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Literature / Beren and Lúthien

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Cover art by Alan Lee

'I see the ring, son of Barahir, and I perceive that you are proud, and deem yourself mighty. But a father's deeds, even had his service been rendered to me, avail not to win the daughter of Thingol and Melian. See now! I too desire a treasure that is withheld. For rock and steel and the fires of Morgoth keep the jewel that I would possess against all the powers of the Elf-kingdoms. Yet I hear you say that bonds such as these do not daunt you. Go your way therefore! Bring to me in your hand a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown; and then, if she will, Lúthien may set her hand in yours. Then you shall have my jewel; and though the fate of Arda lie within the Silmarils, yet you shall hold me generous.'

Beren and Lúthien is a Dark Fantasy/Romance tale by J. R. R. Tolkien, one of the three "Great Tales" of the First Age (the other two being The Children of Húrin and The Fall of Gondolin), and one of the main tales of the Tolkien's Legendarium. Tolkien began working in the story in 1917, writing many versions of the tale, both in prose and poetry, throughout his life, but never finishing any of them (except for the original The Tale of Tinúviel, which does not fit with the wider, more elaborate mythos due to being such an early work). The story was posthumously published by his son Christopher Tolkien who, lacking a finished and updated version, opted for presenting the different versions in chronological order, interspersing Cantos of the Lay of Leithian with prose fragments of The Silmarillion to patch up a continuous narrative.

Morgoth has broken the Siege of Angband, and his forces are spreading across the North of Beleriand, attacking both Elves and their Men allies. However, his army is held from invading Nargothrond by Barahir, leader of the House of Beor, a tribe of Men who rule over Dorthonion and serve King Finrod Felagund. Morgoth sends Sauron at the helm of an army of Orcs, wolves and werewolves to conquer the country, and eventually all Dorthonion's outlaws are killed…except by Barahir's son, Beren, who is forced to flee towards the South.

After a harrowing journey through cursed lands, Beren enters the Elven Kingdom of Doriath, and meets princess Lúthien in the woods. Beren and Lúthien fall in love, but her father King Thingol is not willing to allow anybody to marry his daughter. So, he challenges Beren to bring a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, expecting him to give up or try and get killed.

Unfortunately, Thingol underestimates the depths of Beren and Lúthien's love, their stubbornness and how far they are willing to go for each other.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lúthien did not find about it until she was told about Sauron trying to capture her and bring her to Morgoth, but the Dark Lord had been lusting after her for a long time. Similarly, Celegorm tried to force her into marriage, an act considered rape according to the Laws and Customs of the Eldar.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Beren gets his right hand bitten off by the giant wolf Carcharoth, and he ends up nicknamed Erchamion ("One-handed").
  • Angel Unaware: Most of characters believe that Huan, the giant wolfhound of Valinor, is "only" an exceptionally intelligent, talking dog. Supplementary material, though, hints that Huan is really an animal-bodied Maia.
  • Animalistic Abomination: If a Middle-Earth animal can speak and is surprisingly large, it is a safe bet that it is an angelic or demonic entity wearing an animal body (the latter being eerily beastly, too). Thus, Thorondor, the giant eagle which serves Manwë, Huan the horse-sized wolfhound and the giant wolf Carcharoth.
  • Arranged Marriage: Celegorm and Curufin, ruthless elven princes determined to get the Silmarils for themselves at any cost, kidnap Lúthien and try to force her father to "give" her to Celegorm. Fortunately, Celegorm's dog, Huan, helps her escape.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Celegorm kidnaps Lúthien with the intention of forcing her to marry him, which is considered rape in the eyes of the Elven Laws. However, she sneaks out with Huan's help before he can do so.
    • When Morgoth finds Lúthien sneaking around his fortress, he makes very clear what he does intend to do to her, rambling about "a pretty toy for idle hour", "crushing a beautiful flower" and "slaking the sting of his hunger with a morsel". Before he can touch her, though, Lúthien slips from his grasp and tricks him into letting her use her magic arts by stating that kings are supposed to listen to petitioners. Lúthien then performs a magic dance which puts Morgoth and his whole court to sleep. When Morgoth wakes up, Lúthien is long gone.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • After getting killed by a wolf, Finrod gets reembodied and reunited with his family in Eldamar.
    • The Valar bring Beren and Lúthien back to life. Beren is specifically the only Man who has been brought back from the dead, but he never reveals what he saw to another human.
  • The Bait: Lúthien and Huan need to lure Sauron out of his fortress in the Isle of the Werewolves in order to rescue Beren. Their plan? Lúthien will stand in the middle of the bridge and will sing a magic song which will shake the whole island as Huan lies in ambush behind one pillar. When Sauron feels her power and sends his wolves out to catch the maiden whom he has been trying to capture for a long time, Huan will pounce and kill them until Sauron runs out of troops and is forced to deal with them personally.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Huan, the Hound of Valinor, is an intelligent, immortal wolfhound the size of a horse. He is also very protective of Beren and Lúthien.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The good news is that Lúthien becomes mortal, allowing her to follow Beren when he dies. The bad news is that Lúthien becomes mortal, and thereby passes out of the world and is lost to her people.
  • Blasphemous Praise: Variant. Thû (Sauron) suspects a group of orcs are a troop of elves in disguise, and tries to make them speak a literal blasphemous praise to Morgoth as a sort of test:
    'Whom do ye serve, Light or Mirk?
    Who is the maker of mightiest work?
    Who is the king of earthly kings,
    the greatest giver of gold and rings?
    Who is the master of the wide earth?
    Who despoiled them of their mirth,
    the greedy Gods! Repeat your vows,
    Orcs of Bauglir! Do not bend your brows!
    Death to light, to law, to love!
    Cursed be moon and stars above!
    May darkness everlasting old
    that waits outside in surges cold
    drown Manwë, Varda, and the sun!
    May all in hatred be begun
    and all in evil ended be,
    in the moaning of the endless Sea!'
  • Bluff the Impostor:
    • When Sauron sees twelve Orcs marching very, very quickly past his tower, without coming to report, he grows suspicious and commands that they are intercepted and brought before him. Sauron then asks their names and their captain's, and they answer they are under Boldog's command. Now certain that he is dealing with Elves disguised as Orcs, Sauron replies Boldog was slain some time ago.
    • When Beren and Lúthien sneak into Angband, disguised as a werewolf and a vampire, Morgoth spots the latter and asks who she is. Lúthien answers she is Sauron's courier, Thuringwethil. Morgoth replies Sauron's courier has just left, and she better takes her disguise off...or else.
  • Breaking the Bonds: Finrod Felagund breaks his chains, then kills a werewolf bare-handed (though he does die as well).
  • Brutal Honesty: Beren tells Thingol to his face that he is disrespecting his daughter, and that obtaining the Silmaril is a bad idea. Given that Thingol is not only the most politically powerful ruler in Beleriand but also a several thousand years old light-elf married to a literal angel, this is a gutsy move. Beren is ultimately correct, however.
  • Cat/Dog Dichotomy: The earliest iteration of the character that would later become Sauron was Tevildo, the Prince of Cats, an evil, intelligent and sorcerous feline and a servant of Melko. Even in these early versions, Tevildo is already bitter enemies with Huan, the Captain of Dogs, whom he fights on several occasions before being defeated and depowered. His failure results in Melko exiling him and his followers, and cats remain bitter and hateful towards dogs ever since.
  • A Chat with Satan: Beren, Finrod and his ten warriors are captured and thrown into Sauron's dungeons, wherein the Dark Lord tries to torture information out of them. Every one of Finrod's men answers Sauron's question of "Will you tell me what I want to know or I'll feed you to my wolves?" with a "I hope your mutt chokes on my bones", choosing death over betraying their beloved king.
  • Chokepoint Geography: The only way to travel from Western Beleriand to North Beleriand is through the Pass of Sirion, a narrow valley dug by the Sirion river. Unfortunately, you cannot go through the pass without being spotted by Sauron from his fortress overlooking the vale.
  • Cue the Sun: When Lúthien strides into the dungeons of Sauron's fortress, she finds Beren lying motionless upon Finrod's body. Thinking him already dead, she leans about him and hugs him. Beren then stirs, and "Beren coming back to the light out of the pits of despair lifted her up, and they looked again upon one another; and the day rising over the dark hills shone upon them."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Finrod tries to protect himself and his men from Sauron's spells with his own magic singing. Unfortunately, although Finrod is a gifted musician, his enemy is a fallen angel who helped sing the universe into existence and has little trouble crushing him utterly.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Thingol would hate anybody who even thought of romancing his dear daughter, but when Lúthien declares her love for Beren -a Human, whose race Thingol has gotten bad prophetic dreams about, he is very displeased. Fortunately, Thingol does come around to Beren in the end.
  • The Dragon: Sauron is the commander of Morgoth's army which invades Dorthonion until they drive Beren out, and invests effort in capturing Lúthien.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Beren, Finrod and his soldiers disguise themselves as orcs to try to sneak past Sauron's fortress. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Later, Beren dresses in the wolf-hide of Draugluin, a werewolf, and Lúthien dresses in the garb of the vampire Thuringwethil to travel to Angband without being spotted.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: When Lúthien introduces Beren to her parents, Thingol does not care for Beren being the former Lord of Dorthonion who waged a one-man war against the Dark Lord for years, despite losing his house, his family and almost his sanity. And he does not care either for Beren being obviously not a bad person, since he was able to walk through his kingdom's magic barrier. He only cares about his beloved daughter being wooed by one baseborn, scruffy mortal who creeps around like Morgoth's spies and thralls. When Beren protests he does not deserve such disrespect, Thingol still doesn't care, and sends him on an impossible quest to get rid of him.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Finrod saves Beren from a werewolf by breaking free of his bonds and killing it with his bare hands and teeth, and the two kill each other.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In the first version written in 1917, "The Tale of Tinuviel", Beren is a Gnome (another kind of Elf), Thingol and Melian are called Tinwelint and Gwendeling, Daeron/Dairon is Lúthien's brother, Thingol's challenge is framed as Thingol mocking Belen, Finrod and the Fëanor's sons don't make appearances, and Sauron's role is played by Tevildo, Lord of the Cats.
    • Beren and Lúthien disguising themselves as a werewolf and vampire respectively, as neither species features in other works in The Silmarillion.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Beren has to go to Morgoth's stronghold and take a jewel from his crown to marry Lúthien. In the process, he gets imprisoned and tortured, loses one hand and ends up dying just to get this, but he gets better, and he and his wife live happily and mostly peacefully until their second and final deaths.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Menegroth, the Thousand Caves, an elaborate elven subterranean city built in the heart of Doriath with Dwarven assistance. It is used as a refugee shelter when Carcharoth rampages through the kingdom of Thingol.
  • Eldritch Location: In order to escape from Sauron, Beren must cross Ered Gorgoroth (the Mountains of Terror) and Nan Dungortheb (the Valley of Dreadful Death) below them. Both places are home to the brood of the light-devouring arachnid cosmic horror called Ungoliant, and as if it weren't bad enough, Sauron's evil magic and Melian's protective, maze-like magic get caught up in each other and combine horrifically. Beren is the only one to have gotten through both alive, and despite all the other stuff he goes through, this journey is the only thing he is too traumatized by to talk about.
  • Enchanted Forest: Taur-nu-Fuin (Forest of Nightshade), as well known as Deldúwath (Deadly Nightshade), was a forest lying to the south of Dorthonion. The place became a highly dangerous and completely dark haunted wood after being corrupted by Morgoth's sorcery and overrun by Sauron's orcs, werewolves and vampires. Beren was the only Human who managed to survive in the wood, and eventually he had to flee, too. After being defeated by Lúthien and Huan, Sauron "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, and came to Tar-nu-Fuin, and dwelt there, filling it with horror."
    "To North there lay the Land of Dread
    whence only evil pathways led
    o'er hills of shadow bleak and cold
    or Taur-na-Fuin's haunted hold
    where Deadly Nightshade lurked and lay
    and never came or moon or day."
  • Engagement Challenge: The Elvenking Thingol tries to get rid of his daughter Lúthien's Human suitor Beren by tasking him to get one of the holy Silmarils from Morgoth (who wears it constantly), thinking Beren will either back off, fail, or die trying. Beren accepts the task, but in a variation on the usual trope, his lover Lúthien is instrumental to the quest; she follows him, repeatedly saves his ass, and vanquishes his much more powerful foes.
  • Exact Words:
    • Gorlim the Unhappy catches a glimpse of his missing wife, believes she has been captured by Sauron, and agrees to betray his companions in exchange for being reunited with his wife. Morgoth (or Sauron, depending on the version of the tale), promises to do so, and after Gorlim has betrayed to Morgoth the hideout of Barahir and his outlaw band, he reunites Gorlim with Eilinel by killing him. Gorlim did not see his wife, but a hallucination cast by Sauron.
    • When Thingol was trying to get Lúthien to reveal the name of her lover, he promised that if she told him, her lover would be neither killed nor imprisoned, or as Thingol put it, "Neither blade nor chain his flesh shall mar." When he finds out that her lover is the mortal Beren, he tries to weasle out of that oath, first by threatening to imprison Beren in a labyrinth where he technically wouldn't be chained, then by sending Beren to fetch one of the Silmarils.
    • Thingol told Beren "Bring to me in your hand a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown; and then, if she will, Lúthien may set her hand in yours." And Beren replied: "And when we meet again my hand shall hold a Silmaril from the Iron Crown; for you have not looked the last upon Beren son of Barahir." When they meet again, Beren cannot show the Silmaril because his hand got bitten off by Carcharoth, but he points out his hand is still holding one, therefore he fulfilled his vow.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Gorlim is so desperate to find his missing wife that, believing she has been captured by Morgoth, he betrays the location of the Dorthonion's rebels' hideout to the Dark Lord.
  • The Fair Folk: Doriath Elves are a secretive, suspicious folk who live in an enchanted, ancient wood where mortals are not permitted to tread. Originally they were called Fairies, Lúthien shows up dancing in a hemlock glade (hemlocks are a rather poisonous plant associated with witchcraft) and the first presentation of Melian describes her as a "fay". The area between Sauron's fortress and Thingol's realm is the battleground for a gigantic Wizard Duel between Melian and Sauron. In that place Sauron's evil spells cause part of the nastiness but Melian's spells tend to keep anyone out Thingol doesn't want in his realm, even allies. Thingol himself comes off like a dangerous and temperamental Elven King whom does not like mortals, as he tries to wrangle around the oath of neither caging nor killing Beren:
    'And death,' said Thingol, 'thou shouldst taste,
    had I not sworn an oath in haste
    that blade nor chain thy flesh should mar.
    Yet captive bound by never a bar,
    unchained, unfettered, shalt thou be
    in lightless labyrinth endlessly
    that coils about my halls profound
    by magic bewildered and enwound;
    there wandering in hopelessness
    thou shalt learn the power of Elvenesse!
  • Fate Worse than Death: After subduing Sauron, Lúthien and Huan demand the magic password to open his fortress' doors, or else they will strip him from his flesh shell so he can go and ask Morgoth for a new body. Judging from his reaction, Sauron cannot think of anything more frightening than facing Morgoth as a disembodied spirit and being punished for his failure.
  • Fur Against Fang: Lúthien disguises herself as a vampire and Beren as a werewolf in order to infiltrate Angband. The door is guarded by the werewolf Carcharoth, and despite the fact that werewolves and vampires both serve Morgoth, Carcharoth threatens to torture and kill Lúthien as soon as he sees her, growling he does not like her "kin" and wondering why a werewolf is associating with one of them.
  • Genocide Backfire: Sauron wipes out the Men of Dorthonion, but he fails to catch Beren. Cornered by Sauron's forces, Beren flees into Doriath, meets Lúthien, and steals one Silmaril from Morgoth's crown to earn the right to marry her. Seventy-six years later, Beren and Lúthien's granddaughter Elwing and her husband Eärendil use that Silmaril to reach Aman and ask the Valar for help.
  • Girl in the Tower: Lúthien is put in a treehouse high enough to be considered a tower. She then uses a spell to make her hair grow, cuts it off, weaves the strands into a very long and sturdy rope, climbs down the immense beech-tree Hirilorn (its name meaning "Queen of Trees"), escapes and goes to rescue Beren.
  • Grim Up North: Beren's Man tribe is wiped out by Sauron's army of orcs and fell beasts coming down from the North and invading Dorthonion. Later, during the Quest of the Silmaril, the party must travel northward, sneak past Sauron's fortress "the Isle of Weverwolves" and continue to the north extreme of Beleriand to reach Angband, Morgoth's fortress.
  • Handicapped Badass: Beren keeps being one of the greatest warriors of the First Age even after getting his hand bitten off by Carcharoth.
  • Haunted Castle: The fortress of the Isle of Werewolves, home to an army of werewolves and vampires led by a Fallen Angel.
  • Healing Herb: When Beren is struck in the chest by Curufin's arrow, Huan gathers medicinal herbs so that Lúthien can heal his wound.
    Now sank she weeping at the side
    of Beren, and sought to stem the tide
    of welling blood that flowed there fast.
    The raiment from his breast she cast;
    from shoulder plucked the arrow keen;
    his wound with tears she washed it clean.
    Then Huan came and bore a leaf,
    of all the herbs of healing chief,
    that evergreen in woodland glade
    there grew with broad and hoary blade.
    The powers of all grasses Huan knew,
    who wide did forest-paths pursue.
    Therewith the smart he swift allayed,
    while Lúthien murmuring in the shade
    the staunching song that Elvish wives
    long years had sung in those sad lives
    of war and weapons, wove o'er him.
  • Hero Killer: Carcharoth directly kills both Beren and Huan, and indirectly causes the deah of Lúthien shortly thereafter.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Although Huan is Celegorm's loyal wolfhound, he takes a liking to the heroes Lúthien and Beren. Although he helps Lúthien, Huan still wants to be loyal to Celegorm. When Celegorm and his brother Curufin attempt to murder Lúthien and nearly murder Beren, Huan abandons Celegorm for good: and it is said that no dog of any kind would love or obey Celegorm ever again.
  • Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines: In the "Tale of Tinúviel", the cats serve the Dark Lord Morgoth and hate the dogs because they will not bow or fear Morgoth, and they guard the dwellings of Men from evil.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • King Finrod Felagund follows Beren on his suicidal quest for a Silmaril knowing it will kill him and dies saving him from a werewolf.
    • When Curufin fires an arrow at Lúthien, Beren jumps in the way and gets hit instead.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • After the Dagor Bragollach, the land was being overrun by the enemy, so Beren's mother Emeldir gathered together all the women and children that still remained and led them out of Dorthonion to Brethil. Beren, Barahir, and their ten companions stayed behind because they refused to abandon the land to Morgoth.
    • After being rescued from Sauron's fortress, Beren could have simply abandoned Thingol's ludicrously dangerous engagement challenge and eloped with Lúthien. Nonetheless, he continued the Quest of the Silmaril because he promised he would bring one to Thingol in exchange for being allowed to marry his daughter.
  • Horrifying the Horror: When Lúthien sneaks into Angband disguised as a vampire, the legions of Morgoth's Orcs, Balrogs, Werewolves and other fell creatures can feel something unknown, weird and powerful (nominally, a half-Elf/half-Ainu) is lurking about unseen and start getting jittery and frightened.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Huan, a horse-sized sapient wolfhound, lets Lúthien ride him several times.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Beren crosses the Mountains of the Terror, where Ungoliant's brood dwells, and the Valley of Dreadful Death, where the magic duel between Melian and Sauron warps the land and twists creatures into multi-eyed monsters. Later, Beren and his companions are locked in the dungeons of Sauron's tower in the Isle of Werewolves.
  • I Have Your Wife: Gorlim agrees to betray his lord Barahir in exchange for being reunited with his wife Eilinel, who he believes to have been captured by Sauron.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: When Sauron is interrogating a group of suspicious-looking orcs, guessing they are disguised Elves, he demands they prove their allegiance by swearing loyalty to Morgoth and cursing "Light, law, love" and anything good.
  • I Gave My Word:
    • Lúthien forcing him to promise to not kill Beren is the only reason that Thingol does not execute Beren on the spot when Beren declares nothing will keep him apart from his daughter.
    • Beren insists on trying to carry out the Impossible Engagement Challenge when Lúthien asks him to just run off with her because he swore he would take one Silmaril from Morgoth's crown.
    • The Elven Lord Finrod Felagund makes an oath to Beren's father Barahir to always help him or his kin after the latter saves his life. This leads to Finrod leaving his realm and people to go with Beren on his quest. He dies saving Beren's life.
    • Subverted in one early version wherein Celegorm, who is Nargothrond's rightful leader, forsakes the Oath and helps Beren out.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Beren and Lúthien reach Morgoth's throneroom in the bowels of Angband, Morgoth's lust for Luthien helps buy her enough time to sing him to sleep and steal back one of the titular Silmarils. Earlier in the story, Lúthien had been captured by Celegorm and Curufin, who intended to force her to marry the former in order to manipulate her father into an alliance. Celegorm's sentient hound, Huan, helps her escape before anything happens.
  • Important Haircut: Lúthien gives herself one haircut when she needs to escape from the treehouse her overprotective father's locked her up in: She magically lets her dark hair grow impossibly long, cuts it, and makes a rope to escape the treehouse and a cloak of super-camouflage. From that point on, she behaves more independently and uses her magic more openly.
  • Impossible Task: Beren is told to return to Doriath with a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown in his hand if he's to be allowed to marry Lúthien. His quest involves sneaking into the world's most dangerous fortress and stealing the most prized treasure from the most powerful and most evil being ever to walk the Earth, a task which whole armies have failed to accomplish during several centuries of war. Beren gets further than anybody could possibly have been expected, thanks to his badassery and, mainly, Lúthien's help.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Beren Finrod have a very close friendship and would give their lives for each other (and Finrod actually did). Beren is 33 and Finrod is 2,291 years old, being older than Beren's race, the Sun and the Moon.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Beren (Man) practically worships Finrod (Elf), much to the latter's chagrin; and Finrod dies to save Beren.
  • Interspecies Romance: Beren (Man) and Lúthien (Elf) end happily married.
  • "Just So" Story: "The Tale of Tinúviel" has it that the enmity between dogs and cats stem from Huan humiliating Tevildo and undoing the spell used by the evil cat to hold all felines under his sway and fill them with an evil power.
    Little to Huan's liking was it that Tevildo lived still, but now no longer did he fear the cats, and that tribe has fled before the dogs ever since, and the dogs hold them still in scorn since the humbling of Tevildo in the woods nigh Angamandi.''
  • Knight Templar Parent: Thingol is obsessed with protecting his daughter Lúthien from any harm, including boyfriends (who of course will NEVER be good enough for her). Not only does Thingol send away her suitor on an impossible quest with the intention of getting around his promise not to kill him (which he only made, reluctantly, at his daughter's insistence), but also imprisons her in a treehouse when she tries to go after Beren to help him.
  • Lighter and Softer: Of the three Great Tales of the First Age, Turin's is a Tragedy and Tuor's has a Bittersweet Ending. But this one? It's got fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... (Okay, it doesn't technically have a Giant, but it does have Thingol, who was said to be the tallest Child of Iluvatar in history, maybe nine feet tall.)
  • Lilliputians: In the Tale of Tinúviel, elves were little enough to hide between shrubs and be threatened by cats. In the early stages of the Legendarium, J. R. R. Tolkien played with the idea that humans and elves were originally small, but as the ages went by, humans grew in stature whereas elves became fairy-sized. Nonetheless, Tolkien eventually dropped this concept, and even expressed disgust at the idea of the Fairy Folk being diminished.
  • Love at First Sight: Beren was devastated by their first look at Lúthien.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • Gorlim reveals to Sauron the hiding place of Barahir, the leader of the rebels of Dorthonion, to be reunited with his wife Eilinel.
    • Daeron's love for Lúthien leads him to betray Beren to Thingol, who most definitely intended to kill the guy, and later to get Lúthien in trouble for trying to follow Beren.
    • Celegorm holds Lúthien captive because he believes he is in love with her.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Thingol disapproves of his daughter's lover for, among other things, existing, so he attempts to sabotage their relationship by forcing Beren to undertake a suicidal, impossible quest to earn his approval. The fact that Beren succeeds against all odds forces Thingol to reevaluate his views and accept Lúthien's choice.
  • Love Triangle: Daeron loved Lúthien, who only loves Beren. She was at one point also pursued by Celegorm, who captured her and tried to forcibly marry her but she escaped.
  • Magic Music:Finrod Felagund duels with Sauron by chanting songs of power and is defeated. Lúthien would use her own music to bring Sauron's fortress down, and later to put Morgoth and all his minions in his fortress to sleep.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: The very first such Man/Elf couple had to overcome the racism of Lúthien's father Thingol, who considered any mortal beneath his daughter and made totally impossible demands. Ironically, Thingol himself was married to an angel (one who didn't object to her daughter marrying a human). Admittedly, in the case of Beren and Lúthien the racial difference is unusually relevant: after Beren dies of old age, Lúthien's soul passed out of the world with his instead of joining the other elven souls in the Halls of Mandos. This made Lúthien the first elf ever to truly die, and Thingol knew, apparently due to some level of prophecy, that this would happen should Lúthien marry a human.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Beren is a mortal Man and Lúthien an immortal half-Elf/half-Angel who is older than the whole human race and 3,306 years older than his lover. Compounding the issue, Men and Elves do not share the same afterlife. Lúthien sidesteps this issue by being granted the Gift of Men.
  • Music for Courage: When Finrod dies, Beren sings a song of war, hope and defiance to try to overcome his despair. Lúthien, who has just reached Sauron's tower, hears his voice and sings a power song which makes the whole fortress tremble and shake.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Finrod is mortally wounded wrestling with a werewolf and slaying it with his bare hands and teeth.
    • Huan and Carcharoth fight to the death and slay each other.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Sons of Fëanor had previously turned King Thingol against them by slaughtering the Elves of Alqualondë, and further alienate him when they kidnap his daughter. They also try to usurp the throne of Nargothrond of the House of Finarfin, which leads to the Elves there shunning them. These factors mean neither Doriath nor Nargothrond send any significant number of troops to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, helping their defeat.
  • Noble Fugitive: The House of Bëor were the Lords of Dorthonion. When Dorthonion gets overrun by Morgoth's army, Barahir and his son Beren live off the land rather than leave it, first as part of a group of twelve warriors, then Beren alone after the group gets betrayed.
  • Official Couple: The titular couple fall in love with each other and get married after beating their engagement challenge.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Finrod gets one when Sauron brings up the Kinslaying at Alqualondë during their duel of magic songs. Although he wasn't present and didn't participate, Finrod is guilty by having chosen to associate with those who did over turning back when he found out.
    • Later, Sauron is defeated by Huan and realizes he's also just lost his control over his base, and is therefore probably in a lot of trouble with Morgoth.
  • One-Winged Angel: It happens to Sauron when he faces Lúthien and Huan on the Isle of the Werewolves. Starting off in a fair form, he attempts to defeat Huan by switching to huge scary werewolf mode, then realizes he's in trouble and does a lot of rapid shapeshifting to no avail. When he strikes a bargain with Lúthien, giving her mastery over the island in return for freedom, he shifts into a vampire/bat-thing shape to escape.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: If someone who has become tainted by evil touches the Silmarils, they get burned. It happens to Carcharoth when he eats one and then he feels a scorching fire burning inside his belly.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Thingol doesn't want his daughter Lúthien to marry the mortal Beren. While he doesn't know at the time that that would eventually result in her choosing to become mortal, he had premonitions of Doom around the whole matter. So since he has grudgingly promised to not kill him, Thingol sets Beren an impossible task, no doubt hoping he will give up or die, which of course completely backfired in horrible ways for generations to come.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: When King Thingol finds out about his daughter Lúthien's tryst with Beren, Lúthien begs him not to kill him.
  • The Power of Love: Several centuries after swearing to defeat Morgoth and get the Silmarils back, the Ñoldor armies are being crushed and all their power has not availed them to even see from afar the shining of one Silmaril. Enter Beren, who does not care for shiny jewels but is given the impossible task to bring one Silmaril to Thingol in exchange for his daughter's hand, and Lúthien, who has no use for Silmarils either, but will not leave Beren alone...and they achieve out of love for each other what whole armies driven by pride, ambition, greed and revenge failed to do. Their love also proves to be stronger than the laws of metaphysics when Beren dies and his soul lingers in the Halls of Mandos instead of abandoning the world forever -as Humans are meant to-, because his wife asked him to wait for her.
  • Price on Their Head: After becoming an outlaw, Beren does such a good job at harassing the forces of Morgoth overrunning his homeland that the Dark Lord sets a price upon his head no less than the price upon the head of the High King of the Noldor. Even so, the Orcs fled at the rumour of his approach rather than seek him out.
  • Rampage from a Nail: Carcharoth was already evil and violent to begin with when he ate the hand of Beren, which caused him to go on a mindless rampage because the hand in question was holding a silmaril at the time, meaning that Carcharoth's guts were engulfed in constant burning agony.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Pale-skinned, black-haired Lúthien is canonically the world's most beautiful woman ever.
    Such lissom limbs no more shall run
    on the green earth beneath the sun;
    so fair a maid no more shall be
    from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea.
    Her robe was blue as summer skies,
    but grey as evening were her eyes;
    'twas sewn with golden lilies fair,
    but dark as shadow was her hair.
  • Reasoning with God: After fading, Lúthien goes to the Halls of Mandos, where she moves Námo to pity by singing the saddest song ever heard about the sorrow of Elves and the grief of the Men.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Downplayed, but when Thingol issues his challenge, Beren laughs and retorts: "Are you telling Elven kings trade their daughters for shiny stones?"
  • Rebellious Princess: Lúthien's father King Thingol sends her beloved Beren on an impossible suicide quest to get rid of him and imprisons her in a treehouse to keep her from following. Lúthien escapes, rescues Beren from the dungeon he's ended up in and helps him fulfill the quest so they can get married.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Believing his wife Eilinel has been captured by Sauron, Gorlim agrees to reveal the location of Barahir's secret hideout in exchange for being reunited with which point Sauron reveals that Eilinel is already dead, and Sauron does, indeed, reunite Gorlim with her.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted with Celegorm and Curufin, who manage to convince a whole city not to follow their king, and make them so afraid that they refuse to go into open battle until a few decades later.
  • Rule of Three:
    • A Human, an Elf and a divinely-empowered giant wolfhound are the three heroes of the Quest of the Silmaril.
    • Huan was only allowed to speak human language three times before his death, so he made it count: he told Lúthien his plan to rescue Beren; he explained to Beren that Lúthien has voluntarily tied her fate to his Doom, whatever it may be, and he must accept her decision; and he bade Beren farewell before dying.
  • Savage Wolves: Regular Wolves, Wargs and Werewolves (who, unlike traditional incarnations, do not take humanoid form) all appear in service of the evil forces, in contrast to the heroic dogs. Sauron leads an army of wolves to control Dorthonion and the northwestern passes, is called the Lord of Werewolves and takes the form of a werewolf to fight Huan. The Werewolves are also led by their progenitor, Draugluin (Sindarin for "Blue Wolf"), and his most terrible offspring is Carcharoth.
  • Scaled Up: Sauron at one point becomes a snake in an effort to defeat Huan, the Hound of Valinor. It wasn't any more successful than any of the other forms he tried.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: When they are intercepted by Sauron as masquerading as Orcs, Felagund gives his own name as Dungalef and Beren's as Nereb. That seems to work until Sauron reveals he is not buying their act in the slightest.
  • Self-Guarding Phlebotinum: The Silmarils were hallowed by Varda the Star-Maker and burn any evil creature touching them while sparing good creatures. Hence, Beren suffers no harm whatsoever when he grabs a Silmaril, whereas Carcharoth begins burning from the inside out when he bites Beren's hand off and swallows the Silmaril.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Finrod's retainers died in Tol-in-Gaurhoth's dungeons because they would rather die than reveal their leader's names and their mission's goal. When only Beren and Finrod are left, Beren considers confessing everything in exchange for Finrod's life and freedom, and he is promptly chastised by his King for believing Sauron would let the lord of Dorthonion and the king of Nargothrond go. An evil chuckle lets them know that Sauron has heard everything, meaning Finrod's men died in vain.
  • Shapeshifting: Sauron transforms himself into a large werewolf to kill Húan. Upon being defeated, he turns into a huge vampire bat and flees into the wilderness.
  • Skin Walker: Sauron's vampiric courier Thuringwethil can change shapes between humanoid and iron-clawed giant bat. When she dies and her body is found by Huan, Lúthien can use her hide to transform herself into a vampire and sneak into Angband.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: The Quest for the Silmaril always begins in a beautiful, ancient wood. Then it proceeds through the Pass of Sirion, a valley controlled by Sauron and his wolves, right next to the Mountains of Terror. As Beren and Lúthien continue northward, the haunted lands of Dorthonion give way to the scorched and barren Thirsty Plains. As they progress, the badlands get progressively worse and steeper until the heroic duo reach the towering Iron Mountains and the fortress of the first Dark Lord.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: After being reunited with Lúthien, Beren tries to convince her to return home without him because his quest is too dangerous for her...even though she has just rescued him from the dungeons of Sauron (whose fortress she blew away). Beren tries to sneak away while Lúthien is sleeping, but she catches up with him and gets it through his head that she is not letting him go through his mission alone (and good thing she did because Beren couldn't have stolen a Silmaril from Morgoth without her help).
  • Suddenly Speaking: When Lúthien is captured by Celegorm, Huan speaks for the first time in millennia to help her escape.
  • Take Our Word for It: Beren's trip through the Mountains of Terror, home to giant spider-like abominations, where none had ever gone and lived to tell the tale. Nobody knows how he survived because Beren -the Man who laughed at being ordered to sneak into the Dark Lord's fortress- was too traumatized to talk about it.
    Terrible was his southward journey. Sheer were the precipices of Ered Gorgoroth, and beneath their feet were shadows that were laid before the rising of the Moon. Beyond lay the wilderness of Dungortheb, where the sorcery of Sauron and the power of Melian came together, and horror and madness walked. There spiders of the fell race of Ungoliant abode, spinning their unseen webs in which all living things were snared; and monsters wandered there that were born in the long dark before the Sun, hunting silently with many eyes. No food for Elves or Men was there in that haunted land, but death only. That journey is not accounted least among the great deeds of Beren, but he spoke of it to no one after, lest the horror return into his mind; and none know how he found a way, and so came by paths that no Man nor Elf else ever dared to tread to the borders of Doriath.
  • Talking Animal: It's implied that Wargs and Werewolves can talk, as Draugluin says to Sauron "Huan is there!", and the giant wolf Carcharoth has no trouble talking to Beren and Lúthien (though, granted, they were shapeshifted at the time in wolf and vampire forms, respectively). Huan, the giant wolfhound, is also allowed speak human language only three times before dying. It is implied that they can talk because they are Maiar spirits incarnated in animal bodies.
  • To Serve Man: Wolves and werewolves raised by the Dark Lords eat people. Morgoth hand-feeds Carcharoth with Elvish and Man flesh until he becomes the biggest wolf ever, yet the most chilling example has to be the werewolf that comes back again and again to drag away and eat Beren's companions, one by one, until only he and Finrod are left in the Sauron's dungeon.
    Wolves should come
    and slow devour them one by one
    before the others’ eyes, and last
    should one alone be left aghast,
    then in a place of horror hung
    with anguish should his limbs be wrung,
    in the bowels of the earth be slow
    endlessly, cruelly, put to woe
    and torment, till he all declared.
    Even as he threatened, so it fared.
    From time to time in the eyeless dark
    two eyes would grow, and they would hark
    to frightful cries, and then a sound
    of rending, a slavering on the ground,
    and blood flowing they would smell.
  • Together in Death: Beren and Lúthien are separated and reunited in death, twice. Being a human and an elf, they would not have had the same fate after death (elves are bound to the world for as long as it lasts whereas humans are fated to leave it forever after a short while), but, through divine intervention, got the one exception. After their first death they were sent back for a short time to live a happy life together, and after their second death Lúthien's spirit was allowed to follow Beren's out of this world, as human souls do.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: Gorlim refuses to believe that his wife Eilinel, who went missing during Gorlim's absence in the war against Morgoth, is dead. Sauron exploits this by creating a vision of Eilinel as bait inside Gorlim's house. Gorlim enters and is immediately captured by Sauron's orcs, and eventually tricked into revealing the location of Barahir.
  • True Companions: When nearly the whole population of Nargothrond turned on Finrod, ten elves refused to abandon him. They accompanied him and Beren in the quest, even though it was a suicide mission. Eventually they got captured, jailed and tortured by Sauron but they would not turn on Finrod. When Sauron threatened each one of them with being fed to a wolf, all of them chose becoming wolf's morsel over betraying their king.
  • Uncertain Doom: Thuringwethil is an odd case. She herself never appears; Lúthien steals her skin to follow Beren. Whether this means she's dead, or whether she's still around somewhere is uncertain.
  • Uptown Girl: Lúthien, the only daughter of the oldest and most powerful Elven king of Beleriand, falls in love with Beren, a homeless Human warrior with no direct family left who has led a lonely outlaw life for seven years.
  • Uriah Gambit: Thingol's engagement challenge is in reality a method of executing Beren without technically breaking his promise to Luthien that if she revealed the name of her lover, Thingol wouldn't kill or imprison him.
  • Wartime Wedding: Beren and Lúthien married during the War of the Jewels, in spite of the giant wolf demon rampaging through Doriath.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Thingol asks Beren to steal a Silmaril, Beren points out that his daughter is a person whose worth should not be equated to a fancy gemstone. The speech doesn't have much effect however, unfortunately for Thingol.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After getting beaten by Lúthien and Huan, Morgoth's lieutenant Sauron flees and is not seen or heard of again for the remainder of the First Age.
  • White Magician Girl: Lúthien uses singing magic to perform all kind of effects, such like healing wounds, putting people to sleep, making her hair grow, weaving magic cloaks...and blowing fortresses apart. She is also wise, compassionate and very bold. It is justified, since her mother is an Ainu (essentially, an angel), and the Middle-Earth universe was sung into existence by the Ainur.
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: Played with. The Free Peoples regard rape as particularly evil (as proven by Morgoth wanting to rape Lúthien). Still Celegorm contemplates raping Lúthien, but never gets the chance since she breaks out before he can make the attempt.
  • The Worf Effect: Sauron gets brutally whooped by elven princess Lúthien and the great hound Huan in tandem. Later, Lúthien is able to down Morgoth with her music: "The dark and mighty head was bowed; like mountain-top beneath a cloud the shoulders foundered, the vast form crashed, as in overwhelming storm huge cliffs in ruin slide and fall; and prone lay Morgoth in his hall".
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Lúthien Tinúviel is canonically "the fairest of all the Children of Ilúvatar" to ever live.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Thingol says he will allow Beren to marry his daughter in exchange for a Silmaril, figuring out that he will get rid of Lúthien's unwanted suitor in one way or another: either Beren will renounce Lúthien or he will get killed as trying to fulfill his vow. It does not occur to him that Beren will actually try and succeed.
  • Yandere:
    • When Daeron realizes that Lúthien has fallen in love with Beren, he attempts to get the Man killed by telling Thingol about the stranger lurking in his woods and wooing his daughter.
    • When Celegorm meets Lúthien, he falls for her at first sight. So he kidnaps her to force her to marry him, and attempt to murder her lover twice.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Lúthien chooses becoming mortal to remain with Beren forever, even though it means that she will get sick, she will get old and pass away, ramaining apart from her kin forever.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Tevildo decides his castle's doorkeeper, Umuiyan, has become too old to being of some use, he carelessly pushes his minion off the castle's walls so that Umuiyan falls to his death.
    Forthwith they hastened to him from within, and some he bid descend to Umuiyan and bind him and cast him from the rocks 'on the northern side where they fall most sheer, for he is of no use more to me,' he said, 'for his age has robbed him of his sureness of foot'; and Tinúviel quaked to hear the ruthlessness of this beast.
  • You Shall Not Pass!:
    • Finrod Felagund breaks out of his chains and kills a Werewolf barehanded to save Beren.
    • Huan stands up against Carcharoth, the mightiest Wolf, in order to protect Beren. Huan manages to slay the crazed monster before succumbing to wounds but Beren dies nonetheless. This only occurs because Beren was trying to protect Lúthien against Carcharoth. Waving a Silmaril in a giant wolf's face will cost you your hand, however.