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Mîm

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The main part of this article relates to the last versions of Middle-earth's history, and as such may controvert parts of The Silmarillion. See Middle-earth canon for a discussion. This subject's portrayal in earlier or alternative versions is discussed in the other versions of the legendarium section.

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Alan Lee - The Petty-dwarves
Mîm by Alan Lee, as seen on the seventh chapter of The Children of Húrin

Mîm

Biographical information

Other names
Titles
Date of birth
Early First Age ?
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Realms ruled
Spouse
Unnamed wife
Weapon
Battle axe

Physical description

Race
Culture
Gender
Male
Height
Hair color
Eye color
Actor
Voice
Character

Mîm, or Mîm the Dwarf[1] was a Petty-dwarf of the First Age and possibly the last of the Petty-dwarves. He was mostly a part in the adventures of Turin Turambar.

BiographyEdit

Turin and Mim

Mîm captured by men

Mîm lived with his two sons at Amon Rûdh in middle Beleriand, where he kept a secret treasury. During Túrin's time with the Outlaws, Mîm and sons were seen as they snuck past the outlaws carrying heavy sacks. Mîm was captured, and arrows were shot at his sons Ibun and Khîm.

In exchange for his life, Mîm was forced to lead the outlaws to his secret halls in Amon Rûdh. There, it turned out Khîm had been killed by an arrow loosed by Androg, who was then forced to break his bow and arrows, and Túrin repenting offered his service to Mîm. For this reason Mîm tolerated the outlaws, and at the least came to respect Túrin (and was even jealous of Túrin's love for Beleg).

Amon Rûdh

Mîm leads Túrin and his Men to Amon Rûdh

When Beleg Cúthalion arrived at Amon Rûdh, Mîm was angry: he hated elves, especially the Sindar. Nevertheless he had to tolerate the elf in his halls. This hatred toward Beleg led Mim to betray Amon Rûdh to Morgoth. In one of the first known accounts of a wicked dwarf having an alliance with orcs or goblins. After Amon Rûdh was betrayed to Morgoth, All the outlaws were slain, save Túrin and Beleg. Beleg was left tied up on the summit of Amon Rûdh by the orcs, and there Mîm found him and attempted to kill him but was scared away by a dying outlaw called Andróg. Mîm escaped, but it seems Ibûn was killed by orcs. Eventually Mîm made his way to ruined Nargothrond after Túrin had killed Glaurung, and took the treasure for his own.

Húrin Thalion, who had seen all that had happened to Túrin with Morgoth's eyes, came across Mîm in Nargothrond, and killed him, deeming him partially responsible for Túrin's fate. With his dying words Mîm cursed the treasure. Húrin's band brought the treasure of Nargothrond to Doriath, where eventually the gold was a reason for the Sack of Doriath and the death of Thingol.[2][3][4]

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

Note that in the published The Silmarillion Mîm hardly appears. His role is much expanded in the Narn i Chîn Húrin as published in the Unfinished Tales, and in the Wanderings of Húrin.

The earliest and most revised version of Mîm's story is the story of hoard of Norgrothond, and has changed several several times. In some versions a curse is included, or hinted at, in others there is no curse. As well as differences of when the curse took place (did he curse the gold before or after he was given a mortal wound, or both before and after). Other changes include when the the Necklace of the Dwarves was made; after the treasure was taken (possibly made from cursed gold), or before.

In earlier versions of the Silmarillion as detailed in The History of Middle-earth series, Mîm was a much more evil character, who actively betrayed Túrin. But as dwarves gradually changed in Tolkien's writings from evil orc-like beings to the dwarves they later became, Mîm's character was changed, and in the final texts he is no longer a true villain, but almost a tragic character in his own right. However in The Children of Hurin certain details are taken in a darker direction, with Mîm actively betraying Turin's company in malice and revenge, and the intent to kill Beleg (but only having mercy for Turin (and this mainly because he also had troubles with the elves)). It it is not nearly as tragic, as some of the previously published betrayals (though it does make note that alternate tales are somewhat more sympathetic to the dwarf).

In the Lost Tales, Mîm is the captain of the guard for Glaurung, who protects his treasures while he is away. He guards the treasures along with other orcs and possible fallen elves. He curses the treasures with wards of protection. Húrin comes, and Mîm warns him of the curse on the gold both from the dragon laying on it for long years, and because he too had put magical wards on it. Only Mîm could safely handle the gold because he was put in charge of it, and had also bound the gold to himself. Turin feared him at first, but was convinced by his elven guard to seize it all. Mîm then put many evil curses on the men. In response Húrin killed him as punishment for the cruel behaviour from the dwarf, when they originally had planned to just take the treasure and leave him alone. Mîm issues one final curse as he lay dieing that elves and men would rue the deed, and that death would follow the gold as long as it remained on earth (the curse would effect any portion of it even if divided). The elves laughed, but Húrin was bothered by it. They then carried the gold away. The curse did its deed leading men to kill each other, elves to kill each other, men killing elves, and dwarves killing elves. Finally it lead to a civil war among the dwarves that never ended, even after the gold was lost.

In the The Shaping of Middle Earth, "Mîm the Dwarf" is just a byline he was a random dwarf (though the first dwarf to be mentioned by name in the early histories) who had taken possession Glaurung's gold after the dragon had been killed along with other dwarves of his kind. While there he had enchanted all the gold (a nod back to the black songs and curses he made on the gold as wards while he was the Captain of the dragon's guard). Húrin and his band of outlaws come to the hoard kill the other dwarven guards, and all slay Mîm, and take the hoard. This changes the story from one person to many taking the gold (though he left out this group in some later revisions at the time). The curse goes on to lead to the deaths of several factions before finally being lost. Only hint of Mîm's character comes from the fact that he enchanted the gold (but it doesn't specifically show him to be evil), but his race is however shown to be evil when they plot against Thingol (but this is modified in later revisions and stories the dwarves tend to lean more to sociably neutral but not evil, with the evil ones being categorized under Petty-dwarves).

In the Lost Road, Mîm is only briefly mentioned in the Annals, similar to earlier version; Again Mîm is just a random dwarf (this time apparently alone) that had taken over Nargothrond hoard. He slew the dwarf (there is no mention of any others with him), but the dwarf had cursed the treasure, and it is brought to Thingol. Thingol employs dwarves to craft him the Nauglamir. Enmity awakens between dwarves and elves, and he sends them away. The dwarves and elves from Belegost and Nogrod return in force and invade Doriath. They were allowed in by treacherous elves who had been smitten by the curse. Thingol is slain in the caves. Dwarves are later ambushed, Beren keeps the necklace, and gold is thrown into the river. Later, kinstrife occurs although in this version it is not ascribed to the curse.

The role of traitor in Turin's band in these early writings instead given to Blodrin, a elf that had lived among the evil dwarves and become like them. The two ideas were later merged into Mîm's character.

Mîm is briefly mentioned in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil in regards to the poem, The Hoard. The poem itself written by Bilbo apparently; appears to be loosely inspired by the stories of the elves, the death of Mîm, the coming of Glaurung, and the coming of Turin. In this version the old dwarf (apparently Mîm the Dwarf) takes the Elven-home from the elves after they fall into shadow, and takes over their hoard. In time the dragon comes to take over his hoard from him destroying him in the process. Then comes the warrior (apparently Turin) who slays him and dies in the process. The treasure is taken by his father.

In the version published in Silmarillion (1977) the is no reference to the curse, only the Nauglamir is taken from the hoard, and all the actions that occur appear to be due to greed and paranoia of all involved. In cold blooded murder and wicked actions. Thingol is slain inside the caves, and the dwarves working for him steal his treasures, and the necklace, and then are later slain themselves.. But it is unclear how much of this is an invention by Tolkien or Guy Kay.

The Children of Húrin does not go far enough into the story of Húrin to know if the curse was reintroduced into the story, though it did reintroduce direct betrayal of Turin's company by Mîm, and other darker details left out of the Silmarillion or even the account in Unfinished Tales.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Adventures of Tom Bombadil,
  2. The Silmarillion: Quenta Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar"
  3. Unfinished Tales: Narn i Hîn Húrin
  4. The Children of Húrin

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