Narn i Chîn Húrin

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A portion of the Narn i Chîn Húrin or The Tale of the Children of Húrin is a part of the book Unfinished Tales by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It is a prose version of an earlier narrative poem called The Lay of the Children of Húrin. A complete version of the Narn called The Children of Húrin, edited by Christopher Tolkien, was released as a new book in 2007.[1]

The Narn (as it has been called) is a long story of what happened to Húrin and his children Túrin Turambar and Nienor, after Húrin was cursed by Morgoth. A coherent but less detailed version of this story appears as Of Túrin Turambar in The Silmarillion, the first posthumous adaptation of Tolkien's works.

In the published Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, the title of the Narn is given as Narn i Hîn Húrin. This was an editorial decision by Christopher Tolkien which he later regretted, done only to prevent people from pronouncing Chîn like English "Chin" with a voiceless palato-alveolar affricate, rather than a voiceless palatal fricative as in the German dich or the initial sound of the English word huge.[2] The Children of Húrin uses "Chîn".[3]

Fictional history[edit]

The original version of the Narn was supposedly composed in Sindarin in the Minlamad thent/estent meter by one Dírhaval, a mortal poet who had nevertheless great mastery of the elvish tongue, and the Elves praised the poem.[4] The poem dates to only a few decades after Túrin's death (Y.S. 499); Dírhaval is said to have lived at the Mouths of Sirion and died in the raid by the Sons of Fëanor in Y.S. 538.

Plot summary[edit]

The story elaborates on what is told of these characters in the published Silmarillion, starting with the childhood of Túrin, continuing through the captivity of his father in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, and Túrin's exile in Doriath, to Túrin's time in Nargothrond, his unintentionally incestuous relationship with his sister Nienor, and ultimately ending with suicide by his sword Gurthang after having slain Glaurung.

As a point of reference regarding the names of the main characters: In this story, Túrin renames himself Turambar, meaning Master of Doom in the High-elven speech, with a vow to turn aside from the darkness that had ruled his early life. His sister Nienor is also called Níniel, meaning Maid of Tears. She is renamed by Turambar himself after he finds her alone and in distress in the woods. Only much later does he learn her real name and origin. The section ends with the Elves calling them by the names of Túrin Turambar Dagnir Glaurunga (as the slayer of the Dragon Glaurung) and Nienor Níniel.

The story has some inconsistencies when compared with The Silmarillion, and at points there are gaps and multiple versions: this is because Tolkien never really finished the story during his lifetime, and his son Christopher Tolkien had to choose from all the work to create a consistent narrative for The Silmarillion.

The story of the Narn continues in the Later Narn, which is also published in Unfinished Tales, and in The Wanderings of Húrin, a text which was found to be too different in style from the rest of The Silmarillion, but which continues the Narn past Túrin's death with Húrin's eventual release and the bad deeds which come from that. This story was finally published in The War of the Jewels, a part of the series The History of Middle-earth.

See also[edit]

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