Then for the second time Huan spoke with words; and he counselled Beren, saying: ‘From the shadow of death you can no longer save Lúthien, for by her love she is now subject to it. You can turn from your fate and lead her into exile, seeking peace in vain while your life lasts. But if you will not deny your doom, then…Lúthien, being forsaken, must assuredly die alone...
(The Silmarillion, 179)
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This post continues my chapter-by-chapter walk through of The Silmarillion. This time, I examine the third part of the 19th chapter of The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien". You can see all the posts in this series by clicking here. You can also find other Silmarillion resources here.
Following the defeat of Sauron, Beren and Lúthien are briefly reunited and enjoy some peace while journeying back to Doriath. However, it is not long before they are waylaid by Celegorm and Curufin, and only after escaping them does Beren give thought again to his quest, and set out once again to raid Angband and obtain a Silmaril.
- Morgoth Nurtures a Hell-hound: With rumors of Huan’s greatness spreading, Morgoth breeds his own great hound, imbuing him with a share of his own power. Carcharoth grows massive and is set as a guard upon the gates of Angband.
- The Invasion of Angband: After putting Carcharoth to sleep, Beren and Lúthien descend into the dungeons of Angband to Morgoth’s throne room and, again through Lúthien’s power of music, triumph in their mission, though at the cost of Beren’s hand.
- Carcharoth’s Rampage: Having swallowed the Silmaril, Carcharoth tears through Beleriand on a maddened and destructive rampage, and is brought down at the cost of Beren and Huan’s lives.
- The Holy Jewel: Though beautiful, the Silmarils seem to exude a heavy holiness. Beren is able to hold it without getting burned, yet it burns Carcharoth from the inside.
- Mission Accomplished?: Beren must return empty-handed, and though the Silmaril is recovered, it is at the price of his own life.
- Lúthien’s Plea: Once again, Lúthien’s song proves more powerful than just about any other force in Middle-earth, as she is able to win Beren’s release after singing before Mandos.
- The Invasion of Angband:
All his court were cast down in slumber , and all the fires faded and were quenched; but the Silmarils in the crown on Morgoth’s head blazed forth suddenly with a radiance of white flame; and the burden of that crown and of the jewels bowed down his head, as though the world were set upon it, laden with a weight of care, of fear, and of desire, that even the will of Morgoth could not support. Then Lúthien catching up her winged robe sprang into the air, and her voice came dropping down like rain into pools, profound and dark. (181)
- Thingol’s Change of Heart:
Then Thingol’s mood was softened; and Beren sat before his throne upon the left, and Lúthien upon the right, and they told all the tale of the Quest, while all there listened and were filled with amazement. And it seemed to Thingol that this Man was unlike all other mortal Men, and among the great in Arda, and the love of Lúthien a thing new and strange; and he perceived that their doom might not be withstood by any power of the world. Therefore at the last he yielded his will, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father. (185)
- Lúthien’s Choice:
This doom she chose, forsaking the Blessed Realm, and putting aside all claim to kinship with those that dwell there; that thus whatever grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and Lúthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world. So it was that alone of the Eldalië she has died indeed, and left the world long ago. Yet in her choice the Two Kindreds have been joined; and she is the forerunner of many in whom the Eldar see yet, though all the world is changed, the likeness of Lúthien the beloved, whom they have lost. (187)
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this chapter in the comments below.
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