"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

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

Were-worms were creatures told of in the stories of Hobbits. Though possibly mythical, were-worms were thought to be terrible monsters that made their home in the Last Desert, located far to the 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 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 colossal 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 anywhere from 426 feet to 462 feet in length.[2]

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

Uruks facing a were-wyrm in The Desolation of Mordor

Were-worms, referred to as were-wyrms, appear as native to the plain of Lithlad in The Desolation of Mordor, an expansion to the game Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Their appearance is similar to that from The Hobbit films, though the creatures vary greatly in size.


Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.
  • It is not clear whether Were-worms were considered Úvanimor.
  • The worms that appeared in The Battle of the Five Armies resemble Carnictis from King Kong (2005); the worm-like creatures which devoured Lumpy, portrayed 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, facial structure of one of war trolls appeared in the extended edition of the third film strongly resembled that of Kong, and the Bats of Dol Guldur in the third film resembles giant bats of Skull Island.
  • 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 the early version of The Hobbit, Bilbo mentioned that he might head to the "Great Desert of Gobi" or the" Last Desert of East" and fight a worm of China there. Interestingly, the Gobi Desert is also known for the legend of Mongolian death 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 the Starcraft series.


Film depiction of a Were-worm
Angus McBride - Were worms.jpg
by Angus McBride

See also

Translations around the world

Foreign Language Translated name
Chinese (Hong Kong) 噬地獸
Czech Zeměžrouti
German Werwürmer
Norwegian Vârorm
Portuguese (Brazil) Homens-dragões (book)
Vermes-gigantes (film)
Russian Червеоборотни
Races of the Creatures of Arda
Free Folks:

Ainur | Dwarves | Elves | Ents | Great Eagles | Hobbits | Huorns | Men | Skin-changers (Beornings)

Servants of the Shadow:

Barrow-wights | Demons | Dragons (Fire-drakes) | Giants | Goblins | Ogres | Orcs | Spiders | Trolls | Úvanimor | Vampires | Wargs | Werewolves | Were-worms


  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
  3. http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Nydus_worm
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