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Dates
Creatures of ancient descent, first recorded on 23 February III 3019, the last1 of the hell-hawks were destroyed on 25 March III 3019
Origins
Captured and raised by Sauron2
Settlements
Associated with the strongholds of Sauron and the Nazgûl, particularly Barad-dûr, Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur
Other names

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  • Updated 6 April 2015
  • This entry is complete

Hell-hawks

The mounts of the Winged Nazgûl

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The name used by Beregond of Gondor for the huge and hideous winged beasts that bore the Nazgûl through the air. These were featherless creatures with bat-like wings, bred by Sauron to reach an immense size. The heads of these monsters are not described in detail, but it is hinted that they were at least somewhat bird-like, which would explain Beregond's choice of the name 'hell-hawks' for these flying beasts.


Notes

1

At the time of the destruction of the One Ring, eight Winged Nazgûl remained (the Witch-king and his mount having been slain in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields). Rushing to Mount Doom, the Nazgûl were caught in its eruption and destroyed, and this is the last we hear of the hell-hawks they rode. It seems possible that there were other such creatures held in reserve (we have an instance of a Nazgûl losing his mount and finding a replacement) but we're told that they belonged to a 'last untimely brood' (The Return of the King V 6, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields), so the fall of the Nazgûl appears to have also marked the extinction of the hell-hawks.

2

We're told of the brood of the hell-hawks that the Dark Lord took them from their mountain eyrie and nursed them to adulthood. This is probably not meant absolutely literally (it's hard to imagine Sauron pursuing mountaineering and animal husbandry himself). More likely, we're intended to infer that Sauron used his servants - perhaps even the Nazgûl themselves - to fulfil these duties.

See also...

Hell

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