Lay of Leithian
The long poem concerning the lives of Beren and LÃºthien from which the prose account in The Silmarillion was derived. Leithian is translated 'Release from Bondage'. 195, 198, 203, 206-8, 226
The long poem concerning the lives of Beren and LÃºthien from which the prose account in The Silmarillion was derived. Leithian is translated 'Release from Bondage'.
Release from Bondage.
"'I will tell you the tale of TinÃºviel,' said Strider, 'in brief - for it is a long tale of which the end is not known...'"
(The Fellowship of the Ring II 4, A Knife in the Dark)
The long Elvish lay that told the story of Beren and LÃºthien, their Quest for the Silmaril, and their return from Mandos. It was said to be the second longest of all such tales (with the longest being the Narn i HÃ®n HÃºrin, the story of TÃºrin and Nienor).
The Lay tells the story of Beren's escape from Dorthonion after the loss of his father Barahir. Coming into the south, he entered Doriath and came across LÃºthien TinÃºviel in the woods. They desired to wed, but LÃºthien's father Thingol set an impossible bride-price on his daughter - a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth in the deepest pits of Angband. Beren set out on his hopeless quest with the aid of Finrod Felagund, but they were captured and imprisoned by Sauron. LÃºthien came to their aid through many troubles of her own, and with the help of Huan the Hound she rescued Beren. Using her magical arts, they penetrated Angband and stole one of the Silmarils, but in their escape Beren's hand, holding the Silmaril, was bitten from his wrist by the great wolf Carcharoth. Eventually, the wolf was hunted and slain, and the Silmaril recovered, but only at the cost of Beren's life. Then LÃºthien, too, passed away, and pleaded before Mandos himself. Both Beren and LÃºthien were returned to life, and they dwelt in the south of Ossiriand for a time. LÃºthien had become mortal herself, and she passed away at last with her beloved beyond the Circles of the World.
The Lay is not a mere literary invention - it does substantially exist, and is contained within volume III of The History of Middle-earth, appropriately named The Lays of Beleriand. When Aragorn told the tale to the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings, he hinted that the end of the lay had been lost in the mists of history. In fact, though it runs to more than four thousand lines, the lay's lack of an ending was due to the fact that Tolkien never fully completed the poem.