Brandir was of the Haladin, the Second House of the Edain. Because of his clubbed foot, he was known as Brandir the Lame. Following the Nirnaeth Arnoediad and the death of his father Handir, he became leader of his people. He forbade open acts against the forces of Morgoth, hoping that they could lay in hiding and wait it out.
When Túrin son of Húrin arrived, Brandir tended to him. Not long after, Túrin’s sister Nienor, enslaved by a spell of the dragon Glaurung, came to the Woodsmen of Brethil and fell in love with her brother, whom she had not seen since childhood and no longer recognised. But Brandir also loved her, and to his dismay, Túrin and Níniel – as Nienor was now called – were wed.
The dragon returned to that region of Beleriand, and while Túrin sought him out, Brandir, hoping to avoid war and trouble, refused to join him on the quest. Dorlas and Hunthor of the Haladin went with him, and Brandir was shamed before his people.
Though Túrin was victorious against Glaurung, he was struck down and left for dead. Believing that Túrin was dead and unaware that the dragon had been slain, Brandir attempted to escape with Níniel, who rushed to the scene of the battle. There, she encountered the dying dragon, and the spell upon her was lifted. When she realised she was carrying the child of her own brother, she cast herself into the river Teiglin and perished.
In sorrow, Brandir returned to his people and relayed some of what had befallen. As they took in the news, Túrin returned, and after being informed that Níniel was actually his sister, slew Brandir.