NARN I HÎN HÚRIN - The Tale of the Children of Húrin

A discussion of Tolkien's Unfinshed Tales
Philipa
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NARN I HÎN HÚRIN - The Tale of the Children of Húrin

Postby Philipa » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:30 pm

NARN I HÎN HÚRIN

The Tale of the Children of Húrin


Image
Túrin Turmabar

© Iolanthe


Túrin, son of Húrin, was indeed an accomplished man. Sadly, Tolkien loves his martyrs and Túrin was one of the famous ones. His story is the most complete of all the tales from The Unfinished Tales book. From pre-birth to his ultimate demise there is much to discuss.
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Chrissiejane
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Postby Chrissiejane » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:44 am

Philipa, thanks for starting this thread.

I find the story of Turin to be one of the most powerful and compelling that the Professor wrote. I had not read it in Unfinished Tales before now, and that version just confirms what I have experienced before - I feel huge pity and sorrow for this doomed, flawed man whose every action and every decision carries him closer to his fate. The notion of inescapable destiny, and the rôle of nature and nurture as a catalyst to that, seem to be so very important in understanding this tragic tale.

I am looking forward to reading everyone's insights!
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Postby Philipa » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:27 pm

You are quite welcome Chrissiejane.

I have to say I would rather read the version of this story in the UT book as appose to the novel. There is something different about Turin in the shorter version I like better. Any ways...

Do you notice that as a young man his deeds matches his age? He was rash and one one fatal occasion explosive. After his dealings with the outlaws and during his time with Mim he matures so to speak. By the end of the story I do feel sorry for him too Chrissiejane.

The notion of inescapable destiny, and the rôle of nature and nurture as a catalyst to that, seem to be so very important in understanding this tragic tale.


Would you explain what you mean by 'inescapable desiny, and the rôle of nature and nurture as a catalyst to that' Chrissiejane?
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Postby Chrissiejane » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:57 pm

Reading the Unfinished Tales, in the section that begins

But Turin was loved less than she....


I received a strong impression of a young child shaped firstly by sad events amongst those he loved, by people leaving him after he had committed to love them; and also shaped by his mother's response to his loss and confusion. But equally I see him as a young person marked by the personal traits he is said to have taken from his two parents. As I read this account, I saw Turin as a man shaped by his early childhood pain, who would thereafter respond to the world in a way that would somehow exacerbate and increase the effect of the curse on his life.
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Postby Merry » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:12 am

I have to admit that I haven't finished reading this yet, but I am feeling more pity for this Turin than for the book version. We'll see. It's interesting that Tolkien sets up reasons to pity Turin and fear for his future--you can just see the disaster coming!--even before Morgoth curses Hurin's family. So is it nature, nurture, or curse?

One little interesting addition: among the many reasons Turin feels alone is that some of his father's speech patterns are different after Hurin has spent time with the elves. Leave it to the linguist to write about such a cause.

I was really moved by Hurin's defiant theological discouse with Morgoth, especially his finding hope in the fact that Morgoth may win in this world, but there is still life beyond the circles of the world, with Morgoth countering in the claim that there is nothing there. Go Hurin!
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Postby marbretherese » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:03 pm

Merry wrote:So is it nature, nurture, or curse?


I think it's a combination of all three. Túrin has inherited (or learned) a lot of his mother's pride. This pride causes both of them to act unwisely on several occasions and makes things even worse than they might have been. Morgoth is surely exploiting that. I've tried, but I can't warm to the character of Túrin - I'm always waiting for him to bring the kiss of death to the next worthy person and I can't forgive him for killing Beleg. I've always admired Húrin though, principally for standing up to Morgoth. When I read this version of the tale again I was impressed by the character of Nienor/Niniel ; I think in the past I've always been too depressed by the time she arrives on the scene to pay her much attention :oops:

When I read the first Tale, I thought: why couldn't Túrin be more like Tuor? and when I read this Tale I thought the same thing . . . I had this mad idea that if they had actually recognised each other when their paths crossed, Túrin might have avoided his doom. Tuor gets so much help along the way, but he does make the most of his opportunities. Túrin has opportunities too, but everything he touches goes wrong.
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Postby Philipa » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:57 pm

Chrissiejane wrote:As I read this account, I saw Turin as a man shaped by his early childhood pain, who would thereafter respond to the world in a way that would somehow exacerbate and increase the effect of the curse on his life.


Mm yes. I think this is so also.

M wrote: I've tried, but I can't warm to the character of Túrin - I'm always waiting for him to bring the kiss of death to the next worthy person and I can't forgive him for killing Beleg.


Neither can I, although, I do agree with Merry this Turin seems more likeable (for lack of a better word) than the novel Turin. Not sure if it has anything to do with the length of the story. Like you M, by the time we reach Nienor you're done with the Greek tragedy thing.

Merry wrote:I was really moved by Hurin's defiant theological discouse with Morgoth, especially his finding hope in the fact that Morgoth may win in this world, but there is still life beyond the circles of the world, with Morgoth countering in the claim that there is nothing there. Go Hurin!


:lol: Yes, I love that whole dialog between the two of them. Because really, in the end of it, Hurin wins the argument. The only action Morgoth could take to shut him up was by brute force...the uncivilized thing to do.

Did you feel that Mim and his kin were the precurser to the dwarves we knew in LoTR. Dwarves moved from being semi comical characters to hard core creatures of Middle-earth? The change is remarkable.
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Postby Iolanthe » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:00 pm

I think so - though they started off in the Lost Tales as very unlikable - with a leaning towards evil (Some Tolkien's earliest tales had some dwarves aiding Morgoth) then he changed his stance on them completely, re-wrote their role making them more sympathetic and completely anti-Morgoth, and giving them a noble history and culture. I also wonder if Mim falls on the cusp of this in that he's the first dwarf Tolkien gives us details about and invites sympathy for, despite his anger and betrayal. Though the Petty Dwarves were outside the later great Dwarven cultures he wrote about.

The dwarves in the Hobbit are the first ones that Tolkien gives a comic twist too (mainly Bofur) and it seems to me that the comic elements were more driven by the kids he was writing for than anything else.
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Postby Philipa » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:46 pm

Nice observation Iolanthe.

Well this subject is going like a house on fire. :lol:
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Postby Chrissiejane » Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:29 pm

The part played by Mim in this story seems to illuminate Turin's character and also the choices that Turin makes across the course of his life. I think it's interesting that Turin develops a trusting and close relationship with Mim in spite of the unease felt by many of his companions; it's almost as though he makes his decisions about what actions to take, who to align himself with, in spite of the views and feelings of others, almost as though he feels a compunction to stand out against the crowd, against the majority view.

But aside from that - the Professor did a great job of presenting Mim to me as a proud and complex character in his own right, but with a real edge of darkness and danger. Almost a kindred spirit for Turin perhaps....which may be a more logical explanation for the way the Turin feels drawn to Mim.
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Postby Merry » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:18 pm

I wonder why Tolkien named this character 'Mim'. We've read that he names characters first and then writes their stories. Where does 'Mim' come from?
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Postby Philipa » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:18 am

Good question Merry. We know he stole the dwarves names in The Hobbit from one of the Icelantic stories perhaps Mim is also of the same origin.

This is from the Encyclopedia of Arda regarding Petty-dwarves

A small, stunted people, apparently related to the true Dwarves, who died out in Middle-earth in the late First Age.

All we can say for sure about the origins of the Petty-dwarves is what the Silmarillion tells us, that they '...came of Dwarves that were banished in ancient days from the great Dwarf-cities of the east...' (The Silmarillion 21 'Of Túrin Turambar'). Precisely which cities they had been banished from isn't clear, but they could not be Belegost or Nogrod, as these would not be built until long after the arrival of the Petty-dwarves in Beleriand. It is by no means impossible, though, that the first ancestors of this hidden, stunted race lived among the glories of old Khazad-dûm.


I wonder why Tolkien created the Petty-dwarves to begin with.

No time to check all these links, but if you Google this subject you get many.

Mim Petty-Dwarfs
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Postby Lindariel » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:43 pm

I always thought that the name Mim came from the dwarf Mime who raised Siegfried the Dragon-Slayer in the Wagner Ring cycle, which is based on the Norse/Teutonic/Germanic Ring legends. Turin has always seemed to me to be a much darker and more complex combination of the hero Sigmund (who fell in love with his sister Sieglinde) and his son Siegfried, who killed the dragon Fafner, took the cursed Ring and the Tarnhelm, and then found the sleeping Brunhilde (the former Valkyrie).
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Postby Merry » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:32 pm

There you have it, I think, Lindariel! Does 'mim' or 'mime' mean something in German? I've got a dictionary at work that I'll check out today.
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Postby Philipa » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:18 pm

According to the Sil, Mim was killed by Hurin Thalion (after release from his perch) at Nargothrond. It was a sad ending and I think Tolkien really treated these Petty-dwarfs with contempt.
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