Tolkien’s Hurin and his shortcut to fear

Today’s lesson comes from the book The Children of Hurin that tells the tale of the most tragic of Tolkien’s heroes: Turin

This book was released in 2007 and contains a quite immaculate re-composition and expansion on the story of Hurin. The story is originally found in The Silmarillion but with all the additional work available / left behind to Tolkien’s son Christoper it was only a matter of time before we got the “expanded” story.

I loved this book. The story of Turin (son o Hurin) is a sad, brave and complex story with so many life lessons that still hold true Today. Hurin was one of the first men and part of the elite Edain.

“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it” — Sador

The above quote was spoken by Sadir, a servant to the house of Hurin. He was a woodman that somehow accidentally severed his right foot off. Sador was wise and shared with young Túrin (Hurin’s son) many insights about the nature of Men, Orcs and fate. Túrin is another complex and extremely interesting character, and as mentioned above has an entire book dedicated to his life and all his sorrows.

Túrin ended up not abiding to the wise words of Sador and had he not run from fear — then one of the saddest events in the entire Silmarillion may not have happened:

The death of Beleg.

Beleg, best and truest friend of Turin rescued Turin from a swarm of Orcs that chained, whipped ad tortured Turin. During the rescue Beleg came silently with his great bow and shot each wolf dead so that he could steal into the heart of the encampment. There he seized Túrin and took him away. Now Beleg cut Túrin’s bonds with the sword Anglachel; but misfortune was amongst them and the blade slipped and pricked Túrin’s foot. In rage, thinking he was to be tormented by orcs, Túrin leaped forth, and swiftly taking Anglachel, he slayed his attaker, only too late to see it was his friend Beleg.

But let not this sad tale deter you from knowing who Túrin was. He was indeed more brave, and more fear-facing than few other humans that lived in that age. He is still considered as one of the most feared humans to have walked middle earth.

With Gorthol, the “Dread Helm” and the black sword Anglachel he was a force to be reckoned with.

What do you do with your fear? What do you fear? If you know then is it worth facing? Tolkien argued that one is only delaying the confrontation with fear itself if one runs from it.

Step 1: Identify your fear(s). Is it something specific? A confrontation with someone, a conversation that needs to be had. Is it a specific thing like heights, or fear of the dark? Is it something more psychological like failing, falling, or embarrassment? Is it not making a difference? Take the time to identify it, and become aware of it.

Step 2: Plan a way forward. Now that you are aware of your fear you are already busy dealing with it, even if so subconsciously. Already knowing what you fear is preparing you for facing it whether you are actually going to face it or not. But, taking some pro-active steps towards dealing with your fear can only help.

Here’s the tragic end of Turin:

With his black sword and bitterness in his heart, Túrin then stabbed the dragon’s belly with all his hatred and power; killing Glaurung, but as he retrieved his sword the foul blood of the Dragon fell on his hand and he was hurt and fell in a swoon. As Níniel (hiw wife) came to search for him, Glaurung with his last words revealed to her that she was Turin’s sister. Horrified, and believing Túrin dead, Nienor Níniel killed herself by leaping into the ravines of the river.

When Túrin awoke he was told by Brandir what had happened. In anger, Turin killed Brandir in front of many people, refusing to believe the truth. When learning the truth Túrin could no longer live with the pains and misfortunes of his life and determined to commit suicide. Just before his death, he revealed that he had been ‘blind’; Morgoth’s curse had had him groping in the dark since childhood.

Then, Turin said to Gurthang: “Hail Gurthang, iron of death, thou alone now remainest! But what lord or loyalty dost thou know, save the hand that wieldeth thee? From no blood wilt thou shrink! Wilt thou take Tùrin Turambar? Wilt thou slay me swiftly?”

I encourage you to read the story of Túrin. Tolkien truly wrote some of the best tales with so much emotion, detail, beauty and sadness in it. Túrin was extremely courageous and daringly faced his fears.

He saw and accomplished so many things, most notably was when he faced Glaurung. But Túrin also made many mistakes, some which lead to such utter sadness that he lead to him ultimately taking his own life.

Spiritual IT Geek addicted to Coffee & World of Warcraft.