Tolkien Gateway

Túrin

Revision as of 22:33, 13 December 2010 by Mithbot (Talk | contribs)
The name Túrin refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Túrin (disambiguation).
This article is about the tragic hero of the First Age. For the King of Gondor, see Turambar (King of Gondor).
Alan Lee - Túrin Turambar.jpg
Túrin Turambar
Adan
Biographical Information
Other namesNeithan, Gorthol, Agarwaen, Thurin, Adanedhel, Mormegil; Turindo; Bane of Glaurung[1]
TitlesPrince of Dor-lómin
AffiliationGaurwaith
LanguageSindarin, some Mannish dialect
BirthF.A. 463
Dor-lómin, Hithlum
DeathF.A. 499 (aged 36)
Cabed-en-Aras
Family
HouseHouse of Hador
ParentageHúrin & Morwen
SiblingsUrwen Lalaith & Nienor Níniel
SpouseNienor Níniel
ChildrenUnborn at Nienor Níniel's death
Physical Description
GenderMale
HeightTall[2]
Hair colorDark[3]
Eye colorGrey[2] or blue[4]
ClothingDragon-helm of Dor-lómin, elven mail, grey tunic and cloak[5]
WeaponryAnglachel/Gurthang
"He was dark-haired as his mother, and promised to be like her in mood also; for he was not merry, and spoke little, though he learned to speak early and ever seemed older than his years. Túrin was slow to forget injustice or mockery; but the fire of his father was also in him, and he could be sudden and fierce. Yet he was quick to pity, and the hurts or sadness of living things might move him to tears."
The Children of Húrin, The Childhood of Túrin

Túrin Turambar (F.A. 463499) was a tragic hero of the First Age whose life was dominated by the curse of the Enemy. His deeds became the tale called Narn i Chîn Húrin ("The Tale of the Children of Húrin").

Contents

History

Túrin was the only son of Húrin Thalion and Morwen Eledhwen. He had a younger sister Urwen whom everyone called Lalaith, but she died in childhood of a plague. After Húrin was captured in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad ("Battle of Unnumbered Tears"), Túrin remained with his mother Morwen, who hid him from the Easterlings that Morgoth had sent to Hithlum, fearing they would kill Túrin or enslave him. Unknown to Túrin, Morgoth had placed a curse on all of Húrin's family.

Túrin was friend with Sador, their household servant whom he helped in his works. Sador taught him many things, and carved for him several things from wood.

Upbringing in Doriath

When Túrin was seven years old she sent him to Doriath, where he was adopted by King Thingol as a son. After this Túrin's second sister, Nienor was born. Túrin was restless, and as soon as he was permitted he joined Beleg Cúthalion on the marches of Doriath, fighting the Orcs of Morgoth. He wore the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, and the Orcs began to fear him more than any other.

Túrin Reaches the Abandoned Homestead by Ted Nasmith.

Túrin accidentally caused the death of Saeros, one of Thingol's counsellors who had provoked and attacked him. Before he could be either punished or forgiven he fled, eventually meeting up with a band of outlaws, the Gaurwaith that dwelt south of the Forest of Brethil. There he identified himself only as Neithan ("The Wronged"). Túrin killed their leader Forweg and became their leader in his place. During his rule he stopped the outlaws from raiding houses of Men, and only hunted Orcs.

In the meantime Beleg Cúthalion obtained leave by Thingol to seek out his friend. Beleg found Túrin's outlaws at Amon Rûdh and when he could not persuade his friend to leave the outlaws, he left to return to Doriath. While they were parted, and after such a long time living in the wild, Túrin's band captured Mîm the Petty-dwarf. Mîm was forced to share his halls on Amon Rûdh with them.

At Doriath, Beleg asked to be able to join his friend. Thingol allowed this and also gave him the black sword Anglachel, and Melian gave him lembas. Beleg returned to Túrin that winter, healing those of the band that had become sick with cold. Beleg brought with him the Dragon-helm, and the area around Amon Rûdh became known as Dor-Cúarthol, the "Land of Bow and Helm" (since Beleg was known as a mighty bowman). There Túrin took the name Gorthol, "The Dread Helm". Many warriors joined them, and much of West Beleriand was freed from evil for a while.

Beleg is Slain by Ted Nasmith.

Eventually Túrin was betrayed by Mîm, and he was captured and all his men slain. Beleg survived and rescued Túrin from the Orcs in Taur-nu-Fuin with the help of Gwindor, an escaped slave of Morgoth, but Túrin accidentally killed Beleg with Beleg's sword Anglachel. Gwindor led Túrin, dazed, to the Pools of Ivrin, where he came back to his senses.

Nargothrond

Gwindor then led Túrin to Nargothrond, where once he had lived. In Nargothrond Túrin hid his name, calling himself Agarwaen, son of Úmarth ("Bloodstained, son of Ill-fate"). He had Anglachel reforged and named it Gurthang ("Iron of Death"). Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, fell in love with him, but he avoided her because she had previously been the beloved of his friend Gwindor. Túrin declined to tell her his name, so that she called him Thurin ("The Secret"). He was also called Adanedhel ("Man-Elf") because he was so like an Elf, though he was human.

Túrin Bears Gwindor to Safety by Ted Nasmith.

His identity did not remain hidden for long. Gwindor revealed to Finduilas that 'Agarwaen' was in fact Túrin, and 'Úmarth' his famous father Húrin. When news of this reached Finduilas' father King Orodreth, Túrin was given great honour and standing, but the revelation of Túrin's identity would also bring home Morgoth's curse.

Túrin became a chief counsellor of the weak Orodreth, and was extremely influential in Nargothrond. He encouraged the Nargothrondrim to abandon their practice of secrecy, and they built a great bridge before the gates. Because of his prowess with Gurthang, he himself became known as Mormegil ("Black Sword").

Morgoth sent the Dragon Glaurung to Nargothrond. Túrin was caught by the powerful gaze of Glaurung, and stood by idly as Finduilas was dragged away, calling to him, a captive for Morgoth. Glaurung deceived him into believing Morwen and Nienor were suffering in Dor-lómin, and Túrin abandoned Finduilas to seek out his kin. In actuality Morwen and Nienor were safely in Doriath, as Túrin's own efforts had made the way passable.

Once in Dor-lómin, Túrin found his old home empty. He went to the halls of the Easterling lord Brodda, who had taken Húrin's kinswoman Aerin as a wife and had taken Húrin's lands and possessions. From Aerin, Túrin learned that Morwen had left, and in his rage he killed Brodda, thereby also sealing Aerin's fate. As Túrin left again, Aerin burnt herself alive in her halls, and the remainder of the House of Hador now was persecuted even more cruelly.

Túrin next tried to find Finduilas, but by the time he picked up the Orc's trail he came too late: the woodsmen of Brethil informed him she had been killed as they had tried to rescue the prisoners of Nargothrond. Túrin collapsed on the mound she was buried in, and was brought to Brethil.

In Brethil

In Brethil Túrin again took up his life, now calling himself Turambar ("Master of Fate") in an act of bravado, deciding that his curse was now finally over. One day he found a naked young woman on Finduilas's grave, and calling her Níniel he later took her as his wife.

Túrin's happiness ended when Glaurung came near Brethil. Túrin with two others set out to kill the dragon, but he was the only one to reach the drake. With his black sword he killed Glaurung at Cabed-en-Aras, but was hurt and fell in a swoon. As Níniel came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words revealed to her she was Túrin's sister. Horrified, Nienor Níniel killed herself.

Túrin Prepares to Take His Life by Ted Nasmith.

When Túrin awoke he was told by Brandir, lord of the Haladin of Brethil what had happened, and he killed Brandir, refusing to believe. When he learned from Mablung of Doriath who had come to seek him that Brandir had told the truth, he killed himself on Gurthang, his black sword.

Túrin was buried near Finduilas' grave, and on his tombstone the Haladin wrote in the Cirth of Doriath:

TÚRIN TURAMBAR DAGNIR GLAURUNGA
(Túrin, Conqueror of Fate, Slayer of Glaurung)

Beneath that they also wrote:

NIENOR NÍNIEL

though her body could not be found.

Legacy

Morwen and Húrin later met at this site for the last time, and Morwen was also buried there. The mound survived the War of Wrath and as Tol Morwen was the westernmost isle off the coast of Lindon in the Second and Third Ages.

It was prophesied by the Vala Mandos that at the end of time Morgoth would wage a final battle against the Valar, the Final Battle, and that Túrin Turambar would deliver the death blow, exterminating evil forever.

Túrin was a first cousin of Tuor, father of Eärendil. There are many parallels between the circumstances of their lives (both lost their fathers in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, were raised in part by Elves, spent time as outlaws and as prisoners, and were war-leaders in the greatest Noldorin fortresses), but the outcome of Tuor's life was quite different. (Even Túrin's coloring was dark, enhancing his resemblance to the Noldorin Elves but further setting him apart from his fair-haired cousin.) The two never actually met, but Tuor did once see his cousin in passing (not an everyday occurrence in the wilds of Beleriand).

Whether the tragedies in Túrin's life were the result of Morgoth's curse or of his own arrogance, or some combination of the two, is a subject of some debate among scholars. Túrin is one of the few heroes of the Elder Days to have committed suicide and several of the others are connected to his story.

The Many Names of Túrin

Genealogy

 
 
Bregolas
 
 
 
Halmir
 
Hador Lórindol
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Belegund
 
Baragund
 
Hareth
 
Galdor of Dor-lómin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Morwen Eledhwen
 
Húrin Thalion
 
Huor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TÚRIN TURAMBAR
 
Urwen Lalaith
 
Nienor Níniel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Etymology

See: Túrin (disambiguation) and Turambar (disambiguation)

It's possible that during Túrin's lifetime (First Age), the name was pronounced as "Túrind" before simplified in the following centuries. The Quenya form is Túrindo.

Inspiration

Unpublished drafts of the story, later edited by Christopher Tolkien and published in Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth series, tell the story in greater detail. These have been carefully edited together with other drafts to form The Children of Húrin, released in 2007.

The supposed resemblance of Túrin to figures from medieval tales can be confirmed by part of a letter Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman concerning the publication of his works:

"There is the Children of Húrin, the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar and his sister Níniel — of which Túrin is the hero: a figure that might be said (by people who like that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo."
Letter 131
" Again one may detect certain literary influences: the hero’s [Túrin’s] fight with a great dragon [Glaurung] inevitably suggests comparison with the deeds of Sigurd and Beowulf, while his unknowing incest with his sister and his subsequent suicide were derived quite consciously from the story of Kullervo in the Kalevala."
J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

Túrin shares several common traits with all of the characters below, like coming closer to their fate when attempting to evade it. Another significant trait is their gifted but hot tempered nature and strong will paired with their reluctance to heed wise counsels that would save them from their fate.

Oedipus

Oedipus was a prince of Thebes, but his parents gave him away in his early years to evade a prophecy about their deaths. Oedipus is not killed, but given to a childless family. He grows ignorant of his heritage, until he hears a prophecy according to which he will kill his father and marry his mother. To evade it, he leaves his foster family.

On his way, he kills a man who unknown to him, is his actual father, the King of Thebes, fulfilling therefore part of the prophecy without knowing he is a King, or his true father. Then he enters the city and after defeating the Sphinx, the people name him to replace the lost King of Thebes; furthermore, Oedipus marries the King's widow, who is in fact his mother.

Years later, while investigating the death of the former King, he realizes all the truths in his life: the King was the very man he had killed himself, and furthermore, he and his Queen, were his parents. Oedipus blinds himself and leaves in self-exile while his mother/wife strangles herself.

Kullervo

In the Kalevala, Kullervo's tribe is killed by his uncle, and himself is separated by his family, something that fills him with hate and desire for revenge. As a slave, he uses magic to kill his masters and returns to his tribe; afterwards he seduces a girl, who commits suicide after discovering she is his lost sister.

Then he repeats his vows: he refuses to hear any words of reconsideration and gets a broadsword which he uses to slay the enemy tribe. On his return, he sees all his family dead. He asks the magic sword to slay him, which replies, and then he falls on it.

Sigurd

Sigurd's mother married a King and himself was fostered by a Dwarf. The Dwarf told him about the dragon Fafnir's hoard (who was his brother) and made sword for him. Sigurd slew Fafnir by waiting for him in a pit, stabbing him with the sword as he passed over it. However the gold was cursed.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West".
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Túrin Turambar"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin among the Outlaws"

See Also