5 posts tagged Valar
“Silmarillion Chapter 6: Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor”
“…and therefore in a while he was given leave to go freely about the land, and it seemed to Manwë that the evil of Melkor was cured. For Manwë was free from evil and could not comprehend it, and he knew that in the beginning, in the thought of Ilúvatar, Melkor had been even as he; and he did not perceive that all love had departed from him for ever.”
Previous Silmarillion entries:
- Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur
- Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar
- The Monsters of Middle-Earth
- The Free Peoples of the First Age
- Silmarillion Chapter 1 - Of the Beginning of Days
- Silmarillion Chapter 2 - Of Aulë and Yavanna
- Silmarillion Chapter 3 - Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor
- Silmarillion Chapter 4 - Of Thingol and Melian
- Silmarillion Chapter 6 - Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië
“Silmarillion Chapter 3: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor”
“But at the last the gates of Utumno were broken and the halls unroofed, and Melkor took refuge in the uttermost pit. Then Tulkas stood forth as champion of the Valar and wrestled with him, and cast him upon his face; and he was bound with the chain Angainor that Aulë had wrought, and led captive; and the world had peace for a long age”
Previous Silmarillion entries:
“Silmarillion Chapter 2: Of Aulë and Yavanna”
Of all the Valar, Aulë and Yavanna are my favorites, the ultimate husband & wife combo. Aulë is functionally the god of craftsman, and is said to be most like the villainous Melkor in personality (his servants Sauron and Saruman both turn evil, plus he trained troublemaking Fëanor) but Aulë himself remains virtuous and humble. Even when he created the Dwarves in defiance of Eru, it was meant to be a tribute to the Elves & Men (Eru’s personal creations). As such, the Dwarves were given true life and allowed to be awakened after the Elves. Aulë represents the creative ambition of Melkor without the jealousy or vanity.
Yavanna, creator of the Ents, is great because she’s one of the only Valar who actively tries to keep Middle-Earth from becoming overrun with evil, as her interest is with the actual plants and animals of the world. She’s also the one who chose Radagast to be one of the Istari sent to Middle-Earth. It’s also worth noting that while they got along very well, Aulë’s and Yavanna’s creations or servants did not. Dwarves and Ents have never had good relations, and Saruman despised Radagast to the end of his days.
Previous Silmarillion entries:
Silmarillion Project Part 5: Chapter 1 - “Of the Beginning of Days”
- Part 1: “Ainulindalë - The Music of the Ainur”
- Part 2: “Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar”
- Part 3: “The Monsters of Middle-Earth”
- Part 4: “The Free Peoples of the First Age”
We’re finally into the Silmarillion proper! Chapter 1 deals with the details of the shaping of Arda (Earth). In the beginning, the Valar attempted to assemble Arda, but were constantly at odds with Melkor, who warred against them to a standstill. This persisted until the last of the Valar, Tulkas, descended into Arda as well, and together they managed to scare Melkor off for the time being.
What followed was an era of peace, and to light the world (in addition to the stars), the Valar constructed two titanic lamps at opposite ends of Arda. In the middle, they resided on the Isle of Almaren, which I’ve illustrated above, along with one of the lamps. In the foreground is Tulkas himself, ever vigilant.
Melkor ultimately returned while Tulkas slept and toppled the lamps. The destruction was so devastating that Arda itself was deformed, and the Valar retreated to the Western continent of Aman, leaving Middle-Earth to the dark powers.
Notes: I find the character of Tulkas pretty fascinating, as he’s initially the only member of the Valar who entered Arda because there was a conflict, not to contribute to the building of the world. He is also one of the only Valar never to be duped by Melkor, as he seems to have at least a moderate understanding of evil (a rare trait among the Valar). Here I’ve depicted him mostly in silhouette, along with some vaguely humanoid Valar in the distance.
Silmarillion Project Part 2: “Valaquenta - Account of the Valar and Maiar in according to the lore of the Eldar”
The second chapter of The Silmarillion introduces us to the various divine beings (Ainur) who enter Earth (Arda) at its conception: the Valar (a godlike pantheon), the Maiar (lesser spirits) and the Enemy, who at this point is called Melkor. Although Melkor is mightier than any individual Vala, he is not counted among them, as their mission is to craft and preserve the world, while Melkor is hell-bent on twisting it to his will.
Several Valar are pictured here. They are, from front to back:
- Mandos - Judge of the Dead and Master of Doom. He has foreknowledge of everything that will come to pass on Arda until the end times, but will only reveal pieces at Manwë’s order.
- Yavanna - Queen of the Earth and Giver of Fruits. She created the Ents to protect the trees from the axes of Orcs and Dwarves.
- Aulë - Craftsman of the Earth and husband of Yavanna. He created the Dwarves with Ilúvatar’s (God’s) blessing, who gave them actual life.
- Varda - Queen of Stars. Creator of light and the stars (naturally) and also the first to see Melkor for what he truly was.
- Manwë - King of the Valar, master of the sky and husband of Varda. He is also the “twin” broth of Melkor, the Enemy.
- Ulmo - Lord of Waters and the sole wandering Vala (never taking residence in the the Undying Lands as they do). Ulmo prefers the open oceans and is an eternal friend to Men and Elves, of whose plight he is always keenly aware.
The accompanying illustrations are of the Enemies:
- Melkor - First and mightiest of the Ainur. Obsessed with creating life of his own, which he cannot, so he forever strives to corrupt Creation itself and rule over it. The source of all discord and Evil in Arda. Later called Morgoth, “The Great Enemy,” he is the central antagonist of the Silmarillion.
- Sauron - A powerful Maia originally in service of Aulë, Sauron was corrupted by Morgoth, ultimately becoming his second-in-command. Master of all shapes and forms, as well as the crafting of objects of power.
Notes: The Valar don’t have permanent incarnations, so I tried to keep many visual details vague and focus on broad themes. Conversely, while Melkor could take on many forms in earlier days, by the time he stole the Silmarils and was known as Morgoth, he was essentially trapped in the form of an imposing Dark Lord, “tall and terrible.” I wanted to emphasize a weary, corporeal form in contrast to the Valar, a form that will become further scarred before the end. Sauron, on the other hand, is less imposing and more of a crafty sorcerer. While he could change into the form of Elves or Men, I doubt that would have been his default in the First Age, when his main job was ruling an island full of werewolves.
Hope you enjoy this one! There are many more to come.