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Tolkien character
First appearance The Silmarillion
Created by J. R. R. Tolkien
Aliases Edhelwen
Lady of Dor-lómin
Species Men
Spouse(s) Húrin
Children Túrin Turambar (son)
Nienor Níniel (daughter)
Books The Silmarillion
The Children of Húrin
The Wanderings of Húrin

Morwen is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. She is featured in The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin and The Wanderings of Húrin.

Character overview

She was the daughter of Baragund of the House of Bëor and cousin of Rían. She was married to Húrin and was the mother of Túrin Turambar and Nienor Níniel. Her name in Tolkien's invented language of Sindarin translates to 'Dark Maiden', but she was also often called Elfsheen or Eledhwen.

"Morwen was dark-haired and tall, and for the light of her glance and the beauty of her face men called her Edhelwen, the elven-fair; but she was somewhat stern of mood and proud. The sorrows of the House of Bëor saddened her heart; for she came as an exile..."

Internal history

After the Dagor Bragollach and the ruin of their homeland Ladros, Emeldir gathers the remaining women and children and leads them away; Morwen is among those who eventually reached Dor-lómin. They are well received there, and Morwen marries Húrin. Their son Túrin is born soon after and their daughter Urwen two years later. She dies at the age of three from a pestilence brought from Angband.

Later Fingon summons Húrin to lead his people to war; during the Nírnaeth Arnoediad Húrin was captured, and Morgoth curses his family. Hithlum is invaded by Easterlings, and they enslave the men of Hador and take their goods. Most of Húrin's homestead is captured by Brodda, but he and other incomers fear Morwen and deem her "a witch who [has] dealings with the white-fiends [Elves]". A few thanes stay under her shelter, and they take aid from Húrin's kinswoman Aerin, who is married to Brodda by force. Morwen, now pregnant again, is afraid for her son, as he is the heir of Dor-lómin and cannot be kept hidden forever. She resolves to send Túrin away to Doriath and put him in Thingol's care. Túrin is sent via a secret pass under the guidance of Gethron and Grithnir.

The following year, Morwen bares a daughter, and named her Nienor. Morwen rejecta Melian's offer to come to Doriath. She receives news and aid from Doriath for seven years. When help stopps coming, Morwen with Nienor lives in poverty under Brodda's oppression. At last she resolves to seek a way to Doriath, since the lands between are now cleared of enemies because of the deeds of Mormegil.

Morwen and Nienor are well received by Melian and Thingol in Doriath, but learn that Túrin is not there. Soon after it is revealed that he is Mormegil; but they have no sure news of his fate after the fall of Nargothrond. Morwen then rides away to seek tidings of her son escorted by Mablung. They are secretly followed by Nienor. Their company is ambushed by the dragon Glaurung, who puts a spell of amnesia on Nienor. The fog and dragon-reek fills the horses with madness, and the escort is scattered. Morwen iss seen passing by, "a grey wraith upon a mad steed"; but she disappears into the mist and no news of her comes to Doriath.

Two years after the tragic deaths of Túrin and Nienor and the slaying of Glaurung, Morwen reappears in Brethil at the grave of Túrin and Nienor. There she is found by Húrin; "Grey she was, sharp-nosed with broken teeth, ... though [her eyes] were wild now and full of fear, a light still gleamed in them hard to endure: the elven-light that long ago had earned her name, Edhelwen, proudest of mortal women in the days of old". Húrin would not reveal their children's fate, and Morwen died with the following sunrise.