From Tolkien Gateway
Paula DiSante - Reporting to Beruthiel.JPG
"Reporting to Beruthiel" by Paula DiSante
Biographical Information
TitlesQueen of Gondor
LocationInland city, Pelargir, King's House
AffiliationBlack Númenóreans
LanguagePossibly Westron
BirthEarly Third Age
RuleSometime between T.A. 830 and T.A. 913
Notable forUsing cats to spy on the people of Gondor
SpouseTarannon Falastur
Physical Description
ClothingPlain black and silver garments[1]
GalleryImages of Berúthiel

Berúthiel was a Queen of Gondor, the wife of King Tarannon Falastur, who ruled from T.A. 830 until T.A. 913. She was noted as being "nefarious, solitary, and loveless".[1] It is therefore of no surprise that she and Tarannon did not have any children.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Berúthiel was a Black Númenórean,[3] who was possibly from an inland city that was located to the south of Umbar.[note 1][3]

Tarannon's reason for marrying Berúthiel is not known. It is possible that the marriage was in connection with his extensions of the realm of Gondor along the coasts south of the mouths of the Anduin and his victories as the Captain of the Hosts.[4] As a consequence, it is possible that it was a diplomatic marriage to form an alliance with or to maintain peaceful relations with the realm that Berúthiel came from.

Berúthiel loathed the sounds and the smells of the sea, Fish, and the Gulls.[3] She also hated the house that Tarannon had built below Pelargir on arches that stood in the water of the mouths of the river Anduin. As a consequence, she lived in the King's House in Osgiliath instead. Berúthiel hated all colours and elaborate adornments and wore only black and silver clothing. She lived in bare chambers in the house in Osigiliath, but decorated its gardens with tormented sculptures beneath cypresses and yews.[1]

Berúthiel loathed cats, but they became attracted to her for precisely that reason. They followed her around, and eventually she took advantage of their company by enslaving and torturing them for her amusement.[3] Of the Cats that she kept[3] as her slaves: there were ten of them: nine black and one white.[1] Berúthiel trained the cats to go on evil errands throughout the night to spy on her enemies or to terrify them[3], in order to discover the dark secrets of Gondor, so that she knew the things that men wished the most to keep hidden.[1] She sent the white cat to spy on the black ones to torment them. Berúthiel was able to converse with them or read their memories. Her cats were infamous among the Gondorians. All were afraid of them, did not dare to touch them, and cursed whenever they saw them.[1]

Ten Cats of Queen Berúthiel by Steamey

Somehow, the childlessness of Tarannon was associated with the Cats of Queen Berúthiel, though the way in which the cats had affected Tarannon was unknown.[5][note 2][1]

Eventually, Tarannon exiled Berúthiel from Gondor and her name was erased from the Book of the Kings. He had her set adrift at sea before a north wind on a ship alone that "was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow"[1] and Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city.[3]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

No wars with Umbar or Harad are mentioned during the reign of King Tarannon.[4] It is possible that the setting Berúthiel on a ship that was last seen flying past Umbar offended the realm that Berúthiel was from. The conquest of Umbar took place during the reign of King Eärnil twenty-three years after the death of King Tarannon.[6]

Despite the erasure of her name from the Book of the Kings, Berúthiel and her cats were so notorious that they were held in the memory of Gondorians for centuries; Aragorn alluded to them more than 2,000 years after her exile.[7]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name Berúthiel is Sindarin. Its meaning is not glossed, but as Paul Strack explains it might mean "Angry Queen" and might be a combination of ber(eth) ("queen", "spouse"; "supreme", "sublime") + rúth ("wrath", "anger") + -iel ("daughter"; "feminine suffix").[8] Since the Black Númenóreans did not use the Elven tongues, this title was probably given to her by the Gondorians and is not her real name.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Atanatar I
480 - 748
570 - 830
Tarannon Falastur
654 - 913
Eärnil I
736 - 936
820 - 1015

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In an earlier version of what would later become the chapter A Journey in the Dark, it was the narrator rather than Aragorn II who mentioned the cats of Queen Berúthiel. This first version of the sentence referred simply to cats in general with no reference to Berúthiel. The second version of the sentence referred to "the cat of Benish Armon," before the reference was changed to "the cats of Queen Tamar," with a slight revision from Tamar ("Smith")[9] to Margoliantë Berúthiel, before dropping Margoliantë and keeping Berúthiel.[10]

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

In an interview from 1966, Tolkien likened Berúthiel to the giantess Skadi of Norse mythology, since they both shared a dislike for "seaside life". Skadi was from Thrymheim in Jotunheim and ended up being married to the sea-god Njord. After her marriage Skadi got fed up with the seaside life and went back to live in Jotunheim.[3][11]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

: Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game:

Berúthiel makes an appearance in this game as a "wizard" character.

: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Berúthiel is mentioned along with her abandoned name, Margoliantë Berúthiel, within the MERP supplement: The Realm of Bellakar from the Other Hands 29/30 double issue.
One of Berúthiel's abandoned names appears as the name of a cult within "The Cult of Benish Armon" MERP supplement of Other Hands 6/7.

: The Lord of the Rings Online:

While Berúthiel does not make a direct appearance, some of Tarannon Falastur's combat lines during the Silent Street instance mention how Berúthiel used to torment him when he lived.

See also[edit | edit source]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien compared Berúthiel to the giantess Skadi who was from Jotunheim and who married the sea-god Njord and got fed up with the seaside life and finally went back to live in Jotunheim. Since King Tarannon had Berúthiel set on a ship and set adrift on the sea before a north wind and the ship was last seen flying past Umbar and since the went back to live in the inland city, it is possible that she went back to the inland city within this ship and that this inland city was to the south of Umbar. Being the descendents of the King's Men most of the Black Númenóreans lived in Umbar and in other former Númenórean colonies in the south of Middle-earth.
  2. Christopher Tolkien mentions that the part of the "unique manuscript" that comes before Berúthiel's exile is "almost wholly illegible", meaning that the connection between Tarannon's childlessness and the Cats of Queen Berúthiel remains unknown.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", "Notes", note 7, pp. 401-402
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Southern Line: Heirs of Anarion", Kings of Gondor, entry for Tarannon Falastur, p. 1038
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Daphne Castell, "The Realms of Tolkien", The Realms of Tolkien (accessed 15 January 2021).
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Tarannon, p. 1044
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Introduction", paragraph seven
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Eärnil, p. 1044
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark", p. 311
  8. Paul Strack, "S. Berúthiel f.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 29 October 2021)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Three: The Drowning of Anadûnê: (vi) Lowdham's Report on the Adunaic Language: Declension of nouns", p. 436
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Return of the Shadow, "The Story Continued: XXV. The Mines of Moria, Notes", p. 454 and p. 464 note 26
  11. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8