Dwarves, Ents, Eagles and Orcs

Discussion in '"The Silmarillion"' started by The Gaffer, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. The Gaffer

    The Gaffer New Member

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    Hi there.
    Please forgive me if I am mistaken in anything I say but this is how I remember it.
    In the chapter "of aule and yavanna" dwarves are made by aule and then allowed to come to life (only when the elves do) but then also yavanna is allowed the Ents, but she doesn't literally create them like aule did his dwarves, right?
    And then also manwe is then allowed his eagles but again, he doesn't make them does he? I cannot remember the explicit explanation of those two, Ents and eagles.
    This got me thinking, I know it is told that orcs are corrupted elves and men but what if Eru allowed Melkor to choose a "species" to create. To my understanding Eru is all powerful, and only he knows the true contents of the music, or knows it the most.
    So, maybe he felt it necessary to allow Melkor, his most gifted valar, to make his own creation to counter balance the three "good" species he allowed the other valar to create. Otherwise there would be an imbalance.

    Or maybe Eru allowed him to have Glaurung? Balrogs are maia but I don't recall being told precisely how the dragons came about.

    My apologies is this has come up before, couldn't find it and just wanted to share my thoughts with you all. Thanks!
     
  2. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Lots of good questions! I know for sure that the Ents are described as being created before the Firstborn, and TolkienGateway says that Yavanna implored Eru to give life into the trees to make them alive as Ents. I remember that she wanted them to be created as protectors of the trees, because the trees cannot run from danger like animals can.

    The eagles are not Ainur but were created "animals" that served Manwe. I'm quite sure that they would have been created through the Music.

    I wonder, is Glaurung a Maia? It seems to me that the dragons, like the balrogs, would be Maia. Maybe Glaurung, like Ungoliant, is a Maia and later spawn like Smaug would have just been non-Maia descendants, like Shelob from Ungoliant. If he is a Maia, then he would be one of the original Maiar who became corrupted and served Morgoth.

    As for the orcs, I think Tolkien leaves their exact origin ambiguous, suggesting they could have been bred from elves or men or another source, but makes it clear that they are not actually created by Morgoth.
     

  3. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Hmm, I've always seen Ungoliant as one of those older, unnamed creatures Gandalf mentions. Or, maybe she is an evil spirit, who possessed the form of a spider. I'm just speculating.

    Also, Melkor created the Dragons out of sorcery and fire. Glaurung, Ancalagon, and Smaug, I think are evil Maia who turned to the side of Melkor.

    But I do like your ideas. :)

    CL
     
  4. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Interesting, I looked and it does appear that Ungoliant's origin is a mystery. Considering her massive power, I think it makes the most sense that she would be a Maia, but an "unnamed creature" is definitely possible!

    I see on Tolkien Gateway that it says the original dragons like Glaurung and Ancalagon were created by Morgoth, but I have a hard time believing that this is accurate. Because Morgoth does not have the Flame Imperishable, he cannot create life on his own. Perhaps he "crafted" or "bred" the dragons out of existing spirits, much like the orcs. I must also conclude that it is inconclusive whether these dragons would originally have been Maiar or whether they were some other creature. However, because of the intensity with which Tolkien describes them as being "spirits of fire" and the extent to which they have direct influence over the will of lesser beings (spells, hypnotism, etc), very much akin the the Balrogs which are known to be Maiar, I think it also makes the most sense that they were originally Maiar. Smaug, on the other hand, must conclusively not be a Maia as he was a descended spawn of these original dragons.
     
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  5. CirdanLinweilin

    CirdanLinweilin The Wandering Wastrel

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    Good points. I didn't think about that.

    CL
     
  6. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    These questions have to do with Tolkien's conceptions of "Life" and "Creation" verses "Making."

    And the subject of the Dwarves being "Made" (as opposed to "Created") by Aulë, is an example of a Theological Concept that Tolkien mentions FREQUENTLY:

    Subcreation.

    Aulë made the forms of the Dwarves, and at first they only acted, or moved according to Aulë Will. Without Aulë focusing upon them, they would do nothing.

    But because of Aulë pure Love for what he had made, Eru Ilúvatar allowed it to become a "Creation," complete with an independent soul.

    "Subcreation" is where a person of being's product (something they have "Made") is given "Life" or "Reality" by the creator. The person then is a "Subcreator," where God is using them as an instrument of Indirect "Creation."

    I am sorry to couch this in such explicitly religious language, but it really isn't possible to do so otherwise.

    For the Eagles, they are living things made by Eru Ilúvatar, and seem to have "Souls," like everything else, but we do not know if they are minor Ainur, like the Maiar, or if they are simply Giant Eagles, related to "normal" Eagles, who have been given a Soul by Ilúvatar.

    But Manwë did not make them.

    Neither did Yavanna Kementári create, or even "make" the Ents. They are also creations of Eru Ilúvatar, but they are not properly Children of Ilúvatar.

    Rather they are a product of the Great Music itself, akin to Ungoliant (or Tom Bombadil). Of course it could be argued that even the Children of Ilúvatar are also products of the Great Music.

    As for Orcs.... They are NOT "Creations" of Melkor. Eru did not "allow" Melkor to give life to Orcs, but rather Melkor "Made" the Orcs out of pre-existing beings CREATED by Eru Ilúvatar.

    This is why they are a "corruption" or "perversion."

    Melkor could not "Create." This is why he was constantly searching for the Secret Fire, which is the "Flame of Creation." This is pointed out Multiple times throughout Tolkien's work.

    Dragons are also a product that Melkor "Made" (as opposed to "Created").

    Mythologically, Dragons are chimera, they are a melding of many different creatures into one. This is not to say that they are THE Chimera (which is a beast specific to Greek and Roman Mythology), but merely that the word "Chimera" or "Chimeric" is used to describe beasts of this type: Made from multiple different animals/beasts into a single beast.

    Dragons are a melding of snakes, lizards, bats, birds, lions/tigers or other large cats, and other animals/beasts seen by primitive man as "dangerous."

    How they came about is similar to how everything Made by Melkor or Morgoth came about. Melkor took snakes, lizards, bats, birds, and great cats or wolves, and he forced them to breed with each other, while also torturing their bodies and souls, until he had a great, corrupted perversion of nature that we call a "Dragon."

    You have to remember that in Middle-earth, or indeed, within all of Eä or Arda within that, what is called "Physiognomy" exists, as well as Cartesian Dualism, as well as forms of Manichaean Dualism.

    Physiognomy is where the Soul affects how the Body looks.

    Cartesian Dualism is where the Universe is made of two different "kinds" of "substance:" Physical Matter, out of which our bodies are made, and "Spiritual Matter" out of which our Souls are made (what Tolkien called Hröa - the body - and Fëa - the Soul).

    Manichaean Dualism is where Good and Evil are things that you can put in your pocket, hold in your hand, or make a Ring with that you would wear on your hand. Manichaean Dualism also has Light and Dark that are also tangible, physical things. In its "Pure" form, Manichaean Dualism is more specific than this. But for Tolkien's Middle-earth, SOME types of light/dark, or good/evil were Light/Dark or Good/Evil.

    Meaning that in Arda (and thus Middle-earth) there was regular "light" like that comes from the sun, or a burning candle, and "darkness" that is just the absence of light. And then there was Light, which had both Hröa and Fëa, and Dark, which also had both Hröa and Fëa.

    And that in Arda (and thus Middle-earth) there was "good" like enjoying ice cream, or being happy about a nice day, and "evil' like stealing candy from a baby, lying to your parents about having done your homework. And then there is Good, which was "stuff" that would make a person BE "good," and there was Evil, which was "stuff" that would taint and corrupt a person to be "bad/evil."

    So Melkor could Torture, both a being's Body (Hröa), and their soul (Fëa), and the torture of their Fëa would outwardly manifest upon their bodies, in the same way that a sickness can be seen in a person's body. And Melkor could inflict the body/soul of creatures with "Darkness" and "Evil," doing lasting damage to them that would be reflected in both Hröa and Fëa.

    We examples of this in creatures such as the Ungoliant, Balrog, or Gollum/Sméagol. The Darkness that surrounds Ungoliant is more than just the "Absence of light" as Tolkien describes in the opening of the Quenta Silmarillion, where she "belches forth Darkness, and spins webs of Dark.. The Balrog we also see is "wrapped in Darkness," and it's body burns with a Fire that comes from its Fëa. And Gollum/Sméagol's body was warped and twisted due to the Evil of the 'Ruling Ring' which he possessed for so long.

    Opposing that, we see things like the Two Trees of Valinorë, and beings like Gandalf, the Elves (specifically Elves like Elrond, Gildor, Glorfindel, or Galadriel). In the Two Trees, we see embodiments of Goodness and Light, where the inherent Good within them gave them a beauty beyond words, and the Light they gave off could be collected in vats like water (which was then sprayed across the Heavens by Varda to create the Major Stars), or trapped within Gems. And in the beings like Gandalf, or the Elves, we see their inherent Goodness reflected in their appearance as being, again, the most beautiful and fair of all the Children of Ilúvatar. As well as the High Elves who had been to or lived in Valinor as giving off their own internal Light, which could be perceived by others.

    All of this has to do with how Melkor the Morgoth Bauglir went about making the Orcs, Balrogs, and other demons and "fell creatures" he had in his service.

    The tools he had to work with, and the properties of the Universe in which Melkor exists, give rise to the ability to "make" Monsters out of creatures that had been created by Eru Ilúvatar, and that by affecting the bodies and souls you can give rise to creatures and things we think of as "Supernatural." But they are all perfectly "Natural" within Arda or Middle-earth.

    MB
     
  7. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    This is essentially correct.

    The Tolkien Gateway doesn't get into the specifics, but Melkor's creatures and corruptions/perversions are an example of the distinction between "making" and "creation" that is discussed by Tolkien many times in The Letters of JRR Tolkien, and within The History of Middle-earth (most specifically Morgoth's Ring).

    The Dragons weren't likely Maiar. Tolkien tended to reject the idea that the Ainur could breed, and that the only case we see of this (Thingol-Melian) was an exception, where Melian "froze" her form into that of an Elf in order to bear a child for Thingol. And it would seem strange to see the Balrogs breeding with things to produce Dragons.

    Of course that isn't an impossibility given that Tolkien, later in his life, considered some forms of Orc to be fallen Maia, the Boldoeg, which did breed. So it is possible that Melkor could have forced his Balrogs (which some of whom could have been female, for that matter) to mate with the things he was using to make Dragons.

    And given that Ungoliant bred, but was not a Child of Ilúvatar, there is some room there for Maiar to have been a part of the Dragon genome.

    Specific instances become more difficult to determine with such a lack of specific information or knowledge about the creatures in question, even if one does have a nearly complete metaphysical foundation for Middle-earth, or Eä as a whole.

    MB
     
  8. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    I think it's quite possible that there is a difference between the Maiar's lack of sexual reproduction of other Maiar and the possibility of Melkor breeding monstrous spawn from corrupted, embodied Maiar spirits.
     
  9. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    I did point out that this was a possibility.

    See the Boldoeg as an example.

    MB
     
  10. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    I did not understand a lot of what you were getting at in your posts, including that, so I'm not sure what you mean.
     
  11. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    That the Dragons were not Maiar themselves, but that the Maiar would have been involved with their breeding, as they were with a form of Orc called a Boldoeg, which is a relic of the First Age.

    MB
     
  12. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Yes, if the dragons are not Maiar, it makes sense that Melkor and his Maiar servants would have worked together in the breeding of them.

    Where does this information appear about "Boldoeg"? From some google searches, it appears that this "Boldoeg" concept may have been part of an earlier conception by Tolkien that may not have survived to the final version.
     
  13. Matthew Bailey

    Matthew Bailey Member

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    The "Boldoeg" is a concept that Tolkien developed later in his life after considering the conversation of Shadrat and Gorbag in the Tower of Cirith Ungol when asked about this from people writing to him. This dates it to the 1960s.

    in The History of Middle-earth, vol X: Morgoth's Ring Tolkien has an essay titled "On Orcs," where he discusses the different options of their creation.

    And the Boldoeg are a kind of Lesser Maiar (very lesser, apparently) who had been debased and corrupted by Morgoth, and unlike regular Orcs, they were "Immortal" within the bounds of the World.

    Yet they still bred, which is the only example we have of Tolkien, later in his life, discussing the possibility that Ainur could breed.

    Tolkien's views about Sexual Reproduction were complicated by his religious beliefs, and that outside of a Sanctified Union, breeding would be rare and corrupted (suitable for Orcs, though).

    But this does provide an example that could apply to other corruptions of Morgoth.

    MB
     
  14. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    Ah interesting! Thanks for clarifying. That certainly seems consistent with Tolkien, that any "breeding" of fallen Ainur would be some sort of corrupted "spawning" facilitated by evil from Morgoth.

    Did you mean in your previous message that, for example, fallen Ainur such as these could have been breeders for Morgoth, breeding evil monsters like Dragons?
     

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