In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, Curufin (IPA: [ˈkurufin]) is a fictional character, a prince of the Noldor of the race of Elves, the fourth or, in some versions, fifth of the seven sons of Fëanor and Nerdanel. Curufin is the father of Celebrimbor, master jewel-smith of Eregion who forged the three Elven Rings of Power. His name means "Skilled (son of) Finwë" in Quenya.
His father-name — the traditional name given by an Elvish father to his offspring — was Curufinwë, which was also Fëanor's original name. This was because Curufin was most like his father both in appearance, temperament and skill. He was also Fëanor's favourite. (Finwë was a common name-element among the royal Noldor, being the name of his grandfather Finwë, patriarch of the House and the High King of the Noldor.) Nerdanel gave him the mother name Atarinkë, which means "Little Father" in Quenya, because of Curufin's physical resemblance to Fëanor. His Old English name (see The History of Middle-earth, vol IV, The Shaping of Middle-earth) was Cyrefinn Fácensearo, from O.E cyre 'choice', fácen 'deceit, guile, wickedness', searu 'skill, cunning', also fácensaeru 'treachery'.
Like the other Sons of Fëanor, Curufin was bound by an oath to recover his father's Silmarils, which had been stolen by the Dark Lord Morgoth. His oath took him and his brothers to Middle-earth during the First Age where they established realms in exile and waged war against the armies of Morgoth, fought other elves for the Silmarili and ultimately brought ruin to their house.
Curufin fought at Alqualondë, and participated in the burning of the ships at Losgar. After the reconciliation of the Noldor royal houses at Mithrim and abdication of Maedhros, he accompanied his brothers to East Beleriand. He and his son Celebrimbor lived with his brother Celegorm in Himlad, east of his brother Maedhros' fortress Himring and south of Aglon; this pass between Himring and Dorthonion, which leads into Doriath, was fortified with great strength by the two brothers and held till Dagor Bragollach, by which time it was forced; his forces managed to inflict severe losses on the Angband hosts. Before the battle, Curufin had intercepted Eöl, the Sindarin smith, but did not slay him despite his wishes to do so, as the laws of the Eldar forbade this.
Following the Dagor Bragollach, the two brothers and Celebrimbor fled with their people towards Minas Tirith, marching along the northern marches of Doriath. The aid of the brothers were crucial in the rescue of Orodreth and his followers, who were facing the assault of Sauron in Tol Sirion. The survivors of this battle moved to Nargothrond, where Finrod welcomed them. Celegorm and Curufin aided Finrod in all aspects of running that kingdom and won a large following there.
Shortly after, Beren came to Nargothrond to remind Finrod of the oath he had sworn, and claim his help. Finrod decided to help Beren, but Celegorm and Curufin, because of dark thought arising in their hearts because of the curse, and also remembering their Oath, persuaded the people of Nargothrond not to follow Finrod, and not to wage open war against Morgoth, making them fearful. Finrod therefore had to leave with a handful of warriors, including Beren, and later died. Finrod's brother Orodreth was made to rule in his stead.
His brother and he, hunting with Celegorm's hound Huan, then found Lúthien, daughter of Thingol, as she fled to find Beren. Feigning to help her, they took her captive and brought her to Nargothrond, for Celegorm had become enamoured and would have Thingol give him her hand. However, Huan helped Lúthien to flee, and they freed Beren and other thralls from Sauron. As these thralls returned, the people of Nargothrond perceived the two brother's treachery, and though Orodreth would not let them be slain, he cast them from Nargothrond. Celebrimbor decided not to follow Curufin.
The two brothers met Lúthien and Beren as they fled, and Curufin fought with the Man. Defeated, he had to flee with Celegorm, but sought to slay Lúthien even as he did, and shot Beren with an arrow instead, though the latter survived.
Curufin fell in the Second Kinslaying, when the Sons of Fëanor attacked Doriath to seize a Silmaril in the possession of the Elvish King Dior the Beautiful. His brothers Celegorm and Caranthir died with him during the assault.
Curufin was married, like his brothers Maglor and Caranthir, and his son was Celebrimbor, later the lord of Eregion in the Second Age and the maker of the Rings of Power. Curufin's wife refused to join the Flight of the Noldor and remained in Aman with Finarfin's people.
In an alternate version of the story, Fëanor and Curufin burn the stolen Swan ships at Losgar. The others had objected to this, and thus were innocent of starting the burning. In this version, Amrod is burnt to death, as he had slipped aboard a ship, intending to sail back to Valinor.
In this version, Celegorm and Curufin destroy the Dwarves of Nogrod after their sack of Doriath, although the Silmaril would be taken to Beren and Lúthien by Melian. Curufin is sent to Dior by the sons of Fëanor demanding the Silmaril, and Dior refuses because that would mean breaking the necklace of Finrod, which caused the death of Thingol, although Curufin insist on it.
House of Fëanor
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1996), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Peoples of Middle-earth, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-82760-4
- Tolkien, J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher, ed. The Peoples of Middle-earth. HarperCollins. pp. 354–355. ISBN 978-0-261-10348-1.
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1977), Christopher Tolkien, ed., The Silmarillion, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-25730-1