Lúthien, also known as Lúthien Tinúviel, was an Elf Maiden of Doriath, the wife of Beren Erchamion, and the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar that has ever lived. Her love of the man, Beren, for which she was prepared to risk everything, even death itself, is legendary and lamented forever in song and story. She and Beren braved Morgoth's horrors, eventually winning the Silmaril and the respect of Thingol. Though their actions later resulted in both their deaths, their deeds won them the pity of Mandos and a second life in Middle-earth.
Lúthien was the daughter of Elu Thingol, King of Doriath, and his Queen, Melian the Maia. (Technically, this makes Lúthien Half-elven, but she is counted among the Elves; the term "Half-elven" was reserved for those with human descent). Throughout the years before she met Beren, she lived as all the Elves of Doriath did: in a state of perfect blissful peace. She was a woman of incomparable beauty and grace, with night-dark hair, sparkling grey eyes, luminous skin, and a clear heartbreakingly lovely voice that was said to cause winter to melt into spring - "the song of Luthien released the bonds of winter, and the frozen waters spoke, and flowers sprang from the cold earth where her feet had passed". She also often enjoyed dancing in the woods of the realm to the music of her good friend Daeron‘s flute. He himself soon came to love her jealously, but she did not return it.
Beren and the Quest for the SilmarilEdit
Lúthien was remembered in the Lay of Leithian as the first Elven woman to have fallen in love and married a mortal man, Beren, a Man of the House of Bëor whom she met in the woods of Doriath. Their relationship was unlikely from the beginning: Lúthien was not only the cherished single daughter of the most powerful Elven King in Beleriand, but also the daughter of a Maia, a powerful angelic being of the race of the Ainur. Beren was a mortal man on the run from the first Dark Lord Morgoth.
Thingol was desperate not to let Beren marry his daughter, and set an impossible task as the bride price: Beren had to bring to Thingol one of the Silmarils from Morgoth's iron crown. Against monstrous odds, including kidnap by the Sons of Fëanor and the death of Finrod Felagund, as well as a confrontation with Sauron, the couple achieved the task, with help from Huan, the Hound of Valinor, but Beren dies as soon as it is completed. In grief, Lúthien laid down and died after this event, going to the Halls of Mandos. Here, she sings to Mandos and for the first time he is moved by her grief. But, Mandos had no authority to allow Beren to live again, so he went before Manwë for advice, who in turn sought out the counsel of Eru Ilúvatar himself. Two choices were then placed before Lúthien; she could either dwell in Valimar with the Valar in bliss forever as reward for all that she had accomplished, or she could be restored to life again with Beren, on the condition that they would both be mortal and die the death of Men. For her love of Beren, Luthien chose the latter.
After this, they dwelled in Ossiriand until after the sack of Menegroth. They had a son, Dior, who is called Elúchil - the Heir of Thingol. After the Silmaril was stolen by Beren it was set in the Nauglamír, the Necklace of the Dwarves, it was given to Lúthien. Her beauty combined with the splendor of the gem and necklace to make her home of Tol Galen the fairest land ever to have existed east of Valinor. On her death the Nauglamír was delivered to her son Dior, which leads to the ruin of Doriath.
Their union was the first of a mortal man and an elf. Their lineage was passed down to the royal House of Elros of the Kingdom of Númenor, and then on to the Dúnedain men living in exile in Middle-earth on up to the Kings of the Reunited Kingdom and beyond. Lúthien's romance with Beren is one of the great stories of the Elder Days, and is mirrored by the later romance between Aragorn and Arwen Evenstar. According to legend, her line will never be broken as long as the world lasts.
Lúthien (Sindarin IPA: [ˈluːθjen]) means "Enchantress" and Tinúviel ([tiˈnuːvjel]) means "twilight-maiden", a poetic name for lómelindë or nightingale. Tinúviel was a name given to her by Beren when he first spoke to her when not knowing her name (it was also the name Tolkien originally gave her, before changing it to Lúthien). She is described as the Morning Star of the Elves, while Arwen is called Evenstar, the Evening Star.
Edith Tolkien - The Inspiration for LúthienEdit
Lúthien is supposed to have been based on Edith Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's wife.
Edith Tolkien was buried in Wolvercote Cemetery (North Oxford) and this name appears on her plaque:
EDITH MARY TOLKIEN - LUTHIEN 1889–1971
In the various versions of The Tale of Tinúviel, Tolkien's earliest form of his tale, as published in The Book of Lost Tales Parts 1 and 2, her original name is Tinúviel (Lúthien was invented later), Beren is an Elf, and Sauron has not yet emerged. In his place, they face Tevildo, the Prince of Cats, a monstrous giant cat.
As said above, Tolkien considered his wife his Lúthien. The name may be derived from the Old English word Lufien, which means love.
- ↑ The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien"
- ↑ The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
- ↑ The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales
- ↑ The History of Middle-earth: The Book of Lost Tales 2