And welcome to the SIl discussion! I meant to respond more quickly to your first post; I hope you won't mind my doing that here.
*******Thank you so much Telain, for the warm welcome and in maintaining these wonderful discussions!******** I really like your take on how Melkor is part of the music:
He might not want the darkest notes to come to life, but on some level Eru is prepared. Why have these rogue notes at all? I think because in the long life of the First Song ultimately his will and design will come about regardless; and (speculating here) perhaps darker notes bring about the rise of light and heroic notes (ie: would we have Aragorn without Sauron?) I think free will is more valuable to Eru than a "flat" song and a "flat" world.As someone now more keenly aware of music and the effects it has on us, I can better appreciate these comments. Sometimes it is the dark that inspires the best from the light. I think I almost wrote something to that effect during the discussion of why the noontide days were not more fully chronicled. Sometimes melancholy can be so beautiful -- haven't you heard those mournful, almost painfully beautiful songs about lost love (or things even more tragic?) You're right -- of course Eru isn't planning on evil things happening, but he is prepared for them -- otherwise Nienna wouldn't be such a prominent figure and one so firmly rooted in sympathy, compassion, and all things melancholic. (your earlier post re: choice and Eru is fascinating!)
Very kind, Telain.
Sometimes I worry about overthinking it, but I feel like the link is there, between the uniqueness of the fate of Men and our relationship to the Song.
Very, very true about what you say about Nienna! Her skills are needed to right the balance - it seems like balance is an integral part of Eru's plans. So her existence and prominence is a sort of negative evidence for his foreknowledge of the possibility of evil. Such beauty in the logic.
Perhaps the nature of melancholy is such a logical, albeit emotional, connection between our (fleeting as mortals) hopes and dreams and our knowledge of our own end (poor mortals that we are.) I think it gives richness to life too, like the light and dark balance that Eru seems to always be creating. Maybe that's why we feel the beauty in that kind of sadness? On that note, I am intrigued further by your connection between Nienna, Melkor and healing. Do you think that Nienna feels it is necessary for Melkor to heal in order for the wounds he inflicted on the world to heal? Is she optimistically hopeful - going with that degree of naivete -- or desperately hopeful? We know from "Of the Maiar" that Olorin (Gandalf) was closely associated with Nienna "...and of her he learned pity and patience." I think we can assume then that she had pity for Melkor and was willing to wait to see if he showed any reform or healing.
Yes, I would agree that Nienna sees Melkor's own healing as a part of the repairing of what he wrought on the world, whether it occurs first or a as result of doing good work. I see Nienna as a VERY naive Valar (since she is not only clueless enough about Melkor not to suspect him, but actively canvasses for his release) so I would say she does pity him, and is
hopeful - but also needful. Her knowledge of the hurts affect her as a wound, I think, beyond just awareness, which is why she so wants Melkor to be fixed. It is healing for her as well, if Melkor and thus world are no longer sick. That's why I see her depth of empathy and compassion WITHOUT fear as a very dangerous combination for her - it leaves her completely unshielded. As for Olorin, I think he begins with more active judgement and awarenes than Nienna, because before leaving for ME Olorin confessed to fearing Melkor, indicating more wisdom in taking his true measure. So as Gandalf, he has the pity and patience COMBINED with the knowledge of fear and certainly more knowledge of evil and why it should, perhaps, be pitied - but certainly should be feared. (Of course we know the amazing work of Gandalf in later years, and how his teachings of pity save all of ME). Though, I wonder if we now know how someone like Melkor might respond to being pitied...
I wonder too. Perhaps he could (and would too) use pity to his benefit - but as I see Melkor as desperate for the high thoughts and regard of others, perhaps it would increase his hidden and ever-present resentment. So maybe it would be an unseen and deep anger at he pity, coupled with an outward use of the emotion to prey upon those who feel it. Dangerous combination for the unwary sympathetic person...! And why is it we sometimes associate "pity" with something negative? Is it is the feeling that one is vulnerable or weak if they are being pitied??
I do think so, as it seems to imply looking down from a stronger position on someone more wretched, unlike words like "compassion" or "sympathy".