In the Hobbit we learn that Beorn is a skin-changer.

The movie adaption implies Beorn is a member of a race of skin-changers. The book is considerably more vague on Beorn origins. Most online discussions assume there were other skin-changers.

But did Tolkien ever name any other skin-changers?

If he didn't name any individual skin-changers, did he ever describe any groups of skin changers?

  • Beorn's family.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:12
  • Did Tolkien ever specifically say Beorn's descendants inherited his skin-changing abilities?
    – Memnoch
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:16
  • I decided to remove the tolkien tag and add the-hobbit tag, as I'm trying to keep the tolkien tag consistent with other author tags, which should be limited to questions about the author themselves.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:20
  • @Edlothiad I edited the usage guidance for the 'tolkien' tag to include a warning that will show up in the tool tip when you add the tag to a question like some other author tags do. Hopefully that will help the next person not make the same mistake.
    – Memnoch
    Mar 9, 2017 at 3:12
  • I saw, but from this meta post, we're still deciding which is why I myself haven't fixed it yet, and I guess other people haven't.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 9, 2017 at 3:26

1 Answer 1


Tolkien specified Beorn's line as inheriting the trait, but as far as I recall, didn't say more after that point.

“and it is said that for many generations the men of his line had the power of taking bear’s shape, and some were grim men and bad, but most were in heart like Beorn, if less in size and strength. ”
The Hobbit: Chapter 18, The Return Journey

As @JasonBaker says below, Beorn's son, Grimbeorn, is named in the Two Towers as having been a great lord of men, and having defended his lands from Orcs.

“Frodo learned that Grimbeorn the Old, son of Beorn, was now the lord of many sturdy men, and to their land between the Mountains and Mirkwood neither orc nor wolf dared to go.”

  • 1
    "Frodo learned that Grimbeorn the Old, son of Beorn, was now the lord of many sturdy men" II.1 Mar 9, 2017 at 2:20
  • @JasonBaker, I don't understand. Is that another mention of the Beornings?
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:22
  • 2
    It's the name of Beorn's son who, according to your quote, is also a skinchanger. So the answer to "Does Tolkien ever name any skin changers other than Beorn?" would be a "Yes, and here it is" Mar 9, 2017 at 2:49
  • 1
    Oh sorry, I understand. Cheers, I wasn't really thinking.
    – Edlothiad
    Mar 9, 2017 at 2:50

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