Monday, November 18, 2013

Middle Earth Challenge, Day 18

Favourite Female Character

Like most of the questions in this challenge, I found that I did not have an easy answer to this one either. If I were restricting myself to The Lord of the Rings, Eowyn would be the hands-down winner. Since this is a Middle Earth, challenge, however, this means that I must take in to account characters in Tolkien's other works as well. I considered Galadriel for a while - she roams about the pages of The Silmarillion, a much younger, and less wise elf than she is when she is Queen of Lothlorien. Indeed, she is something of a warrior in those early days. I finally settled on Luthien Tinuviel.

Beren and Luthien - Colours by ~Fumettisto on deviantART
Beren and Luthien - Colours by ~Fumettisto on deviantART

The story of Beren and Luthian is one of Tolkien's most beautiful stories. Luthien was an Elf, beautiful and well beloved, called the Morning Star of her people. She was the daughter of Thingol, King of Doriath. Beren was a mortal man, one the race of Beor - men who fought against Morgoth. At the time of their meeting, Beren was a fugitive - a man whom Morgoth hated enough to put a price on his head. He was lost, and weary, and stumbled upon Thingol's daughter as she danced in the woods. They fell in love, unlikely as that seemed, but the King of Doriath was loathed to give his daughter in marriage to a mere mortal, however noble that man might be. Rather than simply refusing to allow them to marry, Thingol presented Beren with an impossible task: to cut the Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth.

Beren set out, and after many adventures, was captured by Sauron. But Luthien had followed after him, and with the aid of the great hound, Huan, freed him from bondage. They continued on their journey together. Luthien enchanted them into the forms of a bat and a werewolf, so that they might slip into Angband unchallenged, and Luthien stood before the throne of Morgoth, singing a spell of sleep over him, so that Beren might take the Silmaril from his crown. He completed his task, but Morgoth sent a werewolf after them, to bring back the great gem of Feanor. Beren lost his hand to the beast, and though, at the end of their adventures, he was able to present the Silmaril to Thingol, he died of his wounds. But Luthien, in her grief, followed him again and pleaded for his life before Mandos, guardian of the Halls of the Dead. She was granted that special privilege, and Beren was restored to life. Luthien herself was given the choice of remaining in Valinar, as a reward for her actions against Morgoth, or to accept a mortal life, and live out her days as Beren's wife. She chose the latter course - the first of the Elves to do so. The last, of course, was Arwen, who wedded Aragorn, son of Arathorn, of the line of Beren and Luthien.

I like Luthien for many reasons. She was powerful in her own right, but never proud of it. She was lovely, but she was also good. She was a lady, but she was strong, and brave as any warrior. She was sweet, but she was also clever and canny. She was the daughter of a King, but knew the worth of a man such a Beren, and valued it accordingly. Her love for Beren was a true love - not a soft, warm, sentimental thing, but a burning, sharp-edged glorious thing . The sort of love that does not shirk from pain or sacrifice, and that lasts beyond death.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Middle Earth Challenge, click here.


Kiri Liz said...

I never thought about Luthien! Good choice, Mahri! Beren's adventures in The Silmarillion are some of my favorite chapters in all of Tolkien's works, and the love that he shares with Luthien, just as you say, was true, a love that lasts beyond death.

Really enjoyed this!

Treskie said...

Dang, girl. You are really enjoying this challenge. lol.

That picture is *gorgeous* btw