The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Extant during the War of the Ring; almost certainly sailed into the West 29 September III 30211


About this entry:

  • Updated 15 September 2001
  • Updates planned: 10


The grey-silver steed of Gandalf

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A mighty horse of Rohan, the chief of the Mearas, tamed by Gandalf and reluctantly granted as a gift to him by King Théoden of the Rohirrim. Shadowfax is thought to have passed West over the Sea with his master.



Tolkien never states explicitly that Shadowfax sailed into the West. In his Letters, though, he gives such a wealth of clues and hints, we can state with near-certainty that the great horse sailed on the White Ship with his master Gandalf. (See The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien No 268, dated 1965).


Fax is an extinct word for 'hair' or 'coat', now only surviving in a few place- and family-names, like 'Fairfax'. In fact, Tolkien has anglicised the name 'Shadowfax' somewhat from its original form; in the Old English language representing the tongue of the Rohirrim who bred him, he would have been called Sceadufax or Scadufax.

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