The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Written some time between I 501 and I 5381
Locations
Various locations are mentioned in the Tale, especially Doriath, Bar-en-Danwedh on Amon Rûdh, Nargothrond and the Forest of Brethil
Origins
Created by Dírhavel at the Havens of Sirion
Race
Deals primarily with a family of Men
Division
Culture
Men of Dor-lómin (though in exile for most of the story)
Family
Other names

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  • Updated 3 June 2012
  • This entry is complete

Tale of Grief

The Narn i Chîn Húrin

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A name for the Narn i Chîn Húrin, the sorrowful Tale of the Children of Húrin, that tells of the tragic lives of Túrin Turambar and his sister Niënor. When Húrin was captured by Morgoth in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, he refused to bow to the will of the Dark Lord, and so Morgoth cursed all his kin, forcing him to watch their lives through long years from the peaks of Thangorodrim.

Húrin's young son Túrin was sent away from Dor-lómin after the disaster the Nirnaeth to the safety of Doriath, and so he never met his younger sister Niënor, who was born after his departure. He grew to be a strong warrior, but unintentionally caused the death of the Elf Saeros, and so exiled himself from the kingdom of Thingol. After many journeys through the west of Beleriand, during which he was captured by Orcs and later saw the downfall of Nargothrond, he eventually came to the Forest of Brethil, and settled there in peace.

Meanwhile Túrin's mother Morwen and sister Niënor - who was now grown - set out for Doriath themselves to find Túrin, but discovered him gone. Hearing of his presence in Nargothrond, they went there with a force of Elves sent by Thingol, only to find the halls sacked and occupied by Glaurung the Dragon. Glaurung ensnared Niënor with the Dragon-spell, taking her memory and sending her fleeing into the wild. So she, too, came to Brethil, where she was found by Túrin.

Neither brother nor sister knew who the other was, and in time they wed and Níniel (as Niënor was known in Brethil) conceived a child. At that time Glaurung stirred from Nargothrond and set out towards Brethil, but through a dangerous scheme Túrin contrived to slay the Dragon. As Glaurung died, he revealed the truth of her identity to Niënor, and she cast herself into the river Teiglin in despair. Soon afterward Túrin also took his own life.

The Tale of Grief proper ends with the deaths of Túrin and Niënor, but the grief of their father Húrin continued. Morgoth at last released him fron Angband, and he found his wife Morwen at the memorial stone for their children. As the Sun set on the day of their meeting, Morwen's life left her. After Morwen's death, Húrin's wandered for a time, but before long his own life came to an end: it is said that he threw himself at last into the Sea.


Notes

1

I 501 is the date of the death of Morwen Eledhwen, the last of the events described in the Tale, so it must have been written after that date (and it is probably fair to assume that it would have taken at several more years at least for the full story to reach the poet Dírhavel and be turned by him into a narn). Dírhavel was lost in the attack of the Sons of Fëanor on the Havens of Sirion in I 538, so it must have been completed before that date.

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