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Beren a skinchanger?

DGoeij

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I need help on this subject here. Someone in another thread metioned that Beren was a skinchanger. I thought not, and another member came up with this part of the Sil:

page 211 in my copy and in Curufinwe's, who pointed it out to me:
(typing errors on my account)
>>>>By the counsel of Huan and the arts of Luthien he was arrayed now in the hame of Draugluin, and she in the winged fell of Thuringwethil. Beren became in all things like a werewolf to look upon, save that in his eyes there shone a spirit grim indeed but clean; and horror was in his glance as he saw upon his flank a bat-like creature clinging with creased wings. Then howling under the moon he leaped down the hill, and the bat wheeled and flittered above him.<<<<

IMHO Beren, with help of Luthien and Huan, is disguised as a werewolf. But I do not fully grasp all the english involved: "arrayed in the hame" ??

Thoughts anyone?
 

Hirila

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I don`t think that Beren was a real skinchanger the way Beor was. He really changed his skin and became this huge bear.

In the case of Beren I think it is simply a disguise he uses so noone will mark him out on his way to Morgoth`s fortress. You can read of people using animals`skins as a disguise in quite a lot old sagas for example. (To my shame I cannot mention only one at the moment but I know that that`s the way it is)

The moment the guy steps under his "cloak", that is the skin of an animal, he "becomes" that animal and can use its abilities for whatever he has to do. But these guys cannot change their form without the help of such a "cloak".

And I think that was the way with Beren and Luthien.
 

Cian

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Originally posted by DGoeij
But I do not fully grasp all the english involved: "arrayed in the hame"??
If you mean hame that comes from Old English hama I think, "covering, dress, garment". Tolkien used it to represent "mantle" in Gandalf Greyhame (græ-ghama), Gandalf "Greymantle".

The celebrated hero Sigmund and his son Sinfjotli put on wolfskins and spoke with wolf-voices, for one example.
 
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C

Curufinwe

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The reason why I took it , Beren being a skinchanger, Is because I am not sure were I read it, It said that Beorn would have most probably been an decendant of Beren. I really dont know but I always thought that he could change into a wolf.
 

DGoeij

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Thanks Cian, the example with Gandalf Greyhame was very helpfull. :)

I don't know if Beorn was a descendant of Beren. I'm not even clear what Beorn actually is in the first place. He's a valiant man for sure, but can also change into a bear. I guess he's somewhat like Tom in LOTR. Just there in ME, minding his own buiseness, good in his hearth, but happy enough with his own piece of real estate.
 
C

Curufinwe

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I'm really into the alternative thinking here where these character's might afterall be some of the Valar dont you think? But the thig about Beorn is he has children, how the hell did he get children cause there where no Large woman around there.
 

Cian

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Tolkien wrote that Beorn was a Man with a bit of Magic in him. He grew old and died like other Men in any event. Beorn is fairly based on the mythic skinchangers and berserk(er)s ('... and no weapon seemed to bite upon him.' The Hobbit) like Bothvar Biarki, (saga of Hrolf Kraki) who was said to fight in the shape of a huge bear. Beorn in Old English means "warrior", but originally "bear", cf. the ON cognate björn.
 
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Bombur

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Beren was probably the father of skinchangers just as Glaurung was the father of dragons. In both cases, the ancestor does not have all the power of the decendant like the powers came to be over time. For example, Glaurung was a great wurm not a dragon: he couldn't fly and I don't think he could breathe fire. His decendants, including Smaug and Ancalagon got the powers of flight and fire breath. Beren may have passed the latent gene to change skin on to his decendants who gained this power especially Beorn.

One question though: were does it say that Beorn could change skin at will? Maybe he too just had a cloak of some kind. I don't believe that, but I'm just wodering if it is refuted anywhere.
 

DGoeij

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Interesting question, my sizeable dwarf. ;)
I'll have to dig through the Hobbit to find out if there is any reference to Beorns ability in detail. I'm not sure either.
 

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