Beleg

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This article is about the Elf of the First Age. For the the King of Arthedain, see Beleg (King of Arthedain).
Beleg
Sinda
Anna Lee - Beleg.jpg
"Beleg" by Anna Lee
Biographical Information
Other namesCúthalion (S, "Strongbow")
"Beleg the Strong-bow"[1]
"Beleg the Archer"[2]
Cú Beleg (S, "Great Bow")[3]
"Beleg Cúthalion of Doriath"[4]
"Beleg my master" (Supposedly by Gurthang)[5]
TitlesTwo Captains[note 1][6]
PositionChief of the marchwardens of Thingol[7]/Chief of the marchwardens of Doriath[8]
LocationDoriath, Dor-Cúarthol
AffiliationMarchwardens, Hunting of the Wolf, Gaurwaith
LanguageDoriathrin (Sindarin dialect)
DeathF.A. 489
Taur-nu-Fuin
Physical Description
GenderMale
ClothingLarge cloak[9]
WeaponryAnglachel and Belthronding/Dailir
GalleryImages of Beleg
"He was great of growth  and goodly-limbed,
but lithe of girth,  and lightly on the ground
his footsteps fell  as he fared towards them,
all garbed in grey  and green and brown—
a son of the wilderness  who wist no sire.
"
Túrin Son of Húrin & Glórund the Dragon, vv.196-200

Beleg Cúthalion was a Sinda who served King Elu Thingol of Doriath. He was considered to be the best archer and huntsman of his time. He became a friend and brother-in-arms of Túrin, before falling victim to the cruel doom surrounding Túrin.

History[edit]

Together with Mablung, Beleg was one of the great captains of the Sindar. Beleg was captain of the Marchwardens and therefore was usually on duty on Doriath's northern borders near Brethil, Dimbar and Nan Dungortheb. Beleg carried a black bow named Belthronding, to which his epessë (surname) referred, and an arrow called Dailir.

If he went outside of Doriath, he was often accompanied by Mablung, like when they attended the Mereth Aderthad.[10] They were also the only Iathrim who joined the hosts of the Noldor in Nirnaeth Arnoediad.[11]

He took part in the Hunting of the Wolf, together with King Thingol, Mablung, Beren Ercharmion and the great hound Huan.

Anglachel by Elena Kukanova

With Túrin[edit]

Later, he became a good friend and brother-in-arms of Túrin Turambar, and thus became ensnared in Túrin's accursed fate. For a long time Túrin joined Beleg in Dimbar.

When Túrin fled from Doriath, Beleg received permission from Thingol to follow him into exile and give his pardon to return. He deemed his bow unsuited for this task and from Thingol's armoury chose the sword Anglachel that Eöl had forged and given to Thingol in tribute. He took it despite Melian's warnings that the sword possessed the malice of its creator.

Beleg was captured by the band of outlaws Túrin led near Amon Rûdh and was tortured, because Túrin was not present. He brought word from Thingol to Túrin that he was free to return to Doriath, but Túrin neglected the offer. After returning to Thingol to bring the news, Beleg returned into the north marches; when winter came, he set out again to join Túrin.[12]

The outlaws had meanwhile taken about at Bar-en-Danwedh, the halls of Mîm, the Petty-dwarf.

Together with Túrin, Beleg became for a while a captain of the Outlaws against Morgoth. The place where they dwelt became known as Dor-Cúarthol, the "Land of Bow and Helm". Beleg healed Andróg from an arrow wound, causing the hatred of Mîm who not only hated the Elves, but also because Andróg was his enemy. When Mîm was captured by Orcs, he didn't hesitate to reveal where the outlaws had their refuge.

After fierce battle upon the top of Amon Rûdh all men were slain and Túrin captured. Beleg was bound and left back alive, as was demanded by Mîm who wanted to deal with the Elf personally. But Andróg was still alive, though mortally wounded, and he chased Mîm away and cut through Beleg's bonds before dying.[13]

Death[edit]

Beleg's death by Anke Eißmann

Beleg followed the Orcs into Taur-nu-Fuin, where he met Gwindor, an Elf of Nargothrond who had been captured in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad but escaped from slavery in Morgoth's mines. With help from Gwindor, who had seen the passing by Orc-band, Beleg found the Orc-camp at night. He shot one by one the wolves who guarded the camp. He then was able to rescue Túrin, who was unconscious because of the torture he had endured, during a thunderstorm.

Beleg carried Túrin away from the camp and cut his bonds with his sword. But the blade slipped away and cut into Túrin's flesh. Awaking suddenly and filled with terrible memories of past torture, Túrin only perceived a shape bent over him with a blade and believed the Orcs were about to torture him again. Finding his hands unbound, in a sudden rage of self-defence, Túrin wrested Anglachel from Beleg and killed him.

Beleg was buried along with his bow Belthronding by Túrin and Gwindor. Anglachel had turned black and blunt when it spilled its master's blood. But Gwindor took it with him, for he deemed it better to use the blade for vengeance against Morgoth, than to leave it rotting in the earth.[14]

Legacy[edit]

Once recovered of the shock of killing Beleg, Túrin made a song for him, named Laer Cú Beleg, the Song of the Great Bow.[14] Years later, Túrin faced his destiny in Cabed-en-Aras, commiting suicide after addressing Gurthang, which answered him mentioning his past crime:

Yea, I will drink thy blood gladly, that so I may forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly.[15]

Etymology[edit]

beleg is a Sindarin word meaning "great, mighty; large, big".[16]

His epessë Cúthalion is Sindarin for "Strongbow", from ("bow") + thalion ("strong, dauntless").[17]

Notes

  1. Given to both Beleg and Túrin by the leaderless Elves and Men who had been dispossessed through battle and defeat, came to Dor-Cúarthol seeking the Bow and Helm that supposedly fell within Dimbar.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Departure of Túrin"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Land of Bow and Helm", p. 141
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Fall of Nargothrond", "Song of the Great Bow"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin in Nargothrond", Second paragraph
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Túrin"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Land of Bow and Helm", pp. 145, 146
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", entry Beleg
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Of Mîm the Dwarf", p. 139
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Return of the Noldor"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "Túrin among the Outlaws"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Land of Bow and Helm"
  14. 14.0 14.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Beleg"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Children of Húrin, "The Death of Túrin"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry beleg
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entries , thalion
Gaurwaith
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