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If the Valar saw the future, why were they surprised?

FĂ«anor_7

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After the music of the Ainur, Eru shows them a vision of their creation, and they see 'much of what is to come' (or something similar, can't remember exactly what it says), yet they do not have the foresight to predict fairly major events like Morgoth feigning innocence (though in fairness not all of the Valar are decieved like this) or the slaying of the Trees?
 

FĂ«anor_7

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Okay, that's fair enough, but is there any sources out there that tells us what they were able to see, and what, if any, effect that had on the history of Arda?
 

Ithilethiel

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It's not so simple to explain in one or two passages. I think the only way to understand the concept is to read the first chapter of The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë, the singing of The Great Music, aka the creation story.

The Ainur were created from the thoughts of IlĂşvatar so each Ainu possessed only that understanding of things that came from that specific part of IlĂşvatar's mind. Melkor was the first and greatest so he understood more than the others but none understood all. It is only at the end of all things that each will understand how each part is connected.

IlĂşvatar did explain much to the Ainur/Valar but none knew all. For more on this refer to the Valaquenta also from The Silmarillion, Account of the Valar and Maiar According to the Line of the Eldar, [...]Of the Maiar, [...] Of the Valar
 
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I'm rereading the Silmarillion and thinking about this. The Valar didn't major events and weren't able to predict them based on what they saw? For example that Morgoth pretending to change. The whole history is about Morgoth doing bad things, gut they didn't understand that he is still going to play a role?
 

user16578

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Okay, that's fair enough, but is there any sources out there that tells us what they were able to see, and what, if any, effect that had on the history of Arda?
They already wrote history through their themes; love, peace, war, etc. , so nothing could be altered... not by them anyway...
 
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Olorgando

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As I vaguely remember, JRRT in the "Lost Tales" phase was quite specific about a lot of details. He seriously backpedaled from this standpoint in the later development of his mythology, much to the benefit of it (but of course to the annoyance of pedants – I know that feeling at least to a degree). So, this is not author-published canon, but I do remember that quite a bit of what JRRT described of the actions – and more so inactions – of the Valar and Maiar back then often made me roll my eyes (as I’ve posted elsewhere). What seems to have remained of this is Manwë’s apparent naïveté regarding Melkor. I mean, even Tulkas wasn’t buying Melkor’s goody-two-shoes act (or have I strayed into non-canon territory again with this?).

This practically turns an argument about Sauron’s (one?) weakness in LoTR on its head: there it was said that Sauron cannot imagine what it would be like to be good, only being able to imagine someone seizing the Ring to overthrow him and take his place. Contrasted to that, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel can very well imagine what bad the Ring mightdo to them despite their best intentions.

But Manwë, at least at this point, seems utterly incapable of understanding Melkor’s already vastly-demonstrated evil. Had a big blind spot, it seems he did.
 

Aldarion

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As I vaguely remember, JRRT in the "Lost Tales" phase was quite specific about a lot of details. He seriously backpedaled from this standpoint in the later development of his mythology, much to the benefit of it (but of course to the annoyance of pedants – I know that feeling at least to a degree). So, this is not author-published canon, but I do remember that quite a bit of what JRRT described of the actions – and more so inactions – of the Valar and Maiar back then often made me roll my eyes (as I’ve posted elsewhere). What seems to have remained of this is Manwë’s apparent naïveté regarding Melkor. I mean, even Tulkas wasn’t buying Melkor’s goody-two-shoes act (or have I strayed into non-canon territory again with this?).

This practically turns an argument about Sauron’s (one?) weakness in LoTR on its head: there it was said that Sauron cannot imagine what it would be like to be good, only being able to imagine someone seizing the Ring to overthrow him and take his place. Contrasted to that, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel can very well imagine what bad the Ring mightdo to them despite their best intentions.

But Manwë, at least at this point, seems utterly incapable of understanding Melkor’s already vastly-demonstrated evil. Had a big blind spot, it seems he did.
I think it was outright pointed out somewhere in the text that Manwe was incapable of understanding evil, and so was not able to predict Melkor's actions.
 

Grond

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They already wrote history through their themes; love, peace, war, etc. , so nothing could be altered... not by them anyway...
Can a flutist in the orchestra understand the inspiration, concept, arrangement, and execution of the entire symphony? I think not. Only Eru understood the entirety of the work.
 

Inziladun

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After the music of the Ainur, Eru shows them a vision of their creation, and they see 'much of what is to come' (or something similar, can't remember exactly what it says), yet they do not have the foresight to predict fairly major events like Morgoth feigning innocence (though in fairness not all of the Valar are decieved like this) or the slaying of the Trees?
Are you are asking why the Ainur were surprised by the vision? Only the Ainur that went into the world became the powers, or the Valar. There really was no concept of time at that point, and the only thing that was a surprise to the Ainur were the Children of IlĂşvatar. I do not believe there were many more surprises after they came into the World and found they had to make it. Eru was painting a work that changed according to his desires, but the Valar carried the theme of his work against his desires to his true intentions, his will became free will. And that is everything, creation and destruction.
 

Miguel

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the only thing that was a surprise to the Ainur were the Children of IlĂşvatar. I do not believe there were many more surprises after they came into the World and found they had to make it
Ainulindalë:
And some have said that the vision ceased ere the fulfilment of the Dominion of Men and the fading of the Firstborn; wherefore, though the Music is over all, the Valar have not seen as with sight the Later Ages or the ending of the World
 

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