House of Haleth

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In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, the House of Haleth or the Haladin (pronounced Template:IPA-art) were the family of Men that ruled over the second of the Three Houses of the Edain. They were the descendants of Haldad, but the house and the people were named after Haldad's daughter Haleth, who led them from East Beleriand to Brethil.

The Folk of Haleth

The Folk of Haleth or the Men of Brethil were dark-haired and dark-eyed, resembling the House of Bëor but "shorter and broader, sterner and less swift. They were less eager for lore, and used few words; for they did not love great concourse of men, and many among them delighted in solitude, wandering free in the greenwoods."[1] They were a reclusive people and kept separate from the Edain of other Houses, for they were unrelated to the Bëorians and Hadorians and spoke a different language. However, they were always accompanied by an emigrant branch of the Drúedain.

The ancestors of the Folk of Haleth travelled from the East of Middle-earth separately from the great people of whom came the Houses of Bëor and Hador. Their first known settling-place was west of the later Gap of Rohan between the Misty Mountains and the White. Some remained there throughout the later ages, becoming the Dunlendings and the folk of Enedwaith and Minhiriath. Around the same time they became acquainted with the ancestors of the Drúedain, and profitable relationship was soon established. Together many of both people journeyed across Eriador.[2]

The Men of the Second House first appeared in Beleriand in the Year of the Sun 312 of the First Age, crossing the Ered Luin in small parties and hiding in the woods of Thargelion, since they were unwilling to settle in Estolad with the Bëorians and Marachians. They did not have any lords and lived in separate homesteads, with occasional strife between tribes.[2] For a long while they dwelt there, unheeded by other Men and Elves.

But in Y.S. 375[1] Morgoth sent out an Orc-raid that passed to the east of Ered Luin and entered Thargelion by the Dwarf-pass. The Men of the Second House were caught off-guard, and a great part of their people was wiped out. The remnant was gathered under one Haldad and his daughter Haleth and son Haldar; and they held out for days in a stockade until the Noldor rescued them. Impressed by their virtue, Caranthir offered them his lands to live in protected, but Haleth, with her father and brother slain, refused. Next year she led her people first to Estolad (which was already abandoned by the majority of other Edain) and after a time further westward, passing through Nan Dungortheb and coming in Y.S. 391 to the woods of Talath Dirnen. Later many removed to the forest of Brethil, which was a part of Doriath outside the Girdle of Melian, but now was granted to them by Thingol.

For the next century the Folk of Brethil mostly kept out of the wars. The companies of warriors they sent to battle beyond their borders were small, though formed of redoubtable warriors. They remained "a small people, chiefly concerned to protect their own woodlands, and they excelled in forest warfare".[2] The Men of Brethil formed a loose alliance of clans rather than a strong nation as the other Edain, and were ruled by a 'Chieftain' or 'Halad' (see below). In the woods to the south of river Taeglin their kinsfolk dwelt in scattered homesteads; they "owned no lord, and they lived both by hunting and by husbandry, keeping swine in the mast-lands, and tilling clearings in the forest which were fenced from the wild".[3]

The Folk of Brethil successfully managed to protect their borders after the fall of Tol Sirion, but the end of this relative peace came soon after the Nírnaeth Arnoediad. First, the folk living to the south of Taeglin were worsened by the Orc-raids, so that the few that remained became wary and from now onwards "about the houses was a ditch and a stockade; and there were paths from stead to stead, and men could summon help at need by horn-calls."[3] Their dwellings were finally sacked by Orcs in Y.S. 485, with most of men slain in battle, but women and children having fled to Brethil in time.

The Men of Brethil were themselves seriously assailed in Y.S. 495, and their lord Handir was slain. They retreated to the deeps of the forest and, according to some versions,[3] "dwelt for the most part secretly within a stockade upon Amon Obel" (see also Obel Halad). The final ruin of Brethil was brought about by the Curse of Morgoth, when by the deeds of Túrin Turambar and Húrin Thalion the last descendants of Haldad perished. Moreover, in Y.S. 501 Húrin caused a civil war during which a great part of the Folk of Haleth was slain or "fell back again to be more like their kinsmen in the open woods", and their strength was loosened.[4]

After the fall of Doriath the Men of Brethil were nearly completely wiped out, or at least they had disappeared as a separate people. The last of them, including some Drúedain, escaped to the Mouths of Sirion[2] and later to the Isle of Balar. After the ruin of Beleriand they either journeyed to Númenor or fled back to Eriador. Among the Númenóreans (in majority descendants of the Folk of Hador) communities of Bëorians and of Drúedain are known to have existed, but the descendants of the Men of Brethil are not mentioned.

Line of Haleth

The Haladin

The Men of the Second House were first united under Haldad (Y.S. 315–375),[5] 'masterful and fearless', who gathered them behind a stockade in the angle between Ascar and Gelion during the Orc-raid. He was slain during a sortie, as was his son Haldar (341–375) while trying to protect his father's body from defilement by the Orcs. Haldar's twin sister Haleth was then chosen a chief, being "of great heart" and "no less in valour" than her kinsmen.

From this time the Second House was ruled by the Chieftains or Haladin (singular Halad), which were elected by the full Moot of the Folk. By tradition they were chosen from the family of Haleth – descendants of her nephew Haldan, usually the eldest of the eldest male line.

  1. Haleth (341–420) Led her people from Thargelion to Brethil.
  2. Haldan (366–451) Son of Haldar brother of Haleth.
  3. Halmir (390–471) Son of Haldan. Together with the Sindar of Doriath under Beleg defeated a great party of Orcs that came from the Pass of Sirion, and the Orcs dared not to approach Brethil for many years. When the Union of Maedhros was made, Halmir prepared his people for war, but died before the battle began.
  4. Haldir (414–472) Elder son of Halmir. Led a small detachment of Brethil warriors to the Nírnaeth Arnoediad, but nearly all fell in the rearguard of Fingon.
  5. Handir (441–495) Son of Haldir. Shortly before the Sack of Nargothrond the Orcs again invaded Brethil, and the Folk of Haleth were driven into their woods with their lord slain in battle.
  6. Brandir (465–499) Called the Lame, son of Handir. His chieftainship was overshadowed by Túrin Turambar, who managed to raise the fortunes of Men of Brethil for a while, but later slew Brandir and himself.
  7. Hardang (470–501) Grandson of Hundar Halmir's second son. Shortly ruled after childless Brandir until he was slain in the civil war caused by Húrin.[4]

All descendants of Haldan were slain during the civil war, and later Avranc, son of Dorlas, was elected the Chieftain by the majority of Folk, since he was from the beginning opposing Húrin, who had caused the kin-strife. Avranc had no such authority as previous Haladin, and some of the Folk refused to admit his rule and forsook Brethil.[6] Further Chieftains of the Men of Brethil, if any existed, are unknown.

Descendants of Halmir

The third Chieftain Halmir had four children, and during the civil war of Brethil the resulting relationship was of great importance.

  • His elder son was Haldir (414–472), who married Glóredhel of the House of Marach and was the father of Handir (441–495) and grandfather of Brandir the Lame (465–499). On the proposed wife of Handir, Beldis of the House of Bëor, see Brandir.
  • The elder daughter of Halmir was Hiril (b. c. 416).[7] Her husband was Enthor,[8] and their daughter Meleth, wedded to Agathor, was the mother of Hunthor (467–499) and Manthor (469–501). Hunthor was the companion of Túrin in his attempt to slay Glaurung; he offered himself to go instead of Brandir and saved Túrin's life, but was slain by a falling stone, "not the least valiant of the House of Haleth".[3] Hunthor is stated to have been married,[3] but the story of the civil war implies that neither he nor Manthor had any children.
  • Halmir's second son was Hundar (418–472), who went to the Nírnaeth Arnoediad with his brother and likewise was slain. His daughter was Hunleth (born 443) and his son Hundad (born 447), father of Hardang (470–501).
  • The last child of Halmir was his daughter Hareth (born 420), wedded to Galdor the Tall of the House of Hador. She was the mother of Húrin and Huor and grandmother of Túrin Turambar and Tuor. Thus through Hareth Elros and Elrond were also descended from the Second House of the Edain.

In the result only Hardang was of purely Halethian blood, and some wanted him to be elected Chieftain after Handir; other great-grandsons of Halmir took pride in their kinship with the House of Hador. By the law of the Folk of Brethil all of Brandir, Hardang, Túrin, Hunthor and Manthor had equal rights to become the Halad, but by tradition Brandir was chosen as of the eldest male line. After the coming of Turambar and revelation of his true name, fame and power, it was not surprising that he came to lead the Folk, if unofficially. However, when Brandir, Túrin and Hunthor were all slain in one day, the question of chieftainship arose again. This time Hardang was elected, but Manthor had nearly equal following. The shadow brought by Húrin he used to instigate a revolt, and in the end Hardang was slain. However, Manthor was not elected as Avranc killed him two days after.

Family tree

Template:Haleth family tree Template:Half-elven

Other Men of Brethil

Other Edain of the Second House are known from the stories of the Narn i Chîn Húrin[3][9] and The Wanderings of Húrin.[4]

  • Avranc, a friend of Hardang who slew Manthor and became the Halad.
  • Dorlas, father of Avranc and faint-hearted companion of Túrin during the slaying of Glaurung
  • Ebor, the chief henchman of Manthor, later appointed by him as the Captain of the Guards at the Ford of Brithiach. Ebor revered his lord, and followed his example in spite of Hardang's command, as when he returned gear and weapons to Asgon's company.
  • Forhend, one of the guards at the Crossings of Taeglin. When Húrin first appeared, Forhend was afraid and suggested to thrust him out of Brethil immediately.
  • Glirhuin, a seer and harp-player of Brethil. After the burial of Morwen he made a prophetic song saying that "the Stone of the Hapless should not be defiled by Morgoth nor ever thrown down, not though the Sea should drown all the land."[4] Later the Stone survived the Drowning of Beleriand upon the island of Tol Morwen.
  • Larnach, one of the woodmen akin to the Folk of Haleth that dwelt to the south of Taeglin. In Y.S. 485, his daughter while straying outside their fenced courtyard became pursued by the outlaws Forweg and Andróg, but was saved by Túrin. In an Orc-raid that followed in the summer the homesteads were destroyed; Larnach's fate is unknown, and he could well have been slain or captured, but his daughter supposedly reached Brethil in safety with other women.
  • Orleg, a member of the outlaw band Gaurwaith.[10] He accompanied Túrin during a foray to spy upon the Orcs in Y.S. 485, but when they were discovered themselves, "Orleg was shot down by many arrows".[3]
  • Sagroth, one of the guards at the Crossings of Taeglin. When his Captain Manthor resigned to help Húrin, he left Sagroth in charge.
  • Ulrad, a member of the outlaw band Gaurwaith.[10] He was a friend of that man who was killed by Túrin at his first appearance among the outlaws; thus Ulrag opposed Túrin's joining the band, but was daunted by his strength. He earned the dislike of Mîm the Petty-dwarf by doubting his faithfulness and putting bonds on him, so that the Dwarf promised to pass Ulrad over when dealing out 'earth-bread' and said that he was "one of the fools that spring would not mourn if [they] perished in winter".[3]

Etymology of names

According to early writings of Tolkien, the names of the descendants of 'Haleth the Hunter' (see section below) were given in Sindarin, with the following meanings: Hundor 'heart-king', Handir 'intelligent man', Brandir 'noble man'; and also Haldir 'hidden hero',[11] though at that stage it was the name of Orodreth's son. Later, however, Tolkien stated that the names of the Haladin were given in their own language, with their meanings mostly unknown to later historians, and noted that "hal(a) = ... 'watch, guard'. Halad was a warden. (Haldad = watch-dog.)"[4] Soon he changed the sense of the root: "Hal- in the old language of this people = head, chief", and proposed to introduce Halbar as both a term for 'Chieftain' and the name of older Haldar, but this was not introduced into any narrative.[5]

The names with meanings known for certain are Hiril 'lady' and Meleth 'love', for they are the only names of the Haladin that were given in Sindarin. Haleth's name presumably also means 'lady', but in the tongue of the Folk (the grave of Haleth, daughter of Haldad, is called both Ladybarrow and Tûr Haretha). Thus to both his daughters Halmir gave a name signifying 'lady', but in different contemporary languages.

Other versions of the legendarium

Tolkien originally proposed Haladin as the name of the whole Second House of the Edain, equivalent to Folk of Haleth. This conception was preserved into the published The Silmarillion, based primarily on The Later Quenta Silmarillion.[1] But in later writings the meaning of Haladin was changed to Wardens or Chieftains, denoting only the family of Haleth.[12] It is to be noted that neither after this change, nor before was the Second House of Men called the House of Haleth (unlike the Houses of Bëor and Hador, used to denote both the family and occasionally the people). They are always referred to as Folk of Haleth, Men of Brethil etc.

In even earlier versions of the legendarium, there were only two Houses of Men: of Bëor and Hador, the latter afterwards separated in two.[13] The leader of the Second House became Haleth the Hunter (great-grandfather of Brandir), his people called both House of Haleth and Folk of Haleth (or Halethrim) and described as alike to the House of Hador rather than Bëor;[14] and these conceptions were still present until the vast expansion into earlier generations took place after the writing of The Lord of the Rings.

In the last writings of Tolkien on the subject of Edain, Of Dwarves and Men,[2] he reverted the order of arrival of the Folks of Haleth and Marach in Beleriand. This was not incorporated into the published The Silmarillion, although most of the other changed conceptions from this work were included or implied, as for example making the People of Haleth unrelated to the other tribes.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Me-ref
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Template:Me-ref
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Template:ME-ref
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The War of the Jewels: The Wanderings of Húrin, pp. 251-310
  5. 5.0 5.1 All dates of birth and death are taken from The War of the Jewels: New genealogies of the Edain, pp. 236-238, 268-270.
  6. The election of Avranc is referred to in a single plot summary (the last on this subject) in The War of the Jewels, p. 307–8.
  7. Unfortunately, Christopher Tolkien has not mentioned Hiril's birthyear in The War of the Jewels. In his "compressed" table on p. 270 she and her descendants are given last, after Hareth; but a note on p. 308 states that Manthor was "of the senior line, but by a daughter" (in comparison with Hardang). Moreover Hunthor and Manthor are older than Hardang, and the birthdates of Hundar and Hareth were increased by a year with the introduction of Hiril. So it seems that Tolkien intended her to be a second child.
  8. The ancestry of Hiril's husband (named Enthor in The War of the Jewels, p. 270) is not actually stated, but one note possibly implies that he was related to the House of Hador: "... [Brandir, Túrin and Manthor were] akin to the House of Hador (via Glóreðel and via Hareth and Hiril)" (The Wanderings of Húrin, p. 309).
  9. Template:ME-ref
  10. 10.0 10.1 Orleg and Ulrad are not actually stated to come from the Second House of Men, but the outlaws were mostly composed of the kin of the Men of Brethil to the south of Taeglin. The only exceptions mentioned are Forweg, Algund and Andróg who came from Dor-lómin. (Unfinished Tales)
  11. Template:Me-ref
  12. See especially the index to The War of the Jewels, entries Brethil and Haladin, pp. 431-2, 447.
  13. Template:Me-ref
  14. The War of the Jewels: The Grey Annals, pp. 48-51.


External links