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Last week, Hurin was finally released from his long imprisonment under Morgoth and has, essentially, found himself friendless and alone. This week, he visits the place where Turin first met Glaurung the dragon: Nargothrond.
Quenta Silmarillion Chapter 22 part 2
It’s been a long and lonely road for Hurin so far. He was seemingly ignored by the Elvish king whose life he saved and he waited while his wife died on the same spot where his children met their demise (essentially). Now, he finds himself outside of Nargothrond, where his son Turin first met the dragon.
Though Nargothrond was once a prosperous Elvish realm, it certainly isn’t anymore. It’s been completely abandoned, even though the dragon who claimed it is now dead. Well, not completely abandoned. Hurin does find one person there. One that hasn’t been mentioned in quite a while. Mim the petty dwarf. (See his full story here.)
Long ago, Mim had offered his home to Turin in return for his life. Then, after being captured by Morgoth’s forces, Mim was forced to lead Orcs to his now very full house so that they can capture Turin. While Mim had his moments of being friendly with Turin and certainly has been through some terrible circumstances, their friendship wore thin when Beleg (Turin’s Elvish friend from Doriath) arrived.
Now, Mim lives in Nargothrond, thoroughly enjoying all of the gold and gems left behind by the Elves and then the dragon. When Hurin shows up, Mim’s attitude takes over and Hurin isn’t interested in hearing it. He’s seen everything that’s happened — though the events were certainly laced with Morgoth’s lies. He tells Mim who he is: Turin’s dad. Then he kills Mim.
Before leaving Nargothrond, Hurin grabs one important piece of the treasure. More on that in a moment.
Hurin then heads to Doriath, where Thingol and Melian live. Back when Turin was threatened with slavery, he was brought to the safety of Doriath, and Thingol and Melian essentially became his foster parents.
When Hurin arrives, everyone is in awe that he is still alive, and Thingol is terribly sad for him and all that has happened. But Hurin isn’t glad to see anyone, especially Thingol. Instead, he reveals the treasure that he took from Nargothrond and throws it at Thingol’s feet. He couldn’t have picked anything more fitting.
This treasure is the Nauglamir, the Necklace of the Dwarves made for Finrod.
Why does this matter? Remember the story of Luthien and Beren? If Beren succeeded in a nearly impossible quest, he would be allowed to marry Luthien. And when Finrod heard about it, he helped Beren but died in the process. Now, Hurin is holding Thingol accountable, not only for Finrod’s unnecessary death but also for that of his wife and children.
While Thingol once may have responded in anger, he has only pity for Hurin now. He and Melian are gentle with Hurin and try to talk some reason. They had raised Turin as their own child and cared for Morwen and Nienor, doing everything they could to protect them before they were lost thanks to the dragon. And, as they speak, Morgoth’s lies start to melt away and Hurin sees things as they truly are.
Hurin then takes the Nauglamir from the ground and hands it reverently to Thingol. “Receive now, lord, the Necklace of the Dwarves,” he says, “as a gift from one who has nothing, and as a memorial of Hurin from Dor-lomon. For now my fate is fulfilled, and the purpose of Morgoth achieved; but I am his thrall no longer.” (Tolkien 278)
With this, Hurin leaves a free man. While no one knows exactly how he dies, there are rumors that he throws himself into the western sea. And thus ends the tragic life of Hurin, one of the greatest warriors of Middle-earth.
Next week, maybe giving the Nauglamir to Thingol isn’t the best idea after all…