Time Period: First Age
Daughter of King Thingol of Doriath and Melian the Maia, wife of Beren, mother of Dior.
“Lúthien” seems to mean “enchantress”. “Tinúviel” is a poetic word for the nightingale, “Daughter of the Twilight”.
Beren, a mortal Man, first saw Lúthien in the woods of Neldoreth. He had wandered long and far and was full of pain but the sight of Lúthien made him forget that pain. She vanished from his sight, and he spent a long time searching
the woods for her. While he was searching, he called her “Tinúviel” in his heart, because he did not know her name. At the beginning of spring he saw her dancing on a hill, and she began to sing. Her song broke the spell of silence that had overcome Beren, and he called out, “Tinúviel!” and they met at last. Lúthien loved him, and that was her doom. They went secretly together through the forest in the spring and summer, knowing more joy than any other beings had known.
But others also loved Lúthien. Her father’s minstrel, Daeron, saw them together and told Thingol. King Thingol was not happy, because he loved his daughter above all things. Beren was brought before Thingol and he professed his love for the King’s daughter. Thingol had sworn to Lúthien not to kill or imprison Beren. He told Beren that he could have Lúthien if he went out and brought back in his own hand a Silmaril from Morgoth’s iron crown. Both Melian and Lúthien realised the doom that Thingol had set, and from that moment on, Lúthien sang no more in Doriath. After some time waiting, a dark horror came over Lúthien’s heart. She asked her mother Melian for counsel, and found that Beren had been imprisoned in the dungeons of Sauron. She sought help from the minstrel Daeron, but he betrayed her again to her father. A house was built high up in the tallest tree of the forest, and Lúthien was made to live there. The ladders were taken away and guarded so she could not escape. But Lúthien wove a spell that made her hair grow long, and she wove a dark cloak out of it, and the
rest she made into a rope. Both were enchanted with a spell of sleep, so when she climbed down her rope, the guards at the base of the tree fell under the enchantment. Thus she escaped from Doriath.
She was found later by the great hound Huan, and his master Celegorm. She asked his help, but was again imprisoned, as Celegorm wanted her for his bride. She escaped with the help of Huan who brought her cloak, and led her by secret ways out of Nargothrond where she had been imprisoned. They made great speed, because Huan let Lúthien ride on his back. When Lúthien came to the bridge that led to Sauron’s isle, she sang a song. Beren heard her and sang back. Lúthien heard Beren’s song and sang another of greater power. Sauron then knew who was there, and sent a wolf to the bridge to capture her so he could give her to Morgoth for a great reward.
Huan slew the wolf, and all that were sent after it. The last one escaped to die at Sauron’s feet, and he told Sauron that the great hound Huan was there. Then Sauron himself came, in wolf form, and there was a great battle between he and Huan. Sauron changed shape many times, but could not defeat the hound of the Valar. Lúthien demanded that he surrender the isle to her, and he did.
Lúthien then went to find Beren, and found him grieving over the body of Finrod Felagund, whom he had been imprisoned with. She thought him dead and lay down on the ground with him. He awoke to find her there beside him. They buried Finrod, and then were free once again. Beren’s oath to
recover a Silmaril hung heavy on him, but Lúthien would not be parted from him. She said that whatever path he chose, she would follow. He tried to leave her behind, so he could fulfil his oath, but Huan helped Lúthien to find him again. After many adventures, they came to the Gates of Angbad, with Beren in the form of Draugluin, a wolf, and Lúthien as Thuringwethil, a vampire bat. The greatest wolf of all, Carcharoth, guarded the gates.
Lúthien defied him, and he fell down as if struck by lightening. The two lovers now found their way through the mazes to find the throne of Morgoth. When they did, Beren slunk in a wolf’s form under Morgoth’s chair. Lúthien dropped her disguise, and offered to sing for Morgoth, as a minstrel. He was pleased with this until Lúthien began to sing. She sang a song that put him and all his court to sleep. Beren then came out and cut a Silmaril from the crown. He and Lúthien then fled, longing only to see the light of day again. When they got to the gates, they found that Carcharoth had woken from his sleep. Beren held up the Silmaril to defy him but a lust had woken within the wolf, and he seized the Silmaril, and the hand that held it, and bit it off. The Silmaril burned inside him, and drove him away, mad with pain, for long ago the Valar had cursed the Silmarils that no flesh of evil could touch them without harm.
Lúthien and Beren were saved by the eagles, who took them to back Doriath. Huan found them again, and he and Lúthien tended Beren’s wound. When he was well, they went before Thingol who thought Beren was dead, and his daughter lost forever. Thingol was not pleased to see Beren, and asked
him about his quest, and his vow. Beren said that he had a Silmaril in his hand at that very moment, and showed Thingol his empty left hand, and missing right hand. At that moment, Thingol’s heart softened, and he asked to hear their tale. Then, he yielded his will, and allowed them to marry. The quest was not yet fulfilled, and Thingol, Beren, Huan and
many others set forth to slay Carcharoth. In the battle, the Silmaril was recovered, but both Beren and Huan were mortally wounded.
Before he died, Lúthien asked Beren to wait for her beyond the Western Sea. Lúthien
died of grief, and her spirit went to the Halls of Mandos. There she sang a song so powerful that she moved Mandos himself to pity. Mandos had not the power to withhold the spirits of men, so he went to Manwë, Lord of the Valar. Lúthien was then given two choices: to go to Valimar, and live
forever among the Valar, but without Beren, as men could not come there; or for both to return to Middle-earth, and live mortal lives, until they die again. She chose to become a mortal, and together they lived on Tol Galen, (“the Green Isle”) in the River Adurant.
Edited by: M