|Titles||Queen of Gondor|
|Birth||Early Third Age |
Berúthiel was a Queen of Gondor in the early part of the Third Age. She was the wife of King Tarannon Falastur, and was noted as being "nefarious, solitary, and loveless". It is therefore of no surprise that she and Tarannon produced no heirs.
Berúthiel was a Black Númenórean, a race that was often at war with the Dúnedain of Gondor. Most of the Black Númenóreans lived to the south of Gondor in the Haven of Umbar and other colonies. Presumably, Berúthiel was born in one of these southern areas.
Due to the hostility between the two races, Falastur's reason for marrying her is unclear, but he brought her to live with him in his house by the Sea near Pelargir. She hated Pelargir (loathing the smell of the sea, and fish, and the gulls), however, and dwelt in the King's House in Osgiliath instead. There she decorated the courtyard with strange and disturbing sculptures but kept the inside of the house mostly bare. She herself wore dark, drab clothing and "hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornments".
Berúthiel loathed cats, but they became attracted to her for precisely that reason. They followed her around, and eventually she took advantage of their company by enslaving and torturing them. In total she had ten cats, nine black and one white. Berúthiel set the black cats to spy on the Men of Gondor and the white cat to spy on the black ones. She managed to learn many dark secrets about the realm and its people by conversing with them and "read[ing] their memories". These cats were infamous among the Gondorians, but they dared not touch them; however, Men would curse whenever they saw one pass by them.
Eventually, Tarannon exiled Berúthiel from Gondor due to her deeds and erased her name from the Book of the Kings. He sent her and her cats back to her southern homeland on a ship that "was last seen flying past Umbar with a cat at the masthead and another as a figurehead on the prow".
It is possible that Berúthiel made her way home and told the Black Númenóreans of her treatment by the Gondorians, for soon after Tarannon's death, they made war with Gondor and took over the Haven of Umbar.
Despite the erasure of her name from Gondor's records, Berúthiel and her cats were so notorious that they were held in the memory of Gondorians for centuries; Aragorn alluded to them more than 2,000 years after her death.
The name Berúthiel is Sindarin. It seems to mean "Angry Queen", incorporating ber(eth), 'queen, spouse'; rúth, which means 'anger'; and the feminine suffix -iel. Since the Black Númenóreans did not use the Elven tongues, this title was probably given to her by the Gondorians and is not her real name.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Daphne Castell, "The Realms of Tolkien" , Festival in the Shire Journal, Issue 1 (accessed 7 May 2012)
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", note 7
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
- ↑ Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8