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Lúthien

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Lúthien
Sinda
Biographical Information
Other namesTinúviel (S)
TitlesPrincess of Doriath
AffiliationQuest for the Silmaril
LanguageSindarin
BirthY.T. 1200
Forest of Neldoreth
DeathF.A. 502 (aged 3,377)
Dor Firn-i-Chuinar, Ossiriand
Family
ParentageThingol and Melian
SpouseBeren
ChildrenDior
Physical Description
GenderFemale
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorGrey[1]
ClothingBlue raiment, sewn with golden flowers; shadowy cloak; appearance of Thuringwethil[1]
WeaponryVoice, enchantment
SteedHuan
Lúthien Tinúviel (S, pron. [ˈluːθjen tiˈnuːvjel]) was the only daughter of King Thingol of Doriath and Melian the Maia. She was said to be the fairest maiden to have ever lived (a description later shared also by Arwen).

Contents

History

Lúthien by Ted Nasmith.
Lúthien was born during the Second Age of the Chaining of Melkor, and niphredil first grew at the moment of her birth. She would often dance in the woods, while her friend Daeron, the minstrel of Thingol, would play his flute. Daeron came to love her, and while she enjoyed his company, she did not return his love.

Quest for the Silmaril

During such an occasion she was discovered by Beren as he wandered the woods of her father's kingdom, and instantly fell in love with her. Daeron chirped out a warning, and she hid. While he searched for her, he accidentally laid his hand on her arm. He caught her alone some months later, and they grew to love one another. When Lúthien took Beren before her father, he was appalled that his royal daughter should wish to wed a mortal, and as is recounted in the Lay of Leithian so set Beren what he thought was an unachievable task, to recover a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth himself. So Beren left Doriath in pursuit of his hopeless quest.

Transformed by Ted Nasmith, showing Lúthien and Beren disguised as Thuringwethil and Draugluin

After a time, a darkness fell on Lúthien's heart, and she learned from her mother Melian what this meant; Beren had been captured by Sauron, and was held in the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Though Thingol sought to stop her, Lúthien set out from Doriath to rescue Beren, if she could. Passing through many adventures, she gained the help of Huan the Hound, and together they came to Sauron's Isle. Through Lúthien's magic and Huan's strength they defeated Sauron and rescued Beren. Eventually Beren set out for Angband once again, but this time Lúthien accompanied him.

File:Luca Michelucci - 1999 - May.jpg
Lúthien Dances Before Morgoth by Luca Michelucci.

Through Lúthien's powers, they passed the gates of Angband, and the great wolf Carcharoth that guarded them. Coming before the Dark Throne itself, she wove a spell that put Morgoth and his court into a deep sleep, and Beren cut a Silmaril from the Iron Crown. Returning to the gates, they found that Carcharoth barred their escape. Beren held up the hallowed jewel to protect them, but the monstrous wolf bit off his hand and, with it, consumed the Silmaril. But the Silmarils were blessed by Varda herself, so that any unclean flesh that touched them would be withered and burnt. The wolf's innards were consumed with that burning, and it ran howling into the south.

Lúthien healed Beren, and they came at last back to her father's halls at Menegroth. There they heard tidings that the maddened wolf had entered Thingol's realm, and Beren set out with the King to the Hunting of the Wolf. After nightfall they returned; the wolf was slain and the Silmaril recovered, but Beren was wounded mortally. So he passed away, and soon after Lúthien too wasted of grief.

Aftermath

Lúthien at Tol Galen by Ted Nasmith.

Their spirits were gathered in the Halls of Mandos in the Uttermost West, and there Lúthien sang a song of such extraordinary power and beauty that it moved even the implacable heart of Mandos himself. So she was granted a unique fate, to become mortal and return to Middle-earth with Beren, where they dwelt for a time in happiness on the green island of Tol Galen in the River Adurant.

Etymology

Lúthien is a Sindarin name meaning "Daughter of Flowers". The first element in the name is lúth.[2] The second element is perhaps the feminine ending -ien.

In early writings, Doriathrin Luthien and Noldorin Lhūthien meant "enchantress", deriving from Primitive Quendian luktiēnē ("enchantress"; from root LUK "magic, enhantement").[3]

Tinúviel (from Primitive Quendian tindômiselde) means "Nightingale", or, more literally, "Daughter of Twilight".[source?]

Genealogy

 
Elu Thingol
 
Melian
 
House of Bëor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LÚTHIEN
 
 
 
Beren
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dior
 
Nimloth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eärendil
 
Elwing
 
Eluréd
 
Elurín
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Elrond
 
Elros
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Inspiration

Lúthien was largely inspired from Edith Bratt and Tolkien often referred to Edith as "my Lúthien."[4][5]. It is mentioned that around 1917, while Tolkien and Bratt went walking in the woods at Roos, Edith began to dance for him in a clearing among the flowering hemlock. This incident inspired the account of the meeting of Beren and Lúthien[6].

The tale also shares the common element of folktales with the disapproving parent who sets a seemingly impossible task for the suitor, which is then fulfilled. Such is the Welsh tale of Culhwch and Olwen and others.

The travel of Lúthien to Mandos and softening Námo with her song, in order to release her beloved, is a usual theme in several world religions: According to Virgil, Orpheus descended to Hades and with his harp softened the hearts of Hades and Pespephone in order to return his wife, Eurydice, to life. There is also the Japanese myth of Izanagi and Izanami, the Akkadian/Sumerian myth of Inanna's Descent to the Underworld, and Mayan myth of Ix Chel and Itzamna. The theme exists also in the Amerindian oral tradition: the Nez Perce tell a similar story about the trickster figure, Coyote.

Other versions of the legendarium

The name Lúthien appears since the earliest conceptions (although Melilot was used as a tentative name in the Lay of Leithian).[7] The name was connected with "Luthany", the Elfin name for England. In several drafts, Lúthien would be the Elfin name of Ælfwine, which would be translated as "traveler" and later as "friend".

See Also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 15
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Three: The Etymologies", p. 370
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 340, (dated 11 July 1972)
  5. We talked of love, death, and fairy tales
  6. Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall & Edmund Weiner The Ring of Words
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian", p. 159