The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë & Valaquenta

Discussing Tolkien's foundations for Middle-earth
Lindariel
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Lindariel » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:40 pm

Merry, I absolutely agree that Tolkien chose the more Biblical style of writing -- what I like to think of as his "King James" language -- particularly for The Ainulindale as a means of setting his creation tale far back in the mists of time. This more archaiac style of writing is maintained for much of The Silmarillion because he is laying out the ancient history of the elves in long ages before the time of even ancient man, much less modern man. I tend to think of The Silmarillion as "The Bible of Middle-earth," a collection of related tales and histories of the Elves and the early tribes of Men.

In my reading this time, I was drawn particularly to the theme of the Void, especially as it relates to Melkor/Morgoth. Consider the following quotes:

To Melkor among the Ainur had been given the greatest gifts of power and knowledge, and he had a share in all the gifts of his brethren. He had gone often alone into the void places seeking the Imperishable Flame; for desire grew hot within him to bring into Being things of his own, and it seemed to him that Iluvatar took no thought for the Void, and he [Melkor] was impatient of its emptiness.


But when they were come into the Void, Iluvatar said to them: 'Behold your Music!' And he showed to them a vision, giving to them sight where before was only hearing; and they saw a new World made visible before them, and it was globed amid the Void, and it was sustained therein but was not of it.


"Therefore I say: Ea! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be."


Now, if I may be so bold as to skip all the way to the end of the tale, there is this VERY interesting quote:

But Morgoth himself the Valar thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void; and a guard is set for ever on those walls, and Earendil keeps watch upon the ramparts of the sky.


Isn't it interesting that the very thing for which Melkor was so concerned and had such great "impatience of its emptiness" becomes the very place in which he is imprisoned after all his misdeeds? VERY interesting!! Beware what you wish for, you just might get it!
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“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

Philipa
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Philipa » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:46 pm

Merry wrote:Don't you think that Tolkien wrote this in biblical tones on purpose?


Oh absolutely. All I meant to say is in the beginning of the book, when the halting style of the beginning of the world is written down, it's very difficult to read.

Lindariel, those are a few great quotes regarding Melkor and the Void. Perhaps it is a lesson as simple as "be careful what you wish for". Or that desire can trap you into a kind of prison you'd soon regret.

Take the one Ring for instance, to desire it is to enslave yourself into someone else's prison of the mind.
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MICHKA
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby MICHKA » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:18 pm

A propos du vide, maintenant on connaît mieux l'espace et on apprend qu'il est immense mais pas''VIDE'', des milliers d'étoiles, de comètes, de planètes, satellites l'habitent et qui sait, d'autres créatures peut-être. Comme le dit Jodie Foster dans ''Contact'', si cette immensitéd'univers était vraiment vide: Quel gâchis d'espace!
Je pense également que la création selon Tolkien est très compliquée à imaginer et qu'elle remonte à des millions de siècles avant l'homme, toutes les créatures sont célestes et idéales avant de tomber , bien plus tard, dans les vicissitudes à cause des pouvoirs transmis pour créer à leur tour. C'est à celui ou celle qui fera mieux, plus beau, meilleur, et ensuite intervient la jalousie. Ce qui est étonnant c'est que dans chaque représentation de l'histoire de l'humanité à travers les différentes et nombreuses interprétations, religieuses ou non, les êtres supérieurs ont des défauts, des faiblesses. Et il y en a toujours des deux sexes , pour engendrer, comme chez les humains ou les animaux, n'est-ce pas curieux? On pourrait penser qu'il n'est pas besoin du tout de cela pour des esprits, non?
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Merry » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:05 am

Great conversation!

There's some classic metaphysics involved in this depiction of the Void: if God made everything, then the only way to reject God utterly is to go to the Nothing. But that's a really bad choice! When I was young, I made a 30-day silent retreat. One of the meditations was to imagine what hell is like. I'd heard from a lot of people that this was the worst part of the retreat--they were thinking of flames and devils, which wasn't really working for them. My imagination immediately went to the Void: I imagined I was alone in the universe. Terrifying! And yes, this is exactly what Melkor wanted.

I haven't seen the movie 'Gravity', but I imagine it works because of our fear of the Void. True, there are planets and other bodies out there, but it sure is empty enough!
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby MICHKA » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:58 am

Je crois bien que le vide effraie tout le monde et c'est une punition terrible pour Melkor . En même temps il l'a désiré , par grande, insatiable curiosité, mais se retrouver seul dedans doit être épouvantable; le film Gravity donne cette impression, ce vertige . A ce moment on sent réellement que nous ne sommes qu'un grain de poussière dans l'univers. En poursuivant la lecture de ce livre , Tolkien décrit des tableaux de discorde et de grands désordre chez les premières créatures , tout va de mal en pis.Les uns prennent parti d'une solution que les autres réfutent, et c'est la séparation. Son monde posséde plusieurs contrées, points de chute pour certains, et d'autres continuent leur voyage, leur exploration:'' l'herbe est plus verte ailleurs'', ou ils sont dans l'obligation de fuir, et c'est l'exode. Le meilleur des mondes n'existe donc pas.....
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby MICHKA » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:33 am

Fëanor se coduit en leader du peuple, vengeur et sûr de lui, fier et indépendant, ( en fait un peu anarchiste), invoquant la liberté pour appuyer ses idées comme le font tous les pujilistes pour accéder à la domination et asseoir leur pouvoir, subjuguant les plus faibles, les associant à sa révolte et les emmenant vers ce qu'il appelle un nouvel eden, mais en passant par la guerre( contre Melkor), bien décidé à livrer bataille à son ennemi,le considérant celui de tous, quite à être anéanti et tous avec lui. Les gens le suivent bien qu'affligés de quitter, abandonner ce qu'ils connaissent et qui avait trouvé grâce et délices à leurs yeux. Et quand il demande l'aide des Teleri en s'apercevant de l'énorme responsabilité qu'il a prise, Olwë lui répond avec sagesse et sincérité, en ami qui ose dire ce qu'il pense de cette folie, initiative insensée et l'avertissant des dangers de cet exil volontaire. C'est réellement agir en véritable ami que ne pas craindre de déplaire et dévoiler son opinion, essayer de contrecarrer des projets alliant d'inévitables inconvénients d'une telle hâte à partir. Et Fëanor en est furieux, comportement tout à fait conforme au caractère des despotes ,toujours certains de leur jugement et leur bon droit. ''Qu'importe ce qui adviendra, si j'assouvis ma vengeance!''
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Merry » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:59 pm

You're ahead of me in your reading, Michka! I'll try to catch up soon.

One more thing on Void: there is a parallel to Melkor in Gollum. Tolkien tells us that he thought there were deep and powerful secrets in the dark roots of the mountain and that he went there to find out what they were. But all he found was darkness and bleak solitude. But rather than admit his mistake and climb out toward the light, he stayed there and lived his nasty little life and diminished.
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Philipa » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:00 pm

Merry wrote:You're ahead of me in your reading, Michka! I'll try to catch up soon.

One more thing on Void: there is a parallel to Melkor in Gollum. Tolkien tells us that he thought there were deep and powerful secrets in the dark roots of the mountain and that he went there to find out what they were. But all he found was darkness and bleak solitude. But rather than admit his mistake and climb out toward the light, he stayed there and lived his nasty little life and diminished.


Yes Michka I'll catch up too.

Don't forget to tell me or Merry if you want to discuss the next portion the Valaquenta so that we may open a thread for it.

Merry that is an amazing revelation. I'd forgotten about Gollums reasoning for going under the mountain. The theme is an old one through out myth telling and religious stories isn't it? :D
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MICHKA
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby MICHKA » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:19 pm

J'étudie le sujet tout en continuant ma lecture, toujours laborieuse. Voici un aperçu de mes impressions personnelles sur ce livre, ces histoires: face à l'excellence, la brillance des beautés dépeintes par Tolkien qui sont majestueuses, sublimes, pleines de magique enchantement, il y a chaque fois en contrepartie la laideur de la trahison, la déception de l'inconstance et tant de traits de personnages vaniteux, orgueilleux, avides. On dirait que l'auteur ne peut assumer l'idéal qu'il décrit sans y opposer des désastres, de funestes résolutions prises par les héros. Comment s'expliquer que ce qu'il invente, suite à de longues recherches extraordinaires dans les anciens mythes de toutes régions, ne peut jamais aboutir sans souffrance et déchirements?
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Merry » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:31 pm

One of the most brilliant part of Tolkien's legendarium, in my mind, is his uniting of a Judeo-Christian monotheistic type of creation mythology with a pantheon of gods/goddesses like Roman, Greek and Norse mythologies. In many places in his letters, he calls the Ainur/Valar angelic beings, which is how he accomplishes this reconciliation. But what this does for him in terms of creativity in his story-telling in wonderful! :clapping:
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

MICHKA
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby MICHKA » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:45 am

J'ai laissé un peu de côté, il faut vraiment s'accrocher pour lire le Silmarillion, je vais reprendre pour poursuivre la discussion et établir nos comparaisons, bien instructives parfois heureusement!!! #-o #-o
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë, the Music of the Ainur

Postby Philipa » Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:34 pm

Merry wrote:One of the most brilliant part of Tolkien's legendarium, in my mind, is his uniting of a Judeo-Christian monotheistic type of creation mythology with a pantheon of gods/goddesses like Roman, Greek and Norse mythologies. In many places in his letters, he calls the Ainur/Valar angelic beings, which is how he accomplishes this reconciliation. But what this does for him in terms of creativity in his story-telling in wonderful! :clapping:


I agree Merry. Creation stories and the making of the Gods / Goddesses are a wonderful touch to bring the story of Eru, the Valar and Eä alive for the reader. :D
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë & Valaquenta

Postby Merry » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:54 pm

I'm finally able to catch up with the discussion a bit, although I'm still behind you two, Michka and Philipa! This is maybe only my fifth time reading The Sil. I find it difficult to read, maybe because it lacks unity of plot and style. I wonder if JRRT had been able to finish the editing, if he would have left those lacks of unity, lack the Old Testament, or if he would have tried to even it all out.

Anyway, based on our discussion here, I decided to read the first part from Melkor's point of view and noticed a lot of things I hadn't noticed before. It says that although Eru had encouraged the Ainur to develop and add their own music to the great song, the Ainur had difficulty understanding the contributions that others were making: they couldn't read each other's minds. So the first time that Melkor added something discordant, Eru just smiled and adjusted. So the second great theme went out (and this one included the Children--elves and men--so that means they weren't in the original theme: do the Children owe their existence, in some part, to Melkor?). When Melkor was discordant with this theme, though, Eru didn't smile, but he adjusted. The third time that Melkor was discordant, though, Eru was angry. So the thought must be that Melkor couldn't accidentally be discordant three times in a row, but that this was willful.

So what I find interesting here is that the possibility of discord was planted right away in the Ainur's lack of ability to understand each other fully, in personal privacy, as it were. I find this profound. As much as I dislike discord, would I give up my right to think my own thoughts to prevent it?
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Merry
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë & Valaquenta

Postby Merry » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:12 pm

Take a look at this:

http://atolkienistperspective.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/experiencing-the-music-of-the-ainur/

TOR.n called our attention to it this morning. It's powerful!
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Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Philipa
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Re: The Silmarillion - Ainulindalë & Valaquenta

Postby Philipa » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:31 pm

Merry wrote:So the second great theme went out (and this one included the Children--elves and men--so that means they weren't in the original theme:


Merry, perhaps I am getting the three different musics mixed up but I believe in the Ainulindale when Tolkien is writing about the second music after the end of days;

"Never since have the Ainur said that a greater still shall be made before Iluvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Iluvatar after the end of days..."


I also talk of this on my post here in the Chapters 1 - 3.

So you see Melkor may not be included in the music after the "end of days" with the children of Iluvatar.

The link's video is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :D
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