- "If you must know more, his name is Beorn. He is very strong, and he is a skin-changer."
- —Gandalf the Grey
Beorn was a Northman, skin-changer, and a Beorning chieftain who lived near the river Anduin between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. His kin had lived in that region during the last centuries of the Third Age, guarding the Ford of Carrock from the Goblins and Wargs.
Beorn was a warrior with great strength who could turn into a great black bear. In human form he was a tall, black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard. Beorn kept many animals at his residence, such as horses, dogs and sheep. His animals were all extremely intelligent; his dogs, for instance, could walk on their hind legs while carrying things with their forelegs, set the table, and able to speak. Beorn's horses could also understand what their master said. Beorn was also capable of speaking in the tongue of beasts, as he could communicate with bears. When he spoke to his dogs, his words sounded like "barks twisted into some form of speech".
Quest of Erebor
In the year TA 2941, Beorn granted shelter to Thorin and Company, which included Gandalf and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Beorn, though not over fond of dwarves, provided the company with food, supplies, and guidance after being humored by Gandalf's telling of the company's story. The company then left Beorn to travel through Mirkwood, though the Beorning warned them not to drink from the Enchanted stream within the forest.
Some months later, word came to Beorn of impending trouble at the Lonely Mountain, and he arrived in time to take part in the Battle of Five Armies, where he bore Thorin from the battlefield after the dwarf was mortally wounded. Beorn later accompanied Gandalf and Bilbo on their return journey as far as his home, where he allowed the two to stay over the winter.
In the years following the Battle of Five Armies, Beorn became a great chieftain among the folk of the Anduin Vales and his followers became known as the Beornings. At some point he became the father of Grimbeorn, later known as Grimbeorn the Old. Before the War of the Ring, Beorn passed away, and his son Grimbeorn took over his duties as chieftain.
Despite being incredibly powerful, Beorn respected all life forms, with the exceptions of Goblins and Wargs, due to their malevolent and destructive tendencies. He had a magic-like effect on his animals, who seem more intelligent and strong than other animals. He kept bee pastures and spent his nights patrolling the woods and mountains in the form of a bear. He was wise and powerful, possessing incredible strength and durability. He was fairly decent, allowing Thorin and Company to stay at his home for a short while, offering sanctuary from the Goblins. Beorn was also vengeful; when Thorin was fatally wounded in battle Beorn stormed the Goblin ranks, rescues Thorin and then returns, destroying the Goblins and killing Bolg himself.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Hobbit film trilogy
Beorn is portrayed by Mikael Persbrandt in the films The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies. His appearance in the films is quite different than his description in the book and portrayals in other media. In the films, he has greyish-brown hair, a forked beard, shackles on his left arm, and a mane of hair growing as a ridge down the length of his back. Beorn mentioned his fellow Shape Shifters, who once lived in the mountains before Azog the Defiler came down from the north and killed or enslaved many of his people for sport. Beorn escaped the terrible fate of his kin (explaining the shackles on his arm), and claims that he is the last of his kind. He gives them horses to reach Mirkwood and provides escort to protect them from roaming Orcs. Beorn appears to be aware of the dark presence in Dol Guldur as he knows of an alliance between the Orcs of Moria and the Necromancer, whom he calls the Sorcerer, in Dol Guldur. Packs of Orcs have been seen gathering in the fortress with their numbers increasing every day. Beorn also knows that the Necromancer is not what he seems to be and that dark and foul things are drawn to his power, not to mention Azog's allegiance to him. He also heard word spread of the dead rising and walking near the High Fells of Rhudaur. He asked Gandalf if there actually were tombs in those mountains and Gandalf confirms the tombs as Beorn remembered a time when a great evil ruled the lands and had the power to raise the dead. If that evil had returned, he wished to know from Gandalf.
In The Battle of the Five Armies, he makes a brief cameo during the battle, shifting from man to bear form as he arrives with the Great Eagles, attacking several goblins and wargs. He is later seen at the funeral for Thorin, Fili and Kili.
Beorn's personality is notably different from what it is in the book. Instead of being boisterous and impatient, Beorn is depicted as soft-spoken and collected. Beorn is also said to be in little control of himself in the The Desolation of Smaug, but in the book, he can be tame and gentle as a bear, even following the Dwarves to ensure the return of his ponies when the Dwarves leave his house to go to Mirkwood.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online Beorn makes a brief cameo in a flashback sequence where he saved a Woodmen child from Gollum the child-snatcher.
Voice dubbing actors
|Foreign Language||Voice dubbing artist|
|Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD)||Bruno Rocha|
|Spanish (Latin America)||Octavio Rojas|
|Spanish (Spain)||Ricky Coello|
|Italian (Italy)||Paolo Marchese|
|Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles.|
- In the early film concepts, Beorn's bear form was rather monstrous, looking more like a Troll or Orc.
- In The Desolation of Smaug Beorn states that he "remembers" Sauron's heyday, four hundred years ago. His wording makes it unclear whether he lived during that time or if his people passed down stories of the Dark Lord's reign.
- At one point in film development, Beorn was intended to play a part in the Dol Guldur story-line, as speculated from his appearance in a LEGO set, 79011 "Dol Guldur Ambush".
- Björn Kurtén was famous for his studies on Cave Bears, very large, extinct bear species. Interestingly, his name Bjorn is identical to the etymology of Beorn's name noted above.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||比翁|
|Japanese||ビヨルン ("Biyorun") / ビヨン ("Biyon")|
|Kazakh||Беорн (Cyrillic) Beorn (Latin)|
|Serbian||Беорн (Cyrillic) Beorn (Latin)|
|Slovak||Grizlo (Books only)|
|Uzbek||Беорн (Cyrillic) Beorn (Latin)|
- The Hobbit, Chapter VII: "Queer Lodgings"
- The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII: "The Return Journey"
- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 144, (dated 25 April 1954)
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Ch. II: "The Council of Elrond"
- The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, I: "The Cottage of Lost Play", pg. 23