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Thread: Huan, the Hound of Valinor

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Huan's story continues beyond that battle with wolf-Sauron in the chapter Luthien and Beren in the Silmarillion.

It was said that Huan would only be slain by the mightiest wolf ever seen in Arda. In a bid to be the one to kill Huan, Sauron had transformed himself into a werewolf, reasoning that he would be the greatest wolf of all time. In this he was greatly mistaken, and his fight with Huan almost killed him.

While aiding Luthien and Beren in their quest to take a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, he also slew the other werewolves of Sauron including their sire, Draugluin.

Morgoth, however, had bred another wolf, from the line of Draugluin with the specific intention of slaying Huan. This great beast, Carcharoth, also known as Anfauglir, was set to guard the doors of Angband. Luthien managed to place a spell upon Carcharoth as they entered Angband, but he barred their exit as they attempted to depart. As they made their escape past him, he bit off Beren's hand in which he was holding the Silmaril.

The heat from the Silmaril burned the wolf terribly and he ran amok through Taur-nu-Fuin and Doriath in madness killing everything he came across. A party was sent out to kill the wolf, including Beren, Huan and Mablung. When they cornered Carcharoth, the wolf managed to kill Beren before Huan was able to kill it. Although Huan slew this beast, as his fate had been fortold, he was slain himself too.

As far as I know, Huan's story ended there. I'm not sure whether anything else as been written about him in the HOME books.

The original of Val's excellent rendition can be found in The Silmarillion, in the last two-thirds of Chapter XIX entitled 'Of Beren and Luthien', where it is interspersed in parts, as it takes place over a period of time amongst the action of the other characters in Tolkien's story.
Sauron nearly killed himself? I thought he was a Maia?

BTW, in one HOME book it states that Tolkien's original manuscript stated that Huan will come back to life with Beren and accompany him to Luthien. . . But that idea didn't make it to the Silmarillion, sorry.
Huan is one of my favorite characters. I think his role in the story of Beren and Luithien because Tolkien does not put a lot of animals in his writings. Yet Huan's role as a faithful dog is very traditional.

[Edited on 29/12/2002 by Samwisegamgee]
So Huan was what? A maia who took the form of a hound?
I think he may well have been Aulė, but I'm not sure.
Yeh, Huan once belong to Oromė before he gave his doggie to Celegorm, so i guess he was indeed some maia who took the form of a dog - don't forget he could spoke three times too. (my dogs can't do that i think)
Hmmm...yeah....I thought it was kind of a too long lifespan for a pooch to live that longTongue Smilie
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don't forget he could spoke three times too. (my dogs can't do that i think)


There are times I wish my animals could talk to me. It really be a tremendous help when they don't feel well, or are hurt.

Mellie

Sorry, I did not mean to interrupt the conversation. Just keep talking and ignore me.
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So Huan was what? A maia who took the form of a hound?


That’s what I've always thought too, plus he was granted the gift of speech on a few occasions. Val?
Orc Going Huh Smilie


[Edited on 13/9/2003 by Elfstone]
To tell the truth, Huan is a "relic" from the very first version of the story of Beren and Luthien, in which Beren (yet an Elf, only of a different folk than Tinuviel) is captive of... Tevildo Prince of Cats. Funny to think that Sauron started his career as a giant cat!
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So Huan was what? A maia who took the form of a hound?
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That’s what I've always thought too, plus he was granted the gift of speech on a few occasions. Val?
I was always of the opinion that Huan, along with Draugluin the werewolf and Thuringwethil the vampire, were minor Maiar. I raised this question for discussion in the Luthien section of the Silmarillion Reading group, where most participants were in agreement. I believe then, someone posted in an extract from one of JRR's letters which totally turned this theory on its head. I cannot remember precisely what the letter said (I'll try to root it out and post it here when I get a little more time) but from what I remember, Huan was just a hound from Valinor. I also read somewhere in Morgoth's Ring that as Valinor had never been corrupted by Morgoth's Ring, the beasts from there aged in a similar manner to the elves (ie. very slowly), and were naturally strong and "special".

I'll try to find the copy of the letter.

(Grondy merely fixed errant ASCII number.)

[Edited on 14/9/2003 by Grondmaster]
That's strange... My memory must really be playing me up. I've been through the relevent section (Assignment 7) in the Reading Group and cannot find the letter I mentioned in my previous post. I've also been through the Characters thread in the hope of finding it in here somewhere (there was a thread somewhere concerned with the evolution of Dragons, and whether they were Maiar or not). I cannot find that thread either.

If whoever sent in the relevent letter about Huan is reading this, could you repost it here too please. Many Thanks.
It“s ok Val.....it will show upWink Smilie
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as Valinor had never been corrupted by Morgoth's Ring, the beasts from there aged in a similar manner to the elves (ie. very slowly), and were naturally strong and "special".
This is pretty much how i pictured it too, him being a maia doesn't make sense to me. And how can a maia be owned and given away to someone?

"Here Honey, I brought you something!!
"Oh it's a maia!! Can I keep him dad, can I??"
"Of course you can sweetie, he's name is Gandalf and he's got a magic stick so don't tease him ok?"
"Ok daddy, i won't!" Orc Going Huh Smilie
Hehehhee I see your point Amariė.....a good one too....indeed Val“s statement must be the correct.....I believe it to be so....
The Silmarillion also states that Huan was originally the (or at least "a," but the context implies the former) huniting hound of Orome. It seems odd to think of Orome keeping a Maia in such a way, and there's a similarity between this role and that Thorondor played for Manwe, so perhaps Huan was the "uber-hound" father of dogs.
So is the Huckleberry Hound a Maia as well then ? He could speak more than three times.
i think hes a hound of Orome
also he will be killed by the mightiest wolf that ever walks the earth wen he and luthien are tryin to save beren from sauron sauron turns into a mighty wolf (after tryinoher things ) but gets beat by huan :O
I agree with Isildurs bane on this. Wolf-Sauron was probably still weak from Sauron using his energy to change into Wolf-Sauron. (if that makes sense)
I agree too and also with Morambar, I don't think Huan was a Maiar. I just wish there was more written about him! He's one of my favorite characters!
According to texts published under the title Myths Transformed (Morgoth's Ring), Tolkien seems to think Huan might be a Maia ... and also thought he wasn't... actually in Text VIII he began:

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'Huan and Sorontar could be Maiar -- emissaries of Manwe. But unfortunately in The Lord of the Rings Gwaehir and Landroval are said to be descendants of Sorontar.'


But JRRT ends this same text with a statement that included Huan as not being a Maia in any case. And on Text V, Tolkien jotted:

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'Living things in Aman. As the Valar would robe themselves like the Children, many of the Maiar robed themselves like other lesser living things, as trees, flowers, beasts. (Huan.)'
The eagles were definitely not Maiar but Huan could be because Maiar often clotherd themselves like beasts and plants... But Tolkien said that he wasn't ? Is that right?
I agree that Maiar took the form of Beasts, but don't know about the Plants bit. Treebeard could be a descendant of a Maiar who took the form of a Tree, if that is true.
Well, it goes like this Sian: Tolkien thought Huan might be a Maia -- in an essay dealing with Orcs -- and by end of this same essay then concluded that Huan probably wasn't a Maia -- and this text also 'concluded' that Orcs were (mainly) derived from corrupted beasts! Which isn't the only idea he ever had for Orcs, of course.

And in another, wholly different note, Tolkien seems to feel that Huan could be one of the Maiar.

It appears he was still working out certain matters Smile Smilie
Thanks Galin, I understand better, sorry to be so dense Smile Smilie
agree that Maiar took the form of Beasts, but don't know about the Plants bit. Treebeard could be a descendant of a Maiar who took the form of a Tree, if that is true.
It is true,but Manwe said that shepards of he trees will be walking in the forests,so I do not think he ment Maiar by that Christmas Tree Smilie
I understood that the Ents were the shepherds of the trees.

'Manwe however sent Maia spirits in Eagle form to dwell near Thangorodrim...' Note to the typescript, Annals of Aman

'... many of the Maiar robed themselves like other lesser living things, as trees, flowers, beasts. (Huan.)' Note on the page for Myths Transformed, text V

'Huan and Sorontar could be Maiar -- emissaries of Manwe. But unfortunately in The Lord of the Rings Gwaehir and Landroval are said to be descendants of Sorontar.' Myths Transformed text VIII

These appear to hail from the late 1950s -- and then we have the description as found in Of The Ents And The Eagles as well -- again late 1950s, but may well be later according to Christopher Tolkien. 

 

Of course, the first quote is notable concerning the eagles (since they were brought up), but I don't know if it's possible to know much more about the dating here. 

I thought Huan was just what he was, born in the undying lands and left in loyalty when Feanor went in chase of Morgorth to recover the jewels or whatever. I think it was marvellous he could understand every single language that existed, though he only spoke the three times. And to think he so wounded that creep that he fled with a great owy on his throat. Go Huan, my hero!

I prefer Huan not to be an 'elevated beast' without a fea (essentially without a spirit), as Tolkien considered in one Myths Transformed text -- the same text in which he generally concluded that Orcs were beasts corrupted to look more human (to mock the children of God). But in a letter of 1954 Tolkien had noted:

 '... when you make Trolls speak you are giving them a power, which in our world (probably) connotes the possession of a 'soul'.'

 

Of course if that's true JRRT would have to look at other speaking beasts already within the tales of Middle-earth. The bit about the orcs being beasts (not that this was Tolkien's final decision in any case) doesn't ring that true to me when I look at orc-conversation in The Lord of the Rings

Anyway, I'm not positive, but if I recall correctly Tolkien didn't mention Huan in any book that he himself published, but 'Hound of Valinor' would be good enough for me anyway, as far as any story is concerned at least.

The Sil states that there are many creatures and plants in Valinor which have and never will appear in Middle Earth.  I always thought that the eagles of Manwe, Maeras and Huan as well as many another beings were some of these creatures.  However Dragons, Im sure, are mentioned to be Maia in Reptilian form...

Reading all of your great posts, the realization popped into my head that whether Maia, Valar or Elf, your never really dead, just your body is.  I guess you just wake up in the Halls of Mandos if your an Elf or your spirit flies West after the destruction of your body in the case of the Maia.

I love the section in the scouring of the Shire where Saruman's spirit rises from his body like grey smoke looks West and is driven away east by a wind.  Total disapproval from the West?  Perhaps.  If Huan was a Maia, he would simply have gone back to Valinor in one form or another and lived forever in peace. If he was an another form of mortal being, imortal in Valinor??  Too confusing, I dont think that JRRT wanted us to know as it creates so much fun trying to find out!

I have no problem with Huan being a maiar and all that, after all Tolkien being devoutly Catholic and in great knowledge of the Bible would have read that the angels , being most powerful beings, clothed themselves in the form or men when dealing with subjects on earth that would need to see them in person.

HOWEVER, I can not agree that one would have another for a PET. That is gross and to me against the 'holiness' of Illuvatar and implies one would dominate the other, or in otherwards one would be slave if you will to the inclinations of the other. No, |I cannot believe Tolkien for one minute would do this. It is gross and very Sauron like.

I always got the feeling that Huan chose to be with an owner rather than was owned by one. He had his own spirit and chose where he abode. He was a great part in Iluvatars plan and had a high doom which seemingly was well know to those of high status. He is an interesting character. It's as though he embodies " Mans best friend" for Tolkien. I wonder if he ever had a beloved hound around any of his various homes. It would seem that the professor had a soft spot for not only horses but for dogs as well. Come to think of it I believe that during WW1 some dogs were used by both sides. Unfortunately