The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 3 April 2015
  • Updates planned: 1

West Wind

The cold wind out of the West

" the high regions the West Wind still blew, but down on the stones behind the fences of the Black Land the air seemed almost dead..."
The Return of the King VI 3
Mount Doom

Literally, the wind that blew onto Middle-earth across the expanse of the Great Sea, this was also conceived as the wind that came out of the Blessed Realm in the West. The West Wind therefore represented - at least poetically - the power of the Valar, and especially that of Manwë the Elder King, whose province was the airs of Arda. Hence the term 'West Wind' is often capitalised to indicate that it represents something more than simple weather (as in the quote above, where the West Wind of Manwë contrasts with the darkness and death of Sauron's land of Mordor).

At times in the history of the War of the Ring, the West Wind had more than a symbolic significance. The darkness that Sauron sent out to shroud the Battle of the Pelennor was blown away by a sudden wind out of the West, and after the destruction of both Sauron and Saruman, their spirits rose like shadowy clouds, only to be blown away by the wind.1 There is a strong implication here that the Valar had a subtle hand in these events.



After the fall of Saruman, his spirit was explicitly blown away by the West Wind. For Sauron we're only told that after his fall an immense darkness rose up, but that '...a great wind took it, and it was all blown away...' The great wind here is not specifically identified as the West Wind, but in context it appears to be continuing the same general motif.

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