Last week, I stopped short because some of the people at the end of chapter 18 deserve some extra page time. This week, why Húrin and Huor deserve their own post and the beginning of their epic adventures.
Part I (Chapter 1)
Part II (Chapters 2-3)
Part III (Chapters 3-4)
Part IV (Chapters 5-6)
Part V (Chapter 7)
Part VI (Chapter 8)
Part VII (Chapter 9)
Part VIII (Chapter 10)
Part IX (Chapter 11)
Part X (Chapter 12)
Part XI (Chapter 13)
Part XII (Chapter 13 cont.)
Part XIII (Chapter 14-15)
Part XIV (Chapter 16)
Part XV (Chapter 17)
Part XVII (Chapter 18)
Quenta Silmarillion: Chapter 18 part 2
In the years following Dagor Bragollach — The Night of Sudden Flame in which Morgoth unleashed all of his forces on Elves and Men — life is difficult. Orcs constantly harry everyone they can find, including the many groups of Edain (Men). Among one of these groups are two young brothers: Húrin and Huor. (If you remember back to the heroic Haleth who saved her people from an Orc raid, Húrin and Huor are related to her and live amongst the Haladin, her people.)
Even though they are young, Húrin and Huor (who is only 13) fight alongside the men. During one battle, they are cut off from the rest of their army. Instead of being captured or killed by Orcs, Ulmo himself creates a mist that hides them while Thorondor (the King of the Eagles) sends Eagles to swoop in to the rescue. It’s a good thing, too, considering all that they’ll be involved in throughout The Silmarillion.
Now that Thorondor has them in his care, he does something unusual. He has Húrin and Huor brought into the secret kingdom of Gondolin. This is monumental because they are the first Edain to ever lay eyes on it. Fortunately, though, Turgon (the Elven King of Gondolin) is fine with it. How could he not be after having several mysterious dreams about these boys and how they will one day help his kingdom, all inspired by Ulmo?
During their time in Gondolin, Turgon becomes close to Húrin and Huor, and they learn a great deal from the Elves. For that reason, it’s not surprising that he is sad when they ask to return to their own people. They tell him that Elves are immortal and can wait around for wars, but their time is limited and their family needs them to help in their wars now. Since they never saw the way into Gondolin, they convince Turgon to allow the Eagles to take them back home.
An interesting side note: Maeglin, the king’s nephew is all too glad to see them go because they have been receiving far too much attention from his uncle. The way he speaks to them in the book shows that he really does have a twist of evil to him.
Soon, Húrin and Huor are returned to their own people, who are absolutely delighted that the boys they thought were dead had reappeared unharmed. They’re asked often where they’ve been, but the boys refuse to answer. Gondolin is a secret, and they know it must stay that way. Instead, they basically tell everyone that they should just be happy that they’re back, and they leave it at that.
While Húrin and Huor maintain Gondolin’s secret, Turgon himself now makes a mistake. He decides to build ships to sail to Valinor to seek assistance with the ongoing war with Morgoth. While he and his soldiers haven’t been on the front lines, they know that the situation is serious. The ships never reach Valinor because it’s been hidden away, but they do instead catch Morgoth’s attention. He knows that Turgon is still alive, even though it’s been years since he’s seen any sign of him. The same with Finrod. So he decides to send out more spies to find where all of these Elves are hiding. It’s especially important because, while Dagor Bragollach reduced the numbers of Elves and Men, it also took its toll on his forces. He knows that he can’t sit idle, enjoying his victory, when the Elves could be preparing a new assault on him.
A few years pass, and Húrin and Huor are still fighting, as always. This time, they are fighting alongside their father (who is the ruler of the house of Hador). As they protect one of Finrod’s strongholds, their father is killed, and Húrin takes over as the ruler of the house of Hador.
While this might not seem especially important in itself, Húrin and Huor do a great deal in the rest of the book and are related to some very important characters. It will all begin to make sense soon.
Next week, the story of Luthien and Beren — a bittersweet love story that changes everything and ties directly in to some favorite characters from The Lord of the Rings.