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Concerning Hidden Realities and Human Destiny

The Silmarillion - A Beginner's Guide (Redux) - Part 23 - Of the Ruin of Beleriand - Part 2

John Carswell | Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Then Sauron made it into a watch-tower for Morgoth, a stronghold of evil, and a menace; and the fair isle of Tol Sirion became accursed, and it was called Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the Isle of Werewolves.
(The Silmarillion, 156)

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This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walk through of The Silmarillion. This time, I examine the second part of the 18th chapter of The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand". You can see all the posts in this series by clicking here. You can also find other Silmarillion resources here.

Tol Sirion by MatejCadil

"Tol Sirion" by MatejCadil © 2010 - 2017.

In the last post in this series, we looked at the 1st part of Chapter 18, wherein Morgoth unleashes vast armies of dragons, Balrogs, and orcs upon Beleriand in The Battle of Sudden Flame. With King Fingolfin dead and the armies of Elves and Men scattered, Morgoth presses the attack.

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

Key Figures

  • Barahir: The warrior who saved Finrod’s life and the father of Beren.
  • Sauron: Morgoth's nasty lieutenant, aka Gorthaur the Cruel, he has learned well the ways of his master.
  • Húrin and Huor: Mighty warriors and leaders among Men whose lives will be of much consequence in the coming upheavals of the First Age.
Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien

Key Events

  • Sauron Captures Minas Tirith: Before the Minas Tirith of Gondor, there was a watchtower of the same name built on Tol Sirion, intended to keep guard on Angband. Sauron and his forces capture the fortress, and rename it the Isle of Werewolves.
  • Húrin and Huor Leave Gondolin: After the eagle Thorondor rescues them and brings them to Gondolin, Húrin and Huor dwell there for a year with Turgon’s blessing. They are permitted to leave when Thorondor agrees to give them transport away, and they swear an oath never to reveal their whereabouts.
  • Missions to Valinor: Realizing that times are growing desperate in Beleriand, Turgon sent some of his people on a mission to Valinor in order to obtain the aid of the Valar. However, these missions are unsuccessful, as none can obtain passage to the Blessed Realm.

Key Takeaways

  • Barahir's Band: Barahir’s people are on the front lines of the battle against Angband, and his army is soon whittled to just a handful of followers, including his son Beren.
  • The Coming of the Easterlings: During this time, more Men begin to enter Beleriand from the East. These men are of varying allegiances - some are glad to serve Morgoth, others not.
  • Húrin's Children: Húrin becomes king of the house of Hador and by his wife Morwen fathers three important children: Túrin, Nienor, and Lalaith.

Key Quotes

  • Morgoth and Men:
    To Men Morgoth feigned pity, if any would hearken to his messages, saying that their woes came only of their servitude to the rebel Noldor, but at the hands of the rightful Lord of Middle-earth they would get honour and a just reward of valour, if they would leave rebellion. But few men of the Three Houses of the Edain would give ear to him, not even were they brought to the torment of Angband. Therefore Morgoth pursued them with hatred; and he sent his messengers over the mountains. (156)
  • The Coming of the Easterlings:
    It is told that at this time the Swarthy Men came first into Beleriand . Some were already secretly under the dominion of Morgoth, and came at his call; but not all, for the rumour of Beleriand, of its lands and waters, of its wars and riches, went now far and wide, and the wandering feet of Men were ever set westward in those days. (157)
  • Húrin and the Secret of Gondolin:
    But Galdor said: ‘Did you then dwell a year in the wild? Or did the eagles house you in their eyries? But you found food and fine raiment, and return as young princes, not as waifs of the wood.’ And Húrin answered: ‘Be content that we have returned; for only under an oath of silence was this permitted.’ (159)

download Getting Started on The Silmarillion

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this chapter in the comments below.

Tolkien's Requiem Concerning Beren and Lúthien by John CarswellWant to learn more about The Silmarillion? My book Tolkien's Requiem explores the stories of Middle-earth's First Age through the prism of Tolkien's most personal tale: Beren and Lúthien. It's designed to work as a "back door" approach for those who struggle to get a start on The Silmarillion. Click here to learn more!

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