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Valaquenta II: Of the Valar (1)
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 19 2009, 9:23pm

Post #1 of 86 (454 views)
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Valaquenta II: Of the Valar (1) Can't Post

The most important Ainur are called Valar by Elves, and (sometimes) gods by Men. Of these, there are seven “Lords” and seven “Queens”; their Quenya names are listed, and they are described in turn. Melkor is explicitly excluded. He was the most powerful, but his brother Manwë, who loves wind and birds, is now the king of the world. Manwë is accompanied by Varda, who joined him to oppose Melkor, whom she had spurned. She loves light, and the Elves, who also call her “Elbereth”, praise her when the stars rise. When Manwë and Varda are together atop the mountain of Taniquetil, they can see and hear more, respectively, than any others. Listed next is Ulmo, who wanders alone in the ocean’s depths. When visible, his aspect is terrible, but he loves and remembers the Elves and Men and his voice can be heard in the noise of water. Aulë is a smith and the oveerseer of all crafts ranging from the finest handwork to the shaping of the earth itself. He is compared to Melkor: they are alike in their desire to make praiseworthy things, but unlike in that while Aulë shares his work and knowledge with others (like the Noldor), Melkor so “spent his spirit in envy and hate” that he could only destroy, not create.


Questions
1. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell? What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?
2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed 3. from the faces of the other Valar?
3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?
4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?
5. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?
6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?
7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda? Who was closest to Manwë after?
8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?
9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?
10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?
11. Melkor seems to a version of Aulë gone bad. What would his nature be if he were like Manwë, Varda, or Ulmo gone bad?

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We're discussing The Silmarillion in the Reading Room, Aug. 9 - Mar 7. Please join the conversation!

This week: "Valquenta".
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Curious
Half-elven


Aug 19 2009, 9:56pm

Post #2 of 86 (266 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell?

Yes.

What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?

He was a rebel from the start.

2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed from the faces of the other Valar?

Was it ever there?

3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?

I don't know.

4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?

Why not?

5. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?

For himself, I'm sure.

6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?

Well, Melkor is strongest of all, and seems to compete for dominion over the earth. But strength isn't everything.

7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda?

Maybe.

Who was closest to Manwë after?

Varda.

8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?

Apparently.

9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?

Because Ulmo is in the water, whereas Manwë remains remote and somewhat detached, relying on messengers and his vision of the whole.

10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?

Or else water doesn't count as a substance.

11. Melkor seems to a version of Aulë gone bad. What would his nature be if he were like Manwë, Varda, or Ulmo gone bad?

I'm not sure.



FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 11:48am

Post #3 of 86 (238 views)
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Meet the pantheon [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell? What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?

There was no before or after, surely. The appointment happened before time began. And so, of course, did the fall of Melkor.

2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed from the faces of the other Valar?

I think we have to remember that Tolkien is echoing the polytheistic mythologies in which the gods are personifications of elemental forces. Varda has the "light of Ilúvatar" in her face because she is a personification of the stars. Other Valar personify other aspects of nature (or of Ilúvatar, nature's creator).

I'm wondering if it's Tolkien's decision to combine the polytheistic and the monotheistic into one mythology that perhaps makes the Valar so underwhelming as a pantheon. Normally, the gods who are the personifications of elemental forces are elemental and chaotic themselves, full of rage and lust and jealousy and pride. But because in Tolkien's mythology we also have the One God, the Valar are reduced to the status of rather undifferentiated and extremely well-behaved angels - they are all Teacher's pets, except for the one bad boy who has to be expelled... Tongue

3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?

She's reflecting (no pun intended) the element of which she is a personification - the stars.

4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?

I suppose she didn't like his selfish and prideful personality.

5. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?

She surely loves him for his personality - his generosity and willingness to submit his great power to the greater good. And of course because she's destined to be with him - together they represent the sky, both the airs above the earth and the stars of the firmament.

6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?

It seems so. The winds stir up the movement of the sea, and the sea beats against the shores of the earth. The earth is enclosed by seas that surround it, and the air moves above them both.

7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda? Who was closest to Manwë after?


I read that "closest in friendship" to mean that Manwë was Ulmo's closest friend. Ulmo has few friends, since he prefers to be alone, but he does have time for Manwë (which makes sense from the perspective of their personifications, since the winds and the sea do interact - obviously the Elves take no account in their mythology of the lunar effects on the sea, in fact since the world is believed to be flat at this time I assume there is no room in this mythology for the moon's effect on the tides).

I don't think anything is implied regarding who is Manwë's closest friend. It was probably Varda all along. (Again, I find the attempt to impose gendered "gods" into a monotheistic world a little unsatisfying - Manwë and Varda make most sense as male and female in the way they dwell together, and yet they are essentially sexless, like angels).

8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?

Again, we're talking personification here. The sea is always restless, rivers and fountains flow. The essence of water is that it is constantly in movement. The other Valar have different preferences based on the elements they are personifications of.

9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?

I find this a lovely metaphor for the way water finds its way into every nook and cranny of the world, while the air moves unaware above.

10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?

Probably not at this point, before the earth is "bent". The seas are the boundaries of Arda, perhaps, in this concept.

11. Melkor seems to a version of Aulë gone bad. What would his nature be if he were like Manwë, Varda, or Ulmo gone bad?

A personification of hurricanes, meteorite catastrophes or tsunamis?

They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Curious
Half-elven


Aug 20 2009, 12:15pm

Post #4 of 86 (222 views)
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I like your answers. And to elaborate, [In reply to] Can't Post

perhaps Varda and the stars reflect the One True Light, the Secret Fire, the light of Ilúvatar, which is why Melkor desired her and she rejected him. She is attracted to Manwë because he has a direct connection to Ilúvatar, and therefore is to some extent Ilúvatar's avatar in Arda. And it is fitting that the sky and the stars would be closest to heaven, although heaven is technically outside of time and space.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 1:22pm

Post #5 of 86 (231 views)
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About the Moon... [In reply to] Can't Post

When I wrote:

Quote
obviously the Elves take no account in their mythology of the lunar effects on the sea, in fact since the world is believed to be flat at this time I assume there is no room in this mythology for the moon's effect on the tides



I forgot that there is no Moon yet! Doh!

Blush


They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 5:05pm

Post #6 of 86 (219 views)
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My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell? What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?



Studies show that people with the very highest IQs or most developed talents are almost never leaders. They're advisors to leaders, researchers, and the folks who "make it so" when told to do so. Leadership calls for a more generalized overview than the brilliant can muster, and the ability to coordinate the efforts of diverse talents greater than one's own.



Quote
2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed 3. from the faces of the other Valar?



Perhaps. They each had their own foci, based on their parts in the music. Varda's focus apparently was light.


Quote

3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?



Singing about stars?


Quote

4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?



Feminine intuition? Or maybe she just liked Manwe better, and this had something to do with Melkor turning bitter? But I'll vote on the former, personally.


Quote

. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?



I should like to think the former! However, the very traits that set him against Melkor would make him attractive for himself.


Quote

6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?



We cannot live more than a matter of minutes without air. We can live for a few days without water. We can live for weeks without a renewal of substance (food, from earth.)


Quote

7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda? Who was closest to Manwë after?



Maybe that was before Manwe and Varda married. Which answers the second question.


Quote

8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?



Emotionally, yes. But Ulmo has the spirit of a rambler.


Quote

9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?



You know, I actually gave some thought to this before. We all are made mostly of fluid. We have air in our lungs, but it needs encapsulated to travel through our liquid veins.


Quote

10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?



In this stage of imagination, I don't think "substance" refers to fluid or airy forms, but solid things that maintain their form when left alone.


Quote

11. Melkor seems to a version of Aulë gone bad. What would his nature be if he were like Manwë, Varda, or Ulmo gone bad?



Actually, Melkor had something of the natures of all the rest, not just Aule. He is the Shadow side of the Valar, carrying all traits in their corrupted forms. Cite: "In the powers and knowledge of all the other Valar he had part, but he turned them to evil purposes, and squandered his strength in violence and tyrrany."

Now--on to see what everybody else wrote!

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 5:11pm

Post #7 of 86 (251 views)
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Sexless Valar? [In reply to] Can't Post

Just because they have subcreations rather than children, and close the bedroom door to mortal view, doesn't mean they can't make whoopy out of our line of sight.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Curious
Half-elven


Aug 20 2009, 6:10pm

Post #8 of 86 (208 views)
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Too bad about Obama, then. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it may be more accurate to say that there are many kinds of intelligence beyond verbal and mathematical, and therefore that SAT scores rarely predict who will be a great leader. But it's not that leaders are dumb, it's that they may be smart in a way SAT scores aren't designed to measure. Sometimes, though, a great leader also happens to have high SAT scores, or would if the SAT had been around. See, e.g., Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton (Rhodes Scholar), Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 6:43pm

Post #9 of 86 (218 views)
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I see what you mean [In reply to] Can't Post

about "moistening with your own imagination"! Cool

I suppose they could be up to all kinds of things behind closed doors (if they have any doors to close). But they don't show any jealousy, like Juno, or lust, like Jupiter. Or any other passion that might make us imagine that they have private passions... At least not as far as I can see.

I actually meant, though, that they are said not to actually be male and female at all, but just to "clothe" themselves in a gendered body when they wish to. So there's a tension between their spiritual, angelic, sexless personas on the one hand, and their pair-bonding on the other hand, which seems to be based on the human instincts that we find in the gods of other mythologies but don't see in the Valar.

Still, I've been thinking about it a bit more, and perhaps they are the perfect fantasy for the highly-evolved, self-controlled Elves. We find out that some Elves do have passions, of course, but their culture seems not to approve of such things - at least by the time the hobbits get to know them. If you like to imagine, as I do, that the Silmarillion is Bilbo's Translations from the Elvish, I suppose it makes sense that the versions of the mythology that he learns would be those that appeal most strongly to the fading Elves of the Third Age.

They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Dreamdeer
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 6:48pm

Post #10 of 86 (204 views)
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I didn't say dumb versus smart. [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant smart leaders and even smarter advisors. I said the very highest IQs.. I mean 160-180 range or higher. Smart people take the lead, consulting people even smarter than themselves; that's the intelligent thing to do. Most leaders, political and commercial, are in the 120-140 range, some as high as the 150's. But they've got geniuses on their staffs, or know where to look them up.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


Ashkan1984
The Shire


Aug 20 2009, 7:14pm

Post #11 of 86 (200 views)
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On Aule [In reply to] Can't Post

The comparison of Aule to Melkor which was remarked in the discussion in also notable in two ways, both mentioned by Christopher Tolkien in Unfinished Tales. The first is the creation of the Dwarves by Aule which is compared with Melkor 'devising' the Orcs.

And the second one, which is really interesting, is that it was Aule who asked Manwe to send Saruman along with Gandalf to Middle-earth. Was it because Saruman was a master of the earth's lore?


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 7:16pm

Post #12 of 86 (209 views)
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Melian lusted [In reply to] Can't Post

Of course she was a Maia, but a lesser version of the same creature. And Melkor lusted, but Varda spurned him. And he did a lot more than that, in versions that did not make the final cut. And whatever Ungoliant was, she definitely lusted, as did her daughter.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 20 2009, 7:34pm

Post #13 of 86 (204 views)
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The Ainur are inherently gendered. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I actually meant, though, that they are said not to actually be male and female at all, but just to "clothe" themselves in a gendered body when they wish to.



Actually, in the Ainulindalë Tolkien wrote:


Quote
But when they desire to clothe themselves the Valar take upon them forms some as of male and some as of female; for that difference of temper they had even from their beginning, and it is but bodied forth in the choice of each, not made by the choice, even as with us male and female may be shown by the raiment but is not made thereby.


<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Silmarillion in the Reading Room, Aug. 9 - Mar 7. Please join the conversation!

This week: "Valquenta".
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 8:51pm

Post #14 of 86 (207 views)
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Yes, or at least [In reply to] Can't Post

she fell in love and had offspring. She does seem to be the exception that proves the rule.

Of course the evil ones lust. That goes without saying...

They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 20 2009, 9:16pm

Post #15 of 86 (200 views)
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You're right. [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for providing that quote. I didn't read it carefully enough.

It's very bloodless, though, don't you find? Independently of their bodies, the Valar have pre-existing male and female "differences of temper", whatever that may mean. Presumably, judging from the details we are given, the female "temper" is passive and nurturing, while the male "temper" is proactive and authoritative. And so the more active and the more passive personifications of the various aspects of the natural world are paired together. The pairings seem to be based on their complementary skills in a shared domain, rather than in the direct desire of one Vala for another. It all seems so terribly proper.

Although perhaps, as Dreamdeer says, they just prefer to keep their private lives private!

They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



sador
Half-elven

Aug 20 2009, 9:20pm

Post #16 of 86 (208 views)
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Answers [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell?
You must remember the King is not really the Overlord of Ea, but merely a regent for Iluvatar.
Melkor might be the mightier, but Manwe knows better Iluvatar's mind.

What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?
Were there any 'appointments' before the Music? I think that by knowing most of Iluvatar's mind, Manwe is automatically designated as regent; but others are not yet.

2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed from the faces of the other Valar?
Yes. They have become focused on the concrete world they are creating and running; Varda still sees in everything its connection to the Allfather.
That is what makes her so beautiful - to those who could see. I'm not sure a twentieth-century cynic would find her any prettier than Nessa.

3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?
Finding the Light of Iluvatar everywhere, even in the Void.

4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?
He was searching the Void as well (re: the Ainulindale), but he presupposed Iluvatar had ignored it, and perhaps he could establish his own dominion in the Void.
To Varda, such thought was anathema.

5. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?
The two are one and the same.
Manwe looks for the purpose of Iluvatar in everything, while Melkor tries to follow his own counsel.
Varda is the one who sees the light of Eru in all the creation, so she would naturally love Manwe and reject Melkor. Note also the symbiotic realtionship of Manwe and Varda - quite unlike any other of the Valian couples.

6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?
Air is less dense, and therefore a better medium to contin the power of Manwe.

7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda?
I think so. At the time, Varda was seeking the light of Iluvatar in the deeps of Ea; while Ulmo was engaged in building the world with Manwe (probably that's the meaning of the 'making melodies for Iluvatr's delight' in the Ainulindale)

Who was closest to Manwë after?
Varda. Their symbiosis made them as one.

8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?
Ulmo had promised Iluvatar to make melodies for his delight for ever; he cannot rest.
The other Valar - I suppose so, assuming they are intended to be spirits as we no them. Spirits do need repose.
(Consider Tulkas being weary in 'The Darkening of Valinor')

9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?
Water is life, in a way that air is not.

10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?
If I understand correctly, Aule only rules the substances, not the earth itself. The earth is too difficult to be ruled.
Ulmo rules the Waters.

11. Melkor seems to a version of Aulë gone bad. What would his nature be if he were like Manwë, Varda, or Ulmo gone bad?
Melkor has some of the power of all the Valar; it's just that Aule's earth is the main theatre of events.

"For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow" - Galadriel's farewell song.


sador
Half-elven

Aug 20 2009, 9:28pm

Post #17 of 86 (218 views)
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Call it 'caring' a la Carol Gilligan [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Presumably... the female "temper" is passive and nurturing, while the male "temper" is proactive and authoritative.


Although if I am right in my image of Varda, she is more of the holy element. Are women more saintly than men in general? Is that also to be considered the 'downgrading' of women?


Quote
It all seems so terribly proper.


They're supposed to be proper!


Quote

Perhaps, as Dreamdeer says, they just prefer to keep their private lives private!

I would consider a diferent thing Dreamdeer did - she called Ulmo 'a rambler'. The sounds properly male, isn't it? While the only single female, Nienna, seems really like an old spinster - well, let's be nice to her and call her an abbess.

"For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow" - Galadriel's farewell song.

(This post was edited by sador on Aug 20 2009, 9:29pm)


Curious
Half-elven


Aug 20 2009, 9:37pm

Post #18 of 86 (198 views)
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Yes, it's strange. [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien's melding of Christian and non-Christian mythology results in mostly dutiful and cooperative angelic beings pairing off into apparently-sexless marriages. He effectively spays and neuters the pagan gods! Which makes it a very strange kind of pantheon.


fairelvenlady
Rivendell


Aug 20 2009, 10:49pm

Post #19 of 86 (204 views)
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Well...... [In reply to] Can't Post

If I may interject a thought, I think I would rather have the Tolkien pantheon then the greek/roman. I mean with the greek/roman pantheon you had a bunch of exalted humans who didn't have any moral boundaries and could harm/help humans on a whim. The Tolkien pantheon wasn't perfect either, they made mistakes too (if I'm not mistaken) they were just more well behaved.

What happened when Legolas and Aragorn road with Eomer in the van.
Aragorn: Eomer, Legolas has his bow on my side of the seat!
Legolas: Well Aragorn keeps slapping me while practicing his "heroic" poses.
Eomer: Don't make me turn this van around.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Aug 20 2009, 11:26pm

Post #20 of 86 (196 views)
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Yes, it would be better to live under the Valar than the Olympians. [In reply to] Can't Post

But which ones are more interesting to read about?

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Silmarillion in the Reading Room, Aug. 9 - Mar 7. Please join the conversation!

This week: "Valaquenta".
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Aug 20 2009, 11:35pm

Post #21 of 86 (196 views)
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It was more explicit in the earlier versions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Just because they have subcreations rather than children, and close the bedroom door to mortal view, doesn't mean they can't make whoopy out of our line of sight.



In the earlier versions of the mythology, the Valar DID have children. The fact that Tolkien expressly abandoned that conception is one of several indications that he wanted to move away from explicitly sexual "gods" akin to those of clasical mythology and more to spiritual beings more akin to the angels of Christianity.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


batik
Tol Eressea


Aug 21 2009, 4:27am

Post #22 of 86 (192 views)
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short on answers; long on questions... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
1. Was Manwë “appointed to be, in the fullness of time, the first of all Kings” even before Melkor fell? What was Melkor, the mightiest, appointed to be?
2. Varda is exceedingly beautiful because “the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face” – has that light departed 3. from the faces of the other Valar?

Well....stumped by those time qualifiers--"in the fullness of time" and "still". When is "the fullness of time"? In the past, the future? And "still"--as in when the Elves met her?


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3. What was Varda doing in “the deeps of Eä”, whence she came to Manwë’s assistance?


Are the "deeps of Ea" the same as "the heart of the World"?--the place where Iluvatar had sent the "Secret Fire"?


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4. Why had Varda rejected Melkor even before the Music began?


Was she aware that Melkor was searching the Void looking for the Imperishable Flame?


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5. Does Varda love Manwë for himself, or because he is opposed by Melkor?


Love? Hmmm. OK, they are noted to be "seldom parted" and I assume that the strength/gift of each seems to be enhanced by the presence of the other. Manwe delights in air related things; Varda's joy is light. But no where (yet) I am getting that there is a romantic-love-relationship going on here. Eh-maybe I am reading this question wrong!


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6. Ulmo is next in strength to Manwë and greater than Aulë – is the air by implication mightier than the sea, which in turn is stronger than the earth?


Now I find this interesting since previously the Ainur "most greatly praised" water. And Ulmo's connection with water is described before Manwe/Air or Aule/Earth. And Iluvatar had that 1:1 conversation with him...where he (seemed to have) realized the benefit of collaborating with Manwe for the good of all.


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7. Ulmo was closest to Manwë before the Valar moved to Valinor. Does that include Varda? Who was closest to Manwë after?


Location check requested!
Appears that Manwe and Ulmo were "allied" before coming to Arda (while beyond the confines of the World), right? Then the Valar moved to Arda (Almaren, M-e)-- then later relocated to Valinor (Land of Aman?) When I read that Manwe and Varda dwelt together--was that before they relocated? Did the friendship last throughout the Spring of Arda?


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8. Ulmo “has no need of any resting-place”. Do the other Valar have that need?


I don't know. Upon re-reading Iluvatar's counsel with Ulmo, it's almost as if Ulmo is being prepared for the existence of movement and change.


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9. How is it that water carries news to Ulmo better than air carries news to Manwë?


I suppose because he might be listening for news due to his love of Elves and Men as opposed to Manwe's love of birds.


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10. Aulë rules “all the substances of which Arda is made”, so does “Arda” not include the seas?


Water is certainly listed as a substance of Arda in the previous chapter:
"...and the matters of which Arda was made, of iron and stone and silver and gold and many substances: but of all these water..."

*I assume the "other questions" standard applies to this section...Wink


(This post was edited by batik on Aug 21 2009, 4:29am)


JTM
Bree


Aug 21 2009, 7:55am

Post #23 of 86 (216 views)
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Reference Please [In reply to] Can't Post

Voronwë_the_Faithful ;
Where did Tolkien write about the children of the valar?

Thanks,
JTM

..............................................................................................





Check our www.4u.ie

(This post was edited by JTM on Aug 21 2009, 7:56am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 21 2009, 9:33am

Post #24 of 86 (169 views)
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Did the earlier versions [In reply to] Can't Post

still give the same preeminent, explicit role to Ilúvatar? I'm wondering whether Tolkien was gradually changing his myth to make it reflect his own religious beliefs more closely, or if he was simply trying to lessen the inherent mismatch between a "classical" pantheon and the Judeo-Christian concept of the One God.

And could you give us an idea of the timeframe of all this, relative to the composition of LotR, say?

Thanks in advance for sharing your unique expertise!

They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



FarFromHome
Valinor


Aug 21 2009, 10:30am

Post #25 of 86 (194 views)
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Did I say 'downgrading'? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think I did! Tongue

I didn't say 'stereotyping' either, although I confess to thinking something like that!

On the other hand, I don't find that kind of stereotyping inappropriate in a mythology - myths would surely always reflect the most traditional, archetypal attitudes of the society that created them, and that includes traditional views of the "virtues" of women. What I find awkward is that the Valier have the virtues of women first, and take the bodies of women second, to match their "temper". It seems an odd way to distinguish males and females, with no nod at all to the fundamental physical differences between the sexes. Even the Virgin Mary has the fundamental female attribute of being a mother.


In Reply To
Although if I am right in my image of Varda, she is more of the holy element. Are women more saintly than men in general? Is that also to be considered the 'downgrading' of women?



I'd certainly agree with you about Varda's holiness. I remember in LotR discussions that we've often picked up resemblances to the Virgin Mary in the way she is imagined and addressed. In fact all the Valier remind me of the Virgin Mary in one way or another, and have an aura of holiness. And this description of Nienna jumped out at me: "She is acquainted with grief". A very unusual phrase that anyone who is familiar with Handel's Messiah would recognize, since it is an iconic line in one of its most famous arias, He Was Despised:

He was despised
Alto

He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)

(Here's a link to the aria sung by my favourite contralto, Kathleen Ferrier, a local heroine for us when I was a child, since she came from the next town.)

That "acquainted with grief" in the description of Nienna is a pretty clear religious reference, I find. (There's an interesting echo in the FotR movie, when Galadriel puts that same deep, dark weight on the word "grief" in a line originally given by Tolkien to Haldir: "And in all lands love is now mingled with grief.")


In Reply To
They're supposed to be proper!



Yes, I know Tolkien wants his "pantheon" to consist of angelic, "proper" beings. It's just that I find it a hard sell, considering the way "real" pantheons tend to be. If Tolkien was thinking of Owen Barfield when he decided to create personifications of nature in his mythology, he departed from Barfield's theories, it seems to me, when he elevated those personifications from human-like, passionate reflections of nature as it is, into serene and angelic beings with only a rather theoretical (if poetical) relevance to the elements of nature that they represent. Still, I find the poetic visions that Tolkien creates here very beautiful. It's just that I find it very hard to suspend my disbelief and really buy into his mythology as a mythology. (Perhaps Tom Bombadil is his attempt to create a more "Barfieldesque" nature spirit!)


They 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.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings


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