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The name Beren refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Beren (disambiguation).
"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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Tuuliky - Beren.jpg
"Beren" by Tuuliky
Biographical Information
Other namesCamlost, Erchamion (S)
TitlesLord of Ladros
Lord of Tol Galen
LocationDorthonion; Ossiriand
AffiliationQuest for the Silmaril
LanguageSindarin, Taliska
BirthF.A. 432
DeathF.A. 466 (aged 34)
Hunting of the Wolf
Returned to life, final death: F.A. 503 (aged 71)
Dor Firn-i-Guinar
Notable forretrieving a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown
HouseHouse of Bëor
ParentageBarahir and Emeldir
Physical Description
HeightTaller than most of his House[1]
Hair colorGolden brown[1]
Eye colorGrey[1]
WeaponrySpear and Angrist; Dagmor (in the Lays of Beleriand)[2]
Unnamed horse (from Curufin)
GalleryImages of Beren

Beren the Renowned was a Man of Middle-earth, a hero whose romance with the Elf Lúthien was one of the great stories of the Elder Days.


[edit] History

[edit] Life in Dorthonion

Beren's heraldic device by J.R.R. Tolkien

Beren was the son of Barahir and Emeldir and was named after Beren, his maternal grandfather. He was a Man of the royal House of Bëor of Dorthonion for his father was most likely the last Chieftain of the House of Bëor. The Dagor Bragollach ("Battle of Sudden Flame") befell during his youth, bringing about the ruin of his land. The young Beren lived with his father and ten loyal followers in the highlands of Dorthonion, and the twelve of them performed many acts of bravery, to the great frustration of Morgoth, the Dark Lord of Angband. After the betrayal and death of the Outlaws of Dorthonion due to the treachery of Gorlim the Unhappy, Beren swore an oath to avenge his father, "but wept not, for his heart was ice". He recovered the Ring of Barahir from the Orcs, and lived on as an outlaw, whose feats of daring were renown throughout the free world. Eventually, he was forced to abandon the land of his birth and the grave of his father. He crossed into Doriath, where he saw and fell in love with Lúthien, princess of the Sindar and daughter of Thingol and Melian, when he saw her dancing.

[edit] Quest for the Silmaril

Beren leaves Menegroth by Peter Xavier Price
Main article: Quest for the Silmaril

Thingol refused to give Lúthien's hand in marriage, as Beren was a mortal. He charged Beren that he would allow the marriage to take place only if he brought back a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. The task was intended to be impossible, but Beren was determined. He set out on this impossible quest with the aid of Finrod Felagund of Nargothrond, but was soon captured by Sauron and imprisoned in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Lúthien, along with Huan the great hound, eventually came to their rescue.

Transformed by Ted Nasmith

Using Lúthien's powers to place Morgoth's court into a deep sleep, they were able to enter Angband where Beren cut a Silmaril from Morgoth's iron crown. However, as they escaped from Angband, the great wolf Carcharoth, whom Morgoth had personally bred, awoke. Beren held out the Silmaril, hoping that its radiance would avert the beast, but he was mistaken. Carcharoth bit off his hand, swallowing it along with the Silmaril, and proceeded to run rampant through Doriath. Thus Beren was called Erchamion, "One-handed". Lúthien and the unconscious Beren were rescued by the Eagles of Manwë. After coming back to Thingol's court, both told him the story of their quest and how Beren had fulfilled Thingol's demand, as he had one Silmaril in his hand. Thus, Thingol accepted that Beren married his daughter, being this the first union of Elves and Men. Beren participated in the hunting of Carcharoth, where the beast was slain and the Silmaril recovered; the quest was accomplished, but in the process Beren was mortally wounded.

Unable to deal with the death of her beloved, Lúthien, overcome with grief, laid down and died. Her soul went to the Halls of Mandos, where she managed to move Mandos so that he granted her and Beren another life. Both she and Beren were restored to life, but both of them would die the death of Men, and go beyond the walls of Arda to a place unknown.

[edit] Aftermath

"(...) and whether the second span of his life was brief or long is not known to Elves or Men"
― Draft to Quenta Silmarillion

Thus Beren and Lúthien lived again, and dwelt on Tol Galen in the middle of the River Adurant in Ossiriand. There they stayed apart from other mortals. Lúthien bore Beren a son, named Dior, Thingol's heir. He was considered to be one of the fairest beings to ever live, for in him flowed the blood of Men, the blood of Elves, and the blood of the Ainur. Through his descendants, the blood of Beren and of Lúthien was preserved among the Eldar and the Edain.

Beren and Luthien by Turner Mohan

Beren was involved with the events of the First Age only one further time. After the murder of Thingol, Mablung was sent by Melian to warn Beren. He gathered the Green-elves, and with the aid of some Ents[3] they waylaid a group of the Dwarves of Nogrod who had destroyed Doriath and stolen its treasures. They ambushed the Dwarves and vanquished them in the Battle of Sarn Athrad. Because the Lord of Nogrod cursed the treasure, Beren threw it in the river Ascar, but salvaged the Nauglamir which he brought to his wife. Their son Dior left to restore and rule Menegroth.[4]

Beren and Lúthien died together on Tol Galen. Among the Children of Ilúvatar the final death of Beren and Lúthien is accounted in F.A. 503, for in the Autumn of that year Dior received the Silmaril in Doriath, and it was taken as a sign of his parents' death. In truth the date of their death is unknown.[4][5]

[edit] Description

Beren had golden-brown hair and grey eyes. He was taller than most of his kinsmen, but (according to the trait of his House) he was broad-shouldered, and his limbs were very strong.[1]

[edit] Etymology

Beren is glossed as "bold" in Noldorin of The Etymologies.[6]

[edit] Other names

His epithet Erchamion means "one-handed".[7] It has been suggested that Camlost means "empty-handed". Both epithets contain Sindarin cam ("hand").[8]

[edit] Genealogy

Kings of Númenor
Lords of Andúnië
Kings of Gondor
Kings of Arnor
Chieftains of
the Dúnedain
Aragorn II
Kings of the
Reunited Kingdom

[edit] Other versions of the legendarium

In the first pencilled draft of the story of the Beren and Lúthien, Beren was a mortal Man; but when Tolkien erased it and wrote the "Tale of Tinúviel" of the The Book of Lost Tales, he became an Elf: one of the Gnomes of Dor-lómin, the son of Egnor the Forester. The displeasure of King Tinwelint against him was because the Dark Elves of Artanor considered those Elves treacherous.[9]

[edit] Inspiration

The story of Beren and Lúthien, though mentioned only briefly in The Lord of the Rings, was a central part of the Legendarium. Tolkien once referred to it as "the kernel of the mythology".[10] He went on to say that it "arose from a small woodland glade filled with 'hemlocks'", which he visited while serving in the Humber Garrison in 1918 (during World War I).

Tolkien seemed to be somehow connected to this character, and parallels can be drawn with his relationship with Edith Bratt. Furthermore it is possible that Beren (meaning 'brave') is a reference to the original meaning of his Germanic surname (Toll kühn) of similar meaning. It is said that, like the story of Lúthien dancing in the woods before Beren, that one day while Tolkien and his wife were on a picnic in the woods she danced for him, thus creating another parallel to Beren and Luthien.

Tolkien was buried in Wolvercote Cemetery (North Oxford) and this name appears on the stone:


The name of Lúthien also appears on the stone:

EDITH MARY TOLKIEN Lúthien 1889 – 1971


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "X. Of Dwarves and Men", "Notes", note 46
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand; last version of the Lay of Leithian p. 344 cf. p.350 line 512
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 248, (dated 5 October 1963)
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Doriath"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 306
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", root "BER"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, pp. 51, 231
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry cam
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Beren and Lúthien, "Beren and Lúthien: [Unnamed introduction]"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 165, (undated, written June 1955)
House of Bëor
Born: F.A. 432 Died: F.A. 466; final death: F.A. 503
Preceded by:
8th Head of the House of Bëor
F.A. 460503
House of Bëor ceased to exist

Barahir's Outlaw Band
Barahir · Beren · Gildor · Belegund · Baragund · Gorlim · Urthel · Dagnir · Ragnor · Radhruin · Dairuin · Arthad · Hathaldir