04 August 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 35: Beorn

Beorn was a skin-changer who lived with his intelligent animal companions (horses, dogs, sheep, cows, etc.) near the western eaves of Mirkwood in the Vales of Anduin. He could take on the form of either a Man or a huge black bear. According to Gandalf, Beorn does not eat his animal companions, nor does he hunt or eat wild animals; therefore, we might assume that he was a vegetarian.

In human form, Beorn takes on the appearance of a tall, black-haired man with huge arms and a great black beard. He was capable of communicating with beasts. He was generally a benevolent individual who was both generous and helpful to those whom he was convinced were good; but he was distrustful of travelers and beggars, and hated both goblins and wargs. 

Beorn provided Thorin Oakenshield and his Company of Dwarves (along with Bilbo and Gandalf) shelted and later helped them fight against an army of goblins at the Battle of Five Armies. During the battle, Beorn transformed into a giant bear and rescued Thorin from the Goblins and killed Bolg, the goblin chieftain. Following the battle, Beorn accompanied Gandalf and Bilbo along their return journey until they reached his house. 

Beorn’s son, Grimbeorn, later took over his duties as chieftain (TA 3018). Beorn’s descendants were also skin-changers, known as Beornings, who helped defend Thranduil’s kingdom of northern Mirkwood.


Beorn is Old English for “warrior, a hero, man of valour”

It is also a cognate to the Old Norse björn (“bear”)

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite chars right here. The illustration of him in the book holding Thorin was amazing.