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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Silmarillion discussion: Ainulindale
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Jan 16 2013, 10:52am

Post #51 of 51 (514 views)
Late for the party [In reply to] Can't Post

This has become quite a Christianity thread! I must take care to tread softly...
I'll follow your questions as best as I can.

In Reply To

Googling various creation myths, I didnít come up with any that were based on music, so Tolkien wins the innovation prize. Or prove me wrong: does anyone know of a creation story based on music? (I read one argument that Genesis was meant to be sung or chanted, but thatís not the same.)

Just two short notes:
1. The choir of angels Gardner mention originally comes from Isaiah 6:3; however, as squire said, this is post-creation. A much better comparison would be to Job 38:4-6.
2. In A Cultural Phenomenon, Brian Rosebury discusses the Ainulindale as a creation story, contrasting it with Hobbes' Leviathan. Very interesting stuff! A summary and discussion can be found here.

In Reply To
Eru is given no beginning, but the Ainur have one and come from his thought. Any ideas on why he didnít sing them into existence?

Who said he didn't? He modulated frequencies, out of which the Ainur came to being. There were no ears present to identify it as music - but was there, or wasn't there, the matter in which the waves would create sound?
Does it matter?

In Reply To
Itís not simple music: ďSing! A world!Ē Instead itís a dramatic story of competing themes, where original beauty and harmony clash with vanity and discord in a near-war. Not only does the Great Music create, it spells out the fate of the world and its peoples. On first read, I was confused by the complexity of all this, but now I enjoy it. Whatís your first reaction?

My first reaction? Confused is not enough to describe it. I was completely bemused - by all of the book.

In Reply To
Why do you suppose Tolkien chose Manwe as the king of the world over Ulmo? Was he bowing to the influence of Norse and Greek myths that had the thunder/sky god as First God?

Water is after all a part of earth. The sky encompasses it.
The Music lives most strongly in the Sea, because it is the best medium to preserve it. That's all.

In Reply To
Do waterfalls and ocean waves sound musical to you, or is their sound their own and unrelated to music?

I think they do.
At any rate, their sound is not their own - it is a part of the greater harmony of the World, of Nature, of G-d if you like.

In Reply To
Melkorís sins: secrecy, pride, lust for power. What would you add?

Someone wrote that the problem is not secrecy but deception. I agree.

In Reply To
What else would you add?

He adheres to classical theodicy: Eru is good. And His good is shown to the utmost in granting His creatures the freedom to act independently, even for evil. But in the end, He somehow mysteriously turns even that evil to the greater good.

In Reply To
Bonus question: if you wrote a creation story, what would you base it on? Cooking? Painting? Manufacturing? Computers? Laughter?

Those are some interesting ideas! But I'm really not into this kind of stories.

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