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The name Beren refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Beren (disambiguation).
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Tuuliky - Beren.jpg
"Beren" by Tuuliky
Biographical Information
Other namesCamlost, Erchamion (S)
TitlesLord of Tol Galen
PositionHead of the House of Bëor
AffiliationQuest for the Silmaril
LanguageSindarin, Taliska
BirthF.A. 432
DeathF.A. 466 (aged 34)
Hunting of the Wolf
Returned to life, final death: F.A. 503 (aged 71)
Dor Firn-i-Guinar
Notable forRetrieving a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown
HouseHouse of Bëor
ParentageBarahir and Emeldir
Physical Description
HeightTaller than most of his House[1]
Hair colorGolden brown[1]
Eye colorGrey[1]
Dagmor (in the Lays of Beleriand)[2]
Unnamed horse (from Curufin)
GalleryImages of Beren
"And thus in anguish Beren paid
for that great doom upon him laid,
the deathless love of Lúthien,
too fair for love of mortal Men...
Lay of Leithian, Canto III, vv. 786-789

Beren the Renowned, son of Barahir, was a Man of the House of Bëor during the First Age. He was a hero whose romance with the Elf Lúthien, and their Quest to obtain a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth, was one of the great tales of the Elder Days.[3]


Life in Dorthonion[edit]

Beren's heraldic device by J.R.R. Tolkien

Beren was the son of Barahir and Emeldir and was named after Beren, his maternal grandfather[4]. He was a Man of the royal House of Bëor of Dorthonion for his father was most likely the last Chieftain of the House of Bëor. The Dagor Bragollach ("Battle of Sudden Flame") befell during his youth, bringing about the ruin of his land. The young Beren lived with his father and ten loyal followers in the highlands of Dorthonion, and the twelve of them performed many acts of bravery, to the great frustration of Morgoth, the Dark Lord of Angband. But due to the treachery of Gorlim the Unhappy, the Outlaws of Dorthonion were slain at the hands of the Orcs of Sauron. Beren swore an oath to avenge his father. But he "wept not, for his heart was ice".[5] He slew the orcs responsible for the death of his people and recovered from them the Ring of Barahir.[3]

Living as an outlaw, his daring feats won renown throughout the free world, and earned the hatred of Morgoth, who set upon his head a bounty. Thus, he was forced to abandon the land of his birth and the grave of his father. He passed through the horrors of Nan Dungortheb by paths traversed by no other elves or men, and came into Doriath, where he met and fell in love with Lúthien — princess of the Sindar, and daughter of Thingol, King of Doriath and Melian the Maia — upon seeing her dancing in the woods of Neldoreth, and she loved him too.[3]

Quest for the Silmaril[edit]

Beren leaves Menegroth by Peter Xavier Price
Main article: Quest for the Silmaril

Thingol refused to give Lúthien's hand in marriage, as Beren was a mortal. He charged Beren that he would allow the marriage to take place only if he brought back a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. The task was intended to be impossible, but Beren was determined. He set out on his quest with the aid of Finrod Felagund of Nargothrond, but was soon captured by Sauron and imprisoned in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. There Finrod succumbed to death, at the hands of the wolves of Sauron, saving the life of Beren with his dying act. Lúthien, along with Huan the great hound, eventually came to his rescue, and they departed that place. Near to Brethil, they were ambushed by two of the Sons of Fëanor, Celegorm and Curufin, the latter of whom had swept Lúthien up into his saddle. To rescue her, Beren carried out his leap of renown to the steed of Curufin. Stripping him of his horse and knife, Angrist, Beren bade the two brothers be gone. Curufin fired arrows at Lúthien as they fled, and Beren was hit. He was nursed back to health by Lúthien and Huan.[3]

Transformed by Ted Nasmith

After a time, Beren continued upon his quest. Leaving Lúthien in the care of Huan, he travelled to the borders of Anfauglith and despairing, there sung the Song of Parting. Unlooked for, Lúthien and Huan heard his lament and came to him, and Beren tried to dissuade her from joining his quest, but then Huan spoke, counselling that their fates were now entwined. Then, disguising themselves as fell servants of Sauron, they crossed leagues of desert, ashes and dust until they came to the Gates of Angband.[3]

Using Lúthien's powers to place Morgoth's court into a deep sleep, they were able to enter Angband where Beren cut a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. However, as they escaped from Angband, the great wolf Carcharoth, whom Morgoth had personally bred, awoke. Beren held out the Silmaril, hoping that its radiance would avert the beast, but he was mistaken. Carcharoth bit off his hand, swallowing it along with the Silmaril, and proceeded to run rampant through Doriath. Thus Beren was called Erchamion, "One-handed". Lúthien and the unconscious Beren were rescued by the Eagles of Manwë. Coming back to Thingol's court, both told him the tale of their quest and how Beren had fulfilled Thingol's demand, as he had one Silmaril in his hand. Thus, Thingol relented, and Beren and Lúthien were married; this was the first union of Elves and Men. Beren participated in the hunting of Carcharoth, where the beast was slain and the Silmaril recovered; the quest was accomplished, but in the process Huan was slain and Beren was mortally wounded.[3]

Succumbing to grief over the death of her beloved, Lúthien died, and her soul fled to the Halls of Mandos, where she moved Mandos to pity. So it came to pass that Lúthien and Beren were granted a life together in Middle-earth.[3] Both she and Beren were restored to life, but both of them would die the mortal death of Men, and go beyond the walls of Arda to the unknown Doom of Men.[6]


"(...) and whether the second span of his life was brief or long is not known to Elves or Men"
― Draft[source?] to Quenta Silmarillion

Thus Beren and Lúthien lived again, and dwelt on Tol Galen in the middle of the River Adurant in Ossiriand. There they stayed apart from other mortals. Lúthien bore Beren a son, named Dior, Thingol's heir.[7] He was considered to be one of the fairest beings to ever live, for in him flowed the blood of Men, the blood of Elves, and the blood of the Ainur. Through his descendants, the blood of Beren and of Lúthien was preserved among the Eldar and the Edain.

Beren and Luthien by Turner Mohan

The taking of the Silmaril from Angband by Beren and Lúthien led Maedhros, the eldest of the sons of Fëanor to lead a union of Elves and Men in an assault upon Angband in the ill-fated Nirnaeth Arnoediad. It was here that Morgoth gained a greater control over Beleriand and where Húrin of the House of Hador was taken prisoner to Angband.[7]

Beren was involved with the events of the First Age only one further time. After the murder of Thingol, Mablung was sent by Melian to warn Beren. He gathered the Green-elves, and with the aid of some Ents[8] they waylaid a group of the Dwarves of Nogrod who had destroyed Doriath and stolen its treasures. They ambushed the Dwarves and vanquished them in the Battle of Sarn Athrad. Because the Lord of Nogrod cursed the treasure, Beren threw it in the river Ascar, but salvaged the Nauglamir which he brought to his wife. Their son Dior left to restore and rule Menegroth.[6]

Beren and Lúthien died together on Tol Galen. Among the Children of Ilúvatar the final death of Beren and Lúthien is accounted in F.A. 503, for in the Autumn of that year Dior received the Silmaril in Doriath, and it was taken as a sign of his parents' death. In truth the date of their death is unknown.[6][9]


Beren had golden-brown hair and grey eyes. He was taller than most of his kinsmen, but (according to the trait of his House) he was broad-shouldered, and his limbs were very strong.[1]


Beren is glossed as "bold" in Noldorin of The Etymologies.[10]

Other names[edit]

His epithet Erchamion means "one-handed".[11] It has been suggested that Camlost means "empty-handed". Both epithets contain Sindarin cam ("hand").[12]


Kings of Númenor
Lords of Andúnië
Kings of Gondor
Kings of Arnor
Chieftains of
the Dúnedain
Aragorn II
Kings of the
Reunited Kingdom

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

In the first pencilled draft of the story of the Beren and Lúthien, Beren was a mortal Man; but when Tolkien erased it and wrote the "Tale of Tinúviel" of the The Book of Lost Tales, he became an Elf: one of the Gnomes of Dor-lómin, the son of Egnor the Forester. The displeasure of King Tinwelint against him was because the Dark Elves of Artanor considered those Elves treacherous.[13]


The story of Beren and Lúthien, though mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings, was a central part of the Legendarium. Tolkien once referred to it as "the kernel of the mythology".[14] He went on to say that it "arose from a small woodland glade filled with 'hemlocks'", which he visited while serving in the Humber Garrison in 1918 (during World War I).

Tolkien seemed to be somehow connected to this character, and parallels can be drawn with his relationship with Edith Bratt. Furthermore it is possible that Beren (meaning 'brave') is a reference to the original meaning of his Germanic surname (Toll kühn) of similar meaning. It is said that, like the story of Lúthien dancing in the woods before Beren, that one day while Tolkien and his wife were on a picnic in the woods she danced for him, thus creating another parallel to Beren and Luthien.

Tolkien was buried in Wolvercote Cemetery (North Oxford) and this name appears on the stone:


The name of Lúthien also appears on the stone:

EDITH MARY TOLKIEN Lúthien 1889 – 1971


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", note 46
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand; last version of the Lay of Leithian p. 344 cf. p.350 line 512
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West (Chapter 14)"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian: Canto II (Gorlim's betrayal and Beren's revenge)"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 248, (dated 5 October 1963)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 306
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", root "BER"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, pp. 51, 231
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry cam
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Beren and Lúthien, "Beren and Lúthien: [Unnamed introduction]"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 165, (undated, written June 1955)
House of Bëor
Born: F.A. 432 Died: F.A. 466/503
Preceded by:
8th Head of the House of Bëor
F.A. 460 - 466
House of Bëor ceased to exist

Barahir's Outlaw Band
Barahir · Beren · Gildor · Belegund · Baragund · Gorlim · Urthel · Dagnir · Ragnor · Radhruin · Dairuin · Arthad · Hathaldir