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Berúthiel

Location(s): Gondor

Race/Species: Man

Type/Kind: Dunadan of Gondor

Title(s): Queen of Gondor

Dates: III

Spouse:
Tarannon Falastur, 12th King of Gondor (III 830 - 913)

Description:

The Queen of Gondor during the reign of Tarannon Falastur:
Even the story of Queen Berúthiel does exist, however, if only in a very "primitive" outline, in one part illegible. She was the nefarious, solitary, and loveless wife of Tarannon, twelfth King of Gondor (Third Age 830-913) and first of the "Ship-kings", who took the crown in the name of Falastur "Lord of the Coasts," and was the first childless king (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, I, ii and iv). Berúthiel lived in the King's House in Osgiliath, hating the sounds and smells of the sea and the house that Tarannon built below Pelargir "upon arches whose feet stood deep in the wide waters of Ethir Anduin"; she hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, wearing only black and silver and living in bare chambers, and the gardens of the house in Osgiliath were filled with tormented sculptures beneath cypresses and yews. She had nine black cats and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, setting them to discover all the dark secrets of Gondor, so that she knew those things "that men wish most to keep hidden," setting the white cat to spy upon the black, and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them; all were afraid of them, and cursed when they saw them pass. What follows is almost wholly illegible in the unique manuscript, except to the ending, which states that her name was erased from the Book of the Kings ("but the memory of men is not wholly shut in books, and the cats of Queen Berúthiel never passed wholly out of men's speech"1), and that King Tarannon had her set on a ship alone with her cats and set adrift on the sea before a north wind. The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 2, The Istari: Notes, Note 7


Notes
1 'Do not be afraid!' said Aragorn.... '[Gandalf] will not go astray — if there is any path to find.... He is surer of finding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Berúthiel.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 4, A Journey in the Dark

Contributors:
Lyllyn 10Jan03
Elena Tiriel 28Oct07

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