Húrin is a fictional character in the Middle-earth legendarium of J. R. R. Tolkien. He is introduced in The Silmarillion as a hero of Men during the First Age, said to be the greatest warrior of both the Edain and all the other Men in Middle-earth.

Húrin
Tolkien character
In-universe information
AliasesThalion, the Steadfast,
Lord of Dor-lómin
GenderMale
Book(s)The Silmarillion,
The Children of Húrin,
The War of the Jewels,
Unfinished Tales

Appearance and historyEdit

Húrin is the elder son of Galdor the Tall of the House of Hador and Hareth of the Haladin, and he has a younger brother named Huor.

...[Húrin] was shorter in stature than other men of his kin; in this he took after his mother's people, but in all else he was like Hador his grandfather, fair of face and golden-haired, strong in body and fiery of mood. But the fire in him burned steadily, and he had great endurance of will. Of all Men of the North he knew most of the counsels of the Noldor.[T 1]

Huor and Húrin live with their uncle Haldir, when they join a war party against the Orcs. The brothers end up in the Vale of Sirion, and are cut off from their company and chased by Orcs. The Vala of Water causes a mist to arise from the river, and the brothers escape. Then two Eagles pick them up, and bring them to Gondolin. King Turgon welcomes them, remembering Ulmo's prophecy that the House of Hador will aid Gondolin in its time of greatest need. Turgon wants them to remain, as he grows to love them, but the brothers wish to return to their kin. They swear an oath to keep Gondolin secret, and the Eagles bring them back to Dor-lómin.

Later Morgoth assails Hithlum, and Húrin's father Galdor falls defending the Barad Eithel. Húrin chases the Orcs away. He then takes the Lordship of his people.

Soon he marries Morwen, and then their son Túrin is born. A daughter Lalaith follows, but she dies very young.

Later when they go to battle with Morgoth Húrin rides his horse Arroch, 'Noble horse',[T 1] to the battle and fights alongside his brother, Huor. In the midst of battle he meets Turgon again. After they lose the battle, Húrin and Huor take a stand fighting off the Orcs, allowing Turgon to escape. Huor and most of their soldiers are killed, but Húrin fights with his battle-axe until his axe withers, and he is buried under a mountain of dead Orcs and Trolls. Húrin is then bound alive by Gothmog Lord of Balrogs who brings him to Angband.

Morgoth then tries to force Húrin to reveal where Gondolin is. When Húrin refuses, Morgoth curses him along with his kin and puts him on a high mountain peak in chains. Through the power of Morgoth, he can see and hear from the seat all the evils that later befall his son Túrin and daughter Nienor. He sees only those things that Morgoth wishes to reveal, lessening their good deeds. Húrin is thus embittered even more by the way his children, both under the spells of a dragon, come to marry each other, conceive a child and commit suicide.

After twenty-eight years of imprisonment and the death of his children, Húrin is released by Morgoth. "He had grown grim to look upon: his hair and beard were white and long, but there was a fell light in his eyes. He walked unbowed, and yet carried a great black staff; but he was girt with a sword."[T 2] He is brought to his old homelands, but enemies are living there.

Seven outlaws under Asgon join Húrin, and together they go to the Vale of Sirion. Húrin abandons his followers and seeks the entrance to Gondolin, but it is closed, and Turgon does not wish to allow him in. Húrin cries out against Turgon, revealing the location of Gondolin to Morgoth's spies, and leaves. Only after he leaves does Turgon have a change of heart and send Eagles to fetch him, but they come too late and do not find him.

Húrin continues to the forest of Brethil where his son and daughter died, and meets his wife Morwen there at their grave, just before she dies. In anger and despair he seeks out the Folk of Haleth, blaming them for the death of his wife and children, and causes a revolt that kills the last Haladin. Hardang the Chieftain of Brethil fears and dishonours Húrin, imprisoning and trying to kill him. Húrin's cause is defended by Manthor, and they manage to set the Folk of Brethil against Hardang and kill him. Manthor himself is killed, and guesses the will of Húrin: "Was not this your true errand, Man of the North: to bring ruin upon us to weigh against thine own?"[T 2]

Húrin meets up again with the outlaws, and together they go to Nargothrond, where Húrin kills the dwarf who claimed the treasure of the dragon who caused the suffering of Hurin's children, earning a curse on the gold. Húrin and his outlaws bring the treasure to Doriath, insulting Thingol by giving it as a fee for his 'good care' of Húrin's kin.[note 1] Húrin thus brings a curse on Doriath as well, leading to its downfall.

Melian, the queen of Doriath, uses kind words to break through to Húrin's clouded mind, and Húrin finally sees that all his deeds had only aided Morgoth. A broken man, he is rumoured to have cast himself in the sea and killed himself. That is the end of Húrin, who had been known as the "mightiest of the warriors of mortal men".

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

This article includes information from the expanded Narn i Chîn Húrin and The Wanderings of Húrin: the account in the published The Silmarillion, according to which Húrin himself buried Morwen and brought Nauglamír to Thingol, has been significantly edited for publication. In early versions of Tolkien's mythology his name was Úrin or Úrinthalion, and also Thalion Erithámrod 'the Unbending'.

ReceptionEdit

The Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey writes that the "lyric core" of the story of the fall of Gondolin is the scene where Húrin is set free after 28 years imprisoned by Morgoth. In his view, "everything in this scene is emblematic";[1] the sun sets behind the Mountains of Shadow, standing for the coming catastrophe, but "the real sunset is in Húrin's heart".[1]

Helen Lasseter Freeh notes that the longer version of the tale of Túrin Turambar in Unfinished Tales (the Narn) contains a dialogue between Morgoth and Húrin about fate and providence. Despite his imprisonment, Húrin insists that Morgoth cannot control everything, and while Morgoth does not directly contradict this, he says he will spread a "cloud of Doom" on everyone Húrin loves, and "wherever they go, evil shall arise". Túrin indeed lives a life of disaster, in which Freeh sees the hand of fate, which threatens to overwhelm Túrin's free will.[2][3] Shippey comments that Morgoth is one of the Valar, and their power in the world appears as luck, or chance, or fate. Terrible things in the Narn seem to be coincidences; but, writes Shippey, Tolkien often gives "double explanations" of these events, one fate, one just accident.[3]

Descent of Túrin TurambarEdit

Túrin–Tuor family tree[T 3]
Bëor
BaranMarach
BoronHaldadMalach
BoromirHaldarMagor
BregorHaldanHathol
BregolasHalmirHador
BelegundBaragundHarethGaldor
RíanMorwenHúrinHuorRían
Túrin
Turambar
Urwen
Lalaith
Niënor
Níniel
Tuor
Eladar
Idril
Celebrindal
ElwingEärendil
ElrosElrond
Colour key:
Colour Description
     Elves
     Men
     Half-elven who chose the fate of elves
     Half-elven who chose the fate of mortal men

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ According to the original story, the outlaws did not accept this, and a bitter battle was fought at Menegroth, leading to the death of all of them, and further cursing the gold. Tolkien never returned to this parts of the legendarium, but the battle was supposedly rejected. See The War of the Jewels, pp. 354-6.

ReferencesEdit

PrimaryEdit

This list identifies each item's location in Tolkien's writings.
  1. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Narn i Hîn Húrin, The childhood of Túrin, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
  2. ^ a b Tolkien, J. R. R. (1994), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The Wanderings of Húrin, pp. 252, 297, ISBN 0-395-71041-3
  3. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1

SecondaryEdit

  1. ^ a b Shippey, Tom (2005) [1982]. The Road to Middle-Earth (Third ed.). HarperCollins. pp. 283–287. ISBN 978-0261102750.
  2. ^ Wood, Ralph C. (2015). Chapter 2. On Fate, Providence, and Free Will in 'The Silmarillion'. Tolkien among the Moderns. University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 65–75. ISBN 978-0-268-09674-8.
  3. ^ a b Shippey, Tom (2005) [1982]. The Road to Middle-Earth (Third ed.). HarperCollins. pp. 296–304. ISBN 978-0261102750.