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Minas Tirith Forums » The Hobbit » Beorn (Page 2)
Author Topic: Beorn
Eldorian
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Isildur of the Numenoreans I know IKEA.
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cian
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Isildur of the Númenóreans posted: cian, 'björn' exists in today's Swedish and Norwegian, and probably Danish too.

My favorite tennis player (met him twice too!) is Bjorn Borg []

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Amarië of the Vanyar
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Gives this thread a hearty *bump*
Poor Beorn isn't that popular these days... maybe if he had his own "Relationship Thread" things would be different... []
Isildur of Númenóre and Incánus are most correct in their assertations that Tolkien's Beorn is indeed related to the Old Norse Björn. I've recently become aquainted with the Scandinavian folk-tale of Björn and Bera, wherein Björn is punished for spurning Queen Hvit's advances by being turned into a veritable "skin changer". Björn, upon being slapped by the Queen's wolfskin gloves is commanded to live as a beast (read: bear) by night, and live as a man by day.
I didn't think immediately of Beorn when I read this tale, however I think their supernatural situations do have striking resemblence. Also interesting to note that Björn and Bera's son Bodvar, while in a trance state, could manifest his mental energy into a physical bear-warrior. This makes me think of Nimruzir's idea of Radagast willing Beorn the ability to shape shift for reasons of being a protector or defender of land.
Just some little thoughts to throw in!

[ 02-10-2003, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: Amarië of the Vanyar ]

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Imbëar
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I can't add much to this excellent discussion.

In Tolkien's Letters, he does mention that Beorn "is dead" and that he was a "Man."

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Imbëar

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Alatáriel
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I do believe Tolkien got the inspiration to Beorn from the scandinavian folklore. as said, the word Beorn is pronounced the same way as the danish (swedish and norwegian) word bjørn (which means bear).

in scandinavian folklore there are creatures called "varebjørne". I don't know the actual english word - but as far as I know a "beserker" is the same. by wearing some kind of bear-skin a viking could turn into a bear/beserker and be able to bite through enemy shields etc. this sounds a lot like Beorn to me...

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Roll of Honor Herendil
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cian posted:
quote:
Beorn means "man, noble, hero, warrior ..." in Old English, but originally meant "bear" according to Christopher Tolkien, compare cognate Old Norse björn.
So, Beorn's ability to transform from a bear into a man echoes the linguistic development of his name. It shows how fascinated JRRT was about words' meaning throughout history.

[ 03-08-2003, 06:44 AM: Message edited by: Isildur of Númenórë ]

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Roll of Honor Herendil
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If the ability was passed down through generations to Beorn, and Radagast was the source of it, then Radagast must have introduced it to Beorn's ancestor(s), not Beorn himself.
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Roll of Honor Herendil
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LR, 'The Council of Elrond', Gandalf says:
quote:
Radagast is, of course, a worthy Wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends.
So, like Nimruzir said, Radagast was probably the source of Beorn's skin-changing ability, or rather his ancestors', since the ability had been passed down through generations. Perhaps it's possible to find out to whom (or what people) of Beorn's line he gave it to, and/or when they lived.
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Imbëar
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Aldaron of Lorien,
"viking warriors called berserkers, meaning bear skins were in scvandanavian lit. they get their powers from expertice and prowess on the battlefield. maybe there was a similiar expieriance in beorns ancestry"
- Berserkers were renowned for their monstrosities, for their beastial exuberance. These skin-clad warriors would excite themselves into a trance before battle, meditating upon the spirit of the animal, until the psychoactive drugs in their system threw them into a true dissociative fit. In this stage, much like a man on PCP, berserkers were capable of terrifying deeds. They were known for sometimes going into battle nude save for the animal hame, for bare-handed fighting (pun!), and for tearing off men's heads and arms with their hands.

Visually, Beorn retains the word "Beor."
But phonically, another name emerges: the name of Beren.
And Beren, as you will recall, wore the wolf's-hame, though only for a while.

Imbëar

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Forn
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What if Radagast were Beorn. They were very much alike, had good hands with animals and they both could change skin. I know of all the things said about him being a man but that can also be only speculations on the subject. Or else the "powers" might have been given to his ancestors in the same maner as a werewolf gives them.
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Thingol of Doriath
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If that were true... it would make Gandalf asking Beorn if he knew Radagast kind of silly.

Gandalf knew Beorn(and his ancestors) and Radagast very well, I'm sure he would know if they were the same person. Plus, Beorn died as well as had descendants... not very wizardly.

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Thalion
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This is an interesting thread, and although i have nothing to add to it, BUMP.
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Roll of Honor bombadil
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Radagast was a Maia. Beorn was mortal. Nice shot, but not possible.
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Roll of Honor Snowman of Forochel
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Beorn had to be a little more than a man.

Seems to me that anybody who can change into a bear has to be more than a mere mortal.

The question is how and why did he get the power to do that? Did Elf blood run through his veins? Did Tom Bombadil grant he and his fellow Beornings that power as a gift for being super nature lovers like himself?

[ 01-21-2004, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: Snowman of Forochel ]

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GEAUX SAINTS!!

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Halion
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Snowman of Forochel, please read Herendil's posts in this thread.
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Roll of Honor Snowman of Forochel
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Thank you for pointing out Herendil's excellent posts, Maerbenn. []

The theory of Radagast giving the power to Beorn's line makes sense, but what about the other Beornings? They weren't related to Beorn, and yet, they were skin changers also.

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Kjartan Fløgelfrikk
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I thought the Beornings were Beorn's children?
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Roll of Honor Snowman of Forochel
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I thought the tribe of Men who lived around the Carrock were called Beornings. They weren't all his kids, were they?
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Dark Lord Andúril
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Id agree with Snowy. They are probably people ruled by him, not fathered by him.
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Snöwdog
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I always considered the Beornings more of a clan of men who did not continue west in the 1st age, than a single family line.

quote:
Radagast is, of course, a worthy Wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends.
The ability to skin-change may have come from their friendship and working with Radagast. Great thread this!
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Tilion
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I also like the idea that Radagast somehow gave Beorn, or his ancestors, the skin-changing ability. I'm wondering if there are any more examples of mortal men being 'thaught' magical abilities, anyone ?

In the Silmarillion I remember there was a story that seemed to indicate that Finrod (an elf) had some sort of skin-changing ability also, though probably not anything like Beorn's.

I'd be interested in any thoughts or speculation on this []

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Aiwrendel
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quote:
wondering if there are any more examples of mortal men being 'thaught' magical abilities
One of the Black Númenóreans, the Mouth of Sauron:
quote:
... [the Black Númenóreans] established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery...
And what of the Nazgûl? Where did the Witch King and the others learn their sorcery? They too were in the service of Sauron and so learn from him?
quote:
King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl
And what of the other "men of Carn Dûm” as Merry called them, in the barrow?
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Hamfast Gamgee
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One could argue that Aragorn's little trick with the paths of the dead was a bit magical.
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Madomir
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If memory serves, Aragorn was just fulfilling the prophecy rather than being magical. But you may be on to something Hamfast, clearly there was some sort of magic involved in that curse, a simple non-magical human can't make a binding curse like that. So the question may be, did Isildur dabble in the magical arts? Or perhaps it was the Ring that gave him the power to make such a curse stick.
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Belthronding
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There is much of note that can be added here.

From UT, The Istari:

quote:
Curumo (Saruman) was obliged to take Aiwendil (Radagast) to please Yavanna, wife of Aule.
This quote actually comes from notes on the story provided by Christopher Tolkien, who goes on to discuss the Istari's organization and subsequent mission in M-E as the emissaries of the Valar. Most interesting I think is his discussion of Radagast - noted by Saruman as a failure through Gandalf's tale during The Council of Elrond, and also mentioned by Tolkien himself:

quote:
For Radagast, the fourth, became enamoured of the many beasts and birds that dwelt in Middle Earth, and forsook Elves and Men, and spent his days among the wild creatures ...
- From UT, The Istari

It would seem strange, given this portrayal of Radagast, that he would be the source of Beorn's (and the other Beornings') power ...

Moreover it is clear that Gandalf is the main intermediary to Beorn, or at least, his only real connection to the larger workings of M-E. More to come ...

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