The Ainur can or cannot procreate?

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The Ainur can or cannot procreate?

Postby Elaini » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:16 pm

I remember reading somewhere that Tolkien disgarded the idea that he originally had, that the Ainur can have children with one another and that even the Valar were able to do so.

And yet we have the very prominent story of Melian being able to have a child with Thingol. Melian is a Maia, which makes her an Ainu, and Valar are also Ainur...

So how does this go exactly? Melian seems to be the proof against the idea of the Ainur not procreating with another being. :?
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Re: The Ainur can or cannot procreate?

Postby Otaku-sempai » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:30 pm

Um...the Ainur can procreate, but only with the Children of Ilúvatar? But then there is Ungoliant who spawned children including Shelob? :?

Yes, it's all very confusing. Perhaps the key is that an Ainu has to commit to one, specific physical manifestation in order to be able to reproduce. :|
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Re: The Ainur can or cannot procreate?

Postby Denethor » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:01 am

This is a case of Tolkien wanting to have his cake and eat it too.

At first, the Ainur had children. The Children of the Valar even featured in the early stories - and Gothmog was the son of Morgoth. Then Tolkien decided that this cluttered up the story, and distracted focus from the Children of Iluvatar. So he cut them. He also decided that Morgoth couldn't procreate because he wanted the idea that evil is barren.

This, of course, plays merry hell with Melian and Ungoliant. I think it's easiest to just conclude that the Ainur could have had children if they wanted them, but most didn't want to.
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Re: The Ainur can or cannot procreate?

Postby Galin » Fri May 11, 2018 7:17 am

In author's note 5 to Osanwe-kenta (Vinyar Tengwar 39), it is said that Pengolodh added a long note on the use of hroar by the Valar, which includes that: "... though in origin a 'self-arraying', it may tend to approach the state of 'incarnation', 'especially with the lesser members of that order (the Maiar)."

And later (same text): "'The things that are most binding are those that in the Incarnate have to do with the life of the hroa itself, its sustenance and its propagation. Thus eating and drinking are binding, but not the delight in beauty of sound or form. Most binding is begetting or conceiving."

'We do not know the axani (laws, rules, are primarily proceeding from Eru) that were laid down upon the Valar with particular reference to their state, but it seems clear there was no axan against these things. Nonetheless it appears to be an axan, or maybe necessary consequence, that if they are done, then the spirit must dwell in the body that is used, and be under the same necessities as the Incarnate. The only case that is known in the histories of the Eldar is that of Melian who became the spouse of King Elu-Thingol. This certainly was not evil or against the will of Eru, and though it led to sorrow, both Elves and Men were enriched.'

A similar something hails from a Text VIII 'Orcs' (Morgoth's Ring): "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. (...) the least could have become 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."

To me it seems like Melian had chosen the state of the Incarnate, especially considering what's noted about the Maiar in general and the self-arraying. The external history of The Fall of Doriath is a bit complicated, but even in the published Silmarillion it's said that: "... but for love of Elwe Singollo she took upon herself the form of the Elder Children of Iluvatar, and in that union she became bound by the chain and trammels of the flesh of Arda." (and simply that) "... and she vanished out of Middle-earth, and passed to the land of the Valar beyond the western sea..."

How did she do so? The Tale of Years (The War of the Jewels), though brief enough itself of course, merely records that Melian returned to Valinor. Did she need to die for example? or could she become spirit at will, and return to her physical form when in Aman?

Perhaps an "answer" of sorts can be found in Christopher Tolkien's commentary in the Later Quenta Simarillion II (Morgoth's Ring), concerning the weapons of the Noldor (page 281 in my HMC hardback version): "Explanations in such a world may prompt unneeded reflections. The passage of Orome on his horse Nahar from Aman to Middle-earth is never described, nor (I would say) need it be, nor should it be; the movements of the great Valar (and indeed of the lesser divine, as Melian) are a mystery that we do not seek to penetrate. (...)" CJRT continues here, but I note too his mention of an earlier story (Sketch of the Mythology) in which Luthien went over the Grinding Ice "aided by the power of her divine mother Melian, to Mandos' halls" (IV. 25, 55)."

Of course that's very early, but perhaps interesting. Anyway, my feeling from later writings is that Melian seems bound to her physical form, but that her manner of return would be left somewhat mysterious, similar to how the three Elven ambassadors arrived in Aman.

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