In the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Beleg is a major character who appears in numerous books, tales and poems about the First Age of Middle-earth such as The Silmarillion, The Lays of Beleriand and the Children of Húrin. Beleg’s name is said to mean ‘might’. He is further known as Beleg Cúthalion, or Beleg Strongbow. This nickname, or epessë, Cúthalion meaning “Strongbow” was bestowed for his skill as an archer. Beleg was a Sindarin Elf who served in the army of King Elu Thingol of Doriath. He “followed no man”, and “could not be restrained”. Together with Mablung he is one of the great captains of Thingol.
Beleg conducts the defence of the realm of Doriath leading smaller companies in actions along the borders as Chief of the Marchwardens. He has larger commands such as the battle in Brethil against a Legion of Orcs as Captain commanding the axe-armed Sindar with Halmir and the Haladin archers. He leads the front line scouts in the battle against Boldog’s Orc-host on the North March. Beleg, along with Beren, Thingol, Mablung and Huan, is a member of the party in the legendary hunt of the great wolf Carcharoth. He later defeats Orcs invading Dimbar. Beleg serves in battles of the wider struggle beyond the borders of Doriath fighting in the Fifth Battle. He is said to be unequalled in woodland skills of stalking, hunting, tracking. He is master of the bow, axe, sword and spear, having considerable magical skills with weapons. His bow, Belthronding, is made of black Yew, strung with bear sinew and can only be drawn by Beleg’s might and magic; an arrow called Dailir can always be found unsought. He wields the sentient, magic sword, Anglachel and hones it with a song of sharpening. He is stated to be a master of healing. Much is said of him, his character and his individual heroic feats and deeds in the various versions of the tales of Túrin and the Lays of Beleriand in particular.
After the catastrophe of the Fifth Battle, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the boy Túrin is sent to Doriath for protection from Morgoth’s special enmity for the House of Húrin. Beleg becomes the mentor, good friend and brother-in-arms of Túrin Turambar. When Túrin leaves Doriath, Beleg receives permission from Thingol to follow him into exile and is granted the sword Anglachel to help in this endeavor. Beleg long seeks Túrin. At Amon Rûdh he is captured and tortured by the outlaws, until Túrin returns and releases him. Together, with Túrin wearing the Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, he becomes again a captain against Morgoth. The land where they dwell becomes known as the Land of Helm and Bow. When Túrin is captured by Morgoth in a treacherous ambush, Beleg is grievously wounded. Yet with the strength of an great Elven warrior and his extraordinary healing skills, he recovers swiftly and tracks the Orcs. Meeting the escaped elven thrall Gwindor in Taur-nu-Fuin, together they rescue Túrin, with Beleg performing an heroic feat of bowmanship, slaying numerous wolf sentinels in the dark. After they carry Túrin from the Orc-camp, while removing Túrin’s bonds, Beleg accidentally cut Túrin with his sword. Túrin awakes and does not recognize Beleg in the darkness, mistaking the shape over him with a blade for an Orc. In a sudden rage of self defence, he wrests the sword from Beleg and kills him.
After a time in grief and in honour of his friend, Túrin made and sang the Laer Cú Beleg, the Song of the Great Bow.