The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Location
Found in Númenor and along the western coastlands of Middle-earth; especially associated with the Firth of Drengist, the Númenórean port of Rómenna and the Mouths of Anduin
Species
Numerous species of the family Laridae1
Culture
The Teleri or Sea-elves held gulls in particular esteem
Meaning
Deriving from an Old Celtic word for a sea-bird
Other names
Occasionally known as mews2

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 22 October 2019
  • Updates planned: 1

Gulls

A general name for various types of related sea-birds, found around the shores of Middle-earth and Númenor in the same abundance as today. The sound of a gull mewing was said to awaken the Sea-longing in the heart of an Elf.


Notes

1

There are numerous different kinds of gulls, but with the known regions of Middle-earth lying on the northeastern shores of the Great Sea, presumably the gulls found there would have been the same that are common in Europe today. Notable among these would be the common gull (Larus canus), the herring gull (Larus argentatus) and the black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), though many other kinds are also found in this wide area.

2

The word gull is a rare case where an original Anglo-Saxon word was displaced by one of Celtic origin; in Old English the name for birds of this kind was mæw. Indeed, gulls are still very occasionally referred to as 'mews', and Tolkien uses that old word in The Lord of the Rings (in the Lay of Nimrodel, there's a reference to 'mew upon the wing', in The Fellowship of the Ring II 6, Lothlórien). Over time the Anglo-Saxon word mæw was overtaken by a Celtic word related to Welsh gwylan, giving rise to modern English 'gull'.

See also...

Legolas Greenleaf

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 22 October 2019
  • Updates planned: 1

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 1999, 2001, 2019. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Discovery aptitude and skill testing.
Personality is one part of understanding a candidate's suitability, but aptitudes and skills are also key.
The Encyclopedia of Arda
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Menu
Homepage Search Latest Entries and Updates Random Entry