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The Fall of Nargothrond

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The Children of Húrin chapters
  1. The Childhood of Túrin
  2. The Battle of Unnumbered Tears
  3. The Words of Húrin and Morgoth
  4. The Departure of Túrin
  5. Túrin in Doriath
  6. Túrin among the Outlaws
  7. Of Mîm the Dwarf
  8. The Land of Bow and Helm
  9. The Death of Beleg
  10. Túrin in Nargothrond
  11. The Fall of Nargothrond
  12. The Return of Túrin to Dor-lómin
  13. The Coming of Túrin into Brethil
  14. The Journey of Morwen and Niënor
  15. Niënor in Brethil
  16. The Coming of Glaurung
  17. The Death of Glaurung
  18. The Death of Túrin

The Fall of Nargothrond is the eleventh chapter of The Children of Húrin.

Synopsis

For five years a peace was realised about Nargothrond. It was then that two Elves came to King Orodreth: Gelmir and Arminas they were who had journeyed long from Círdan at the Mouths of Sirion who sent message from Ulmo; for the Lord of Waters had said peril draws near to Nargothrond. Shut your doors he had bidden and cast down Narog’s bridge.

But Ordoreth turned to Túrin Mormegil for counsel, who in his pride would not heed the words sent from Círdan, who, Túrin said, hid from wars in the furthest place of Beleriand, far from the shadow of Morgoth.

Now autumn came, and indeed Morgoth unleashed a great horde long prepared and at its head was Glaurung, Father of Dragons. In the northern vale of Sirion was Eithel Ivrin defiled and the Guarded Plain, Talath Dirnen was burned. There came Túrin and Ordoreth, ahead a host of Nargothrond, but the multitude from Angband was greater and none but Túrin guarded by his dwarf-mask could withstand the dragon.

The soldiers of Nargothrond were withered and beaten; and Gwindor in death said, “Haste to Nargothrond and save Finduilas. But Túrin came too late, for Glaurung and a host of Orcs were before him, and the bridge over the Narog proved a ruin for they came upon the Doors in force and all the halls were taken and ruined.

In that sack, Túrin came to the wrecked Doors of Felagund and Glaurung awaited him, so that Túrin was bewitched by the dragon’s eye. There Túrin stood as stone as Finduilas amongst the thralls were led away to torment in Angband by a horde of Orcs. And Glaurung held Húrin’s son to wound him with the cries of those innocents so they would trouble him thereafter.

With the passing of that dreadful company, Túrin was loosened; but once more Glaurung taunted him, and seemingly released him in pity. As he gave Túrin his freedom, he said to hasten to Dor-lómin to his mother and sister, and not tarry with the fate of Finduilas.

Analysis

It is now that Morgoth’s malevolent patience sews dividends; long planned for and thought through, a great host is unleashed. The forerunner of this army are the skirmishes of the previous years: the bands of Orcs who plundered, raided and sought out the lay of the land about Sirion and into Beleriand. So was the time made ripe with the exposure of Nargothrond.

It is now that Túrin is the very core of destruction for Orodreth’s kingdom. This comes to pass after the coming of the messengers of Ulmo. For as a result of Túrin's prowess, he has authority and respect; but the result of his pride and charisma is his pronouncement not to destroy the bridge he instigated at the Doors of Felagund. This seals the doom of the once-hidden kingdom and once more sews the seeds of his own regret.

To support in his scheme of destruction, Morgoth lets loose the mighty Glaurung; whose guidance is the very will of his master. It is Glaurung whose power holds Túrin whilst Finduilas and the others are driven forth; this, combined with the parting words to direct Túrin to Dor-lómin, seal Túrin’s lament.

For what might have happened if Túrin had slain Glaurung here (if he could)?

Or what if he broke the spell of the dragon and followed the trail of Finduilas?

Or would Nargothrond have fallen if the bridge had not been built or had been destroyed?

Does the cloak of doom that enrobes Túrin always bring with it destruction? So it would seem.