Tolkien Gateway

Myths Transformed

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
This article or section needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of article quality.
Morgoth's Ring
  1. Ainulindalë
  2. The Annals of Aman
  3. The Later Quenta Silmarillion
  4. Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth
  5. Myths Transformed

Myths Transformed is the fifth and the last chapter of Morgoth's Ring. It gives a glimpse on radical changes J.R.R. Tolkien conceived regarding the legendarium. In it is described the complete change in the vision of the cosmology of . The Round World version of the Silmarillion is probably the best example. In addition to this, the section deals with the problem of the origins of the Orcs. The texts are, according to Christopher Tolkien, written in mid and late 1950's.

Contents

[edit] Introduction

Tolkien had come to have considerable doubts about the "Flat World" developed by him earlier, on which the basis of The Silmarillion, published posthumously, had drawn its source. He considered it "primitive" and unfitting that a myth written in the second millennium would have such a foundation. So he embarked on a quest of rewriting The Silmarillion on a wholly different level, which he never finished.[1]

[edit] The Significance of the Two Trees

When Ilúvatar created , which in this context, means the entire universe, with other Ainur governing the different parts of it, He gave a gift to Varda, a "Primeval Light", which Varda set in the Sun - the heart and the holiest place in Arda (which here means the entire Solar System), and gave it to Arien to protect and to guide.

However, Melkor, after the war with the other Valar, desired the Light that was placed in the Sun. So he offered her to make her his spouse and to share this gift with him, but she refused and afterwards he ravished her so that some say that her spirit left altogether and the Light that Ilúvatar set in it was no more.

Afterwards, however, he was scorched and black, and as he desired light before, now he desired only darkness, and the light hurt him.

But this was not the end of the malice of Melkor, for he in secret came to the North of the Ambar (Earth). In the defiance of Melkor, who now only came forth at night and in the bitter-most north, and would soon turn the night into his own domain and cover it with fear, the Valar made the Moon so to brighten the world that was slowly turning to Melkor's own.[2]

But before or after Melkor had ravished Arien, the Valar have somehow managed to capture some of that Primeval, "untainted", Light into the form of the Two Trees.[3]

[edit] Awakening of Elves and Men

The Eldar worshiped Varda above all the other Valar, as it is said in The Silmarillion, but in this version of the legendarium Varda didn't kindle the stars, for her power was limited to Arda alone.[4]

So the significance of the "People of the Stars" was in that, though the World was always sunlit, that after Melkor somehow darkens the Earth, cutting off all vision of the sky, Manwë with his wind blows away all the occulting clouds that Melkor wrought, so that precisely at that moment, when the stars are again visible, the Elder Children of Ilúvatar awake.

Also, the Awakening of Men is set much earlier, somewhere between Y.T. 1050 and Y.T. 1100 (considering the fact that Melkor managed to corrupt the hearts of Men before he was besieged in Utumno).[5]

[edit] Valian Years

It is explicitly said in the text that one Valian Year = 144 solar years. Tolkien proposed the idea that the Ainur and the Elves have similar life "cycles"; in other words their passage of time is different from that of Men. That is also one of the reasons why the Elvish long year (yén) is equivalent to the Valian Year. According to Tolkien, Ilúvatar arranged such a symbiosis between the two "immortal" kindred.[6]

Problems arise when calculating, for example, the Flight of the Noldor, which took about 5 Valian Years. That would be about ~700 years according to the long count, from the murder of Finwë to the coming of Fingolfin to Beleriand. However, Tolkien said that the time passes "slowly" in Aman, so that the passage of 1 Valian Year to an Elf in Aman would seem like a one solar year for a mortal. That is also one of the reasons of the Ban of the Valar - so the Númenóreans would not get into a temptation of sailing to the "Immortal" Lands.

[edit] The Chaining of Melkor

This version of the story differs significantly in some of its details, but in the end the outcome is the same. The War for the Sake of the Elves is seen more as a desperate attempt at diversion of the forces of Melkor from the March of the Eldar. For in the beginning Melkor was second only to Ilúvatar in might and potency and the Valar expected (along with the lesser spirits that he corrupted) an almost unbeatable foe.

However, when the host of the Valar and the Maiar marched to Utumno, they were surprised by how weak the stronghold was. Manwë himself could barely recognize his brother, Melkor; for he has fallen so low, due to dispersing most of his essence into the matter of Arda and the corruption of other spirits, that he became bound to the very world he was trying to conquer, and so susceptible to the physical hurt and imprisonment.

And so it happened that Melkor fell to his knees, feigning repentance and desiring to go to Valinor along with the host that had attacked him; for so he thought that he could find vengeance against those that had humiliated him.

But though he was taken to Valinor, and he wasn't even chained (although Tulkas clinked the Angainor behind his back all the way to Aman), he was still judged and imprisoned in the Halls of Mandos for three ages, which wasn't in accord to his plan.[7] Ages later, at the end of the War of Wrath in F.A. 590 he wasn't just thrust out into the Void. He was beheaded, and his impotent spirit fled outside the Time and Space.[8]

[edit] Of the Origin of the Orcs

Evolution of the origin of the Orcs is complicated and Tolkien, apparently, didn't settle his mind on their nature.

In The Silmarillion and in one of the writings in the text it is said that they were bred from the captured Elves, and by slow arts of cruelty became what they are now.[9]

In his latter writings, though, the Orcs are said to be mere puppets of their Lords, namely Morgoth and Sauron, with the addition of some Orc-shaped Maiar (Boldog being an example of such a being).[10]

Nonetheless, in his final writings, Tolkien speculated that the Orcs surely must come from Men, seeing as their fëar are weaker and less in control of their bodies than that of the Elves.[11]

In addition, Tolkien also pondered that the Orcs are a mixture of both the Elves and the Men, and that some Men after the "creation" of the Orcs were interbred with them.[12] This also seems to be a very late text, considering he used the spelling "Orks" instead, which he adopted in about 1969.

[edit] Contents

  • Introduction
  • Text I
  • Text II (including an abandoned narrative on the creation of the World and the war with Melkor)
  • Text III
  • Text IV
  • Text V
  • Text VI (including an essay titled "Melkor Morgoth")
  • Text VII (including three essays)
  • Text VIII (including an essay titled "Orcs")
  • Text IX
  • Text X (including another essay titled "Orcs"
  • Text XI (including two essays titled "Aman" and "Aman and Mortal Men")

[edit] Notes

There are allusions to the world being round from the beginning in the Volume IX of The History of Middle-earth.[13]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text I
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text II
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text II
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text IV
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text II
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text XI
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text VI
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text VII
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text VII, Text IX
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text VIII; "Orcs"
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text X
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed", Text IX
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part Three: The Drowning of Anadûnê, with the Third Version of The Fall of Númenor, and Lowdham's Report on the Adunaic Language"