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Of Valar and Marriage Counseling

CuriousG
Valinor


Jan 21 2013, 7:30pm


Views: 461
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Of Valar and Marriage Counseling [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the great analysis, Telain! It isn't too long for me; Tolkien has a lot going on in only four pages.

Of the writing style: Eavesdropping on the Valar
This is the most approachable of the early chapters for the reasons you give: we get to listen to people speak to each other as individuals and hear their thoughts and conflicts. I would call it a progression from the previous style rather than inconsistent. As for how it was written down in Arda, it seems pretty private to divulge to someone, doesn't it? So I'm not sure how it leaked out, but I think what Masinger (Welcome, Masinger!) said about "invented speeches" filling in the blanks in history would make sense. If an Elf child asks their parents where babies come from, and Ents too, they have to come up with something to tell them. Now I want to know if Tolkien's kids asked him where babies came from and he said, "From angels singing."

Why these two Valar before, say, Manwë and Varda?
That was certainly my question on first read! Nothing wrong with choosing them, but it seems like he's starting in the middle of his lists rather than at the top, so it feels odd, especially since we never get another close-up look at Valar couples later on. I like PhantomS's explanation that it's all about creation, and particularly about the creation of living things. Manwe's air, Ulmo's waters, and Aule's earth are essential elements of Arda, and Yavanna couldn't have anything grow without them, but there's no life or Imperishable Flame in them, and no thought or will. What we see in this chapter is progression (not just stylistic) from the basics of creation to more sophisticated beings. Manwe gets tucked into this chapter not only as arbitrator but because he helps create eagles. It would probably be awkward to include Varda and other Valar who aren't involved in making creatures. Though I wonder why Orome isn't included somehow, since he loves trees and is called the Lord of Forests--shouldn't he have been involved in Ent-making?

Of the Making of the Dwarves: Born/bourne out of holes in the ground
In what ways were the Dwarves similar to Elves and Men? In what ways different? Do the differences lie in Aulë’s vague interpretation of the coming Children, or do they arise from his own characteristics (or both?) How does this (does this?) affect your reactions to Dwarves in TH and LoTR?
My gut-level feeling about Dwarves is that they are cruder than other beings that go on two legs, and from reading this chapter it seems that Aule didn't quite get all the details right when he tried to imitate Papa's work. Their personalities never seem as varied as those of Elves, Men, and hobbits. Reading their origins reinforces my understanding of them in The Hobbit and LOTR. "Aha! That's why they're like that." And while I wouldn't say I dislike Dwarves, this chapter makes me like them more. Do you suppose Tolkien had this creation story about Dwarves in mind when he first wrote about them, or added it later?

What do you make of this statement? A further association between Aulë and machinery/technology/craft? Are the Dwarves at this stage more like machines or more like slaves? Is this an explanation for an ability for evil to “create” beings, (i.e., could orcs really be just “mindless rabble”?) or does it imply the importance of intent (i.e., machines are evil if you do evil things with them)? Something else?
They come across as machines to me. I think even a slave would beg you not to kill it, but these creatures wouldn't have protested their demise without Eru making them his own. What I wonder about is why Tolkien seems to admire the greatness of smiths while also having them cause the most trouble (Melkor, Aule, Sauron, Feanor). We don't see Yavanna getting into trouble with her creations.

Why do you think Ilúvatar gives the Dwarves life? Is his statement above regarding strife prophetic or decreed? Why does he say “children of my choice” instead of “children of my making”? Surely it was also his choice to save the Dwarves and to give them life?
I think Iluvatar is a generous being/father that can't bring himself to destroy Aule's creation, even though he initially disapproves of it. Your other questions are mine too! And really, isn't "adoption" the same as "choice"? Tolkien seems to be picking his words very precisely throughout the dialogue in this chapter, leaving me baffled by "children of my choice." What did he choose them from--a catalog? Were there other options available? Didn't he make them/sing them/think them himself?

Re: strife. It seems mostly prophetic to me. I wonder if it's a little decreed also, as a warning to Aule or anyone else to not overstep the bounds of creation.

Of Aulë and Yavanna’s children: Lover’s spat or more than that?

What is she saying? What are/is her emotions here? Jealousy? Fear? Worry? Anger? Something else?

She definitely sounds jealous to me: Aule not only escaped punishment, Daddy rewarded him with a blessing on his illicit activity. Shouldn't the Valar be above envy? (Besides Melkor.) And it sounds like the sort of marital tension you get over big decisions on houses and kids that you're supposed to make together. She works in some guilt: "Well, since you didn't include me in your secret project, these kids of yours will probably be destructive of my creations. If only you had included me!" And it's interesting that her first reaction seems to be anxiety, not appreciation: "Wow! You made your own race? That's neat." She also seems a little resentful with "Eru is merciful," as if she thought he shouldn't have been. So it seems to be a lover's spat combined with the gods of Oil and Water finding that they don't mix well together.

Why does she seek out Manwë? What is meant by his response to her?
I'm not quite sure if she's seeking out his greater wisdom or authority, or both. She doesn't seem to be seeking him out as a friend to complain to.

His response seems to indicate mild suspicion, or at least curiosity: she should know this already, so why is she citing Aule as her source?

Ilúvatar, Manwë, and Aulë seem, in varying degrees, to be rather dismissive of Yavanna -- do you agree? If you do agree, why would they be so dismissive of her? Furthermore, why would Tolkien set up this relational hierarchy -- especially since he was such a great lover of nature and trees? Are the Ents “Shepherds of the Trees” a worthy compromise?
Yes, this chapter makes me feel that Yavanna is getting a rotten deal out of the whole Arda thing, and no one seems to care. Does she need some feminist sisters to help make the patriarchy take her seriously? Or is Tolkien projecting himself onto her--aren't nature lovers doomed to feel helpless against the destructive and uncaring forces of industry? (And Dwarves are pure industry.)

Is this passage in reference to “Of Aulë and Yavanna”? 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?
I personally find Gimli's sudden burst of passion for the Glittering Caves to be awkward. Partly it's the timing: they've just been through a terrible battle that they nearly lost, and Gimli was forced to take refuge in these caves, yet he immediately falls in rapturous love with them? Weren't there other things on his mind? Why didn't we see the same passion from him in Moria? But my own skepticism aside, I think you're probably right that Tolkien was trying to equate Dwarf and Elf passion in that portion.


Quote
“All my works are dear to me. Is it not enough that Melkor should mar so many?”
Since she loves even "the small and secret things in the mould," I think she's hurt by all of Melkor's perversion and destruction--even when he harms slime-mould!



Quote
“'Nonetheless they will have need of wood,' said Aulë, and he went on with his smith-work.”
I never know what to make of this chapter ending. Is he being callous, or a pragmatist? Yavanna has had all sorts of angst and finally comes to a happy resolution, and poof! She's back where she started. Is he a horrible husband, the unthinking Industrial Age, or just telling her that the world isn't perfect and she needs to adapt to that?

Subject User Time
The Silmarillion discussion: Of Aulë and Yavanna telain Send a private message to telain Jan 20 2013, 6:00pm
    I do like the last lines of this chapter ;-) FlyingSerkis Send a private message to FlyingSerkis Jan 20 2013, 9:36pm
        Aluë and Yavanna masinger Send a private message to masinger Jan 20 2013, 10:46pm
            now that you mention it... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 21 2013, 1:48pm
        what are Valar "children" anyway? telain Send a private message to telain Jan 21 2013, 1:33pm
    Dharma and Greg PhantomS Send a private message to PhantomS Jan 21 2013, 2:52pm
        of ethical creation telain Send a private message to telain Jan 22 2013, 8:25pm
            Counterfeit creatures noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 2:45pm
                I suspect counterfeit Dwarves are hobbits--beware!/ CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 3:38am
    Of Valar and Marriage Counseling CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 21 2013, 7:30pm
        that last line... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 23 2013, 8:30pm
            I'm going to jump on that comparison! FlyingSerkis Send a private message to FlyingSerkis Jan 23 2013, 9:25pm
                Great insights from both of you.// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 23 2013, 9:36pm
                thanks! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 24 2013, 6:39pm
                    Noble goals, dropping it stylistically, selfishness and retrofitted Ents noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 24 2013, 10:16pm
                        Whateth dost thou speaketh of? telain Send a private message to telain Jan 24 2013, 10:59pm
                            Okay, back to Dwarves, or Telain complaineth to Eru CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 25 2013, 12:08am
                                absolutely no complaints here! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 27 2013, 12:45am
                                    Begging dwarves beggar belief? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 12:38pm
                                An Ent and a Dwarf walk into a bar (it has to be tried :) ) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 1:30pm
                                    I like the 2nd one best./ CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 3:37am
                        Some passages are to be found in the original Silmarillion, and others ent, as you might say squire Send a private message to squire Jan 25 2013, 12:58pm
            The problem with Ents CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 24 2013, 6:01pm
                good points! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 24 2013, 6:44pm
            Yavanna is to Galadriel as who is to whom? CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 24 2013, 6:57pm
    very interesting questions! elostirion74 Send a private message to elostirion74 Jan 22 2013, 9:32pm
    Maiar of Aulë and Yavanna Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 25 2013, 12:54am
        Superb connection!// CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 25 2013, 1:34am
            Then again, Yavanna... Aragalen the Green Send a private message to Aragalen the Green Jan 25 2013, 1:46am
                superb connection seconded! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 27 2013, 12:56am
                    Fall, Mortalty and the Machine noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 27 2013, 12:24pm
                        Creativity gone amiss CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 4:24am
                            Saruman! noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Jan 28 2013, 5:26pm
                                Don't stop there with the editing CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 5:49pm
                                "creativity gone amiss" and sadly... telain Send a private message to telain Jan 28 2013, 5:57pm
                                    and on to the next chapter... noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Feb 3 2013, 5:08pm
    Insights from "Arda Reconstructed" CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jan 28 2013, 3:50am
        Interesting! telain Send a private message to telain Jan 28 2013, 5:38pm
    A long post went down the cyber-drain! sador Send a private message to sador Feb 7 2013, 2:51pm
        The writing is still very much JRRT's Voronwë_the_Faithful Send a private message to Voronwë_the_Faithful Feb 7 2013, 3:55pm

 
 
 

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