Lúthien Tinúviel - Daughter of elvish King Thingol of Doriath, and Melian of the Maia. Lúthien is elvish for enchantress, while Tinúviel means nightingale.

Luthien is more than the fair elfish maiden in chapter 19 of the Silmarillion. She is the pit of Tolkien's ideas of love and pain, a personification of human feelings. Beren and Luthien's story is eloquent, beautiful, and tragic; it is one drowned in misery and among the richest ever - Romeo and Juliet times ten. The cursed Beren, wandering, tortured, and seeking rest, had discovered her dancing in the forest, and singing with nature.

''Then all memory of his pain departed from him, and he fell into an enchantment; for Lúthien was the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar. Blue was her raiment as the unclouded heaven, but her eyes were grey as the starlit evening; her mantle was sewn with golden flowers, but her hair was dark as the shadows of twilight.''

Luthien flees at his sight, leaving him forsaken. He collapses. It is not until the next spring that they reunite, and begin their years of romance and torment.

Sigh.

It would hardly suffice, and would be completely wrong, to attempt a summarization of Tolkien's work. The story of Luthien encompasses the essence of love in one chapter. It is after you experience this book that you realize that each of his characters has an aura that haunts you for the rest of your life.

''Farewell sweet earth and northern sky,
for ever blest, since here did lie
and here with lissom limbs did run
beneath the Moon, beneath the Sun,
Lúthien Tinúviel
more fair than mortal tongue can tell.
Though all to ruin fell the world
and were dissolved and backwards hurled
unmade into the old abyss,
yet were its making good, for this---
the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea---
that Lúthien for a time should be.''

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