CotW Silm - Ainulindale

40 views
Skip to first unread message

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 2:00:07 PM10/25/05
to
Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'

This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups' 'Chapter
of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the CotW
homepage at <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>.


'Ainulindalë' -- The music of the Ainur.

The cycles begin with a cosmogonical myth: the /Music of
the Ainur/. God and the Valar (or powers: Englished as gods)
are revealed. These latter are as we should say angelic
powers, whose function is to exercise delegated authority
in their spheres (of rule and government, /not/ creation,
making or re-making). They are 'divine', that is, were
originally 'outside' and existed 'before' the making of the
world. Their power and wisdom is derived from their
Knowledge of the cosmogonical drama, which they perceived
first as a drama (that is as in a fashion we perceive a
story composed by some-one else), and later as a 'reality'.
[J.R.R. Tolkien in Letter #131, To Milton Waldman (probably written
late in 1951)]

This, /Ainulindalë/, then, is the cosmogenetic myth of Middle-earth,
and it has a very interesting textual history [1] that goes back even
to The Book of Lost Tales, written before the end of the War in 1918.

A list of references to volumes of the /History of Middle-earth/
series with abbreviations can be found in the bottom of this post.
Unmarked quotations are from the text of this chapter from the
published Silmarillion (second edition).

This text is one of the texts that have changed the least from the
earliest versions to the published Silmarillion, showing the continuity
in the development of Tolkien's legendarium.

Christopher Tolkien, in BoLT1, wrote

In later years the Creation myth was revised and
rewritten over and over again; but it is notable that in
this case only and in contrast to the development of the
rest of the mythology there is a direct tradition,
manuscript to manuscript, from the earliest draft to the
final version: each text is directly based on the one
preceding. Moreover, and most remarkably, the earliest
version, writtten when my father was 27 or 28 and embedded
still in the Cottage of Lost Play, was so evolved in its
conception that it underwent little change of an essential
kind. There were indeed very many changes, which can be
followed stage by stage through the successive texts, and
much new matter came in; but the fall of the original
sentences can continually be recognised in the last version
of the /Ainulindalë/, written more than thirty years later,
and even many phrases survived.
[BoLT1, 'The Music of the Ainur' (Commentary on ...)]


Summary:

First Eru Ilúvatar [2] created the Ainur [3] and they were happy in the
Timeless Halls.

Then, 'it came to pass that Ilúvatar' called a grand assembly of the
Ainur and sang/played a wonderful theme to them. This theme was,
however, more than just another pretty tune, and He instructed the
Ainur to make 'in harmony together a Great Music' of it.[4]

The Ainur begin their music, and all is well for a while (never again,
until after the end and at a new beginning), until Melkor got creative,
and begain to make discord.[5][6][8] Melkor's discord spread, and
things began to get out of hand -- a bit further than that, perhaps ('a
raging storm ... made war ... endless wrath ... not be assuaged.')[9]

Now, Eru can't be happy about this, but He still smiled when He rose
(in A He 'smiled sadly'), and He expounded a second theme, which Melkor
proceeded to treat as He did the first, until 'again there was a war of
sound more violent than before ...'

Eru then arose for the second time (He had been sitting when He
expounded the first theme) with a stern face (in BoLT He was weeping),
to expound the third theme. The same happens, and He rises again 'and
his face was terrible to behold. Then He raised up both his hands, and

in one chord, [...], the Music ceased.' [10]

In the following silence Eru spoke to the Ainur, wanting to remind them
just who He was ('that He may know, and all the Ainur, that I am
Ilúvatar') by showing them a vision of their song. Before doing that,
however, He makes the 'he that attempteth this(*) shall prove but mine
instrument' speech.[11][12]
(*) I.e. 'alter the Music in [Eru's] despite'

Eru proceeds to show the Ainur a vision of the world / Song, and as He
does that, He speaks to them. 'And many other things Ilúvatar spoke to
the Ainur at that time, and because of their memory of his words, and
the knowledge that each has of the music that He himself made, the
Ainur know much of what was, and is, and is to come, and few things
are unseen by them.'[13]

Already during the Vision 'the Ainur saw that it contained things
which they had not thought' so they must be quickly aware that Eru had
ideas with this that went beyond what He had revealed in the Music.
'And they saw with amazement the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar,
and the habitation that was prepared for them;'

The Children of Ilúvatar, or Eruhíni, become of prime importance as a
motivating force in the mythology:

But when the Ainur had beheld this habitation in a vision
and had seen the Children of Ilúvatar arise therein, then
many of the most mighty among them bent all their thought
and their desire towards that place.

Nearly everything that follows can be traced back to this -- Melkor
wanted to dominate the Eruhíni, and the other Valar wanted to help and
care for them.

Now, the Ainur noted many of the wonders about the habitation of the
Eruhíni, light (including colours), air and, as we might have guessed,
particularly water, in which, says the Eldar, 'there lives yet the echo
of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in
this Earth'[14]

Water is also here used for an object lesson. Ulmo had turned his
thought to water [15] as Manwë had to air, and Eru now points out to
Ulmo how Melkor's 'war upon thy [Ulmo's] province' has not only made it
much more beautiful, but also drawn him nearer to his good friend,
Manwë. The primary target of this lesson, however, must be Melkor (and
those who would follow him in Eru's despite): a practical demonstration
of what Eru meant by 'he that attempteth this shall prove but mine
instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself
hath not imagined.'[16]

We then get to the last part of this tale. We have covered the
'design-phase' (the actual Music with its three themes and final
chord) and the 'review-phase' (the vision with its comments and
object-lessons), and now we get to the actual implementation, where Eru
speaks the word, '/Eä!/', which means 'Let it Be!' (it is interpreted
in the text as 'Let these things Be!'), which imperative also became
the proper name of the Creation (the universe).

The remainder of the Ainulindalë is then concerned with the entrance of
some of the Ainur into Eä.[17] The Valar enter into the Creation at the
beginning of time [18] and they discover that what Eru had created was
the potential, and that they had to achieve that which had been
foresung and foreshadowed in Song and Vision.

So began their great labours in wastes unmeasured and
unexplored, and in ages uncounted and forgotten, until in
the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the vast halls of Eä
there came to be that hour and that place where was made
the habitation of the Children of Ilúvatar.

The chief workers in this part of the creation process were Manwë, Ulmo
and Aulë, but also Melkor was 'there from first' intefering and serving
his own purposes, and he wanted to take it to be his kingdom, though it
was made to be the habitation of the Eruhíni. So therefore the others
drove Melkor out of Arda (but not out of Eä), 'he did not put the
desire of the Kingdom of Arda from his heart.'

The Valar took 'shape and hue'[19] gathered some companions [17], and
together they strove to finish the shaping of Arda, but Melkor came
back, and then there were the first battle of the Valar against Melkor
[20], but slowly the world took shape.


Comments and questions

Why is this text so special within the legendarium? Why does this very
central text undergo so little change to the basic structure and
central elements?

What is the 'Flame Imperishable'? Eru had kindled it in the Ainur,
Melkor sought it in vain because he wanted to create things of his own,
Eru sent it out in the void to create Eä and in some of the writings in
/Myths Transformed/ (MR) Eru gave/lend some of it to Varda, but Aulë
didn't have it when he created the Dwarves. It seems related to
creative power, but how?

In C*, the round world version, the main differences with the published
version (in this part of the tale) is in a couple of references to the
Sun being a part of the original set-up.

In A and B, after the Valar has left from the Timeless Halls, Eru
declared his gifts to the Children of Ilúvatar:

'Behold I love the world, and it is a hall of play for
Eldar and Men who are my beloved. But when the Eldar come
they will be the fairest and the most lovely of all things
by far; and deeper in the knowledge of beauty, and happier
than Men. But to Men I will give a new gift, and a
greater.' Therefore he devised that Men should have a free
virtue whereby within the limits of the powers and
substances and chances of the world they might fashion and
design their life beyond even the original Music of the
Ainur that is as fate to all things else.


Numbered notes, comments, questions, etc.

[1] I have located the following versions in HoMe:

A(draft) -- Draft version of the version given in BoLT
A -- The version given in BoLT. Differences to the draft are
given (1918 - 1920)
B -- 'Flat World Version', supposedly the version given in LR
(I don't have that one) (the thirties)
C* -- MR, 'Round World Version' (c. 1946?)
C -- MR, a new flat world version based on B, but
incorporating some ideas from C* (c. 1948-49?)
D -- MR, a further development of C (c. 1949-1950?)

In MR, CT judges C* to have been in existence in 1948, but not C,
while he also thinks that both C and D were completed before 1951.
That is about as close as he gets, as far as I can see.

The version tree, then, should look something like this:

------ > C ---> D
/ .
A(draft) ---> A ---> B .
\ .
--> C*


[2] In A(draft), Eru is usually called 'Ilu' but also sometmes
'Ilúvatar', but 'Ilúvatar' in A. In C*, C and D he is apparently
still Ilúvatar, but on a list titled 'Alterations in last revision
1951.' appear 'Eru = Ilúvatar', which probably prompted the use in
the published version, 'Eru who in Arda is called Ilúvatar'.


[3] In BoLT we have 'he sang into being the Ainur first', putting an
even stronger emphasis on the Creative power of Song in the
mythology.


[4] Ilúvatar's instruction to the Ainur, especially the last sentence
of it, is one of the places where the continuity of this text can be
clearly seen.

The Silmarillion as published has:
Then Ilúvatar said to them: 'Of the theme that I have
declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony
together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with
the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in
adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and
devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be
glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into
song.'

The same passage in BoLT (version A) reads:
Then said Ilúvatar: '[...] It is my desire now that ye
make a great and glorious music and a singing of this
threme; and (seeing that I have taught you much and set
brightly the Secret Fire within you) that ye exercise your
minds and powers in adorning the theme to you own thoughts
and devising. But I will sit and hearken and be glad that
through you I have made much beauty to come to Song.'

The last sentence is clearly one of the places where the 'fall of
the original sentences can be recognised'. The first twelve words
are identical, and the last third of the sentence is still
recognisable. The change from 'much' to 'great' beauty is
unimportant, I think, and I am not sure that the change from 'to
come to Song' and to 'been wakened into song' is significant,
although the latter wording seems to suggest something a bit more
more than just music -- 'awakened into song', to me, suggests
something which is more real than just song ...
The big difference is, however, in the removal of the earlier
wording of, 'through you /I have made/' (my emphasis). In the early
version we see Ilúvatar asserting himself as the Primary Cause at
this point.


[5] Now, Melkor is not just some second-rank Ainu, 'To Melkor among
the Ainur had been given the greatest gifts of power and knowledge,
and he had a share in all the gifts of his brethren.' That's first
class power, that. This is in good agreement with the traditions
which equates Satan with Lucifer, the fallen angel who was the most
prominent angel prior to his fall (the greater gifts leading also to
greater temptations, perhaps?)
Would someone care to comment more on the Fallen Angel theme?
Possibly there is also a relation to letter #131, where Tolkien
wrote: 'Anyway all this stuff is mainly concerned with Fall,
Mortality, and the Machine.'


[6] Let's have a look at Melkor's faults at this point, shall we?
1) 'it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own
imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar,'
2) 'he sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part
assigned to himself.'
3) 'being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike
those of his brethren.'
4) 'He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the
Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into
Being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Ilúvatar took
no thought for the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness.
Yet he found not the Fire, for it is with Ilúvatar.'

1 is the result of the other stuff, but is important because this is
where Melkor for the first time openly defies Eru, even if he may
not realise this himself at that point.
2 is of course just a matter of pride and a desire for power -- very
traditional motives for Evil in Tolkien's writings, and here,
perhaps, we see where they enter the world.
3 is more complex, though. Is it bad to stay apart? Is it evil to
'conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren'?
I'm not sure we should conclude anything such, but at the same
time I do think this is presented as one of Melkor's early faults.
Not in itself evil or sinful, perhaps, but leading him there.
4, now ... I think this is very interesting, because Melkor here
displays two faults which I think are fatal. He desired to Create,
and he failed to realise that this power is with Eru alone.[7]

We then hear that: 'Some of these thoughts he now wove into his
music, and straightway discord arose about him, [...]' and this is
the point were we can see that evil has entered Eru's Creation, but
when did it enter? When Melkor went alone into the void? Or when he
began to sing in discord with Eru's theme?


[7] As an interesting aside at this point, I am reminded of the texts
in 'Myths Transformed' in MR -- at one point Tolkien was working
with the idea that Eru gave some Flame Imperishable to Varda, which
is interesting in this context, because it would seem to be
equivalent to lending her the power to Create, to 'call into Being
things of her own'


[8] Why was what Melkor did /not/ obedient to Eru's command to 'show
forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own
thoughts and devices'?


[9] Any comments about the use of sea-and-weather metaphors to describe
the clash of two musical themes before time, sea, water, wind or
anything?


[10] So, all in all Eru Ilúvatar makes four musical statements during
the music.
I - The First Theme: 'unfolding to them things greater and more
wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its
beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur'
II - The Second Theme: 'like and yet unlike to the former theme, and
it gathered power and had new beauty.'
III - The Third Theme: 'it seemed at first soft and sweet, a mere
rippling of gentle sounds in delicate melodies; but it could
not be quenched, and it took to itself power and profundity.'
And 'deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an
immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came'. This
was also capable of taking the most 'triumphant notes' from
Melkor's discord and weave it into 'its own solemn pattern.'
IV - The Chord: 'deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament,
piercing as the light of the eye of Ilúvatar'

Now, what, if any, is the significance of these four musical
statements? Can they, and should they, be equated with some periods
of the life of Eä (or Arda)?


[11] Related to [10] above, Eru's statement that 'nor can any alter the
music in my despite' and the later revelation that Men are not bound
by the Music, this seems to imply that the Music in some way
represents the 'destiny' or 'fate' of the universe -- or perhaps it
would be better to say that it symbolises the 'original intent' with
the universe, by both Good (Eru's themes and the contribution of the
faithful Ainur) and Evil (Melkor's discord).


[12] Eru's berating as in [11] above worked, too:
Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet
comprehend the words that were said to them; and Melkor was
filled with shame, of which came secret anger.
Just a pity about Melkor's 'secret anger', which appears to have
cemented Melkor's rebellion -- making it irreversible.


[13] So, the sources of the foreknowledge of the Ainur are threefold.
The music, and in particular their own contributions, the vision and
Eru's words to them during the vision. It is, however, also limited,
because there are things, events, in every age that doesn't proceed
from any of the above.
We are told that 'in every age there come forth things that are new
and have no foretelling, for they do not proceed from the past.' Any
good suggestions as to specific things? Or about the general
principles for this foreknowledge (both story-internally and story-
externally).
What does this limited foreknowledge of the history of Arda / Eä
mean for Tolkien's stories?


[14] What is it with Tolkien and water, anyway? We have 'the terrible
recurrent dream (beginning with memory) of the Great Wave, towering
up, and coming in ineluctably over the trees and green fields' of
which he tells in letter #163 (which he gave to Faramir and which
his son, Michael, inherited), and we have the fascination with the
Sea by the Eldar (not only as the 'road' to the Blessed Realm),
which is expressed by Legolas in LotR.


[15] A couple of quotations:
And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet
the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any
substance else that is in this Earth;
'Now to water had that Ainu whom the Elves call Ulmo
turned his thought, and of all most deeply was he
instructed by Ilúvatar in music.'
Doesn't this imply that Ulmo understood the Music better than any of
the other?


[16] I guess this motif is well known also from Christian thought? I
won't ask for a theological or moral debate along these lines, but
just note that it seems to me that this, /to Tolkien/, did justify
that Eru Ilúvatar allows Melkor's evil, but not Melkor's exercise of
that evil. Do others share that impression of Tolkien's opinion about
this?


[17] There is, I think, some confusion at this point about which
groups entered when and how etc.
The published text reads:
Thus it came to pass that of the Ainur some abode still
with Ilúvatar beyond the confines of the World; but others,
and among them many of the greatest and most fair, took the
leave of Ilúvatar and descended into it. But this condition
Ilúvatar made, or it is the necessity of their love, that
their power should thenceforward be contained and bounded
in the World, to be within it for ever, until it is
complete, so that they are its life and it is theirs. And
therefore they are named the Valar, the Powers of the
World.
[...]
And the Valar drew unto them many companions, some less,
some well nigh as great as themselves, and they laboured
together [...]

Version A (MoMe1, BoLT1) has
Now this was the end, that some abode still with Ilúvatar
beyond the world - and these were mostly those who had been
engrossed in their playing with thoughts of Ilúvatar's plan
and design, and cared only to set it forth without aught of
their own devising to adorn it; but some others, and among
them many of the most beautiful and wisest of the Ainur,
craved leave of Ilúvatar to dwell within the world.
And later
With them came many of those lesser Vali who loved them
and had played nigh them and attuned their music to theirs,
and these are the Mánir and the Súruli, the sylphss of the
airs and of the winds.
(The last paragraph is from BoLT1-III 'The Coming of the Valar ...')

and C, D and C* (HoMe10, MR)
§21 Thus it came to pass that of the Holy Ones some abode
still with Ilúvatar beyond the confines of the World; but
others, and among them many of the greatest and most fair,
took the leave of Ilúvatar and descended into it. But this
condition Ilúvatar made, or it is the necessity of their
love, that their power should henceforth be contained and
bounded in the World, and be within it for ever, so that
they are its life and it is theirs. And therefore, Ælfwine,
we name them the Valar, the Powers of the World.
[...]
§26 And behold! the Valar drew unto them many companions,
some less, some well-nigh as great as themselves, and they
laboured in the ordering of the Earth, [...]

As far as I can see from the summary in MR, the version in B is
alike to the A version in this.
The question here is whether those that were originally in Arda and
fought against Melkor are identical to those who are later listed as
the Valar (except Tulkas who came later, but still he helped the
Valar in their first battles with Melkor).
If that is the case, should we then think that the Maiar were busy
elsewhere in Eä until they were drawn unto the Valar? Or did the
Maiar not enter into Eä at all until the Valar called?
But isn't it also possible that the use, here, of 'Valar' is a
remnant of a time when all the Ainur were called Valar, or when all
the Ainur that entered Eä were so callled? The former seems to be
indicated both in text A and in the passage from letter #131 quoted
at the top.

[18] I am sorry, but the physicist within me cannot just leave this
question alone ;-)
The Ainur enter Eä at the beginning of time, and their abode with
Eru is referred to as 'the Timeless Halls'. It is, however, clear
from the text that 'time' in some sense must exist in the Timeless
Halls -- there is a sequentialisation of events, and of course the
whole concept of music only makes sense within some sort of time.
I am aware that I am overanalysing and extrapolating wildly here,
but I have to note (just for the fun of it) that there must be some
other time-like dimension in the Timeless Halls for this tale to
make sense -- suggesting imaginary time is a tempting solution ;-)


[19] Something ought, I think, to be said here about the bodies of the
Ainur. The word 'hue' in the published version was 'form' up until
version C of the text, and of course, in BoLT the Valar have
children, which is directly contradicted later in Ósanwe-kenta
The great Valar do not do these things: they begot not,
neither do they eat and drink, save at the high /asari/, in
token of their lordship and indwelling of Arda, and for the
blessing of the sustenance of the Children.
[Vinyar Tenqwar no. 39, /Ósanwe-kenta/ note 5]
There we also learn that the exercise of evil in a body can bind
the Ainu to that body. Otherwise these bodies are, as is explained in
the text, to be likened to the clothes of the Children -- not
integral to their Being, but a way for them to express that Being,
one way to interact with Arda, and in particular with the Eruhíni.


[20] Eh? What had happened earlier when 'was strife between Melkor and
the other Valar; and for that time Melkor withdrew and departed to
other regions'? That was when he tried to declare Arda to be his
Kingdom.

Referenced books:

HoMe The 'History of Middle-earth' series, volumes 1 through 13
BoLT Book of Lost Tales, HoMe 1 & 2 (BoLT1 & BoLT2)
LR The Lost Road and Other Writings, HoMe 5
MR Morgoth's Ring, HoMe 10


Letters, /The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien/, Humphrey Carpenter (Ed.)
Vinyar Tengwar, the journal of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship
<http://www.elvish.org/VT>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don't want to mend
their own ways, but each other's.
- Piet Hein, /Mankind/

Taemon

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:00:25 PM10/25/05
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:

> Nearly everything that follows can be traced back to this -- Melkor
> wanted to dominate the Eruhíni, and the other Valar wanted to help
> and
> care for them.

I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?

T.


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:12:15 PM10/25/05
to
In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
<Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:

I agree that that was his original motive when he began to search the
Void for the Imperishable Flame and when he started to add to the
Music matters of his own devicing that were in discord with Eru's
theme, but at this point in the story he seems to have already
progressed to a wish for domination:

But he desired rather to subdue to his will both Elves and
Men, envying the gifts with which Ilúvatar promised to
endow them; and he wished himself to have subject and
servants, and to be called Lord, and to be a master over
other wills.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.
- /Small Gods/ (Terry Pratchett)

ste...@nomail.com

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:27:27 PM10/25/05
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:

>> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>>> Nearly everything that follows can be traced back to this --

>>> Melkor wanted to dominate the Eruhuni, and the other Valar

>>> wanted to help and care for them.
>>
>> I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?

> I agree that that was his original motive when he began to search the
> Void for the Imperishable Flame and when he started to add to the
> Music matters of his own devicing that were in discord with Eru's
> theme, but at this point in the story he seems to have already
> progressed to a wish for domination:

> But he desired rather to subdue to his will both Elves and

> Men, envying the gifts with which Iluvatar promised to

> endow them; and he wished himself to have subject and
> servants, and to be called Lord, and to be a master over
> other wills.

Even without the desire for domination, Melkor wanted
to do things independent of God. According to Tolkien's
theology and the theology of his Universe that is
the beginning of evil. Whether this agrees with
your own ideas of evil is another matter altogether.

Maybe all those recent off topic posts about religion, evil, etc.
were just a warmup for discussing the theological implications
of the Ainulindale and Melkor's rebellion. :)

Stephen


Taemon

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:34:06 PM10/25/05
to
ste...@nomail.com wrote:

> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>> In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
>> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
>>> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>>> Nearly everything that follows can be traced back to this --
>>>> Melkor wanted to dominate the Eruhuni, and the other Valar
>>>> wanted to help and care for them.
>>> I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?

<snip>


> Maybe all those recent off topic posts about religion, evil, etc.
> were just a warmup for discussing the theological implications
> of the Ainulindale and Melkor's rebellion. :)

I fear that may well be. I think it's best if I stay out of it :-)

T.


Mästerkatten

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:51:05 PM10/25/05
to
"Taemon" <Tae...@zonnet.nl> wrote in news:3s7j66F...@individual.net:

> ste...@nomail.com wrote:

>> Maybe all those recent off topic posts about religion, evil, etc.
>> were just a warmup for discussing the theological implications
>> of the Ainulindale and Melkor's rebellion. :)
>
> I fear that may well be. I think it's best if I stay out of it :-)

Come on now. Give in to the temptation.

--
Mästerkatten

Taemon

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 4:58:30 PM10/25/05
to
Mästerkatten wrote:

Oh, you wicked one, you!

T.


Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 6:20:17 PM10/25/05
to
In message <news:djm4ff$jjf$2...@news.msu.edu>
ste...@nomail.com enriched us with:
>
> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>>
>> In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
>> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
>>>
>>> I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?
>>
>> I agree that that was his original motive when he began to search
>> the Void for the Imperishable Flame and when he started to add to
>> the Music matters of his own devicing that were in discord with
>> Eru's theme, but at this point in the story he seems to have
>> already progressed to a wish for domination:

<snip quotation>

> Even without the desire for domination, Melkor wanted
> to do things independent of God.

Certainly.

> According to Tolkien's theology and the theology of
> his Universe that is the beginning of evil.

I am not entirely convinced that 'independent' is enough for that. Or
perhaps I'd say it is the beginning in the sense that it is not yet
evil, but carries the potential of evil (according to Tolkien). Aulė's
creation of the Dwarves was independent of Eru, but wan't evil as such
(it was, however, wrong), and the gift to Men of freedom from the
Music, isn't that precisely that independence from God?

I would say that evil enters the moment you wish to do things that are
not only independent of Eru, but which he would have you not do.

> Whether this agrees with your own ideas of evil is another
> matter altogether.

Yes.

I know it can be difficult not to project personal morals on one's
reading, but if we at least pretend to be discussing Tolkien's
intention, then we might keep it more civil ;-)

I do think that Tolkien's moral position had a very real effect on his
world in the way providence and grace worked, and these are very real
things in Middle-earth.

> Maybe all those recent off topic posts about religion, evil, etc.
> were just a warmup for discussing the theological implications
> of the Ainulindale and Melkor's rebellion. :)

Well, if I had initiated those threads ... ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
- /Hogfather/ (Terry Pratchett)

ste...@nomail.com

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 6:37:53 PM10/25/05
to
In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
> In message <news:djm4ff$jjf$2...@news.msu.edu>
> ste...@nomail.com enriched us with:
>>
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
>> <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>>>
>>> In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
>>> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
>>>>
>>>> I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?
>>>
>>> I agree that that was his original motive when he began to search
>>> the Void for the Imperishable Flame and when he started to add to
>>> the Music matters of his own devicing that were in discord with
>>> Eru's theme, but at this point in the story he seems to have
>>> already progressed to a wish for domination:

> <snip quotation>

>> Even without the desire for domination, Melkor wanted
>> to do things independent of God.

> Certainly.

>> According to Tolkien's theology and the theology of
>> his Universe that is the beginning of evil.

> I am not entirely convinced that 'independent' is enough for that. Or
> perhaps I'd say it is the beginning in the sense that it is not yet

> evil, but carries the potential of evil (according to Tolkien). Aule's

> creation of the Dwarves was independent of Eru, but wan't evil as such
> (it was, however, wrong), and the gift to Men of freedom from the
> Music, isn't that precisely that independence from God?

I should have used a word other than 'independent', although
I am not sure what word would be a good substitute. By
going off into the void Melkor was seeking for things
other than Illuvatar, and wanted to create things without any
help from Illuvatar. That is the sense of 'independent'
I was aiming for, of being totally separate from God.
Aule on the other hand chose to enter creation, and to
work to achieve Illuvatar's will. Yes he did overstep
himself when he created the Dwarves, but his motivation
was never to do something totally separate.

> I would say that evil enters the moment you wish to do things that are
> not only independent of Eru, but which he would have you not do.

>> Whether this agrees with your own ideas of evil is another
>> matter altogether.

> Yes.

> I know it can be difficult not to project personal morals on one's
> reading, but if we at least pretend to be discussing Tolkien's
> intention, then we might keep it more civil ;-)

We shall see. :)

Stephen

Message has been deleted

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 7:51:55 PM10/25/05
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> [1] I have located the following versions in HoMe:
>
> A(draft) -- Draft version of the version given in BoLT
> A -- The version given in BoLT. Differences to the draft are
> given (1918 - 1920)
> B -- 'Flat World Version', supposedly the version given in LR
> (I don't have that one) (the thirties)
> C* -- MR, 'Round World Version' (c. 1946?)
> C -- MR, a new flat world version based on B, but
> incorporating some ideas from C* (c. 1948-49?)
> D -- MR, a further development of C (c. 1949-1950?)
>
> In MR, CT judges C* to have been in existence in 1948, but not C,
> while he also thinks that both C and D were completed before 1951.
> That is about as close as he gets, as far as I can see.
>
> The version tree, then, should look something like this:
>
> ------ > C ---> D
> / .
> A(draft) ---> A ---> B .
> \ .
> --> C*

I have been researching textual history off and on for a while now, and
thus have some comments on this.

There are actually a couple more branches on the tree;

/-----------> C --> D --> Silm
0d --> 0 --> A --> B .
\--> X --> C*

0d & 0 are what you label A(draft) and A above. What CT defined as 'A'
(in LR) was actually a rough manuscript created some time around 1919,
from which the fair copy 'B' was then created.

The version I call 'X' here was a half page fragment rough manuscript
dating from appoximately 1946, which was then typed up some time before
1948 as C*.

C was actually written over the manuscript of B, making it somewhat less
'fair' and requiring the creation of D to clean it up.

CT provides detailed texts for '0', 'B', 'C', 'C*', and 'D'. Some
differences for the '0d' and 'A' versions are listed relative to '0' and
'B'. The only information available about 'X' is a brief description of
its existence and nature in MR.

I have also included an entry for the published Silmarillion though this
is somewhat subjective. Comparison of the published form to the various
drafts seems clearly to follow 'D' most closely... though not exactly.
CT notes (MR pg 40) that he used 'circles OF time' from C* even though C
and D had only 'circles'.

Stan Brown

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 10:12:53 PM10/25/05
to
25 Oct 2005 18:00:07 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:

> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'

> Summary:

>
> First Eru Ilúvatar [2] created the Ainur [3] and they were happy in the
> Timeless Halls.

Can I just say that Tolkien writes some great opening sentences?
"There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made
first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, ..." When I read that sentence I knew
that something awe-inspiring was going to happen. Compare with "Of
old there was Sauron the Maia" on the one hand, and "In a hole in the
ground there lived a hobbit" on the other.

> What is the 'Flame Imperishable'? Eru had kindled it in the Ainur,
> Melkor sought it in vain because he wanted to create things of his own,
> Eru sent it out in the void to create Eä and in some of the writings in
> /Myths Transformed/ (MR) Eru gave/lend some of it to Varda, but Aulë
> didn't have it when he created the Dwarves. It seems related to
> creative power, but how?

I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before; what
the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's own
power.

> [3] In BoLT we have 'he sang into being the Ainur first', putting an
> even stronger emphasis on the Creative power of Song in the
> mythology.

C.S. Lewis' Narnia books used a similar method of universe creation
through music. In /The Magician's Nephew/ the children watch Aslan
pacing on a barren wasteland singing the stars and sun and everything
else into existence.

I wonder, is this a point that Tolkien and Lewis discussed, or did
they come to it independently.

> We then hear that: 'Some of these thoughts he now wove into his
> music, and straightway discord arose about him, [...]' and this is
> the point were we can see that evil has entered Eru's Creation, but
> when did it enter? When Melkor went alone into the void? Or when he
> began to sing in discord with Eru's theme?

I think it was building, but it was irrevocable when he sang in
discord to the Second Theme. When he created discord in the Fist
Theme, he might not have realized what was going on; he might have
thought that he was adding something new. But when the Second Theme
was propounded, he couldn't think he was embellishing; he had to know
at that point that he was in rebellion.

I make the analogy with Aule and the Dwarves. Aule acted against the
will of Eru in creating the Dwarves, but as soon as he became aware
that he had overstepped his bounds he submitted himself and his
creation to Eru. So that was the point where there would be a choice
for obedience or rebellion.

Now, I'm not saying Melkor wasn't evil before the Second Theme, just
that at that point it was clear and unambiguous. For all we know,
Melkor had decided while out in the Void that he would challenge the
other Ainur, and Eru through them.

> [8] Why was what Melkor did /not/ obedient to Eru's command to 'show
> forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own
> thoughts and devices'?

He didn't adorn Eru's theme; he created his own, in opposition to it
and trying to drown it out.

Or by "why" do you mean "why did Melkor do such a thing?" I think it
was the same sin as Feanor's and Turin's, only vastly greater in
scope: pride. He wanted to be above all the other Ainur, and
eventually above Eru himself.

> [9] Any comments about the use of sea-and-weather metaphors to describe
> the clash of two musical themes before time, sea, water, wind or
> anything?

I never noticed that before, but it doesn't bother me. Remember that
/The Silmarillion/ was written by Elves, and sea and weather
metaphors would come naturally to them.

> [10] So, all in all Eru Ilúvatar makes four musical statements during
> the music.

...


> Now, what, if any, is the significance of these four musical
> statements? Can they, and should they, be equated with some periods
> of the life of Eä (or Arda)?

The Third Theme was Elves and Men, I know, and I assume the great
Chord was the End. But I've never been able to label the first two
Themes in a way that feels completely right to me.

(I'm not sure the final Chord was Eru's. I always thought that he
directed the Ainur to stop, and they did so in the one tremendous
Chord.)

> [11] Related to [10] above, Eru's statement that 'nor can any alter the
> music in my despite' and the later revelation that Men are not bound
> by the Music, this seems to imply that the Music in some way
> represents the 'destiny' or 'fate' of the universe -- or perhaps it
> would be better to say that it symbolises the 'original intent' with
> the universe, by both Good (Eru's themes and the contribution of the
> faithful Ainur) and Evil (Melkor's discord).

I think the Music definitely is fate or destiny. Getting ahead of
ourselves, in Chapter 1 we read "Therefore Eru] willed that the
hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and should find no rest
therein; but they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the
powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Ainur, which
is as fate to all things else; ..."

> [12] Eru's berating as in [11] above worked, too:
> Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet
> comprehend the words that were said to them; and Melkor was
> filled with shame, of which came secret anger.
> Just a pity about Melkor's 'secret anger', which appears to have
> cemented Melkor's rebellion -- making it irreversible.

Compare the moment of Gollum's near-repentance at Cirith Ungol. Sam
breaks in on him at the wrong time, and shames him; and the moment is
lost.

> [15] A couple of quotations:

> 'Now to water had that Ainu whom the Elves call Ulmo
> turned his thought, and of all most deeply was he
> instructed by Ilúvatar in music.'
> Doesn't this imply that Ulmo understood the Music better than any of
> the other?

Maybe. Ulmo received the greatest instruction, but perhaps Manwe or
others had greater native understanding.

It's definitely clear that Ulmo has a special relationship with the
Elves and Men of Middle-earth. He seems to be the moving force for
several main events in their war against Morgoth.

> [16] I guess this motif is well known also from Christian thought? I
> won't ask for a theological or moral debate along these lines, but
> just note that it seems to me that this, /to Tolkien/, did justify
> that Eru Ilúvatar allows Melkor's evil, but not Melkor's exercise of
> that evil. Do others share that impression of Tolkien's opinion about
> this?

This was a recent discussion about real-world Christianity, as you
note; and a few months ago we had the analogous discussion about Eru
and the existence of evil in Ea. I think the conclusion was that if
we want to read the story we have to accept the premise, whether it
makes sense or not.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland 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

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 10:03:09 PM10/25/05
to
On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 23:51:55 GMT, Conrad Dunkerson
<conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> posted the following:

>I have also included an entry for the published Silmarillion though this
>is somewhat subjective. Comparison of the published form to the various
>drafts seems clearly to follow 'D' most closely... though not exactly.
>CT notes (MR pg 40) that he used 'circles OF time' from C* even though C
>and D had only 'circles'.

He also omits a substantial portion of the Ainulindale, moving it to
Chapter 1 of QS.

-Chris

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 25, 2005, 10:08:21 PM10/25/05
to

A major point that has been missed here is CT's editorial work on this
chapter -- removing a rather substantial section (about 1/3 of the
whole text) from the Ainulindale and placing it as Chapter 1 of the
Quenta Silmarillion ("Of the Beginning of Days"). As far as I can
tell, there is no authority in JRRT's writing or notes for this
action, and he does not mention it in HoME except for one place in one
of the earlier volumes where he comments that some of the Ainulindale
material is in Chapter 1 of the QS.

So why did CT do this? I can only imagine it was to provide a better
stylistic beginning for the QS. As it stood, the QS would open with
"Now in the beginning of the Kingdom of Arda Melkor contested with his
brother Manwe and the Valar for overlordship, and all that they
wrought he hindered or marred, if he might." This seems abrupt, and
rightly so -- it's because Chapter 1 of the Silm had been removed as
the Valaquenta.

But perhaps this issue is better discussed when we get to Chapter 1,
which is a fusion of the Ainulindale, Chapter 2 of QS, and the Annals
of Aman.

-Chris

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 4:03:56 AM10/26/05
to
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
> 25 Oct 2005 18:00:07 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
>> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
>
>> Summary:
>>
>> First Eru Ilúvatar [2] created the Ainur [3] and they were happy in
>> the Timeless Halls.
>
> Can I just say that Tolkien writes some great opening sentences?

Agreed!

> "There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made
> first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, ..." When I read that sentence I knew
> that something awe-inspiring was going to happen. Compare with "Of
> old there was Sauron the Maia" on the one hand, and "In a hole in the
> ground there lived a hobbit" on the other.

I also think he writes great closing sentences as well. I'll leave the
closing sentences in /The Silmarillion/ until we reach them, but in /The
Hobbit/, and in /The Lord of the Rings/ and in this part of /The
Silmarillion/ (ie. in the Ainulindale), we have:

"'...but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!'
'Thank goodness!' said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar."
(The Hobbit)

"'Well, I'm back,' he said." (The Lord of the Rings)

"'Here ends this tale, as it has come to us from the South; and with the
passing of Evenstar no more is said in this book of the days of old.'"
(Appendix AIv)

"...on the far fields of the South the thunder of the cavalry of the
Mark was heard, and the White Horse upon Green flew in many winds until
Eomer grew old." (Appendix AII)

"...it is said that Gimli went also [...] More cannot be said of this
matter." (Appendix AIII)

"And when that ship passed an end was come in the Middle-earth of the
Fellowship of the Ring." (Appendix B)

"Their dominion passed long ago, and they dwell now beyond the circles
of the world, and do not return." (Appendix F)

"And thus was the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar established at
the last in the Deeps of Time and amidst the innumerable stars."
(Ainulindale)

[Though note Chris Kern's comments that Christopher Tolkien's editorial
hand is seen here, so this may not be the true end of the Ainulindale
text, though it does sound a good place to stop.]

The other parts of /The Silmarillion/ have great closing passages as
well, but though skipping back and forth in the book is OK to a certain
extent, I think talking about the closing passages at the beginning is
going too far! So as I said above, I for one am going to wait until we
get to those passages.

<snip>

Christopher

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

Hmm. No 'Silmarillion' quotes in my .sig generator.
Will have to remedy that!

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 4:43:38 AM10/26/05
to
In message <news:435EC560...@worldnet.att.net>
Conrad Dunkerson <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> enriched us
with:
>
> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>>
>> The version tree, then, should look something like this:

<snip>

> I have been researching textual history off and on for a while
> now, and thus have some comments on this.

Thank you!

Not having LR there was more of a handicap than I had imagined, so my
apologies for the inaccuracies and thank you for the corrections.

I'm a bit surprised that the version in BoLT isn't a part of the ABC
numberng scheme -- any suggestion of why that might be?

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience
- Piet Hein, /Omniscience/

Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:06:07 AM10/26/05
to
Chris Kern wrote:
> A major point that has been missed here is CT's editorial work on this
> chapter -- removing a rather substantial section (about 1/3 of the
> whole text) from the Ainulindale and placing it as Chapter 1 of the
> Quenta Silmarillion ("Of the Beginning of Days"). As far as I can
> tell, there is no authority in JRRT's writing or notes for this
> action, and he does not mention it in HoME except for one place in one
> of the earlier volumes where he comments that some of the Ainulindale
> material is in Chapter 1 of the QS.
>
> So why did CT do this? I can only imagine it was to provide a better
> stylistic beginning for the QS.

I believe it was related to his rejection of the whole
Aelfwine/Rumil/Pengolod framework. At the point where CT split the
'Ainulindale' text there is a brief discourse between Aelfwine and
Pengolod in 'C' and 'D' wherein Pengolod describes everything BEFORE
that point as Rumil's historical account of the Ainulindale... the text
which comes AFTER the split was portrayed as Pengolod himself explaining
matters further. This was simplified to, "It is told among the Wise..."
in the published account.

So, the 'Ainulindale' in Silm is based on Rumil's account thereof from
'D'. Pengolod's commentary, which had been included in the same
chapter, was then moved to QS in connection with his other explanations
(skipping Valaquenta).

Basically, CT followed the 'historical' origin of the texts in
presenting them... but then removed all traces of the mythical history
which might have helped explain that decision.

conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 6:47:53 AM10/26/05
to
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
> Not having LR there was more of a handicap than I had imagined, so my
> apologies for the inaccuracies and thank you for the corrections.

Yeah, I saw in your summary that you didn't have Lost Road available
and figured that was the cause of the minor confusion.

> I'm a bit surprised that the version in BoLT isn't a part of the ABC
> numberng scheme -- any suggestion of why that might be?

It seems to be a matter of the evolution of CT's style of commentary.
If you compare UT and the early HoME volumes with the later books it is
very clear that his descriptions and analyses of the various source
documents became much more precise over time. He wasn't doing the
whole 'A' / 'B' / 'C' labelling for multiple drafts yet in the BoLT
volumes. He would generally mention that there were other drafts and
often cite differences between them, but at that point he was assigning
labels to texts as a whole rather than each draft of the text.

As to why he didn't go back and assign labels to the earlier drafts
once he began using this system... presumably because it wasn't
strictly needed for the analyses he was working on currently and might
have required him to go back and re-evaluate the older texts in some
cases.


That said, a system of identification for ALL the known drafts of each
section of the Silmarillion could be extremely useful to future
discussions and analysis of textual history. That's what I have been
working on (in an Excel spreadsheet), along with dates of the various
texts and locations to where the dates / predecessors of each text are
discussed for reference. I'm hoping each upcoming chapter summary will
have analyses similar to yours so we can discuss the evolution of the
source texts.

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 9:00:04 AM10/26/05
to
On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 22:12:53 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:

>25 Oct 2005 18:00:07 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
><Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
>> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'

>> What is the 'Flame Imperishable'? Eru had kindled it in the Ainur,

>> Melkor sought it in vain because he wanted to create things of his own,
>> Eru sent it out in the void to create Eä and in some of the writings in
>> /Myths Transformed/ (MR) Eru gave/lend some of it to Varda, but Aulë
>> didn't have it when he created the Dwarves. It seems related to
>> creative power, but how?
>
>I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
>existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before; what
>the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's own
>power.

Doesn't the idea of the Flame Imperishable predate the entrance of
"Ea! Let it be!" (which is post-LotR IIRC). I've always seen the
Flame as sort of a "God-quality" which is necessary for Creation and
the like.

>> [8] Why was what Melkor did /not/ obedient to Eru's command to 'show
>> forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own
>> thoughts and devices'?
>
>He didn't adorn Eru's theme; he created his own, in opposition to it
>and trying to drown it out.
>
>Or by "why" do you mean "why did Melkor do such a thing?" I think it
>was the same sin as Feanor's and Turin's, only vastly greater in
>scope: pride. He wanted to be above all the other Ainur, and
>eventually above Eru himself.

It's sometimes said that every sin comes from Pride, and pride
certainly seems to be the driving factor of Melkor's rebellion -- he
believed that he could outdo his creator.

>> [12] Eru's berating as in [11] above worked, too:
>> Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet
>> comprehend the words that were said to them; and Melkor was
>> filled with shame, of which came secret anger.
>> Just a pity about Melkor's 'secret anger', which appears to have
>> cemented Melkor's rebellion -- making it irreversible.
>
>Compare the moment of Gollum's near-repentance at Cirith Ungol. Sam
>breaks in on him at the wrong time, and shames him; and the moment is
>lost.

Tolkien also says in several places that every creature has their
chance at repentance -- this could be one, although in the late MR
texts he puts Melkor's chance at repentance at the point when the
Valar attack Utumno.

>> [16] I guess this motif is well known also from Christian thought? I
>> won't ask for a theological or moral debate along these lines, but
>> just note that it seems to me that this, /to Tolkien/, did justify
>> that Eru Ilúvatar allows Melkor's evil, but not Melkor's exercise of
>> that evil. Do others share that impression of Tolkien's opinion about
>> this?
>
>This was a recent discussion about real-world Christianity, as you
>note; and a few months ago we had the analogous discussion about Eru
>and the existence of evil in Ea. I think the conclusion was that if
>we want to read the story we have to accept the premise, whether it
>makes sense or not.

Tolkien may have taken the theological point that everything God does,
even things that seem evil to us, will result in something greater in
the end which we cannot foresee. I don't know of any passages in his
writings or letters to prove this, though.

-Chris

Stan Brown

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 9:56:39 AM10/26/05
to
Wed, 26 Oct 2005 08:03:56 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
> > Can I just say that Tolkien writes some great opening sentences?
>
> Agreed!
>
> > "There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar; and he made
> > first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, ..." When I read that sentence I knew
> > that something awe-inspiring was going to happen.
>
> I also think he writes great closing sentences as well.

I agree in general, but agreement is boring :-) so I've snipped all
but two of your examples: one I'll disagree with and the other I'll
add a comment to.

> "'Well, I'm back,' he said." (The Lord of the Rings)

This is the one I disagree with. It's always seemed a huge letdown to
me, maybe because I'm disappointed that the story is over. I know
Tolkien's telling us that life goes on, and Frodo's sacrifice to
preserve the life of the Shire was not in vain, but still after the
grandeur of the glimpse of Tol Eressėa, this just feels like a bucket
of cold water in the face.

I have great love for Rob Inglis' reading of LotR, but even he can't
do much with this line -- just stretches it out and has a little
rising note in his voice at the end.

> "And thus was the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar established at
> the last in the Deeps of Time and amidst the innumerable stars."
> (Ainulindale)
>
> [Though note Chris Kern's comments that Christopher Tolkien's editorial
> hand is seen here, so this may not be the true end of the Ainulindale
> text, though it does sound a good place to stop.]

It does indeed. Just a BTW: Dante ended each part of /The Divine
Comedy/ with the word "stars".

I was unaware that CRT had truncated Ainulindalė, but to me it seems
to work well as it is. "Of the Beginning of Days" has a certain
amount of duplication with Anulindale as it is; if all that were in
Ainulindalė I think it would be awfully tedious.

For me, the whole Rumil-Pengolod framework was never appealing. I
_much_ prefer the style and ramework of the published Silm, and I
found the two Books of Lost Tales disappointing for that reason among
others. (One of my other reasons was unavoidable: the extensive
footnotes and commentaries and multiple versions, rather than a
single line of story and lore. If CRT was going to publish the
material at all, I don't see another way he could have done it; but
still /Silm/ as published appeals to me much more.)

Stan Brown

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 10:01:40 AM10/26/05
to
Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:00:04 -0400 from Chris Kern <chriskern99
@gmail.com>:

> On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 22:12:53 -0400, Stan Brown
> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:
> >I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
> >existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before; what
> >the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's own
> >power.
>
> Doesn't the idea of the Flame Imperishable predate the entrance of
> "Ea! Let it be!" (which is post-LotR IIRC). I've always seen the
> Flame as sort of a "God-quality" which is necessary for Creation and
> the like.

I don't know at what real-world date the term "Flame Imperishable"
first appeared, but I don't think the _idea_ was post-LotR. Gandalf
identified himself to the Balrog as "a servant of the Secret Fire",
and if that's not the Flame imperishable then what is it?

Within the story timeline, the F.I. certainly precedes the Eä: when
starting the Great Music, Eru remarks that he has "kindled [the
Ainur] with the Flame Imperishable". I take that to mean that they
have real existence and can think and act independently, rather than
being mere expressions of his will.

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 4:01:54 PM10/26/05
to
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 10:01:40 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:

>Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:00:04 -0400 from Chris Kern <chriskern99
>@gmail.com>:
>> On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 22:12:53 -0400, Stan Brown
>> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:
>> >I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
>> >existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before; what
>> >the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's own
>> >power.
>>
>> Doesn't the idea of the Flame Imperishable predate the entrance of
>> "Ea! Let it be!" (which is post-LotR IIRC). I've always seen the
>> Flame as sort of a "God-quality" which is necessary for Creation and
>> the like.
>
>I don't know at what real-world date the term "Flame Imperishable"
>first appeared, but I don't think the _idea_ was post-LotR. Gandalf
>identified himself to the Balrog as "a servant of the Secret Fire",
>and if that's not the Flame imperishable then what is it?

I meant to say that the idea of the initial creation being only a
vision which was then given Being when Eru said "Ea!" -- that idea
postdates LotR and the idea of the Flame Imperishable. Remember that
in the early versions through what's given in LR, there is no "vision"
that is removed.

-Chris

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:28:46 PM10/26/05
to
conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net <conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net>
wrote:

<snip>

> [...] a system of identification for ALL the known drafts of each


> section of the Silmarillion could be extremely useful to future
> discussions and analysis of textual history.

It would be very useful indeed.

> That's what I have been
> working on (in an Excel spreadsheet), along with dates of the various
> texts and locations to where the dates / predecessors of each text are
> discussed for reference. I'm hoping each upcoming chapter summary
> will have analyses similar to yours so we can discuss the evolution
> of the source texts.

Well, I doubt all or even many of the summaries will have HoME
references. There is absolutely no obligation to refer to HoME, and my
chapter summaries almost certainly won't refer to HoME.

Hopefully (or should that be "almost certainly") people who are more
versed in the intricacies of HoME <subtle hint!> will add in opinions,
summaries and references if they want to discuss the textual history of
the Silmarillion, while others will be happier discussing the storylines
and characters found in /The Silmarillion/.

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:35:55 PM10/26/05
to
ste...@nomail.com <ste...@nomail.com> wrote:

<snip>

> Maybe all those recent off topic posts about religion, evil, etc.
> were just a warmup for discussing the theological implications
> of the Ainulindale and Melkor's rebellion. :)

I find that very ironic. I re-read the Ainulindale today, and started to
make some notes. I gave up making notes after reading two pages and
finding that I had made several hundred words of notes, mostly
concerning theological matters.

Maybe this is a good point to inject this thought into the discussion:

Ainulindale: Theology or Mythology?

How much of the Ainulindale should be taken as mythology, and how much
is theology? Or is it pointless to draw any distinction here?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:39:58 PM10/26/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalė'

>
> This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
> 'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
> CotW homepage at <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>.
>
>
> 'Ainulindalė' -- The music of the Ainur.

<snip>

I searched high and low, but couldn't find anything here about
subcreation! Is the subcreation that Tolkien talks about in /On
Fairy-stories/ relevant to the sort of creation we see in the
Ainulindale? The Creator is obviously Eru, but can all the other acts of
creation be called subcreation? Or does subcreation only apply to
writing stories?

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:42:16 PM10/26/05
to

Does he omit a chunk from the middle or the end? In other words, does
the end of the Ainulindale you are referring to appear in the
Ainulindale in the published Silmarillion?

ste...@nomail.com

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 5:57:07 PM10/26/05
to

> <snip>

> Ainulindale: Theology or Mythology?

> Christopher

What do you mean by "taken as mythology" or "taken as theology"?
Are you talking story internally, or story externally?

Story externally it is not a "real" mythology as it does not
belong to a real people. It is just a story made up by Tolkien.
Nor is it real theology for the same reason, however it
does contain theological truths, at least according to
Tolkien's definitions.

Story internally the Ainulindale is supposed to be true.
Of course Tolkien never did decide exactly how these
tales were supposed to have been passed on and in later
years was considering the idea that the legends were
somehow confused and blended with "mannish myth", but I do
not think that was ever meant to apply to the Ainulindale,
but who really knows. My take on it has always been
that the Ainulindale is the true creation story as
told by the Valar to the Elves.

Story externally the Ainulindale is very consistent
with Tolkien's own theology. Yes there are some big
differences, but they are mostly cosmetic, and the key ideas
such as Illuvatar is the source of all creation, turning
away from Illuvatar is the source of evil, and that all
things will eventually serve his purpose, etc. almost
serve as a little theology primer.

Stephen

Stan Brown

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 6:05:06 PM10/26/05
to
Wed, 26 Oct 2005 21:35:55 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

> Ainulindale: Theology or Mythology?
>
> How much of the Ainulindale should be taken as mythology, and how much
> is theology? Or is it pointless to draw any distinction here?

I think it is science. I want it taught in schools as another theory,
just like "creation science". It's AT LEAST as self consistent, and
the language is better.

:-)

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 6:13:23 PM10/26/05
to
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 21:42:16 GMT, "Christopher Kreuzer"
<spam...@blueyonder.co.uk> posted the following:

No; the cut section is all from the end. As far as I can tell, the
final version Tolkien wrote ended with "Yet of old the Valar said unto
us that Men shall join in the Second Music of the Ainur, whereas
Iluvatar has not revealed what he purposes for the Elves after the
World's End, and Melkor has not discovered it" -- this is of course
the end of Chapter 1 of the QS in the published Silmarillion.

I never noticed this before, but apparently on the C* text Tolkien
questioned whether the part at the end (thought not as large a chunk
as CT moved) should be moved to the Silmarillion. But since D
postdates C*, he apparently didn't move anything.

-Chris

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 6:16:28 PM10/26/05
to
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:56:39 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:

>Wed, 26 Oct 2005 08:03:56 GMT from Christopher Kreuzer
><spam...@blueyonder.co.uk>:

>> "'Well, I'm back,' he said." (The Lord of the Rings)


>
>This is the one I disagree with. It's always seemed a huge letdown to
>me, maybe because I'm disappointed that the story is over. I know
>Tolkien's telling us that life goes on, and Frodo's sacrifice to
>preserve the life of the Shire was not in vain, but still after the
>grandeur of the glimpse of Tol Eressėa, this just feels like a bucket
>of cold water in the face.

I agree. I was disappointed in it when I read it as a child, and I
still am. I find the Epilogue a much better closing for the story,
and I'm unhappy that Tolkien was convinced to leave it out. For those
who don't have HoME IX, if Tolkien had left in the epilogue, the final
passage of LotR would be "[Rosie and Sam] went in, and Sam shut the
door. But even as he did so, he heard suddenly, deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth." I
find that to be a far more powerful conclusion than "I'm back".

>It does indeed. Just a BTW: Dante ended each part of /The Divine
>Comedy/ with the word "stars".
>
>I was unaware that CRT had truncated Ainulindalė, but to me it seems
>to work well as it is. "Of the Beginning of Days" has a certain
>amount of duplication with Anulindale as it is; if all that were in
>Ainulindalė I think it would be awfully tedious.

Although OtBoD is not all Ainulindale stuff; it also has some material
from the Annals of Aman.

-Chris

Huan the hound

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 7:22:19 PM10/26/05
to
On 2005-10-25, Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in
<Xns96FACB77...@130.133.1.4>:

> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
[snip]

> [6] Let's have a look at Melkor's faults at this point, shall we?
> 1) 'it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own
> imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar,'
> 2) 'he sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part
> assigned to himself.'
> 3) 'being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts of his own unlike
> those of his brethren.'
> 4) 'He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the
> Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into
> Being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Ilúvatar took
> no thought for the Void, and he was impatient of its emptiness.
> Yet he found not the Fire, for it is with Ilúvatar.'

Limiting my response to these four...

>
> 1 is the result of the other stuff, but is important because this is
> where Melkor for the first time openly defies Eru, even if he may
> not realise this himself at that point.

Yes, 1 is a result of 2 and wishing to separate himself from Eru.

> 2 is of course just a matter of pride and a desire for power -- very
> traditional motives for Evil in Tolkien's writings, and here,
> perhaps, we see where they enter the world.

Right, this is the main problem with Melkor.

> 3 is more complex, though. Is it bad to stay apart? Is it evil to
> 'conceive thoughts of his own unlike those of his brethren'?
> I'm not sure we should conclude anything such, but at the same
> time I do think this is presented as one of Melkor's early faults.
> Not in itself evil or sinful, perhaps, but leading him there.

In this case it seems to go back to 2 again, pride and power. Also
separation from Eru.

> 4, now ... I think this is very interesting, because Melkor here
> displays two faults which I think are fatal. He desired to Create,
> and he failed to realise that this power is with Eru alone.[7]
>

Again reflecting 2.

--
Huan, the hound of Valinor

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

er...@swva.net

unread,
Oct 26, 2005, 11:06:59 PM10/26/05
to
Stan Brown wrote:
> 25 Oct 2005 18:00:07 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
> > Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
>
>

(snip)

>
> > [8] Why was what Melkor did /not/ obedient to Eru's command to 'show
> > forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own
> > thoughts and devices'?
>
> He didn't adorn Eru's theme; he created his own, in opposition to it
> and trying to drown it out.
>

Yep; it's like in Baroque music (as opposed to later classical music),
where the composer writes the piece, but leaves room for the musicians
to embellish it according to their own abilities, with the whole thing
being done right if the music sounds good as a result. In contrast,
Melkor tried to hijack the whole affair by changing the underlying
tune. Or a folk music analogy would be one in which one of the
musicians was not just improvising on the tune everyone else was
playing, but decided to play a different tune and force others to match
him; in the process the musicians sitting nearer to him get mixed up
and start playing what he's playing.

(snip)

Eric Root

Chris Kern

unread,
Oct 27, 2005, 9:48:15 AM10/27/05
to
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:06:07 GMT, Conrad Dunkerson
<conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> posted the following:

>Basically, CT followed the 'historical' origin of the texts in

>presenting them... but then removed all traces of the mythical history
>which might have helped explain that decision.

I share CT's concern with the lack of any sort of framing for the
Silm, although I think he went the wrong way about it with Tolkien's
lengthy letter. He should have just spent about a page of the
foreword explaining the Aelfwine/Pengolod thing and how this was
Tolkien's framework for a long time, but then was (probably) discarded
in favor of either a Bilbo transmission theory, or a "confused mannish
myths" theory.

-Chris

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 27, 2005, 3:55:16 PM10/27/05
to
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:
> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
>
> This post is a chapter introduction in the Tolkien newsgroups'
> 'Chapter of the Week' (CotW) project. For more information visit the
> CotW homepage at <http://parasha.maoltuile.org/>.

<snip>

Thanks, Troels! Lots of material to respond to here!
I'll be taking it slowly, bit by bit.

> [10] So, all in all Eru Ilúvatar makes four musical statements during
> the music.

> I - The First Theme: 'unfolding to them things greater and more
> wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its
> beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur'
> II - The Second Theme: 'like and yet unlike to the former theme,
> and it gathered power and had new beauty.'
> III - The Third Theme: 'it seemed at first soft and sweet, a mere
> rippling of gentle sounds in delicate melodies; but it could
> not be quenched, and it took to itself power and profundity.'
> And 'deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an
> immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came'. This
> was also capable of taking the most 'triumphant notes' from
> Melkor's discord and weave it into 'its own solemn pattern.'
> IV - The Chord: 'deeper than the Abyss, higher than the Firmament,
> piercing as the light of the eye of Ilúvatar'


>
> Now, what, if any, is the significance of these four musical
> statements? Can they, and should they, be equated with some periods
> of the life of Eä (or Arda)?

I'm slightly confused about what you mean by the First Theme. You quote
the bit where Iluvatar:

"...declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater
and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its
beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur..."

I don't see this as the First Theme proper, but more a 'preview' of the
First Theme by Iluvatar. And this 'preview' happens before the actual
music, which takes place when Iluvatar says:

"Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in
harmony together a Great Music."

So I would describe it as:

0 - The Preview: 'unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful
than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the
splendour of its end amazed the Ainur'

and:

I - The First Theme: '...the voices of the Ainur [...] began to fashion
the theme of Iluvatar to a great music...'

So what relation does this 'preview' theme have with the later-described
'three themes' and the 'review-phase' afterwards? The "Behold your
Music!" bit?

It seems important to note that Iluvatar was for a long while satisfied
with the music, as what we call the First Theme was played out. But that
the discord of Melkor arose during this first phase, and the First Theme
foundered in "a raging storm".

And we later hear that Manwe was the chief instrument of the Second
Theme, and contended against Melkor, so this might correspond to the
later bit where he says to Melkor: "This kingdom thou shalt not take for
thine own, wrongfully, for many others have laboured here do less than
thou."

So maybe it is possible to say that the First Theme represents the
initial labours of the Valar, their "labours in wastes unmeasured and
unexplored, and in ages uncounted and forgotten" culminating in the
creation of Arda in "the midst of the vast halls of Ea". And the discord
at the end of the First Theme corresponds to the "strife between Melkor
and the other Valar" (quoted below as 'A') arising from his coveting of
Arda, and that the beginning of the Second Theme corresponds to Manwe's
words to Melkor (quoted above) telling him not to take Arda for his own.

But I nearly always get confused about this, for the Ainulindale
describes _two_ periods of strife between Melkor and the other Valar.

A - "Melkor too was there from the first, and he meddled in all that was
done, turning it if he might to his own desires and purposes; and he
kindled great fires. When therefore Earth was yet young and full of
flame Melkor coveted it [...] there was strife between Melkor and the
other Valar; and for that time Melkor withdrew and departed to other
regions and did there what he would; but he did not put the desire of
the Kingdom of Arda from his heart."

B - "Then Melkor saw what was done, and that the Valar walked on Earth
as powers visible, clad in the raiment of the World, and were lovely and
glorious to see [...] And he descended upon Arda in power and majesty
greater than any other of the Valar, as a mountain that wades in the sea
[...] Thus began the first battle of the Valar with Melkor for the
dominion of Arda."

It seems that A is merely Melkor coveting Arda (maybe, as I suggest
above, this is the initial discord in the Music), but that Melkor
withdraws without battle being declared. But B is the real battle, which
also seems to be the same as the "First War" described in 'Of the
Beginning of Days' as taking place "before Arda was full-shaped", though
to add to the confusion a THIRD period of chaos ensues in that chapter
when Melkor overthrows the Lamps of the Valar.

So for what it is worth, I would place event B as the discord during the
Second Theme, that was "more violent than before". But it could also
include all the wars and strife between Melkor and the Valar until the
coming of the Children of Illuvatar, as we are told that they "came with
the Third Theme".

But I am also tempted to conclude that trying to match periods and
Themes of the Music with real events in the history of Ea doesn't
completely work, and that maybe the attempt to do so is doomed to
failure.

That is part of what swayed me to the idea that the Music is not so much
of a foretelling or prediction of the history of Ea as later passages
imply. The words foreshowing and foreshadowing used by Tolkien seem to
imply much less of a direct correspondence than the word foretelling
would. Or indeed the idea that the Music was 'translated' or turned into
Ea (which is suggested by the act of creation and phrases like "Iluvatar
made visible the song of the Ainur" and "Iluvatar gave to their vision
being" [both quote from the Valaquenta]).

Matching periods of the History to the Music can work in a general
sense, but I think the idea of the Music being a rehearsal also works
rather well. Things turned out in the history of the creation of Ea, and
the history of Ea, pretty much as they did in the singing of the Music,
and this was mainly because the same Ainur (probably) took part, and
they had the Music and the Vision in the back of their minds as they
laboured to create Ea.

So maybe the initial creation of the world was Eru translating the
beginning of the Music into something that he gave being (Ea), but that
the rest of the creation, or rather moulding, of Ea was the Ainur
carrying on the Music?

Message has been deleted

Chris Hoelscher

unread,
Oct 27, 2005, 9:33:33 PM10/27/05
to

"Troels Forchhammer" <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xns96FB3700...@130.133.1.4...
and the gift to Men of freedom from the
> Music, isn't that precisely that independence from God?
\>

no - I thought freedom from the Music (Fate) is freedom from the Ainur, not
from Eru

chris Hoelscher


Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Oct 27, 2005, 10:55:12 PM10/27/05
to
On 26 Oct 2005 03:47:53 -0700, "conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net"
<conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>That said, a system of identification for ALL the known drafts of each
>section of the Silmarillion could be extremely useful to future
>discussions and analysis of textual history. That's what I have been
>working on (in an Excel spreadsheet), along with dates of the various
>texts and locations to where the dates / predecessors of each text are
>discussed for reference. I'm hoping each upcoming chapter summary will
>have analyses similar to yours so we can discuss the evolution of the
>source texts.

Can we trust that you will, as the generous, benevolent God that you
are, freely share the results of your research with all Tolkien fans
when you are finished? :-)

Morgoth's Curse

Christopher Kreuzer

unread,
Oct 28, 2005, 3:38:59 AM10/28/05
to
> Chris Kern <chriskern99 @gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 22:12:53 -0400, Stan Brown
>> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:
>>> I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
>>> existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before;
>>> what the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's
>>> own power.
>>
>> Doesn't the idea of the Flame Imperishable predate the entrance of
>> "Ea! Let it be!" (which is post-LotR IIRC). I've always seen the
>> Flame as sort of a "God-quality" which is necessary for Creation and
>> the like.

I agree that the Flame Imperishable is an essense needed for creation.
One of those theological thoughts I had when reading the first two pages
of Ainulindale, was whether this sort of creation can be compared to
having children?

We know that the Ainur are described as the "offspring of Illuvatar's
thought", and that the Children of Iluvatar are, well, his children. In
a sense, possibly the closest it is possible to come to 'creation' is to
have a child (biologically or by adoption or mentoring), the sense of
teaching someone and caring for them and being responsible for them.

I was going to say that the Ainur are depicted (at least in the versions
of the mythlogy that got published) as not having children. But then I
realised that the Ainur (at least those that got involved) are like
surrogate parents for the Children of Iluvatar. But it seems to be an
important difference that the Ainur do not have biological children
(well, the Ainur aren't really biological, but you know what I mean),
but the Children can have children (though even there, the Elves and Men
differ because of their lifespans). I am reminded of the Overlords
depicted in Arthur C. Clarke's /Childhood's End/, where the Overlords
have god-like powers, but are ultimately sterile, acting only as
midwives to races that pass on to greater things. This could be compared
to Men passing on beyond the world in Tolkien's theology, but the Ainur
and Elves remaining bound to the world. Ainur, Elves and Men have
different relationships with Eru.

How does Catholicism treat 'having children' theologically? I vaguely
remember that in nearly all religion, the giving of souls is the
province of God. Someone mentioned something about souls in relation to
the 'reincarnation' (though that is the wrong term) of Elves.

And I also find myself agreeing with Stan's idea about the Flame
Imperishable having something to do with independence. But in reality,
how independent can you be in a theology of this sort? Ultimately, you
can't really be independent from God, can you?

Stan Brown

unread,
Oct 28, 2005, 2:26:29 PM10/28/05
to
Thu, 27 Oct 2005 21:21:53 -0400 from Andrew F. Donnell
<donn...@gmail.com>:
>
> I wonder if it is of any significance that the Children of Iluvatar were
> drawn from the third theme, and "were not in the theme which Iluvatar
> propounded at the beginning." They are introduced in reaction to the
> theme of Melkor, out of the interplay of Good and Evil. They are not
> the primary end of Iluvatar's creation. The Children were created to
> answer the question of Evil.

"Post hoc ergo propter hoc" is a classic logical fallacy.

Just because Eru introduced the Third Theme _after_ Melkor made a
pig's breakfast of the first two, does not mean he introduced it
_because_ Melkor made a pig's breakfast of the first two. It might
very well have been his plan all along.

Taemon

unread,
Oct 28, 2005, 3:37:10 PM10/28/05
to
Stan Brown wrote:

> Just because Eru introduced the Third Theme _after_ Melkor made a
> pig's breakfast of the first two, does not mean he introduced it
> _because_ Melkor made a pig's breakfast of the first two. It might
> very well have been his plan all along.

Do you mean it was his plan that Melkor would make a pig's breakfast
(_nice_ expression) of the first two Themes? It seems more likely to
me he had planned to introduce them in the first, later. I really like
Andrew's point. I never realised that before.

T.


Conrad Dunkerson

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 6:35:22 AM10/29/05
to
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:

> Hopefully (or should that be "almost certainly") people who are more
> versed in the intricacies of HoME <subtle hint!> will add in opinions,
> summaries and references if they want to discuss the textual history of
> the Silmarillion, while others will be happier discussing the storylines
> and characters found in /The Silmarillion/.

Makes sense. I've been planning to put the list I come up with on the
web when it's done, but I'll try to reply to the CotW summaries as they
come up. Luckily, as far as textual history goes, I'm several chapters
ahead right now.

Graham Lockwood

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 12:17:50 PM10/29/05
to
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 16:39:58 -0500, Christopher Kreuzer wrote
{snip}

> I searched high and low, but couldn't find anything here about
> subcreation! Is the subcreation that Tolkien talks about in /On
> Fairy-stories/ relevant to the sort of creation we see in the
> Ainulindale? The Creator is obviously Eru, but can all the other acts of
> creation be called subcreation? Or does subcreation only apply to
> writing stories?

God creates Tolkien. Tolkien subcreates Ea?

Seriously, though, *story internally*, I would argue that Eru created all
these spirits. He then propounded to them a theme and let them subcreate
within that theme. Of course, I'm not entirely sure HOW Eru propounded his
themes. He just held up his hands and the theme started. Osanwe-Kenta I
guess. Or maybe some higher level version of it useable to him since he's Eru
and all.

---
Graham

darkside

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 4:57:56 PM10/29/05
to
Graham Lockwood <g-...@yeehawgroups.com> writes:

> Seriously, though, *story internally*, I would argue that Eru created all
> these spirits. He then propounded to them a theme and let them subcreate
> within that theme.

Is this entirely correct, though? My understanding of Ainulindale was that the
Ainur *envisioned* the world in the musical themes they sang, and that Eru then
created the world and gave it to them, rather like a gift. I don't have a copy
of the Silmarillion handy to check on that, though.

Of course, it is possible that I'm misunderstanding the context of the word
"subcreate," since I haven't read 'On Fairy Stories' in quite a long time. If
so, feel free to correct or ignore me. ;-)

--
darkside

email: darksidex at charter dot net
website: http://silenceisdefeat.org/~darkside

Graham Lockwood

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 8:56:28 PM10/29/05
to
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 15:57:56 -0500, darkside wrote
(in article <878xwco...@no.spam.see.sig>):

> Graham Lockwood <g-...@yeehawgroups.com> writes:
>
>> Seriously, though, *story internally*, I would argue that Eru created all
>> these spirits. He then propounded to them a theme and let them subcreate
>> within that theme.
>
> Is this entirely correct, though? My understanding of Ainulindale was that
> the
> Ainur *envisioned* the world in the musical themes they sang, and that Eru
> then
> created the world and gave it to them, rather like a gift. I don't have a
> copy
> of the Silmarillion handy to check on that, though.

{snip}

I would say that he created it at the beginning of Time but they then had to
fashion it (mountains, oceans, trees, etc.)

---
Graham

Robert J. Kolker

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 9:59:06 PM10/29/05
to
Graham Lockwood wrote:

>
> Seriously, though, *story internally*, I would argue that Eru created all
> these spirits. He then propounded to them a theme and let them subcreate
> within that theme. Of course, I'm not entirely sure HOW Eru propounded his
> themes. He just held up his hands and the theme started. Osanwe-Kenta I
> guess. Or maybe some higher level version of it useable to him since he's Eru
> and all.

Eru whistled or hummed a few bars and the Ainu picked up the beat and
ran with it.

Bob Kolker


darkside

unread,
Oct 29, 2005, 10:03:26 PM10/29/05
to
Graham Lockwood <g-...@yeehawgroups.com> writes:

> On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 15:57:56 -0500, darkside wrote
> (in article <878xwco...@no.spam.see.sig>):
>

> I would say that he created it at the beginning of Time but they then had to
> fashion it (mountains, oceans, trees, etc.)

Fair enough. I shouldn't pick nits... sorry!

Peter Andersen

unread,
Oct 31, 2005, 2:45:17 PM10/31/05
to
Stan Brown wrote:

>: I think it is science. I want it taught in schools as another theory,


>: just like "creation science".

Careful there, this may yet happen. And indeed it will, if it's concordant
with Eru's intentions. Unless of course men are truely free, and noone's
there to stop 'them'.

Meanwhile, should you for some reason (or lack thereof) wish to get married
(legally binding) in the old norse tradition, you get to do so in Denmark.
http://www.fornsidr.dk/index_uk.html
I am not a subscriber, though.


--
____________________
Peter Andersen


Larry Swain

unread,
Oct 31, 2005, 3:26:19 PM10/31/05
to
Andrew F. Donnell wrote:

> Troels Forchhammer wrote:
>
>> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
>
>
> <Snip>
>
>> Already during the Vision 'the Ainur saw that it contained things
>> which they had not thought' so they must be quickly aware that Eru had
>> ideas with this that went beyond what He had revealed in the Music.
>> 'And they saw with amazement the coming of the Children of Ilúvatar,
>> and the habitation that was prepared for them;'
>
>
> I wonder if it is of any significance that the Children of Iluvatar were
> drawn from the third theme, and "were not in the theme which Iluvatar
> propounded at the beginning." They are introduced in reaction to the
> theme of Melkor, out of the interplay of Good and Evil. They are not
> the primary end of Iluvatar's creation. The Children were created to
> answer the question of Evil.
>
> This could be a contrast with Tolkien's Christian view that tends to see
> humanity as chiefly important in God's plan?

Nope. Its Augustinian. The Augustinian view of creation, the hexameral
tradition (the first 6 days) is that there was God, God created the
angels. Satan rebelled, taking 1/3 of the angels with him, Satan and
followers cast out of heaven, God creates heaven and earth and creates
humanity to make up the number of those angels who rebelled and were
cast out. I. E. the "children of God" were created to answer the
question of Evil.


> Iluvatar's first reaction to Melkor's discord is a theme "like and

> unlike to the former theme, and it gathered power and had new beauty."

> But Melkor could contend with that that by increasing the power of his
> own theme--a violent battle from which Iluvatar backs down. Iluvatar
> then introduces the theme from which the Children are born--"soft and
> sweet," "slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow." Melkor again
> tries to beat this theme down with the application of power and
> violence. But Iluvatar's theme is not contending in like, so it can
> take the violence, soften it, relax it, and ultimately work it into
> something beautiful. Power does not win out against power--it takes
> sacrifice, a willingness to give up what you once held dear, to abandon
> you own self-interest for the greater good. A common idea in LOTR?

Good point.

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Larry Swain

unread,
Nov 1, 2005, 12:51:26 PM11/1/05
to
Andrew F. Donnell wrote:
> Larry Swain wrote:

>
>> Andrew F. Donnell wrote:
>
> >
>
>>> This could be a contrast with Tolkien's Christian view that tends to
>>> see humanity as chiefly important in God's plan?
>>
>>
>>
>> Nope. Its Augustinian. The Augustinian view of creation, the
>> hexameral tradition (the first 6 days) is that there was God, God
>> created the angels. Satan rebelled, taking 1/3 of the angels with
>> him, Satan and followers cast out of heaven, God creates heaven and
>> earth and creates humanity to make up the number of those angels who
>> rebelled and were cast out. I. E. the "children of God" were created
>> to answer the question of Evil.
>
>
> OK. I didn't realize that Augustine viewed humanity as a replacement
> for the fallen angels, although I guess I have heard the idea before. I
> wonder what the typical thought on the matter was in Tolkien's time? I
> suppose the Ainulindale account may be closer to Tolkien's beliefs than
> I thought at first. It is more alien, at least, to the typical American
> Protestant view, which acknowledges a fall of Satan/angels before the
> fall of humanity, but doesn't really put any specifics to it, and sees
> the creation of humanity as something apart from that and a plan
> originating wholly from God.

I think you're right here, it is a different view than American
Protestantism, mostly because the vast majority of the latter has lost
touch with the intellectual tradition of the Christian past in ways that
European Protestantism hasn't. Another similar take on it is Milton's
Paradise Lost which takes the same information but relates it
differently. BTW, also in Augustine is reference to the angels helping
establish creation.

Related, I've wondered if the "music" in both Tolkien and Lewis is their
development of the "music of the spheres"--the music the spheres make
has its origin in creation and the creative act (along with for Tolkien
the "choirs of angels...")

JimboCat

unread,
Nov 2, 2005, 12:04:14 PM11/2/05
to
On 25 Oct 2005 22:20:17 GMT, Troels Forchhammer
<Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

>In message <news:djm4ff$jjf$2...@news.msu.edu>
>ste...@nomail.com enriched us with:
>>
>> In rec.arts.books.tolkien Troels Forchhammer
>> <Tro...@thisisfake.invalid> wrote:
>>>
>>> In message <news:3s7h71F...@individual.net> "Taemon"
>>> <Tae...@zonnet.nl> enriched us with:
>>>>
>>>> I'd say it was because Melkor wanted his own voice?
>>>
>>> I agree that that was his original motive when he began to search
>>> the Void for the Imperishable Flame and when he started to add to
>>> the Music matters of his own devicing that were in discord with
>>> Eru's theme, but at this point in the story he seems to have
>>> already progressed to a wish for domination:
>
><snip quotation>
>
>> Even without the desire for domination, Melkor wanted
>> to do things independent of God.
>
>Certainly.
>
>> According to Tolkien's theology and the theology of
>> his Universe that is the beginning of evil.
>
>I am not entirely convinced that 'independent' is enough for that. Or
>perhaps I'd say it is the beginning in the sense that it is not yet
>evil, but carries the potential of evil (according to Tolkien). Aulë's
>creation of the Dwarves was independent of Eru, but wan't evil as such
>(it was, however, wrong), and the gift to Men of freedom from the


>Music, isn't that precisely that independence from God?
>

>I would say that evil enters the moment you wish to do things that are
>not only independent of Eru, but which he would have you not do.

And how are you supposed to know (in Middle Earth, of course) what he
would have you do? Is it nothing more than the recurrent "Now my heart
speaks clearly...", just a "feeling" about what is right and what is
wrong?

Aragorn was certainly sensitive to such subtle clues, but Lotho clearly
was not. In the Silm, Tuor had to be practically bashed over the head
by Ulmo before he listened at all.

"This is a test, it is only a test. Had this been a *real* life, you
would have been provided with clear instructions and a user's manual."

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)
--
Home improvement is futile. Our superior nervous systems reveal
that your colour schemes all clash. You will be co-ordinated.
-- Niall McAuley

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Nov 2, 2005, 4:26:13 PM11/2/05
to
In message <news:878xwco...@no.spam.see.sig>
darkside <dark...@no.spam.see.sig> enriched us with:
>
> Graham Lockwood <g-...@yeehawgroups.com> writes:
>>
>> Seriously, though, *story internally*, I would argue that Eru
>> created all these spirits. He then propounded to them a theme and
>> let them subcreate within that theme.

Before entering the other debate, I'll just add that I agree that the
work of the Ainur, both in adorning Eru's themes and, IMO, in
fashioning Eä, is sub-creative in nature. Actual creation is in the
creation of the Ainur by Eru, and in the creation of Eä.


> Is this entirely correct, though? My understanding of Ainulindale
> was that the Ainur *envisioned* the world in the musical themes
> they sang, and that Eru then created the world and gave it to
> them, rather like a gift. I don't have a copy of the Silmarillion
> handy to check on that, though.

I'm not sure exactly how it worked. The first descriptions are very
musical -- we hear of singing and of instruments, and the 'discord' of
Melkor under the second theme is described as causing 'a war of sound'.

Even more telling is, perhaps, the passage where Eru begins the vision:

But when they were come into the Void, Ilúvatar said to
them: 'Behold your Music!' And he showed to them a vision,
giving to them sight where before was only hearing; arid
they saw a new World made visible before them, and it was
globed amid the Void, and it was sustained therein, but
was not of it.

As I read this, it would mean that the Ainur, prior to this (which
would mean also during the music), had never known other ways of
experiencing than through hearing (how Melkor had then 'gone often
alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame' is probably
better left unexplored <G>).

My impression as I read the Ainulindalë was that the Ainur, during the
actual making of the music, perceived it only as music, as sound, but
due to their special nature, they were capable of understanding the
transformation from just music to sight and to reality. Ulmo did not, I
would think, know of or imagine water when he made the music, but when
he saw water, he realised that this was what he had been singing
('musicing'?) about.

> Of course, it is possible that I'm misunderstanding the context of
> the word "subcreate," since I haven't read 'On Fairy Stories' in
> quite a long time. If so, feel free to correct or ignore me. ;-)

I think /Letters/ would be a good place to start ;-)

With Mortality, especially as it affects art and the
creative (or as I should say, sub-creative) desire which
seems to have no biological function, and to be apart from
the satisfactions of plain ordinary biological life, with
which, in our world, it is indeed usually at strife. This
desire is at once wedded to a passionate love of the real
primary world, and hence filled with the sense of
mortality, and yet unsatisfied by it. It has various
opportunities of 'Fall'. It may become possessive, clinging
to the things made as 'its own', the sub-creator wishes to
be the Lord and God of his private creation. He will rebel
against the laws of the Creator - especially against
mortality. Both of these (alone or together) will lead to
the desire for Power, for making the will more quickly
effective, - and so to the Machine (or Magic). By the last
[Letter #131, To Milton Waldman (probably written late in 1951)]

Elsewhere Tolkien also refers to the actual writing and inventing of
his world and his stories as sub-creative, and it seems to me that he
sees the existence of sub-creation (and Creation) within his own sub-
creation as parallelling that -- the music is art to the Ainur, just as
the Silmarils are to Fëanor (the making of jewels is emphasised for the
Elves as sub-creative), and I think that he would see the shaping of
the world by the Ainur as sub-creative as well.

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

To make a name for learning
when other roads are barred,
take something very easy
and make it very hard.
- Piet Hein, /Wide Road/

Graham Lockwood

unread,
Nov 2, 2005, 5:36:36 PM11/2/05
to
On Wed, 2 Nov 2005 15:26:13 -0600, Troels Forchhammer wrote
{snip}

> As I read this, it would mean that the Ainur, prior to this (which
> would mean also during the music), had never known other ways of
> experiencing than through hearing (how Melkor had then 'gone often
> alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame' is probably
> better left unexplored <G>).
{snip}

I somewhat agree with this. However, I would venture to say that concepts
such as "hearing" or "vision" don't exist as we can conceive of them in the
Timeless Halls. After all, they're timeless and how can you have vision or
hearing (or music) or anything we're capable of comprehending without the
passage of time? This confusion is compounded by the fact that the story is
told as if it were a narrative of events taking place within a passage of
time. IIRC, in one of the earlier stories in BoLT, Eru sends down some
spirits to help the Ainur by partitioning existence into Time. Tolkien
apparently discarded that story but you still have a simliar problem.

And FWIW, every time I read the Ainulindale, I have a picture in my head of a
bunch of people playing instruments and singing on board a space ship. Then,
when Eru says, "Behold, your music," he gestures to a window and they look
outside and see the Earth floating in space. Horribly inaccurate, I know, but
that's what I think of and I can't help it. It may be that humans are largely
incapable of envisioning or truly comprehending any kind of story truly
outside of Time.

---
Graham

Count Menelvagor

unread,
Nov 3, 2005, 1:07:52 AM11/3/05
to

Andrew F. Donnell wrote:
> Larry Swain wrote:
> > Andrew F. Donnell wrote:
> >
> >>This could be a contrast with Tolkien's Christian view that tends to see
> >>humanity as chiefly important in God's plan?
> >
> >
> > Nope. Its Augustinian. The Augustinian view of creation, the hexameral
> > tradition (the first 6 days) is that there was God, God created the
> > angels. Satan rebelled, taking 1/3 of the angels with him, Satan and
> > followers cast out of heaven, God creates heaven and earth and creates
> > humanity to make up the number of those angels who rebelled and were
> > cast out. I. E. the "children of God" were created to answer the
> > question of Evil.
>
> OK. I didn't realize that Augustine viewed humanity as a replacement
> for the fallen angels, although I guess I have heard the idea before. I
> wonder what the typical thought on the matter was in Tolkien's time? I
> suppose the Ainulindale account may be closer to Tolkien's beliefs than
> I thought at first. It is more alien, at least, to the typical American
> Protestant view, which acknowledges a fall of Satan/angels before the
> fall of humanity, but doesn't really put any specifics to it, and sees
> the creation of humanity as something apart from that and a plan
> originating wholly from God.

i don't think it's so specific in catholicism either; not everything in
st. augustine is necessarily catholic doctrine.

Larry Swain

unread,
Nov 3, 2005, 1:06:39 PM11/3/05
to
It depends very much on who and when you're reading. I don't know which
version of the hexameral tradition, if any, is currently "official
doctrine", but Augustine's is certainly the most popular and
influential. A number of medieval writers on whiom Tolkien worked
assumed the tradition and some such as Aelfric use it explicitly.

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Nov 8, 2005, 4:41:01 PM11/8/05
to
In message <news:b6vul1hc42vau9vhm...@4ax.com> Chris
Kern <chris...@gmail.com> enriched us with:
>
> On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 22:12:53 -0400, Stan Brown
> <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> posted the following:
>>
>> 25 Oct 2005 18:00:07 GMT from Troels Forchhammer
>> <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid>:
>>> Chapter of the Week, The Silmarillion -- 'Ainulindalë'
>>>
>>> What is the 'Flame Imperishable'? Eru had kindled it in the
>>> Ainur, Melkor sought it in vain because he wanted to create
>>> things of his own, Eru sent it out in the void to create Eä and
>>> in some of the writings in /Myths Transformed/ (MR) Eru
>>> gave/lend some of it to Varda, but Aulë didn't have it when he
>>> created the Dwarves. It seems related to creative power, but
>>> how?
>>
>> I think the Flame Imperishable is a metaphor for real, independent
>> existence: what the world had after Eru said Ea! and not before;
>> what the Dwarves had after Eru accepted them but not out of Aule's
>> own power.
>
> Doesn't the idea of the Flame Imperishable predate the entrance of
> "Ea! Let it be!" (which is post-LotR IIRC).

Yes, in BoLT the Creation is simultaneous with the singing, and
Ilúvatar has the 'Secret Fire'.

Now when they reached the midmost void they beheld a
sight of surpassing beauty and wonder where before had been
emptiness; but Ilúvatar said: 'Behold your choiring and
your music! Even as ye played so of my will your music took
shape, and lo! even now the world unfolds and its history
begins as did my theme in your hands. [...]'
[BoLT1 'Music of the Ainur']

> I've always seen the Flame as sort of a "God-quality" which is
> necessary for Creation and the like.

Yes, I agree. I just hoped that someone could get more specific ;-)
possibly know if there is a corresponding named quality in a real-world
religion.


>>> [8] Why was what Melkor did /not/ obedient to Eru's command to
>>> 'show forth your powers in adorning this theme,
>>> each with his own thoughts and devices'?
>>
>> He didn't adorn Eru's theme; he created his own, in opposition to
>> it and trying to drown it out.

It's not that I disagree, but let me expand upon it.

In the Silmarillion his actions are initially described like this:

[...]. But being alone he had begun to conceive thoughts
of his own unlike those of his brethren.
Some of these thoughts he now wove into his music, and
straightway discord arose about him, [...].

Now, this says that he was weaving his own thoughts into the music:
precisely what Eru had instructed him to do. The discord seems to stem
from the fact that Melkor's thoughts were 'unlike those of his
brethren', but the difference is not specified. We know already that
Ulmo turned his 'thought' to water, Manwë to air, Aulë to the earth and
Yavanna to the living things, so their 'thoughts' must also have been
different; like and yet unlike, perhaps.

I see the discord as a symptom -- it shows that Melkor wasn't in accord
with Eru's wish. Given that Eru had instructed him to adorn the theme
'with his own thoughts and devices', I think that Melkor's actions were
actually obedient to Eru's instructions, but that his 'thoughts and
devices' were incompatible with the thoughts and devices of Eru's
theme.

>> Or by "why" do you mean "why did Melkor do such a thing?" I think
>> it was the same sin as Feanor's and Turin's, only vastly greater
>> in scope: pride. He wanted to be above all the other Ainur, and
>> eventually above Eru himself.

I'm not sure of my reading of that particular passage ('But as the
theme progressed, [...] and he was impatient of its emptiness.'), but
it seems to me that Melkor proceeded from 'I really wish Eru would go
on with it, so I could have more to enjoy' through 'I might do it
myself' to 'I could do better than Eru'.

There is also an interesting passage in the /Valaquenta/ about Varda
and Melkor:

[...] for Melkor she knew from before the making of the
Music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her
more than all others whom Eru made.

So Melkor's evil must predate the Music, and yet he was given the same
instruction as all the others, to adorn Eru's theme 'with his own
thoughts and devices' -- surely Eru must have known what direction
Melkor's thoughts were taking?

> It's sometimes said that every sin comes from Pride, and pride
> certainly seems to be the driving factor of Melkor's rebellion --
> he believed that he could outdo his creator.

Yes.

>>> [12] Eru's berating as in [11] above worked, too:
>>> Then the Ainur were afraid, and they did not yet
>>> comprehend the words that were said to them; and
>>> Melkor was filled with shame, of which came secret
>>> anger.
>>> Just a pity about Melkor's 'secret anger', which appears to
>>> have cemented Melkor's rebellion -- making it irreversible.
>>
>> Compare the moment of Gollum's near-repentance at Cirith Ungol.
>> Sam breaks in on him at the wrong time, and shames him; and the
>> moment is lost.

I did have that in mind, yes ;-)

There are some differences, of course; mainly that there is no external
reason for Melkor's failure to repent here -- it is internal (he does
feel shame, but it is turned to anger instead of repentance). And of
course it wouldn't do to have evil enter the world as the result of an
accident, would it ;-)

> Tolkien also says in several places that every creature has their
> chance at repentance -- this could be one,

Who is to say that he got only one chance?

> although in the late MR texts he puts Melkor's chance at repentance
> at the point when the Valar attack Utumno.

That's where it is, thank you! I was trying to find that passage for
the introduction, but couldn't, and being in a hurry to finish, I had
to give it up ;-)

(Melkor is now weaker than Manwë, whom he was stronger than at the
beginning):
Either Manwë must tell him so or he must himself suddenly
realize (or both) that this has happened: he is
'dispersed'. But the lust to have creatures under him,
dominated, has become habitual and necessary to Melkor, so
that even if the process was reversible (possibly was by
absolute and unfeigned self-abasement and repentance only)
he cannot bring himself to do it.[*] As with all other
characters there must be a trembling moment when it is in
the balance: he nearly repents - and does not, and becomes
much wickeder, and more foolish.
Possibly (and he thinks it possible) he could now at that
moment be humiliated against his own will and 'chained' -
if and before his dispersed forces reassemble. So - as soon
as he has mentally rejected repentance - he (just like
Sauron afterwards on this model) makes a mockery of
self-abasement and repentance. From which actually he gets
a kind of perverted pleasure as in desecrating something
holy - [for the mere contemplating of the possibility of
genuine repentance, if that did not come specially then as
a direct grace from Eru, was at least one last flicker of
his true primeval nature.] He feigns remorse and
repentance.
[Morgoth's Ring V 'Myths Transformed' Text VI]

This clearly describes the capture of Melkor (leading to the chaining)
as such a 'trembling moment' where Melkor's redemption is in the
balance. If the situation with Gollum is a guide to what happened here,
then I don't think that the shame->anger at Eru's reproof just after
the Music came to quite the same 'trembling moment' -- it wasn't as
well-balanced. However, the situation after the Music was necessary --
there had to be one real chance of Arda Unmarred even if it was a very
small one.

Another part of this that I was looking for, though I didn't recall
that they belong together, was the footnote:

[*] [footnote to the text] One of the reasons for his self-
weakening is that he has given to his 'creatures', Orcs,
Balrogs, etc. power of recuperation and multiplication.
So that they will gather again without further specific
orders. Part of his native creative power has gone out
into making an independent evil growth out of his control.

This touches on the whole matter of 'Morgoth's Ring', of creative power
etc. etc. We don't know the status of the thoughts in this text -- the
whole 'Myths Transformed' part is very fluid and Tolkien is
occasionally arguing against himself in the same text, but I
nevertheless find that many of the ideas are interesting in the context
of these discussions as they do touch on the ultimate origin of Eä, of
Arda and of those who fashioned it.

<snip>

--
Troels Forchhammer
Valid e-mail is <t.forch(a)email.dk>

Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don't want to mend
their own ways, but each other's.
- Piet Hein, /Mankind/

Troels Forchhammer

unread,
Nov 10, 2005, 6:31:18 AM11/10/05