Feb 7 2013, 2:51pm
I'll try again. This will probably be part 1.
A long post went down the cyber-drain!
Do you like this style? Is it a welcome departure from all the description and lists, or does it feel inconsistent?
Well, this was the only of the first chapters I have felt from the beginning that I somehow understood, so yes, I like it.
I don't feel The Silmarillion is at all consistent in style; I won't single this chapter out for criticism.
Why do think Tolkien wrote it this way?
As CuriousG mentioned, he didn't. Christopher Tolkien and Guy Kay did, based on some late notes.
This might be the reason this chapter is far more readable than some of the others.
How do you think Tolkien envisioned this chapter being written?
In Arda Reconstructed, Voronwe mentions the image of Pengolod seeing Yavanna as a tree, and complains about its omission from the published Sil. He even reproduced a fan-art picture of this scene!
Personally, I don't feel this description would have added much to the book; but being semi-canon, perhaps I would be justified in suggesting that this was the time in which this Guardian of the olvar revealed this strange history.
Although, as masinger pointed out, in the Lhammas Pengolod was conceived of as perptrating the story of soulless dwarves. Maybe the Lhammas needs to be retrofitted as well.
did Yavanna sit down with one of the Vanyar and say “Ever wonder how the Dwarves were made? Well, do I have a story for you!”
The Vanyar were out of Middle-earth long before any elves met dwarves. I can't imagine them bothering.
Why these two Valar before, say, Manwë and Varda?
Powerful enough to interfere with Eru's plan, not great enough to refrain from doing so.
In what ways were the Dwarves similar to Elves and Men? In what ways different?
I think the biology is similar if not the same. Aesthetically, however, they are supposed to be far less pleasing ("hot dwarves" being unthought-of in the 70s).
Typical male: get the function correctly, but have only a hazy notion of form.
Do the differences lie in Aulë’s vague interpretation of the coming Children, or do they arise from his own characteristics (or both?)
Let's say that his vague interpretation arises from his own characteristics.
How does this (does this?) affect your reactions to Dwarves in TH and LoTR?
It might have informed them in some subtle way. But I'm not sure.
What do you make of this statement?
Man can imitate, but only G-d can imbue with life.
A further association between Aulë and machinery/technology/craft?
Not necessarily. Frankenstein was a sceintist, but Pygmalion an artist.
Are the Dwarves at this stage more like machines or more like slaves?
Before Iluvatar gave them life? Machines.
Is this an explanation for an ability for evil to “create” beings, (i.e., could orcs really be just “mindless rabble”?)
According to the published Sil, orcs were not created by evil.
or does it imply the importance of intent (i.e., machines are evil if you do evil things with them)?
Well, some machines are designed for evil purposes. What else would you manufacture machine-guns for, if not for killing?
Intent is important; but even if killing is justified in certain cases, I can't percveive it as an inherently good deed; a necessary evil at best.
A bit cheeky, no?
I don't think so. The feeling is true humility, and the saying so to Iluvatar is a sign of honesty. And I'm sure Iluvatar knows it.
Why do you think Ilúvatar gives the Dwarves life?
Why did G-d give us the power to choose?
It's the mystery of Divine benevolence.
Is his statement above regarding strife prophetic or decreed?
What's the difference?
But note the word "oft" which means "not always". Again, a wide margin is given to choice - at least as far as we can perceive.
Why does he say “children of my choice” instead of “children of my making”?
Because they were in the third theme He introduced. Later, He granted life to the choices of others (as will be seen below regarding Ents, although Manwe did not understand it even while he sang).
Surely it was also his choice to save the Dwarves and to give them life?
I think it is the other way round: it was Iluvatar who actually made them - without the life He gave them they were nothing.
What is she saying?
"Eru is merciful" - instead of spanking you properly, he let you get away with the cake! "thou hast received not only forgiveness but bounty".
What are/is her emotions here?
You are asking me to interpret the heart of one of the Queens of the Valier?
Sorry - I'm a mere male.
I hadn't thought of this until elostirion74 mentions it, but you know - until now, Yavanna was the one who had made the most impressive sub-creative effort...
Anger? Something else?
Why does she seek out Manwë?
Comfort, and support.
As is seen in his response, they had sang together quite a bit before.
What is meant by his response to her?
He is trying to draw her out, by deliberately acting obtuse (the alternative is saying he is dumb, which we can't really do).
Why does Manwë have to consider Yavanna’s thoughts in order for them to be heard by Ilúvatar?
He doesn't; of course they are heard.
But Eru can't be summoned - perhaps not even by Manwe himself (the Akallabeth was a special case, for which the Valar actually "lay down the government of the world"). Yavanna seeks Manwe as the best available recourse.
Is it something in Yavanna’s nature that others must hold dominion over her (i.e., like the Children will hold over the plants and animals of her making?)
If so, I don't quite see it.
Ilúvatar, Manwë, and Aulë seem, in varying degrees, to be rather dismissive of Yavanna -- do you agree?
I concede Aule, and perhaps even Manwe - but Iluvatar? I disagree.
This is just a rebuke to the Valar's hubris in general, assuming that if they suddenly think of something as necessary, He has ot recognised it long before them and prepared a remedy - within the very song.
It was Manwe who said the thought was strange, and only after Iluvatar speaks reembers that he was involved in this very strange thought long before the world came into existence.
If you do agree, why would they be so dismissive of her?
Aule and Yavanna seem to misunderstand each other. I'm not sure about Manwe.
Furthermore, why would Tolkien set up this relational hierarchy -- especially since he was such a great lover of nature and trees?
His misoginy got the better of him.
Okay, not really; but Manwe, Ulmo and Aule seem to share a fraternity-like affinity. Yavanna is unfortunately out of it.
Are the Ents “Shepherds of the Trees” a worthy compromise?
Hrum, hoom... (as CuriousG would have me say)
Well, the Ents seem to be underachievers in a way, don't they?
But anyway, I'm not sure they are.
Can this be compared to Aule's bounty in having life actually granted to the creatures he has made?
Behold! When the Children awake, then the thought of Yavanna will awake also, and it will summon spirits from afar, and they will go among the kelvar and the olvar, and some will dwell therein, and be held in reverence
Is this passage in reference to “Of Aulë and Yavanna”?
Definitely not, as this chapter was not in existence yet.
Is it evidence of some kind of peace offering, Aulë to Yavanna, that the dwarves love and tend stone as much as gardeners love and tend Yavanna’s olvar?
Will Yavanna perceive it as such?
Rocks are inanimate, and do not grow, feel or interact.
At least, it seems so. But recently, we've seen that this assertion is not so clear-cut in Tolkien's mind.
To what is she referring?
The pines were roaring in the night...
Orc? Trolls? Flies? Slime-mould?
All of them at once.
But even his extreme fires and colds would slay many of both kelvar and olvar.
Are the Dwarves particularly resistant to Melkor, either in battle or otherwise?
They seem to be less corruptible than Elves and Men. But I'm not quite sure.
Hopefully one or two of my comments or questions will spark your imagination
This was an excellent chapter discussion, and it should have received an earlier and fuller repsonse, but RL got in the way again. However, according to Eomer's old saw, "late is better than never". I hope it was!