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Excerpt: 'The Children of Hurin'

Children of Hurin Book Cover

In the year that Turin was seventeen years old, his grief was renewed; for all tidings from his home ceased at that time. The power of Morgoth had grown yearly, and all Hithlum was now under his shadow. Doubtless he knew much of the doings of Hurin's people and kin, and had not molested them for a while, so that his design might be fulfilled; but now in pursuit of this purpose he set a close watch on all the passes of the Shadowy Mountains, so that none might come out of Hithlum nor enter it, save at great peril, and the Orcs swarmed about the sources of Narog and Teiglin and the upper waters of Sirion. Thus there came a time when the messengers of Thingol did not return, and he would send no more. He was ever loath to let any stray beyond the guarded borders, and in nothing had he shown greater good will to Hurin and his kin than in sending his people on the dangerous roads to Morwen in Dor-lomin.

Now Turin grew heavy-hearted, not knowing what new evil was afoot, and fearing that an ill fate had befallen Morwen and Nienor; and for many days he sat silent, brooding on the downfall of the House of Hador and the Men of the North. Then he rose up and went to seek Thingol; and he found him sitting with Melian under Hirilorn, the great beech of Menegroth.

Thingol looked on Turin in wonder, seeing suddenly before him in the place of his fosterling a Man and a stranger, tall, dark-haired, looking at him with deep eyes in a white face, stern and proud; but he did not speak.

"What do you desire, foster-son?" said Thingol, and guessed that he would ask for nothing small.

"Mail, sword, and shield of my stature, lord," answered Turin. "Also by your leave I will now reclaim the Dragonhelm of my sires."

"These you shall have," said Thingol. "But what need have you yet of such arms?"

"The need of a man," said Turin; "and of a son who has kin to remember. And I need also companions valiant in arms."

"I will appoint you a place among my knights of the sword, for the sword will ever be your weapon," said Thingol. "With them you may make trial of war upon the marches, if that is your desire."

"Beyond the marches of Doriath my heart urges me," said Turin. "For onset against our foe I long, rather than defence."

"Then you must go alone," said Thingol. "The part of my people in the war with Angband I rule according to my wisdom, Turin son of Hurin. No force of the arms of Doriath will I send out at this time; nor at any time that I can yet foresee."

"Yet you are free to go as you will, son of Morwen," said Melian. "The Girdle of Melian does not hinder the going of those that passed in with our leave."

"Unless wise counsel will restrain you," said Thingol.

"What is your counsel, lord?" said Turin.

"A Man you seem in stature, and indeed more than many already," Thingol answered; "but nonetheless you have not come to the fullness of your manhood that shall be. Until that is achieved, you should be patient, testing and training your strength. Then, maybe, you can remember your kin; but there is little hope that one Man alone can do more against the Dark Lord than to aid the Elflords in their defence, as long as that may last."

Excerpted from The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien published by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 2007 by J.R.R. Tolkien. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

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