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Uin was a great whale that served Ulmo, being entitled as the primeval whale or Gulma's great whale, with Gulma being an earlier name for Ulmo[1], or oldest of the Right Whales.


Originally, the Gnomish term uin ("wave", and later "whale"). Another Gnomish for whale is uimoth ("sheep or shepherd of waves").[1] Moth stands for "sheep" or "1,000", indicating its original meaning of "flock" (e.g. mothweg means "shepherd").

Obscure similarity of etymology between Uin and Uinen was noted[1], and she and her spouse had a cross with the whale for pulling the island.

In Tolkien's other works

The whale's physical features are rather unclear although according to the Roverandom, Uin was the oldest of the Right Whales (Eubalaena sp.).

Uin was the oldest and mightiest of all whales. Uin was also in charge to carry important figures.

It was unknown whether Uin was actually one of Ainur to have own shapes like the Great Eagles. Some speculate that Uin could have been one of ancient beings present on Arda in likeness with Tom Bombadil.

Uin was noted to be one of crossovers among Tolkien's works.[2]

The Book of Lost Tales Part One

! This content is considered pre-canon.
While the subject of this article or section is based on official information, it was replaced or emended in later versions of the legendarium.

In the early version of the legendarium, a host of whales centering Uin was left to carry the island of Tol Eressëa across the Sea of Belegaer to off the coast of Bay of Eldamar near Valinor, the Aman's capital.

Uin has a titanic strength as his tail lash was described to be 'unmeasured' (not clear whether or not this description counts that Ulmo set the might of Valar in the host of whales) to cause the sea to wrath along with Ulmo's trumpet. Ossë who was said to be faster and more powerful than Ulmo in terms of raw strength underwater, was left far behind the whales pulling the island with the might of Ulmo, and Ossë couldn't draw the island backward.

Thus the mair, after casting darkness and a storm to prevent the carrying, used tremendously old and enormous seaweeds that were as wide as a pillar of Ossë and Uinen's palace, and polyps as ropes to attach the island to the sea bottom. Uinen helped her partner regarding this.

Before Ulmo came back, Ossë additionally piled rocks and old boulders that were once scattered by Morgoth to make the island attached to the sea bottom, then put various corals, barnacles, and sponges to lock the island, and then summoned various shelled creatures of deep to strengthen the attachment.

Ulmo put the might of Valar as much as possible to aid the whales, but the island rapidly grew and was left far from Valinor.


Uin carries Rover

Rover described Uin to be 'in every way exceptional' including his capability to rest underwater for long periods. Uin is also capable of swimming across the world with ease.

Uin is considerate and kind to encourage Rover in nervous and to take two Rovers to trips across the world for a couple of times, and to report Rover's worries to Psamathos shortly after hearing them. He is also charming to wink to Rover.

Uin was skeptical about whether or not Artaxerxes would be able to lift curses on Rover. He was worried that he might "catch it" by taking the two dogs beyond the Enchanted Isles and told the dogs to keep it to themselves.

At the exile of Mr. and Mrs. Artaxerxes regarding the fail to deal with a sea serpent, Uin took the two and Roverandom to the shore. It was when Artaxerxes finally lifted the curses on Roverandom.

Non-canonical appearances

In the Middle-earth Role Playing, Uin is said to be a merfolk. Aamumeren Isa , a Maia takes a form of a humpback whale with twice the size of normal adult humpback whales, is also a merfolk. Especially cetaceans are direct realms of Ulmo, and dolphins are called Ulmodil ("friends of Ulmo").

Uin's etymology can be seen on several terms such as Uini meaning "whales", and Hûb-in-Uinin, the "Bay of Whales".


  • Narwhals and sea lions also dragged the cart of Ulmo.[3]
  • Interestingly, Valar means "whales" in Swedish.
  • The parcel of Tol Eressëa which was fallen off when Ossë tried to pull back the island westward and Ulmo joined the whales to counter, later became the Isle of Balar, the lands of Ireland on today[4].
  • Genus Eubalaena means "true  whale" or "good whale" and so on, corresponding with the species name "Right Whale" in some ways. Right whales were historically one of the closest of all whales in terms of relating to human histories. Understandably for New Zealand cultures, right whales, being regarded as "(one of) the most important or symbolic whale to New Zealand", can be seen as an important role in the creation myth of the nation, commonly known as the legend of "Whale Rider". Right whales' curious and playful natures sometimes allow humans and kayaks to ride on their back as well.
  • In 2020, one of remaining North Atlantic Right Whales was named Gandalf after the wizard.[5]


An illustration of a Bowhead whale described as of Uin's on the Merp Wikia.
Alan Lee - Uin.jpg
Alan Lee's potation of Uin as a Humpback whale without a dorsal fin, a work for Tales from the Perilous Realm
Tumblr nmx8ykh1NG1u9bvs1o1 540.jpg
Uin as a Humpback whale or different rorqual behind Ulmo by Gregthoth.
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Uin as a Sperm whale in the ocean city
Db roverandom1998-pb-31.jpg
Uin (top left) on top cover of Roverandom


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I
  2. Roverandom on Tolkien Gateway
  3. Narwhals on Tolkien Gateway. Retrieved on December 07 2014
  4. Drout.C.D.M.. 2006. J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. p.73. Retrieved on December 06 2014
  5. 15 North Atlantic Right Whales Named