“Blind you are Morgoth Bauglir, and blind shall ever be, seeing only the dark…”Hurin
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Suicide
This section is the tale of the Children of Hurin and one of the most heartbreaking tales. Morgoth curses the children of Hurin and despair follows them at every turn. I can’t help but think of all the emotions that Tolkien wrote into this story and what he was thinking as he laid it all out. He is definitely experienced in grief and it shows. Even though this tale is already told in The Silmarillion, this is a more extended version. Well, not the longest version. I will be reading The Children of Hurin later this summer. The story begins with Morwen and Hurin. They have three children. First, Turin and Urwen. When the Evil Breath is released, they both get sick and Turin survives, but his sister dies. This is his first brush with real loss and he is only a child. In the Unfinished Tales, there is more description of Turin. He grows up to be strong, dark, and brooding. In order to keep Turin safe, Morwen sends Turin away to be raised by Thingol and Melian. Turin already doesn’t know what has become of his father, he lost his sister, and now he is sent away from his mother who is pregnant with another child. This section does describe how differently each one grieves. I find it comforting as it shows there is no wrong way to grieve.
Morwen gives birth to Nienor as we know means mourning. It is a hint of what despair is to come. Years past and now Turin wants to search for his father. In the section of the Silmarillion, I already discussed his banishment and his coming to be an outlaw. So we will just skip to that point. Eventually, Morwen decides she must find her son and is determined to go alone.
“then so also can Hurin’s daughter. Mourning you named me, but I will not mourn alone, for father, brother, and mother. But of these you only I have known, and above all do I love. And nothing that you not do I fear.”Nienor
If one knows only Nienor’s end, then they may think her weak. As is the stigma of suicide. But here we can clearly see that Nienor is not weak at all. When Glaurung the dragon comes hunting for the Children of Hurin, Morwen, and Nienor are separated. Nienor is lost and refuses to talk of her past. Turin or Turambar as he is referred to now finds her—not knowing that she is his sister since they have never met and they both go by different names. They wed but Glaurung still remains a threat. Turambar deals a mortal blow and is injured himself. Nienor or Niniel as she is now called (The Maid of Tears) finds Turambar and thinks he is dead. Glaurung in his final breaths reveals that Turambar’s name is really Turin, son of Hurin, her brother. In her grief and shock, she throws herself off of a cliff. Turin Turambar awakes and Brandir tells him that Niniel has killed herself and that her real name is Nienor. Also struck by the shock and grief, he falls on his sword. For someone who is a devout Catholic, suicide is often painted in a negative light. It is a sin or selfish. But when reading Tolkien’s stories…it isn’t painted in a negative light, more like a fact in grief or depression. These characters are not weak. It defies everything that you hear when suicide stigma is discussed. I believe Tolkien’s experiences in World War I and knowing that anyone can have mental health issues really show that it should be looked at with an open mind and sympathy, rather than hostility as if there was wrongdoing. We can’t know what people are going through. We can only listen and be there. Remember you are worthy and loved. If you are or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call this hotline: 800-273-8255