NOTE: While I was reading the Lord of the Rings, I came across a sentence that Aragorn said to the Fellowship of the Ring in Moria about Gandalf: “He is surer of fiding the way home in a blind night than the cats of Queen Berúthiel.” This really confused me – as I had never heared of Queen Berúthiel, and usually everything in the Lord of the Rings can be explained, but information on this was impossible to find – untill six months later, when I read “Unfinished Tales”
CITATION (Unfinished Tales – by J.R.R. Tolkien, put together by Christopher Tolkien- p.419 of the Ballantine Copy published in 1992)
“The Cats of Queen Berúthiel”
Queen Berúthiel, the loveless, ruthless, evil, and solitary wife of Tarannon – the twelfth king of Gondor, (First of the “Ship Kings” ) despised everything from the house her Husband built to the ocean. She hated color, decoration, thus robed all in black and silver. The garden of her house in Osgiliath were “filled with tormented sculputures beneath cypresses and yews.” (Tolkien, p.419)
What added a finish line to Queen Berúthiel’s evilness was her ten servants – nine black cats and one white. The evil Queen would set these evil creatures around Gondor to discover all of its secrets – whether wonderful or dark, placing the white cat among the black ones to spy on them and torment them. Then, once back beneath Queen Berúthiel’s insolent stare, the cats would converse with the Queen, and the Queen would at times read their minds.
The people of Gondor dreaded the Ten Cats, and were too afraid to touch them, cursing with anger at the very site of them. The men, especially, despised them, for the Queen used the cats most to find out what “…men wish most to keep hidden.” (Tolkien, p.419)
Nothing more can be said on this topic, save that the Queen’s name was erased from the Book of Kings (Though men still remembered the Cats and the Queen, a dark memory with a ripple of fear). Queen Berúthiel’s lack of love caused Tarannon to be the first childless monarch. Tarannon, seeing his wife for what she was, had her set asail on a ship with all ten cats bourne by a wind from the north. “The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figure-head on the prow.” (Tolkien, p. 419)
ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS COPYWRITED BY CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN. ALL OF THIS INFORMATION WAS SUMMERIZED FROM THE BOOK “UNFINISHED TALES” AND ALL CREDIT GOES TO J.R.R. TOLKIEN