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The Tale of Beren and Lthien - II

Significance in the legendarium


After the recovery of the Silmaril by Beren and Lthien, many people of Middle-earth sought to
possess it, and there were wars between the Sindar, the Noldor and the Dwarves, in which the
Sindar were defeated. The Silmaril was taken by Erendil, who sailed to Valinor with it and
persuaded the Valar to make war on Morgoth, which led to the latter's defeat in the War of Wrath.
The marriage of Beren and Lthien was the first of the three unions of a mortal Man and an Elf, of
which came the Half-elven, those who had both elven and human ancestry. Like Lthien, they were
given the choice of being counted among either Elves or Men. The extended live-action film of The
Fellowship of the Ring would make this connection through a song Aragorn sings at night in Elvish.
When questioned by Frodo, he simply explains that it relates to an Elven woman who gave up her
immortality for the love of a man.

Inspiration
The Tale of Beren and Lthien was regarded as the central part of his legendarium by Tolkien. The
story and the characters reflect the love of Tolkien and his wife Edith. Particularly, the event when
Edith danced for him in a glade with flowering hemlocks seems to have inspired his vision of the
meeting of Beren and Lthien. Also some sources indicate that Edith's family disapproved of Tolkien
originally, because he was a Catholic.[3] On Tolkien's grave, J. R. R. Tolkien is referred to as Beren
and Edith is referred to as Lthien. [3]
The tale of Beren and Lthien also shares an element with folktales such as the Welsh Culhwch and
Olwen,[4][5] maybe its main literary inspiration, and the German The Devil With the Three Golden
Hairs[6] and The Griffinnamely, the disapproving parent who sets a seemingly impossible task (or
tasks) for the suitor, which is then fulfilled. The hunting of Carcharoth the Wolf may be inspired by
the hunting of the giant boar Twrch Trwyth in Culhwch and Olwen or other hunting legends. The
quest for one of the three Silmarils from the Iron Crown of Morgoth has a close parallel in the search
for the three golden hairs in the head of the Devil. The sequence in which Beren loses his hand to
the Wolf may be inspired by the god Tyr and the wolf Fenrir, characters in Norse mythology. Tolkien
also got inspiration from the great love story of Romeo and Juliet.

Beren and Lthien standalone book


The story is also to be published as a standalone book edited by Christopher Tolkien under the
title Beren and Lthien on 1 June 2017,[1] being pushed back from its original publication date of 4
May 2017.[7][8][9] The story is one of three contained within The Silmarillion which Tolkien believed
warrants its own long-form narrative, the other two being The Children of Hrin and The Fall of
Gondolin. The book is illustrated by Alan Lee and edited by Christopher Tolkien, in much the same
way as the standalone version of The Children of Hrin (2007) in that it draws from different, often
incomplete, versions of the story written by Tolkien to form a complete narrative with minimal
editorial intrusion.