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Old 09-28-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
spirit_of_fire
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The music of the Ainur

When I was reading the Silmarillion for the second time, it suddenly struck that Tolkien did a pretty good job foreshadowing the events to come with his descriptions of the various themes of Eru, Melkor, and the Ainur.

Some parts I liked in particular:

When Iluvatar composed the second(?) theme that was the creation of the elves, it described the music as being full of sorrow and almost mournful (and later on the book described elves as deriving their chief beauty from their sorrow and the ever growing burden of the years).

When describing the third(?) theme(men), the music was described as the vain, endless braying of trumpets in what was almost a cacaphony, and though the theme did have a kind of rhythm of its own, it seemed that it took the most triumphant notes of the second theme(the elves) and wove it into its own. This might indicate the part the elf friends played in helping the elves stand firm against Morgoth, and maybe they "wove" some of the sorrow into their own theme too, think about Hurin and his sacrifice.

Anyone else see any new depth or interesting details in later reads?
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:11 PM   #2
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Silmaril

Nice topic... let me just say something before we start about things we perceive in the Music...

Quote:
Originally Posted by spirit_of_fire View Post
When describing the third(?) theme(men), the music was described as the vain, endless braying of trumpets in what was almost a cacaphony, and though the theme did have a kind of rhythm of its own, it seemed that it took the most triumphant notes of the second theme(the elves) and wove it into its own. This might indicate the part the elf friends played in helping the elves stand firm against Morgoth, and maybe they "wove" some of the sorrow into their own theme too, think about Hurin and his sacrifice.
Well... you have the questionmarks there, and rightly so, I think... actually I always understood it the way that Morgoth's music was the vain endless braying of trumpets, and then suddenly the third theme, which was unlike the others - beautiful yet sorrowful - arose, and that was taking the most triumphant notes of Melkor into its own pattern - the sort of parallel to Eru's words:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ainulindalë
And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.
I am also not sure about the Second theme being straightaway identified with the Elves. I always thought that the Third theme is the Children of Ilúvatar, altogether: in Ainulindalë, most times the Elves and Men are mentioned only together, as Children of Ilúvatar, which they both are. And later, it is said:

Quote:
For the Children of Ilúvatar were conceived by him alone; and they came with the third theme, and were not in the theme which Ilúvatar propounded at the beginning, and none of the Ainur had part in their making.
So, of course the sorrow belonged to both Elves and Men. Of course, the sorrows of the world befell them both - as for example your example with Húrin shows.

Speaking of that, I have never been entirely sure about identifying the Second theme with something concrete. There are several possible theories occuring to me right now, not so much specific but rather metaphorical... I think if I was to go with the most basic theory I always had, it was sort of that the original theme was just "unrefined", before the strife between Valar and Melkor changed it - uncorrupted, but still "unproven", too, not enrichened by anything of the Valar's own invention. The second theme, thus, was the way the world was after it came to being, and before there was the third actor - the Children of Ilúvatar - to change it. Sort of 1. Eru (basic idea, which is given forth to be enrichened => attempt to do that => first strife), 2. Valar (the world as it would be without the Children => Melkor still wins) 3. Children (finally the history of Arda as we know it and possibly some eschatological hints about the role of the Children in the battle against Morgoth).
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:48 AM   #3
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That's an interesting interpretation, I'll have to look at the book, but you may be right.

One thing though, you say: "2. Valar (the world as it would be without the Children => Melkor still wins)"

The Valar bested Morgoth in every direct conflict because of their superior numbers and because he spent his spirit in strengthening and corrupting his servants, and also, the Valar were always afraid to strike(except that first time) for fear of hurting the children when they rent the earth. So it seems to me that the Valar would have triumphed in the end, and probably the sooner, if the children had never been. Especially since somewhere in the book it says something like: "but Morgoths lies were like seeds that bore dark fruit, even to the end of time". Which of course refers to him being basically the source of evil in Arda, so if the children had never been, one of his primary tools would never have existed.
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spirit_of_fire View Post
One thing though, you say: "2. Valar (the world as it would be without the Children => Melkor still wins)"

The Valar bested Morgoth in every direct conflict because of their superior numbers and because he spent his spirit in strengthening and corrupting his servants, and also, the Valar were always afraid to strike(except that first time) for fear of hurting the children when they rent the earth. So it seems to me that the Valar would have triumphed in the end, and probably the sooner, if the children had never been. Especially since somewhere in the book it says something like: "but Morgoths lies were like seeds that bore dark fruit, even to the end of time". Which of course refers to him being basically the source of evil in Arda, so if the children had never been, one of his primary tools would never have existed.
That's a matter of interpretation and a question, I think possibly somewhere there might be an answer. Personally, I somehow get the feeling that Melkor would have been stronger than the other Valar, or at most, if everybody went against him with all they had, the world would be basically destroyed. So even if there was a victory, it won't be much good. Well, just look at the first wars before the coming of the Children. But Melkor was definitely strong and in the beginning he had quite many followers among the Ainur who have joined him before.
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