Unfinished Tales – Part One: The First Age – II. Narn i Hîn Húrin – The Tale of the Children of Húrin – Túrin in Doriath

Túrin grows to manhood in Doriath, watched over in secret by Melian.  Beleg Strongbow trained him in the martial arts and crafts of the realm, in which Túrin most excelled at the sword.  As Túrin grew, he gained a bitter rival in Saeros, son of Ithilbor.  Saeros was one of the Nandor, who took refuge in Doriath following the first battle of Beleriand.

When word of his kin from outside stopped, Túrin approached Thingol to join in battle against the Orcs.  Thingol bade him wait until he was older still, though the king allowed his freedom to fight, warning that he would do so alone.  Túrin compares his ability to Beren, and Melian reminds him of their daughter Lúthien.  Túrin takes his leave to fight the Orcs.

Three years later, Túrin returns to repair his arms, taking a seat at board where Saeros was accustomed to sit.  For his part, Saeros believed it to be pride and was angered more that all welcomed Túrin rather than rebuking him.  Saeros mocked Túrin, feigning respect without disguising his disgust.  One thing leads to another, and the two are at each other, at which point Mablung intervenes.  The two encounter again outside, and  Túrin claims the life of Saeros.  Thinking himself now to fall under Thingol’s doom, he flees.  When Melian vouches for Túrin, Thingol pronounces his judgment to be less harsh than before, and Beleg sets off to bring Túrin back to Menegroth.

As the saying goes, pride goeth before a fall.  This chapter sets Túrin’s darkness into motion and unleashes it upon the world.  While there may be little doubt that Túrin is perhaps every bit the equal of his kin, Beren, the reminder that Beren could not do what he did without Lúthien is important.  As always in Tolkien’s world, behind every great man is an incredible woman.  Túrin walks alone, and worse still, he’s arrogant and foolish.  But then, we already know this from The Silmarillion.

It’s to my shame that I have to admit I’m still using my scorecards over here to keep people straight.  I’ve had a lifetime to absorb The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but I’m still wrapping my head around the First Age characters and details.  I have all the stories and through-lines, certainly, but I’ve always been terrible with names.  I will get there.  Love of the tales will ensure that.

8 thoughts on “Unfinished Tales – Part One: The First Age – II. Narn i Hîn Húrin – The Tale of the Children of Húrin – Túrin in Doriath

  1. The first time I read the Silmarillion I drew out the family trees at the back of the book, and wrote all the multiple names of each character under the official one. It kept everything straight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s not a bad way to approach it. I tried to do something similar back when I was first learning the Greek stuff, but I didn’t know much about family trees back then, and everyone was a demigod, so it got confusing. Still, I appreciate the idea of hammering it home.


      • Or perhaps the military training was the problem? Mortal child vs thousands of years experienced elf warrior = human grovelling in the dirt a lot?? That can’t really help with growing an agreeable personality. Turin probably has his nose stuck to high in the air because all the elves kept trying to shove it in the dirt.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s my first read of your blog and I promise you that I will be back regularly now. Thank you for being a regular reader of mine.
    I can’t get too angry with Túrin. I am far too grateful that the many mistakes that I have made have not been punished as much as they deserve. To be alive is to have the chance to learn from each one of them. But how I wish that he had been willing to listen to a wise person (Melian perhaps?) and to learn from every mistake.
    You are right to praise the women in Tolkien’s stories and Lúthien in particular. Have you read Olga Polomoshnova’s recent posts on her wonderful blog on the wives of the Elf-lords of the First Age? They make your point really well.
    Meanwhile, keep up the good work!
    A final question. I noted the upcoming concerts. Are you there as a musician or as a listener? And is the DSO the wonderful Detroit Symphony Orchestra?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the blog, Stephen! I love your work, but then, you run deep through my favorite book of all time. What’s not to love?

      I try not to be too angry with Túrin, but he does frustrate me to no end, probably because I see too much of my own flaws in him sometimes, being blinded to what’s in front of me. Live and learn, just as you say.

      I absolutely love Olga’s posts, oh yes. It’s actually through her that I found you.

      Much appreciated, thank you! The same for you. I look forward each week to your posts.

      Dallas Symphony Orchestra. I’m there as a listener. If you’re interested, I do have blogs of past concerts available, tagged accordingly. I should have given them their own project page, but I never did. Never imagined I’d be attending quite so many. Money talks, after all. Still, it’s happening!


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