Berúthiel

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Berúthiel
Gondorian
Paula DiSante - Reporting to Beruthiel.JPG
"Reporting to Beruthiel" by Paula DiSante
Biographical Information
TitlesQueen of Gondor
LocationGondor
Notable forher cats; spying on people of Gondor
Family
SpouseTarannon
ChildrenNone
Physical Description
GenderFemale
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]

Berúthiel was a Black Númenórean.[3] It is possible that Berúthiel was from an inland city that was located south of Umbar.[note 1]

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 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 hated the sounds and the smells of the sea and 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.[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.[3] In total she had ten cats, nine black and one white.[1] Berúthiel trained the cats to go on errands during the night and to spy on her enemies[3], to discover the dark secrets of Men of Gondor that they wished most to keep hidden.[1] She sent the white cat to spy on the black ones. Berúthiel was able to converse with her cats and to read their memories. Her cats were infamous among the Gondorians. All were afraid of them, did not dare to touch them and cursed them when they saw them.[1]

Eventually, Tarannon exiled Berúthiel from Gondor and her name was erased from the Book of the Kings. He had her set on a ship that "was last seen flying past Umbar with a cat at the masthead and another as a figurehead on the prow"[1] and Berúthiel went back to live in the inland city.[3]

Legacy[edit]

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 23 years after the death of King Tarannon.[5]

Despite the erasure of her name from Gondor's records, 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 death.[6]

Etymology[edit]

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") + rúth ("anger") + feminine suffix -iel.[7] 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]

 
 
 
 
 
 
Atanatar I
480 - 748
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Siriondil
570 - 830
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
BERÚTHIEL
unknown
 
Tarannon Falastur
654 - 913
 
Tarciryan
unknown
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eärnil I
736 - 936
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ciryandil
820 - 1015


Inspiration[edit]

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][8]

Notes

  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 with 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.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari", "Notes", note 7
  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
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 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
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Eärnil
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Journey in the Dark"
  7. Paul Strack, "S. Berúthiel f.", Eldamo - An Elvish Lexicon (accessed 29 October 2021)
  8. Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings, "Thursday evenings", pp. 137-8