Tolkien Gateway

Beorn

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(rewrote etymology (and referenced - moving some claims to talk page))
(Added Inspiration + Other versions (History of The Hobbit is a real treasure concerning Beorn - see index for Medwed, haven't had time read everything yet))
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[[Image:Nicholas Bayrachny - Beorn.jpg|thumb|''Beorn'' by [[Nicholas Bayrachny]]]]
 
[[Image:Nicholas Bayrachny - Beorn.jpg|thumb|''Beorn'' by [[Nicholas Bayrachny]]]]
'''Beorn''' was a [[skin-changer]], a man who could assume the appearance of a bear.  
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'''Beorn''' was a [[skin-changer]], a man who could assume the appearance of a [[bears|bear]].  
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
He lived with his tame horses in a wooden house between the [[Misty Mountains]] and [[Mirkwood]], to the east of the [[Anduin|Great River]] of [[Wilderland]]. His origins lay in the distant past, and [[Gandalf]] suspected he and his people had originally come from the mountains.
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He lived with his tame [[horses]] in a wooden house between the [[Misty Mountains]] and [[Mirkwood]], to the east of the [[Anduin|Great River]] of [[Wilderland]]. His origins lay in the distant past, and [[Gandalf]] suspected he and his people had originally come from the mountains.
  
 
Beorn named the [[Carrock]] and created the steps that led from its base to the flat top.
 
Beorn named the [[Carrock]] and created the steps that led from its base to the flat top.
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==Etymology==
 
==Etymology==
  
''[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/beorn Beorn]'' is an [[Old English]] word meaning "bear, warrior", cognate to [[North Germanic languages|Old Norse]] ''[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bj%C7%ABrn björn]'' ("bear").<ref>{{HM|AH}}, p. 164</ref> In the Scandinavian-speaking countries ''Björn''/''Bjørn'' is a personal name, attested since the 11th century.<ref>[http://www.historiska.se/misc/gemensam/Nomina/nomina/ Historiska Museet Nomina ] at [http://www.historiska.se/ Historiska Museet (The National Historical Museum of Sweden)] (accessed 2 January 2010)</ref>
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''[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/beorn Beorn]'' is an [[Old English]] word meaning "bear, warrior", cognate to [[North Germanic languages|Old Norse]] ''[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bj%C7%ABrn björn]'' ("bear").<ref name=AH164>{{HM|AH}}, pp. 164-5</ref> In the Scandinavian-speaking countries ''Björn''/''Bjørn'' is a personal name, attested since the 11th century.<ref>[http://www.historiska.se/misc/gemensam/Nomina/nomina/ Historiska Museet Nomina ] at [http://www.historiska.se/ Historiska Museet (The National Historical Museum of Sweden)] (accessed 2 January 2010)</ref>
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==Other versions of the Legendarium==
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In early manuscripts of ''[[The Hobbit]]'', the name of the character that would become Beorn is ''Medwed''. Medwed's shape-changing was due to an enchantment, perhaps of his own.<ref>{{HM|MB}}, "Chapter VII: Medwed", ''passim''</ref>
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==Inspiration==
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It has been suggested that the character Beorn was influenced by the Norse ''[[wikipedia:Hrólfs saga kraka|Saga of Hrólfr Kraki]]''.<ref name=RME73>[[Tom Shippey]], ''[[The Road to Middle-earth]]'' (second edition), pp. 73-4</ref> In the saga appears a great bear defending [[wikipedia:Hrólfr Kraki|Hrólfr Kraki]], and also a man cursed to being transformed into a bear during nighttime. The work was well-known to [[J.R.R. Tolkien]], as one of his students and friend, Stella Miller, made a translation of the saga dedicated to Tolkien, [[E.V. Gordon]] and C.T. Onions);<ref name=AH164/> but even more importantly as Tolkien himself wrote an unpublished short story of the tale, entitled ''[[Sellic Spell]]''.<ref>{{HM|MB}}, pp. 256-60</ref>
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Another suggested inspiration is the character of [[Beowulf]], "''whose name is commonly explained as Beowulf = 'bees' wolf' = honey-eater = bear, and one who breaks swords, rips off arms and crack ribs with ursine power and clumsiness.''"<ref name=RME73/>
  
 
== See Also ==
 
== See Also ==

Revision as of 23:27, 2 January 2011

"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
This article or section needs expansion and/or modification. Please help the wiki by expanding it.

Beorn was a skin-changer, a man who could assume the appearance of a bear.

Contents

History

He lived with his tame horses in a wooden house between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, to the east of the Great River of Wilderland. His origins lay in the distant past, and Gandalf suspected he and his people had originally come from the mountains.

Beorn named the Carrock and created the steps that led from its base to the flat top.

During the Quest of Erebor, Beorn received Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and the thirteen Dwarves and gave the Dwarves and Bilbo help in their quest. In the Battle of Five Armies, Beorn rescued Thorin Oakenshield from the Goblins and killed their leader Bolg.

By the time of the War of the Ring, Beorn had become a leader of Men which included other skin-changers, and woodmen. His people were known as the Beornings, and they helped defend Thranduil's kingdom of northern Mirkwood. He died some time before the War of the Ring itself began, and was succeeded by his son Grimbeorn the Old.

Etymology

Beorn is an Old English word meaning "bear, warrior", cognate to Old Norse björn ("bear").[1] In the Scandinavian-speaking countries Björn/Bjørn is a personal name, attested since the 11th century.[2]

Other versions of the Legendarium

In early manuscripts of The Hobbit, the name of the character that would become Beorn is Medwed. Medwed's shape-changing was due to an enchantment, perhaps of his own.[3]

Inspiration

It has been suggested that the character Beorn was influenced by the Norse Saga of Hrólfr Kraki.[4] In the saga appears a great bear defending Hrólfr Kraki, and also a man cursed to being transformed into a bear during nighttime. The work was well-known to J.R.R. Tolkien, as one of his students and friend, Stella Miller, made a translation of the saga dedicated to Tolkien, E.V. Gordon and C.T. Onions);[1] but even more importantly as Tolkien himself wrote an unpublished short story of the tale, entitled Sellic Spell.[5]

Another suggested inspiration is the character of Beowulf, "whose name is commonly explained as Beowulf = 'bees' wolf' = honey-eater = bear, and one who breaks swords, rips off arms and crack ribs with ursine power and clumsiness."[4]

See Also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Douglas A. Anderson, (ed.), (2002) The Annotated Hobbit: Revised and Expanded Edition, pp. 164-5
  2. Historiska Museet Nomina at Historiska Museet (The National Historical Museum of Sweden) (accessed 2 January 2010)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, "Chapter VII: Medwed", passim
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tom Shippey, The Road to Middle-earth (second edition), pp. 73-4
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, John D. Rateliff (ed.), The History of The Hobbit, Mr. Baggins, pp. 256-60