Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Turin's Accessories

While reading the "Children of Hurin" I noticed, once again, the significance of certain accessories throughout the story. This got me to wondering whether (and to what extent) Tolkien uses accessories to reveal things about a character.
In this story the most relevant (I think) accessory is Turin's sword "Anglachel." The sword was made by the dark elf Eol and it is implied that the sword has something ominous about it, but I wonder if the sword itself was actually evil. The most curious part of this comes up in Thursday's reading so I won't give it away, but feel free to start commenting on it if you know what I am referring to. (Hint: What to sword says to Turin)
Among Turin's other accessories were his chain mail and his dwarfish mask. What do you guys think these accessories say about Turin, if they say anything at all.
Can anyone come up with other accessories that Tolkien may use to reveal something about a person's character? Try to stay away from the obvious ones like rings on this one, I am more interested in the obscure, less clear ones.


Ashley Cauley said...

I think Túrin's mask is significant because it hides his face. It's not really a helm, but more of a terrifying mask. This seems appropriate for Túring to wear because he is constantly trying to hide who he really is and escape his fate. He also has a violent personality and yearns to go fight the orcs up North. The mask is reknowned throughout the land not just because when Túring fights the orcs usually die, but because it is fiercesome to look upon. I think this fits Túrin's character very well.

Megan said...

This is an important theme, and Tolkien uses it a lot. Beleg is called Cuthalion, which is "Strongbow," and Turin and Gwindor bury him with his bow (Belthronding). Also I think it's cute that he color-coordinates, for both Belthronding and Anglachel are described as black.

Also important in terms of objects aligning with/describing their masters are gifts: chiefly I'm thinking of the gift of her hair that Galadriel gives to Gimli which he later has set in crystal as a "pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days." We can imagine Gimli treasuring such a gift throughout his journeys, for even when he asks for the gift he says a very un-dwarf-like thing that the beauty of her hair surpasses the beauty of gold IN THE SAME WAY that the stars surpass gems. What better way to befreind an elf, right? To praise the stars? I also seem to remember somewhere Feanor asking for the same gift (to build a proto-Silmaril?), and Galadriel refuses him, which I think makes the gift to Gimli all the more special. A gift such as this says a great deal about both giver and receiver.

Anna Adams said...

I agree with Ashley that Túrin's mask is significant because it gives something for Túrin to hide behind. He is constantly trying to hide behind different names and run away from his fate, and I believe his mask reveals this about his character. I also believe that Anglachel, otherwise called Gurthand, reveals the shame Túrin feels. Before it kills him it says it will slay him to forget the blood of Beleg and Brandir. I think this reveals the guilt Túrin feels for killing unjustly, and it also shows the harshness in his personality. He was not a complete monster; he had a conscious, and I think that is important to recognize. A completely evil character would be difficult to believe in or sympathize with. Túrin's accessories expose his character and make his story more tragic, I believe.