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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Where were Beornings from?


Nov 16 2010, 8:41pm

Post #1 of 13 (483 views)
Where were Beornings from? Can't Post

This text comes from "The Hobbit" ch. 6:

"In spite of the dangers of this far land bold men had of late been making their way back into it from the South, cutting down trees, and building themselves places to live in among the more pleasant woods in the valleys and along the river-shores. There were many of them, and they were brave and well armed, and even the Wargs dared not attack them if there were many together, or in the bright day. But now they had planned with the goblins' help to come by night upon some of the villages nearest the mountains."

On the map in the back of "The Hobbit," only two settlements of Woodsmen are marked in the eaves of western Mirkwood, not "the villages nearest the mountains," so it seems the "many" new immigrants had spread out all over the north Anduin River valley. They were later called Beornings because after "The Hobbit," Beorn became their leader.

My question is: they came from the South, but from where? Wasn’t Rohan the next inhabited land to the south?


Nov 17 2010, 2:45am

Post #2 of 13 (310 views)
I found the answer [In reply to] Can't Post

Appendix A of LOTR, "II. The House of Eorl" states:

‘Eorl the Young was lord of the Men of Éothéod. That land lay near the sources of Anduin, between the furthest ranges of the Misty Mountains and the northernmost parts of Mirkwood. The Éothéod had moved to those regions in the days of King Eärnil II from the lands in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden, and they were in origins close kin to the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest."

I.e. The men of Rohan and the new immigrants to the north came from the same stock - and had all come from the far north of the Anduin River in the first place.

Makes sense!


Nov 17 2010, 4:32am

Post #3 of 13 (277 views)
the Beornings [In reply to] Can't Post

are said to be the descendants as opposed to the followers of Beorn during the Council of Elrond.


Nov 17 2010, 3:58pm

Post #4 of 13 (255 views)
Their "lord," not their father [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the clue, but when I looked it up, it said Beorn's son was "the lord of many sturdy men," not their father.

Most online sources I've checked interpret this to mean that Beorn and sons ruled the men of the area.

See also Aragorn's history of "Beornings" in TTT pg 28.


Nov 18 2010, 4:56pm

Post #5 of 13 (215 views)
you're right! [In reply to] Can't Post

just like the Bardings are the people of Bard....Blush


Nov 19 2010, 7:17am

Post #6 of 13 (205 views)
Northmen [In reply to] Can't Post

In the millennia or so before the Hobbit, the Anduin Vale and the Lands South of Running Lake were ruled by a collection of tribes and kingdoms of "Northmen," clans of men who were of the same racial roots as the Edain (the Numenoreans) but who did not fight in the War of the Jewels (they either never went over the mountains into Beleriand or they left Beleriand to avoid the war.) Most of these Northmen Kingdoms were destroyed by enemies of Gondor by 1850 in the Third Age, and the survivors seem to have scattered or taken refuge in either their last surviving Kingdom, Dale, or fled to the Vale of Anduin and formed the Eotheod, the ancestral tribe of the Rohirrim. When the Eotheod abandoned the Anduin to settle in Rohan, the Northmen who remained behind in the Vales seem to have been living in small, broken communities of villages and stuff until Beorn and his descendants united them. I would not be surprised if, in the centuries after Lord of the Rings, the Beornings established a sort of tribal kingdom ala the Eotheod to rule the Vale of Anduin.

Kangi Ska

Nov 19 2010, 9:27am

Post #7 of 13 (245 views)
Not to question the validity of your statement but what are your sources of information. [In reply to] Can't Post

This sounds familiar but it has been a while since I read it and I would go back.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
New Zealand is Middle-earth & today life is good.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.



Dec 5 2010, 7:37pm

Post #8 of 13 (178 views)
sources [In reply to] Can't Post

The chapter 'Cirion & Eorl', in Unfinished Tales contains most of this info, as well as the LOTR Appendix A, mentioned above (the sections dealing with the Kin-strife in Gondor and the House of Eorl).


Dec 5 2010, 8:03pm

Post #9 of 13 (197 views)
Beorn's origins and his place amongst the Northmen [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with this and add another passage from The Hobbit into the mix:

[Gandalf describing Beorn to Thorin & Company] 'As a bear he ranges far and wide. I once saw him sitting all alone on the top of the Carrock at night watching the moon sinking towards the Misty Mountains, and I heard him growl in the tongue of bears "The day will come when they [the goblins] will perish and I shall go back". That is why I believe he once came from the mountains himself'.

It seems that Beorn himself (or his ancestors ) migrated eastwards, from the Misty Mountains (or beyond?). Perhaps he then established himself as chieftain over the Northmen who remained in the upper Vales of the Anduin (and who themselves had originally come up from the south, from Rhovanion). The Beorning 'chieftancy' would likely have been after the emigration of the Éothéod in TA. 2510. The Éothéod seem to have been the dominant force in the region until then, having first arrived in TA. 1977. Thus the Beornings' prominence in the upper Vakes probably post-dates 2510 and was still going strong in 3019, under the chieftainship of Beorn's son, Grimbeorn the Old.

The upshot of all this speculation? The Beornings were a mixed group, combining Northmen from Rhovanion and the Vales of Anduin with a 'leadership caste' from the west, possibly from the Misty Mountains.

Tol Eressea

Dec 6 2010, 9:23pm

Post #10 of 13 (160 views)
My answer.. [In reply to] Can't Post

to 'Where do the Beornings come from?' would be... *cue intro*

'Way down South, in Beorningham, I mean South, in Alabam *hang on, that's wrong...


N.E. Brigand

Dec 6 2010, 9:37pm

Post #11 of 13 (177 views)
I can't quite picture Beorn in a tuxedo. // [In reply to] Can't Post


Discuss Tolkien’s life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Dec 6 2010, 10:53pm

Post #12 of 13 (157 views)
"Right back where I belong..." [In reply to] Can't Post

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.

Tol Eressea

Dec 7 2010, 7:11am

Post #13 of 13 (202 views)
LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

- and to N.E Brigand, too. Thanks, chaps.


(This post was edited by geordie on Dec 7 2010, 7:12am)


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