In this episode of the calendar, I will present one of the many references to Tolkien which can be found in the names of A Song of Ice and Fire characters.
Many historical figures bore the name Daeron, for example: Prince Daeron, who died at Tumbleton during The Dance of Dragons; King Daeron I Targaryen, called The Young Dragon, who conquered Dorne only to loose it; and Daeron II, who brought Dorne into The Seven Kingdoms and fought in a civil war against his half-brother Daemon I Blackfyre.
But the clearest hint whence George’s inspiration for this name came, comes in its changed form, Dareon. Dareon was a singer sent to The Wall by Lord Matthis Rowan, who later took part in Sam Tarly’s voyage to Braavos (along with Gilly and maester Aemon). In this Free City he deserts The Watch, only to be killed by Arya Stark in A Feast for Crows.
Daeron of Doriath
In The Silmarillion we read that Daeron was Sindarin (Grey) Elf, who lived in The First Age. Alphabet cirith was his creation, but he was more widely known as a minstrel (note that westerosi Dareon was a singer as well). Daeron lived at the court of King Thingol of Doriath. He fell in love with King’s daughter, Luthien (whose mother was Melian of The Maiar). She didn’t share his feelings, but they remained good friends. But when Daeron found out that Luthien chose a mere mortal, one of Men, enraged, he ratted everything to the king… and thus began the history of Beren and Luthien’s quest to recover a Silmarill, one of three priceless jewels created by Elven master smith Feanor, and later stolen by Morgoth, The Dark Lord. As this was the trial King Thingol demanded (as it seemed that Beren will surely die in the process). You can read about those events in The Silmarillion, in the chapter Beren and Luthien. We will return to this story later in this calendar.
Let us return to Daeron. But first, I have to explain that in the beginning Beren set off on his quest alone, but later King Finrod Felagund of Nargothrond joined him (Finrod was the greatest friend of Men among the Eldar, Elves). Beren, Finrod and their ten companions (12 Elves + Man) journeyed northwards, to Morgoth’s fortress of Angband. But before they could reach it, they were intercepted by Sauron, The Dark Lord’s second-in-command, who imprisoned the company in the dungeons of his stronghold at Tol-in-Gaurhoth (which means The Isle of Werewolves and was ruled by Sauron, but originally was built by Finrod, and called Minas Tirith – Minas Tirith of Gondor was named after this fortress).
When Luthien found out that Beren is imprisoned, she wanted to leave Doriath and her father, but Daeron spied on her and – again – betrayed her. When she escaped anyway, despite being under house arrest, Daeron sank into despair, left King Thingol and wandered in the wilderness, singing sad, melancholy songs.