Túrin Turambar

  (Redirected from Niënor Níniel)

Túrin Turambar (pronounced [ˈtuːrɪn tuˈrambar]) is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. "Turambar and the Foalókë", begun in 1917, is the first appearance of Túrin in the legendarium. J. R. R. Tolkien consciously based the story on the medieval tale of Kullervo in the Finnish mythological poem Kalevala compiled by Elias Lönnrot, saying that it was "an attempt to reorganize...the tale of Kullervo the hapless, into a form of my own".[T 1] Also called "The Tale of Grief", "Narn i Chîn Húrin", commonly called "The Narn", it tells of the tragic fates of the children of Húrin, namely his son Túrin (Turambar) and his daughter Nienor. Excerpts of the story have been published over the years, in The Silmarillion (prose), Unfinished Tales (prose), The Book of Lost Tales Part II (prose), The Lays of Beleriand (verse in alliterative long-lines) and most recently in 1994 in The War of the Jewels (prose), the latter three part of The History of Middle-earth series.

Tolkien character
In-universe information
AliasesSee Names and titles
Book(s)The Children of Húrin,
The Silmarillion,
The Lays of Beleriand

Túrin Turambar is the primary protagonist and tragic hero of the novel The Children of Húrin, published after Tolkien's death by his son Christopher Tolkien and drawing from many of the above sources to finally present a complete narrative. His title, "Turambar", means master of fate. Later, on his tombstone, it was written, "...Master of Fate, yet by fate mastered," concluding his tragedy, and ultimately showing his failure to achieve his goals of escaping the curse of ill fate Morgoth had cast upon him.

In the books, Túrin was a Man of the First Age of Middle-earth, whose family had been cursed by the ultimate evil being of the legendarium, Morgoth. In course of his unsuccessful attempts to defy the curse, Túrin brought ruin upon several Mannish and Elven strongholds as well as upon himself and his sister Niënor Níniel. Their history was recorded in the Tale of the Children of Húrin or Narn i Chîn Húrin, which was claimed by Tolkien to be the ultimate source of the published writings.[T 2]

Túrin is briefly mentioned in The Fellowship of the Ring, but little more is said than that he was one of "the mighty Elf-friends of old". In The Two Towers, his name is briefly mentioned as a strong warrior.


Túrin was the son of Húrin Thalion, Lord of the Folk of Hador, and Morwen Eledhwen of the House of Bëor. He was born in the month of Gwaeron (March) of the Year of the Sun 464.[T 3] He had a younger sister, Lalaith, but she died of a plague at the age of three, when a pestilent wind came from Angband. Túrin was also taken sick at that time, but recovered. His closest childhood friend was Sador One-foot.

Sketch map of Beleriand. Doriath is at the centre; Dor-lómin, upper left.

The Siege of Angband was already broken at that time, but Túrin's homeland of Dor-lómin was still contested by the Folk of Hador against Morgoth's forces. When Túrin was eight years old, Húrin led most of his Men to war, and all were slain during the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Húrin himself was captured alive, and cursed by Morgoth together with his family. Dor-lómin was invaded by the Easterlings at Morgoth's command. Túrin remained with Morwen, who hid him from the Incomers, fearing that they would enslave or kill him as the heir of both Dor-lómin and Ladros. She sent him secretly and under protection of Grithnir and Gethron to the Elven-realm of Doriath; Morwen remained in Dor-lómin herself, and shortly afterwards Túrin's second sister, Niënor, was born.

Túrin and his guides eventually reached Doriath, and were enmeshed in the Girdle of Melian. There they came near to death, but the marchwarden Beleg Strongbow found them and led them to the halls of Menegroth. King Thingol adopted Túrin, in memory of Húrin's heroism and because of his kinship with Beren. One of Túrin's friends there was an elven-lady Nellas, who watched over him at Queen Melian's bidding and taught elven-lore. Túrin became esteemed and renowned for his prowess and bravery, and Beleg became his teacher of warfare.

When after eight years[T 4] Dor-lómin was cut off and tidings from Morwen and Niënor ceased, Túrin decided to pit his strength against Morgoth's forces, hoping to avenge thus the sorrows of his kin. Thingol appointed him to be one of his "knights of the sword",[T 5] and Túrin departed to the northern marches of Doriath to fight the Orcs, where he was joined by Beleg. His chief weapon for ever after became the sword, and in addition he wore now the Dragon-helm of Hador, so that the Orcs began to fear him.

At the age of 20,[T 5][T 6] Túrin accidentally killed Saeros, one of Thingol's counsellors, who had scorned him for his attire and mortal lineage. Túrin injured him for this, but later was ambushed by Saeros. Túrin overpowered him, chasing him at sword point to a ravine where, in an attempt to jump, Saeros stumbled and died on the rocks below. Heedless of Mablung's counsels, and before Túrin could be either punished or absolved, he fled from Doriath, fearing imprisonment. Thingol, after learning of the circumstances from Nellas, eventually pardoned Túrin, and Beleg obtained leave to seek out his friend.

Túrin was unaware of this and fled westward, eventually meeting up with a band of outlaws called Gaurwaith that dwelt in the woods south of the river Taeglin. He proved his worth for them by killing one of their best warriors, and thus earned himself a place in the band. At that moment he wished neither to depart anywhere else, nor to strive with them, and so he did little to restrain other members from their evil deeds, such as harassing scattered homesteads of Men. A year later, in an attempt to save the daughter of Larnach, a woodman, Túrin accidentally killed Forweg, the leader of the band. He then claimed his place, and this was granted to him as "the best man" among the outlaws.[T 7]

Soon Beleg found the band in the wild, while Túrin was absent spying upon the Orcs. The outlaws treated the Elf badly, and this, as well as the counsels of Beleg, made Túrin stop the lawless way of the band's life, hunting hereafter only the servants of Angband. He rejected Beleg's advice to return to Doriath, and the Elf then departed to Menegroth. Later Túrin's band captured Mîm the Petty-dwarf; his two sons escaped, but one of them, Khîm, was mortally wounded by an outlaw Andróg. In order to save his own life, Mîm was forced to share his dwellings upon the hill of Amon Rûdh with the band.

Beleg returned to Túrin after a time, healing those of the band that had become sick with cold and delivering them lembas of Melian. He also brought the Dragon-helm, and the area around Amon Rûdh became known as Dor-Cúarthol, the "Land of Bow and Helm". Many warriors joined them, and much of West Beleriand was freed from evil by the prowess of the "Two Captains", Beleg and Túrin. Túrin by wearing the Helm revealed his identity to Morgoth, who sent a host of Orcs against Amon Rûdh two years later.[T 6] These found Mîm, and he once again bought his life by leading them up the hill. Túrin was captured and all his men slain, except Beleg and Andvír.[T 8]

Beleg followed the Orcs through the forest of Taur-nu-Fuin, where he met Gwindor, a slave who had escaped from Angband. Together they rescued Túrin upon the confines of Anfauglith. Unfortunately, when Beleg was cutting the sleeping Túrin free from his bonds, he pricked Túrin's foot with the sword Anglachel, and Túrin, mistaking Beleg in the darkness for an orc come to torment him, took the sword and slew Beleg. Túrin became dazed with grief after this, but Gwindor led him to the Pools of Ivrin, where he returned to senses.

They journeyed to the hidden fortress of Nargothrond, where Gwindor had formerly been a lord. He gave Beleg's black sword Anglachel to Túrin now, who had it reforged and renamed as Gurthang, "Iron of Death". Túrin hid his own name, eventually becoming known as Mormegil or the Blacksword of Nargothrond, because of his prowess with Gurthang. Gwindor met there again his beloved, Finduilas daughter of King Orodreth, but she unwillingly fell in love with Túrin; however, Túrin did not perceive this and held her in awe.

Túrin was extremely influential in Nargothrond, becoming a chief counsellor of Orodreth and eventually overruling both him and Gwindor. He encouraged the Elves to abandon their practice of secrecy, and they built a great bridge before the Doors of Nargothrond and managed to clear the land between the River Sirion and Falas from enemies. However, Túrin became arrogant, ignoring even a warning from the Vala Ulmo, brought by Gelmir and Arminas, to destroy the bridge and return to secrecy.

When Túrin had dwelt in Nargothrond for five years,[T 6] Morgoth sent a great host of Orcs led by the dragon Glaurung against Nargothrond, and Túrin encouraged Orodreth to send his forces to fight them in the open. During the ensuing Battle of Tumhalad, Nargothrond's forces were destroyed and Orodreth was slain, while the bridge helped Morgoth's forces to locate the fortress and cross the river Narog. Túrin fought valiantly and was able to withstand Glaurung, but he forsook the battle to carry away the mortally wounded Gwindor. Before Gwindor died, he instructed Túrin to save Finduilas, prophesying that she alone could save Túrin from his doom.

Hastening to save the captives of Nargothrond, Túrin was caught by the powerful gaze of Glaurung, and stood by enspelled and immobile as Finduilas was dragged away, calling to him. The dragon deceived him into believing that Morwen and Niënor were suffering in Dor-lómin, and Túrin abandoned Finduilas to seek out his kin.

The next year he reached Dor-lómin,[T 9] but found his old house empty and went to the halls of Brodda the Easterling, who had taken Húrin's lands and possessions. There Túrin learned from Brodda's wife Aerin that Morwen had already left for Doriath before the fall of Nargothrond, as Túrin's own efforts had made the way passable. In his rage he killed Brodda and his followers, rising a revolt. As he left, Aerin burnt herself alive in her halls, and the remnant of the Folk of Hador was persecuted even more cruelly from that time.

Túrin next tried to find Finduilas and followed the trail towards the forest of Brethil, but came too late: the woodmen informed him that she had been killed by the orcs when the Men of Brethil had ambushed them in an attempt to rescue the prisoners. Túrin collapsed in grief upon her grave, and was brought to Ephel Brandir. There he took up his life again, now calling himself Turambar ("Master of Doom") and renouncing his descent, hoping to overcome his curse. The Folk of Haleth dwelling there were ruled by Brandir the Lame, who hoped to preserve his people by secrecy. Turambar quickly gained the favour of the Folk and once again overruled Brandir, gathering companies to fight Orcs upon the borders. He stopped wielding Gurthang and fought rather with a spear and a bow.

Meanwhile, Morwen and Niënor dwelt in Doriath, but when the news of Nargothrond's destruction had reached them, they rashly went to look for Túrin, aided by a small company of Elves. Glaurung, who now lived in the ruined halls of Nargothrond, descended into the river so that a fog rose and enmeshed the company. Morwen was lost, but Niënor met the dragon and was enspelled by him, forgetting her past. Eventually she fled from both the Elves and the Orcs that pursued her and reached Brethil.

Turambar found her at Finduilas's grave, naked, unable to speak and remembering nothing. He named her Níniel, "Maid of Tears", and took her to Ephel Brandir. There she was healed by Brandir, who fell in love with her; however, Níniel and Turambar came to love each other. Túrin asked her in marriage, but Brandir managed to dissuade her, foreboding evil; yet when Turambar had vowed to forsake war for her sake unless to protect her, Níniel finally married him. Turambar was forced to go back to war when Glaurung sent Orcs to attack Brethil: taking the sword up again, Túrin drove them away, taking control of the Folk from Brandir. Next year Níniel conceived; however, soon Glaurung attacked Brethil himself.

Turambar decided to ambush the Dragon as he crossed the ravine of Cabed-en-Aras and to try stabbing him from beneath. He took two companions with him, Dorlas and Hunthor, but the first deserted them and the other was slain by a stone. Turambar mortally wounded Glaurung with Gurthang, but was hurt by the venom of the Dragon's blood and fell in a swoon. When Níniel came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words undid his spell, and she remembered who she was and realized that Turambar was her brother. Horrified, Niënor cast herself over the brink of the ravine into the river Taeglin and died.

Brandir witnessed this, and when Turambar awoke, he told him what had happened and taunted him from his jealousy that Túrin had more respect than he and had had the love of Níniel. Refusing to believe and in wrath on his fate, Túrin slew the defenceless Brandir and ran in madness towards Finduilas's grave. There he was met by Mablung of Doriath, who confirmed the words of Brandir were true. In despair and shame Túrin fled back to Cabed-en-Aras and cast himself upon the point of his sword Gurthang.

Túrin was buried in a high mound near the brink of Cabed-en-Aras, together with Gurthang which had broken asunder. A great stone was set upon the grave, upon which the Elves wrote in Cirth, the runes of Doriath:


(Túrin, Conqueror of Fate, Slayer of Glaurung

Niënor Níniel)

However, Niënor's body was not there and could not be found. Two years later Morwen and Húrin met at that place for the last time, and Morwen was also buried there. The mound survived the War of Wrath and the Drowning of Beleriand, and as Tol Morwen was one of the islands off the coast of Middle-earth in later ages.

Fate after deathEdit

Tolkien wrote several versions of a prophecy about Túrin's fate after death.

In the earliest outline preserved, where the tale is drafted only cursorily and has many elements missing, a reference already appears to "purification of Turambar and Vainóni (the original name of Niënor) who fare shining about the world and go with the hosts of Tulkas against Melkor (Morgoth)]."[T 10] In the finished manuscript of The Tale of Turambar and the Foalókë, this is elaborated into a story that Túrin and Nienor were not at first admitted to Mandos because of their deeds; but after their parents' prayers, they were permitted to enter the "bath of flame", where the Sun replenished its light, "and so were all their sorrows and stains washed away, and they dwelt as shining Valar among the blessed ones”." A new detail is introduced, that "Turambar indeed shall stand beside Fionwë [Eönwë] in the Great Wrack, and Melko [Morgoth] and his drakes [name of the dragons in Tolkien legendarium] shall curse the sword of Mormakil [name of the sword of Túrin]".[T 10]

In Tolkien's later writings no reference to Niënor's fate appears, but Túrin's destiny is made even more prominent. The notion maintained for a long time was that Túrin would take part in the Last Battle fought before the End of the World, when Morgoth would return and make the final assault upon the Valar and the Children of Ilúvatar. In an early text, known as "Earliest Silmarillion", it is "the spirit of Túrin" who came back and fought, and "it shall be Túrin who with his black sword will slay Morgoth"[T 11] while in the revision of the Quenta Noldorinwa carried out in 1930 the battle is described thus:.[T 12]

In that day Tulkas shall strive with Melko, and on his right shall stand Fionwë and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Hurin, Conqueror of Fate, and it shall be the black sword of Túrin that deals unto Melko his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.[T 12]

In the same text says that after the victory over Morgoth the prophecy of Mandos about man not saying anything but "save of Túrin only, and him it names among the Gods." In "Quenta Silmarillion", published in 1937, Túrin also takes part in the Last Battle, he "will come from the halls of Mandos" and his sword causes Morgoth "death and final end",[T 13] but in this text Túrin gets a place among "the sons of the Valar", although the whole line about the prophecy of the Mandos about the man, including the presence of Túrin among the sons of the Valar, in "Later Quenta Silmarillion" was marked with a large cross, that in the works of Tolkien mean that there is "some misstatement in the text that requires revision"[T 14][T 15] Also, in "Later Quenta Silmarillion" the string of "Quenta Silmarillion" about the arrival of Túrin from the halls of Mandos was corrected to "returning from the Doom of Men at the ending of the world", but the strings with participation of Túrin in the battle against Morgoth and the death of Morgoth from the black sword of Túrin were neither removed nor marked in any way, corrected or replaced.[T 15]

Among the texts of Tolkien, written for the "Narn i Chîn Húrin", which dates from the 1950s, contains the prophecy of Finduilas stating that "The Adanedhel [one of the names of Túrin] is mighty in the tale of the World, and his stature shall reach yet to Morgoth in some far day to come."[T 16] In 1958, Tolkien wrote that when Varda set the constellation of Menelmacar, she intended it to be "a sign of Túrin Turambar" and "a foreshowing of the Last Battle."[T 17] In one of the footnotes to his later texts «Problem of Ros», Tolkien mentions prophecy of Andreth, according to which Túrin "in the Last Battle should return from the Dead, and before he left the Circles of the World for ever should challenge the Great Dragon of Morgoth, Ancalagon the Black, and deal him the death-stroke.".[T 18] According to Christopher Tolkien, the term "Last Battle" is used in the same text the «Problem of Ros», as a designation for the War of Wrath and in this last reappearance of the idea of the return of Túrin, Andreth predicted the War of Wrath, in which according to the all more earliest texts, the death of Ancalagon the Black was attributed to Eärendil.[T 18]


Túrin is said to have been one of the fairest Men to have ever lived: "dark-haired and pale-skinned, ... his face more beautiful than any other among mortal Men, in the Elder Days."[T 19] In this he is stated to have taken after his mother Morwen,[T 20] descended from the House of Bëor, in contrast to his fair-haired father Húrin from the House of Hador.[T 3] According to Gwindor's words, Túrin was very tall, "as tall as are the Men from the misty hills of Hithlum,"[T 19] in which he supposedly took after his grandfather Galdor the Tall since both Húrin[T 3] and the Folk of Bëor[T 20] were shorter than was usual among the Men of Hador.

Tolkien was not consistent in describing Túrin's eyes. According to some texts "he had the beauty of his mother and the eyes of his father",[T 21] which were blue,[T 22] while in other Túrin is said to have inherited the grey eyes of his mother.[T 19] It is also stated that his eyes were bright,[T 7] and that "few indeed could challenge the eyes of Túrin in set will or in wrath."[T 23] Thus it is possible that he inherited the "elven-light ... hard to endure" of his mother's eyes.[T 24]

As a child of five years, Túrin is described thus:

He was dark-haired as his mother, and promised to be like her in mood also; for he was not merry, and spoke little, though he learned to speak early and ever seemed older than his years. Túrin was slow to forget injustice or mockery; but the fire of his father was also in him, and he could be sudden and fierce. Yet he was quick to pity, and the hurts or sadness of living things might move him to tears.[T 3]

A similar reference to this last trait of Túrin's character is found in Finduilas' words: "He is not yet awake, but still pity can ever pierce his heart, and he will never deny it. Pity maybe shall be ever the only entry."[T 16] His reserved nature is also said to have resulted from Morgoth's curse; thus during Túrin's sojourn in Doriath "...it seemed that fortune was unfriendly to him, so that often what he designed went awry, and what he desired he did not gain; neither did he win friendship easily, for he was not merry, and laughed seldom."[T 5]

Túrin is said to have been greatly affected by the deaths of his friends; thus after overcoming pestilence himself and the death of Lalaith, Túrin's character was hardened and he became even more reserved.[T 3] Tolkien also stated that Túrin ever after "sought in all faces of women the face of Lalaith,"[T 25] that he did not love Finduilas because "his mind and heart were elsewhere, by rivers in springs long past,"[T 16] and that Túrin did fall in love with Níniel because she reminded him of Lalaith.[T 2] The grief that he had slain Beleg "was graven on the face of Túrin and never faded";[T 19] early Tolkien's writings add that after this time "wild and black was his hair yet streaked with grey, and his face was pale and marked as with deep sorrows of the past."[T 10]

Tolkien gave another Túrin's trait which differed him from others: "his speech and bearing were that of the ancient kingdom of Doriath",[T 19] implying that he used a more archaic and 'noble' variant of the Sindarin language.[T 25]

Túrin was a cousin of Tuor Eladar, father of Eärendil the Blessed. There are many parallels between the circumstances of their lives (both lost their fathers in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, were raised in part by Elves, spent time as outlaws, were war-leaders in great Elvish fortresses and survived their downfall), but the outcome of Tuor's life was quite different. Even Túrin's colouring was dark, enhancing his resemblance to the Noldorin Elves but further setting him apart from his fair-haired cousin. The two never actually met, but Tuor did once see his cousin in passing at Eithel Ivrin. The cousins' respective fates – suicide and paradise – are analogous to those in Greek myth of Ajax and Achilles.

Túrin is one of the few characters in Tolkien's writings to have committed suicide, and several of the others – Aerin, Niënor, and Húrin – are connected to his story.

Names and titlesEdit

The name Túrin supposedly comes from the speech of the Folk of Hador, with unknown etymology. Turambar derives from Quenya, an Elvish language created by Tolkien, with the meaning "Master of Fate" (Q. Tur- 'mastery', umbar or ambar 'fate').[T 26] All other names given to and taken by Túrin come from Sindarin, another Elven-tongue devised by Tolkien. The Sindarin form of Turambar, rarely used by Tolkien, was Turumarth (S. umarth or amarth 'fate', also úmarth 'ill-fate').[T 8][T 26]

After leaving Doriath, Túrin usually tried to conceal his curse and, consequently, his true name. When he first appeared among the outlaws, he called himself Neithan,[T 7] "the Wronged", as he thought that he had been expelled from Doriath. Later he took the name Gorthol, "the Dread Helm" (S. gor- 'horror', thôl 'helm'),[T 27] since he wore the Dragon-helm then. When Túrin came to Nargothrond, he hid his identity under the epithet Agarwaen son of Úmarth, "the Bloodstained, son of Ill-fate", but soon became generally known as Adanedhel, "Man-Elf", since he greatly resembled Elves in manners and looks.[T 19] Finduilas also called him Thurin,[T 16] "the Secret", and after the reforging of the black sword Gurthang and because of his prowess with it, Túrin was known as Mormegil, "the Blacksword" (S. mor- "black", magol or megil "sword").[T 26] When he first met the Men of Brethil, Túrin presented himself as the Wildman of the Woods, but soon took the name Turambar when he decided to settle there. He was also entitled Dagnir Glaurunga, "the Bane of Glaurung" (S. dagnir 'slayer').[T 20][T 26]

Line of Túrin and NienorEdit

Túrin–Tuor family tree[T 28]
Colour key:
Colour Description
  Half-elven who chose the fate of elves
  Half-elven who chose the fate of mortal men

Niënor NínielEdit

Niënor, like her brother and parents, is one of the four main characters of The Lay of the Children of Húrin, Tolkien's "great saga" of the "Elder Days" within his legendarium. Their fate is intertwined with the stories of many other characters of this period.[1]

According to biographer Charles Moseley, Niënor and Turin are one of only four "couples whose love gets much space" in Tolkien's works.[2]

Richard C. West described the story of Niënor's family tragic and "of almost unrelieved gloom".[3] In the opinion of Elizabeth A. Whittingham "no tale of Middle-earth is as dark as that" and in its rendition in The Silmarillion, contrary to the author's original intent, "all glimmer of hope has been extinguished".[4]

Epic literature often remains silent about the details of women's lives, but as an exception to the pattern Tolkien gives Niënor a voice. Literature scholar Victoria Holtz-Wodzak calls Niënor a "study of the lives of women during wartime. She is, for all practical purposes, a war orphan". She sees the war-time fate of the women in Tolkien's life as well as his own experiences as inspiration for the character and its sympathetic treatment by the author. His wife Edith Tolkien, like Níniel, had to let her husband go to an uncertain fate in combat while pregnant and in precarious circumstances. J. R. R. Tolkien himself, like Níniel, was unable to take part in combat himself for most of World War I due to illness. Holtz-Wodzak also compares his situation to that of Brandír, who as a non-combatant loses the struggle with Turambar for both the respect of his people and the love of Níniel. The scholar even sees an echo of Tolkien's sentiments about not being able to be active in World War II due to age in "Niennor's desperate wish either to keep the man she loves from danger or to die with him".[5]

Concept and creationEdit


Resemblance of Túrin to figures from medieval tales can be confirmed by a letter which Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman, a publisher from the HarperCollins, concerning the fate of his works:

There is the Children of Húrin, the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar and his sister Níniel – of which Túrin is the hero: a figure that might be said (by people who like that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo.[T 29]

Tolkien based Túrin on the tragic figure of Kullervo from the Finnish Kalevala. Painting Kullervo Rides to War by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, 1901

Túrin is mainly based on Kullervo, a character from the Finnish folklore poems known as Kalevala, who was also "cursed" in a sense, seduced his sister, brought ruin upon his family and slew himself.[6]

There is a degree of connection to Norse mythology: Túrin resembles Sigurd in the Volsunga saga, as both achieve great renown for the slaying of a dragon of immense power, in Sigurd's case Fafnir, in Túrin's Glaurung.[7] There is also, according to Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, a link to Arthurian Legend, with its complex temporal layering, history of manuscripts, and "overlapping story variants in both poetry and prose", supplemented by Tolkien's pretence that he was translating a lost Narn poem from the Elvish.[7]

Tolkien mentions also the resemblance to the unfortunate Oedipus, prince of Thebes, who unwittingly fulfils a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother.[T 29][8] Richard C. West, in The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, writes indeed that the tale "is one of almost unrelieved gloom", though he notes that a prophecy in Tolkien's mythology holds that Túrin and his sister will help in the final defeat of Morgoth after the end of the world. West observes also that as in many other stories of Middle-earth, there is a "delicate balance" between fate, whereby the character inevitably takes certain actions and suffers the consequences, and free will, whereby he makes his own bold or rash choices that determine the outcomes for him.[8]

Other versions of the storyEdit

Rejected namesEdit

The idea of Túrin changing his name to escape his doom is present already in the original versions of the tale, although to a lesser extent. The name Turambar goes to preliminary drafts, where however it was taken by Túrin at his first encounter with Glaurung after the latter had "revealed" to Túrin that he was cursed. Blacksword also appears there, as a side-name; in addition Túrin is said to have called himself "Turambar son of the weary forest" when he returned to Dor-lómin, with Quenya form Rúsitaurion and Gnomish bo-Dhrauthodavros.[T 10]

Tolkien was hesitant about the exact Elvish transcriptions of names: in various texts the later Turumarth appears as Turumart, Turmarth, or Turamarth; Mormegil as Mormagli(r) or Mormael in Gnomish/Sindarin and as Mormakil in Quenya.[T 10][T 11][T 30] The original form of Agarwaen "Bloodstained" was Iarwaeth, and Thurin "the Secret" supposedly originated in Thuringud "the Hidden Foe".[T 9] In early texts Tolkien usually interpreted Turambar as "the Conqueror of Fate".[T 11]


Several artists have created illustrations of Túrin's story. A stand-alone novel The Children of Húrin contains images by Alan Lee,[9] while various editions of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales were illustrated by Ted Nasmith.[10] Other images were made by John Howe[11] and Anke Eißmann.[12]



This list identifies each item's location in Tolkien's writings.
  1. ^ Letters, p. 214
  2. ^ a b Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed" (I), p. 373 and note 2
  3. ^ a b c d e Narn: "The Childhood of Túrin"
  4. ^ Túrin reached Doriath in 473, and Dor-lómin was cut off in 481. Statements in The Silmarillion (Ch. 21) and The Children of Húrin (Ch. 5) that Túrin had dwelt in Doriath for nine years by this time derive from an early version of Quenta Silmarillion (The Lost Road, pp. 320–322), and are contradicted by both earlier and later texts (e.g. The Grey Annals, pp. 79–80), as well as by the statement in The Children of Húrin (ibid.) that he was 17 then.
  5. ^ a b c Narn: "Túrin in Doriath"
  6. ^ a b c The War of the Jewels: The Grey Annals, pp. 61–103, 129–165.
  7. ^ a b c Narn: "Túrin among the Outlaws".
  8. ^ a b The War of the Jewels, "Ælfwine and Dírhaval", pp. 311–315
  9. ^ a b The War of the Jewels: "The Wanderings of Húrin", pp. 256–257 (a plot-synopsis for the Narn)
  10. ^ a b c d e Book of Lost Tales 2, "Turambar and the Foalókë", pp. 69–143
  11. ^ a b c The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The Earliest 'Silmarillion'", p. 29–30, 40–41; "The Quenta", p. 125–131
  12. ^ a b The Shaping of Middle-earth, "The Quenta Noldorinwa", p. 165
  13. ^ The Lost Road", The conclusion of the Quenta Silmarillion", p. 333
  14. ^ The Shaping of Middle-earth, The Quenta, p. 135
  15. ^ a b The War of the Jewels, "The Later Quenta Silmarillion", p. 247
  16. ^ a b c d Unfinished Tales, Appendix to Narn i Hîn Húrin
  17. ^ Morgoth's Ring, "The Annals of Aman", p. 71
  18. ^ a b The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Problem of Ros", p. 374 note 17
  19. ^ a b c d e f The Silmarillion, Ch. 21 "Of Túrin Turambar", p. 207–210
  20. ^ a b c The Silmarillion, Ch. 18 "Of the Coming of Men into the West", p. 148
  21. ^ Narn: "The Departure of Túrin".
  22. ^ Narn, "The Death of Túrin": "[Niënor's] eyes were blue, her hair fine gold, the very likeness in woman's form of Húrin her father." Cf. The Silmarillion, ch. 18, p. 148
  23. ^ Narn: "Of Mîm the Dwarf"
  24. ^ The War of the Jewels: The Wanderings of Húrin, p. 273
  25. ^ a b Unfinished Tales, notes 6 and 8 to Narn i Hîn Húrin
  26. ^ a b c d The Lost Road: "The Etymologies", pp. 339–400. Stems TUR-, MBARAT-, MOR-, MAK-, NDAK-.
  27. ^ The Silmarillion, Appendix, pp. 355–365
  28. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 978-0-395-25730-2
  29. ^ a b Letters, #131 to Milton Waldman, late 1951
  30. ^ The Lost Road, pp. 139–140, 315, 321.


  1. ^ Whittingham, Elizabeth A. (2014). "Unfinished Tales and the History of Middle-earth". In Lee, Stuart D. (ed.). A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 150, 154. ISBN 978-0-470-65982-3.
  2. ^ Moseley, Charles (1997). Writers and their Work: J. R. R. Tolkien. Plymouth: Northcote House. p. 64.
  3. ^ West, Richard C. (2000). "Túrin's Ofermod". In Verlyn Flieger; Carl F. Hostetter (eds.). Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 233–245.
  4. ^ Lee, Stuart D., ed. (2014). A Companion to J. R. R. Tolkien. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-470-65982-3.
  5. ^ Holtz-Wodzak, Victoria (2015-04-15). "Tolkien Sidelined: Constructing the Non-Combatant in The Children of Hurin". Mythlore. Mythopoeic Society. 33 (2): 93–109. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  6. ^ Shippey, Tom (2004). "Tolkien and the Appeal of the Pagan". In Chance, Jane (ed.). Tolkien and the Invention of Myth. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 155, 156. ISBN 9780813123011.
  7. ^ a b Flieger, Verlyn (2000). "J. R. R. Tolkien and the Matter of Britain". Mythlore. 23 (1 (87)): 47–58. JSTOR 26814251.
  8. ^ a b West, Richard C. (2013) [2007]. "Túrin". In Drout, Michael D. C. (ed.). The J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 680–681. ISBN 978-0-415-86511-1.
  9. ^ The Children of Húrin, Book cover
  10. ^ Illustrations by Ted Nasmith: Saeros's Fatal Leap, Mîm Pleads For His Life, Beleg is Slain, Túrin Bears Gwindor to Safety, Finduilas is Led Past Túrin at the Sack of Nargothrond, The Slaying of Glaurung, Túrin Prepares to Take His Life
  11. ^ Illustrations by John Howe: Turambar and Glaurung, The Death of Glaurung, Dragon's Curse
  12. ^ Illustrations by Anke Eißmann: Narn i Hîn Húrin –The Tale of the Children of Húrin


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