Great characters that only appear in the novel The Children of Húrin

Most people think that Tolkien’s library consists of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, with some smaller books on the side which contain glossaries, maps, critical essays and other reference material. There’s a lot more to Tolkien’s library than that, including more than a few novels and stories about the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth, and one of Tolkien’s earliest novels about this bygone era was The Children of Húrin.

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Many of the following characters are mentioned or make brief appearances in other peripheral works by Tolkien and his son Christopher, such as The Silmarillion, Beren and Luthien, and The Book of Lost Tales which tell condensed versions of the tragedy of Húrin and his family. In the novel The Children of Húrin they have more detailed roles to play and look more like real characters.

Húrin, his wife Morwen, and their children Urwen, Turin, and Nienor also appear in other stories as close allies of the first Elvish nations and as proud leaders of Men. Hurin was taken prisoner by Morgoth and refused to submit to the Dark Lord’s will, and in bitter revenge his family was cursed by the enemy to wither and die. Elrond mentions them during his Council in The Fellowship of the Ringand their story was one of the oldest that Tolkien had ever written.

6 Hador Golden Head

The ancestor of Aragorn, the eldest son and heir of Bëor the Elder, several works by Tolkien mention his fall to The Sudden Flame Battle. Only The Children of Húrin describes any of his exploits or personality beyond that sad end, including Hador’s immediate family and his travels with his father.

The entire franchise revolves around the House of Bëor in some way, but Aragorn is not a direct descendant of the titular character, despite being part of the same family. Húrin is one of Hador’s grandchildren, and The Children of Húrin is the sad story of the end of his family line. Aragorn is a direct descendant of Húrin’s brother, Tuor.

5 Arminas of the Noldorins

Cirdan the shipbuilder is another important character in Middle-earth history and plays a much larger role in The Silmarillion. In The Children of Húrin, he sent two heralds to King Thingol and his queen, Meilan the Maia, about the growing power of Morgoth and the growing shadows to the north and east.

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Arminas was the most talked about herald and briefly recounted their travels along the coast carrying and delivering messages before heading inland to the kingdom of Doriath. Gelmir, his curious companion, inquired about the identity of the sinister man who brooded over Thingol’s court, prompting Turin to reveal his identity.

4 Cuthalion of the Beleg Fort Arch

Beleg is mentioned in other tales, for example as a member of the hunting party that followed the great wolf Carcharoth into Beren and Luthien. These stories say little more about him than his tragic and accidental death at the capricious hands of Turin.

It was one of the tragedies the curse of Morgoth brought to the children of Húrin, and it was a bad way to die after all Beleg had already endured. He had always been a close friend and companion of Turin and brought her messages and supplies from the Queen herself. The first time a human had tasted lembas bread was when Melian personally gave some to Beleg to be delivered directly into the hands of the wayward turi.

3 Nellas of Doriath

A maiden elf that Turin knew when he was a boy growing up while sheltered in Doriath and her testimony on her behalf as an adult is also mentioned in other stories as a significant event in the history of the court of King Thingol. Turin was accused of killing one of the king’s advisers in the wild, but Nellas witnessed the altercation from a hiding place and confirmed that Turin acted in self-defense.

In The children of Hurin, Turin’s adolescence and childhood in Doriath are told in more detail, and Nellas has a greater role to play as a childhood companion. He learned to speak Elvish from her, as well as the secrets of the local forests and rivers, two reasons why he grew to be honored among the Elves as a talented ranger and important leader.

2 Mablung of the Heavy Hand

Another of Thingol’s skilled warriors who also battled the werewolf Carcharoth, he was captain of the guard and was sent on some of Thingol’s most pressing errands. When Morwen, Húrin’s wife, insisted on leaving the safety of the court to search for her son, King Thingol sent Mablung to guard her. Queen Melian warned Morwen to stay, but she left anyway, and by the time the search party realized that her daughter Nienor had followed them in disguise, it was too late to send her away.

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A storm, brought on by an attack from the dragon Glaurung, drove Morwen’s horse into the woods. Mablung never saw her again, and although he managed to find Nienor, the dragon had taken her memory away. They were again attacked in the wild and separated, and although Nienor was eventually reunited with her brother, it was under the worst possible circumstances.

1 Aerin

A human woman related to the House of Dor-lomin, the family of Hurin’s wife Morwen, Aerin was forced to marry a local chieftain named Brodda. After Húrin’s loss, his wife Morwen sent her son to Doriath but remained to care for her granddaughter.

Meanwhile, the region has been sacked by the Easterners, emboldened by Morgoth’s recent victory over the local kings and other lords. They were afraid to attack Morwen, who was said to have the magic of the elves, and although they left her alone personally, they pillaged her house and her lands. Aerin used her influence as Brodda’s wife to ensure that Morwen and her child would not starve and live long enough to flee to King Thingol. When Turin returned for his mother, she told him what he needed to know, then told him to run before they burned down the house.

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Irene B. Bowles