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

We begin with Túrin arriving in the first ice of winter at the pools of Ivrin after “forty leagues or more” of a journey without rest.  As Biblically-patterned as The Silmarillion is, I can’t help but wonder if Tolkien means a literal forty leagues, or if it’s the standard medieval translation of “we don’t know how much it was, but it was a lot — I don’t have that many fingers or toes.”  It’s exactly the sort of device someone like Tolkien would play with, I think.  Must drive Middle-Earth mapmakers nuts.

As he could drink no more, he proceeds to Dor-lómin after “three and twenty years” since his parting from Morwen.  What’s the old saying, you can never go home again?  His arrival finds it bleak, bare, and people speak “the harsh tongue of the Easterlings.”  His own language is that of serfs or of enemies.  Morwen is long gone from her house, and it’s been plundered by Brodda.  It was to his house that he found shelter and food thanks to his kinswoman, Aerin.  He is warned not to speak the old tongue as he inquires after Morwen’s fate.  From Sador he learns that she and her daughter left long ago.

He barges in on a feast, demanding answers from Brodda and Aerin, which he gets.  This sets loose the “spell of Glaurung,” and Túrin sets himself upon Brodda, throwing him and breaking his neck.  This inspires rebellion in the thralls.  The Easterlings are killed.  Sador and Aerin warn him to leave, before the land is raised against him for his rash deeds.

To cover Túrin’s tracks, Aerin fires the hall.  Asgon tells him they will be a hunted people now.  The Wolf-folk will be more dangerous ever after.  Should Túrin return, he should do so only with greater strength to deliver his people from that which he has wrought this day.

I realize how wrong this is, but every time I dip into the story of Túrin, I hear the movie version of Treebeard in my head.  “Now, now… don’t be hasty…”  It’s also coinciding with this time of personal reflection right now, where I think about what comes next in my life.  Túrin, I think it’s safe to say, is not a worthy rolemodel for such things.

3 thoughts on “Unfinished Tales – Part One: The First Age – II. Narn i Hîn Húrin – The Tale of the Children of Húrin – The Return of Túrin to Dorlómin

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