Túrin & NienorTúrin & Nienor - When a dragon attacks, it brings more than fire to the battle.  It also has the power to cast paralyzing fear upon its enemy.  And so it was after the destruction of Nargothrond when Túrin, son of Húrin, stood alone against Glaurung.


"...but Glaurung withheld his blast, and opened wide his serpent-eyes and gazed upon Túrin.  Without fear Túrin looked into them as he raised up his sword; and straightway he fell under the binding spell of the lidless eyes of the dragon, and was halted moveless.  Then for a long time he stood as one graven of stone; and they two were alone, silent before the doors of Nargothrond." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


But the mighty monster released Túrin from his spell and let him go, with this taunt:


"'I offer thee freedom.  Go to thy kin, if thou canst.  Get thee gone!  And if Elf or Man be left to make tale of these days, then surely in scorn they will name thee, if thou spurnest this gift.'" ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


For Túrin had been separated from his mother, Morwen, and his sister, Nienor, for years and was unaware if they lived or had died in the time when Morgoth unleased his carnage on Beleriand.  Indeed, they had been apart for so long, that he had not even known his younger sister.  But now, with his father, Húrin, captured by the enemy and held captive in Angband, his thoughts turned to his unaccounted for kin.  He traveled to his home in Dor-lómin, but found them gone, having fled to Doriath, ironically to search for him.  In the meantime, Túrin tried to overcome a curse from Morgoth on his family by changing his name to Turambar (which means "Master of Doom").


Word of the Fall of Nargothrond arrived in Doriath soon after, and Morwen was distraught by the news.  She left the Elven realm, to search once more for her son.  Nienor was ordered to stay behind, but disguised herself as an Elf sent by Thingol to protect Morwen.  But Glaurung was aware of their approach and attacked them at the hill of Amon Ethir (Hill of Spies).  The party was scattered and Nienor found herself alone, face to face with the terrible dragon.


Túrin & Nienor"Her will strove with him for awhile, but he put forth his power, and having learned who she was he constrained her to look into his eyes, and he laid a spell of utter darkness and forgetfullness upon her, so that she could remember nothing that had ever befallen her, nor her own name, nor the name of any other thing; and for many days she could neither hear, nor see, nor stir by her own will.  Then Glaurung left her standing alone upon Amon Ethir, and went back to Nargothrond." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


When she regained her senses, she wandered not knowing who she was.  After several days, tired and hungry, she was found by a man.  And that man was Túrin.  He took her to a lodge where she received food and rest.  But she had lost all memory of her past; and he did not know who she was, having never met her.  When she regained her strength, he named her Níniel, and introduced himself as Turambar (having abandoned the name Túrin)


And after awhile, not knowing they were brother and sister, they fell in love, and were married; and eventually Níniel conceived a child.  They lived in Brethil, and Turambar vowed not to go to war so long as he was tied to Níniel, save only if their homeland came under attack.  But he could not avoid his fate.  News of the Black Blade (the sword Anglachel, which Túrin now wielded and called Gurthang) reached Glaurung, and he set out from Nargothrond to attack Brethil where it was.  So Turambar had cause to do battle and he went out to meet the dragon.


"Now Turambar came to Nen Girith at sundown, and there he learned that Glaurung lay on the brink on the high shores of Teiglin, and was like to move when night fell.  Then he called those tidings good; for the dragon lay at Cabed-en-Aras, where the river ran in a deep and narrow gorge that a hunted deer might overleap, and Turambar thought that he would seek no further, but would attempt to pass over the gorge.  Therefore he purposed to creep down at dusk, and descend into the ravine at night, and cross over the wild water; and then to climb up the further cliff, and so come to the dragon beneath his guard.


Túrin & Nienor"Then Turambar summoned all his will and courage and climbed the cliff alone, and came beneath the dragon.  Then he drew Gurthang, and with all the might of his arm, and of his hate, he thrust it into the soft belly of the Worm, even up to the hilts.  But when Glaurung felt his death-pang, he screamed, and in his dreadful throe he heaved up his bulk and hurled himself across the chasm, and there lay coiling in his agony.  And he set all in a blaze about him, and beat all to ruin, until at last his fires died, and he lay still." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


Glaurung, the first of the great dragons of Middle Earth, was dying.  But even in his doom, he was able to strike out one last time.


"Now Gurthang had been wrested from Turambar's hand in the throe of Glaurung, and it clave to the belly of the dragon.  Turambar therefore crossed the water once more, desiring to recover his sword and to look upon his foe; and he found him stretched at his length, and rolled upon one side, and the hilts of Gurthang stood in his belly.  Then Turambar siezed the hilts and set his foot upon the belly, and cried in mockery of the dragon and his words at Nargothrond: 'Hail Worm of Morgoth!  Well met again!  Die now and darkness have thee!  Thus is Túrin son of Húrin avenged.


"Then he wrenched out the sword, but a spout of black blood followed it, and fell on his hand, and the venom burned it.  And thereupon Glaurung opened his eyes and looked upon Turambar with such malice that it smote him as a blow; and by that stroke and the anguish of the venom he fell into a dark swoon, and lay as one dead, and his sword was beneath him." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


The sounds of battle reached Niniel and she, along with a man named Brandir, went to see what had transpired.


Túrin & Nienor"There she saw the dragon lying, but she heeded him not, for a man lay beside him; and she ran to Turambar, and called his name in vain.  Then finding that his hand was burned she washed it with tears and bound it about with a strip of her raiment, and she kissed him and cried on him again to awake.  Thereat Glaurung stirred for the lst time ere he died, and he spoke with his last breath, saying: 'Hail, Nienor, daughter of Húrin.  We meet again ere the end.  I give thee joy that thou hast found thy brother at last.'...Then Glaurung died, and the veil of his malice was taken from her, and she remembered all the days of her life.  Looking down on Túrin she cried: 'Farewell, O twice beloved!" ~The Silmarillion, chap. 21 (Of Túrin Turambar)


Suddenly in her anguish, she threw herself from the edge of Cabed-en-Aras and was drowned in the Taeglin River below.  But as it happened, Túrin was not dead.  With the death of Glaurung, the spell on him had also been broken and he was roused from his slumber.  Wandering back to Brethil, he was told by Brandir what had happened to Níniel, and that her real name was Nienor, daughter of Húrin.  And when Túrin realized that Níniel was his sister, Niener, he flew into a rage and struck down Brandir (the reason for this is too involved to include here, so if you want to get the full story, please read chap. 21 of the The Silmarillion).  Then in his grief, he threw himself on his sword, Gurthang, and took his own life, thus ending the tragic (and slightly weird) tale of Túrin & Nienor.