Beren and Lúthien
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"Beren and Lúthien" Characters Analysis

By J.R.R. Tolkien

fantasy | 288 pages | Published in 2017

The tale of Beren and Lúthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Lúthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Lúthien was an immortal elf. Her father, a great elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Lúthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Lúthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Lúthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost. Published on the tenth anniversary of the last Middle-earth book, the international bestseller The Children of Húrin, this new volume will similarly include drawings and color plates by Alan Lee, who also illustrated The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and went on to win Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. 

ISBN_13:9780008214197

Estimated read time: 12 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
BerenProtagonist
LúthienProtagonist
ThingolKing of Doriath
MelianQueen of Doriath
CarcharothGuardian of Angband
MorgothDark Lord
HuanWolfhound
Finrod FelagundElf-lord
DaeronMinstrel of Doriath
CelegormElf-lord

Role Identification

In "Beren and Lúthien," by J.R.R. Tolkien, the characters play various roles that contribute to the overall narrative. The protagonists, Beren and Lúthien, are the central characters around which the story revolves. They embark on a perilous quest to retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth, the Dark Lord. Other important characters include Thingol, Melian, Carcharoth, Morgoth, Huan, Finrod Felagund, Daeron, and Celegorm. Each character has a unique role and significance in the book.

Character Descriptions

Beren

Beren is a human hero who falls in love with Lúthien, an elf-maiden. He is described as brave, resourceful, and determined. Beren possesses a deep love for Lúthien and is willing to undertake dangerous quests to prove his worth. He is portrayed as a skilled warrior and a skilled tracker.

Lúthien

Lúthien is an elf-maiden and the daughter of Thingol and Melian. She is described as beautiful, enchanting, and possessing magical abilities. Lúthien is known for her singing and dancing skills, which captivate all who hear or see her. She is portrayed as courageous and willing to defy societal norms for love.

Thingol

Thingol is the King of Doriath and plays a significant role in the story. He is depicted as a wise and powerful ruler who is fiercely protective of his kingdom and daughter. Thingol is known for his wealth and power. He is respected and feared by many.

Melian

Melian is the Queen of Doriath and the wife of Thingol. She is a Maia, a divine being, and possesses great wisdom and foresight. Melian is depicted as beautiful, serene, and enchanting. Her magical abilities add an aura of mystery and protection to the kingdom of Doriath.

Carcharoth

Carcharoth is a giant wolf, bred by Morgoth, and serves as the guardian of Angband. He is described as ferocious, cunning, and relentless. Carcharoth poses a significant threat to Beren and Lúthien during their quest, and his presence adds tension and danger to the story.

Morgoth

Morgoth is the primary antagonist of the book. He is the Dark Lord and the embodiment of evil. Morgoth is powerful, cunning, and ruthless. He seeks to claim the Silmarils, jewels of great power, and will go to great lengths to achieve his goals. His presence instills a sense of dread and danger throughout the narrative.

Huan

Huan is a wolfhound and a loyal companion to Beren and Lúthien. He is depicted as intelligent, brave, and fiercely loyal. Huan possesses the ability to understand and speak human languages, adding a unique dynamic to his interactions with the protagonists.

Finrod Felagund

Finrod Felagund is an Elf-lord and an important ally to Beren and Lúthien. He is described as noble, wise, and valiant in battle. Finrod Felagund is known for his courage and willingness to aid his friends in their quest. His character adds depth and complexity to the story.

Daeron

Daeron is a minstrel of Doriath and serves as a friend and companion to Lúthien. He is depicted as talented, observant, and deeply in love with Lúthien. Daeron's character adds a romantic element to the narrative and highlights the complexities of love and loyalty.

Celegorm

Celegorm is an Elf-lord and one of the sons of Fëanor. He plays a minor role in the story but contributes to the overall conflict. Celegorm is described as proud, ambitious, and skilled in archery. His character adds tension and rivalry to the narrative.

Character Traits

Character NameTraits
BerenBrave, resourceful, determined
LúthienBeautiful, enchanting, courageous
ThingolWise, powerful, protective
MelianBeautiful, serene, wise
CarcharothFerocious, cunning, relentless
MorgothPowerful, cunning, ruthless
HuanIntelligent, brave, loyal
Finrod FelagundNoble, wise, valiant
DaeronTalented, observant, lovestruck
CelegormProud, ambitious, skilled archer

Character Background

Beren

Beren is a human of the house of Bëor. He is a descendant of the Edain, the first Men who aligned with the Elves against Morgoth. His father died at the hands of Morgoth's forces, and Beren grew up in exile. This background fuels his desire for revenge and his determination to prove himself.

Lúthien

Lúthien is the daughter of Thingol, the King of Doriath, and Melian, a Maia. She is of noble birth and possesses extraordinary beauty and talents. Lúthien's elf heritage gives her a unique perspective and abilities that aid her in her quest with Beren.

Thingol

Thingol is an ancient elf and the King of Doriath. He is one of the oldest and most powerful elves in Middle-earth. Thingol's background includes his marriage to Melian, which strengthens his rule and adds a touch of divine influence to his character.

Melian

Melian is a Maia, a divine being, who chose to marry Thingol and live as Queen of Doriath. Her background as a Maia grants her immense wisdom and foresight. Melian's presence adds a touch of enchantment and protection to the kingdom of Doriath.

Carcharoth

Carcharoth's background lies in his creation by Morgoth, the Dark Lord. He is bred to be a mighty wolf, capable of guarding Angband against intruders. Carcharoth's origins as a creation of Morgoth highlight the evil and darkness of his character.

Morgoth

Morgoth's background lies in his rebellion against the Valar, the divine beings who shaped the world. He was once known as Melkor, the mightiest of the Valar, but his lust for power corrupted him. Morgoth's background as a fallen divine being adds depth and complexity to his character.

Huan

Huan's background is less explored in the book, but he is known to be a faithful companion and servant of the Valar. Huan's loyalty and intelligence stem from his divine origins, as he is a hound given special powers by the Valar.

Finrod Felagund

Finrod Felagund is an Elf-lord of noble birth. He is a prince among the Noldor elves and a wise and valiant leader. Finrod Felagund's background as a member of the Noldor emphasizes his noble lineage and his commitment to the cause against Morgoth.

Daeron

Daeron's background lies in his role as a minstrel of Doriath. He is deeply in love with Lúthien, which fuels his loyalty and friendship. Daeron's background as a minstrel adds a romantic dimension to his character and highlights the power of music and love.

Celegorm

Celegorm's background includes his status as one of the sons of Fëanor, a renowned and powerful elf. He hails from a noble lineage and possesses skill in archery. Celegorm's background as a son of Fëanor adds depth and history to his character.

Character Arcs

Beren

Beren's character arc in "Beren and Lúthien" follows his journey from a vengeful and determined man to a selfless hero. He initially seeks revenge against Morgoth for the death of his father but eventually falls in love with Lúthien. Beren's love for Lúthien transforms him, and he becomes willing to sacrifice his own life to retrieve a Silmaril.

Lúthien

Lúthien's character arc revolves around her defiance of societal norms and her willingness to risk everything for love. She starts as a sheltered princess but chooses to leave her kingdom and family to be with Beren. Lúthien's love for Beren gives her the strength to challenge Morgoth and ultimately brings about his downfall.

Thingol

Thingol's character arc showcases his growth as a king and his eventual downfall due to pride. He starts as a wise and powerful ruler, but his possessiveness over the Silmaril leads to his demise. Thingol's arc highlights the dangers of greed and the consequences of holding onto power too tightly.

Melian

Melian's character arc is not explicitly portrayed in the book. However, her role as a wise and protective queen remains consistent throughout the narrative. Melian's presence adds stability and wisdom to the story.

Carcharoth

Carcharoth's character arc is one of relentless pursuit and eventual downfall. He starts as Morgoth's ferocious guardian, but his encounter with Beren and Lúthien leads to his demise. Carcharoth's arc serves as a symbol of the dangers of unchecked aggression and loyalty to evil forces.

Morgoth

Morgoth's character arc is one of constant power-seeking and corruption. He starts as a mighty Valar but falls from grace due to his lust for power. Morgoth's arc showcases the destructive nature of evil and the consequences of succumbing to darkness.

Huan

Huan's character arc is one of loyalty and sacrifice. He remains faithful to Beren and Lúthien throughout their quest and ultimately gives his life in battle against Carcharoth. Huan's arc highlights the power of loyalty and the willingness to make sacrifices for loved ones.

Finrod Felagund

Finrod Felagund's character arc showcases his role as a wise and valiant leader. He aids Beren and Lúthien in their quest and sacrifices his life to save Beren's. Finrod Felagund's arc emphasizes the importance of friendship and the noble qualities of a leader.

Daeron

Daeron's character arc revolves around his unrequited love for Lúthien. He remains loyal to her but ultimately faces heartbreak as she chooses Beren. Daeron's arc highlights the complexities of love and the pain of unrequited feelings.

Celegorm

Celegorm's character arc is relatively minor in "Beren and Lúthien." He serves as a minor antagonist and poses a temporary obstacle to Beren and Lúthien's quest. Celegorm's arc adds tension and rivalry to the narrative but does not undergo significant development.

Relationships

Beren and Lúthien

Beren and Lúthien share a deep and passionate love for each other. Their relationship forms the heart of the story and serves as the driving force behind their quest. Despite their differences in race and societal expectations, Beren and Lúthien's love triumphs over all obstacles.

Beren and Thingol

Beren and Thingol initially have a tense relationship due to Thingol's protectiveness over Lúthien. However, as Beren proves his worth through his deeds, Thingol's respect for him grows. In the end, Thingol grants his blessing to their union.

Lúthien and Thingol

Lúthien and Thingol share a typical father-daughter relationship initially. However, Thingol's possessiveness over Lúthien creates conflict between them. Despite this, Lúthien's love for Beren leads her to defy her father and ultimately reconcile with him.

Beren and Huan

Beren and Huan develop a strong bond during their perilous quest. Huan serves as Beren's loyal companion and aids him in various challenges. Their relationship showcases the loyalty and trust between a human and a faithful animal companion.

Lúthien and Huan

Lúthien and Huan share a unique relationship based on mutual respect and friendship. Huan recognizes Lúthien's true nature and aids her in her quest. Their bond showcases the power of understanding and companionship.

Beren and Morgoth

Beren and Morgoth have an adversarial relationship throughout the story. Beren's quest to retrieve a Silmaril from Morgoth leads to multiple confrontations. Their relationship highlights the clash between good and evil and the courage of an individual against insurmountable odds.

Finrod Felagund and Beren

Finrod Felagund and Beren form a strong friendship during their encounters. Finrod Felagund aids Beren in his quest, and their relationship showcases the power of unity and selflessness.

Daeron and Lúthien

Daeron's relationship with Lúthien is one-sided, as he loves her deeply but remains unrequited. Daeron's role as a friend and companion adds depth to their relationship and highlights the complexities of unrequited love.

Celegorm and Beren

Celegorm serves as a minor antagonist to Beren and Lúthien. Their relationship is characterized by rivalry and conflict. Celegorm's actions add tension to the narrative but do not significantly impact the overall story.

In conclusion, "Beren and Lúthien" by J.R.R. Tolkien presents a diverse range of characters with distinct roles, traits, and relationships. The protagonists, Beren and Lúthien, drive the narrative with their love and courage. The book explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the battle between good and evil. Each character's background, arc, and relationships contribute to the overall richness and depth of the story.