|Beren, son of Barahir|
|Other names||Erchamion ("One-hand"), Camlost ("Empty-handed")|
|Birth||c. F.A. 443, in Dorthonion |
|Death||c. F.A. 505, in the Hunting of the Wolf |
(For other characters see Beren (disambiguation))
Beren (First Age circa 443 – c. 505, aged approx. 62 years at the time of his final death) was a Man of Middle-earth, a hero whose romance with the Elf Lúthien was one of the great stories of the Elder Days.
Beren was the son of Barahir and Emeldir. He was a Man of the royal House of Bëor of Dorthonion, and arguably the most accomplished hero and adventurer of the First Age. The Dagor Bragollach ("Battle of Sudden Flame") befell during his youth, bringing about the ruin of his land. The young Beren lived with his father and ten loyal followers in the highlands of Dorthonion, and the twelve of them performed many acts of bravery, to the great frustration of Morgoth, the Dark Lord of Angband. After the betrayal and death of the Outlaws of Dorthonion due to the treachery of Gorlim the Unhappy, Beren swore an oath to revenge his father on Morgoth, "but wept not, for his heart was ice"*. He recovered the Ring of Barahir from the Orcs, and lived on as an outlaw, whose feats of daring were renown throughout the free world. Eventually was forced to abandon the land of his birth and the grave of his father by Sauron and Draugluin. He crossed into Doriath, where he saw and fell in love with Lúthien, princess of the Sindar and daughter of Thingol and Melian.
Thingol refused to give Lúthien's hand in marriage. He charged Beren that he would allow the marriage to take place only if he brought back a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. The task was intended to be impossible, but Beren and Lúthien, with the aid of Finrod of Nargothrond and Huan the Great Hound (both of whom died protecting Beren), braved many perils (even besting Sauron, Morgoth's most powerful lieutenant) to fulfill the Quest for the Silmaril. At the last they entered Angband and stole a Silmaril. However, as they escaped from Angband, the great wolf Carcharoth, whom Morgoth had personally bred, awoke. Beren held out the Silmaril, hoping that its radiance would avert the beast, but he was mistaken. Carcharoth bit off his hand swallowed it and the Silmaril (thus Beren was called Erchamion, "One-handed"), and proceeded to run rampant through Doriath. Lúthien and the unconscious Beren were rescued by the Eagles of Manwë. Beren participated in the hunting of Carcharoth, where the beast was slain and the Silmaril recovered; the quest was accomplished, but in the process Beren was mortally wounded.
Lúthien's love for Beren was so strong that, hearing of his death, she laid down and died. Her soul went to the Halls of Mandos, where she managed to move Mandos so that he granted her a wish. Both she and Beren were restored to life, but both of them would die the death of Men, and go beyond the walls of Arda to a place unknown.
Thus Beren and Lúthien lived again, and dwelt on Tol Galen in the middle of the River Adurant in Ossiriand. There they stayed apart from other mortals; Beren was involved with the events of the First Age only one further time, when he waylaid a group of Dwarves who had destroyed Doriath and stolen the Nauglamír (and the Silmaril with it).
Lúthien bore Beren a son, named Dior, Thingol's heir, considered to be one of the fairest beings to ever live, for in him flowed the blood of Men, the blood of Elves, and the blood of the Ainur. Through his descendants, the blood of Beren and of Lúthien was preserved among the Eldar and the Edain.
At last Beren and Lúthien died together on Tol Galen.
The name of Beren's sword was Dagmor.
The story of Beren and Lúthien, though mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings, was a central part of the legendarium. Tolkien once referred to it as "the kernel of the mythology" (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, 165). He went on to say that it "arose from a small woodland glade filled with 'hemlocks'", which he visited while serving in the Humber Garrison in 1918 (during World War I).
Tolkien was buried in Wolvercote Cemetery (North Oxford) and this name appears on the stone:
- JOHN RONALD REUEL TOLKIEN Beren 1892 – 1973
The name of Lúthien also appears on the stone:
- EDITH MARY TOLKIEN Lúthien 1889 – 1971
Bregor | ______|_______ | | | | Bregolas Barahir = Emeldir | | _______|______ | | | | | | | Baragund Belegund BEREN = Lúthien | | | | | | Morwen = Húrin Rían = Huor Dior = Nimloth | | | ______|_______ | __|____________ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | Túrin Lalaith Nienor Tuor = Idril | | | | | | | | | | | Eärendil = Elwing Eluréd Elurín | __________________|________________ | | | | Elros Elrond = Celebrían | | ________|________ ______|_______ | | | | | | | | | | Kings of Lords of | | | Númenor Andúnië | | | | | | | | | | | Elendil | | | | | | | _______|_______ | | | | | | | | | | | | | Kings of Kings of | | | Gondor Arnor | | | | | | | | | | | Chieftains of | | | the Dúnedain | | | | | | | | | | | Aragorn II = Arwen Elladan Elrohir | ____________|_______ | | | | Eldarion numerous daughters | | Kings of the Reunited Kingdom
|5th Lord of Ladros
(* Lay of Leithian)