The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Born two ages before the Return of the Noldor, died I 503
Race
Elves (but later chose to become mortal as Men)
Division
Meaning
'Lúthien' seems to mean 'Enchantress'1. 'Tinúviel' means 'nightingale' (literally 'dusk-singer')
Pronunciation
Loo'thien Tinoo'viel
('th' as in 'cloth')
Titles

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 24 February 2002
  • Updates planned: 12

Lúthien Tinúviel

The Nightingale of Doriath

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Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

The daughter of King Thingol of Doriath and Melian the Maia, and said to be the fairest Elf to have ever lived. She was discovered by Beren as he wandered the woods of her father's kingdom, and they grew to love one another. When Lúthien took Beren before her father, he was apalled that his royal daughter should wish to wed a mortal, and so set Beren what he thought was an unachievable task, to recover a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth himself. So Beren left Doriath in pursuit of his hopeless quest.

After a time, a darkness fell on Lúthien's heart, and she learned from her mother Melian what this meant; Beren had been captured by Sauron, and was held in the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Though Thingol sought to stop her, Lúthien set out from Doriath to rescue Beren, if she could. Passing through many adventures, she gained the help of Huan the Hound, and together they came to Sauron's Isle. Through Lúthien's magic and Huan's strength they defeated Sauron and rescued Beren. Eventually Beren set out for Angband once again, and Lúthien accompanied him.

Through Lúthien's powers, they passed the gates of Angband, and the great wolf Carcharoth that guarded them. Coming before the Dark Throne itself, she wove a spell that put Morgoth and his court into a deep sleep, and Beren cut a Silmaril from the Iron Crown. Returning to the gates, they found that Carcharoth barred their escape. Beren held up the hallowed Jewel to protect them, but the monstrous wolf bit off his hand, and with it consumed the Silmaril. But the Silmarils were blessed by Varda herself, so that any unclean flesh that touched them would be withered and burnt. The wolf's innards were consumed with that burning, and it ran howling into the south.

Lúthien healed Beren, and they came at last back to her father's halls at Menegroth. There they heard tidings that the maddened wolf had entered Thingol's realm, and Beren set out with the King to the Hunting of the Wolf. After nightfall they returned; the wolf was slain and the Silmaril recovered, but Beren was wounded mortally. So he passed away, and soon after Lúthien too wasted of grief.

Their spirits were gathered in the Halls of Mandos in the Uttermost West of the World, and there Lúthien sang a song of such extraordinary power and beauty that it moved even the implacable heart of Mandos himself. So she was granted a unique fate, to become mortal and return to Middle-earth with Beren, where they dwelt for a time in happiness on the green island of Tol Galen in the River Adurant.


Notes

1

At least, according to The Etymologies (The History of Middle-earth Volume 5, The Lost Road and Other Writings III The Etymologies).

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