CotW: Silmarillion XI - Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

8 views
Skip to first unread message

Odysseus

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 3:49:56 AM3/28/06
to
Chapter of the Week: _The Silmarillion_ Chapter 11
Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

Although the progression of the main story-line continues to be slow
in this chapter, it marks an important turning-point in the tale.
Most obviously, here begins the reckoning of time in ordinary days
and years; the cosmology takes on a resemblance to the world that we
know[1]. And this is the last chapter without Men in it. But perhaps
most significantly, although Aman will remain in contact with Arda
until the end of the Second Age, the chapters that follow are
concerned primarily with events that take place in Morgoth's world,
leaving the other Valar mainly on the sidelines, remote and only
occasionally intervening. One might characterize this transition as a
shift from cosmic myth into quasi-historical legend.

The story resumes where events in Valinor left off in Chapter 9. The
Valar mourn equally the loss of the Trees and the fall of Fëanor.[2]
The coming War of the Jewels is foreshadowed by the following
interesting exchange, with some applicability to all heroic tragedy:

"... at that last word of Fëanor: that at the least the Noldor should
do deeds to live in song for ever, [Manwë] raised his head, as one
that hears a voice far off, and he said: 'So shall it be! Dear-bought
those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the
price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty
not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been.'
"But Mandos said: 'And yet remains evil. To me shall Fëanor come soon.'"

Yavanna and Nienna attempt to heal the Trees without success.
However, Telperion produces a last silver flower, and Laurelin a
golden fruit, before they die. Vessels are fashioned to contain them
and Maiar appointed to steer them. Isil, the Moon, is guided by the
hunter Tilion of Oromë's host, and Anar, the Sun, by Arien of
Vána's.[3] The Moon is the first of the heavenly orbs to be launched,
dramatically rising in the west to back-light the entry of the Noldor
into Beleriand.

Initially the Sun and Moon were intended to remain in the sky at all
times, traversing back and forth from opposite horizons, but Tilion's
erratic driving[4] (causing a near miss of the Sun that scorches his
vessel) and the lack of night for dreaming or star-gazing lead Varda
to change the arrangement. The lights will now travel under the earth
after setting in the west, so as to rise again in the East. Tilion
takes all night to get there, wandering through subterranean caverns,
but Arien rests in the western ocean during the evening, illuminating
only Valinor with lingering twilight, before travelling swiftly
around through the lower heavens.

Morgoth sends "spirits of shadow" to attack the Moon, but they are
repulsed; he doesn't dare challenge Arien[5], so resorts to hiding
underground and surrounding his stronghold with smoke. The Valar also
retrench, turning the Pelori mountains into an impassable wall,
cloven only at one point opposite the Elvish city of Tirion. They
turn the seas off the coasts of Aman and the Lonely Isle into a
labyrinth of reefs, shoals, and islands, set about with enchantments
to prevent intrusion.

Notes & discussion points:

1. The issue of Tolkien's late-formed intention to dispense with the
'flat-earth' cosmology in favour of a more realistic 'round-earth'
version has been touched on under previous chapters, but this might
be an opportune time to consider the implications. As CJRT says of
the very early but more fully elaborated version of the story in
_BoLT1_, "... it may be remarked how major a place was taken in my
father's original conception by the creation of the Sun and the Moon
and the government of their motions: the astronomical myth is central
to the whole. Afterwards it was steadily diminished, until in the
end, perhaps, it would have disappeared altogether." I share the
sentiment expressed by others that it would be a shame to lose the
picturesque myth of the formation of the Sun and Moon from the flower
and fruit of the Trees, or even to see it relegated to a mere 'just
so story' made up by Men.

2. The reason given is Fëanor's unfulfilled potential as a creator of
beautiful things. Note that his lost gifts came originally from Eru,
while the Trees, irreplaceable though they may be, were works of the Valar.

3(a). One might compare these two to the Greek Artemis and Apollo,
but with reversed sexes. We tend to see the Sun as masculine and the
Moon as feminine, but this is far from universal: cf. the Babylonian
moon-god Sin and the Japanese sun-goddess Amaterasu for a couple of
diverse examples. A particularly fierce solar diety was the Egyptian
lion-goddess Sekh(m)et, avenger of the gods, personifying the burning
heat of the afternoon. In German (unlike the Romance languages) the
grammatical gender of the Moon is masculine (_der Mond_) and the Sun
feminine (_die Sonne_). Is that true of any other Germanic languages?
Old Englsh?

3(b). The description of Arien is interesting; she's said to be a
spirit of fire who didn't follow Melkor--implying that most such
did--and that she abandoned her earthly guise to appear "as a naked
flame, terrible in the fullness of her splendour." Does that mean
she's the same in essence as a Balrog? Does she have wings? ;)
Conversely, might this imply that Balrogs are equipped with fusion reactors?

4. In contrast to Tolkien's depiction of Tirion as "wayward and
uncertain in speed, and [holding] not his appointed path" I'm
reminded of the Egyptian lunar diety Djehwty (known as Thoth to the
Greeks), who was the supreme regulator and judge of time and the calendar.

5. Late 'round-world' sketches in _MR_ have Morgoth defeating Tilion,
leaving the Moon a lifeless hulk, and then ravishing Arien (Árië),
driving her from Arda and marring the Sun itself, but being burned
permanently black in the process.

--
Odysseus

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 8:14:30 AM3/28/06
to
Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:49:56 GMT from Odysseus <odysseus1479-at@yahoo-
dot.ca>:

> One might compare these two to the Greek Artemis and Apollo,
> but with reversed sexes. We tend to see the Sun as masculine and the
> Moon as feminine, but this is far from universal:

I remember in LotR that Tolkien made a special point of this
difference. There's a footnote to Frodo's song at the Prancing Pony,
"Elves (and Hobbits) always refer to the Sun as She." At the time, I
assumed it was just a linguistic peculiarity thrown in by Tolkien;
but with this chapter of Silm I saw the deeper reason behind it.

Quiz: I found three places apart from Frodo's song where a character
uses the feminine pronoun to refer to the Sun. Can you find them? Can
you find any that I missed?

Aragorn refers to the moon as "he" when the three remaining of the
Company are deciding whether to follow Frodo and Sam or Merry and
Pippin, Sam does the same in "The Taming of Smeagol", and Faramir
does so in "The Forbidden Pool".

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 8:21:30 AM3/28/06
to
Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:49:56 GMT from Odysseus <odysseus1479-at@yahoo-
dot.ca>:
> 3(b). The description of Arien is interesting; she's said to be a
> spirit of fire who didn't follow Melkor--implying that most such
> did--and that she abandoned her earthly guise to appear "as a naked
> flame, terrible in the fullness of her splendour." Does that mean
> she's the same in essence as a Balrog? Does she have wings? ;)
> Conversely, might this imply that Balrogs are equipped with fusion reactors?

I think she is an unfallen Balrog -- i.e., if she had fallen into
evil she would have been a Balrog. She's the only instance of an
unfallen Balrog that we know; I wonder how many others there might
have been who did not come into the story.

Somewhere in HoME, I believe, is traced Tolkien's various conjectures
concerning the total number of Balrogs. At one point there were many;
at another there were only seven in all.

But her radiance can't have been anything like the radiance of the
Sun, or they would have just put her in the sky alone with no need
for the golden fruit. I read this passage as saying that since she
herself is "made" of fire, she can be close to the great heat of the
Sun without being harmed.

This makes me wonder: if _one_ fruit of Laurelin is so bright and so
hot that it can scorch and disfigure the Moon, how could Valinor have
remained green and pleasant when the golden tree was in full flower?
The only explanation I can come up with is that this last fruit was
somehow a mutant, almost a cancerous growth as a result of the poison
injected by Ungoliant.

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 8:25:41 AM3/28/06
to
Thanks to Odysseus for posting.

Just some general comments: does anybody but me see the Valar as
absolutely terrified? Look at what they did: they raised the eastern
mountains to impassable heights, and they put all sorts of
navigational hazards in the way of anyone coming from Middle-earth?

What were they so afraid of? They already knew they could conquer
Melkor.

And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
implied by Manwe's comment about songs? Surely not, considering
Mandos' "if Eru had made thee thrice greater than thou art" in
Chapter 9.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 3:49:42 PM3/28/06
to
Stan Brown wrote:

<snip>

> Quiz: I found three places apart from Frodo's song where a character
> uses the feminine pronoun to refer to the Sun. Can you find them? Can
> you find any that I missed?

I found one from Bombadil:

"Sun won't show her face much today, I'm thinking. I have been walking
wide, leaping on the hilltops, since the grey dawn began, nosing wind
and weather, wet grass underfoot, wet sky above me." (In the House of
Tom Bombadil)

And one by Gollum is near the beginning of the story (as related by
Gandalf in
the 'Shadow of the Past' chapter):

"One day it was very hot, and as he was bending over a pool, he felt a
burning on the back of his head) and a dazzling light from the water
pained his wet eyes. He wondered at it, for he had almost forgotten
about the Sun. Then for the last time he looked up and shook his fist at
her." (The Shadow of the Past)

Strangely though, Gollum also calls the Sun "Yellow Face" and "it":

"I will stay here, and the Yellow Face won't see me. [...] You are not
wise to be glad of the Yellow Face [...] It shows you up." (The Passage
of the Marshes)

Though later, the narrator refers to the Sun as feminine:

"Far above the rot and vapours of the world the Sun was riding high and
golden now in a serene country with floors of dazzling foam, but only a
passing ghost of her could they see below, bleared, pale, giving no
colour and no warmth. But even at this faint reminder of her presence
Gollum scowled and flinched." (The Passage of the Marshes)

And I've just remembered the most memorable quote where the Sun is
referred to as feminine! I really should have got this one earlier:

"I [Legolas] have not brought the Sun. She is walking in the blue fields
of the South, and a little wreath of snow on this Redhorn hillock
troubles her not at all." (The Ring Goes South)

So that's four so far. Were your three in there?

> Aragorn refers to the moon as "he" when the three remaining of the
> Company are deciding whether to follow Frodo and Sam or Merry and
> Pippin

That misled me for a long while! It is actually where they are deciding
whether to continue chasing Merry and Pippin's captors through the
night:

"[Aragorn:] If the Moon gave enough light, we would use it, but alas! he
sets early and is yet young and pale. [Gimli:] And tonight he is
shrouded anyway." (The Riders of Rohan)

Unless this is different from the example you meant?

> Sam does the same in "The Taming of Smeagol"

And Frodo as well:

"[Sam:] And the Moon's growing. We haven't seen him for a night or two
in this cloudy weather. He's beginning to give quite a light. [Frodo:]
Yes, but he won't be full for some days." (The Taming of Smeagol)

> and Faramir does so in "The Forbidden Pool".

That is a really nice turn of phrase:

"Moonset over Gondor. Fair Ithil as he goes from Middle-earth, glances
upon the white locks of old Mindolluin." (The Forbidden Pool)

Gollum calls the Moon "the White Face" and "it" in various places, such
as in this example:

"The big lights hurt our eyes, they do [...] Not under the White Face,
not yet. It will go behind the hills soon, yess. Rest a bit first, nice
hobbits!" (The Taming of Smeagol)

But I can't find an example of Gollum using "he" to refer to the Moon.

Eomer refers to the Moon as masculine here:

"Before the night of the third day from now we should come to the Hold.
The Moon will then be one night past his full, and the muster that the
king commanded will be held the day after." (The Passing of the Grey
Company)

So that is an extra Moon example.

I am sure there are plenty of other examples of the Sun and Moon being
referred to as feminine and masculine, though, in general, the Sun and
Moon seem to be mostly referred to as "it". Though whether this is a
distinction drawn between the narrator and characters, I'm not sure.
There is at least one example of the narrator using "she" to refer to
the Sun, as I give above.

Thanks for bringing this up as a quiz question. I think it makes a very
good quiz question, combining memorable and obscure quotes. I hope you
don't mind if I add it to my list of possible quiz questions for any
future quizzes I do?

Christopher

--
---
Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard

Raven

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 5:47:18 PM3/28/06
to
"Odysseus" <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> skrev i en meddelelse
news:4428F859...@yahoo-dot.ca...

> In German (unlike the Romance languages) the grammatical gender of the
> Moon is masculine (_der Mond_) and the Sun feminine (_die Sonne_). Is
> that true of any other Germanic languages?

It is true in Norwegian, or those dialects which have retained all three
grammatical genders: der Mond = Månen, die Sonne = Sola. Perhaps the
difference comes from the Sun being seen in the south as strong and
occasionally harsh, and in the north as a warm life-giver, missed when
distant in winter. I have certainly missed her over the past half year and
longer. :-)
What of the Slavonic languages?

Rabe.


Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 8:07:37 PM3/28/06
to
Odysseus <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week: _The Silmarillion_ Chapter 11
> Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

<snip>

> The story resumes where events in Valinor left off in Chapter 9. The
> Valar mourn equally the loss of the Trees and the fall of Fëanor.[2]
> The coming War of the Jewels is foreshadowed by the following
> interesting exchange, with some applicability to all heroic tragedy:
>
> "... at that last word of Fëanor: that at the least the Noldor should
> do deeds to live in song for ever, [Manwë] raised his head, as one
> that hears a voice far off, and he said: 'So shall it be! Dear-bought
> those songs shall be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the
> price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty
> not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have
> been.' "But Mandos said: 'And yet remains evil. To me shall Fëanor
> come soon.'"

You say this sort of thing has some applicability to all heroic tragedy.
I couldn't agree more, as this passage reminded me of a passage I read
in 'The Tale of Troy' (Roger Lancelyn Green's retelling of the Trojan
story).

Zeus (king of the Gods) has just heard found out how to avert his doom,
and in a moment of relieved joy seems to decide to celebrate thus:

"It is in my mind to cause the great and glorious war of Troy, that
shall be famous to the end of time. Famous too shall be the name of the
heroes who fight at Troy, but with them the Age of Heroes shall end, and
the Iron Age of ordinary men shall follow." (The Tale of Troy, retold by
Roger Lancelyn Green)

It is the "famous to the end of time" bit that resonates, for me, with
Feanor's prophetic doom that the Noldor will do deeds to "live in song
forever", and Manwe's subsequent acceptance of that doom (maybe hearing
Eru's voice far off).

But the differences are also compelling. The Greek gods are callous and
uncaring. The Valar are compassionate and Manwe weeps for the marring of
Feanor. There may be similarities as well. It might not be too much of a
stretch to see the many years the Noldor spend campaigning in Beleriand
as being like the Greeks campaigning for years in Troy (as the Greeks
are mortal, they couldn't take hundreds of years over it as the Elves
did). Like the Trojan heroes, maybe the names of the Elves that fought
and fell in the wars of Beleriand were venerated forever by the Noldor
in song. Much as the names of the Trojan heroes were sung for centuries
by the Homeric bards, and are still known to us today.

The bit about the Iron Age of ordinary men is probably more related to
Tolkien's transition from Third Age to Fourth Age. I realise that
passing from a Golden Age to a diminished future is a common theme in
mythologies, but I reckon all this lodged in Tolkien's mind, and he
consciously and maybe even unconsciously drew on it when writing his
mythology.

The final comment I want to make here is that, as I look at the two
books I have here, 'The Silmarillion' and 'The Tale of Troy', I realise
now, as I never did before, that 'The Silmarillion' truly is a mythology
in all senses of the word. It may be entirely fictional, but it draws
heavily on the traditions and forms of 'real' mythologies. I don't
think that 'The Silmarillion' would be at all out of place on a shelf
next to the Iliad and the Odyssey in a "mythology" section of a bookshop
or library.

<snip>

> 5. Late 'round-world' sketches in _MR_ have Morgoth defeating Tilion,
> leaving the Moon a lifeless hulk, and then ravishing Arien (Árië),
> driving her from Arda and marring the Sun itself, but being burned
> permanently black in the process.

Wow! Was this with the Trees coming before or after the Sun and Moon?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 8:22:13 PM3/28/06
to
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

<snip>

> And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
> basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
> implied by Manwe's comment about songs?

At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
interfering any more than they already have.

I think they were quite content to let the story unfold a bit more, and
wait and see what they should do next. A few centuries or more and
things might become clearer. In the end, if all the spirits of Elves and
Men and Dwarves and Ainur and all creatures great and small, return to
Eru at the End, then it is more about how the story unfolds, the
artistry of the creation, rather than how many people die here, or how
many people die there.

After all, if you step in and make things "better" here, where do you
stop. In the end you have to micromanage everything and there is no free
will left.

Morgil

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 9:22:39 PM3/28/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>>And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
>>basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
>>implied by Manwe's comment about songs?
>
>
> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
> choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
> beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
> interfering any more than they already have.

Humans. They knew humans were coming, but they didn't know
where or when, and they were afraid that if they would tear
up half of Middle-Earth again, they would accidetally squash
all humans in the process. Eru later critisizes them for the
lack of Estel to do what needed to be done and trust Eru
to make sure his creations would survive.

Morgil

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 10:08:02 PM3/28/06
to
Wed, 29 Mar 2006 01:22:13 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> > And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
> > basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
> > implied by Manwe's comment about songs?
>
> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
> choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
> beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
> interfering any more than they already have.

Not "why didn't they go after him (Feanor)?", but "why didn't they go
after him (Melkor)?"

Odysseus

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 10:24:17 PM3/28/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
[the Valar]

>
> > And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
> > basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
> > implied by Manwe's comment about songs?

(piggybacking)

I think it wasn't so much that the Noldor were expected to be able to
solve the Melkor problem, but that they had in effect laid claim to
it--or at least Fëanor had done so on their behalf--in such a way
that any assistance from the Valar would only create further
conflict. With Fëanor's oath in the air, were the Valar to forcibly
recover the Silmarils, would they then be facing a war with the
Noldor that they might only end by exterminating
(neutralizing?--sending to Mandos) the covenanters and all their heirs?

>
> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
> choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
> beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
> interfering any more than they already have.
>
> I think they were quite content to let the story unfold a bit more, and
> wait and see what they should do next. A few centuries or more and
> things might become clearer. In the end, if all the spirits of Elves and
> Men and Dwarves and Ainur and all creatures great and small, return to
> Eru at the End, then it is more about how the story unfolds, the
> artistry of the creation, rather than how many people die here, or how
> many people die there.

The Valar were also burdened with the knowledge that Eru had plans
for Middle-earth, yet unmanifest, concerning the second race of Children.

"[...] And it is said indeed that, even as the Valar made war upon
Melkor for the sake of the Quendi, so now for the time they forbore
for the sake of the Hildor, the Aftercomers, the younger Children of
Ilúvatar. For so grievous had been the hurts of Middle-earth in the
war upon Utumno that the Valar feared lest even worse should now
befall; whereas the Hildor should be mortal, and weaker than the
Quendi to withstand fear and tumult. Moreover it was not revealed to
Manwë where the beginning of Men should be [...]."

That goes a long way toward explaining their reluctance to meddle
with developments there. OTOH they take a posture so defensive as to
seem almost paranoid. Could they be expecting something even worse
than Ungoliant in the next assault?

> After all, if you step in and make things "better" here, where do you
> stop. In the end you have to micromanage everything and there is no free
> will left.

Sound Catholic theology, no doubt. :p But the Valar did sometimes
step in: they'd already tried reforming Melkor with negative
reinforcement once, and of course they would eventually put their
collective foot down with some emphasis, at the end of the First Age.
So I think the question remains valid for this episode in particular,
regardless of their general policy or moral stance.

--
Odysseus

Jim Heckman

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 10:48:24 PM3/28/06
to

On 28-Mar-2006, "Raven" <jonlennar...@damn.get2net.that.dk.spam>
wrote in message <UbkWf.162$DO7...@news.get2net.dk>:

I don't know about other Slavonic languages, but in Russian, which
retains three genders, <sólnce> 'sun' is neuter and <luná> 'moon'
(obviously related to the Romance terms--perhaps borrowed from
Latin?) is feminine.

There's also <mésjac> 'month', masculine, which can also mean moon
when used figuratively. Without actually researching the question,
my guess is that some word cognate with <mésjac>, perhaps even an
earlier version of <mésjac> itself, was once the "native" term for
'moon' (not surprisingly, 'month' < 'moon' is a very common
development in many languages, not just English), at some point
supplanted by the presumed loanword <luná> in its literal sense.

--
Jim Heckman

Odysseus

unread,
Mar 28, 2006, 11:25:47 PM3/28/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
>
> Odysseus <odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:
> > Chapter of the Week: _The Silmarillion_ Chapter 11
> > Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

<snip>

> > 5. Late 'round-world' sketches in _MR_ have Morgoth defeating Tilion,


> > leaving the Moon a lifeless hulk, and then ravishing Arien (Árië),
> > driving her from Arda and marring the Sun itself, but being burned
> > permanently black in the process.
>
> Wow! Was this with the Trees coming before or after the Sun and Moon?

After: if you haven't read _Morgoth's Ring_ (HoME X), hang onto your
seat! Text II in "Myths Transformed" (_MR_ pt.V), probably dating to
the late 1950s, begins, "The Making of the Sun and Moon *must* occur
long before the coming of the Elves; and *cannot* be made to be after
the death of the Two Trees--if that occured in any connexion with the
sojourn of the Noldor in Valinor."

Melkor's interference with the celestial bodies is here part of his
contesting the rulership of Eä as described in the last part of the
_Ainulindalë_, corresponding to primordial state of the Earth and
solar system before it became habitable. After Melkor's first
expulsion from the world, the Valar make the Moon as "a subsidiary
light to mitigate night (as Melkor had made it), and also a 'vessel
of watch and ward' to circle the world. But Melkor gathered in the
Void spirits of cold &c. and suddenly assailed it, driving out the
Vala Tirion." The Sun-Vala is now called Áren, "a maiden whom Melkor
endeavoured to make his spouse (or ravished); she went up in a flame
of wrath and anguish and her spirit was released from Eä [...] The
Sun remained a Lonely Fire, polluted by Melkor, but after the death
of the Two Trees Tilion returned to the Moon, which remained
therefore an enemy of Melkor and his servants [...]." The Two Trees
are made later, charged with Primeval Light (meanining untainted by
Melkor, I guess) from Varda's store.

In one of the _Ainulindalë_ texts in _MR_ there's quite a different
story, in which Melkor makes the Moon as a base for observation of,
and interference with, events on Earth; in driving him out the Valar
blast the satellite into its present sterile condition. Plenty of
surprises in this book!

--
Odysseus

Robinsons

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 1:54:28 AM3/29/06
to
Odysseus wrote:

> In one of the _Ainulindalė_ texts in _MR_ there's quite a different


> story, in which Melkor makes the Moon as a base for observation of,
> and interference with, events on Earth; in driving him out the Valar
> blast the satellite into its present sterile condition. Plenty of
> surprises in this book!

I think I remember that from the movie version! (Rewinds) yes, here it is:

GANDALF: I have no memory of this place.

GIMLI: I assurrre you, this is the fabled home of the dwarves.
My cousin Balin should give us a rrroyal welcome.

GANDALF: I don't understand, my charts say the Doors of Durin should be right here!

LEGOLAS: Isildin... it mirrors only starlight and moonlight.

GIMLI: Perhaps if we move closer to that small moon.

BOROMIR: That is no moon!!!

ARAGORN: I've got a bad feeling about this.

BOROMIR: We should never have come to this place.
We make for the Gap of Rohan. Now get out, all of you!

WATCHER: Aaaaargh!

GANDALF: It's some kind of tractor beam!

Odysseus

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:06:17 AM3/29/06
to
Stan Brown wrote:
>
> Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:49:56 GMT from Odysseus <odysseus1479-at@yahoo-
> dot.ca>:
> > 3(b). The description of Arien is interesting; she's said to be a
> > spirit of fire who didn't follow Melkor--implying that most such
> > did--and that she abandoned her earthly guise to appear "as a naked
> > flame, terrible in the fullness of her splendour." Does that mean
> > she's the same in essence as a Balrog? Does she have wings? ;)
> > Conversely, might this imply that Balrogs are equipped with fusion reactors?
>
> I think she is an unfallen Balrog -- i.e., if she had fallen into
> evil she would have been a Balrog. She's the only instance of an
> unfallen Balrog that we know; I wonder how many others there might
> have been who did not come into the story.

Levity aside, I agree. Do we know of any other Maiar affiliated to
Vána?

> Somewhere in HoME, I believe, is traced Tolkien's various conjectures
> concerning the total number of Balrogs. At one point there were many;
> at another there were only seven in all.

In _BoLT_ II, referring to passages in "The Fall of Gondolin" like
"upon [artificial monsters made of flame] rode the Balrogs in
hundreds" and "[Tuor's household guard] swept again much of the
square, and of the Balrogs slew even two score", Christopher Tolkien
notes, "The idea that Morgoth disposed a 'host' of Balrogs endured
long, but in a late note my father said that only very few ever
existed--'at most seven'." (p.213)

> But her radiance can't have been anything like the radiance of the
> Sun, or they would have just put her in the sky alone with no need
> for the golden fruit. I read this passage as saying that since she
> herself is "made" of fire, she can be close to the great heat of the
> Sun without being harmed.
>
> This makes me wonder: if _one_ fruit of Laurelin is so bright and so
> hot that it can scorch and disfigure the Moon, how could Valinor have
> remained green and pleasant when the golden tree was in full flower?
> The only explanation I can come up with is that this last fruit was
> somehow a mutant, almost a cancerous growth as a result of the poison
> injected by Ungoliant.

I thought of them more as extremely concentrated than anything else,
but CJRT may have had thoughts along the lines you suggest. In his
commentary to the earliest (ca.1920) "Tale of the Sun and Moon",
remarking on the extraordinarily vivid and picturesque way in which
his father described light (and other substances) in the tale, he writes:

"As a result of this fullness and intensity of description, the
origin of the Sun and Moon in the last fruit and last flower of the
Trees has less of mystery than in the succinct and beautiful language
of _The Silmarillion_: but also much is said here to emphasize the
great size of the 'Fruit of Noon', and the increase in the heat and
brilliance of the Sunship after its launching, so that the reflection
rises less readily that if the Sun that brilliantly illumines the
whole Earth was but one fruit of Laurelin then Valinor must have been
painfully bright and hot in the days of the Trees. In the early story
the last outpourings of light from the dying Trees are utterly
strange and 'enormous', those of Laurelin portentious, even ominous;
the Sun is astoundingly bright and hot even to the Valar, who are
awestruck and disquieted at what has been done (the Gods knew 'that
they had done a greater thing than they at first knew', p.190); and
the anger and distress of certain of the Valar at the burning light
of the Sun enforces the feeling that in the last fruit of Laurelin a
terrible and unforeseen power has been released. This distress does
indeed survive in _The Silmarillion_ (p.100), in the reference to
'the prayers of Lórien and Estë, who said that sleep and rest had
been banished from the Earth, and the stars were hidden'; but in the
tale the blasting power of the new Sun is intensely conveyed in 'the
heat dancing above the trees' in the gardens of Lórien, the silent
nightingales, the withered poppies and the drooping evening flowers."
(_BoLT_ I, p.201)

--
Odysseus

Tamim

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 4:19:15 AM3/29/06
to
In alt.fan.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

> <snip>

>> And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
>> basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
>> implied by Manwe's comment about songs?

> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
> choice".


But that's not what happened. Melkor was one of the Ainur and not one of
the Children of Eru, so how did the children of Eru choose Melkor? As
Mandos himself said, even Feanor had no hope of defeating Morgoth.

Melkor was one of the Valar and it was their responsibility to solve the
problem that was Morgoth. "You've made your choice" would have been
acceptable logic had there been a ME version of Temur Lang, but that is
not what Morgoth was. It's Michael's job to fight Satan, our job is to
resist his temptations, not to defeat him.

And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
> beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
> interfering any more than they already have.

> I think they were quite content to let the story unfold a bit more, and
> wait and see what they should do next. A few centuries or more and
> things might become clearer. In the end, if all the spirits of Elves and
> Men and Dwarves and Ainur and all creatures great and small, return to
> Eru at the End, then it is more about how the story unfolds, the
> artistry of the creation, rather than how many people die here, or how
> many people die there.

> After all, if you step in and make things "better" here, where do you
> stop. In the end you have to micromanage everything and there is no free
> will left.

> Christopher

> --
> ---
> Reply clue: Saruman welcomes you to Spamgard


--

Robinsons

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 4:42:22 AM3/29/06
to
Odysseus wrote:

Wow, I never thought about this, but it is potent language. Two points
come to mind.

1. Chernobyl. "Once you let that atomic genie out of its bottle, gentlemen,
there's no turning back!" -- _Mant!_ ( from the movie _Matinee_ )

In particular, I am thinking of the "red wood" from Chernobyl (dying trees
came to mind, I guess)... The one that killed people just to look at it...
That radioactive Mitsubishi ad makes me think of this as well... creepy.

Ungoliant (or at least Baba Yaga) lives, I guess.

I find this bit about the "marred" sun and moon exceptionally powerful,
I only read the parts about the "beautiful" and detailed mythological
descriptions of the Sun-ship and Moon-ship which Tolkien initially had
in mind, which definitely seem more of a "just so story" in later telling
but it always galled me that we had nothing as interesting or fascinating
with which to replace the wonderful BOLT-description. But this idea that
the Sun was marred and sort of a radioactive byproduct of the dying Trees
is actually an incredible concept when you come to think of it, that might
allow us to salvage the BOLT story in the context of the later, more
realistic mythology.

2. Does this mean Valinor was no longer hallowed after the death of the trees?
if so it poses a bit of a problem insofar as the Elves' motivation for
returning in LOTR (not so much of a problem in BOLT and other sources, where
originally Tolkien was going to have all the Elves "fade away" after returning
on the Island Ship for some reason or another, possibly to pick up the
remaining elves (I forget), which would be stranded, possibly due to the
Anglo-Saxon invasion, and become England.

nfw

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 11:14:26 AM3/29/06
to
Odysseus a écrit :

> I think it wasn't so much that the Noldor were expected to be able to
> solve the Melkor problem, but that they had in effect laid claim to
> it--or at least Fëanor had done so on their behalf--in such a way
> that any assistance from the Valar would only create further
> conflict. With Fëanor's oath in the air, were the Valar to forcibly
> recover the Silmarils, would they then be facing a war with the
> Noldor that they might only end by exterminating
> (neutralizing?--sending to Mandos) the covenanters and all their heirs?

Indeed, reading it political, I think the Oath has much more power than
appears. It binds the sons of Fëanor to the death, but on the other
side, it prevent the Valars from any further intervention in ME. Would
they interfere without the evils of the Oath being completed, they
should only be percieved as powers such as Morgoth (who had just
decieved the Noldor especially!), willing to rule the world as their
kingdom, with the Children of Eru as servants.

They had to act differently: Respect the will of the Noldor and shut
Valinor from them, show no will to rule the world and let the Noldor put
their touch to it, be it at the cost of most of their lives, so as to
come in the end, not as rulers but as rescuing allies who alone could
mend the evil deeds of the First Age and set the cards again for a new
age of peace and freedom.

--
nfw
> Wasn't Ungoliant committed to creating a world-wide web?
sounds like the sort of evil thing she'd do. she was probably the
first spammer, too. -- Count Menelvagor in RABT--

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:24:30 PM3/29/06
to
Tamim <hall...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In alt.fan.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>
> wrote:
>> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
>> <snip>
>
>>> And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
>>> basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
>>> implied by Manwe's comment about songs?
>
>> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
>> choice".
>
> But that's not what happened. Melkor was one of the Ainur and not one
> of the Children of Eru, so how did the children of Eru choose Melkor?

I didn't mean they chose Melkor over the Valar. The way I read it, they
chose their independence over respecting the wishes of the Valar. Or
rather, the Noldor that followed Feanor chose him over the Valar, even
with the warning from the Valar that Feanor and his sons were 'persona
non grata'!

> As Mandos himself said, even Feanor had no hope of defeating Morgoth.
>
> Melkor was one of the Valar and it was their responsibility to solve
> the problem that was Morgoth. "You've made your choice" would have
> been acceptable logic had there been a ME version of Temur Lang, but
> that is not what Morgoth was. It's Michael's job to fight Satan, our
> job is to resist his temptations, not to defeat him.

I think it was more a case of: "go not forth now, for the hour is evil,
and the road is unknown and doubtless leads to some dark doom."

Feanor, and the Noldor that went with him, ignored the Valar and chose
this dark, but glorious, doom. Beyond a certain point, the Valar had to
stand back and let the "music" play out the doom. It is rather a
fatalistic viewpoint, but I think it fits in well with the concept of
doom and fate that Tuor is told about by Ulmo in /Unfinished Tales/.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:30:44 PM3/29/06
to
nfw
<brasseur...@grandefauxindustries.com.chechez-l-erreur.invalid>
wrote:

> Odysseus a écrit :
>> I think it wasn't so much that the Noldor were expected to be able to
>> solve the Melkor problem, but that they had in effect laid claim to
>> it--or at least Fëanor had done so on their behalf--in such a way
>> that any assistance from the Valar would only create further
>> conflict. With Fëanor's oath in the air, were the Valar to forcibly
>> recover the Silmarils, would they then be facing a war with the
>> Noldor that they might only end by exterminating
>> (neutralizing?--sending to Mandos) the covenanters and all their
>> heirs?
>
> Indeed, reading it political, I think the Oath has much more power
> than appears. It binds the sons of Fëanor to the death, but on the
> other side, it prevent the Valars from any further intervention in
> ME. Would they interfere without the evils of the Oath being
> completed, they should only be percieved as powers such as Morgoth
> (who had just decieved the Noldor especially!), willing to rule the
> world as their kingdom, with the Children of Eru as servants.
>
> They had to act differently: Respect the will of the Noldor and shut
> Valinor from them, show no will to rule the world and let the Noldor
> put their touch to it, be it at the cost of most of their lives, so
> as to come in the end, not as rulers but as rescuing allies who alone
> could mend the evil deeds of the First Age and set the cards again
> for a new age of peace and freedom.

Perfect! I was just marshalling my thought to say something much less
coherent than this, and you've said everything I wanted to say, and
more! :-)

I particularly like the idea of the Oath binding the Valar as well. At
least up to a point. Or maybe the only thing that can overcome it is a
personal plea on behalf of Men and Elves by someone fated to overcome
the obstacles the Valar had placed in the way of mariners attempting to
return to Aman. It is a pretty neat arrangement: set up loads of traps,
and then go off and have a nice time. Something like a Silmaril will
trigger the alarm bells, and Earendil gets through, and that must be a
sign from Eru. So it must be OK to go and rescue Middle-earth from
Morgoth...

Tamim

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:51:40 PM3/29/06
to
In alt.fan.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
snip

> I didn't mean they chose Melkor over the Valar. The way I read it, they
> chose their independence over respecting the wishes of the Valar. Or
> rather, the Noldor that followed Feanor chose him over the Valar, even
> with the warning from the Valar that Feanor and his sons were 'persona
> non grata'!

snip

But there were other people in ME apart from the Noldor (The Various
subgroups of Teleri to begin with and later Humans). The Noldor might
have chosen to test their swords and luck* without the help of the Valar,
but the rest of the inhabitants of ME had no choice in the matter.


* And even that is not as clear as it would seem. One of the arguments
of Feanor was that Noldor had to do it because the Valar didn't. So in
fact one might reverse your argument and say that The Noldor went after
Melkor because the Valar didn't. You were OTOH saying that the Valar
didn't go because Noldor went.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:53:20 PM3/29/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

<snip>

> I think it was more a case of: "go not forth now, for the hour is


> evil, and the road is unknown and doubtless leads to some dark doom."

<snip>

I've just looked this up, and of course I was quoting from what the
Valar say in their first message to Feanor, which, IMO, explains why
they feel they can't sally forth to rescue the Noldor and the other
Elves and (later) Men of Beleriand:

"Go not forth! For the hour is evil, and your road leads to sorrow that
ye do not foresee. No aid will the Valar lend you in this quest; but
neither will they hinder you; for this ye shall know: as ye came hither
freely, freely shall ye depart. But thou Feanor Finwe's son, by thine
oath art exiled. The lies of Melkor thou shalt unlearn in bitterness."
(Of the Flight of the Noldor)

That seems pretty clear to me!

Though note that in one version of the tale of Tuor, we read this very
relevant passage concerning his meeting with Ulmo in a storm at Nevrast.
I think this passage goes a long way towards explaining the attitude of
the Valar concerning these events:

"And Ulmo spoke to Tuor of Valinor and its darkening, and the Exile of
the Noldor, and the Doom of Mandos, and the hiding of the Blessed Realm.
'But behold!' said he, 'in the armour of Fate (as the Children of Earth
name it) there is ever a rift, and in the walls of Doom a breach, until
the full-making, which ye call the End. So it shall be while I endure, a
secret voice that gainsayeth, and a light where darkness was decreed.
Therefore, though in the days of this darkness I seem to oppose the will
of my brethren, the Lords of the West, that is my part among them, to
which I was appointed ere the making of the World. Yet Doom is strong,
and the shadow of the Enemy lengthens; and I am diminished, until in
Middle-earth I am become now no more than a secret whisper. [...] And
now the Curse of Mandos hastens to its fulfilment, and all the works of
the Noldor shall perish... [...] Go now, lest the Sea devour thee! For
Osse obeys the will of Mandos, and he is wroth, being a servant of the
Doom." (Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin, Unfinished Tales)

I wrote some more on this back in October 2004:

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/alt.fan.tolkien/msg/6d4f6a728bf6f683

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 2:58:44 PM3/29/06
to
Tamim <hall...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In alt.fan.tolkien Christopher Kreuzer <spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>
> wrote: snip
>
>> I didn't mean they chose Melkor over the Valar. The way I read it,
>> they chose their independence over respecting the wishes of the
>> Valar. Or rather, the Noldor that followed Feanor chose him over the
>> Valar, even with the warning from the Valar that Feanor and his sons
>> were 'persona non grata'!
> snip
>
> But there were other people in ME apart from the Noldor (The Various
> subgroups of Teleri to begin with and later Humans). The Noldor might
> have chosen to test their swords and luck* without the help of the
> Valar, but the rest of the inhabitants of ME had no choice in the
> matter.

Maybe this was one of the wider consequences of the Oath. If all the
sons of Feanor had died really quickly in the battles, then maybe the
Valar would have come sooner. I think if no Oath, then the Valar would
have acted differently. The Oath led to the Valar warning all the
Noldor, and then again with the Prophecy of the North. You don't mess
around with Dooms like that. If the Valar had tried to interfere in that
Doom, bad things might have happened to them, Powers though they were.

> * And even that is not as clear as it would seem. One of the arguments
> of Feanor was that Noldor had to do it because the Valar didn't. So in
> fact one might reverse your argument and say that The Noldor went
after
> Melkor because the Valar didn't. You were OTOH saying that the
> Valar didn't go because Noldor went.

Simple. Feanor was wrong. :-)

nfw

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 3:21:11 PM3/29/06
to
Christopher Kreuzer a écrit :

> Perfect! I was just marshalling my thought to say something much less
> coherent than this, and you've said everything I wanted to say, and
> more! :-)

Pleased to save you some typing! :-)

> I particularly like the idea of the Oath binding the Valar as well. At
> least up to a point. Or maybe the only thing that can overcome it is a
> personal plea on behalf of Men and Elves by someone fated to overcome
> the obstacles the Valar had placed in the way of mariners attempting to
> return to Aman. It is a pretty neat arrangement: set up loads of traps,
> and then go off and have a nice time. Something like a Silmaril will
> trigger the alarm bells, and Earendil gets through, and that must be a
> sign from Eru. So it must be OK to go and rescue Middle-earth from
> Morgoth...

Isn't it significant that the very object which caused the exile also
helps the messenger to come back?

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 10:14:26 PM3/29/06
to

Odysseus wrote:
> Chapter of the Week: _The Silmarillion_ Chapter 11
> Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor

> 3(a). One might compare these two to the Greek Artemis and Apollo,


> but with reversed sexes. We tend to see the Sun as masculine and the
> Moon as feminine, but this is far from universal: cf. the Babylonian
> moon-god Sin and the Japanese sun-goddess Amaterasu for a couple of
> diverse examples. A particularly fierce solar diety was the Egyptian
> lion-goddess Sekh(m)et, avenger of the gods, personifying the burning
> heat of the afternoon. In German (unlike the Romance languages) the
> grammatical gender of the Moon is masculine (_der Mond_) and the Sun
> feminine (_die Sonne_). Is that true of any other Germanic languages?
> Old Englsh?

old english had the same genders as modern german: se mona, seo sunne.

>
> 3(b). The description of Arien is interesting; she's said to be a
> spirit of fire who didn't follow Melkor--implying that most such
> did--and that she abandoned her earthly guise to appear "as a naked
> flame, terrible in the fullness of her splendour." Does that mean
> she's the same in essence as a Balrog? Does she have wings? ;)
> Conversely, might this imply that Balrogs are equipped with fusion reactors?

she's a blood traitor. we never speak of her at family get-togethers.

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Mar 29, 2006, 10:20:00 PM3/29/06
to

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> > And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
> > basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
> > implied by Manwe's comment about songs?
>
> At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
> choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
> beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
> interfering any more than they already have.

i have a theory that it's part of the movement from "mythology" through
legend to history; the dimming of middle-earth. the third age is
already turning into mere history, but with a strong "legendary"
component remaining. the 4th age was probably depressingly similar to
history as we know it.

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 30, 2006, 8:17:26 AM3/30/06
to
Tue, 28 Mar 2006 20:49:42 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Stan Brown wrote:
> > Quiz: I found three places apart from Frodo's song where a character
> > uses the feminine pronoun to refer to the Sun. Can you find them? Can
> > you find any that I missed?

And I think we've had as many responses as there are going to be. :-)

CK and I covered this ground in e-mail in advance of his posting. He
found three references I wasn't thinking of. We found the Legolas one
in common:



> And I've just remembered the most memorable quote where the Sun is
> referred to as feminine! I really should have got this one earlier:
>
> "I [Legolas] have not brought the Sun. She is walking in the blue fields
> of the South, and a little wreath of snow on this Redhorn hillock
> troubles her not at all." (The Ring Goes South)

My other two were Ghan-buri-Ghan ("When Sun comes we feel her, even
when she is hidden.") and Merry and Pippin in Fangorn Forest before
meeting Treebeard ("The Sun must have run into a cloud while we've
been under these trees, and now she has run out again; or else she
has climbed high enough to look down through some opening.")

There's also a footnote to Frodo's song in the Prancing Pony, "Elves
(and Hobbits) always refer to the Sun as She." Even if you don't
count that as separate from the song itself, we've got seven
references. With nice symmetry there are three from me alone, three
from CK alone, and one from both of us. In story order:

Bombadil: "Sun won't show her face much today"

Frodo: "as the Sun raised her head / She hardly believed"
Gandalf: "the Sun ... shook his fist at her"
Legolas: "She is walking in the blue fields"
Merry: "she has climbed high enough"
the author: "But even at this faint reminder of her presence"
Ghan-buri-Ghan: "When Sun comes we feel her"

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 30, 2006, 8:18:37 AM3/30/06
to
Tue, 28 Mar 2006 20:49:42 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:
> And one by Gollum is near the beginning of the story (as related by
> Gandalf in the 'Shadow of the Past' chapter):
>
> "One day it was very hot, and as he was bending over a pool, he felt a
> burning on the back of his head) and a dazzling light from the water
> pained his wet eyes. He wondered at it, for he had almost forgotten
> about the Sun. Then for the last time he looked up and shook his fist at
> her." (The Shadow of the Past)
>
> Strangely though, Gollum also calls the Sun "Yellow Face" and "it":
>
> "I will stay here, and the Yellow Face won't see me. [...] You are not
> wise to be glad of the Yellow Face [...] It shows you up." (The Passage
> of the Marshes)

This doesn't have to be strange. In the first quote, Gandalf was
speaking and telling the story. He wasn't actually quoting Gollum, so
he would naturally use proper upper-class Westron. :-)

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 30, 2006, 8:22:28 AM3/30/06
to
Wed, 29 Mar 2006 11:14:26 -0500 from nfw
<brasseur...@grandefauxindustries.com.chechez-l-
erreur.invalid>:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Shouldn't the adjectives agree with their noun in number and gender?
:-)

> Indeed, reading it political, I think the Oath has much more power than
> appears. It binds the sons of Fëanor to the death, but on the other
> side, it prevent the Valars from any further intervention in ME. Would
> they interfere without the evils of the Oath being completed, they
> should only be percieved as powers such as Morgoth (who had just
> decieved the Noldor especially!), willing to rule the world as their
> kingdom, with the Children of Eru as servants.

Oh dear! I don't see how that could be. The Valar were the powers of
the world, appointed by Eru himself. No formula or words by anyone
could change that.

If you're saying that the Valar would refrain from acting because it
would be bad public relations, all I can say is that they always seem
to act in the way they think is right. They make mistakes, but not
because they're afraid what the Children of Iluvatar will think of
them.

Stan Brown

unread,
Mar 30, 2006, 8:27:38 AM3/30/06
to
Wed, 29 Mar 2006 19:58:44 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Maybe this was one of the wider consequences of the Oath. If all the
> sons of Feanor had died really quickly in the battles, then maybe the
> Valar would have come sooner. I think if no Oath, then the Valar would
> have acted differently.

I don't. The Valar let the Noldor go because the Noldor were guests
not prisoners. That was true with or without the Oath. I don't really
see what else they could have done, once the Noldor were determined
to go and rejected the advice of tehValar.

But then we come to the Valar letting Middle-earth stew in its own
juices. It's always seemed to me that the part of their motivation
was hurt feelings: "You don't want us? Very well, good riddance!"
Again, I don't think the Oath had anything to do with that. After
all, some of the sons of Feanor were still alive when the host of the
Valar reached Middle-earth. The precipitating event was Earendil's
voyage, IMHO.

Jamie Andrews; real address @ bottom of message

unread,
Mar 30, 2006, 2:19:12 PM3/30/06
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
> I don't really
> see what else they could have done, once the Noldor were determined
> to go and rejected the advice of tehValar.

Are tehValar like tehL33t? :-)

> But then we come to the Valar letting Middle-earth stew in its own
> juices. It's always seemed to me that the part of their motivation
> was hurt feelings: "You don't want us? Very well, good riddance!"
> Again, I don't think the Oath had anything to do with that. After
> all, some of the sons of Feanor were still alive when the host of the
> Valar reached Middle-earth. The precipitating event was Earendil's
> voyage, IMHO.

I think the point here is that the Valar came to save
Earendil and the people he spoke for, not the remaining sons of
Feanor (or the remaining child of Finarfin, for that matter).
Earendil not only was not stained by the Oath, he was the child
of two people who were not stained by the Oath. In fact, not
only were Idril and Tuor not stained by the Oath, they were
noted for being obedient to a Vala (Ulmo): Tuor for the obvious
reason, and Idril for causing the secret passageway to be built
to allow the escape of the remaning Gondolindrim.

So, they are continuing to "enforce" the Oath even while
saving people who do not deserve to be negatively affected by
the Oath. In fact, it seems that they continue to enforce the
Oath until the end of the Third Age, when they finally say to
Galadriel "let's let bygones be bygones".

--Jamie. (efil4dreN)
andrews .uwo } Merge these two lines to obtain my e-mail address.
@csd .ca } (Unsolicited "bulk" e-mail costs everyone.)

Chris Kern

unread,
Mar 31, 2006, 3:08:53 PM3/31/06
to
On Wed, 29 Mar 2006 01:22:13 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> posted the following:

>Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>
><snip>
>
>> And above all, why didn't they go after him right then? Were they
>> basically depending on the Noldor to bring him to heel, as possibly
>> implied by Manwe's comment about songs?
>
>At some point, even gods have to step back and say "you've made your
>choice". And the Valar did take counsel and their thought "passed back
>beyond Ea and forth to the End". So presumably they have reasons for not
>interfering any more than they already have.
>
>I think they were quite content to let the story unfold a bit more, and
>wait and see what they should do next. A few centuries or more and
>things might become clearer. In the end, if all the spirits of Elves and
>Men and Dwarves and Ainur and all creatures great and small, return to
>Eru at the End, then it is more about how the story unfolds, the
>artistry of the creation, rather than how many people die here, or how
>many people die there.

Actually in one of the essays in Morgoth's Ring, Tolkien writes that
the Valar were wrong to not attack Morgoth directly -- they should
have trusted that Eru would protect the world and his Children from
ultimate destruction.

-Chris
--
NewsGuy.Com 30Gb $9.95 Carry Forward and On Demand Bandwidth

Chris Kern

unread,
Mar 31, 2006, 3:16:58 PM3/31/06
to
On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:25:41 -0500, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:

>And above all, why didn't they go after him right then?

"If we consider the situation after the escape of Morgoth and the
reestablishment of his abode in Middle-earth, we shall see that the
heroic Noldor were the best possible weapon with which to keep Morgoth
at bay, virtually besieged, and at any rate fully occupied, on the
northern fringe of Middle-earth, without provoking him to a frenzy of
nihilistic destruction.
....
"The last intervention with physical force by the Valar, ending in the
breaking of Thangorodrim, may then be viewed as not in fact reluctant
or even unduly delayed, but timed with precision. The intervention
came before the annihilation of the Eldar and the Edain. Morgoth
though locally triumphant had neglected most of Middle-earth during
the war; and by it he had in fact been _weakened_: in power and
prestige (he had lost and failed to recover one of the Silmarils), and
above all in mind...the war was successful, and ruin was limited to
the small (if beautiful) region of Beleriand. Morgoth was thus
actually _made captive in physical form_..."
(Morgoth's Ring, 403)

In another post I said that the Valar should have attacked earlier,
but the reference is apparently to the *first* attack on Melkor --
they should have removed him long before the Children awoke,
apparently.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Mar 31, 2006, 6:06:10 PM3/31/06
to
Chris Kern <chris...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:25:41 -0500, Stan Brown
> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:
>
>> And above all, why didn't they go after him right then?

<snip quote>

Well, that explains that, then! It looks like that quote from Morgoth's
Ring fully answers the question Stan posed. Thanks, Chris, for posting
the quote.

Though now I am wondering if the Valar could would be able to explain
why a certain Balrog eluded them at the overthrow of Thangorodrim... All
part of the big plan I suppose! :-)


Morgoth's Curse

unread,
May 25, 2006, 11:27:26 PM5/25/06
to
On Wed, 29 Mar 2006 03:24:17 GMT, Odysseus
<odysseu...@yahoo-dot.ca> wrote:

>That goes a long way toward explaining their reluctance to meddle
>with developments there. OTOH they take a posture so defensive as to
>seem almost paranoid. Could they be expecting something even worse
>than Ungoliant in the next assault?

Well, we must recall that even two of the Valar's mightiest
warriors--Tulkas and Orome--were helpless against the darkness of
Ungoliant. I think that the fact that Ungoliant's existence and power
was totally unexpected was what truly terrified the Valar. What other
secrets weapons might Melkor hold in reserve? If Melkor could
accomplish as much as he had with just the aid of Ungoliant, then the
Valar were fully justified in turning Valinor into an impregnable
fortress.

Morgoth's Curse

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages