned as dwelling in Mirkwood, where the moths were black or dark grey, and grew to a huge size.[2]

[edit] Other names

In Tolkien's early conceptions of Elvish languages, the words for "moth" are malo (pl. malwi) in Qenya,[3] and fufril in Gnomish.[4]

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In The Tale of Tinúviel, white moths flittered about the head of the dancing Tinúviel, as the evening fell. It is told that Tinúviel "being a fairy minded them not as many of the children of Men do, although she loved not beetles, and spiders will none of the Eldar touch because of Ungweliantë".[5]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

In Peter Jackson's movies, moths are somehow associated with the Eagles; while Gandalf is trapped on the summit of Orthanc, he catches a moth and whispers to it. Later, when confronted by Saruman, the moth reappears; an Eagle (supposedly Gwaihir) arrives and Gandalf escapes on its back.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Right before the Battle of the Morannon, Gandalf notices a moth flies near him. Then the Eagles appear and help the Free Peoples.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

As Thorin and Company are trapped in a falling tree by the band of Azog and their Wargs, Gandalf uses a moth to summon the Eagles to their aid.

[edit] External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "A Short Rest"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Flies and Spiders"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Qenyaqetsa: The Qenya Phonology and Lexicon", in Parma Eldalamberon XII (edited by Carl F. Hostetter, Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 58
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), p. 36
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel", pp. 10-11