Monday, March 1, 2010

Tolkien Study - #1

The first installment of this series is going to begin with some basic background work necessary for a closer look at the mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien and its meanings, metaphors and applications in life.

A very short and non-exhaustive framework of the completed mythology is as follows (in chronological order):

-The creation of the Universe (Ea) by Illuvator(the One, God)
-The creation of lesser spirits and deities(the Valar and Maiar collectively called the Ainur , the latter of of which Gandalf and Saruman belong to)
-The Music of the Ainur, in which the very fabric of creation is made, and the original rebellion of Melkor, the most powerful of all the Valar and the reason evil exists in the world
-The creation of Arda(earth) by the Valar
- The creation of the Elves and their journey from Middle-earth to Valinor, the land of the Valar.

Those events comprise the very beginning of counted time. I'm not going to go into a detailed history of the world during the First Age, as that would require many hundreds of pages, but a brief summary of the First Age after creation is as follows:

-Feanor creates his Silmarils(there are three) and sets in them the Light of the Two Trees of Valinor, from which the light of the World came.
-The Two Trees are destroyed by Morgoth and Ungoliant, a huge primeval spirit in spider-form. After the destruction of the Trees they steal the Silmarils, and Morgoth retreats to his fortress in Middle-earth(Thangorodrim)
After the theft of the Jewels and the death of the Trees, the Valar bring forth the Sun and Moon to light the world. Feanor rallies his people(the Noldor) together and decides to take revenge on Morgoth for his theft. He leads the majority of the Noldor out of Valinor.
-The Valar, not intending to stop Feanors crusade, deliver an ultimatum of doom, death and sorrow to the Noldor. Feanor attacks the Teleri(Elves who dwelled by the Sea and renowned seafarers) and steals their ships to get to Middle-earth. Thus begins the War of the Jewels. It is in this war that some of the most moving and powerful scenes occur, and it is those that I'll be looking at first.

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