Silmarillion Character Profile: Bëor

One of the most daunting things about reading The Silmarillion is keeping all of the names straight. I love this, so I want to make it more accessible for the general reader with brief character profiles.

  • Name: Bëor
  • Home: Beleriand, specifically Nargothrond
  • Claim to fame: He was the leader of the first Men to enter Beleriand
  • Why I think he’s interesting: He was utterly devoted to Finrod Felagund and served the Elf for most of his life. He was so devoted that most know him only as Bëor (“vassal”), not by Balan, his real name.

Photo Credit: Alex Ristea

  2 comments for “Silmarillion Character Profile: Bëor

  1. April 6, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    The one part of Bëor’s story that has always stuck in my mind is that when

    “[Felagund] questioned him concerning the arising of Men and their journeys, Bëor would say little; and indeed he knew little, for the fathers of his people had told few tales of their past and a silence had fallen upon their memory. ‘A darkness lies behind us,’ Bëor said; ‘and we have turned our backs upon it, and we do not desire to return thither even in thought…’”

    It is a brief passage, but, in context, heavy with mystery and menace: the hint of untold, and indeed untellable horrors, far away in the unknown East, giving rise to vague and even fantastical rumour (that Morgoth himself crept out of Angband to visit the fathers of Men) and forever unanswerable questions (what was the fate of those who remained in the East? Did servants of Morgoth continue to move amongst them, maybe setting themselves up as tribal gods or founders of cults, as Tolkien suggested the Blue Wizards might eventually have done?).

    • Emily
      July 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      (I can’t believe I missed this comment!) It is a fascinating passage. In the context of Tolkien’s Christian perspective, Bëor is likely referring to the Garden of Eden. However, it does make me wonder how that story would have been preserved if no men would tell it. It seems likely that, in Middle-earth, it was something rather worse than disobeying a seemingly simple command from God.

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