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Beren Erchamion (Beren One-handed) son of Barahir, was a Man of the House of Bëor during the First Age. He was a hero whose romance with the Elf Lúthien Tinúviel, and their Quest to obtain a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth, was one of the great tales of the Elder Days. The Lay of Leithian is a long work, and Aragorn has said that "there are none now, except Elrond, that remember it aright as it was told of old."

After avenging the death of his father and regaining the Ring of Barahir from the Orcs, Beren fled the wreck of Dorthonion, eventually reaching the hidden forest of Neldoreth in Doriath. There he beheld Lúthien, dancing "to music of a pipe unseen". They fell in love with one another, but Thingol refused to give Lúthien's hand in marriage, as Beren was a mortal. He charged Beren that he would allow the marriage to take place only if he brought back a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth. The task was intended to be impossible, but Beren was determined.

Many were the hardships they endured together during the years that followed. He was captured by Sauron and imprisoned. Lúthien, along with Huan the great hound, rescued him. After many further adventures, they entered Angband and recaptured one of the Silmarils, fulfilling the request of Thingol. However, as they escaped from Angband, the great wolf Carcharoth awoke and attacked Beren. Carcharoth bit off his hand, swallowing it along with the Silmaril, and proceeded to run rampant through Doriath.

Coming back to Thingol's court, both told him the tale of their quest and how Beren had fulfilled Thingol's demand, as he had one Silmaril in his hand. Thus, Thingol relented, and Beren and Lúthien were married; this was the first union of Elves and Men. Beren participated in the hunting of Carcharoth, where the beast was slain and the Silmaril recovered; the quest was accomplished, but in the process Beren was mortally wounded.

Succumbing to grief over the death of her beloved, Lúthien died, and her soul fled to the Halls of Mandos, where she moved Mandos to pity. So it came to pass that Lúthien and Beren were granted a life together in Middle-earth. Both she and Beren were restored to life, but both of them would die the mortal death of Men, and go beyond the walls of Arda to the unknown Doom of Men.