a genetic mutation known as erythrism, which suppresses the black pigment eumelanin and produces an excess of the red pigment phaeomelanin, causes these grasshoppers to turn a dangerously conspicuous pink (making rare the photographer who manages to photograph one). the combination of red hair and freckles in humans is thought to be a form of erythrism. photos by roeselien raimond, victoria hillman, marcus juvonen, tim parkinson,
I think I prefer to believe that Oromë and Vána, who understand the cyclical nature of healthy ecosystems on account of being the Vala of hunting and the Vala of eternal youth (which I interpret as ‘renewal’), collaborated on the invention of flies and then Morgoth corrupted them into mosquitos, which are totally evil and ecologically unnecessary.
Mosquitos are to flies as orcs are to Elves, basically.
Melkor had always shown a pre-disposition to improv and add his own signature to things. Genetic mutation would be the perfect signature from him, though how fuschia grasshoppers might serve his grand plan is anyone’s guess.
… it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar; for he sought therein to increase the power and glory of the part assigned to himself. 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.
– The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë
The Noldor learned most of him, and he was ever their friend. Melkor was jealous of him, 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. 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. But Aulë 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.
– The Silmarillion, Valaquenta
The idea of genetic mutation as an extension of his continuing mark upon matters on Arda from beyond the Void is an intriguing one. Yet, even though Morgoth’s need for improv was the entirety of his downfall, perhaps the capacity for change and adaptation, and acceptance of it, within the framework of Middle-earth deserves some scrutiny.
The creations of the Valar filling up Arda were wrought by them in service of the Music, or the piece(s) of it they saw and understood. Was there room for adaptation, which is in effect the heady cocktail of natural selection, genetic mutation and evolution? Or is the E word anathema?
Whether divergent, convergent or parallel, as the times changed surely the drive to adapt or be pushed out would kick in. In the beginning, Morgoth artificially pushed the agenda, and boundaries, through his laboratories in Utumno. But what about after his exile? Do we see evidence of the continuation, whether it be furtherance of Morgoth’s improv, or responses from creations of the other Valar to counter what he wrought, or maybe just as a matter of course?
Assuredly. From the divisions of the Elven clans, to the different races of Men, change happened. In the very prologue of The Lord of the Rings, the descriptions of the three races of Hobbits and how they came to be is even more descriptive. These are enough evidence, to me, that change and adaptation was./is part of the framework upon Arda.
As evolution is an accepted fact of life upon Arda, it would also represent Morgoth’s continued influence, and the preservation of his mark upon all Arda.
Yet, taking it further, considering Morgoth’s own pedigree, would it not mean everything was within the grand masterplan of you-know-who?
Who’s really having the last laugh?
Full list of links and reference for this post
- A genetic mutation known as erythrism via mindblowingscience
- Lintamande’s post about flies and mosquitoes
- Different Patterns of Evolution
- The Heart of Melkor vs. The Smile of Ilúvatar (Silmarillion Slow Cooker p16)
- Reader: The Silmarillion. Ainulindalë
- Reader: The Silmarillion. Valaquenta
- Reader: The Silmarillion. Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter 24 “Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath”