Reader: The Silmarillion. Valaquenta

Reader deep thought: If us mortal children, mere Followers, go ga-ga just thinking about the Firstborn’s perfection, how do they handle interacting with super-perfect beings?

“But fair and noble as were the forms in which they were manifest to the Children of Ilúvatar, they were but a veil upon their beauty and their power. And if little is here said of all that the Eldar once knew, that is as nothing compared with their true being, which goes back into regions and ages far beyond our thought.”


The Maia and Valar, according to The Eldar.

  • In the beginning… first there was Darkness.
  • Then the Ainur, thought-spawn of Ilúvatar, conceptualised the World through Music, under his guidance. The World exists within Eä.
  • Ilúvatar let there be light and showed the vision of the World to the Ainur, who were so moved Ilúvatar made the vision real and kickstarted the World with the “Secret Fire” (aka the Flame Imperishable) in its heart.
  • Those of the Ainur who were so moved enlistedvolunteered to make the World ready for the Children of Ilúvatar.
  • It took some doing but finally it was ready: Arda, the Kingdom of Earth. And the Ainur took what passed for “earthly” forms and descended into Arda to live there.
  • The greatest Ainur, were called the Valar, the Powers of Arda by the Eldar, and were seven Lords (the Valar: Manwë, Ulmo, Aulë, Oromë, Mandos, Lórien, and Tulkas) and seven females (the Valier: Varda, Yavanna, Nienna, Estë, Vairë, Vána, and Nessa), and they lived in Valinor.
  • King and Queen of the Valar
    • Manwë:
      • Started on equal footing with Melkor, but is the apple of Ilúvatar’s eye. (though did this happen because Melkor behaved badly or inspite of?)
        [Note: Melkor was struck off the Valar scroll though he too descended into Arda. He was the Eldar’s he-whose-name-we-do-not-speak]
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences: The first of all Kings: lord of the realm of Arda and ruler of all that dwell therein. And “his delight is in the winds and the clouds, and in all the regions of the air, from the heights to the depths, from the utmost borders of the Veil of Arda to the breezes that blow in the grass. Súlimo he is surnamed, Lord of the Breath of Arda. All swift birds, strong of wing, he loves, and they come and go at his bidding.”
    • Varda:
      • Manwë’s housemate, and better half, and apparently project management extraordinare, plus extra bonus as Spurner of Melkor’s advances (of what sort is to be determined), and bearer of his ultimate het.
        “Out of the deeps of Eä she came to the aid of Manwë; for Melkor she knew from before the making of the Music and rejected him, and he hated her, and feared her more than all others whom Eru made.”
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences: “Lady of the Stars, who knows all the regions of Eä. Too great is her beauty to be declared in the words of Men or of Elves; for the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face. In light is her power and her joy.” So “Manwë and Varda are seldom parted, and they remain in Valinor.”
      • Most beloved Valar, and named Elbereth by the Eldar, who dispel darkness and sing it at the stars rising.
    • Ultimate cool pad award. “Their halls are above the everlasting snow, upon Oiolossë, the uttermost tower of Taniquetil, tallest of all the mountains upon Earth.” and “When Manwë there ascends his throne and looks forth, if Varda is beside him, he sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwë is with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and the valleys, and from the dark places that Melkor has made upon Earth. Of”
  • Lord of Waters
    • Ulmo:
      • Swinging singleton poster-child. Manwë’s number 2 and BFF pre-Valinor. Meeting shirker and grand hobo: being Arda’s worry-wort takes up a lot of time. Also, not a landlubber.
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        “… he does not love to walk upon land, and will seldom clothe himself in a body after the manner of his peers. If the Children of Eru beheld him they were filled with a great dread; for the arising of the King of the Sea was terrible, as a mounting wave that strides to the land, with dark helm foam-crested and raiment of mail shimmering from silver down into shadows of green. The trumpets of Manwë are loud, but Ulmo’s voice is deep as the deeps of the ocean which he only has seen.”
        “Ulmo loves both Elves and Men, and never abandoned them, not even when they lay under the wrath of the Valar.
        “… he will come unseen to the shores of Middle-earth, or pass far inland up firths of the sea, and there make music upon his great horns, the Ulumúri, that are wrought of white shell; and those to whom that music comes hear it ever after in their hearts, and longing for the sea never leaves them again.
        “… mostly Ulmo speaks to those who dwell in Middle-earth with voices that are heard only as the music of water. For all seas, lakes, rivers, fountains and springs are in his government; so that the Elves say that the spirit of Ulmo runs in all the veins of the world. Thus news comes to Ulmo, even in the deeps, of all the needs and griefs of Arda, which otherwise would be hidden from Manwë.”
  • Aulë and Yavanna
    • Aulë
      • Lordship of Arda’s substance. Rounds out the Valar top 3, the original fellowship. Landshaper in collaboration with Manwë and Ulmo during the creation process. Teacher and patron of the Noldor
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        “He is a smith and a master of all crafts, and he delights in works of skill, however small, as much as in the mighty building of old. His are the gems that lie deep in the Earth and the gold that is fair in the hand, no less than the walls of the mountains and the basins of the sea.”
      • Personal green monster: Melkor, “for Aulë was most like himself in thought and in powers; and there was long strife between them, in which Melkor ever marred or undid the works of Aulë, and Aulë grew weary in repairing the tumults and disorders of Melkor.” But he did not suffer wrath of Eru though “Both, also, desired to make things of their own that should be new and unthought of by others, and delighted in the praise of their skill” as he “remained faithful to Eru and submitted all that he did to his will; and he did not envy the works of others, but sought and gave counsel. Whereas Melkor spent his spirit in envy and hate, until at last he could make nothing save in mockery of the thought of others, and all their works he destroyed if he could.”
    • Yavanna
      • Green thumb of Arda. Second to Varda. Penchant for taking the form of a tall woman.
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences: Giver of Fruits, “the lover of all things that grow in the earth, and all their countless forms she holds in her mind, from the trees like towers in forests long ago to the moss upon stones or the small and secret things in the mould.”
        “Kementári, Queen of the Earth, she is surnamed in the Eldarin tongue.”
        “Some there are who have seen her standing like a tree under heaven, crowned with the Sun; and from all its branches there spilled a golden dew upon the barren earth, and it grew green with corn; but the roots of the tree were in the waters of Ulmo, and the winds of Manwë spoke in its leaves.”
      • The Pastures of Yavanna are located in the south, to the east of the Woods of Oromë.
    • Ultimate cool pad: Mansions of Aulë (located within Valinor)
  • The Fëanturi, masters of spirits. Bros plus a sis. Bros are often called Mandos and Lórien, which are their pads. Their rightful names Námo and Irmo are respectively. Nienna is the sis.
    • Námo:
      • Keeper of the Dead. Memory vault of the world. Portent of the Valar.
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        “the keeper of the Houses of the Dead, and the summoner of the spirits of the slain. He forgets nothing; and he knows all things that shall be, save only those that lie still in the freedom of Ilúvatar. He is the Doomsman of the Valar; but he pronounces his dooms and his judgements only at the bidding of Manwë.”
      • Spouse: Vairë the Weaver, “who weaves all things that have ever been in Time into her storied webs, and the halls of Mandos that ever widen as the ages pass are clothed with them.”
      • Pad: Halls of Mandos, westward in Valinor.
    • Irmo:
      • Mr. Sandman of Middle-earth. Namo’s younger bro.
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences: The master of visions and dreams.
      • Spouse: Estë, “the gentle, healer of hurts and of weariness”. Grey is her fashion, “and rest is her gift.” She’s a night-owl, and “sleeps upon an island in the tree-shadowed lake of Lórellin.”
      • Pad: Lórien. “… his gardens in the land of the Valar, and they are the fairest of all places in the world, filled with many spirits.” Pit-stop of the Valar: “From the fountains of Irmo and Estë all those who dwell in Valinor draw refreshment; and often the Valar come themselves to Lórien and there find repose and easing of the burden of Arda.”
    • Nienna:
      • Swinging spinster of the Valar, who is “mightier than Estë”. Loner, emo of the world, and cheerleader of Arda, being “acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor. So great was her sorrow, as the Music unfolded, that her song turned to lamentation long before its end, and the sound of mourning was woven into the themes of the World before it began. But she does not weep for herself; and those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope.”
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        She is the comfort of the world who goes to the halls of Mandos “and all those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom. The windows of her house look outward from the walls of the world.”
      • Pad: Halls of Nienna. “Her halls are west of West, upon the borders of the world; and she comes seldom to the city of Valimar where all is glad.” She lives near Mandos, which makes sense.
  • Tulkas & Nessa
    • Hercules and wrestling champion. “Greatest in strength and deeds of prowess is Tulkas, who is surnamed Astaldo, the Valiant.” Optimist.
      • Among the Valar, is the newest kid on the block, to help with the Melkor resistance. “His hair and beard are golden, and his flesh ruddy; his weapons are his hands. He has little heed for either the past or the future, and is of no avail as a counsellor, but is a hardy friend.”
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        “He delights in wrestling and in contests of strength; and he rides no steed, for he can outrun all things that go on feet, and he is tireless.”
      • Spouse: “Nessa, the sister of Oromë, and she also is lithe and fleetfooted. Deer she loves, and they follow her train whenever she goes in the wild; but she can outrun them, swift as an arrow with the wind in her hair. In dancing she delights, and she dances in Valimar on lawns of never-fading green.”
  • Oromë & Vána
    • Oromë
      • Less strength than Tulkas but makes up for it with his temperament, “If he is less strong than Tulkas, he is more dreadful in anger; whereas Tulkas laughs ever, in sport or in war, and even in the face of Melkor he laughed in battles before the Elves were born.”
      • Titles/Jobs/Strengths/Preferences:
        The Hunter: “He is a hunter of monsters and fell beasts, and he delights in horses and in hounds”.
        Called Aldaron, and by the Sindar Tauron, the Lord of Forests because he is the ultimate tree-hugger.
        “Oromë loved the lands of Middle-earth, and he left them unwillingly and came last to Valinor; and often of old he passed back east over the mountains and returned with his host to the hills and the plains.”
      • Equipment: Nahar, his horse is “white in the sun, and shining silver at night.” His great horn, the Valaróma sounds like “the upgoing of the Sun in scarlet, or the sheer lightning cleaving the clouds”, it’s such an acoustical wonderment that “Above all the horns of his host it was heard in the woods that Yavanna brought forth in Valinor; for there Oromë would train his folk and his beasts for the pursuit of the evil creatures of Melkor.”
    • Vána
      • His spouse. She is “the Ever-young” and “All flowers spring as she passes and open if she glances upon them; and all birds sing at her coming.”
    • Pad: House of Oromë. Oromë also oversee the Woods of Oromë, in southern Valinor.
  • The super-Valar, the High Ones of Arda, aka the Aratar are: Manwë and Varda, Ulmo, Yavanna and Aulë, Mandos, Nienna, and Oromë. They are equal in their majesty and beauty, above and beyond all other beings.
  • The Maiar are also Ainur but lesser: “the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers”.
    • Population unknown. Only a few have associations with beings other than the Valar.
    • Well-known Maiar (in the Elder Days):
      • Ilmarë, the handmaid of Varda
      • Eönwë, the banner-bearer and herald of Manwë, whose might in arms is surpassed by none in Arda
      • Ossë and Uinen (best known to the Children of Ilúvatar)
        • Ossë:
          • Ulmo’s vassal, “master of the seas that wash the shores of Middle-earth”, coast-hugger. “loves the coasts and the isles, and rejoices in the winds of Manwë; for in storm he delights, and laughs amid the roaring of the waves.”
          • Spouse: Uinen. “The Lady of the Seas, whose hair lies spread through all waters under sky. All creatures she loves that live in the salt streams, and all weeds that grow there; to her mariners cry, for she can lay calm upon the waves, restraining the wildness of Ossë. The Númenóreans lived long in her protection, and held her in reverence equal to the Valar.”
          • Melkor managed to poach him with Ulmo’s office and perks as the bonus during the great struggles during the creation because he “hated the Sea, for he could not subdue it” but she “at the prayer of Aulë, restrained Ossë and brought him before Ulmo; and he was pardoned and returned to his allegiance, to which he has remained faithful”, but still has that insubornate streak (“for the delight in violence has never wholly departed from him, and at times he will rage in his wilfulness without any command from Ulmo his lord. Therefore those who dwell by the sea or go up in ships may love him, but they do not trust him.”)
      • Melian
        • Served both Vána and Estë. Lived in Lórien, gardening in the gardens of Irmo. Later went to Middle-earth. Also, nightingales sang about her wherever she went.
        • Big role in the Quenta Silmarillion.
      • Olórin
        • Also lived in Lórien. But frequented the house of Nienna, and student of her brand of “pity and patience”.
        • Loved the Elves, often giving them cue-cards, as Mr Invisible or in disguise.
        • Later added all Children of Ilúvatar to his circle of love, “and took pity on their sorrows; and those who listened to him awoke from despair and put away the imaginations of darkness.”
  • Finally: The Enemies
    • Melkor: “He who arises in Might”.
      • He who is not named among the Noldor, who had the most beef with him. Instead they call him “Morgoth, the Dark Enemy of the World.”
      • The original disturber of the peace.
      • Great poaching techinques – many Maiar followed him (“For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts.”)
      • Melkor’s scumbag collection included:
        • The Valaraukar aka the Balrogs. “The scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror”
        • Sauron, aka Gorthaur the Cruel. The apple of Melkor’s eye. Or maybe the splinter in his side. Originally a Maiar of Aulë (“he remained mighty in the lore of that people”), he was always running point for Melkor’s ops, black or otherwise. Also the ultimate follower: “was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void.”

(Relevance: read-along schedule)

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