After being cursed by the dark lord Morgoth, Hurin is forced to watch his children live lives full of agony, pain, and treachery. Túrin, the son of Húrin, is driven from his home after his father loses a battle to the evil lord Morgoth, who, unbeknownst to Túrin, has cursed Húrin's children. Taken by his mother to live with Elves in the hidden kingdom of Doriath, Túrin is raised by the Elvish king until a quarrel with another Elf leads to his exile, at which point he joins a band of outlaws and becomes their leader, forcing a captive Dwarf to show them to a decent hideout. For years Túrin hides, but his Elvish foster-father sends out Túrin's former friend, Beleg, to find him. Unfortunately for Beleg, Túrin's curse leads him to accidentally kill his friend before realizing who he is. Horrified by what he has done, Túrin flees to a different Elf-kingdom, Nargothrond, where an unfortunate Elvish woman falls in love with him, not knowing who he is. Túrin's presence, however, leads Morgoth to the hidden kingdom, which his dragon Glaurung summarily destroys. Devastated by the death of the Elvish woman who loved him, Túrin leaves the ruin of Nargothrond and takes up residence in Brethil, hiding his identity from the people there.
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Meanwhile, Turin's mother and sister have fled their home in the hopes of finding shelter in Nargothrond. Instead, they encounter Glaurung, who bewitches Túrin's sister, Niënor, into forgetting her identity. She unknowingly flees to Brethil, where Túrin, not recognizing her, marries her. They live in relative happiness until Glaurung appears to destroy the surrounding countryside. Túrin sets out to slay the dragon, but, after receiving a deadly wound, Glaurung manages to find Niënor and reveal to her that she is her husband's sister. Horrified, Niënor kills herself. Túrin, learning the truth, begs his sword - formerly the sword of Beleg - to kill him, which it does.
Morgoth, satisfied that Húrin has been punished enough, releases him from captivity. He wanders the country until he finds his wife, Morwen, only to have her die in his arms.
Best part of story, including ending:
Tolkien's prose is beautiful and the story is tragic.
Best scene in story:
The culmination of the novel, when Niënor and Túrin realize who they are and what they've done, is the most powerful scene in the book, when Tolkien brings together all the threads he's woven so carefully.
Opinion about the main character:
Túrin was too rash and too proud; most of his misfortunes could have been prevented if he'd just been a bit gentler and humbler.