Valaquenta (The Silmarillion Book Club: Part Two)
This is part two 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.
Valaquenta begins with a short summary of Ainulindalë. It then goes on to introduce the Lords and the Queens of the Valar, giving a bit of background information on each of them and explaining how they relate to one another. Next, we are introduced to the Maiar, spirits similar to the Valar but of a less degree. The last section is titled 'Of the Enemies' and explains a bit more about the cruelty of Melkor as well as introducing his servant Sauron.
“Those of the Ainur who desired it arose and entered into the World at the beginning of Time; and it was their task to achieve it, and by their labours to fulfil the vision which they had seen. Long they laboured in the regions of Eä, which are vast beyond the thought of Elves and Men, until in the time appointed was made Arda, the Kingdom of Earth. Then they put on the raiment of Earth and descended into it, and dwelt therein.”
Of Melkor: “From splendour he fell through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself, a spirit wasteful and pitiless. Understanding he turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame. He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended through fire and wrath into great burning, down into darkness. And darkness he used most in his evil works upon Arda, and filled it with fear for all living things.”
Concerning Sauron: “Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in years after he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him in the same ruinous path down into the Void.”
What do you think about the way the Valar are paired up? Do their personalities and talents compliment one another?
Do you think it's important that Tolkien left Ulmo and Nienna to dwell alone? What is the significance of this?
Which Valar do you identify with the most? Do you have any similar interests/talents?
Why is Sauron less evil than Melkor?
Reflecting on Tolkien's myth so far, what do you like about it? What feels familiar? What do you dislike?
Resources for this Chapter:
Meet the Valar & the Maiar
The Lords of the Valar
Manwë, King of the Ainur; delights in air, wind, sky, height
Ulmo, Lord of Waters: seas, rivers, fountains, lakes
Aulë, Lord of Substances and Craftsman
Oromë (Aldaron), Hunter of monsters and fell beasts
Mandos (Námo), Keeper of the Houses of the Dead
Lórien (Irmo), Master of visions and dreams
Tulkas (Astaldo), Delights in strength and contests
The Valier, The Queens of the Valar
Varda (Elbereth), Lady of the Stars
Yavanna (Kementári) Giver of Fruits, delights in growing things
Nienna, Lady of Sorrow and Lamenter of Griefs
Estë, Healer of Hurts and Sorrows
Vairë, Weaver of Time
Vána, who delights in birds and flowers
Nessa, who delights in dance and racing
Melkor: This Guy is the Absolute Worst
Melkor, now named Morgoth, is no longer counted among the Valar.
Arda’s Cutest Couples
Manwë dwells with Varda
Aulë dwells with Yavanna
Mandos dwells with Vairë
Lórien dwells with Estë
Tulkas dwells with Nessa
Oromë dwells with Vána
…and then there’s these two
Ulmo dwells alone
Nienna dwells alone
The Maiar are spirits who also came into being before the World but they are of a less degree than the Valar. Few are known to the Children of Ilúvatar. Cheif among the Maiar are:
Ilmarë, Handmaid of Varda
Eönwë, Standard-bearer and Herald of Manwë
Ossë, Vassal of Ulmo and Master of Seas
Uinen, Lady of Seas, Protector of Númenoreans
Melian, Spouse of Thingol, mother of Lúthien; Servant to Vána and Estë
Olórin (also called Mithrandir and Gandalf), Wisest of the Maiar, defender of the Free Peoples
Sauron (also called Gorthaur the Cruel), Servant of Morgoth