Tolkien Gateway


"Not all the birds are to be trusted."
Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark"
Crebain by Daniel Govar

Crebain were large birds of the crow-kind, native to Dunland and Fangorn Forest.


[edit] History

The Fellowship of the Ring encountered various flocks of crebain on their arrival in Hollin. Fearing that they were used as spies by Saruman, the Fellowship spent the entire day in hiding, without a campfire.[1]

[edit] Etymology

Crebain is the Sindarin plural of craban. The word was derived from Mannish tongues.[2]

The plural form was known from the Lord of the Rings while the singular form was published in 2007; even before the publication of this singular, craban was the generally assumed form by students of Sindarin, although the forms croban or creban were possible as well.[3]

[edit] Inspiration

The similarity between craban and Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz[4] and its derivatives has been noted by several writers.[5][6][7]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

A flock of Crebain "from Dunland" appears when the Fellowship is in Hollin. Though Gimli at first dismisses it as a cloud, Boromir notices them going too fast, and against the wind. The Fellowship hide as the birds swoop by.[8] The crebain are revealed to have indeed been spies when they report to Saruman at Isengard later.[9]

[edit] See also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 37
  3. David Salo, "Message 5032", Elfling (June 1, 2001)
  4. Raven at the Online Etymology Dictionary
  5. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, page 75
  6. Ruth S. Noel, The Languages of Tolkien's Middle-earth, page 128
  7. Robert Ireland, "The Lord of the Rings: A-C", A Tolkien Dictionary
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Ring Goes South"
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Fighting Uruk-hai"