"Tell me what you want done, and I will try it, if I have to walk from here to the East of East and fight the wild Were-worms in the Last Desert."
Bilbo Baggins, in The Hobbit
BOTFA Wereworm

A Were-Worm in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Angus McBride - Were worms

by Angus McBride

Were-worms were most likely imaginary or mythical creatures told of in the stories of hobbits. The were-worms were supposedly terrible monsters that made their home in the Last Desert very far east of the Shire. For a hobbit to declare himself prepared to fight were-worms was a sort of proverbial way of saying that he was ready to do anything.[1]

Portrayal in adaptations

Video games


Were-worms were monsters appearing in the 2003 The Hobbit game.

These large, fearsome worms live in underground dens. and are first seen after the Troll Hole boss fight. They look like caterpillars and when Bilbo kills one, another comes forward to take its place. They are blind and can be snuck up upon. They make a fearsome snarling noise that sounds similar to dogs.

The Hobbit film trilogy

In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Were-worms make a brief appearance before and during the Battle of the Five Armies.

The Were-worms appeared in Mount Gundabad when Legolas and Tauriel were spying behind a rock. Azog and Ragash were leading their army to walk through the tunnel which was dug by the worms. After Thorin and Thranduil hear a rumbling noise below the battlefield, several Were-worms suddenly burst through the ground near the hills surrounding Erebor, only to disappear again soon after. As they appear, Gandalf in horror identifies the creatures as Were-worms. Here, they dig tunnels for reinforcements of the Dol Guldur Orc army. In the film, they look somewhat like collossal rainworms with a rock-like skin and massive jaws, crushing everything in their path. Although their appearance is short, with a good 75 feet in diameter and a visible length of at least 400 feet, they are by far the largest participants in the film's main battle, and the largest creatures seen in the trilogy aside from Smaug, who was said to be measuring over 426 feet to 462 feet[2].

Translations around the World

Foreign Language Translated name
Portuguese (Brazil) Homens-dragões (book)
Vermes-gigantes (film)
Chinese (Hong Kong) 噬地獸
Norwegian Vârorm


  • It had never been clear that whether Were-worms were included in Úvanimor.
  • The worms appeared in the film strongly resemble Carnictis from King Kong (2005) that were the worm-like creatures devoured Lumpy acted by Andy Serkis. For Peter Jackson's self-homage to his King Kong, there were more scenes of similarity in the franchise; during the battle under the mountain, Thorin landing on Smaug's nostril vs Ann Darrow falling on the tip of Vastatosaurus Rex's jaws during the battle between Kong and the dinosaurs. Additionally, the Bats of Dol Guldur in the third film resembles giant bats of Skull Island, and one of the Guldur War Trolls that chased the Dwarf war-cart in the extended edition of the third The Hobbit film resembled King Kong in facial appearance and behavior.
  • In The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, Robert Foster suggests Were-worms may have been mis-remembered tales of dragons among Hobbits. Foster notes that "worm" is often used as another name for dragons and "Werewolves" refer to intelligent wolves capable of speech, traits which dragons share.
  • In a portrait featuring the Fall of Gondolin by John Howe, a gigantic creature resembling a centipede can be seen along with a fire-drake (possibly the Fire-drake of Gondolin) and Balrogs.
  • Wyrms appearing in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II might be based on Were-worms.
  • It should be noted that this name is somewhat inaccurate given the origin of the prefix "were" from the Old English word "wer" for "man" and the seeming lack of any connection between men and Were-worms.
  • The were-worm's share a resemblance to the Nydus worm's[3] of Starcraft
Races of the Creatures of Arda
Free Folks:

Ainur | Dwarves | Ents | Hobbits | Men | Elves | Great Eagles

Servants of the Shadow:

Dragons | Orcs | Wargs | Werewolves | Spiders | Trolls

See also


  1. The Hobbit, Chapter I: "An Unexpected Party"
  2. Ian Failes. 2014. Behind the scenes of Weta Digital’s Smaug. the fxguide. Retrieved on December 22. 2014


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