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The name Túrin refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Túrin (disambiguation).
This article is about the tragic hero of the First Age. For the King of Gondor, see Turambar (King of Gondor).
Túrin Turambar
Elena Kukanova - The Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin.jpg
"The Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin" by Elena Kukanova
Biographical Information
Other namesWoodwose, Neithan, Gorthol, Agarwaen, Mormegil (S)
(See below)
TitlesPrince of Dor-lómin
Lord of Dor-Cúarthol
Captain of the Gaurwaith
LocationDor-lómin, Doriath, Talath Dirnen, Brethil
AffiliationMarchwardens, Gaurwaith
LanguageSindarin, some Mannish dialect
BirthF.A. 464
Dor-lómin, Hithlum
DeathF.A. 499 (aged 35)
Cabed-en-Aras (suicide)
Notable fordestruction of Nargothrond;
slaying of Glaurung
HouseHouse of Hador
ParentageHúrin & Morwen
SiblingsLalaith & Nienor
ChildrenOne, unborn at Nienor's death
Physical Description
Hair colorDark[2]
Eye colorGrey[1] or blue[3]
ClothingDragon-helm of Dor-lómin, elven mail, grey tunic and cloak[4]
GalleryImages of Túrin Turambar
"He was dark-haired as his mother, and promised to be like her in mood also; for he was not merry, and spoke little, though he learned to speak early and ever seemed older than his years. Túrin was slow to forget injustice or mockery; but the fire of his father was also in him, and he could be sudden and fierce. Yet he was quick to pity, and the hurts or sadness of living things might move him to tears."
The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin"

Túrin Turambar was a tragic hero of the First Age whose life was dominated by the curse of the Enemy. His deeds became the tale called Narn i Chîn Húrin ("The Tale of the Children of Húrin").


[edit] History

The Childhood of Túrin by Alan Lee

[edit] Dor Lómin

Túrin was the only son of Húrin Thalion and Morwen Eledhwen. He had a younger sister Urwen whom everyone called Lalaith, but she died in childhood of a plague, the first grievous event in Túrin's life caused by Morgoth's curse. After Húrin was captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad ("Battle of Unnumbered Tears"), Túrin remained with his mother Morwen, who hid him from the Easterlings that Morgoth had sent to Hithlum, fearing they would kill Túrin or enslave him. Húrin's capture and failure to return home was the curse's second grief.

Túrin was friends with Sador, their household servant whom he helped in his works. Sador taught him many things, and carved for him several things from wood.[5]

[edit] Doriath

When Túrin was nine years old Morwen sent him to Doriath, away from his beloved mother and best friend, causing his heart to break for the third time since the curse was cast on him. She sent with him Gethron and Grithnir, long time servants in Húrin's house. Shortly after their departure from Dor-Lómin, Túrin's second sister, Nienor was born. The road there was long and difficult, and the three travellers came close to dying of hunger and cold in the very outlying woods of their destination, but they were rescued by Beleg. In Doriath he was adopted by King Thingol as a son, being that his father Húrin was held in high honor in those lands. Thingol and Melian sent messengers inviting Túrin's mother to come live in Doriath, which she declined much to Túrin's grief.[6]

Túrin begs leave of Thingol and Melian by Anke Eißmann

In Doriath Túrin learned many things, such as hunting, woodcraft, archery, swordfighting and speaking Sindarin. As he grew older, however, he became restless. He began inquiring about the Men of the North, as Thingol and Morwen frequently exchanged news for Túrin's sake. Through these messages he learned about his sister Nienor, although he never saw her. As Morgoth's hold on the North increased and news from Hithlum grew scarce, Túrin sought to travel there to join the fight against the Dark Lord and find out about his kin. He asked the King's permission to join Beleg Cúthalion in the northern marches of Doriath, fighting the Orcs of Morgoth. He wore the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, which was sent by his mother and brought to him by Thingol's messengers, and the Orcs began to fear him more than any other.[7]

Túrin accidentally caused the death of Saeros, one of Thingol's counsellors who had provoked and attacked him. Before he could be either punished or forgiven he fled[7], eventually meeting up with a band of outlaws, the Gaurwaith that dwelt south of the Forest of Brethil. There he identified himself only as Neithan ("The Wronged"). Túrin killed their leader Forweg and became their leader in his place. During his rule he stopped the outlaws from raiding houses of Men, and only hunted Orcs.[4]

[edit] Dor-Cúarthol

In the meantime Beleg Cúthalion obtained leave by Thingol to seek out his friend.[8] Beleg found Túrin's outlaws at their camp and when he could not persuade his friend to leave the outlaws, he left to return to Doriath.[4] While they were parted, and after such a long time living in the wild, Túrin's band captured Mîm the Petty-dwarf. Mîm was forced to share his halls on Amon Rûdh with them.[9]

Strongbow and Dragonhelm by Elena Kukanova

At Doriath, Beleg asked to be able to join his friend. Thingol allowed this and also gave him the black sword Anglachel, and Melian gave him lembas. Beleg returned to Túrin that winter, healing those of the band that had become sick with cold. Beleg brought with him the Dragon-helm, and the area around Amon Rûdh became known as Dor-Cúarthol, the "Land of Bow and Helm" (since Beleg was known as a mighty bowman). There Túrin took the name Gorthol, "The Dread Helm". Many warriors joined them, and much of West Beleriand was freed from evil for a while.

Eventually Túrin was betrayed by Mîm, and he was captured and all his men slain.[10] Beleg survived and rescued Túrin from the Orcs in Taur-nu-Fuin with the help of Gwindor, an escaped slave of Morgoth, but Túrin accidentally killed Beleg with Beleg's sword Anglachel. Gwindor led Túrin, dazed, to the Pools of Ivrin, where he came back to his senses.[11]

[edit] Nargothrond

Gwindor then led Túrin to Nargothrond, where once he had lived. In Nargothrond Túrin hid his name, calling himself Agarwaen, son of Úmarth ("Bloodstained, son of Ill-fate"). He had Anglachel reforged and named it Gurthang ("Iron of Death"). Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, fell in love with him, but he avoided her because she had previously been the beloved of his friend Gwindor. Túrin declined to tell her his name, so that she called him Thurin ("The Secret"). He was also called Adanedhel ("Man-Elf") because he was so like an Elf, though he was a Man.[12]

His identity did not remain hidden for long. Gwindor revealed to Finduilas that 'Agarwaen' was in fact Túrin, and 'Úmarth' his famous father Húrin. When news of this reached Finduilas' father, King Orodreth, Túrin was given great honour and standing, but the revelation of Túrin's identity would also bring home Morgoth's curse.

Sack of Nargothrond by Donato Giancola

Túrin became a chief counsellor of the weak Orodreth, and was extremely influential in Nargothrond. He encouraged the Elves of Nargothrond to abandon their practice of secrecy, and they built a great bridge before the gates. Because of his prowess with Gurthang, he himself became known as Mormegil ("Black Sword"). Morgoth sent the Dragon Glaurung to Nargothrond. Túrin was caught by the powerful gaze of Glaurung, and stood by idly as Finduilas was dragged away, calling to him, a captive for Morgoth. Glaurung deceived him into believing Morwen and Nienor were suffering in Dor-lómin, and Túrin abandoned Finduilas to seek out his kin. In actuality Morwen and Nienor were safely in Doriath, as Túrin's own efforts had made the way passable.

Once in Dor-lómin, Túrin found his old home empty. He went to the halls of the Easterling lord Brodda, who had taken Húrin's kinswoman Aerin as a wife and had taken Húrin's lands and possessions. From Aerin, Túrin learned that Morwen had left, and in his rage he killed Brodda, thereby also sealing Aerin's fate. As Túrin left again, Aerin burnt herself alive in her halls, and the remainder of the House of Hador now was persecuted even more cruelly.

Túrin next tried to find Finduilas, but by the time he picked up the Orc's trail he came too late: the woodsmen of Brethil informed him she had been killed as they had tried to rescue the prisoners of Nargothrond. Túrin collapsed on the mound she was buried in, and was brought to Brethil.

[edit] Brethil

In Brethil, Túrin again took up his life, now calling himself Turambar ("Master of Fate") in an act of bravado, deciding that his curse was now finally over. One day he found a naked young woman on Haudh-en-Elleth, and calling her Níniel he later took her as his wife.

Túrin's happiness ended when Glaurung came near Brethil. Túrin with two others set out to kill the dragon, but he was the only one to reach the drake. With his black sword he killed Glaurung at Cabed-en-Aras, but was hurt and fell in a swoon. As Níniel came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words revealed to her she was Túrin's sister. Horrified, Nienor Níniel killed herself.

Dragon's Curse by John Howe

When Túrin awoke he was told by Brandir, lord of the Haladin of Brethil what had happened, and he killed Brandir, refusing to believe. When he learned from Mablung of Doriath who had come to seek him that Brandir had told the truth, he killed himself on Gurthang, his black sword.

Túrin was buried near Finduilas' grave, and on his tombstone the Haladin wrote in the Cirth of Doriath:

(Túrin, Conqueror of Fate, Slayer of Glaurung)

Beneath that they also wrote:


though her body could not be found.

[edit] Legacy

Morwen and Húrin later met at this site for the last time, and Morwen was also buried there. The mound survived the War of Wrath, as Tol Morwen was the westernmost isle off the coast of Lindon in the Second and Third Ages.[13]

According to a prophecy attributed to the Vala Mandos, it is said that at the end of time Morgoth would wage a Final Battle against the Valar, and that Túrin Turambar would deliver the death blow, exterminating evil forever.[14] A Wise-woman among the Edain called Andreth mentions Túrin in an imprecise context, in which he will return from the Dead before he left the Circles of the World for ever, challenging the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.[15]

Túrin was a first cousin of Tuor, father of Eärendil. There are many parallels between the circumstances of their lives (both lost their fathers in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, were raised in part by Elves, spent time as outlaws and as prisoners, and were war-leaders in the greatest Noldorin fortresses), but the outcome of Tuor's life was quite different. (Even Túrin's coloring was dark, enhancing his resemblance to the Noldorin Elves but further setting him apart from his fair-haired cousin.) The two never actually met, but Tuor did once see his cousin in passing (not an everyday occurrence in the wilds of Beleriand).

Whether the tragedies in Túrin's life were the result of Morgoth's curse or of his own arrogance, or some combination of the two, is a subject of some debate among scholars. Túrin is one of the few heroes of the Elder Days to have committed suicide and several of the others (such as Aerin, Húrin and Nienor) are connected with his story.

[edit] Etymology

See: Túrin (disambiguation) and Turambar (disambiguation)

It's possible that during Túrin's lifetime (First Age), the name was pronounced as Túrind before simplified in the following centuries. The Quenya form of his name is Turindo.[16]

[edit] Other names

Túrin took and was given many names through his life, listed here in chronological order:

  • Woodwose or Wildman of the Woods, first given by Saeros as an insult, Túrin used it when questioned about his identity by the woodsmen he had rescued.[17]
  • Neithan, (S. "The Wronged"), taken by Túrin when he joined the outlaws.[18]
  • Gorthol, (S. "The Dread Helm"), taken by Túrin when he claimed lordship of Dor-Cúarthol in reference to the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin.[19]
  • Agarwaen, son of Úmarth, (S. "Bloodstained, son of Ill-fate"), the names Túrin gave himself and his father while in Nargothrond in an attempt to hide his identity as a child of Húrin.[20]
  • Adanedhel, (S. "Elf-Man"), given to him by the Elves of Nargothrond, who recognized the nobility he had acquired while in Doriath.[21]
  • Thurin, (S. "The Secret"), given to him by Finduilas, who doubted that his true name was Agarwaen.[22]
  • Mormegil, (S. "Black Sword"), acquired by Túrin while he dwelt in Nargothrond, in reference to his black sword, Gurthang.[23]
  • Turambar, (Q. "Master of Doom"), taken by Túrin when he lived among the Men of Brethil, signifying his perceived freedom from the curse of Morgoth.[24]
  • Dagnir Glaurunga, (S. "Glaurung's Bane"), given after he killed Glaurung and carved with Runes of Doriath on the Stone of the Hapless.[25]

[edit] Genealogy

Hador Lórindol
Galdor of Dor-lómin
Morwen Eledhwen
Húrin Thalion

[edit] Inspiration

Unpublished drafts of the story, later edited by Christopher Tolkien and published in Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth series, tell the story in greater detail. These have been carefully edited together with other drafts to form The Children of Húrin, released in 2007.

The supposed resemblance of Túrin to figures from medieval tales can be confirmed by part of a letter Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman concerning the publication of his works:

There is the Children of Húrin, the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar and his sister Níniel — of which Túrin is the hero: a figure that might be said (by people who like that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo.
Letter 131
Again one may detect certain literary influences: the hero's [Túrin's] fight with a great dragon [Glaurung] inevitably suggests comparison with the deeds of Sigurd and Beowulf, while his unknowing incest with his sister and his subsequent suicide were derived quite consciously from the story of Kullervo in the Kalevala.
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Part III, Chapter 1: "Lost Tales"

Túrin shares several common traits with all of the characters below, like coming closer to their fate when attempting to evade it. Another significant trait is their gifted but hot tempered nature and strong will paired with their reluctance to heed wise counsels that would save them from their fate.

[edit] Oedipus

Oedipus was a prince of Thebes, but his parents heard a prophecy that he would cause their demise. To evade it, they order a shepherd to kill him. However the shepherd spares the baby and gives him to a childless family. Oedipus grew ignorant of his heritage; he then heard a prophecy according to which he will kill his father and marry his mother. He left in self-exile to take himself away from his (foster) parents.

However this brought himself closer to Thebes and his actual parents. On his way, he kills a man who unknown to him, is his actual father, the King of Thebes, fulfilling therefore part of the prophecy. Then he enters the city and after defeating the Sphinx, the people name him to replace the lost King of Thebes; furthermore, Oedipus marries the King's widow, who is in fact his mother.

Years later, while investigating the death of the former King, he realizes all the truths in his life: the King was the very man he had killed, and furthermore, he and his Queen were his parents. Oedipus blinds himself and leaves in self-exile with his two daughters/half-sisters while his mother/wife strangles herself.

[edit] Kullervo

See also: Túrin Turambar and Kullervo

In the Kalevala, Kullervo's tribe is killed by his uncle, and himself is separated by his family, something that fills him with hate and desire for revenge. As a slave, he uses magic to kill his masters and returns to his tribe; afterwards he seduces a girl, who commits suicide after discovering she is his lost sister.

Then he repeats his vows: he refuses to hear any words of reconsideration and gets a broadsword which he uses to slay the enemy tribe. On his return, he sees all his family dead. He asks the magic sword to slay him, which replies, and then he falls on it.

[edit] Sigurd

Sigurd's mother marries a King and Sigurd himself is fostered by a Dwarf. The Dwarf tells him about the hoard of the dragon Fafnir (who is his brother) and remakes a broken heirloom sword for him. Sigurd slays Fafnir by waiting for him in a pit, stabbing him with the sword as he passes over it. The gold he wins, however, is cursed.

[edit] Balin

Sir Balin was a knight of the King Arthur's court in Le Morte d'Arthur who possessed a magic sword. By this he was unknowingly cursed to slay his own brother. Through a well-meaning act of his, he is further cursed to make the most dolorous strike ever made by man, save only the piercing of Christ's side. Later, while in King Pellam's castle, he kills Pellam's brother and maims Pellam, ruining the castle and making all the surrounding lands into a wasteland, much as Túrin slayed Brodda in his own house and how his pride brought about the destruction of Nargothrond. Eventually, he kills his brother Balan, but is mortally wounded in doing so, and outlives him by only a few hours. They were then both laid in one grave.

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin among the Outlaws"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin", p. 41
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Departure of Túrin"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Doriath"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Doriath", p. 96
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Of Mîm the Dwarf"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Land of Bow and Helm"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Beleg"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 333
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XII. The Problem of Ros", p. 374, note 17
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", entry "TUR"
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil", p. 194
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin among the Outlaws", p. 101
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Land of Bow and Helm", p. 146
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond", p. 159
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond", pp. 163-164
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond", p. 165
  23. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond", p. 160
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil", p. 196
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Túrin", p. 257
Túrin · Forweg · Algund · Andróg · Andvír · Orleg · Ulrad · Beleg