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Ainulindalë (The Silmarillion Book Club: Part One)

Ainulindalë (The Silmarillion Book Club: Part One)


This is part one in a fourteen-week book club series and discussion on The Silmarillion. Thanks so much for joining us! You can find all of our book club posts here.

This week, as we begin our book club, we've been discussing the first part of The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur".  It is in this chapter that we experience the creation of the world through the music of the Ainur under the direction of Eru Ilúvatar, the beginning of the unrest of Melkor, the descent of the Valar into the world, and the first battle of the Valar against Melkor. 

Ainulindalë, while only a few pages long, is one of the richest chapters of The Silmarillion. It's the kind of chapter people write entire books about, and I'm so looking forward to diving into this story with all of you. To join in the conversation, leave a comment below or join our sever on Discord.

Key Quotes:

  • “There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught eles was made.”

  • “Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. 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. “


Discussion Questions:

  • How is Ainulindalë reminiscent of the creation story in Genesis or other creation myths?

  • Why do you think Arda was created through music? If you have read any of Tolkien’s other works, what significance does music play in his other writings?

  • What was the root of Melkor’s rebellion?

  • Why did Ilúvatarallow Melkor to carry out his theme? Why didn't he stop him?

  • Why do the Ainur love water so much?

  • How does is the inward state of each Valar represented in the raiment they clothe themselves in? How does Melkor's appearance differ from the rest?

  • How do the Valar feel about the Children of Ilúvatar? 

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