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Old 08-04-2020, 01:57 PM   #1
Victariongreyjoy
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Morgoth once had a army of corrupted maiar?

Before the War of the Jewels when he stayed in Utumno, I believe he didn't captured any elves yet and converted them to orcs. So his servants must be evil maiar? That eventually evolved to balrogs, werewolves, vampires and drakes?
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Old 08-04-2020, 02:49 PM   #2
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Most definitely! The Silmarillion tells us as much:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Valaquenta
...in ages forgotten he contended with Manw and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion over most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. 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.
We know for certain, because the text directly tells us, that Sauron was one of those Maiar (accounted the greatest 'among those of his servants that have names'), and that the Balrogs were too. Osse, for a time, would have to be included, though he repented.

As to the others, the werewolves, vampires, and dragons... were they Maiar? Many have theorised as much, but I don't think Tolkien quite says. 'Werewolf' could simply mean 'Warg' (the goblins of the Third Age could speak to Wargs, so why not Beren and Luthien?), and the text doesn't actually say vampires are anything other than giant bats. Dragons were explicitly machines in the very early Legendarium; who knows what Tolkien thought of them later?

I believe Ungoliant is a Maia in at least one telling of the story; and in the late Legendarium, Tolkien toyed with the idea of some Orcs being Maiar!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoME X: Myths Transformed
For Morgoth had many servants, the oldest and most potent of whom were immortal, belonging indeed in their beginning to the Maiar; and these evil spirits like their Master could take on visible forms. Those whose business it was to direct the Orcs often took Orkish shapes, though they were greater and more terrible. Thus it was that the histories speak of Great Orcs or Orc-captains who were not slain, and who reappeared in battle through years far longer than the span of the lives of Men.*

*Boldog, for instance, is a name that occurs many times in the tales of the War. But it is possible that Boldog was not a personal name, and either a title, or else the name of a kind of creature: the Orc-formed Maiar, only less formidable than the Balrogs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoME X: Myths Transformed
In any case is it likely or possible that even the least of the Maiar would become Orcs? Yes: both outside Arda and in it, before the fall of Utumno. Melkor had corrupted many spirits - some great, as Sauron, or less so, as Balrogs. The least could have been primitive (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs; but by practising when embodied procreation they would (cf. Melian) [become] more and more earthbound, unable to return to spirit-state (even demon-form), until released by death (killing), and they would dwindle in force. When released they would, of course, like Sauron, be 'damned': i.e. reduced to impotence, infinitely recessive: still hating but unable more and more to make it effective physically (or would not a very dwindled dead Orc-state be a poltergeist?).
On this last point, however, Tolkien wavered considerably - almost in the same essay, Orcs were seen as Men, Elves, animals, constructs, or Maiar. Elves is the one that stuck, because it's in the Silm.

Other Maiar of Melkor had less physical form:

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoME X: Myths Transformed
But it is known that Melkor had become aware of the Quendi before the Valar began their war against him, and the joy of the Elves in Middle-earth had already been darkened by shadows of fear. Dreadful shapes had begun to haunt the borders of their dwellings, and some of their people vanished into the darkness and were heard of no more. Some of these things may have been phantoms and delusions; but some were, no doubt, shapes taken by the servants of Melkor, mocking and degrading the very forms of the Children. For Melkor had in his service great numbers of the Maiar, who had the power, as had their Master, of taking visible and tangible shape in Arda.
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Old 08-05-2020, 03:46 PM   #3
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Orc-spear to my throat, I'd have to "vote" for Tolkien settling on Orcs from Men [with altered timeline] . . .

. . . plus Maiar-orcs, which appear in the Myths Transformed section of Morgoth's Ring, in "Orc texts" 8, 9, and 10 if I recall correctly.

Or as it might appear in a story, Orcs from Men presented as a belief of the Eldar, as in a late note to The Druedain, Unfinished Tales, which would still be a notable shift in my opinion, from the [externally earlier] opinions of the Wise of Eressea.
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:57 PM   #4
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Boldog, as a name at least, appears early on as a great captain of the Orcs, if I recall. I just finished both Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin and I took note of a mention that Boldog was slain. If I had to guess based upon memory, I would say it was in the Lay of Leithien.

It is not clear that the breeding of Orcs began after the fall of Utumno. This would mean that the task was left in other hands (Sauron perhaps) or that the breeding began after Morgoth returned to Angband, leaving too little time, in my opinion, to create the armies described in the Silmarillion. Because the corruption of Orcs (and I will not be dragged into the Elves/Men/Beasts discussion) is clearly attributed to Morgoth, I would guess that the breeding program at least began while he was still in Utumno.

While Maiar were clearly recruited by Morgoth, their numbers are not clear. Certainly the Balrogs (hundreds per the Lay of Leithien, seven per later notes), and probably all speaking monsters including dragons, Draugluin and Carcharoth.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Boldog, as a name at least, appears early on as a great captain of the Orcs, if I recall. I just finished both Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin and I took note of a mention that Boldog was slain. If I had to guess based upon memory, I would say it was in the Lay of Leithien.

It is not clear that the breeding of Orcs began after the fall of Utumno. This would mean that the task was left in other hands (Sauron perhaps) or that the breeding began after Morgoth returned to Angband, leaving too little time, in my opinion, to create the armies described in the Silmarillion. Because the corruption of Orcs (and I will not be dragged into the Elves/Men/Beasts discussion) is clearly attributed to Morgoth, I would guess that the breeding program at least began while he was still in Utumno.

While Maiar were clearly recruited by Morgoth, their numbers are not clear. Certainly the Balrogs (hundreds per the Lay of Leithien, seven per later notes), and probably all speaking monsters including dragons, Draugluin and Carcharoth.
As with all things Tolkien, he is variable and obscurant (and probably by design).

Quote:
Melkor had corrupted many spirits some great as Sauron, or less as Balrogs. The least could have been primitive Orcs (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs... (Author's note to text, Chapter 5: "Myths transformed")
This statement by Tolkien aligns with the other matter Huinesoron quoted:

Quote:
Some of these things may have been delusions and phantoms but some were no doubt shapes taken by the servants of Melkor, mocking and degrading the very forms of the children. For Melkor had in his service great numbers of Maiar, who had the power, as their Master, of taking visible and tangible shape in Arda.('Morgoth's Ring', Chapter 5: "Myths transformed")
Quote:
Boldog, for instance, is a name that occurs many times in the tales of the War. But it is possible that Boldog was not a personal name, and either a title, or else the name of a kind of creature: the Orc-formed Maiar, only less formidable than the Balrogs. (Author's footnote to the text, Chapter 5: "Myths transformed")
But per usual, Tolkien relies more on inference than direct declarative statements. "Could have been", May have been", "But it is possible" -- one never gets a straight answer. And that's what makes Tolkien lore so intriguing. Conjecture is interwoven with historical background throughout the lore.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:22 PM   #6
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But my (much less scholarly) opinion is that if Elves served as the prototype for orcs, whether directly or as a "model" for a different clay, the corruption could have started as early as in Utumno. I recall that Morgoth's servants would pose as Orome and kill/kidnap stray Elves - and who is to say that he didn't kidnap them for his experiments, amongst other purposes?
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:04 AM   #7
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I'd like to add that as far as timing is concerned, Tolkien need not be constrained by the events and timeline of the 1977 constructed Silmarillion. For example, he's shifting the Awakening of Men back in time to account for the breeding of "regular" orcs from Men while Melkor was in Aman (text 10) -- [pushing it back even more than 3500 Sun Years according to CJRT, if the Awakening of Men is placed even very late in the period of the Great March of the Eldar]

Orc-formed Maiar can account for some early "real" orcs (not delusions). Utumno was broken in Valian Year 1099, so roughly four hundred Valian years elapsed before Morgoth made his first assault on Beleriand in 1497.

And Tolkien here notes (again, text 10) that the breeding of Orcs had already begun before Morgoth was made captive.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:18 AM   #8
Victariongreyjoy
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Dragons, werewolves and vampires

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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
Boldog, as a name at least, appears early on as a great captain of the Orcs, if I recall. I just finished both Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin and I took note of a mention that Boldog was slain. If I had to guess based upon memory, I would say it was in the Lay of Leithien.

It is not clear that the breeding of Orcs began after the fall of Utumno. This would mean that the task was left in other hands (Sauron perhaps) or that the breeding began after Morgoth returned to Angband, leaving too little time, in my opinion, to create the armies described in the Silmarillion. Because the corruption of Orcs (and I will not be dragged into the Elves/Men/Beasts discussion) is clearly attributed to Morgoth, I would guess that the breeding program at least began while he was still in Utumno.

While Maiar were clearly recruited by Morgoth, their numbers are not clear. Certainly the Balrogs (hundreds per the Lay of Leithien, seven per later notes), and probably all speaking monsters including dragons, Draugluin and Carcharoth.
So he did have orcs, both from corrupting elves he captured and evil maiar shape-shifting into leading orc generals. He made Ents into trolls, and many evil spirits such has phantoms and wraiths. The phantoms and wraiths surely must be maiar in a twisted spiritual form? Also, I would like to think some of these Nameless Things monsters could be corrupted maiar as well. Maybe some ancient creatures we never seen before but was wiped out when Utumno was destroyed. The few remnants escaped down to the earth.

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Old 08-06-2020, 03:28 PM   #9
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Well yes... And no.

"Maiar" isn't a taxonomic classification; it just signifies Ainur who went into the world but not including the 15 most powerful. So any claim that a particular individual is a Maia must of necessity imply that this individual existed before the world and took part in the Music.

That Melkor did corrupt many of the Maiar is beyond question, but on the other hand Tolkien all but shouts from the rooftops that there were other spirits in Ea, presumably created during the Music by both Eru and the Ainur, and there's a very clear reference to these in the Silmarillion:
Quote:
Therefore he gathered to himself spirits out of the halls of E that he had perverted to his service, and he deemed himself strong. And seeing now his time he drew near again to Arda, and looked down upon it, and the beauty of the Earth in its Spring filled him the more with hate.
Make particular note of the phrase "looked down" here, because that's evidence that Ungoliant is one of those spirits:
Quote:
The Eldar knew not whence she came; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manw...
That everything not otherwise classified must be a Maia is something that, I believe, comes from David Day, so that's probably a good indication of how seriously to treat it.
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:00 PM   #10
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Pedantry alert! Even three, or at most seven ever existing, according to that Balrog note.

I wonder about a possible compromise with "many" rogs existing before Utmno was broken, and . . . maybe five (?) left at the time of Curufinwe's fall and the later fall of Gondolin -- then three for the Wrathy War -- and one left before the Company arrived in Moria.

Or something else (maybe start with 7 surviving Utumno, leaving more rogs left for the WoW).

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Old 08-07-2020, 07:02 PM   #11
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The question arises, what were the "dreadful spirits" that animated the werewolves?
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:21 PM   #12
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The question arises, what were the "dreadful spirits" that animated the werewolves?
Not all spirits are Ainu or Eruhini. The description of Creation somehow skips quickly over the flora and fauna and other things "not quite human". Animals are spirits - both normal animals, and the not so normal ones. There are Eagles, who seem to be powerful creatures above the animal kingdom, serving the good cause. Why not have other powerful "animal-like" spirits, in the form of wolves, who serve the evil cause? There are animal-like creatures with who knows what spirits and minds, who came who knows whence, like the Watcher in the Water and whatever self-serving mysterious things Gandalf saw in the depths of Moria. Dragons and Fell Beasts, which were bred - but 1) from what and 2) are intelligent beings. There are tree spirits - Ents, Huorns, Old Man Willows - even regular trees can "talk". There are completely baffling and purposefully unexplained spirits in blue jackets and yellow boots. And doubtless there are spirits for which no standard shape can be defined.

Werewolves are just a subset of spirits (minds? existences? consciousnesses?) that inhabit Middle-earth. Some are more powerful than others. Some serve good, some serve evil, some serve no one in particular. Are they all rogue Ainu? We know at least some are not, and given that there were only 7 Balrogs this would be a staggering number of rogue Maiar unaccounted for.

If I had to commit to an explanation, I would put the undefined spirits as clumps of "concentrated creation" - not totally free spirits as true Eruhini, spirits who are perhaps more tied to the world around them - maybe who are an expression of the world around them. Does the Ent create the forest, or the forest creates the Ent? There is absolutely no evidence to this view as opposed to others. I simply prefer Middle-earth with supernatural as part of the natural, a world where all sorts of unexplained creatures can co-exist without contradicting the rule of uniqueness of Eruhini in Creation. I prefer a world where Barazinbar really does rise in vengeful anger against travelers, and it's not just a quirk of weather patterns. I think it's more fun that way.

Interestingly, sticking with that line of thought, that still leaves Orcs in the same dimension as Elves and Men. Creatures that kinda fend for themselves, are not attached to any particular element of the world, are free to choose their path. By the nature of their corruption they were made incompatible with the sunlight, and by a long history of wars they became soldiers and bandits. But they are technically still capable of organization, and of sympathy - and I even wanna say that they could hypothetically be capable of kindness... maybe. Maybe not. They are certainly capable of friendship, but so far as we know selfishness always trumped all the seedlings of good qualities.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:50 AM   #13
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One might also consider, based on some passages in Morgoth's Ring, the role of corrupted Elvish fear- whether those of Avari who had already turned to the Darkness before death, or those souls which refused the summons to Mandos. Tolkien treats these as malign "spirits" haunting the shadows, with whom the living should never have ado (those who do so are "the necromancers, and of the train of Sauron.") Could not some of these 'powered' the werewolves?
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