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Of Beren and Lúthien

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'''Of Beren and Lúthien''' is the nineteenth chapter of the ''[[Quenta Silmarillion]]'' section within ''[[The Silmarillion]]''. It tells of the love between the Elf-maiden [[Lúthien]] and the mortal [[Beren]], and their [[Quest for the Silmaril]]. [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] considered the tale to be the kernel of his [[legendarium]] <ref>Carpenter & Tolkien 1981, ''Letters #165''</ref>.  
 
'''Of Beren and Lúthien''' is the nineteenth chapter of the ''[[Quenta Silmarillion]]'' section within ''[[The Silmarillion]]''. It tells of the love between the Elf-maiden [[Lúthien]] and the mortal [[Beren]], and their [[Quest for the Silmaril]]. [[J.R.R. Tolkien]] considered the tale to be the kernel of his [[legendarium]] <ref>Carpenter & Tolkien 1981, ''Letters #165''</ref>.  
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Of all the tales of sadness from the [[First Age]], there are yet some of joy, and of these, the tale of [[Beren]] and [[Lúthien]] is the most delightful to the [[Eldar]].  
 
Of all the tales of sadness from the [[First Age]], there are yet some of joy, and of these, the tale of [[Beren]] and [[Lúthien]] is the most delightful to the [[Eldar]].  
  
Following the [[Dagor Bragollach]], [[Barahir]] and his companions continued to defend their land, [[Dorthonion]], even following its ruin. It was to [[Tarn Aeluin]], a wide lake in the east of that country, that they made their abode, and Morgoth could not discover it.  
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Following the [[Dagor Bragollach]], [[Barahir]] and his companions continued to defend their land, [[Dorthonion]]. It was to [[Tarn Aeluin]], a lake in the east of that country, that they made their abode. Morgoth could not discover it, and he ordered [[Sauron]] to eliminate them. Through Sauron's treachery, Gorlim was deceived into revealing the retreat of Barahir, and the company was slain by Sauron’s [[Orcs]]. All perished, except [[Beren]], son of Barahir, who was abroad on a perilous errand at the time. Coming to Beren in a dream, a wraith of Gorlim told him all and urged him to return in haste, but alas he came too late and found his kin slain. He buried his father, and slew the band of orcs responsible. From them, he reclaimed the [[Ring of Barahir|Ring of Felagund]].
  
Now rumour of the deeds of Barahir’s outlaws reached Morgoth, and he ordered [[Sauron]] to eliminate them. One of their company was [[Gorlim]], whose wife was named Eilinel, and their love was great before she went missing during the Dagor Bracholach. Sauron used this to deceive Gorlim into treachery, and so it was that the retreat of Barahir was revealed, and the company was slain by Sauron’s [[Orcs]]. All perished, except [[Beren]], son of Barahir, who was abroad on a perilous errand at the time. Coming to Beren in a dream, a wraith of Gorlim told him all and urged him to return in haste, but alas he came too late and found his kin slain. He buried his father, and slew the band of orcs responsible. From them, he reclaimed the [[Ring of Barahir|Ring of Felagund]].
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Thus Beren roamed Dorthonion, slaughtering many servants of Morgoth and became friend to birds and beasts. And Morgoth set upon his head a bounty, and Sauron’s armies hounded him to such an extent that he was forced to flee Dorthonion. It was put into his heart that he would go to Doriath, where no mortal had yet been before. Journeying through the horrors and terrors of Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb he came at length, by paths untrodden, to Doriath.  
 
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Thus Beren roamed Dorthonion, slaughtering many servants of Morgoth and became friend to birds and beasts. And Morgoth set upon his head a bounty, and Sauron’s armies were sent after him. He was hounded to such an extent that he was forced to flee Dorthonion, and it was put into his heart that he would go to Doriath, where no mortal had yet been before. Journeying through the horrors and terrors of Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb he came at length, by paths that no [[Men|Man]] or [[Elves|Elf]] else ever dared to tread, to Doriath.  
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[[File:Ted Nasmith - Lúthien.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.4|''Lúthien'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
 
[[File:Ted Nasmith - Lúthien.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.4|''Lúthien'' by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
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Staggering into the woods of [[Neldoreth]], he chanced upon [[Lúthien]], the daughter of [[Thingol]] and [[Melian]], dancing in a clearing beside [[Esgalduin]]. He became utterly enchanted by her, and his agony departed him, for Lúthien was the most beautiful of all of the [[Children of Ilúvatar]]. He called out to her, naming her [[Luthien|Tinúviel]] and as she looked on him, doom fell upon her, and she loved him. There, long ago in the woods of Doriath, she laid her hands in his, and their brief joy thereafter was the greatest that has ever been, amongst any of the Children of Ilúvatar.  
 
Staggering into the woods of [[Neldoreth]], he chanced upon [[Lúthien]], the daughter of [[Thingol]] and [[Melian]], dancing in a clearing beside [[Esgalduin]]. He became utterly enchanted by her, and his agony departed him, for Lúthien was the most beautiful of all of the [[Children of Ilúvatar]]. He called out to her, naming her [[Luthien|Tinúviel]] and as she looked on him, doom fell upon her, and she loved him. There, long ago in the woods of Doriath, she laid her hands in his, and their brief joy thereafter was the greatest that has ever been, amongst any of the Children of Ilúvatar.  
  
However, [[Daeron]] the minstrel loved Lúthien also, and betrayed their meetings to Thingol, who was wrathful. For Lúthien he set above all things, while of mortal Men he took little heed. And so Beren was brought before the throne of Thingol, who looked on him with contempt, and demanded to know his business in Doriath. Melian was silent. Finding resolve, Beren answered that his fate led him to what he sought not — Lúthien. Silence fell upon the halls of [[Menegroth]], and many thought Beren would be slain. Indeed desiring his death, Thingol set upon him the nigh hopeless task of bringing to him a [[Silmaril]] from the crown of Morgoth. Only then would he allow Beren to receive Lúthien as his bride. Thus began in earnest, the [[Quest of the Silmaril]].
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However, [[Daeron]] the minstrel loved Lúthien also, and betrayed them to Thingol, who was wrathful. For Lúthien he set above all things, while of mortal Men he took little heed. And so Thingol demanded to know Beren's business in Doriath. Finding resolve, Beren answered that his fate led him to what he sought not — Lúthien. At this, many thought Beren would be slain. Indeed desiring his death, Thingol set upon him the nigh hopeless task of bringing to him a [[Silmaril]] from the crown of Morgoth. Only then would he allow Beren to receive Lúthien as his bride. Thus began in earnest, the [[Quest of the Silmaril]].
  
Turning towards [[Nargothrond]], Beren sought out the counsel of [[Finrod Felagund]]. Recalling his vow to the kin of Barahir, Finrod declared to his people that it was his duty to aid the son of Barahir in need. But so potent were the words of [[Celegorm]] and [[Curufin]], who were residing in Nargothrond for a time, that many of the King’s people turned away from him. Only ten joined their quest.  
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Turning towards [[Nargothrond]], Beren sought out the counsel of [[Finrod Felagund]], who, recalling his vow to the kin of Barahir, gathered together a band of his most loyal men, and departed Nargothrond, setting out for Angband on an evening of Autumn. Felagund used his craft to disguise the group as a pack of [[orcs]], and so they hoped to pass by [[Tol-in-Gaurhoth]] unnoticed. But Sauron was suspicious of them, and duelled in song with Felagund. But alas the victory belonged to Sauron, and he stripped their disguises from them, and they were made to languish in a deep pit. One-by-one, Sauron sent werewolves to devour the companions in the hope of obtaining their purpose, but all were faithful to their lord. At last, only Beren and Felagund remained. When the wolf came for Beren, Felagund slew it with his bare hands. In doing so though, he was mortally wounded. Bidding Beren a final farewell, he died in the darkness of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the tower he himself had built long ago. Thus ended the fairest and most beloved of the [[Noldor]], Finrod Felagund.
  
The company set out for Angband on an evening of Autumn. Felagund used his craft to disguise the group as a pack of [[orcs]], and so they hoped to pass by [[Tol-in-Gaurhoth]] unnoticed. But Sauron was suspicious of them, and had them brought to him. And so commenced the renowned contest of song between Sauron and Felagund, but alas the victory belonged to Sauron, and he stripped their disguises from them, and they were made to languish in a deep pit. One-by-one, Sauron sent werewolves to devour the companions in the hope of obtaining their purpose, but all were faithful to their lord. At last, only Beren and Felagund remained. When the wolf came for Beren, Felagund put forth his power and slew it with his bare hands. In doing so though, he was mortally wounded. Bidding Beren a final farewell, he died in the darkness of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the tower he himself had built long ago. Thus ended the fairest and most beloved of the [[Noldor]], Finrod Felagund.
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In the hour of Beren’s capture, a heaviness fell upon the heart of Lúthien and she left Doriath in pursuit of Beren. Encountering [[Celegorm]] and [[Curufin]], and [[Huan]], the Hound of the [[Valar]], she was glad, but through treachery, the two brothers took her as prisoner in Nargothrond. With the help of Huan, who had grown to love her and for the first time spoke, giving her counsel, she escaped. With speed, the two came to Tol-in-Gaurhoth at the hour of the death of Felagund, and Sauron smiled. For he knew a great reward would await him for the capture of Lúthien, daughter of the [[Maia]] Melian. So he sent wolves, and amongst them [[Draugluin]], father of [[werewolves]], to capture her, but Huan slew them all. Then Sauron came himself—taking the form of a mighty wolf—and fought with Huan, but not even he could defeat the Hound of the Valar. Thus he was forced to yield Tol-in-Gaurhoth to Lúthien, and he fled. Then Lúthien removed the ill shadow from that Isle, and freed many who had been enslaved there. Then she came to Beren. Together, they buried the body of Felagund and left that place. And Huan returned to his master, Celegorm.
  
In the hour of Beren’s capture, a heaviness fell upon the heart of Lúthien and she left Doriath in pursuit of Beren. On the journey, she encountered Celegorm and Curufin, and [[Huan]], the Hound of the [[Valar]], and she was glad. But through treachery, the two brothers took her as prisoner in Nargothrond. There she remained only briefly, for Huan had grown to love her and for the first time, he spoke, giving her counsel, and helped her to escape. With speed, the two came to Tol-in-Gaurhoth at the very hour of the death of Felagund, and Sauron smiled. For he knew a great reward would await him for the capture of Lúthien, daughter of the [[Maia]] Melian. So he sent wolves, and amongst them [[Draugluin]], father of [[werewolves]], to capture her, but Huan slew them all. Then Sauron came himself—taking the form of a mighty wolf—and fought with Huan, but not even he could defeat the Hound of the Valar. Thus he was forced to yield Tol-in-Gaurhoth to Lúthien, and he fled. Then Lúthien removed the ill shadow from that Isle, and freed thralls. Then she came to Beren. Together, they buried the body of Felagund and left that place, renewing their joy. And Huan returned to his master, Celegorm.
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By chance, the two brothers Celegorm and Curufin came upon Beren and Lúthien near to the [[Forest of Brethil]], and sought to take Lúthien by force and kill Beren, but in that hour, Huan forsook the service of Celegorm and came to Beren’s aid, and Beren throttled Curufin. But Lúthien forbade the slaying of Curufin, so Beren, after taking his horse and knife [[Angrist]] from him, bade him return, impoverished, to his kin. Curufin, being humiliated, took the bow of Celegorm and fired at Lúthien. And Beren, who had sprung to protect Lúthien, was hit. Huan pursued the brothers who fled, and upon returning, he brought a herb to Lúthien who, by her craft, healed Beren. Then eventually, they returned to Doriath.
 
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Now many Elves returned to Nargothrond from their bondage, and told of the demise of Felagund. Then the hearts of the people were turned against Celegorm and Curufin, who were banished from that land. And perchance, the two came upon Beren and Lúthien near to the [[Forest of Brethil]], and sought to take Lúthien by force and kill Beren, but in that hour, Huan forsook the service of Celegorm and came to Beren’s aid, and Beren throttled Curufin. But Lúthien forbade the slaying of Curufin, so Beren, after taking his horse and knife [[Angrist]] from him, bade him return, impoverished, to his kin. Curufin, being humiliated, took the bow of Celegorm and fired two arrows at Lúthien. One Huan caught, but the other hit Beren, who had sprung to protect Lúthien. Huan pursued the brothers who fled, and upon returning, he brought a herb to Lúthien who, by her craft, healed Beren. Then eventually, they returned to Doriath.
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[[File:Ted Nasmith - Transformed.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.5|''Transformed by Ted Nasmith'']]
 
[[File:Ted Nasmith - Transformed.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.5|''Transformed by Ted Nasmith'']]
  
There, Beren, split between his love and his oath, left Lúthien in the care of Huan and departed for Angband while she slept on the grass. Arriving at the borders of Anfauglith, Beren lamented in the belief that this would be his final peril and sung the farewell Song Of Parting. But unsought for, Lúthien appeared upon Huan, and came to him once more. Beren tried to dissuade her from the Quest, but Huan spoke for the second time, counselling Beren that he could no longer save Lúthien from her fate. Then, taking the guise of Draugluin and the bat-like messenger-of-Sauron [[Thuringwethil]], Beren and Lúthien passed through perils untold until they arrived, weary and weather-worn, at the Gates of [[Angband]].
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There, Beren left Lúthien in the care of Huan and departed for Angband. Arriving at the borders of Anfauglith, Beren lamented in the belief that this would be his final peril and sung the farewell Song Of Parting. But unsought for, Lúthien appeared upon Huan, and came to him once more. Huan spoke for the second time then, counselling Beren that he could no longer save Lúthien from her fate. Taking the guise of Draugluin and the bat-like messenger-of-Sauron [[Thuringwethil]], Beren and Lúthien passed through perils untold until they arrived, weary and weather-worn, at the Gates of [[Angband]].
 
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To their dismay, guarding the entrance to Angband was a creature of dread, of whom no news had previously reached the Noldor: the great wolf [[Carcharoth]]. He espied them from afar, and was suspicious, for news of the demise of Draugluin had reached Angband. Denying them entry, he approached them with menace. Their peril was great, but by some power of Lúthien, she commanded Carcharoth to slumber. And into unconsciousness he fell.
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Then Beren and Lúthien crossed the threshold of Angband, descended through the subterranean chambers, and together wrought the greatest deed that has ever been dared in the history of Arda, by Elves or by Men. For they arrived in the throne-room of Morgoth — a court filled with horror and fire and torment. [[Balrogs]] patrolled, and there were many weapons. Lúthien’s disguise was robbed of her by the will of Morgoth, and, standing before his gaze, she began to sing for him, and he strayed into vile thought. Suddenly, she slipped from his sight and sung a song of such outstanding power and beauty, that a drowsiness came upon him. Then Lúthien cast her cloak before his eyes, putting him into a dream, and he slammed into the ground. There lay the most powerful of the Valar, slumped unconscious on the floor of his hellish halls.
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All his court slumbered. Lúthien then went to Beren and roused him. Removing his wolf-hame, with Angrist he cut a Silmaril from the crown of iron confining it, and it suffered his touch. It occurred to him then to bring out of Angband not one, but all three Silmarils. But such was not his fate, for Angrist snapped, and a fragment smote the cheek of Morgoth. He groaned. All the legions of Angband stirred in their sleep.
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Then fear and terror unknown fell upon Beren and Lúthien, for they realised their imminent peril, and they fled. But alas, at the surface, they found Carcharoth conscious and wrathful, and he charged at them. Beren then held the Silmaril high, and Carcharoth hesitated and was afraid. But his spirit flew into a rage, and he bit off the right hand of Beren, consuming the Silmaril. It seared his innards, and he fled south, howling in a fit of madness.
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To their dismay, guarding the entrance to Angband was a creature of whom no news had previously reached the Noldor: the great wolf [[Carcharoth]]. He was suspicious of them, for news of the demise of Draugluin had reached Angband, and he approached them with menace. But by some power of Lúthien, she commanded Carcharoth to slumber. And into unconsciousness he fell. Then Beren and Lúthien crossed the threshold of Angband, descended through the subterranean chambers, and together wrought the greatest deed that has ever been dared in the history of Arda, by Elves or by Men. For they arrived in the throne-room of Morgoth — a court filled with horrors, where [[Balrogs]] patrolled. Lúthien’s disguise was robbed of her by the will of Morgoth, and, standing before his gaze, she began to sing for him a song of such outstanding power and beauty, that he was put into a dream, and he slammed into the ground, unconscious. All his court slumbered. Lúthien roused Beren, who removed his wolf-hame, and cut, with Angrist, a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth, and it suffered his touch. It occurred to him then to bring out of Angband not one, but all three Silmarils. But such was not his fate, for Angrist snapped, and a fragment smote the cheek of Morgoth. He groaned. All the legions of Angband stirred in their sleep.
  
Now the fangs of Carcharoth were laced with venom, and death approached Beren. But Lúthien drew the venom from his wound and tended to him, even while the hosts of Angband were rising in fury behind her. And so the [[Quest of the Silmaril]] would have ended in despair, but unlooked for, [[Thorondor]] came with his [[Eagles]] to the aid of Beren and Lúthien, even while droves issued forth from the Gates of Angband, and bore the two away from the reach of Morgoth.  
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Then fear and terror unknown fell upon Beren and Lúthien, for they realised their imminent peril, and they fled. But alas, at the surface, they found Carcharoth conscious and wrathful. Beren then held the Silmaril high, and Carcharoth hesitated and was afraid. But his spirit flew into a rage, and he bit off the right hand of Beren, consuming the Silmaril. It seared his innards, and he fled south, howling in a fit of madness.  
  
 
[[File:Ted Nasmith - Beren and Lúthien are Flown to Safety.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.5|"Beren and Lúthien are Flown to Safety" by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
 
[[File:Ted Nasmith - Beren and Lúthien are Flown to Safety.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.5|"Beren and Lúthien are Flown to Safety" by [[Ted Nasmith]]]]
  
Over the ruins of Dorthonion they flew, and above the hidden city of [[Gondolin]], shining like a jewel in the sun. Lúthien saw it, and yet she wept, for she feared the death of Beren. The Eagles left them at the borders of Doriath, in the same glade where Beren had left Lúthien and departed on the Quest. Huan came to Lúthien and again, and the two of them tended to him. There he lay, in dreams of anguish, until, as Lúthien’s last hopes were fading, he awoke. And it was spring.  
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Now the fangs of Carcharoth were laced with venom, and death approached Beren. And so the [[Quest of the Silmaril]] would have ended in despair, but unlooked for, [[Thorondor]] came with his [[Eagles]] to the aid of Beren and Lúthien, even while droves issued forth from the Gates of Angband, and bore the two away from the reach of Morgoth. Over the ruins of Dorthonion they flew, and above the hidden city of [[Gondolin]], shining like a jewel in the sun. Lúthien saw it, and yet she wept, for she feared the death of Beren. The Eagles left them at the borders of Doriath, in the same glade where Beren had left Lúthien and departed on the Quest. Huan came to Lúthien and again, and the two of them tended to him. There he lay, in dreams of anguish, until, as Lúthien’s last hopes were fading, he awoke. And it was spring.  
  
Thereafter, he was given the name [[Erchamion]], “the one-handed”. The two then tarried for a time in those woods, for it was pleasant to them, but Beren would not forget his Oath to Thingol. So after a time they returned to Doriath, which had fallen into grief at the loss of Lúthien from the land. News of their coming spread far across the country, and they arrived in Menegroth with a large following. Then Beren led Lúthien before the throne of Thingol, who looked upon Beren in wonder, and yet blamed him for the woes that had befallen Doriath. Asked by the King of his Quest and Oath, Beren stated “It is fulfilled. Even now, a Silmaril is in my hand”, and Beren raised his right arm, and Thingol’s mood was softened.  
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Thereafter, he was given the name [[Erchamion]], “the one-handed”. The two then tarried for a time in those woods, for it was pleasant to them, but Beren would not forget his Oath to Thingol. So after a time they returned to Doriath, which had fallen into grief at the loss of Lúthien from the land. News of their coming spread far across the country, and they arrived in Menegroth with a large following. Then Beren led Lúthien before the throne of Thingol, and stated “It is fulfilled. Even now, a Silmaril is in my hand”, and Thingol’s mood was softened.  
  
Sitting before the King, Beren and Lúthien told the tale of their Quest, to the astonishment of all. It seemed to Thingol then that the Man before him was among the great in Arda, and Lúthien’s love was a thing strange to him. It came to his mind then that no power of Elves or Men, or Maiar or Valar, or any other power in Arda, might interfere with their fate. Thus at last he relented, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father.
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Beren and Lúthien told the tale of their Quest, to the astonishment of all. It seemed to Thingol then that the Man before him was among the great in Arda, and Lúthien’s love was a thing strange to him. It came to his mind then that no power of Elves or Men, or Maiar or Valar, or any other power in Arda, might interfere with their fate. Thus at last he relented, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father.
  
And for a time, there may have been some semblance of peace and joy in Doriath, but out of the north came the beast Carcharoth. So a hunting party was assembled, consisting of Huan, the Hound of the Valar, [[Mablung]] of the Heavy Hand, [[Beleg Strongbow]], Beren Erchamion, and Thingol, the King of Doriath. And as they rode forth, a shadow fell upon Lúthien, and to her it seemed that the world had been drained of all colour, and beauty, and life. The party came upon Carcharoth near the northern waterfalls of Esgalduin. The wolf leapt for the throat of Thingol, but Beren came between them, spear in-hand. Carcharoth brushed it aside and tore the flesh of his chest with a fell bite. Huan leapt upon Carcharoth, and so began one of the great battles between beasts that has ever been. But Thingol paid no heed, for he knelt beside the gravely injured Beren. In that hour, Huan slew Carcharoth, but he himself was mortally wounded, and laying beside Beren, he spoke for the third and final time, bidding Beren farewell. Beren laid his hand on the hound, and so it was that they parted. Mablung ripped open the wolf and, taking the Silmaril, placed it in Beren’s living hand, who asked Thingol to receive it. “Now the Quest is achieved, and my doom full wrought”, he said. And he spoke no more. They bore Beren back to Menegroth, and Lúthien met them. She kissed him and bade him await her beyond the [[Western Sea]]. Opening his eyes, he looked upon her one last time before he died. So ended the Quest of the Silmaril. But the tale of Beren and Lúthien did not end there.  
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And for a time, there may have been some semblance of peace and joy in Doriath, but out of the north came the beast Carcharoth. So a hunting party was assembled, consisting of Huan, the Hound of the Valar, [[Mablung]] of the Heavy Hand, [[Beleg Strongbow]], Beren Erchamion, and Thingol, the King of Doriath. And as they rode forth, a shadow fell upon Lúthien, and to her it seemed that the world had been drained of all colour, and beauty, and life. The party came upon Carcharoth near the northern waterfalls of Esgalduin. The wolf leapt for the throat of Thingol, but Beren came between them, suffering a mortal would at the hands of Carcharoth. In that hour, Huan slew Carcharoth, and laying beside Beren, he spoke for the third and final time, bidding Beren farewell, and so they parted. Mablung ripped open the wolf and, taking the Silmaril, placed it in Beren’s living hand, who asked Thingol to receive it. “Now the Quest is achieved, and my doom full wrought”, he said. And he spoke no more. They bore Beren back to Menegroth, and Lúthien met them. She bade him await her beyond the [[Western Sea]]. Opening his eyes, he looked upon her one last time before he died. So ended the Quest of the Silmaril. But the tale of Beren and Lúthien did not end there.  
  
For the spirit of Beren lingered in the [[Halls of Mandos]], awaiting Lúthien upon the dim shores of the [[Outer Sea]], where they could say their final farewell. For it is from there that the spirits of Men depart the world, never to return. Such is the [[Gift of Ilúvatar]]. A darkness came upon Lúthien, and her spirit fled her body, and found its way to the Halls of Mandos. And a shadow fell upon Thingol. Knelling before Mandos, she sang to him a song so beautiful and yet full of sorrow. For her sorrows were great. And as her tears fell, and as she sang her song, Mandos was moved to pity. Therefore Beren was summoned, and so it was that the two met again, as Lúthien had spoken, in the [[Undying Lands]]. But it was not within the power of Mandos to alter the fates of the Children of Ilúvatar, and so he called on [[Manwë]], who sought guidance from Ilúvatar.  
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For the spirit of Beren lingered in the [[Halls of Mandos]], awaiting Lúthien upon the dim shores of the [[Outer Sea]], where they could say their final farewell. For it is from there that the spirits of Men depart the world, never to return. Such is the [[Gift of Ilúvatar]]. The spirit of Lúthien fled her body, and found its way to the Halls of Mandos. Knelling before [[Mandos|the Vala]], she sang to him a song so beautiful and yet full of sorrow that Mandos was moved to pity. But it was not within the power of Mandos to alter the fates of the Children of Ilúvatar, and so he called on [[Manwë]], who sought guidance from Ilúvatar.  
  
Lúthien was given two choices. On account of her extraordinary labours and grief in life, she was permitted to remain in [[Valinor]], forgetting all pain and torment she had known. But there Beren, being mortal, could not follow. The second choice was that she might return with Beren to dwell in Middle-Earth, as a mortal, with no guarantee of joy in life. There she would be subject to a second death, and of her, in Arda, would remain nothing more than memory and song. This second option she chose, forsaking [[Aman]] for a mortal life with Beren. And so it came to pass that long ago, Lúthien Tinúviel and Beren Erchamion at last left the confines of the world. Together.
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Lúthien was given two choices. On account of her extraordinary labours and grief in life, she was permitted to remain in [[Valinor]], forgetting all pain and torment she had known. But there Beren, being mortal, could not follow. The second choice was that she might return with Beren to dwell in Middle-Earth, as a mortal, with no guarantee of joy in life. There she would be subject to a second death, and of her, in Arda, would remain nothing more than memory and song. This second option she chose, forsaking [[Aman]] for a mortal life with Beren. And so it came to pass that long ago, Lúthien Tinúviel and Beren Erchamion at last left the confines of the world, together.
  
  

Revision as of 11:28, 4 December 2021

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The Silmarillion chapters
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. Valaquenta
  3. Quenta Silmarillion
    1. Of the Beginning of Days
    2. Of Aulë and Yavanna
    3. Of the Coming of the Elves
    4. Of Thingol and Melian
    5. Of Eldamar
    6. Of Fëanor
    7. Of the Silmarils
    8. Of the Darkening of Valinor
    9. Of the Flight of the Noldor
    10. Of the Sindar
    11. Of the Sun and Moon
    12. Of Men
    13. Of the Return of the Noldor
    14. Of Beleriand and its Realms
    15. Of the Noldor in Beleriand
    16. Of Maeglin
    17. Of the Coming of Men
    18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand
    19. Of Beren and Lúthien
    20. Of the Fifth Battle
    21. Of Túrin Turambar
    22. Of the Ruin of Doriath
    23. Of the Fall of Gondolin
    24. Of the Voyage of Eärendil
  4. Akallabêth
  5. Of the Rings of Power

Of Beren and Lúthien is the nineteenth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion section within The Silmarillion. It tells of the love between the Elf-maiden Lúthien and the mortal Beren, and their Quest for the Silmaril. J.R.R. Tolkien considered the tale to be the kernel of his legendarium [1].

Synopsis

At Tarn Aeluin by Ted Nasmith

Of all the tales of sadness from the First Age, there are yet some of joy, and of these, the tale of Beren and Lúthien is the most delightful to the Eldar.

Following the Dagor Bragollach, Barahir and his companions continued to defend their land, Dorthonion. It was to Tarn Aeluin, a lake in the east of that country, that they made their abode. Morgoth could not discover it, and he ordered Sauron to eliminate them. Through Sauron's treachery, Gorlim was deceived into revealing the retreat of Barahir, and the company was slain by Sauron’s Orcs. All perished, except Beren, son of Barahir, who was abroad on a perilous errand at the time. Coming to Beren in a dream, a wraith of Gorlim told him all and urged him to return in haste, but alas he came too late and found his kin slain. He buried his father, and slew the band of orcs responsible. From them, he reclaimed the Ring of Felagund.

Thus Beren roamed Dorthonion, slaughtering many servants of Morgoth and became friend to birds and beasts. And Morgoth set upon his head a bounty, and Sauron’s armies hounded him to such an extent that he was forced to flee Dorthonion. It was put into his heart that he would go to Doriath, where no mortal had yet been before. Journeying through the horrors and terrors of Ered Gorgoroth and Nan Dungortheb he came at length, by paths untrodden, to Doriath.

Lúthien by Ted Nasmith

Staggering into the woods of Neldoreth, he chanced upon Lúthien, the daughter of Thingol and Melian, dancing in a clearing beside Esgalduin. He became utterly enchanted by her, and his agony departed him, for Lúthien was the most beautiful of all of the Children of Ilúvatar. He called out to her, naming her Tinúviel and as she looked on him, doom fell upon her, and she loved him. There, long ago in the woods of Doriath, she laid her hands in his, and their brief joy thereafter was the greatest that has ever been, amongst any of the Children of Ilúvatar.

However, Daeron the minstrel loved Lúthien also, and betrayed them to Thingol, who was wrathful. For Lúthien he set above all things, while of mortal Men he took little heed. And so Thingol demanded to know Beren's business in Doriath. Finding resolve, Beren answered that his fate led him to what he sought not — Lúthien. At this, many thought Beren would be slain. Indeed desiring his death, Thingol set upon him the nigh hopeless task of bringing to him a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth. Only then would he allow Beren to receive Lúthien as his bride. Thus began in earnest, the Quest of the Silmaril.

Turning towards Nargothrond, Beren sought out the counsel of Finrod Felagund, who, recalling his vow to the kin of Barahir, gathered together a band of his most loyal men, and departed Nargothrond, setting out for Angband on an evening of Autumn. Felagund used his craft to disguise the group as a pack of orcs, and so they hoped to pass by Tol-in-Gaurhoth unnoticed. But Sauron was suspicious of them, and duelled in song with Felagund. But alas the victory belonged to Sauron, and he stripped their disguises from them, and they were made to languish in a deep pit. One-by-one, Sauron sent werewolves to devour the companions in the hope of obtaining their purpose, but all were faithful to their lord. At last, only Beren and Felagund remained. When the wolf came for Beren, Felagund slew it with his bare hands. In doing so though, he was mortally wounded. Bidding Beren a final farewell, he died in the darkness of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the tower he himself had built long ago. Thus ended the fairest and most beloved of the Noldor, Finrod Felagund.

In the hour of Beren’s capture, a heaviness fell upon the heart of Lúthien and she left Doriath in pursuit of Beren. Encountering Celegorm and Curufin, and Huan, the Hound of the Valar, she was glad, but through treachery, the two brothers took her as prisoner in Nargothrond. With the help of Huan, who had grown to love her and for the first time spoke, giving her counsel, she escaped. With speed, the two came to Tol-in-Gaurhoth at the hour of the death of Felagund, and Sauron smiled. For he knew a great reward would await him for the capture of Lúthien, daughter of the Maia Melian. So he sent wolves, and amongst them Draugluin, father of werewolves, to capture her, but Huan slew them all. Then Sauron came himself—taking the form of a mighty wolf—and fought with Huan, but not even he could defeat the Hound of the Valar. Thus he was forced to yield Tol-in-Gaurhoth to Lúthien, and he fled. Then Lúthien removed the ill shadow from that Isle, and freed many who had been enslaved there. Then she came to Beren. Together, they buried the body of Felagund and left that place. And Huan returned to his master, Celegorm.

By chance, the two brothers Celegorm and Curufin came upon Beren and Lúthien near to the Forest of Brethil, and sought to take Lúthien by force and kill Beren, but in that hour, Huan forsook the service of Celegorm and came to Beren’s aid, and Beren throttled Curufin. But Lúthien forbade the slaying of Curufin, so Beren, after taking his horse and knife Angrist from him, bade him return, impoverished, to his kin. Curufin, being humiliated, took the bow of Celegorm and fired at Lúthien. And Beren, who had sprung to protect Lúthien, was hit. Huan pursued the brothers who fled, and upon returning, he brought a herb to Lúthien who, by her craft, healed Beren. Then eventually, they returned to Doriath.

Transformed by Ted Nasmith

There, Beren left Lúthien in the care of Huan and departed for Angband. Arriving at the borders of Anfauglith, Beren lamented in the belief that this would be his final peril and sung the farewell Song Of Parting. But unsought for, Lúthien appeared upon Huan, and came to him once more. Huan spoke for the second time then, counselling Beren that he could no longer save Lúthien from her fate. Taking the guise of Draugluin and the bat-like messenger-of-Sauron Thuringwethil, Beren and Lúthien passed through perils untold until they arrived, weary and weather-worn, at the Gates of Angband.

To their dismay, guarding the entrance to Angband was a creature of whom no news had previously reached the Noldor: the great wolf Carcharoth. He was suspicious of them, for news of the demise of Draugluin had reached Angband, and he approached them with menace. But by some power of Lúthien, she commanded Carcharoth to slumber. And into unconsciousness he fell. Then Beren and Lúthien crossed the threshold of Angband, descended through the subterranean chambers, and together wrought the greatest deed that has ever been dared in the history of Arda, by Elves or by Men. For they arrived in the throne-room of Morgoth — a court filled with horrors, where Balrogs patrolled. Lúthien’s disguise was robbed of her by the will of Morgoth, and, standing before his gaze, she began to sing for him a song of such outstanding power and beauty, that he was put into a dream, and he slammed into the ground, unconscious. All his court slumbered. Lúthien roused Beren, who removed his wolf-hame, and cut, with Angrist, a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth, and it suffered his touch. It occurred to him then to bring out of Angband not one, but all three Silmarils. But such was not his fate, for Angrist snapped, and a fragment smote the cheek of Morgoth. He groaned. All the legions of Angband stirred in their sleep.

Then fear and terror unknown fell upon Beren and Lúthien, for they realised their imminent peril, and they fled. But alas, at the surface, they found Carcharoth conscious and wrathful. Beren then held the Silmaril high, and Carcharoth hesitated and was afraid. But his spirit flew into a rage, and he bit off the right hand of Beren, consuming the Silmaril. It seared his innards, and he fled south, howling in a fit of madness.

"Beren and Lúthien are Flown to Safety" by Ted Nasmith

Now the fangs of Carcharoth were laced with venom, and death approached Beren. And so the Quest of the Silmaril would have ended in despair, but unlooked for, Thorondor came with his Eagles to the aid of Beren and Lúthien, even while droves issued forth from the Gates of Angband, and bore the two away from the reach of Morgoth. Over the ruins of Dorthonion they flew, and above the hidden city of Gondolin, shining like a jewel in the sun. Lúthien saw it, and yet she wept, for she feared the death of Beren. The Eagles left them at the borders of Doriath, in the same glade where Beren had left Lúthien and departed on the Quest. Huan came to Lúthien and again, and the two of them tended to him. There he lay, in dreams of anguish, until, as Lúthien’s last hopes were fading, he awoke. And it was spring.

Thereafter, he was given the name Erchamion, “the one-handed”. The two then tarried for a time in those woods, for it was pleasant to them, but Beren would not forget his Oath to Thingol. So after a time they returned to Doriath, which had fallen into grief at the loss of Lúthien from the land. News of their coming spread far across the country, and they arrived in Menegroth with a large following. Then Beren led Lúthien before the throne of Thingol, and stated “It is fulfilled. Even now, a Silmaril is in my hand”, and Thingol’s mood was softened.

Beren and Lúthien told the tale of their Quest, to the astonishment of all. It seemed to Thingol then that the Man before him was among the great in Arda, and Lúthien’s love was a thing strange to him. It came to his mind then that no power of Elves or Men, or Maiar or Valar, or any other power in Arda, might interfere with their fate. Thus at last he relented, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father.

And for a time, there may have been some semblance of peace and joy in Doriath, but out of the north came the beast Carcharoth. So a hunting party was assembled, consisting of Huan, the Hound of the Valar, Mablung of the Heavy Hand, Beleg Strongbow, Beren Erchamion, and Thingol, the King of Doriath. And as they rode forth, a shadow fell upon Lúthien, and to her it seemed that the world had been drained of all colour, and beauty, and life. The party came upon Carcharoth near the northern waterfalls of Esgalduin. The wolf leapt for the throat of Thingol, but Beren came between them, suffering a mortal would at the hands of Carcharoth. In that hour, Huan slew Carcharoth, and laying beside Beren, he spoke for the third and final time, bidding Beren farewell, and so they parted. Mablung ripped open the wolf and, taking the Silmaril, placed it in Beren’s living hand, who asked Thingol to receive it. “Now the Quest is achieved, and my doom full wrought”, he said. And he spoke no more. They bore Beren back to Menegroth, and Lúthien met them. She bade him await her beyond the Western Sea. Opening his eyes, he looked upon her one last time before he died. So ended the Quest of the Silmaril. But the tale of Beren and Lúthien did not end there.

For the spirit of Beren lingered in the Halls of Mandos, awaiting Lúthien upon the dim shores of the Outer Sea, where they could say their final farewell. For it is from there that the spirits of Men depart the world, never to return. Such is the Gift of Ilúvatar. The spirit of Lúthien fled her body, and found its way to the Halls of Mandos. Knelling before the Vala, she sang to him a song so beautiful and yet full of sorrow that Mandos was moved to pity. But it was not within the power of Mandos to alter the fates of the Children of Ilúvatar, and so he called on Manwë, who sought guidance from Ilúvatar.

Lúthien was given two choices. On account of her extraordinary labours and grief in life, she was permitted to remain in Valinor, forgetting all pain and torment she had known. But there Beren, being mortal, could not follow. The second choice was that she might return with Beren to dwell in Middle-Earth, as a mortal, with no guarantee of joy in life. There she would be subject to a second death, and of her, in Arda, would remain nothing more than memory and song. This second option she chose, forsaking Aman for a mortal life with Beren. And so it came to pass that long ago, Lúthien Tinúviel and Beren Erchamion at last left the confines of the world, together.


External links

References

  1. Carpenter & Tolkien 1981, Letters #165