The Childhood of Túrin
The Childhood of Túrin is the first chapter of The Children of Húrin.
Húrin was born to Galdor and Hareth, and was the older brother to Huor. In young adulthood, Húrin and Huor were involved in an orc skirmish where they were overrun. They were saved by the grace of Ulmo and taken by eagles to the hidden city of Gondolin where they stayed for a year and learned of Elven lore. They soon yearned for their own people and were given leave to return to their homeland; however they were forced to swear an oath never to reveal the secrets of Gondolin.
As Túrin grew up he was loved less than his sister and matured quickly; he had a fierce temper much like his father but was also quick to pity. Sorrowfully, Lalaith was soon consumed by the Evil Breath and perished, though her beauty was not forgotten.
Húrin was little at home, and Morwen was stern with her children, so Túrin looked toward his friend Sador for comfort, who was also called Hopafoot as his foot had been lost to an awry axe stroke. Sador was a lowly servant from whom Túrin learned much that he perhaps should have gathered from his mother; but she was a strong woman and cool in her emotions.
This chapter lays much of the foundations for the life of the children of Húrin, focusing on the history of Húrin and the development of his eldest son, Túrin. These are the two main characters within the chapter. Although Húrin is illustrated as a rounded, balanced figure, Morwen is shown as a cold but strong mother, realistic and perhaps already defeated; perhaps little empathy is asked to be drawn from the reader for her.
Túrin however is developed as a complex and already intriguing character. His early childhood is the basis of much of his character, and there may be much in this time which can be seen to affect his later behavior and temperament:
- His mother was a stern, cool woman - a distant figure for a child.
- Túrin's father was away much at the marches. He greatly revered his father, and from him learned to see how Men had bettered themselves by learning from the Elves.
- His primary companion was an older, lowly servant, Sador, whom he respected greatly.
- The death of his sister, Lalaith, was a disturbing memory and he received no comfort from his parents but sought solace from Sador.
Túrin's childhood was not an easy one. Both of his parents were remote figures - he admired them greatly and from them became a self-disciplined, stern and independent child - attributes well required for his later life.
The death of his sister, whom he treasured dearly, from a pestilence delivered by Morgoth, demonstrated how even at an early age he had the independence to deal with a deep grief. He must have felt a huge anger at The Enemy for taking away a crucial part of his life and this must have remained with him for a very long time.
His friendship with Sador illustrates a common trait amongst families of the ruling classes for children to search out a companion from the enclosed circle around them. Perhaps this was Túrin's choice as a mature child or perhaps no other children lived within close quarters. Whatever the reason, Túrin's respect for Sador and his deep ability to pity others can be seen in his giving of the elven knife to support Sador in his work.