Newsletter: April 2011

Table of Contents

SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month 2011: Passport to Middle-earth

Last month, we joined Many Paths to Tread in celebrating Back to Middle-earth Month or B2MeM. As it has every year, B2MeM drew people from across the fandom. Through the month of March, we travelled throughout Middle-earth, visiting all kinds of locations from Beleriand, through Numenor to the lands of the Third Age. Each time participants completed a challenge, they received a stamp for that day's location on their B2MeM passport.

Although we won't be posting new challenges, we welcome any writers or artists who didn't get a chance to join us to continue creating for the challenges. (Yes, we'll even keep issuing and stamping passports!) Please see the B2MeM page for a complete list of challenges. To read the stories created by SWG authors for this challenge, please see our New at the Archive newsletter section.

This event was truly an example of how many hands make light work. Many thanks to the mods of SWG and MPTT, who have spent the past few months choosing locations, creating challenges, writing travel brochure blurbs, making passport stamps, and designing postcards, then posting those challenges every day and keeping participant passports updated with their new stamps.

But extra special thanks go to all of our participants. Whether you wrote one challenge or thirty-one, we appreciate that you've shared your creativity with us and have continued to support this annual project. Seeing the enthusiasm and creativity that B2MeM generates makes every minute spent on it worthwhile--thank you!

We hope to see you all next year! :)

International Poetry Month

April is International Poetry Month and, as always, we encourage our writers to post their Silmarillion-based poetry on our archive. Whether a novice penning your first poem or an experienced bard, all are welcome!

Need inspiration or help getting started? The Word Shop has an extensive list of poetic forms and terms. has gathered an impressive collection of poems and poetry anthologies. The Academy of American Poets has still more (and a poem-a-day for International Poetry Month!).

Though poetry appears challenging, we have in our Archive the poems that many authors have shared with us through the years. Don’t hesitate to revisit them and to read (or reread) the newer productions that were added in the last year. You’ll find plenty to inspire you so you can try your hand!

After all are gone by ford_of _bruinen
After Amputations by Ithilwen
Ainulindalë - I by Idril_Vanimedle (New!)
The angel that came from the West by ford_of _bruinen
An Anthology of Middle-earth by tinni (New!)
At the dawn of the world by Ithildae (New!)
Awakening by ford_of _bruinen
Bedtime Tales of the Sun by Dawn Felagund
Begging and Betrayal by ford_of_bruinen
Beleg by ford_of _bruinen
Consumed by Vicki Turner
The Dancers by Elleth
Descent by Lady Roisin
Embers by Elleth
Faded and Pale by ford_of _bruinen
Falling by ford_of _bruinen
Feanorian Fates series: Eru's Lament by Alassante
Feanorians by Vicki Turner
The first to fall by ford_of_bruinen
Flight to Doriath by ford_of _bruinen
Glorfindel Reborn by ford_of _bruinen
Glorfindel's Dream by Esteliel (New!)
A high king on his death by ford_of _bruinen
Hope Across Helcaraxe by Mistrali
How I Wish by Dawn Felagund
If I were a wood elf… by Robinka
I married for love by ford_of _bruinen
I seek answer by ford_of _bruinen
I Walked Along Sirion Today by Beruthiels Cat (New!)
The King and the dreamer is dead by ford_of_bruinen
The last farewell of you and me by ford_of _bruinen
Laurelin by Dawn Felagund (New!)
A letter at the twilight of my days by ford_of _bruinen
A little jewel by ford_of _bruinen
The Longings of the Eruhini by Ithilwen
Lost by ford_of _bruinen
Love is no argument by Himring (New!)
Love poem by Oshun
A lullaby by ford_of_bruinen
Maedhros's Lament by ford_of _bruinen
Maedhros the Red-haired Elfie by Cirdan
Maeglin by ford_of _bruinen
Maglor's Song by Robinka
Maglor's whisper by ford_of _bruinen
Mourning Luthien by ford_of _bruinen
A Mighty Bridge Invisible by Noliel
Nargothrond by ford_of _bruinen
Nienor is lost by ford_of_bruinen
On alien shores by ford_of_bruinen
One more minute by ford_of _bruinen
The OTHER Lays of Beleriand by Aiwen
Philosophia to Philomythus and Misomythus by Pandemonium 213
"A Poem for My Father" and "Creator" by Dawn Felagund
Regrets by ford_of _bruinen
Rising by Dawn Felagund
Seagull flight by ford_of_bruinen
Seek the Horizon, Numenor's Sons by Dawn Felagund
Seven Falls by Dawn Felagund
Soft by ford_of _bruinen
Songs of Arda Marred by Ithilwen
Souls already lost by ford_of_bruinen
A soul in pain by ford_of _bruinen
Tears for the Fallen by pandemonium_213 (New!)
Teler by Dawn Felagund
Tevildo by ford_of_bruinen
This Darkest Son by ford_of_bruinen
Three Sides to the Same Story by Fireworks
Turin Turambar by ford_of_bruinen
The Wanderer by Ithilwen
Wild by ford_of_bruinen
With heavy steps by ford_of_bruinen
"Zimraphel" and "I Who Loved Her" by Noliel and Dawn Felagund

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New at the Archive

Works written for B2MEM 2011

A Vault of Topless Trees by oshun [General] (1132 words)
Summary: Prompt for B2MeM Day 5, Menegroth: Write a story that will illustrate the consequences of isolation. Galadriel stays in Doriath, while Finrod leaves without her. Thank you so much to the writers of the Lizard Council for suggestions and corrections.

About Losgar Again by oshun [General] (272 words)
Summary: Maedhros defied his father. Maglor did not..

Anger by Silver Trails [Adult] (1277 words)
Summary: A series of double drabbles about the Noldor Elves' lives in Lake Mithrim, written for the B2MeM 2011 Challenge

B2MEM 2011 - The Silmarillion Extracts by Dwimordene [General] ( words) Incomplete
Summary: See snazzy title.

B2ME Day 1 - Excerpts From the Annals of the People by Erulisse [General] ( 437 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 1 - Seduction: Three were chosen to travel and see the Two Trees.

B2ME Day 2 -Dreamtime by Erulisse [General] (480 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 2 - Defiance - A son returns to his roots.

B2ME Day 3 - Stubborn by Erulisse [General] (352 words)
Summary: B2MN Day 3 - Refusal to Change - What happened when the elves followed Orome to the West?

B2ME Day 4 - Initiating Movement by Erulisse [General] (354 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 4 - Conquiring Fear - How did this elf feel after the Doom of Mandos had been spoken?

B2ME Day 5 - Banishment by Erulisse [General] (519 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 5 - Isolation - What thoughts were Feanor's when he was banished to Formenos?

B2ME Day 6 - Light by Erulisse [General] (281 words)
Summary: Did Melkor truly love the dark?

B2ME Day 7 - Lessons by Erulisse [General] (191 words)
Summary: For B2ME Day 7 Challenge - Overcoming Predjudice. Artanis has a lesson to teach her fellow students.

B2ME Day 8 - Roots by Erulisse [General] (389 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 8 - Connecting With One's Land or Culture. Why did Glorfindel choose the House of the Golden Flower as his house name?

B2ME Day 9 - Obligations by Erulisse [General] (560 words)
Summary: B2ME 2011 Day 9 - The clash between betrayal and loyalty as seen through the eyes of Olwe.

B2ME Day 10 - Wishes by Erulisse [General] (483 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 10 - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Watch out for what you wish for.

B2ME Day 11 - Family Matters by Erulisse [General] (861 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 11 - Sacrifices to achieve peace. A surprise action by Artanis ensures peace on a family vacation.

B2ME Day 12 - Song of the Earth by Erulisse [General] (885 words)
Summary: B2ME - Day 12 - Show how a different race appreciates nature. When a new area is excavated in Nargothrond, Finrod and Dawli are called in to examine it.

B2ME Day 13 - Prayers Unanswered by Erulisse [General] (102 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 13 - A story about prayers, pleas or requests unanswered. What if "someday my Prince will come" isn't always a good thing?

B2ME Day 14 - Presentations by Erulisse [General] (637 words)
Summary: BwME Day 14 - explore rites or rituals. Feanor presents his son to the only Power that matters to him.

B2ME Day 15 - Family History by Erulisse [General] (1295 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 15 - write a story that centers around food. An embarrassing incident goes down into Turukano's family history.

B2ME Day 16 - Ghosts by Erulisse [General] (158 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 16 - "A gentle breeze brushes the hilltop, combing the ruins..." Arafinwe returns to a place of great sorrow.

B2ME Day 17 - An Exchange of Gifts by Erulisse [General] (620 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 17 - write a story featuring the exchange of gifts. A gift from Valinor ends up sailing the skies.

B2ME Day 18 - An Act of Kindness by Erulisse [General] (526 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 18 - a story detailing an act of kindness. A chance discovery by the patrol brings smiles to the face of the children of Vinyamar.

B2ME Day 19 - Meetings or Reunions by Erulisse [General] (674 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 19 - write a story featuring meetings or reunions. A horse adopts his boy in the spring.

B2ME Day 20 - Making a Decision by Erulisse [General] (197 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 20 - Making a Decision. A mother's request will affect the life and death of her son.

B2ME Day 21 - East and West by Erulisse [General] (582 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 21 - East and West. The journey to the West is interrupted for one elf, for a very long time.

B2ME Day 22 - Refugees by Erulisse [General] (300 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 22 - A story about refugees. Not all elves who left the east actually travelled to the West. A story of one of the "dark" elves.

B2ME Day 24 - Animal Symbols by Erulisse [General] (942 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 24 - Animal Symbols. Maitimo wants to commission a special gift for his cousin, Findekano.

B2ME Day 25 - Shards of Glass by Erulisse [General] (408 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 25 - Shards of Glass. A gift from a cherished daughter has shattered, reflecting her shattered dreams.

B2ME Day 26 - Character Expression by Erulisse [General] (853 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 26 - Character Expression. What is really going through Huan's head?

B2ME Day 27 - Following a Dream by Erulisse [General] (546 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 27 - Following a Dream. Alqualonde from a personal perspective.

B2ME Day 28 - Letters by Erulisse [General] (549 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 28 - Letters. A letter written to be delivered in Valinor.

B2ME Day 29 - Battling the Dark by Erulisse [General] (439 words)
Summary: B2ME - Battling the Dark - The trees are dead and the Noldor have left. Who is left to pick up the pieces?

Be A Man by oshun [Teens] (602 words)
Summary: Celeborn accepts that he has lost Elu to Melian the Maia. This may be read as existing in the same universe as my story Will Overruled by Fate wherein Celeborn admits to Haldir that he had loved Elu Thingol in his youth.

But Maybe That Was The Light Of The Trees by Nekomitsu [General] (1721 words) Incomplete
Summary: In response to the B2MeM 2011 challenge: Maglor's long life in thirty-one short vignettes.

Can I Play with Madness? by Robinka [Adult] (104 words)
Summary: This glimpse is a bit of a far larger story of mine that depicts the battle in the forest of Brethil, coming soon in the cinemas near you ;).

Fearless and Full of Himself by oshun [General] (100 words)
Summary: Elrond doesn't fear the future; Maedhros doesn't fear the past. For B2Me challenge 2011, day 4, Mithrim. Prompt is: Write a story or poem or create artwork where the character conquers his or her fears.

In the Court of the Dragon Emperor by pandemonium_213 [Teens] (963 words)
Summary: The Dragon Emperor of Kithai lavishes rich and tempting gifts upon two Istari: Alatar and Pallando. Will the Blue Wizards succumb to the Son of Heaven's request?

Laurië Lassi – Golden Leaves by Esteliel [Teens] (7531 words) Incomplete
Summary: Glorfindel's past, from his youth in Aman to his death at Cristhorn and his eventual return to Middle-earth. A collection of drabbles and small ficlets written for Back to Middle-earth Month 2011.

Look Homeward Angel by oshun [General] (568 words)
Summary: Day 30: Grey Havens -- Write a story or poem, or create a piece of art on the theme of leaving or returning home. A moment of domesticity with Elros, Elrond, Maglor and Maedhros.

Lost Tales of Gondolin by darthfingon [General] (3461 words) Incomplete
Summary: The Lost Tales of Gondolin, which by all rights should have remained Lost.

Lúthien Meets Beren by oshun [Adult] ( 529 words)
Summary: Rivendell, Day 19, write a story or create a piece of artwork centered on meetings or reunions. (This one is a very soft R-rated piece.) I always wondered what Lúthien saw in that grubby unwashed Beren. Shallow person that I am, I figured he had to have been hot and had a sense of humor at very least.

Marta's Mathoms - BMEM 2011 by Marta †[Teens](10156 words) Incomplete
Summary: A series of stories written for Back to Middle-earth Month 2011.

Memories by Silver Trails [Adult] (1289 words)
Summary: A series of double drabbles about the Noldor Elves' memories of Aman, written for the B2MeM 2011 Challenge

One Can Never Go Home Again by oshun [General] (100 words)
Summary: B2MeM 2011, March 16: Arnor. Write a story which begins with this line: “A gentle breeze brushed the hilltop, combing the ruins. In the Fourth Age of Arda, the re-embodied Fingon and Maedhros visit the ruins of Formenos.

Postcards from Arda by Elleth [General] (5817 words) Incomplete
Summary: A set of ficlets for B2MeM 2011.

Reborn by Gadira [General] (2107words)
Summary: A conversation that will change the fate of Númenor forever. Written for B2MEM Day 14, "Armenelos", on the subject of religion. Based on my Full of Wisdom verse, though it can be read on its own.

Scent of Reality by Himring [Teens] (888 words)
Summary: Huan and a recovering Maedhros on the shore of Lake Mithrim.

The Book of Short Tales by Lyra [General](2832 words) Incomplete
Summary: A place to store short ficlets and challenge responses that don't really warrant being archived on their own.

The Choice by lindahoyland [General] (100 words)
Summary: Huan makes a difficult choice.

The Dragon Helm of Belegost by oshun [General] (101 words)
Summary: Maedhros gives Fingon a gift; Fingon holds a strong prejudice against certain forms of Dwarven aesthetics. A true drabble written in dialogue only. (The cheating is in the summary and the author’s note.)

The Isles of Cinnamon by oshun [General] (754 words)
Summary: It is fanon that Elves can never be fat. It is my invention, but I believe a plausible one, that spices would be hard to come by in the hidden city of Gondolin. Idril plans a sumptuous dinner for guests, including Salgant, Lord of the House of the Harp (who is described in The Book of Lost Tales II as “heavy and squat”). Tuor enjoys admiring his wife and young son and tiny Eärendil dreams of sailing to faraway places.

The Persistence of Memory By Robinka (100 words)
Summary: Written for B2MeM 2011 Day First: "Nan Elmoth".

Completed Works

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND by Chilled in Hithlum [General] (21695 words)
Summary: Ongoing Screenplays covering Professor Tolkien's epic tales

Works in Progress

Ambarussa by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: Did Amras really die when Fëanor and his sons burned the ships in Losgar?.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

Chasing Mirages by Russandol [Adult] †
Summary: A 'what if' tale of darkness, light, love and betrayal over the Ages of Eä.
Chapter added this month: Renewal .

Full of Wisdom and Perfect in Beauty by Gadira † [Adult]
Summary: The History of the Downfall, from Ar-Sakalthôr´s accession to Ar-Pharazôn´s Armada. Long saga. (Rating for possible future transgressions).
Chapters added this month: The Lady´s Battle and Heading East.

In Darkness Bound by Fiondil [Teens]
Summary: In the aftermath of the Darkening, three kings search for meaning in the midst of tragedy. One seeks absolution; another, vengeance, while the third merely endeavors to salvage what he can from the disaster and protect his people from future harm. All may find what they are looking for, though not necessarily in the way they expect, for, as always, the Valar have their own agenda. 
Chapters added this month: Chapter 52: At the Máhanaxar, Chapter 53: A Conspiracy Suspected, Chapter 54: Mahalmacundo, Chapter 55: The Queen’s Council, Chapter 56: Fëanáro’s Return , Chapter 57: The Crowning of Fëanáro, Chapter 58: Sië Quentë Fëanáro, Chapter 59: Finwë in Mandos and Chapter 60: After the Coronation.

Love and other forbidden things by tinni [General]
Summary: A Maedhros/Fingon romance
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND vol 2 by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: I had some difficulty deciding where to end the first volume, but I had as a jumping off point the sojourn of Hurin and Huor in Gondolin and the knowledge that they acquired there regarding the lore of the Eldar. This presents an opporturnity to delve into the past, as it where, and look deeper at some of the main protagonists in the form of back-story. Although it is not my intention to completely slow down this tale with a SHADOW OF THE PAST volume and I still don't quite know yet how I can contrive this to the reader's and my own satisfaction. However, the main thrust of this volume that is set 'in the present' will follow the arc of Hurin coming into his inheritance as Lord of Dor-Lomin and other events beside (eg. The Fall of Barahir.)
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

The Minstrel of Noldo by Alaudesketchbook [General]
Summary: Here's what I wrote back in fanfiction. A group of drabbles about Canafinwe.
Chapter added this month: Time.

The Singer's Girl by Lady MSM [Teens]
Summary: Andril didn't mean to get involved in all this, really. Is it her fault that an exiled prince and his family are living two miles away from her village? And is it her fault she's got a weakness for talkative, musical boys? A sort of romantic dramedy..
Chapter added this month: Chapter 7.

The Unspoken by Elfique [Teens]
Summary: Many things remain unspoken, the reason for Glorfindel's apparent batchelorhood being one of them. A five part series of vignettes that seeks to explore this.
Chapter added this month: Part IV.

You Live Your Life in the Shadow of the Mountain by darthfingon [Teens]
Summary: At the end of the First Age, religious feuds and civil unrest threaten Valmar and Tirion. A 'What-If' AU.
Chapter added this month: By Word of the King.

Short Works

Marbles by grey_gazania [General] (427 words)
Summary: Fëanor finds that his feelings toward his little brother are not as black-and-white as he thinks they are. Pure fluff.

Library of Tirion

As Little Might Be Thought by Deborah Judge [General] (7237 words)
Summary: The development of the relationship between Maglor and his foster-sons Elrond and Elros, from the sack of Sirion to the loss of the Silmarils.
First published: June 26, 2002.

Between Two Worlds by Marnie [General] (4339 words)
Summary: Young Ereinion Gil-Galad faces a childhood in wartime exile, with some help from a couple of Sindar, accounted among the Wise in Middle-earth.

The Talebearer by erunyauve [General] (2125 words)
Summary: A very neglected son of Finarfin has a moment in the sun.
First published July 13, 2003.

The Wedge by Finch [General] † (3567 words)
Summary: Fingolfin visits his sister Lalwen and receives a surprise.
First published: July 8, 2003.

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Character of the Month Biography

Huan the Hound of Valinor


Huan is one of the most if not the most truly noble beasts in The Silmarillion and a hero by the standards of almost any reader. He is described in the Index of Names to The Silmarillion as:

The great wolfhound of Valinor that Oromë gave to Celegorm; friend and helper of Beren and Lúthien; slew and slain by Carcharoth. The name means 'great dog, hound'. (1)

If there are readers who ever wondered what noble Huan was like as a puppy, the good news is that Tolkien actually tells us in The Lay of Leithian.

In Tavros’ (2) friths and pastures green
Had Huan once a young welp been.
He grew the swiftest of the swift,
And Oromë gave him as a gift
To Celegorm, who loved to follow
The great God’s horn o’er hill and hollow. (3)

The story of Huan, like so many recounted in the history of the First Age, begins in the idyllic land of Valinor in Aman only to end in sorrow in Middle-earth. But part of the appreciation of Tolkien’s tales of those elder days involves the emotionally compelling contrast of the final fate fraught with drama of a character against a more tranquil origin. In this case, one is invited to consider the half-grown dog, bounding, carefree with his tongue hanging out, after a guiltless and young Celegorm the Fair under the light of Laurelin. That part of Huan’s tale is, however, tragically short.

His story begins with Huan portrayed as loyal to his master in the way of all good beasts. When Celegorm follows his father from Aman to Middle-earth, against the warning of the Valar, Huan goes along with him.

Now the chief of the wolf hounds that followed Celegorm was named Huan. He was not born in Middle-earth, but came from the Blessed Realm; for Oromë had given him to Celegorm long ago in Valinor, and there he had followed the horn of his master, before evil came. Huan followed Celegorm into exile, and was faithful; and thus he too came under the doom of woe set upon the Noldor, and it was decreed that he should meet death, but not until he encountered the mightiest wolf that would ever walk the world. (4)

One must conclude from the above paragraph that Huan, for all of his loyalty and heroism, is not considered perfect and whole by the Valar. Huan sadly is as bound by the Curse of Mandos as is the Noldorin prince who is his master because the faithful hound chooses to leave Aman and follow Celegorm into exile.

Huan is described as being as big as a small horse. His connection to the Vala Oromë and to Celegorm, both notable in the legendarium as great hunters, leads one to presume that Huan is adept as a hunter as well. No exact descriptions are given of his appearance in the text, except for the reference to his outstanding size and his grey coat. One may also make certain assumptions based upon his capacity to match himself in battle against the great wolves of Angband and Sauron in wolf form. Many readers, this one among them, are quick to imagine him being similar to the great Irish Wolfhounds whose origins are lost in myth and whose exploits extend to legends set upon the Isle of Britain as well as Ireland. Those great hounds are often described as growing to nearly the height of a colt and being the tallest of canines. The personality and dedication of Huan is reminiscent of the story of brave Gelert (5) the faithful hound of Wales, who is reputed to have been an Irish Wolfhound also. Irish Wolfhounds are commonly described in a rapture of superlatives. The following is not at all atypical of such descriptions:

Noble in character, majestic in bearing, swift in the chase, tenacious to the end, a mighty hunter, generous to friend but terrible to foe, supreme among the canine races for intelligence and an almost uncanny sense of good and evil, sublime in his devotion, the joy of his master's heart, and faithful unto death--such is the splendid record of the Irish wolfhound, gleaned from the mythological legends of the Emerald Isle and taken from the written page of English history from the dawn of our race unto the twentieth century. (6)

This creates an image which can be easily applied to Huan. In relation to the nature of Huan, the speculation is often raised that his powers of reasoning and speech, which place him beyond even the most exceptional of dogs, could lead one to believe that he ranks among the semi-divine--that is to say that Huan is more likely than not a Maia. The logic supporting that possibility and an exact reference thereto exist within the texts. In a short, less than definitive series of notes on the nature and creation of the Orcs in the Myths Transformed section of Morgoth’s Ring, one finds the following remarks:

What of talking beasts and birds with reasoning and speech? These have been rather lightly adopted from less 'serious' mythologies, but play a part which cannot now be excised. They are certainly 'exceptions' and not much used, but sufficiently to show they are a recognized feature of the world. All other creatures accept them as natural if not common. But true 'rational' creatures, 'speaking peoples', are all of human/'humanoid' form. Only the Valar and Maiar are intelligences that can assume forms of Arda at will. Huan and Sorontar could be Maiar--emissaries of Manwë. (a href="#bio-ref">7)

One the principle attributes of Huan is that he is endowed with the ability to understand the tongues of Elves and Men and to speak himself in words, but only three times in his life. In The Tale of Tinúviel, the following elegant words are put into the mouth of Huan at his first sighting of Lúthien:

Great therefore was the good fortune that befell Tinúviel in meeting with Huan in the woods, although at first she was mortally afraid and fled. But Huan overtook her in two leaps, and speaking soft and deep the tongue of the Lost Elves he bid her be not afraid, and, "Wherefore," said he, "do I see an Elfin maiden, and one most fair, wandering alone so nigh to the abodes of the Ainu of Evil? Knowst thou not these are very evil places to be in, little one, even with a companion, and they are death to the lonely?" (8)

The role of Huan remains similar from the earliest drafts of the story of Lúthien Tinúviel to the latest, although his history and the small details may vary. For narrative purposes, the version which we will rely upon in this short character biography is the one found in the published Silmarillion. That one relies upon the text of The Quenta Silmarillion and The Lay of Leithian (9). The much earlier version of the story of Lúthien and Huan in The Book of Lost Tales includes a complicated abandoned plot involving Tevildo the Prince of Cats, who particularly hates Huan. Most of Tevildo’s role in the story is later given over to Sauron. (Some cat fancier may wish to compare and contrast the feline villain to the character of Sauron in a separate essay. It is much too complex to track every bit of that duplicative and discarded storyline in this presumably short biography of an important but minor character.)

In all versions of the story of Lúthien and Huan, they take to each other immediately. In The Silmarillion, when Huan encounters the fleeing Lúthien in the forest, he brings her to meet his master and his master’s brother.

Huan it was that found Lúthien flying like a shadow surprised by the daylight under the trees, when Celegorm and Curufin rested a while near to the western eaves of Doriath; for nothing could escape the sight and scent of Huan, nor could any enchantment stay him, and he slept not, neither by night nor day. He brought her to Celegorm, and Lúthien, learning that he was a prince of the Noldor and a foe of Morgoth, was glad; and she declared herself, casting aside her cloak. (a href="#bio-ref">10)

We might presume that it is partially due to her trust in Huan that Lúthien reveals herself with such alacrity to Celegorm and Curufin and goes with them to Nargothrond. It is a short time later, when she finds herself to be involuntarily detained by the lovelorn Celegorm and scheming Curufin, that Lúthien shares her confidences with Huan and the dog returns her friendship in full.

But Huan the hound was true of heart, and the love of Lúthien had fallen upon him in the first hour of their meeting; and he grieved at her captivity. Therefore he came often to her chamber; and at night he lay before her door, for he felt that evil had come to Nargothrond. Lúthien spoke often to Huan in her loneliness, telling of Beren, who was the friend of all birds and beasts that did not serve Morgoth; ad Huan understood all that was said. For he comprehended the speech of all things with voice; but it was permitted to him thrice only ere his death to speak with words. (a href="#bio-ref">11)

Having heard Lúthien’s story in great detail, Huan is finally moved to the point that he chooses to use the first of his three allotted opportunities for speech to reveal a way for her to escape Nargothrond.

Thus Huan spoke, who never before
Had uttered words, and but twice more
Did speak in elven tongue again:
“Lady beloved, whom all Men,
whom Elfinesse, and whom all things
with fur and fell and feathered wings
should serve and love- arise! Away!
Put on thy cloak! Before the day
Comes over Nargothrond we fly
To Northern perils, thou and I.”
And ere he ceased he counsel wrought
For achievement of the thing he sought.
There Luthien listened in amaze,
And softly on Huan did she gaze.
Her arms about his neck she cast –
In friendship that to death should last. (12)

The reader of The Lay of Leithian is convinced at this point that the remarkable hound of Valinor and the Sindarin princess will make a great questing pair. The Silmarillion text continues the narrative of their mission to reunite Lúthien with Beren.

Then he led her by secret ways out of Nargothrond, and they fled north together; and he humbled his pride and suffered her to ride upon him in the fashion of a steed, even as the Orcs did at times upon great wolves. Thus they made great speed, for Huan was swift and tireless. (13)

Huan safely accompanies Lúthien to Tol-in-Gaurhoth (the Isle of Werewolves). They arrive just a little too late to have any chance of intervening to save Finrod Felagund. There Huan is able to defeat and kill all of Sauron’s werewolves, with the assistance of Lúthien's magic.

Therefore he sent a wolf to the bridge. But Huan slew it silently. Still Sauron sent others one by one; and one by one Huan took them by the throat and slew them. Then Sauron sent Draugluin, a dread beast, old in evil lord and sire of the werewolves of Angband. His might was great; and the battle of Huan and Draugluin was long and fierce. Yet at length Draugluin escaped, and fleeing back into the tower he died before Sauron's feet; and as he died he told his master: 'Huan is there!' (14)

Sauron himself then takes upon the shape of the greatest wolf that has ever lived up hoping to fulfill the prophecy that Huan will meet his end in battle against such a wolf.

Now Sauron knew well, as did all in that land, the fate that was decreed for the hound of Valinor, and it came into his thought that he himself would accomplish it. Therefore he took upon himself the form of a werewolf, and made himself the mightiest that had yet walked the world; and he came forth to win the passage of the bridge. (a href="#bio-ref">15)

However, Huan, with the support of Lúthien, is able to defeat Sauron, who abandons the form of a wolf in order to escape. “And immediately he took the form of a vampire, great as a dark cloud across the moon, and he fled, dripping blood from his throat upon the trees . . . ” (16).

At the reunification of Beren and Lúthien, Beren grieves for the loss of his friend Finrod and Huan leaves the couple to themselves, returning to his master out of a long habit of loyalty, although he is never to love Celegorm as he had before all that had transpired in Nargothrond.

Later, after the Fëanorian brothers have been exiled from Nargothrond by Orodreth when he learned of their schemes, Lúthien and Beren once more encounter Celegorm and Curufin. Curufin tries to kill Lúthien, but Huan turns against his master, defending Beren and Lúthien.

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 either Lúthien, being forsaken, must assuredly die alone, or she must with you challenge the fate that lies before you--hopeless, yet not certain. Further counsel I cannot give, nor may I go further on your road. But my heart forebodes that what you find at the Gate I shall myself see. All else is dark to me; yet it may be that our three paths lead back to Doriath, and we may meet before the end.' (a href="#bio-ref">17)

Huan told Beren and Lúthien of a plan he had devised for entering Angband. He is the one who suggested using the pelt of the werewolf Draugluin and the skin of Sauron's messenger bat Thuringwethil. Wearing these skins Beren and Lúthien are able to gain access into Angband. Huan does not accompany them, but he is right in his prediction that they will meet again soon. Beren and Lúthien manage to regain the Silmaril through their courage and clever trickery, but Beren loses his hand that holds the Silmaril to the monster werewolf Carcharoth.

A terrorizing Carcharoth, crazed with the pain of the Silmaril still clasped in the severed hand of Beren burning within his gut, goes off on a killing spree crossing over the border into Doriath, attacking closer and closer to Menegroth. Beren and Lúthien reach Doriath and tell the tale of their adventure and their seizure of the Silmaril and its loss to the same beast which is ravaging the country around Doriath. Determined to protect Doriath, King Elu Thingol, Beren, Mablung, and Beleg Cúthalion, with the invaluable assistance of Huan, organize the Great Hunt for the Wolf. Huan pursues and successfully tracks Caracharoth. Beren is gravely injured bringing Carcharoth down while Huan continues to fight the wolf to the death. Huan at last prevails over the massive werewolf but is poisoned in the process and dies.

Huan’s third and last use of his opportunity to speak is expended in bidding good-bye Beren and Lúthien before dying.

Huan in that hour slew Carcharoth; but there in the woven woods of Doriath his own doom long spoken was fulfilled, and he was wounded mortally, and the venom of Morgoth entered into him. Then he came, and falling beside Beren spoke for the third time with words; and he bade Beren farewell before he died. Beren spoke not, but laid his hand upon the head of the hound, and so they parted. (18)

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  2. Another name for Oromë used in, among other early texts, The Shaping of Middle-earth, The Quenta (Quenta Noldorinwa or Pennas-na-Ngoelaidh).
  3. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian.
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  5. The legend of brave Gelert, the archetype of the magnificent and faithful hound, is old and retold in countless sources; George Borrow’s Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery (1862) contains an accessible, relatively modern account.
  6. Ralph Montagu Scott, "The History, Character and Description of the Irish Wolfhound," The Irish Wolfhound Association, published September 1925, accessed 28 March 2011.
  7. Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed, "Orcs."
  8. The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two, The Tale of Tinúviel.
  9. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian.
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  11. Ibid.
  12. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian.
  13. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.

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With a Bit of Fairy Dust

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LotR Genfic Community: March Challenge--Poetry

The April Challenge will have the theme "Poetry", in honor of the fact that April is National Poetry Month, and we are asking the participants to try their hand at a poem! To request your word, please leave a comment saying whether you want a noun, verb, adjective or adverb, to this post. The April challenge poems will be due the weekend of Friday April 15,and will be revealed on Monday, April 18.


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