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"...It is a long tale..." — Aragorn
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Christopher Tolkien - Map of Brethil.jpg
General Information
Other namesSarch nia Chîn Húrin (S)
LocationBetween Taeglin and Sirion, West Beleriand
DescriptionForest of silver birches, with Amon Obel at the centre
Major townsObel Halad, Hunters' lodge
People and History
InhabitantsHouse of Haleth, Sindar, Drúedain
EventsLeap of Beren
GalleryImages of Brethil

The Forest of Brethil, also known as just Brethil, was a forest between the rivers Taeglin and Sirion. Originally part of Doriath, but outside the Girdle of Melian, the land was later granted to the Haladin. After the death of Túrin and Nienor, it was given another name, Sarch nia Chîn Húrin ("Grave of the Children of Húrin"). The main feature of the forest was the hill of Amon Obel.


Early history[edit]

After dwelling in Thargelion for some time, the Haladin and their leader Haleth, journeyed westward and entered the Forest of Brethil. Brethil was claimed by King Thingol to be part of his realm, but after learning of the travails of Haleth and her people they were granted the land to dwell in, on the condition that they guard the Crossings of the Taeglin.[1] Some Drúedain also dwelt there.[2] The main settlement of the Haladin was Ephel Brandir on Amon Obel.

The Orc-Host is Ambushed in Brethil by Ted Nasmith

Dorthonion was ruined after the Dagor Bragollach. Emeldir, the wife of Barahir, led the surviving women and children into Brethil, where they were received by the Haladin. Two years after the battle, Minas Tirith was captured by Gorthaur and Brethil was now open to invading Orcs. Halmir and Beleg led a force of Men and Sindar and ambushed an Orc-legion that was marching through Brethil and utterly destroyed them.[3]

In F.A. 495, Orcs invaded Brethil. Handir was slain and the Men of Brethil were driven back into their woods.[4]


The Coming of Túrin into Brethil by Alan Lee

Túrin came to Brethil after the destruction of Nargothrond and the journey to Dor-Lómin. In Brethil he searched for Finduilas, but his search was in vain as the Men of Brethil told him that she was dead after they defeated the Orc-host from Nargothrond at the Crossings of Taeglin. Túrin began to live with the woodmen under the name Turambar.[4]

After hearing some rumours of Orcs roaming near the Crossings, Túrin went there and found Nienor lying upon Haudh-en-Elleth. Túrin brought her back to Ephel Brandir where she recovered, though because of her earlier encounter with Glaurung, the father of all dragons, she could not remember her name or past. Túrin named her Níniel and they grew to love each other, eventually marrying and conceiving a child.[4]

Brethil was at peace for some years until Glaurung sent Orcs to trouble the woodmen. Túrin took up Gurthang again and the Orcs were repelled. The sight of the Black Sword being seen again was reported to Glaurung and he came forth from Nargothrond towards Brethil. At the borders of the forest Glaurung was slain by Túrin.[4]

After the death of the dragon Glaurung, Túrin wrenched Gurthang from the belly of the beast. This action caused a spurt of black venomous blood to drench Túrin's hand. The pain of his burned hand and a baleful glare by the dragon caused Túrin to swoon and appear as if dead. Soon after Nienor, still under the dragon's curse and unaware of her true name, came to the scene and bound her husband Túrin's hand. She cried for him to awake but this only aroused Glaurung one last time. He hailed her by her true name and as he died she recalled all of her past. Niënor was horrified when she learned that the child whom she carried within her womb was her brother's child. Brandir witnessed the scene and cried out to Niënor, but she fled and jumped to her death at Cabed-en-Aras. When Brandir walked back to Nen Girith, where the people of Brethil cowered, he spoke of the deaths of the children of Húrin and called the land Sarch nia Chîn Húrin, "Grave of the Children of Húrin", stating that it would never be free of grief.[5]

When Túrin awoke he went to Nen Girith and Brandir told him Nienor was dead and that she was his sister. Túrin did not believe him, so he slew him and fled the scene. Near the Crossings he met Mablung and his entourage. The elf told him of what had become of his mother and sister and their encounter with Glaurung. Túrin horrified by what he learnt fled to Cabed-en-Aras and cast himself upon Gurthang. The Men of Brethil and the Elves came to the gorge and buried Túrin.[6]


Húrin travelled to Brethil after his journey to Hithlum. He visited the grave of Túrin and Nienor and by the stone he found his wife Morwen who died shortly after.[7] Húrin was taken to Obel Halad where he caused infighting amongst the Men of Brethil.[8]


brethil is Sindarin for "silver birch".[9]

Sarch nia Chîn Húrin was the name that Brandir gave to Brethil, meaning "Grave of the Children of Húrin".