The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Corvus corax1
Ravens were known to live on Ravenhill, a spur of the Lonely Mountain, at least during part of the later Third Age
From Old English hræfn2


About this entry:

  • Updated 28 February 2007
  • Updates planned: 2


Large black birds, often associated with ill news. The ravens that lived near Erebor, though, were friendly with the Dwarves, and some could even speak the Common Tongue.



Strictly speaking, there are several different species of ravens found in different parts of the world. Those mentioned by Tolkien, though, are surely Common Ravens, Corvus corax, which are the only type found in northern Europe.


The name hræfn itself evolved from a long line of similar names stretching back into the mists of time. The sound of the word is thought to have originally imitated the raucous raven's call: a pleasing connection to Tolkien's notion that these birds were capable of speech.

See also...

Carc, Ravenhill, Roäc, Spy-birds

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