The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien

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  • Updated 30 August 2020
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‘Release from Bondage’

The long tale of the Lay of Leithian

The translated title of the long lay known as the Lay of Leithian, telling the story of Beren and Lúthien and their Quest to recover a Silmaril from Morgoth's Iron Crown. The idea of constraint and release is a running theme that weaves through the tale, with both Beren and Lúthien finding themselves captured or imprisoned several times over, and each time being rescued or effecting an escape.

The narrative events are bound up within a larger and more profound working of the theme of release from death itself. Beren was mortally wounded in the Hunting of the Wolf that brought his Quest to an end, and the immortal Lúthien passed away from grief. In the Halls of Mandos she pleaded for Beren's life, and her words moved the Vala Mandos to pity. Thus both Beren and Lúthien were released from their fates and returned to life. They dwelt as mortals for a time on the Green Isle of Tol Galen before moving on together beyond the Circles of the World.


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About this entry:

  • Updated 30 August 2020
  • Updates planned: 1

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