Narn i Chîn Húrin

A portion of the "Narn i Chîn Húrin" or "The Tale of the Children of Húrin" or simply the "Narn" is a part of the book Unfinished Tales by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It is a prose version of an earlier narrative poem called The Lay of the Children of Húrin. A complete version of the Narn called The Children of Húrin, edited by Christopher Tolkien, was released as a new book in 2007.[1]

The Narn is a long story of what happened to Húrin and his children Túrin Turambar and Nienor, after Húrin was cursed by Morgoth. A coherent but less detailed version of this story appears as Of Túrin Turambar in The Silmarillion, the first posthumous edition of Tolkien's works.

In the published Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, the title of the Narn is given as "Narn i Hîn Húrin". This was an editorial decision by Christopher Tolkien which he later regretted, done only to prevent people from pronouncing Chîn like English "chin" with a voiceless palato-alveolar affricate, rather than a voiceless palatal fricative as in the German dich or the initial sound of the English word huge.[2] The standalone novel The Children of Húrin (2007) uses "Chîn".[3]

Fictional historyEdit

The original version of the Narn was supposedly composed in Sindarin in the Minlamad thent/estent meter by one Dírhaval, a mortal poet who had nevertheless great mastery of the elvish tongue, and the Elves praised the poem.[4]

Plot summaryEdit

The story elaborates on what is told of these characters in the published Silmarillion, starting with the childhood of Túrin, continuing through the captivity of his father in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, and Túrin's exile in Doriath, to Túrin's time in Nargothrond, his incestuous relationship with his sister Nienor, and ultimately ending with suicide by his sword after killing the dragon who caused much of his problems.

As a point of reference regarding the names of the main characters: In this story, Túrin renames himself Turambar, meaning Master of Doom in the High-elven speech, with a vow to turn aside from the darkness that has ruled his early life. His sister Nienor is also called Níniel, meaning Maid of Tears. She is renamed by Turambar himself after he finds her alone and in distress in the woods. Only much later does he learn her real name and origin.

The story has some inconsistencies when compared with The Silmarillion, and at points there are gaps and multiple versions: this is because Tolkien never finished the story during his lifetime, and his son Christopher had to choose from all the work to create a consistent narrative for The Silmarillion.

The story of the Narn continues in the Later Narn, which is also published in Unfinished Tales, and in The Wanderings of Húrin, a text which was different in style from the rest of The Silmarillion, but which continues the Narn past Túrin's death with Húrin's eventual release and the bad deeds which result from that. This story was published in The War of the Jewels, a part of the series The History of Middle-earth.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^"Son completes unfinished Tolkien". BBC News. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 22 December 2006.
  2. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1987), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Commentary on Chapter 17, ISBN 0-395-45519-7
  3. ^ Retrieved 20 March 2007.
  4. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 146, ISBN 0-395-29917-9