Morwen

The Silmarillion » Humans » House of Bëor

Morwen and Turin by Marya Filatova
Morwen and Turin by Marya Filatova

Morwen “Dark Maiden”
also called Eledhwen (“Elfsheen”) because of her great beauty and the “Lady of Dor-lómin”. She was the daughter of Baragund and the wife of Húrin Thalion (of the Hador). Her children were Túrin and Nienor, who were cursed with a doomed fate. When Húrin was captured and brought to Morgoth during the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Morgoth placed a curse on him, Morwen, and their children saying, “The shadow of my thought shall lie upon them wherever they go, and my hate shall pursue them to the ends of the world.” Húrin was forced to sit and watch all the evils that befell his family through Morgoth’s eyes.

Morwen was dark-haired and beautiful, and also very strong-willed and stern. She did not show her emotions and seemed cold. When Morwen was young, she and her cousin Rían fled to Dor-lómin to escape the disasterous Dagor Bragollach, which had destroyed her House and homeland. It was there, the home of the House of Hador, were she met Húrin. They were married and their son Túrin was born in 464 FA. Their daughter Urwen, called Lalaith, was born soon after but died from a pestilence when she was three. After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad broke out and Húrin was captured, Easterlings invaded Dor-lómin. Morwen was so great in beauty and majesty that the Easterlings were afraid and thought her a witch. She was left alone and poor, since Húrin was captured, but she was aided by Aerin. Afraid that her son Túrin (now nine years of age) would be captured and enslaved, she sent him away to Thingol in Doriath. After he left, Morwen gave birth to her daughter, Nienor. Soon news of Túrin’s arrival to Doriath reached Morwen and she was relieved. Melian, Thingol’s wife, sent a message bidding Morwen to come to Doriath as well, but Morwen decided to stay in Dor-lómin because Nienor was still just a baby. Túrin was raised by Thingol but still corresponded with his mother through messages, which is how he learned of his sister Nienor.

After time, Morwen and Nienor fled to Doriath but found that Túrin was gone, for he had traveled to Nargothrond. After the defeat of Nargothrond by Morgoth and the dragon Glaurung, Morwen became worried and fled into the wild to seek her son. Thingol sent Mablung to guard her and made Nienor stay behind. However, Nienor secretly disguised herself and went along. Morwen eventually found out about Nienor but could not persuade her to go back. During their journey, the dragon Glaurung flew over them and his mist and shadows separated Morwen and Nienor from the company. Word was brought back to Thingol that they were lost but Nienor had befallen a spell of ‘forgetfulness’ by the dragon.

No word was ever heard of Morwen again, but she lived many years in the wild as a homeless wanderer. In the year 500 FA, Húrin was released by Morgoth and he traveled to the spot where Túrin and Nienor had died, Cabed-en-Aras by the river Teiglin. He noticed that there was a women standing over their tombstone. She was old but her eyes still beheld the gleam that earned her the name Eledhwen, the proudest and most beautiful of mortal women. “You come at last,” said Morwen, “I have waited too long….but you are too late. They are lost.” Morwen then gave one last sigh and died upon the tombstone of her children. Húrin made a grave for his wife next to the stone and carved, Here lies also Morwen Eledhwen. After Beleriand sank below the sea at the end of the First Age, the land surrounding the Stone of the Hapless became an island known as Tol Morwen.

Hurin Finds Morwen by Ted Nasmith
Hurin Finds Morwen by Ted Nasmith

Nienor

The Silmarillion » Humans » House of Hador

Nienor Flees into the Woods by Ted Nasmith
Nienor Flees into the Woods by Ted Nasmith

Niënor “Mourning”
also called Níniel (“Tear-Maiden”), the daughter of Morwen and Húrin, and the sister (and wife) of Túrin. Her story is found in Narn i Chîn Húrin, the Tale of the Children of Húrin. Before Niënor was born, her father Húrin was captured by Morgoth and a curse was placed on him and his family.

Niënor was born in Dor-lómin after Túrin had left for Doriath around 472 FA. At that time, Dor-lómin was no longer under the House of Hador rule, but was occupied by the Easterlings who treated everyone of the House as serfs. Later on, she traveled to Doriath with her mother but found Túrin to be gone. They stayed there for awhile, being treated as guests, but Morwen was worried about her son and went off to search for him. Niënor was made to stay behind but she disguised herself as one of Thingol‘s people and went along. When they came upon the banks of Sirion, Niënor was revealed and her mother commanded her to return. Niënor could not be persuaded, for she wanted to find her brother, and so did not go back. They traveled to Nargothrond, but found it destroyed. The dragon Glaurung flew by and caused Morwen and Niënor to become separated from the companions. Thingol’s men thought they were lost and traveled back to Doriath, but Niënor was thrown off her horse, though unhurt, and made her way to Amon Ethir in Nargothrond. The dragon Glaurung approached her and she stared into his eyes. Her will was strong but his power overtook her and he cast a spell of forgetfulness upon her. She could no longer remember her past, her name, or the name of any other thing. She could no longer hear, speak, or see.

Mablung found Niënor in this state and took her hand and fled into the wild. They met up with other elves in his company but then were assailed by an Orc-band. Niënor regained her hearing and sight and fled in terror, tearing off her clothes until she ran naked into the wild. Mablung and his companions defeated the Orcs but could not find Niënor and went back to Thingol with ill news.

Niënor wandered in the wild and knew not how to find nor eat food and so was afraid. She came to the Crossings of the Teiglin and layed herself upon the mound of Haudh-en-Elleth (see Finduilas) as if she were dying. There, Túrin found her, and at the sight of her lying there, was stricken in the heart. He wrapped her in his cloak, took her to a nearby lodge, and fed her. He asked her concerning her name and kin but she could say nothing and started to cry. Túrin therefore named her Níniel, or “Tear Maiden”. At that name she said, ‘Níniel’, thus being the first word she had spoke.

Turin Discovers Nienor by Ted Nasmith
Turin Discovers Nienor by Ted Nasmith

Niënor lived with Túrin and his woodland people in Amon Obel. Túrin asked Niënor in marriage, but she delayed in spite of her love for him. Brandir (leader of the Haladin at this time and grandson of Gloredhel) loved Niënor but all her heart was given to Túrin. Three years later, Túrin asked to wed her again or he would go back to war, and Niënor agreed and they were wedded in midsummer. In the spring Niënor was with child but Túrin had left to sought after the dragon Glaurung who haunted their borders. Niënor was unwilling to wait and set forth after, much to Brandir’s dismay. He followed with her to Cabed-en-Aras and saw Túrin laying unconscious beside the mortally wounded dragon. Glaurung spoke for the last time to Niënor and revealed the truth of Túrin, and their evil deeds, and then the dragon died. With this, Niënor was lifted from the curse and she remembered all of her past. She looked upon Túrin and cried, “A Túrin Turambar turun ambartanen, master of doom by doom mastered!”. Niënor, being distraught and stricken with horror, cast herself into in the wild waters of the Teiglin.

Brandir came back to his people and told them Túrin and Niënor were dead, and that she was his sister. However, when Túrin came back, they disbelieved Brandir and Túrin slew him for spreading lies. Túrin, in his madness, flew to Haudh-en-Elleth and cried upon Finduilas to bring him counsel. There, Mablung met him and he told Túrin about his sister being cast into a spell of forgetfulness, and at last Túrin knew that doom had overtaken him and that he slew Brandir unjustly. He then fled to Cabed-en-Aras and threw himself upon his sword. Mablung and the elves buried him with the shards of his sword, Gurthang, and carved in the mound, “Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga” and beneath that, “Niënor Níniel”, although it was never known if the waters had taken her.

The Death of Glaurung by Elena Kukanova
The Death of Glaurung by Elena Kukanova