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Carcharoth, also known as the Red Maw, lived in the First Age of the Sun, and was the greatest werewolf that ever lived. He was of the line of Draugluin. His name is pronounced car-ca-roth.


Carcharoth, X C

Carcharoth, by Xavier Collette

Carcharoth was created as a defence against Huan, and was reared by Morgoth's own hands on living flesh and filled with great power. So Carcharoth, who was also named Anfauglir (IPA: /anˈfaʊglir/), the 'Jaws of Thirst', grew to great size and his strength seemed beyond compare. His eyes burned like red coals and his teeth were poisoned as the spears of the Orcish legions. Carcharoth was the guardian of the gate of Angband and none could pass him by strength of body alone.

He became involved with the Quest for the Silmaril when Beren and Lúthien had to pass him upon their entrance of Angband. He there espied them, and grew suspicious of Beren because he was disguised as Draugluin, who Carcharoth knew to be slain. Before he could take action against the pair, Lúthien enchanted him with her magic, sending him into a deep sleep. Unfortunately, on their way out Carcharoth awoke, and Lúthien was too weary to spell him again. Beren held out the captured Silmaril in an attempt to slay the beast, but Carcharoth was not daunted, and bit off Beren's hand at the wrist, Silmaril and all.

Hunting of Carcharoth Justin Gerard

"The Hunting of Carcharoth" by Justin Gerard

The Silmaril burnt away Carcharoth's insides, and he became crazed with pain, yet filled with great power. A terror to Elves, Men, and Orcs alike, he burst from Angband, slaying anything and everything in his path. He continued south through Beleriand, and eventually he arrived in Doriath. With the power of the Silmaril inside him, the Girdle of Melian had no effect on him, and his presence placed the entire kingdom in grave danger. To protect Doriath, Beren Erchamion, Elu Thingol, Beleg Cúthalion, and Mablung joined with Huan the Hound to track down and slay the Wolf.

Carcharoth full body

Depiction by Magdalena Katańska

Carcharoth was later killed in single combat by Huan, in FA 466, but he poisoned both Huan and Beren mortally with his teeth. When Mablung cut open the wolf's belly, he found there the Silmaril with Beren's hand still closed around it, but, when he touched the flesh, the hand was swept away by a wind, leaving only the great jewel.[2]


Carcharoth battling Huan

Other versions of the legendarium[]

Originally, Carcharoth's name was Karkaras, meaning the Knife-Fang. Karkaras was considered a father of wolves and initially bore a shape of a huge grey wolf.[3]

Another name for Carcharoth was Borosaith, meaning 'Ever-hungry', which was used mainly in song.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

The detail of Beren losing his hand to Carcharoth may have been inspired by the Norse legend of the god Týr, who lost his hand to the wolf Fenrir.


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ጫርችሃሮጥ
Arabic خارچهاروته
Armenian Կարկառոթ
Belarusian Cyrillic Кархарот
Bengali কার্ছারথ
Bosnian Karharot
Bulgarian Cyrillic Карчарот
Chinese (Hong Kong) 卡黑洛斯
Georgian კარხაროთი
Greek Κάρχαροθ
Gujarati કર્ચારોથ
Hebrew קארכארות
Hindi चर्छरोथ
Kannada ಕಾರ್ಕರಾಥ್
Kazakh Карцһаротһ (Cyrillic) Karcharth (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Карцhаротh ?
Laotian ຈະຣຈຮະຣໂຖ
Macedonian Cyrillic Каркарот
Marathi कर्कारोथ
Mongolian Cyrillic Карчотот
Nepalese चर्छरोथ
Pashto چارچهاروته
Persian چارچهاروته
Punjabi ਕਾਰਚਰੋਥ
Russian Кархарот
Sanskrit चर्छरोथ्
Serbian Карцхарот (Cyrillic) Karcharot (Latin)
Sinhalese චර්ඡරොථ්
Slovenian Karcharoth
Tajik Cyrillic Карчҳаротҳ
Tamil சர்ச்சைரோத்
Telugu కార్చరోత్
Thai คาร์คาร็อธ
Ukrainian Cyrillic Карчарот
Urdu کآرچاروت
Uzbek Карчаротҳ (Cyrillic) Karcharoth (Latin)
Yiddish קאַרטשאַראָטה


  1. Tolkien, J.R.R.. Beren and Lúthien (Kindle Location 763). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIX: "Of Beren and Lúthien"
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. II: The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, I: "The Tale of Tinúviel"
  4. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. IV: The Shaping of Middle-earth, III: "The Quenta"