Túrin the Hapless: Tolkien and the sanctification of suffering

— Douglas C. Kane

5 October 2021 | Tolkien Studies, XVIII, 145

The story of Túrin Turambar is the knottiest and most conflicted of all the tales in J.R.R. Tolkien’s vast legendarium. Developed out of Tolkien’s first attempt at story-writing, Túrin’s story went through more permutations than any other part of Tolkien’s mythology, and he continued to work on an array of conflicting and overlapping versions throughout his lifetime. Nonetheless, the most problematic aspect of Túrin’s story is one that was established in the very beginning and never was abandoned by Tolkien. Despite Túrin’s flawed nature, and despite his violation of one of the most sacred tenets of Tolkien’s own faith, it is Túrin who is destined to achieve the final defeat of Morgoth Bauglir, the ultimate manifestation of evil in Tolkien’s secondary universe; and of all the heroes of the Children of Eru, he is the only one counted among the people of the Valar, the deities of Tolkien’s mythology.

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date recorded 📅2022-01-02
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