Middle-Earth Profiles: Morwen

Updated on February 26, 2020
jes732 profile image

Jamal is a graduate from Northeastern Seminary and writes on a broad range of topics. His writings are based on other points of view.

The wife of Hurin, Morwen, is a cunning and strong willed woman. Learn what makes her such an incredible character.
The wife of Hurin, Morwen, is a cunning and strong willed woman. Learn what makes her such an incredible character. | Source

This is a psychological profile on a Middle-earth character from the family of Hurin; his wife, Morwen. I'm still using the Silmarillion and The Children of Hurin as a basis.

Life on the Run

Though sharing similar backgrounds, Morwen is the opposite of her husband in almost every way. A noble woman of the eldest of human royalty, the House of Beor, she is from the human kingdom of Dorthonion. Her formative years were spent during the Dagor Bragollach war and her land, along with the Elf kingdom they were assigned to protect were the first to fall. For awhile, her family and other surviving warriors fought a guerrilla campaign against Morgoth’s invading army.

Fighting was hard and so was survival. Most of her relatives were killed and eventually, the conclusion was reached to send the surviving women and children away to Dor-lomin in the west which had not been conquered. The road there turned out to be just as brutal as the fighting had been, but the refugees survived and eventually arrived to safety.

Her trials during the Dagor Bragollach and as a refugee shaped Morwen’s personality as an adult woman. This also influences her later decisions and her children’s’ choices as well.

Picture Galadriel being much more reserved and hostile to those she doesn’t know and you’ll get Morwen.

Imposing Silence

Where Hurin was ever hopeful and extroverted, Morwen was very introverted and has an unfriendly disposition. She appears to not make close bonds easily and has a reputation for bluntness and being cold, despite her famed attractiveness. She is not a cold-hearted woman, but rather very steely. She guards her emotions tightly, even with her husband whom she is devoted to.

If we were to compare this to real world, war time refugees, you could argue she, like her cousin Beren, suffers from a form of PTSD. Morwen learned that open emotions do not increase your chances for survival and are often pointless. The few times she is shown to show some affection are generally in private, such as when Lalaith died during a plague and also when her son, Turin left for Doriath, where she cried only after he was gone. Or when she sends Turin his family’s war helm to him in Doriath. And later in her final moments, she despairs with her then-newly, returned husband at the gravestone of her children.

Beyond that, her typical face is that of a beautiful, yet stern and powerful woman who is not interested in friendship, but demands to be taken seriously at all times. Picture Galadriel being much more reserved and hostile to those she doesn’t know and you’ll get Morwen. Indeed this hardened persona can be so intimidating that even the invading Easterlings who the entered Dor-lomin would not come near her.

The highlands of Dorthonion were the remnants of Morwen's family and their army fought a guerrilla campaign against the victorious orcs.
The highlands of Dorthonion were the remnants of Morwen's family and their army fought a guerrilla campaign against the victorious orcs. | Source


Accompanying her sternness was also a stubbornness that even exceeded her husband’s, who also had a reputation of being strong-willed. However Hurin also had a steadier mind that often helped him balance out his aggressive traits. Morwen did not. In her own reserved way, she is more extreme than Hurin. When she is counseled to leave Dor-lomin after the defeat at Nirneath Arnoediad, she refuses.

Though this is rationalized by being in her third pregnancy at the time, in her mind, Morwen simply does not want to leave the home she shared with Hurin. It is only when circumstances again became so dire for her and her newborn daughter, Nienor that forces Morwen to once again take up the path of the refugee.

Her stubbornness also comes from the fact that while an exile, she is still of noble blood. Prouder still because of the legends of her cousin, Beren, who was now famous for stealing one of the Silmarils from Morgoth himself: an act that Elven armies and angelic Valar could not achieve in all their centuries of war. Morwen is aware of this legacy, but hides her pride beneath a stern mask, coming out in implication of the respect she silently commands.

War time experience also plays a part in her sternness and contrasts that of her husband’s experiences. Hurin also fought in the Bragollach and experienced loss, but retained most of his family and his home. Morwen lost everything and endured the suffering and humiliation of the life of a refugee. Her mood may serve as a shield, a reservoir of pride in the face of such grief. If victory made Hurin extroverted, defeat made Morwen introverted and who knows how she may have been had Dorthonion not been destroyed?

The Pragmatist

Thanks to her refugee lifestyle as a young girl, Morwen is also fatalistic. She shares none of Hurin’s hope for eventual victory against Morgoth, though she often keeps this to herself. Her mind always gravitates to what can go wrong and she can be excused for doing so because she has lived it. She too had seen once proud Elven armies go off to war, before like Hurin, only to be annihilated. And even afterward, her family retained hope of victory against the invading Orcs when fighting as guerrillas and that also had turned to nothing. Even in the safety of Dor-lomin, Morwen still suffered loss when her second child, Lalaith died before the Nirneath Arnoediad war had even started.

In contrast of Hurin’s faith in Elven power, what faith Morwen has is watered down by the knowledge that their Elf-lords are themselves exiles, refugees under a curse from the Valar who remain in the far West. She almost mentions this fact to her willfully, ignorant husband while debating with him but doesn't press it further.

When a young Turin, questions her about what happened to, Lalaith, Morwen tells him straight away that she died and does not soften the blow. She does not share in her son’s hope of Hurin returning after the war. Morwen’s fatalism takes the form of a survival-at-all-costs mind frame. She has no faith of victory, and the best Elves and Humans can hope for in Middle-earth is to hide or maintain a defensive measure against Morgoth’s armies.

Rather they just accept each other as they are and move on with their own private, though non-malicious agendas while somehow retaining a love for each other, if flawed.

Silver Lining

Despite having such a negative disposition, Morwen is also very faithful, and when it comes to Hurin, even submissive. This maybe due to her noble upbringing back in Dorthonion, as Humans at this time were rigid when it came to tradition. While she does debate with him about the war, Morwen eventually yields to his hope, though quietly inferring that she will make up her own mind if the war goes bad. When leaving the safety of Doriath to find Turin years later, she tries to leave Nienor behind for her own safety. And finally, she spends decades searching for Turin and Nienor, only to find that by that time, they died long ago, unaware of their cause of death.

I would not call this a balanced marriage, as both spouses don’t graft the advice of the other to their personal choices. Rather they just accept each other as they are and move on with their own private, though non-malicious agendas, while somehow retaining a love for each other, if flawed.

I wonder if Lalaith, whom was known for bringing laughter and joy to those around her, had that affect on Morwen. Did her laughs make her laugh? Did she smile at Lalaith’s innocence to the evil that was on their door step?

A True Survivor

For all her faults, Morwen is also arguably the strongest of her entire family. She developed her personality traits this way because she needed to be strong in order to endure. The result being she is the only adult in her family to have not committed suicide or give into despair: Something even Hurin, the greatest mortal warrior to have existed, eventually succumbed to. Any negativity that can be found in her and her choices cannot be traced to greed or wanting to be cruel, needy, or stuck up, but rather out of necessity. She did not have the luxuries of victory and security that Hurin did, and if she had, maybe she would have been a different woman.

Moreover, so strong are Morwen’s personality traits that it is what forms the predominant core of her childrens' own personalities. She passes her mental toughness on to them and it shows in the events of their own lives. All three people display a remarkable stubbornness in the face of all odds, even when it is foolish. If her side of the family has one motto, its:

‘By hell or by water’.

© 2017 Jamal Smith


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)