- "Evil have been all thy ways, son of Húrin. Thankless fosterling, outlaw, slayer of thy friend, thief of love, usurper of Nargothrond, captain foolhardy, and deserter of thy kin."
- —Glaurung the dragon cursing Túrin
Túrin Turambar was an Edain of the House of Hador and a Man of Middle-earth, who became a tragic hero (or Anti-hero) of the First Age in the tale called Narn i Chîn Húrin ("The Tale of the Children of Húrin"). Unpublished drafts of the story, later edited by Christopher Tolkien and published in Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth series, tell the story in greater detail.
Túrin was a first cousin of Tuor, father of Eärendil. There are many parallels between the circumstances of their lives (both lost their fathers in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears), were raised in part by Elves, spent time as outlaws and as prisoners, and were war-leaders in the greatest Ñoldorin fortresses), but the outcome of Tuor's life was quite different. Even Túrin's coloring was dark, enhancing his resemblance to the Ñoldorin Elves but further setting him apart from his fair-haired cousin. The two never actually met, but Tuor did once see his cousin in passing (not an everyday occurrence in the wilds of Beleriand).
Túrin was the only son of Húrin Thalion and Morwen Eledhwen. He had a younger sister Urwen whom everyone called Lalaith because of her (laughter), but she died in childhood of plague. After Húrin was captured in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, Túrin remained with his mother Morwen, who hid him from the Easterlings that Morgoth had sent to Hithlum, fearing they would kill Túrin or enslave him. Unknown to Túrin, Morgoth had placed a curse on all of Húrin's family.
His life in DoriathEdit
When Túrin was eight years old Morwen sent him to Doriath, where he was adopted by Thingol as a son. After this Túrin's second sister, Nienor was born. Túrin was restless, and as soon as he was permitted he joined Beleg Cúthalion on the marches of Doriath, fighting the orcs of Morgoth. He wore the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, and the orcs feared him above all others.
Life as an OutlawEdit
Túrin accidentally caused the death of Saeros, one of Thingol's counselors who had provoked and attacked him. Before he could be either punished or forgiven, he fled, eventually meeting up with a band of outlaws that dwelt south of Brethil. There he identified himself only as Neithan (the wronged). Túrin killed their leader, and became their leader in his place. During his rule, he stopped the outlaws from raiding houses of Men, and only hunted orcs.
In the meantime, Beleg Cúthalion obtained leave by Thingol to seek out his friend. In FA 487, Beleg found Túrin's outlaws at Amon Rûdh and when he could not persuade his friend to leave the outlaws, he left to return to Doriath. Túrin's band captured Mîm the Petty-dwarf while Beleg and he were parted, and after such a long time living in the wild. Mîm was forced to share his halls on Amon Rûdh with his company while Túrin promised to repay Mîm for the accidental death of his son Khîm.
Death of BelegEdit
At Doriath, Beleg asked to be able to join his friend. Thingol allowed this and also gave him the sword Anglachel, and Melian gave him Lembas. Beleg returned to Túrin that winter, healing those of the band that had become sick with cold. Beleg brought with him the Dragon-helm, and the area around Amon Rûdh became known as Dor-Cúarthol, the Land of Bow and Helm" (since Beleg was known as a mighty bowman). There Túrin took the name Gorthol, The Dread Helm. Many warriors joined them, and much of West Beleriand was freed from evil for a while.
Eventually Túrin was betrayed by Mîm, and he was captured and all his men slain. Beleg survived and rescued Túrin from the orcs in Taur-nu-Fuin with the help of Gwindor, an escaped slave of Morgoth, but Túrin accidentally killed Beleg with Beleg's sword Anglachel. This death occurred because Túrin believed that Beleg, who was trying to cut Túrins bonds, was one of the orcs tormenting him. Thus, he roared in fear and awoke the camp, so he had to flee with Gwindor. Gwindor led Túrin, dazed, to the Pools of Ivrin, where he came back to his senses.
Leader of NargothrondEdit
Gwindor then led Túrin to Nargothrond, where once he had lived. In Nargothrond, Túrin hid his name for a short time, calling himself by the alias Agarwaen son of Úmarth (Sindarin for Bloodstained son of Ill-fate), while seeking to hide his identity and escape Morgoth Bauglir's curse upon his kin. He had Anglachel reforged and named it Gurthang, Iron of Death. Finduilas, daughter of Orodreth, fell in love with him, but he avoided her because she had previously been the beloved of his friend Gwindor. Túrin declined to tell her his name, so that she called him Thurin (the secret). He was also called Adanedhel (Man-Elf) because he was so like an elf, though he was human. Gwindor later revealed Túrin's true identity to Finduilas and it eventually reached Finduilas' father, King Orodreth.
The revelation of his identity and resulted in Túrin becoming a chief counsellor of the weak Orodreth, and was extremely influential in Nargothrond. He encouraged the Nargothrondrim to abandon their practice of secrecy, and they built a great bridge before the gates. Because of his prowess with Gurthang, he himself became known as the Mormegil (Black Sword), or the Black Sword of Nargothrond. In FA 495, with Orodreth now deep in the council of Túrin, the Elves of Nargothrond marched out from their secret city with an army of some thousands of elves to confront the enemy massing beneath the Ered Wethrin (Mountains of Shadow) and in the Pass of Sirion. They were overwhelmed and driven into the Plain of Tumhalad and utterly defeated in the Battle of Tumhalad. Only Túrin, who wore the Dragon Helm of Dor-lómin was able to survive the hot fiery blasts of Glaurung and escaped.
The Dragon's Deceit Edit
Morgoth sent the dragon Glaurung to Nargothrond. Túrin was caught by the powerful gaze of Glaurung, and stood by idly as Finduilas was dragged away, calling to him, a captive for Morgoth. Glaurung deceived him into believing Morwen and Nienor were suffering in Dor-lómin, and Túrin abandoned Finduilas to seek out his kin. In actuality, Morwen and Nienor were safely in Doriath, as Túrin's own efforts had made the way passable.
Once in Dor-lómin, Túrin found his old home empty. He went to the halls of the Easterling lord Brodda, who had taken Húrin's kinswoman Aerin as a wife and had taken Húrin's lands and possessions. From Aerin, Túrin learned that Morwen had left, and in his rage, he killed Brodda, thereby also sealing Aerin's fate. As Túrin left again, Aerin burnt herself alive in her halls, and the remainder of the House of Hador now was persecuted even more cruelly.
Túrin next tried to find Finduilas, but by the time, he picked up the Orc's trail he came too late: the woodsmen of Brethil informed him she had been killed as they had tried to rescue the prisoners of Nargothrond. Túrin collapsed on the mound she was buried in, and was brought to Brethil.
In Brethil Túrin again took up his life, now calling himself Turambar (Master of Doom) in an act of bravado, deciding that his curse was now finally over. One day he found a naked young woman on Finduilas's grave, and calling her Níniel he later took her as his wife. Túrin did not know that this was indeed his sister. Brandir, out of jealousy or forecast, told Niniel that a shadow was cast above Túrin, and that instead of being Master of Shadow, the Shadow would inevitably master him.
Dragon Slayer Edit
Túrin's happiness ended when Glaurung came near Brethil. Túrin with two others set out to kill the dragon, but he was the only one to reach the drake. With his black sword, he killed Glaurung at Cabed-en-Aras, but was hurt and fell in a swoon. As Níniel came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words revealed to her she was Túrin's sister. Horrified, Nienor Níniel killed herself by leaping into the ravines of the river.
When Túrin awoke he was told by Brandir the Lame, lord of the Haladin of Brethil what had happened, he killed Brandir, refusing to believe the truth. When he learned from Mablung of Doriath who had come to seek him that Brandir was telling truth and that he had wrongfully slew him, he could no longer live with the pains and misfortunes of his life and decided to take his life. On Gurthang, his black sword Túrin fell. This is one instance of where Gurthang spoke to Turin. Just before his death Turin said to Gurthang "Hail Gurthang, iron of death, thou alone now remainest! But what lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee? From no blood wilt thou shrink! Wilt thou take Tùrin Turambar? Wilt thou slay me swiftly?" And from the blade rang a cold voice in answer: "Yea, I will drink thy blood, that may I forget the blood of Beleg my master, and the blood of Brandir slain unjustly. I will slay thee swiftly." Then Tùrin set the hilts upon the ground, and cast himself upon the point of Gurthang, and the black blade took his life. Túrin is one of the only characters in the Middle-earth legendarium to have committed suicide and several of the others are connected to his story.
Túrin was buried near Finduilas' grave, in a high mound where he had fallen, and the shards of Gurthang were set beside him.
TÚRIN TURAMBAR DAGNIR GLAURUNGA
(Túrin, Conqueror of Fate, Slayer of Glaurung).
and beneath they wrote also:
But she was not there, nor was it ever kown whither the cold waters of Teiglin had taken her.'
After Húrin was released from Angband, he and Morwen met at the gravesite for the last time, and Morwen was also buried there. The mound they were buried beneath survived the War of Wrath and Tol Morwen was the westernmost isle off the coast of Lindon in the Second and Third Ages.
The second prophecy of Mandos (later removed from the Silmarillion Christopher Tolkien) states that at the End of Time Morgoth would wage a final battle against the Valar, the Final Battle, and that Túrin Turambar would deliver the deathblow, exterminating evil forever, and avenging the Children of Húrin.
Whether the tragedies in Túrin's life were the result of Morgoth's curse or of his own arrogance, or some combination of the two, are a subject of some debate among fans and scholars.
The supposed resemblance of Túrin to figures from medieval tales can be confirmed by part of a letter Tolkien wrote to Milton Waldman, a publisher, concerning the publication of his works.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- There is the Children of Húrin, the tragic tale of Túrin Turambar and his sister Níniel of which Túrin is the hero: a figure that might be said (by people who like that sort of thing, though it is not very useful) to be derived from elements in Sigurd the Volsung, Oedipus, and the Finnish Kullervo.
Túrin also resembles Sigmund, the father of Sigurd in the Volsung saga, in the incestuous relationship he has with his sister, which is a parallel to the marriage of Túrin and Nienor. In Richard Wagner's opera, Die Walküre (also drawn in part from the Volsung myths), Siegmund and Sieglinde are parallels of Turin and Nienor (one interesting resemblance of Túrin to Siegmund is that in the first act of Die Walkure, Siegmund tells Hunding is name is Wehwalt(woeful), just as Túrin tells the elves of Nargothrond his name is Agarwaen (blood-stained).)