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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Pride


Jul 14 2013, 3:08pm

Views: 278
Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Pride Can't Post

This chapter is fraught with prophecy and tragedy. It is the tale of Turin, the Tale of Grief, but it involves the entire family of Hurin: the house of Hurin pays the blood price for the sheltering of the Star in Gondolin, as Hurin, a Man of pride, will not betray Turgon and the Hidden Kingdom. A part of Men not only in the bloodline, but in the ability of Earandil to survive and to sail West for the salvation of Arda. It is Morgoth's fear of Turgon, with a Vala's foresight of what the Hidden Kingdom may potentially mean, leads Morgoth to torture Hurin by watching the drama of the curse of Morgoth play out. Much of Turin's tale is based in part upon the ancient Finnish epic of the Kalevala, which JRRT was entranced by in 1912-13:
"The germ of my attempt to write legends of my own to fit my private languages was the tragic tale of the hapless Kullervo in the Finnish Kalevala. It remains a major matter in the legends of the First Age (which I hope to publish as The Silmarillion."

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 257

Pride and honour, as well as actions in anger, are a frequent theme in this hero's tale.


Turin is clearly wronged by Saeros. He runs away in pride, and a false pride, as no judgment has been passed against him, and takes the name 'Neithan the Wronged.' Thingol indeed deems him guiltless. So what we read is that it is pride that sets him on the road to wandering. Interesting that Morwen herself is proud, and so is Hurin: this apple lies right beneath the family tree.

** Morwen's pride in not leaving her home for the safety of Doriath. It has far-reaching impacts, and Morwen - like Turin - takes no counsel. How would the story have been different if Turin knew she and Nienor were safely housed with Thingol and Melian?

**A very interesting statement that I want to discuss, though it is in CoH and not in the published Sil. When Mim is taken, Turin looks at him long and silent, and says: "You may die, but you shall not be bound again." Is this Turin speaking his own inner thoughts in this deep moment - maybe echoing Morwen's wish that he never be a thrall (for which she sent him away - does that childhood fear live on in the man?); is he reacting to Mim, or is this another example of prophesy? Was living with the Elves and within a society 'binding'? Is his choice of the outlaw life 'freeing' to him? And death being a better option than a return to whatever bondage it is that he flees?

**The Dragon Helm of Dor Lomin: Dwarf-make, pride of the House of Hador, yet the end of all hiding. It represents ultimate protection yet ultimate vulnerability: an Achilles helm, shall we say? as it reveals Turin's true identity to Morgoth on Amon Rudh. Is it pride, madness, good sense - courage, hubris or fate to wear it?

An editorial bit about the Dragon-helm of Dor-Lomin, as Doug Kane points out in Arda Reconstructed. As he fights for Nargothrond at Tumhalad we have Turin wearing a 'dwarf-mask'; in all honestly I must confess that, in mere pleasure-read mode, until checking with A.R. I had always assumed that this was a casually worded reference to the Dragon-helm; it is not. Reading more closely, clearly it refers to a 'dwarf-mask' found in the stores of Nargothrond. A shame, as when fighting a climactic battle it feels 'right' that the Dragon-helm of his fathers would have been what he wore. As Doug points out, some explanation would have been needed to explain its presence in Nargothrond - we read that is has 'vanished from the lands west of Sirion' the last time we conclusively know its location is on Amon Rudh; it is not specified that on the night Amon Rudh is betrayed that Turin wore it. As they were ambushed at night he may not have been, so it may have been inside Amon Rudh. A possible way to get it to Nargothrond might have been if Mim took it, and was then found with it, alive or dead, by Narogthrond scouts - silently awaiting Turin in the halls when he finally arrives. Get your fanfic on, clever friends - any other ideas on how else this could have been written? And would it have been better so?

** How does Mim hold up as a father figure? We have two fathers in the tale here: Hurin and Mim. Both are proud, but behave very differently. Are the comparisons personal variations in pride and choices, or is there an Elf-centric viewpoint here which shows Mim in a dim light?

**The Bridge into Nargothrond, which aids its fight against its enemies yet is the device of its fall - a stony symbol of Turin's pride? Turin's pride in not allowing his own creation to be destroyed leads to the fall of Nargothrond - such a fall foreseen by Ulmo, and one that would predate the fall of Gondolin. Ulmos's words can be seen to apply here - his warning about not loving the work of one's hands or devices of one's heart too well. Indeed, can a philosophic parallel between the Helm of Dor-Lomin and the Bridge of Nargothrond be seen, that may be considered universal?

**Pride and nomenclature. There is a complex evolution of names in the tale: Turin (birthname), Neithan ('Wronged'), Gorthol ('Dread Helm'), Thurin ('Secret') Agarwaen ('the Bloodstained Son of ill Fate'), Mormegil ('the Black Sword'), Adanedhel ('Man-elf'), Wildman of the Woods, Turambar ('Master of Doom'). Parallel, and hauntingly similar choice of prideful names - Morgoth names himself "Master of the Fates" of Arda. Turin also chooses Turambar - the laying aside of the Black Sword and a new name, the most prideful and fey of them all perhaps, the name under which he finds Niniel, defying fate? All this name changing in general - is it a reflection evolution of the character or is it an escape attempt by him? JRRT uses a complex and multi-faceted naming for almost all major characters. For Turin, which way do we think JRRT intended the naming to be perceived?

** Turin's decisions are always internally made it seems, with little regard for the world around him. Turin seems unaware of the hatred that his host Mim has for Beleg, and does not notice either that the resentent is building as Mim sits and broods in the corner. This blindness seems to be Turin's default mode: he is does not see of women's feelings for him, he cannot see Thingol's response after the death of Saeros, he cannot see how his actions will affect Aerin, he is blind to the danger of the Dragon-helm. What is this - emotional blinders? pride? a stubborn will? Are these examples of how we can square Fate with Free will - ie: Fate provides the choices, but Turin makes them? We must consider his temper here too - is he in control of it or is it in control of him?

Coming soon!- The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.

Subject User Time
Sil discussion of Turin Turambar: Pride Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 14 2013, 3:08pm
    Saeros Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Jul 14 2013, 11:07pm
        True Hamfast - I agree Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 14 2013, 11:33pm
    Pride... elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Jul 15 2013, 9:54pm
        Turin in his own world Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 16 2013, 1:05am
        Turin vs cousin Tuor CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 16 2013, 11:08am
            Nice comparison here CG! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 16 2013, 7:23pm
            Turin v Tuor elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Jul 16 2013, 8:45pm
                That's saying a mouthful Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 16 2013, 9:39pm
    I think you're right to point out that he's tone deaf to other people and to the consequences of his actions noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jul 16 2013, 6:34pm
        That's an interesting thought NoWiz elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 Jul 16 2013, 8:50pm
        Nicknames - they do have a pattern don't they? // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 16 2013, 9:31pm
        He seems narcissistic to me CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jul 16 2013, 9:51pm
    You mean the helm and the bridge are two-edged swords? :) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jul 17 2013, 12:03pm
        On the nosey, Furincurunir! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 17 2013, 5:56pm
    Some thoughts Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Jul 18 2013, 2:31pm
        Hurin vs Morgoth Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 19 2013, 2:00am
            Comments on your comment Rembrethil Send a private message to Rembrethil Jul 19 2013, 5:06am
        Two kinds of pride noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jul 19 2013, 9:25am
            You find the most interesting references... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 20 2013, 4:13pm
                Good way of putting it! noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jul 20 2013, 4:52pm
                    Indeed - maybe because of the virtual unawareness!!!! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jul 20 2013, 5:20pm


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