Brandir

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Brandir
Tolkien's legendarium character
Aliases the Lame
Race Men
Gender male
Book(s) The Children of Húrin,
The Silmarillion,
The War of the Jewels

Brandir is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He was a Chieftain of the Folk of Haleth in the First Age. Brandir was the son of Handir of Brethil and was descended from the Houses of Haleth and Hador through his grandparents Haldir and Glóredhel. He was also related to the House of Bëor through his mother (see note below).

Biography[edit]

He was lame since a misadventure in childhood; he was no man of war and "gentle in mood, loving wood rather than metal, and the knowledge of things that grow in earth rather than other lore".[1] His father died in a battle with Orcs when they invaded Brethil in the year of the Sack of Nargothrond. The Folk of Haleth were driven into their woods, and dwelt mainly within a stockade upon Obel Halad. Brandir was then elected a Chieftain, though many would have preferred his second cousin Hardang; and Brandir's hopes were to "preserve his people by silence and secrecy" rather than by open war.

When Túrin Turambar was brought unconscious to Amon Obel, Brandir prophesied that he will be "the last bane of their people", but still tended him with care. Later Brandir also accepted Níniel, whom he secretly fell in love with; but she called him brother, for Níniel's heart was given to Turambar, and soon they were wedded.

Yet after a time great forces of Orcs began to assail Brethil, and Túrin was asked to lead the forces to battle, and destroyed the enemies utterly. Soon he began to order things as he would, and few men gave heed to Brandir. The borders were once again cleared, but Turambar was revealed to Glaurung the Dragon. When the news were heard of the coming of Glaurung and Túrin chose companions to attempt to kill him, Dorlas scorned Brandir for being unable to join, but was rebuked by Brandir's cousin Hunthor (brother of Manthor), who went in his stead. However, after Níniel likewise disdained his counsel, Brandir in anger renounced his chieftainship and broke his staff. Brandir then followed Níniel to Nen Girith, trying to comfort her, but she fled to Cabed-en-Aras. There he overheard Glaurung's revelation to her that she was Nienor, Túrin's sister, and saw her casting herself into the chasm over the river Taeglin. Brandir was the last man to look down into its darkness, and he went away, for "though he hated now his life, he could not there take the death that he desired". On his way back to Nen Girith he encountered Dorlas who stayed behind in fear while Hunthor and Túrin pursued Glaurung. When Brandir accused Dorlas of bringing no news of Túrin and thus contributing to Nienor's death, Dorlas in shame and anger attacked Brandir, but Brandir drew his sword and slew him - the only blood that Brandir had ever spilled.

He brought the tidings to the Folk of Haleth, calling Brethil Sarch nia Chîn Húrin, Grave for the Children of Húrin. And when Túrin returned and, angered by his words, called him 'Club-foot', Brandir reported to him the last words of Glaurung. Unwilling to believe, Túrin smote Brandir with Gurthang, killing him.

After Brandir, Brethil was ruled for a short time by his cousin Hardang, until the last descendants of Haleth perished in the kin-strife caused by the return of Húrin.

The House of Haleth[edit]

 
 
 
 
Haldad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Haleth
 
Haldar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Haldan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Halmir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Haldir
 
Hiril
 
Hundar
 
Hareth
 
Galdor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Handir
 
Meleth
 
Hundad
 
Húrin
 
Huor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brandir
 
Manthor
 
Hardang
 
Túrin
 
Tuor

Parentage of Brandir[edit]

While it is known certainly that Brandir's father was Handir, the name of his mother is unclear. J. R. R. Tolkien only once mentions her: in the genealogical tables of the Edain she appears as Beldis of the House of Bëor, with the following descent presented:[2]


 
 
 
Bregor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Barahir
 
 
 
Bregil
 
Arachon
 
 
 
Halmir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beren
 
 
 
Brandir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Haldir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beldis
 
 
 
Handir
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brandir
the Lame

Bregil (born 386) was the daughter of Bregor of the House of Bëor and sister of Barahir father of Beren Erchamion. She was wedded to one Arachon and their children were Brandir (born 409) and Beldis (born 411). Beldis is shown as the wife of Handir of Brethil, and their son is Brandir the Lame, "named after his mother's brother".[3] On the basis of this Christopher Tolkien noted that Brandir was Túrin's second cousin once removed in 'Bëorian' line as well as second cousin on both 'Hadorian' and Haladin sides.[4]

But this descent is plainly erroneous, and was introduced by J. R. R. Tolkien without noticing the following discrepancies. Beldis was born in Y.S. 411 (when her mother was 25 years old), while her 'husband' Handir in 441, thirty years later, and their son Brandir in 465 - when his mother was already 54. While of course not impossible, it is highly unlikely that Tolkien intended this, since all dates in the same genealogies were carefully balanced around the average of 25 years between generations. Apparently one more generation is required by Tolkien's own standards between Beldis and Brandir.

Consequently it would be better to leave obscure the identity of Brandir's mother and his actual descent from Bregil, although it is possible to regard him Túrin's third cousin on Bëorian side.

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

In early versions of the Tale of Turambar Brandir's role was played by Tamar son of Bethos, who yielded the rule to Túrin completely at the choice of the woodfolk.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This and following citations are taken from Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Narn i Hîn Húrin, ISBN 0-395-29917-9 
  2. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1994), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The War of the Jewels, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, The new genealogies of the Edain, pp. 229-38, ISBN 0-395-71041-3 
  3. ^ The tree of the Haladin, ibid. p. 237.
  4. ^ ibid. p. 268.
  5. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1984), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Book of Lost Tales 2, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-36614-3